With the night game Sunday, coach Ken Whisenhunt broke with what has become the norm for a trip as far as New York and the team is leaving tomorrow morning rather than already have left this afternoon. The two-day trips have always been about getting adjusted to the time for what would be a 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. game. Obviously, that doesn’t apply this week so we’re heading out first thing in the morning.
Until then, some things has we wind down the week:
— First-year Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan seems to have caused a stir by announcing he plans to blitz the Cardinals often Sunday. Of course, he could be blowing smoke — the Giants do have a good front four, and it seems the Cards would have more trouble with that and seven in coverage than blitzing and leaving cover men on an island. QB Kurt Warner likes blitzing teams because he can quickly exploit them. We’ll see how that turns out. Blitzes usually pay off big one way or the other, either for the defense or the offense if it handles them. “Who knows what they are going to do?” Whisenhunt said. “I haven’t seen a big change (from last year) . If they choose to blitz us, that is something we certainly expect. Hopefully we will react to it the way we did in practice preparing for it.”
— Speaking of last year — a 37-29 loss in Glendale — I’ve talked to multiple players about what they get out of reviewing last year’s game against the Giants and the answers were mixed. Tackle Levi Brown acknowledged that a player should be able to get something worthy, but in the end, often can’t because teams have changed and, more importantly, those players who have remained have either progressed or regressed. That affects the whole package. Warner said the main thing to remember is that the Cards can’t beat themselves. Mistakes — mistakes that can be avoided — is what doomed the Cards last year, Warner said.
— We’ll see if Early Doucet plays Sunday. I think he’ll be active. I still think Anquan Boldin will play, but, already knowing Boldin has a sore ankle, the Cards can’t risk not having an extra receiver available not only if Boldin gets further dinged but also if Boldin will be limited in the packages he might play. That’s what happened in the season opener against the 49ers (when Doucet was still hurt and Lance Long was forced to be active). Many fans have asked me why Doucet hasn’t played more. The big problem? He’s never proven himself on special teams, something the receivers in front of him — Urban, Morey, Breaston — all do and do well. “That’s the best way for him to assure himself of playing time,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s probably the one negative from the preseason of him being injured is we didn’t get the opportunity in preseason games to see him do those things.”
Whisenhunt thinks a player with Doucet’s size and speed should flourish on special teams and Doucet insists he played enough in college that he’d be fine. But I don’t get the sense the Cards are comfortable that Doucet can do the job just yet.
— In last year’s game, special teams killed the Cardinals. They can’t let that happen again.
— I’ve done a couple of New York radio interviews this week, and they are always asking what I think is key to the game. I said it in the podcast and I’ll repeat it here, although it’s not exactly going deep in the well: The Cards have to protect Warner. Period. They do that, they’ll be fine. It wouldn’t hurt if they could get to Eli Manning. That didn’t happen at all last season.
— Would it have been better if the Giants had gone to New Orleans and taken care of the Saints? Perhaps. Then the Cards would be going to face a 6-0 team playing really well. Instead, the Giants had some holes exposed, but they likely also were re-focused, much like the Colts game did for the Cardinals.
Well, it’s time to wrap it up. If something interesting happens in Newark tomorrow, I’ll blog (yeah, I know what you’re thinking: What’s going to happen in Newark, on a probably rainy Saturday, that’s worth reading about?). Otherwise, I’ll be like everyone else, checking out the Sunday games and waiting for kickoff at about 8:30 p.m. New York time Sunday night — hoping that the plane ride home is one of celebration.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Early Doucet, Giants, Kurt Warner, Levi Brown
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