Never has an “aftermath” blog entry seemed so apropos, with the way that game went last night. Considering it was just a preseason game, it left quite an imprint in a lot of areas, and because of that first half, much of it wasn’t a good feeling. This much is true – there are plenty of those who, because of the recent history of Super Bowl losers, believe the Cards are primed to take a fall. A performance from the starters, like the one against the Packers, well, that just makes it that much easier to doubt. Coach Ken Whisenhunt was hoping it was a wake-up call. We’ll see. Since the final preseason game means less than all the others, and since the starters will not play much if at all, we won’t know what this means until the Sept. 13 season opener.
On to the more specific aftermath.
– Defensively, it was just scary. The group looked solid in the first two games, and then transformed for a night into something that looked like the worst in the NFL. But in some ways, that may be a positive. Had the Cards given up, say, three touchdowns in the first half, I actually might have been a little more concerned. Things got so off the rails it felt a lot more like a one-time meltdown rather than an overall weak unit. More disturbing were a couple of the comments after, like when Darnell Dockett noted how some players were playing hard, and some just weren’t. He didn’t name names, of course, but preseason or not, that simply can’t happen.
– Interesting comment from Whisenhunt when it came to the receivers: “We found out a bunch of guys tonight and unfortunately, some of that wasn’t good.” The Cards went almost the whole game with Jerheme Urban, Lance Long and Early Doucet. Urban (who had 103 yards) for a moment felt like he was undoing a lot of the good he did in camp when he fumbled after a catch and then dropped one he should have had. But he also made a nice 27-yard catch the play after the drop, and I would guess he is OK.
Long and Doucet could have shown more. Long had just one catch and needs to hold on to the final catch he could have had in the end zone (the play was ruled incomplete not because he didn’t get his feet down but because he lost the ball when he hit the ground). Doucet had five catches for nearly 100 yards, but he absolutely has to make the two-point conversion catch at the end of the game. “It’s just disappointing that when we had opportunities to step up tonight we didn’t,” Whisenhunt said.
– If that’s Beanie at not-100-percent, wow. A very impressive initial showing from Wells, and don’t forget Tim Hightower averaged more than six yards a carry too. In a night filled with things that made you shake your head, the running game actually have reason to smile.
– Same with Matt Leinart, for that matter. Yes, he was going against backups, but his rally was important. There’s no way he isn’t No. 2, and if something should happen to Kurt Warner, I don’t see how Whisenhunt wouldn’t be comfortable with Leinart taking over.
– Is it me, or have there been a heck of a lot of blows to the head on Cardinals’ offensive players already this preseason? It’s happened to Long three or four times (one was called last night), it seemed like the play that gave LaRod Stephens-Howling a concussion was close and Sean Morey may have absorbed one late.
– The Cards are off for a couple of days. The cuts of five come by Tuesday, but Whisenhunt will likely deliver the news Monday before practice. LB Cody Brown needs to go to injured reserve, so the team only has to let four guys go.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Cody Brown, Darnell Dockett, defense, Early Doucet, Jerheme Urban, Kurt Warner, Lance Long, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Matt Leinart, Tim Hightower
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