It was a little play, certainly not the end-all-be-all of the game. But the Cards had opened with one quick first down and thought they’d have another facing a third-and-1 on their opening drive. Alfonso Smith instead got snowed under for a two-yard loss.
The play was blocked wrong, coach Ken Whisenhunt said. In technical terms, the offense should have treated a safety in the box as a linebacker. It wasn’t an exact play the Cards had had a chance to run before, but the scheme was sound and the play generally had been practiced. “You’d like to think we are sharp enough we could make the adjustment because we talked about it,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s part of preseason but when there are enough of those, it becomes frustrating. Because you feel like you are a better team than you showed.”
In a nutshell, the Cards feel like they are better than they showed against the Chiefs. It didn’t matter in the final score, however, and it didn’t make some of the rough spots look any better. Larry Fitzgerald probably put it best: “It wasn’t pretty today by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know what it is but we have to get it fixed and get it fixed pretty quickly.”
– It did look like John Skelton felt comfortable but in the end, there wasn’t much to show for his start. For a moment, it looked like the interception might be a completion to Fitz. There isn’t much difference between good and bad, however. Kevin Kolb also probably should have had better numbers, but the protection broke down once or twice. It doesn’t feel like either man has separated in this race.
– Ryan Lindley did a nice job on the last 30 seconds before the half and led a touchdown drive. I like the kid and he’s going in the right direction. But let’s not crown anyone yet. Lindley’s development isn’t going to go any faster even if fans think he’s better than the top two guys. We can argue about it being too early for the veterans as we go. For a rookie sixth-round quarterback, it’s way too early.
– The starting defense didn’t do well. They know.” It can look a certain way right now,” safety Kerry Rhodes said, and that way is bad. But there didn’t seem to be a concern by anyone on that side of the ball. “There will be a difference when we gameplan,” Rhodes said. The first drive was tough, though. Better tackling, but the Chiefs just kept getting first downs. Got to get off the field.
– Here’s why you get gun-shy about making grand pronouncements. LaRon Byrd had a good game – even Whisenhunt said so – and his three catches for 33 yards, all at the end of the first half, got the Cards a field goal. Good stuff, right? Sort of. Whisenhunt said Byrd was supposed to run a diagonal and would have been open in the flat but ran the wrong route and “left our quarterback out to dry.”
“You see the big plays and you think he has a good game but one of the small things happens and the quarterback keeps the ball in his hand because he’s looking to throw and LeRon isn’t there,” Whisenhunt said.
– Along those same lines, Skelton admitted he called the wrong play in the huddle on his first drive. For an offense fighting to execute as it is, mental errors are killers.
– William Powell had his 29-carry game last year in the preseason, and 92 yards rushing (on nine carries) Friday night. He broke 100 all-purpose yards including his nine-yard reception. Even without a 67-yarder by Powell, the Cards still ran for 86 yards on 23 carries, which wasn’t bad.
– Rookie cornerback Jamell Fleming made a nice play to tackle a running back for a loss and also broke up a pass that ended up being intercepted by teammate Rashad Johnson. That’s a plus.
– Adrian Wilson absolutely lit up Chiefs receiver Terrance Copper on an incompletion early in the game. Wilson lowered the boom, but – correctly, I think – no flag was thrown because Wilson used his shoulder, went into Copper’s chest and didn’t leave his feet. He did, however, probably leave a mark. Hopefully the league sees it as clean too.
– Whiz didn’t want it to be an excuse, but it did seem like the Cards were like an NBA team at the end of a long road trip, out of gas. Don’t know if that was true or not, but the vibe was there.
– Finally, Ryan Williams did not play. Not a surprise. He and Beanie did dress for warmups though. They are getting closer.
This trip is over. Time to fly home tomorrow (later today?) and get back to some normalcy.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Beanie Wells, Chiefs, Jamell Fleming, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, LaRon Byrd, Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Williams, Terrance Copper, William Powell
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