Quarterback Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals have vivid memories of the last time the St. Louis Rams came to town.
Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 31-14 victory over the Rams last November and the Cardinals wobbled down the stretch after an 8-1 start, unable to hold off the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West title.
Arizona's offensive line is well aware of the challenge presented by the Rams, who are tied with the New England Patriots for the league lead with 13 sacks. Conversely, the Cardinals have allowed Palmer to be sacked only once.
"It's a heightened urgency," Arizona left tackle Jared Veldheer told the team's official website. "It's some of the very best players in the world on that D-line. To me, that's fun. That's the biggest challenge you've got, and to be able to go to work and prepare makes that week kind of special."
Aside from being wary of St. Louis' edge rushers, the Cardinals now have to be concerned with emerging star Aaron Donald, a second-year defensive tackle who has already registered 3 1/2 sacks and is a constant disruptive force in the backfield.
"He's always making plays," Arizona guard Jonathan Cooper said. "People underestimate him because of his stature. He's a shorter guy, but he's quick off the ball. He's strong and explosive. He has moves for days."
Guard Mike Iupati (knee) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said it's a wait-and-see proposition as to whether he can make his season debut on Sunday.