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Friday before the Falcons

Posted by Darren Urban on September 17, 2010 – 6:04 pm

On road trips, I always write the “aftermath” blog on the plane. Not often that I’m writing the “Friday before” blog on the plane too, but that’s what happens when the team leaves a day early to make sure they are used to the time change for Sunday’s game.

Anyway, a huge chance for the Cards on this trip. To manage a 2-0 start after two road games would be tremendous (not to mention make the Monday night game where the 49ers have to host the Saints that much more pressure-filled for San Francisco).

– Beanie Wells will be a game-time decision, but like the last two weeks, he has done so little, it’s hard to believe he would be much help even if he would be able to play. Now that Jason Wright had all week to practice, however – added in with Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling – I would think the Cards can deal with it if Beanie is a no-or-little-go.

– Wonder if Darnell Dockett thought his one-word tweet (“Amen!”) last week inside 90 minutes before kickoff (which is against the rules) would cost him $5,000, but it did. The NFL fined him (as did it did Calais Campbell, who was docked $5,000 when he landed on Rams QB Sam Bradford for a personal foul).

– Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Friday the Cards hope to have WR Early Doucet – who had his hernia surgery Friday morning – for 11 games. That would mean Doucet would be back after the bye, which actually is what Larry Fitzgerald said was the hope earlier this week. The procedure is normally a three-to-six-week rehab; that would give Doucet (assuming he’d be back at practice for a week) a month off the field.

– Fitz got a few plays off in practice to rest that weary knee of his. Wonder if that means less work in the game. That’s always the fine line as a coach. Is it worth using your star say, 10 or 15 less plays than normal if it means the rest of the time he’s a little bit better?

– Right tackle Brandon Keith had a battle with Rams DE Chris Long last weekend, and at times looked like a player who was starting his first NFL regular-season game. But Keith was OK with his performance. “You always wish things would have gone better as far as the way you played but I am pleased with where I am at right now,” Keith said. The Falcons have a guy who is Long-like in Kroy Biermann; it’ll be interesting to see how Keith does the second time out.

– Tim Hightower, as the esteemed Kent Somers tracked down, has had seven of his career nine fumbles in the first quarter and another early in the second quarter (Last week’s fourth-quarter fumble was the his first in the second half). Not sure there is a good reason for that, other than Hightower trying to make some things happen early in the game.

Hightower wants to make things happen. That he acknowledges. But he knows he may have to tone it down to avoid the fumbles.

“Sometimes, you may not be able to do all the jukes and spins and break all the tackles, but you get to live to see another day,” Hightower said. “You make an eight-yard gain, you give the ball back to the ref, and you still have something in you. That’s got to be the main focus. It’s not going to change who I am, how I run. I’m not going to go out there passive, I’m not going to go out there timid, I’m not going to go out there and second-guess myself. That said, it is something in practice I am trying to get better at, and that’s a guarantee.”

– Whisenhunt said he wasn’t sure yet who will return punts. I don’t know if he can put Max Komar back there again after two fumbles. I don’t know if he can be ready to use Andre Roberts back there in his first game in a while. I don’t know if he can afford to use Steve Breaston in the role knowing how important Breaston is to the receiving corps.

– There has been a lot of talk about Derek Anderson being “who he is” – as in, a 53 or 54-percent passer at best. But Whisenhunt seems sure that with enough work the Cards will be able to move Anderson’s completion percentage up. Anderson too seems confident, lamenting the short passes he didn’t convert. “Those little ones, they add up,” Anderson said. “Sixty percent (completions) is there easily. I don’t think it’s ever out of the question.”

We’ll see if it’s there this week. It’d be nice to be writing about a win on the way back.


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Posted in Blog | 46 Comments »


46 Responses to “Friday before the Falcons”

  1. By TMAS on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    What about Hyphen returning punts for them? Or are they saving him until Wells is back?

  2. By Steven Q. 12yr oldfan on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    derren,

    do you feel like LaRod Stephens-Howling will get more carrys this sunday!! that kid has potential! He did realy well against the rams! they need to integrate him more into the offence!!! hes worked hard and deserves it!! he shows flashes of being explolsive!!! And why isnt he being looked at to return punts!! hes the answere!! it should be a no brainer!! member his return last year againts the TiTtans?? do you agree!!??

  3. By Brian santiago on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Why does DRC#29 not cover the opponents best wide recervier the entire game?Com on DRC#29 does not allow mark clayton of the rams to get 110 yards, I personal think the coach has done everythin to perfection since he got her but that move of having DRC 29 only saty on 1 corner is not really something I welcome.We gottah bring the wide wide receviers to DOMINQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE island, instead of having #29 DRC not getting thrown at!!!Can you please ask the coach why does he think the strategy have having #29 DRC on 1 corner work, because I have not heard no body talk about this topic,(Phoenix radio talk shows.Well hope you read this because o read your arctiles you write hear = D Go CardZ!!!

  4. By tRiGiDy22 on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    I think the Falcons will be a great test for us!! If we are cards come back 2-0 with the open next week with oakland the stadium will need too get the roof fixed again after the game lets! Go Bigred! smash mouth football ground an pound its going to be the battle of inches on sunday!

  5. By Brad ONeill on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    ha i wonder if dockett will now have 5000 less to spend on those kids he was going to buy gifts for? ok we know he is too much of a man to pull something like that. I hope those kids and him have a great time and an amen is worth 5 grand in my book.

  6. By HyphenStandsUp on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    And the Falcons don’t want to be down 0-2 facing the ubiquitous Saints either. (Cards face them Week 5.)
    Gonna be a tough game, but if the Cards get off to a fast start, I think Atlanta is lacking in the confidence department. Especially if Coach Smith continues to try to pound the ball and comes up unsuccessful.
    Sidenote, Darren, have you ever been in a situation similiar to the 49er employee and Singeltary interview during your time with the Cards?(Even East Valley Tribune days?)

  7. By Nick Pepe on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Darren- it’d be nice reading about a win on your way back! keep us posted on Wells please!!!!
    We have more talent then them. If we get over the travel and the crowd and minimize the mistakes……(KEY!!!) we come away with a “W”.
    Play well men and wreak havoic on them black birds

  8. By blake on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Darren did any of the Rams get fined by the league for any of their late hits on Derek? you know the ones that weren’t called for penalties. i saw the Campbell hit and personally i felt it could have gone either way watching it in real-time speed.
    JUST DAMN TIRED OF THE TWO TIME DEFENDING NFC WEST CHAMPS GETTING NO LOVE/RESPECT there spoke my peace

  9. By Tyrelle on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Go Cardinals.

    Love ya and make the Red Sea proud.

  10. By Eazy E on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    We need a true PR. Komar is inexperienced and fumbled twice thank God he recovered both. Derek’s completion percentage will rise, he’s new to the offense and he’ll be in the 60 percent or above with more experience in the offense, he’s doing good. 2-0 BABY!

  11. By Eazy E on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Andre Roberts shouldn’t be it because he’s been injured for a minute and this will be his first action most likely. Breaston is our #2 and I wouldn’t mind putting him back there but our receivers dropping like flies right now.

  12. By mario8267 on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s go Cards!!!!! We can do this!!!

  13. By mario8267 on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s go Cards!!!!!!!!!!

  14. By Aerek Dnderson on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s win won for the troops in Iraq. Make ya boi proud Arizona!! We gonna win dis game sunday, Anderson gunna light it UPPPP!!!!!

  15. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    TMas —

    RE: Hyphen and punts

    I am pretty sure I have answered this before. Hyphen doesn’t do punt returns. Different skill set than KO returns.

  16. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Steven —

    RE: LaRod

    I don’t see him getting significantly more work.

  17. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    HyphenStands —

    RE: Bad interview

    I can’t say I ever have. Well, other than my presence at the “Crown their ass” press conference.

  18. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    Blake —

    RE: Rams fines

    Not that I know of.

  19. By TucsonTim on Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

    It’s pretty simple, Mr Komar, between 0-10, let it go, between 10-20, fair catch. outside the 20 use your good judgment, but son, if you put it on the ground again you’ll never wear red and white again, now go out and get it done.

  20. By Eazy E on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    DRC needs to be shadowing the best receiver every game in my opinion, as I just said before, he’s that damn good. If we had a #1 cb opposite DRC, then I wouldn’t mind him primarily staying on one side.

  21. By Eazy E on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    No offense to Toler

  22. By Eazy E on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Hightower still has to be himself. He’s a good back and nobody wants to fumble but we need him to be productive and not worried about holding on to the ball so much that he’s not productive. Ball out, he’s a great back.

  23. By Tyrelle on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Coach Mike Smith is disrespecting the players. This all business. Bring a victory back home for the fans.

  24. By Ernie on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    What about larod returning punts??????

  25. By Jahstone on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    Have they thought about Stephen Williams on punt returns?

  26. By TucsonTim on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    $5000 fine for Docket is like a $5 fine for a guy making $48,000. Wonder if it’s tax deductable

  27. By jwit on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Go Cards!!!

    This is a chance for the defense to show the league that they are worthy of respect… Defense and Run – that’s how championships are won!

  28. By Dre on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    We have a really good defensive front seven, despite having a rookie at left-middle LB and I think we are a little weak at right-middle LB with Paris…I wish they would of gotten Larry Foote. We all know who will be running the ball for the Falcon, yeah a Mac truck in Michael Turner. Turner will be looking forward to getting back to his old self after having injury issues last year and our MLBs will look inviting to the Falcons. So expect them to game plan to run up the gut with traps to get Turner one on one with our MLBs, A-dub will have to play big brother and keep his teammates from getting their head split. The Rook is good, I give him that but he is going up against a grown man and he is a little undersized for 3-4 MLB.

    So thats the advantage, once they get going with the run and bring A-dub up to help…they will try play action over the top to Tony, M. Jenkins or Roddy. But hopefully it dosn’t get that far, I think Calais Cambell at 6’8 300 lbs and big 9.0 can dominate the line of scrimage and take the fight to them in the backfield forcing them out their game plan.

    This is going to be a very physical game. I hope the offense don’t turn the ball over because our defense has it’s handful as it is. If they are on the field any more then they have to, the Falcon might be able to break them late in the game a la…how the Steeler did them last week. I love good defense and I can’t wait to see this game.

    Oh, one quick note, remember there is a three hour difference in the time and its a early game, that’s a six hour difference all together in time.

    http://www.atlantafalcons.com/2010/09/in-a-rush-for-the-rush/….check out their game plan.

  29. By Dre on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    opps here the link

    http://www.atlantafalcons.com/2010/09/in-a-rush-for-the-rush/

  30. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Jahstone —

    RE: SWill on PR

    I don’t believe that’s an option.

  31. By XiKnight on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren…is there anyway for out of towners to watch the full episode of the ken whiz show?

  32. By Dre on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Easy E.

    Why would you even mention Vicent Jackson…our reciever are top notch as is, best thing we got going for ourselves. A team is going to have to give up alot like miami did for Brandon Marshall (2) #2 draft picks plus pay VJ max money…naw Fitz won’t have none of that. And why would you take food off Breston’s table…he deserve to get paid.

    How hard is it for a player to catch a punt because that is all one of these rooks will have to do, so calm down with Breaston returning as a punt returner, especially during a contract year. You can get a skilled high school kid to do that, heck most punts are fair catched anyway.

    Hightower does need to worry about fumbles because that’s the fastest way to the sidelines, ask steve slaton from the Texans. He needs to cover the ball with both hand when he get close to traffic. I don’t understand why is still starting as we speak, fumbling 5 times (2nd highest in the league) and giving up 4. The scary thing is he only get half the rush attempts compared to the other backs…for example Matt Fort avg. 16 rush attempts per game compared to Hightowers 8 rush att/g. both putting the ball on the ground 5 times, thats eazy math. Yeah, Wells has issues to but he put 4 on the ground losing only 2, we can work with that. Hightower better watch out because Howling is breathing down his back…I wouldn’t be surprise if hightower becomes the third back halfway through the season.

    FOR ALL WHO DIDN’T CATCH THAT….HIGHTOWER HAD THE SECOND HIGHEST FUMBLES LAST YEAR (5 giving up 4) WITH ONLY HALF THE RUSH ATTEMPTS AS THE OTHER RBS…big red flag coach Whisenhut.

  33. By Dre on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren

    I’m sorry, thanks for the acknowledgment on Anderson, that was to cool for school…hopefully you know what I’m talking about. : ) Go Cardinals

  34. By BLOOD RED on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,
    So the way it sounds is they have already given LSH a shot at punt returns?If they could figure out a way to teach him how to fix whatever the problem is he could fill a huge hole and also get the ball in his hands in open space.They need to figure out a way to keep getting him touches,but with healthy Beanie and Hightower full speed gonna be tough.Do you know what part of the skill set he doesn’t have?Very exciting player when ball is in his hands and seems to hold on to it well.GAMECHANGER!!!!!SEASONSOLIDIFIER!!!(by the way Calais’s fine was well worth it!)

  35. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    XiKnight —

    RE: Whiz show

    Unfortunately, no. Due to the agreement we have with Ch. 12, we can’t put it on the web.

  36. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Blood (and everyone) —

    RE: Stephens-Howling as PR

    OK, this is being answered for the final time. LSH is not going to return punts. It’s not a skill set he has had, and he’s not going to learn on the NFL level. It’s not an option.

  37. By BLOOD RED on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Well hopefully we figure it out!

  38. By Doc on Sep 18, 2010 | Reply

    Everywhere Paris has been folks have doubted him. He always prove them wrong in the final analysis. Arizona will be no different. Larry Foote is no Paris Lenon on or off the field Dre. I have known since he was a kid.

  39. By Eazy E on Sep 19, 2010 | Reply

    Dre-

    I was kinda playing around with the Vincent Jackson comment, Fitz is our #1 and is the best and Breaston is a great #2 receiver, but nobody wouldn’t mind having a vincent jackson on their team, another #1 with a Fitz and Breaston, Early if he could stay healthy and the rookies Stephen Williams, Komar, and roberts. About the PR situation, we need a guy that’s explosive or at least can do a decent job back there. About Hightower, get off of him, he’s a good back. Some cardinal fans diss him but he’s good at everything, running the ball, catching the ball, pass protection, and I clearly said he needs to be himself and hold on to the ball too. He does need to hold on to the ball though. Larod I doubt will pass hightower at any time of the season, and I like him and he played well against st. louis and ran well, but that’s gonna be tough.

  40. By Eazy E on Sep 19, 2010 | Reply

    Hightower is like Marion Barber, yeah i like that comparison!

  41. By Dre on Sep 19, 2010 | Reply

    when Hightower manage to only fumble 1 time a year, we will compare him to Barber. We all know how hard Barber runs and to give it up one time with 14 att/g is incredilbe. So for now, compare hightower to hightower because he’s going to be replaced if he don’t do something about his problem.

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