Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt spoke to Bay Area reporters Wednesday morning on a conference call. Here’s what he said about the 49ers.
Q: Calais Campbell was talking on the radio yesterday about how much he and Darnell Dockett hate the 49ers. Does that represent your whole team’s view of the 49ers?
WHISENHUNT: I certainly can’t speak for the whole team, but I think one of the things I noticed when I came here six years ago was that there seemed to be a strong rivalry with the 49ers, at least from my standpoint. We played a number of games through the years that have come down to the last minute – even my first game as a head coach was a Monday night game there in San Francisco which came down to the last minute and there was a play at the end. We’ve had a number of those. I think it’s grown over the years. Obviously, San Francisco is a very good football team right now. Our players want to win, want to beat them. From our perspective, certainly there is a rivalry there.
Q: Do you have a problem with Campbell publically expressing his feelings about the 49ers?
WHISENHUNT: I don’t necessarily subscribe to the bulletin board material. He just said that’s the way he feels about the 49ers. If that’s what you do to get up for a game, that’s great. I don’t want there to be any misconception that we don’t have a lot of respect for the 49ers. That goes throughout our whole team. That’s part of the reason we’re excited to play them – we respect them and know they’re a good football team.
Q: Is it your biggest rivalry?
WHISENHUNT: I don’t know. Seattle has been good in our division when I first got here. The Rams were such a good team in this division years ago. It seems like it goes in cycles. It seems to me, with our players there’s always a little bit extra when we play the 49ers.
Q: What are your impressions of Dashon Goldson and what he brings to the 49ers’ defense?
WHISENHUNT: Very impressive player. He’s got a lot of range, very smart, understands what teams are trying to do, and he’s had success against us. He’s made some plays against us. I have a lot of respect for him as a player and I’m very aware of how he plays.
Q: The 49ers didn’t even attempt to target Vernon Davis in their past game. Do you expect them to try to make him a focal point Monday night?
WHISENHUNT: He did catch a pass in the last game, didn’t he?
Q: Vernon did not.
WHISENHUNT: Oh, OK. I’ve watched so much clips I couldn’t tell. I’m sure that they will. Vernon’s a good football player. Sometimes balls just don’t come to you. Sometimes that’s the way games go. It seems to me they’re clicking pretty good offensively in San Francisco. I’m sure that they’ll have a good plan.
Q: Does their offense look different to you this year with the addition of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham?
WHISENHUNT: They’re doing a few more things it seems like, than they were doing last year, which is normal as you progress. They present a lot of problems for you. It is a difficult offense to prepare for and you know you’ve got to play physical. The additions of those players I’m sure have contributed to that. They’re a very good offensive team.
Q: Is it difficult preparing for the Colin Kaepernick Factor?
WHISENHUNT: He’s something that you definitely have to be aware of. There’s a number of teams that are doing that. It seems to be the trend in the NFL that teams are doing that. Yes, you do have to be aware when he’s in the game, because he’s done a nice job and made some plays.
Q: When offenses are as multiple as the 49ers are, do you really enjoy having this extra day to prepare?
WHISENHUNT: Doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure. I think it always helps when you’re playing a division opponent, because you know a little bit more about them. Where you start from is a little bit further along than with a team you don’t know. I’m glad that we have the extra day. Maybe we’ll get a chance to get some of our guys a little bit healthier, and also give us a chance to prepare for some of the looks that we could see.
Q: You know how tough it is to run against the Seahawks defense. What were your impressions of how the 49ers were able to run on Seattle’s defense in the second half?
WHISENHUNT: It seems to me they run the ball on everybody. It doesn’t matter who it is, they’ve done a nice job. They’ve got a good scheme. They’re well-coached. I’ve watched Frank Gore for a number of years and have great respect for him as a player. They have a number of different guys who can run the ball well. They have a quarterback who can run with it. I think when you have all those things, it presents challenges for you defensively. You’ve got to be very good about your plan and making sure that you’re on the same page.