Strength coach behind Cardinals' health?

Injured Reserve

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt credited the team's strength-and-conditioning program, led by John Lott, for helping to limit injuries this season.

Arizona had a league-low three players on injured reserve heading into the divisional playoff round. That was less than one-third the league average and 14 fewer than the Saints, Lions and Bengals.

The chart lists the number of players each team was carrying on injured reserve heading into the weekend, according to the figures I track. Teams periodically remove players from injured reserve by waiving them and sometimes reaching financial settlements with them. The chart pertains only to players currently on injured reserve.

Whisenhunt to reporters Monday:

"This is a year-round business now with these guys and the most important thing they can do in the offseason is working on their

strength. And it's not that you want to keep from getting injured, it's because you want to hold off injury for as long as you can and recover as quickly as you can and that's where we've had the benefit of the strength program and John Lott.

"The first thing we did when we got here was re-did the weight room and we hired John Lott. I think our injuries have been down, our players are stronger at the end of the year, which is critical, and they're in better shape. We still condition at the end of the year, which I think helps in the fourth quarter. When you get tired, you get sore and you get beat up later in the season -- that's when you're susceptible to injuries and if you can hold that off or at least fight it by working in the weight room and working in that program, then it helps."

Kurt Warner, 37, started 16 games in a season for the third time in his career and first time since 2001. No quarterback in the league took more hits this season, according to unofficial league stats.

Other older players -- Bryan Robinson, Sean Morey and Chike Okeafor among them -- stayed healthy enough to contribute throughout the season. Bertrand Berry, 33, has played in 16 games, counting playoffs, after missing 21 games over the previous three seasons.

All five starting offensive linemen have started every game this season.

Perhaps the Cardinals have been lucky. Their conditioning would also likely play into their health. We'll have to see how healthy they remain over the coming seasons.

The Cardinals' Web site once quoted Lott this way: "My [philosophy] is more free weights, a lot of dynamic movements outside, and we are going to do Olympic movements inside." The original item wasn't displaying last I checked, but a cached version is here.