It was suggested the Cardinals this season were a “mysterious” team. Ken Whisenhunt said that was a “fair assessment.”
“We’re working to try and figure that out,” the coach said. “Changing the quarterback sometimes changes your team and sometimes the way the games have gone have determined who we are. Hopefully we’ll build off what we did against New Orleans and play better football. That’s all we can try to do.”
Well, Max Hall, what do you think? “Yeah, I think we’re still maturing, still growing,” he said. “There is still a lot to figure out, a lot to learn. I think we are headed in the right direction.”
So here we are, about to go to Seattle (the team leaves early afternoon tomorrow) not knowing exactly who the Cards are. The bye is great when you are coming off a victory, but the extra time off always lets the previous game settle a bit. You lose, and by the time the next game arrives you realize things aren’t necessarily as bad as you thought. You win, and the opposite is true – the euphoria is gone, and you adjust to reality.
The reality is that this game against the Seahawks means a lot. It means a lot in Hall’s development as a starter. It means a lot in the Seahawks’ quest (pun intended) to regain a footing as a division power, and a lot in the Cards’ efforts to show Atlanta and San Diego were more fluke than fact.
And we get to do it in the rain …
– Whisenhunt and Hall (and everyone) seem to be confident Hall got better as the game went. You figure they want to avoid early mistakes. You want to anyway, but a) the Seahawks get a big boost when the crowd is behind them and early mistakes help that (Tim Hightower pointed out the fast starts by the Cards the last two years in Seattle pretty much killed the crowd) and b) Hall’s mistakes seem to come early anyway, so if you can dodge the landmines …
– The Seahawks have the second-ranked rush defense and the 30th-ranked pass defense. Not sure that really means anything other than they have played pass-happy Chicago and San Diego already among their five games. The Cards have to run, both because of the weather issues and because of Hall. But bottom line, the Cards have playmakers like Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, and they get the ball through passing. They can’t – and shouldn’t — be ignored.
– Hall, on the mini-version of Max mania in the Valley: “I don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. It’s fun to get it. It’s fun to be recognized and to say hi to people going to the store, but I still have to keep my head down and work. I have a long way to go.”
– The Cards have benefitted from a gimpy Matt Hasselbeck the last couple of years. He is healthy now. He also has Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Yet Hasselbeck doesn’t feel totally comfortable, and the Cards have to use that. “I’m trying to get caught up with this first-year offense,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s been a get-to-know-you situation.”
– How much have the Seahawks changed under Pete Carroll? They have made an amazing 219 roster moves from the time Carroll took over in January, including 13 trades involving 16 players and 21 draft picks. I honestly thought it would take them longer to get their act together with so many new people.
– Guys in the spotlight Sunday: Tackles Brandon Keith and Levi Brown (because of the noise issues) and the front seven on defense. The Cards need to make the Seahawks work on offense because, frankly, that unit is still not consistent enough.
– If the Cards can win the special teams battle – and make sure Leon Washington doesn’t hurt them in the return game – it’d be a huge advantage.
– Finally, Hall was asked if he has been working on his sliding. “Work on sliding, you know, yeah … I’ll just leave it at that.” Let’s hope he gets down. We don’t need to see any more of Brown’s “scoop-and-score” moves this season.
Tags: Brandon Keith, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Matt Hasselbeck, Max Hall, Pete Carroll, Seahawks, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower
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