Every week, the Cardinals — like most teams in the NFL — pump in crowd noise at practice in order to prepare for the upcoming game. It’s done before home games as well as the road, but obviously, it means more when a team is about to play a road game. And to play a road game in a dome, like the Cardinals will do Sunday in Atlanta, the importance grows that much more.
“It makes it smoother for us to operate when we simulate it in practice,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “You can’t ever make it exactly how it’s going to be. It’s hard. But you have to practice with it because you have to get used to the mechanics of operating that way. We’ve gotten a lot better and I think teams in the NFL in general have gotten a lot better with that. They understand how to operate and work with it. It’s not easy.”
That rings true to me, that teams have gotten better dealing with crowd noise. Once upon a time, an opposing quarterback was allowed to ask a referee to reset the play clock because he felt it was too loud and he couldn’t communicate. Thankfully, the NFL did away with that rule. Part of home-field advantage is having a crowd that can affect the other team. Certainly, the Cardinals have had that work in their favor at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Seahawks and their “12th man” are famous for it in Seattle.
But teams adjust. Offenses, for the most part, are pretty good with a silent count. Teams use the shotgun so much more these days (Jeez, I remember growing up how the Cowboys were so cutting edge because Roger Staubach was the only one using a shotgun. That was a long, long time ago.) that communication isn’t always easy with the offensive line even when the crowd isn’t over the top.
Don’t get me wrong, noise is still a factor, and it still bothers teams. Offensive linemen in particular will acknowledge that. “We know it’s going to be a tough environment,” Whisenhunt said of Atlanta, and that much is true. But it doesn’t have to be debilitating, and the Cards try to make sure of that.
Tags: Falcons, Ken Whisenhunt
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