It didn’t take Adrian Wilson long to answer the question, sitting there on his own Big Red Rage radio show Thursday night. He was asked to give the Cardinals’ defense a grade for the first half of the season.
“F,” Wilson bluntly said.
And he didn’t back off it.
“I mean, you’ve got to be critical of yourself and you’ve got to judge yourself pretty hard,” Wilson added. “I’m pretty sure if you ask anyone in the locker room they’d say that. We’re playing nowhere near how we should be playing.”
(Hmmm. I hope that wasn’t conduct detrimental, me quoting him off the radio … I’ll consider that.)
Of course, there is no way the Cards’ defense is playing that poorly. You can be frustrated at the end of the Minnesota game, but as Seattle coach Pete Carroll said “they just got Favred” and there is truth to that too. The unit does need to finish – which Wilson emphasized, and which has apparently been emphasized all week from coaches to players – but that can happen.
Here’s the thing to me: Linebacker Joey Porter is playing well, as are guys like Alan Branch, Kerry Rhodes, even Paris Lenon. If the Cards’ Pro Bowlers start to flash more often (Wilson, Darnell Dockett and DRC come to mind), the idea of an ‘F’ will be laughable. For sure, Wilson is thinking about his season, which has been in a holding pattern since his huge season opening game in St. Louis.
“I got to start making more plays in the second half of the year, and that’s a guarantee,” Wilson said.
And with that, the Seahawks are on deck:
— In contrast to the two gut-punch losses the Cards have endured the last two weeks, the Seahawks have lost the two games since the last time these teams met by getting run off the road. There was a 33-3 shellacking against the Raiders and 41-7 ugliness against the Giants. It would seem to have made it harder to see much on video, since the games got out of hand.
But the Oakland game didn’t get sideways until later on, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said, so there was plenty to mine from that tape. The Giants, not so much. But, “when you are playing a division opponent that you have seen, you have a better feel with what they are going to do and how they will try to attack you,” Whisenhunt said, “so I don’t think it’s a big issue.”
— You’re gonna want to know about Beanie Wells. Well, I don’t know. As I said earlier, if he can’t give you something early, you have to think long and hard about making him active, since he doesn’t play special teams. My guess – and purely a guess – he will play more this week, although I’d think Tim Hightower will end up with more work.
— Speaking of Hightower, he was carving up the Seahawks last game (six rushes for 59 yards) before the fumble heard ‘round the world (or at least, ‘round the Cardinals’ locker room). More of the former without the latter this time?
— Forgot to drop this in the blog yesterday (I did tweet it, and if you’re not on twitter.com/cardschatter you’re missing some of my best stuff, at least in 140 characters or less), but the game Sunday is a sellout. That’s 49 in a row for those scoring at home.
— The legendary Kent Somers has a nice breakdown of how the Cards were Favred last week on all those killer slant passes.
— The Cards have given up 28 sacks this season, two more than all of last year. There are some reasons for that other than questionable protection or the fact Kurt Warner isn’t playing quarterback. Rookies always tend to get sacked a little more, and Max Hall endured 12 of the sacks despite having thrown only 75 passes to Derek Anderson’s 181. A couple came last week at the end of regulation when the Cards were fruitlessly trying to move downfield in 20 seconds.
“It’s been more about mental errors than physical errors,” Whisenhunt said, noting that one game had three sacks all on missed blocks by backs.
— The Cards felt they killed themselves in Seattle more than the Seahawks beating them. That final was 22-10, and the Cards gave up five painful turnovers. Regardless of how the last two games ended, the Cards are a better team than they were when they went to Seattle. Great? No. But definitely better.
Let the second half begin.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Alan Branch, Beanie Wells, Darnell Dockett, Derek Anderson, DRC, Joey Porter, Ken Whisenhunt, Max Hall, Paris Lenon, Pete Carroll, Seahawks, Tim Hightower
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