The building has gotten quiet here at 8701 South Hardy. The coaches are gone until tomorrow morning, getting some of their brief free time during the week tonight. The Texans will be waiting Sunday, in a game that obviously means a lot. The gap in this league between 2-2 and 1-3 is so much larger than one tick in the win-loss column. With that in mind, some things to chew on as we head into the weekend:
— So much has been said about coach Ken Whisenhunt’s playcalling (and he talked about it himself), but it got me to thinking about something I saw on NBC’s pregame stuff last Sunday before the Chargers-Steelers game about the infamous James Harrison interception. The story had already spread that Harrison wasn’t supposed to be there and that he has supposed to blitz, which would have left Anquan Boldin open. Turns out the Chargers had run the same play against the Steelers earlier in the playoffs and scored a touchdown on a pass to a slot receiver, as Boldin was. It worked because the Steelers had called a blitz and Harrison came, opening a sliver that Philip Rivers threw through.
This is the point: The Cardinals had sniffed out what should have been the perfect playcall against the Steelers’ call, because Harrison was indeed supposed to come again. But Harrison apparently (according to NBC analyst Tony Dungy) felt wrong with blitzing and, unbeknownst to his teammates decided to not do his job on the play. It worked. It could have backfired. And for all the talk of Kurt Warner making a bad throw or Boldin not getting wide enough or even that it was a poor call, it certainly seems that Harrison just made a Pro Bowl hunch and it paid off. Sometimes, the other guy just beats you.
— What could help the Cards’ defense Sunday? How about safety Matt Ware? Sure, Ware isn’t a Pro Bowler. But his absence from a shoulder injury affects this team more than most understand, because when he can’t play Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson’s opportunities to move around are much more limited. Whisenhunt acknowledged “there’s no question” Wilson will be freed up with Ware back. The Cards, who have so many options in their multiple-safety package, just weren’t going to use it as much when the third safety is rookie Rashad Johnson.
“We feel more comfortable with what Matt is going to do in the back half as opposed to what Rashad is going to do just because of his status as a young football player,” Whisenhunt said. “There is no question we have confidence in Rashad as we go forward, but Matt has done it.”
— The Cards may use Beanie Wells more Sunday (and it’s hard to think he won’t get more work than his two-carry game against the Colts) and Whisenhunt said — with a knowing smile, since he knows he says it often – that the Cards want more balance. But, he added with emphasis, “I’ll tell you this, if we come out and we are hitting on all cylinders in the pass game, we’re going to throw it.”
— Speaking of Beanie, if you talk to him, he doesn’t think he has any shortcomings in his game. There’s a fine line between confidence and, as my radio partner Bill Lewis likes to say, “not knowing what you don’t know.” Beanie is clearly frustrated that he isn’t getting much more time on the field (and yes, I know there are plenty of fans who agree with him).
— If Warner throws for 300 yards, it’ll be the 50th time in his career he’s done that. For some reason, I think he definitely gets there this game – yet the Cards still run for enough yardage that Whisenhunt will be happy.
— So much talk about Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson this week. All I can say is, don’t sleep on Anquan. Especially with all the youth in the Texans’ secondary.
It’s getting late (at least, work-wise) and I too want to get what free time I can at home. Think pink Sunday at the game with Breast Cancer Awareness (there will be collection buckets at stadium entrances for anyone looking to make a donation). The Cardinals want to look the part too, so they are breaking out (I think, off the top of my head, for the first time at UoP) the white-on-white uniforms this time around. Red tends to clash with pink and all that. Maybe it changes up the Cards’ home luck, too.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Beanie Wells, Bill Lewis, James Harrison, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Ware, Super Bowl
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