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Cardinals' Bruce Arians tells team 2-0 start means nothing

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is tempering the accolades and critical acclaim his team has received in the wake of its 2-0 start.

“When they’re patting you on the back, they’re looking for a soft spot where to stick the knife,” Arians said after Wednesday’s practice.

“Coach put it best when he said ‘You ain’t blank,’” quarterback Carson Palmer said of Arians’ words to his team before a meeting. “I don’t see that being an issue for us this year. We’re 2-0, we’d love to be 3-0, but we all realize that it means nothing.”

The Cardinals are moving up power rankings with a prolific offense guided by Palmer and a defense that is creating turnovers. Now they enter a two-game stretch against division foes -- starting Sunday against San Francisco -- that helps not only the overall record but aids in tie-breaker scenarios if they come into play down the road.

“He’s not going to let you walk around with your nose up and treat anybody any different, because that’s not how he does it,” Palmer said of Arians. “I think everyone is a reflection of their coach.”

The Cardinals have high hopes after making the playoffs last season.

“You never want to play catch-up in this league. Hopefully we can build on what we did last year and learn from what we did last year and then continue it and finish it,” Arians said.

Winning the NFC West is crucial. The Cardinals are 21-11 in the regular season under Arians but 5-7 in their own division in those two seasons.

“We haven’t played Seattle with our quarterback (Palmer) in a year and a half,” Arians said. “It’s good to have everybody healthy. It’s going to be a heck of a ball game (Sunday) and I know the crowd will be ready.”

Running back Andre Ellington (knee sprain), wide receiver J.J. Nelson (shoulder) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday, and it seems only Woodley has a chance to play this week. He’s expected to practice on Thursday.

Wide receiver Michael Floyd is regaining his game speed, and is almost back to where he was before his training camp hand injury, Arians added.