Darnell Dockett stood in front of his locker earlier this week and did his best to answer the questions that aren’t easy to answer. The defensive tackle insisted, over and over, his teammates are putting in the work, even if the results aren’t there.
“If we are going to go down losing, I’d rather it be that way than guys just giving up on everything,” Dockett said.
Of course, that doesn’t make reaching the halfway point in the season with, at most, two wins (if they can topple the Rams Sunday) OK. The Cards are beaten up right now, with their quarterback down and their running back gimpy and their safety still sitting, among others. Those are just bumps in the road when you are winning. When you are losing, they are repeated punches to the face.
No one would have predicted Skelton vs. Feeley for this game a few weeks ago, nor how little was on the line. Clearly, the biggest storyline Sunday will be Skelton’s performance. Expectations should be tempered. He is in a much better place than he was. But, like Rich Bartel’s brief playing time in Minnesota after a sparkling preseason, Skelton’s showing in camp was camp. There’s a difference when it counts.
— I am curious to see how Beanie Wells follows up his amazing effort against the Ravens. The Rams are downright wretched against the run – last in the NFL, giving up 166 yards a game – and the Cards, especially with Skelton behind center, will probably want to use the run more. Wells didn’t have a burst to get outside in Baltimore although he was stunningly effective between the tackles. The Cards need him.
— He’s way, way under the radar, but nose tackle Dan Williams is making some plays and coach Ken Whisenhunt is happy about that. Whisenhunt, however, is still disappointed in the path Williams took to get here.
“I wish that he hadn’t been in such poor shape when we started camp,” Whisenhunt said. “It seems like now, he’s just catching up to where we’d hope he’d be. It’s obvious he’s in better shape, his weight’ is down, and he is making some of the plays we got to see at the end of the year (last season). It’s disappointing it didn’t start earlier for him, but I am glad he has gotten better.”
— Speaking of second-year defenders who have gone through rough patches, cornerback A.J. Jefferson was beat up pretty good by Anquan Boldin last week and was benched at the end of the game.
“If you are a rookie corner in this league, they are going to throw the ball at you,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “He did struggle. He’s been working hard. In this league, the only way you get better is by working. There is no magic formula. He’s applied himself. But it’s going to be every week, the rest of the year.”
Jefferson has a ton of confidence still, Horton acknowledged, “but you need to produce big plays somewhere along the line. He has the confidence, now we just need for him to settle down and make plays for us, because he can.”
— The Cardinals and Sagicor Life Insurance Company are teaming up for a holiday food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank. A collection will be taken at five points around the stadium gates and on the Great Lawn for donations of non-perishable food items and money.
— The plan is for the roof to be open Sunday, barring any crazy weather (the rain is supposed to have come and gone Saturday, if there is rain).
— One more time this season with the black jerseys, don’t forget.
— The Cards’ home loss to the Rams last year snapped an eight-game winning streak against St. Louis. The last time the Rams had beaten the Cards? Why, it was the day Kurt Warner was booed as he came off the field in 2006. That was a long, long time ago.
— Historically, Larry Fitzgerald has done very well against the Rams. The Cards could really use a big game from him this week. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since the third game of the season, and is on pace to have only around 70 receptions. On the other hand, he is on pace to have more than 1,300 yards, a ratio that would crush his per-reception average. He had just three catches in Baltimore, and just five targets. Whether it’s Kolb or Skelton at quarterback, or even if Beanie suddenly starting throwing halfback options, Fitz has got to get the ball.
Bring on the Rams.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Beanie Wells, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Rams
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