Another airplane Aftermath, writing this one through the turbulence of the bumpiest charter flight I can remember (and it’s not all that fun, especially that drop we just endured). Heck, given the turbulence of today’s game, it makes sense that’s how we end up the night.
What have we learned after this trip to Seattle? Well, the defense of the last two games is what I expected. Not a second coming of the Steel Curtain, but pretty solid. I’m still not sure why the meltdowns in Atlanta and San Diego occurred, although it doesn’t matter much. Maybe it was just the idea they needed to figure out how to play with each other. Bottom line, they have to keep playing this way.
That’s because of the second major point to come out of Sunday, which is that Max Hall has quite a ways to go. The wet ball did affect him – that first interception, despite it being an admitted “bad decision,” slipped out of Hall’s hand – but that didn’t explain everything.
— Coach Ken Whisenhunt is sticking with Hall as starter, which makes sense. If you want him to learn, pulling the rug out from under him now probably makes it a major setback. Besides, Derek Anderson looks like he can flourish in the no-pressure backup role if needed.
But if this plane ride is bumpy, it’s probably nothing compared to the ride the Cards will go on with Hall as he learns.
— Alan Branch wasn’t patting himself on the back, but he looked excellent Sunday. He is playing like a guy you would trade up in the second round to choose, even if the Cards did so back in 2007 and are just now seeing major results. Branch is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason, however (as soon as a new CBA is in place), so here’s hoping this maturity and not just “Hey, I need to make sure I get a solid new contract.”
— Not sure what’s next for Tim Hightower. He disappeared, not surprisingly, after his latest fumble. He was running so well too. With one fewer carry that Beanie Wells this season (53-52), Hightower has rushed for 115 more yards (298-183). You can’t turn the ball over, though.
— Special teams captain Jason Wright is one of the smartest guys on the team. The entire NFL, I would guess. But he made a mental error Sunday. “I was supposed to let that go back to LaRod (Stephens-Howling),” Wright said of the squibbed kickoff that he tried to field at his shoetops and instead kicked it forward for yet another crucial turnover.
— The Cardinals have fumbled the ball 19 times already this season, losing 11.
— Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was picked on Sunday as Mike Williams ended up with 11 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown (although it may be time to acknowledge the Seahawks got a steal when the 6-foot-5 former 10th overall pick Williams decided to get serious, because his size makes it a bit… uh, makes it very difficult to cover him on short routes). “If they continue to throw at (DRC) I believe he will make plays for us,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s life as a cornerback.”
— DRC has to be smarter too, twice jumping offsides on field-goal tries. One negated a block (although he probably doesn’t block it without jumping) and the other gave Seattle a first down. Whisenhunt didn’t sound overly concerned, saying pressure from the field-goal block team is one of the reasons he thinks opponents have missed some this season.
(Just not Olindo Mare, who, including kicks called back because of penalty Sunday, made seven field goals in seven tries).
— Anderson said he didn’t really have internal bleeding earlier this season, contrary to a newspaper report late last week. He said a comment was “misconstrued.”
— In case you didn’t already know, the Cards will be wearing their black uniforms against Tampa Bay in a week (and seats are still available, FYI). And yes, the black uniforms-for-Tampa is official.
That’s about all for tonight. The plane has settled down as we come in for Phoenix, the depressing day in the rain up in Seattle (and game, perfectly pictured below by cornerback Greg Toler) just about over. So we leave you with some Jason Wright optimism.
“Maybe it is a blind faith thing, but I really have confidence in guys we have,” Wright said. “I really feel things will click soon.”
Let’s hope so. Nobody wants to feel queasy. It’s already been bumpy enough.
Tags: Alan Branch, Beanie Wells, black uniforms, Derek Anderson, DRC, Greg Toler, Jason Wright, Ken Whisenhunt, Max Hall, Seahawks, Tim Hightower
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