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.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Brandon Keith, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Derek Anderson, Early Doucet, Falcons, Jason Wright, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Max Komar, Tim Hightower
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