Slowly, information has come out on a handful of Cards’ early moves here in this tiny 2011 offseason. Again, because contracts can’t be signed until Friday afternoon, no official announcements are being made on free agents. But through multiple reports, it came out that the Cards had agreed to a deal with former Carolina tight end Jeff King, a good blocker who fits well the mold of what coach Ken Whisenhunt wants in a tight end. Stephen Spach is also expected to return, so with draft pick Rob Housler and holdover Jim Dray, we know what the position is going to look like in camp (and it doesn’t include Todd Heap or Zach Miller).
Kicker Jay Feely also reported on Twitter that punter Ben Graham has agreed to re-sign, although I expect the Cards to bring in another punter to compete with Graham in camp.
As for the QB situation, news is still on hold. Reports have Denver’s Kyle Orton possibly to going to Miami. With Matt Hasselbeck going to Tennessee, it seems it will be an upset if Kevin Kolb doesn’t end up in Arizona. For what price, it is uncertain. The song for QB musical chairs is about to stop however.
P.S. A quick training camp note: The Walkup Skydome is in the middle of renovations in Flagstaff, and while the Cardinals will still be able to practice inside if there is rain, fans will not be able to go in to watch practice. Something to keep in mind.
Tags: Ben Graham, free agency, Jay Feely, Jeff King, Jim Dray, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselbeck, Rob Housler, Stephen Spach
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So many assumed the Cardinals would have a quarterback in place by today, the day trades could first happen (starting at 7 a.m. Arizona time) and the day players started to trickle back to the facility. Not gonna happen.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he does not expect any news today, and that the Cardinals are working on a number of different fronts in terms of a quarterback. That can’t be a surprise; you can’t put all the eggs in one basket in case it doesn’t happen. Various reports today link the Cards not only considering Kevin Kolb but Kyle Orton and Matt Hasselbeck. Granted, at this point agents are going to leak all kinds of things like that to puff up interest (and contracts) for their players.
Whisenhunt even commented on the various lockout reports that went on, each indirectly or directly putting quarterbacks like Marc Bulger, Kolb and Orton in a Cards’ uniform once the lockout ended. “At 7 a.m., all those deals vanished,” Whisenhunt said. (Whisenhunt, by the way, was careful never to name any quarterback in particular throughout his entire press conference.) Someone like Kolb would need a contract extension, and the prices for Kolb and Orton in a trade would obviously be different. Bulger and Hasselbeck, on the other hand, are free agents.
“We are looking at a number of different options,” Whisenhunt said. “I don’t know when we will get any kind of news on anything. … It’s not, you call up, ‘Hey we got a deal’ and it’s done. You have to negotiate and talk about different scenarios, then you have to go back and discuss it and then call you back. And other teams are in the mix. It’s a process.”
In the meantime, the quarterbacks still on the roster were throwing today — John Skelton, Rich Bartel and Max Hall (Derek Anderson, who is expected to be released once players can Thursday, was not here).
Tags: Derek Anderson, free agency, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Max Hall, Rich Bartel
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I made it all the way to January 12.
Obviously, quarterback is going to be a hot topic, probably all offseason. This isn’t the last time I am going to address it on the blog. But it will be the entry I link back to – over and over – whenever someone asks me about one of the popular names floating out there, whether it is a current NFL player or a potential draftee.
So expect to see the URL often in the blog comment section.
I don’t know who is going to play quarterback for the Cardinals in 2011. I don’t know who is going to be on the roster. I don’t think they know right now, and they can’t. The draft isn’t until late-April, and the nitty-gritty talks about who will be available and where they rank on the draft board have yet to occur. Free agency is a little less than two months off, and that’s only if there is no work stoppage. If there is a work stoppage, no free agents can sign anywhere until it is resolved. The same will go for trades involving players.
Those are some of the many reasons I have tried to hold out on talking about potential QBs. I didn’t last very long. So here goes, with the understanding of my limited knowledge of the college guys relegated to watching them on TV here and there:
Kevin Kolb: Might as well start here. If Kolb doesn’t get to start in Philly, he wants to start somewhere else. Ears all over Arizona perked up. But then Andy Reid talked about keeping both Kolb and Michael Vick, and reality sets in. Let’s say the Cards want Kolb (and I don’t know if they do). Forget about working out a trade for a moment. Why would the Eagles deal Kolb? He is under contract for relative peanuts in 2011 ($1.4M) and for now, Michael Vick isn’t under contract at all. Vick might be franchised, or there might not be any tag. Plus Vick got beat up by the end of the season. The Eagles need a backup. Lot of hoops to be jumped before you could ever see Kolb out West (or anywhere besides Philly).
Donovan McNabb: Ahh, my favorite subject. First, he has to be released. If it happens before the lockout, I believe he can be signed. But will that happen? Regardless, I don’t see it here. McNabb will have been let loose by two different teams. His play was less than consistent this year (and yes, I know some people don’t think he had enough weapons). There are questions about his fitness (the Washington stuff earlier this season wasn’t out of the blue), his accuracy and his age. Plus, he’s spent almost his entire career in a West Coast offense that doesn’t exactly mirror the Cards’ offense. I just don’t see it.
Marc Bulger (pictured below): He was a candidate this last offseason and is expected to be one again. He followed Kurt Warner once before. He’ll be available and he’s experienced. These are the plusses. He also hasn’t had a good season since 2006, struggling with less talent in St. Louis and declining skills.
Matt Hasselbeck: Why would the Seahawks let him go now? Or might he have made himself that valuable where they can’t keep him?
Kyle Orton: Has probably proven himself better than many expected. But the reports are the Broncos want a second-round pick for him. I don’t see the Cards doing that, unless they see Orton as a long-term solution (with, for example, Skelton as a backup for now). Would the Cards negotiate a lower pick? I could see that. Again, however, it’s a trade, so until there is a new CBA, Orton is a Bronco and in limbo.
Vince Young: Has skills and has been a winner. Also has reputation for not working hard enough at his craft and has proven he doesn’t handle adversity well. Not a good combination. I don’t see him as a realistic option.
Cam Newton: Was great this past college season – with the operative word being “college.” He was just OK in the national championship game. He’s not Vick, so you can wipe out most of the running part of his game as it translates to the next level. He’s got a ways to go if he is ever going to be a top-flight NFL QB, and I don’t see – right now – how you spend the No. 5 overall pick on him.
Ryan Mallett/Blaine Gabbert: Again, I need to see how these guys sort themselves out during workouts/combine, etc. But right now, hard to tell. Gabbert seems more highly regarded than Mallett, but things can always change as the draft approaches. There are also teams ahead of the Cards who will be looking at QB. I’ll say this: No one left in the draft is Andrew Luck. And the Cards can’t afford to whiff on the No. 5 overall pick.
Tags: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Ryan Mallett, Vince Young
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It was suggested the Cardinals this season were a “mysterious” team. Ken Whisenhunt said that was a “fair assessment.”
“We’re working to try and figure that out,” the coach said. “Changing the quarterback sometimes changes your team and sometimes the way the games have gone have determined who we are. Hopefully we’ll build off what we did against New Orleans and play better football. That’s all we can try to do.”
Well, Max Hall, what do you think? “Yeah, I think we’re still maturing, still growing,” he said. “There is still a lot to figure out, a lot to learn. I think we are headed in the right direction.”
So here we are, about to go to Seattle (the team leaves early afternoon tomorrow) not knowing exactly who the Cards are. The bye is great when you are coming off a victory, but the extra time off always lets the previous game settle a bit. You lose, and by the time the next game arrives you realize things aren’t necessarily as bad as you thought. You win, and the opposite is true – the euphoria is gone, and you adjust to reality.
The reality is that this game against the Seahawks means a lot. It means a lot in Hall’s development as a starter. It means a lot in the Seahawks’ quest (pun intended) to regain a footing as a division power, and a lot in the Cards’ efforts to show Atlanta and San Diego were more fluke than fact.
And we get to do it in the rain …
— Whisenhunt and Hall (and everyone) seem to be confident Hall got better as the game went. You figure they want to avoid early mistakes. You want to anyway, but a) the Seahawks get a big boost when the crowd is behind them and early mistakes help that (Tim Hightower pointed out the fast starts by the Cards the last two years in Seattle pretty much killed the crowd) and b) Hall’s mistakes seem to come early anyway, so if you can dodge the landmines …
— The Seahawks have the second-ranked rush defense and the 30th-ranked pass defense. Not sure that really means anything other than they have played pass-happy Chicago and San Diego already among their five games. The Cards have to run, both because of the weather issues and because of Hall. But bottom line, the Cards have playmakers like Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, and they get the ball through passing. They can’t – and shouldn’t — be ignored.
— Hall, on the mini-version of Max mania in the Valley: “I don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. It’s fun to get it. It’s fun to be recognized and to say hi to people going to the store, but I still have to keep my head down and work. I have a long way to go.”
— The Cards have benefitted from a gimpy Matt Hasselbeck the last couple of years. He is healthy now. He also has Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Yet Hasselbeck doesn’t feel totally comfortable, and the Cards have to use that. “I’m trying to get caught up with this first-year offense,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s been a get-to-know-you situation.”
— How much have the Seahawks changed under Pete Carroll? They have made an amazing 219 roster moves from the time Carroll took over in January, including 13 trades involving 16 players and 21 draft picks. I honestly thought it would take them longer to get their act together with so many new people.
— Guys in the spotlight Sunday: Tackles Brandon Keith and Levi Brown (because of the noise issues) and the front seven on defense. The Cards need to make the Seahawks work on offense because, frankly, that unit is still not consistent enough.
— If the Cards can win the special teams battle – and make sure Leon Washington doesn’t hurt them in the return game – it’d be a huge advantage.
— Finally, Hall was asked if he has been working on his sliding. “Work on sliding, you know, yeah … I’ll just leave it at that.” Let’s hope he gets down. We don’t need to see any more of Brown’s “scoop-and-score” moves this season.
Tags: Brandon Keith, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Matt Hasselbeck, Max Hall, Pete Carroll, Seahawks, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower
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This isn’t going to be the last time this topic comes up, certainly. But with training camp closing in, pondering the NFC West is never a bad talking point. Mike Sando over at ESPN.com (who will be in Flagstaff Aug. 1) pointed out during his various roles today that when people want to talk about the West, there probably should be consideration for the Seahawks in the mix with the Niners and Cardinals (No one is saying the Rams have any shot whatsoever, and in 2010, I think that’s fair for such a rebuilding franchise).
Here’s why it’s impossible to ignore the Seahawks — because they have a proven NFL quarterback. Can Matt Hasselbeck stay healthy all season? I’d bet no (and in the end, I don’t see the Seahawks, under a new staff and retooling, being able to keep up). Yet too many things can happen over an NFL season. If the 49ers and Cards are the ones shredded by injuries, the Seahawks can step right in. Who really knows? The Patriots started 0-2 in 2001 and lost their starting quarterback in the process, and all that happened was they ended up winning the Super Bowl and starting a dynasty.
If anyone really knew what was going to happen, they’d quit prognosticating and make a fortune in Vegas (not that I, an NFL employee, would advocate such things).
In the meantime, the Cards are going to have to figure out their own issues in camp. I don’t know if they will chase a veteran linebacker now that Keith Bulluck is gone, but they may — at this late date — prefer to check out their own guys for a week before moving in that direction. As for signings, the only player I think could miss any time in camp could be Dan Williams, and that’s not based on anything but my gut (and the recent past with No. 1 picks). He won’t miss significant time. Frankly, and maybe it’s because I’ve been covering this so long, but unless a guy misses the majority of camp, any rookie holdout rarely makes much of a difference (although it does provide a storyline to write about).
Speaking of which, I’d better start putting together my story budget for camp. I’ll post again tomorrow. As we go to camp though, if you have any interest in following early and often, sign up to Twitter and follow me at Cardschatter.
Tags: 49ers, Dan Williams, Matt Hasselbeck, NFC West, Rams, Seahawks
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Well, not surprisingly, defensive end Darnell Dockett was fined for his elbow to Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck: $7,500, for roughing the passer, i.e. he put his elbow against Hasselbeck’s neck. The incident blew up to big proportions, although the Hasselbeck brothers — Matt and of course, former Cardinal Tim — seemed to be on opposite ends of the emotional scale, at least publicly.
— Cornerback Bryant McFadden was fined $5,000 for a major facemask after he yanked down Seahawks WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
— RB Beanie Wells was fined $5,000 for unnecessary roughness after he whacked Seahawks S Deon Grant. Grant was also fined $5,000 for that same sequence.
— Seahawks S Jordan Babineaux was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness after his horsecollar tackle on WR Anquan Boldin.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Beanie Wells, Bryant McFadden, Darnell Dockett, Matt Hasselbeck, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
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Well, the escalating feelings the Seahawks have for defensive end Darnell Dockett hit full speed late yesterday afternoon, after Dockett apparently put his forearm into the throat of Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck after getting Hasselbeck to the ground at one point Sunday. Hasselbeck wasn’t happy at the time, and Seahawks coach Jim Mora was even less happy yesterday after seeing the film.
“If they’re not going to call it, then I’d like to see our guys do it to their quarterback,” Mora said. “If they’re not going to call it.”
Strong words from a coach, and probably ones that won’t sit well with the league office. Dockett used his Twitter account to respond, saying “Dear coach mora, its football (expletive) happens if u ever played the game ud understand, really I would try to hurt matt. He’s a good guy.” Dockett quickly corrected himself on Twitter saying he meant to say “wouldn’t” try to hurt Hasselbeck. (Hasselbeck hasn’t said anything himself on his own Twitter account).
Interestingly, Dockett went out of his way after the game to praise Hasselbeck in particular and how tough it was to play against him. I haven’t seen the video, but my guess is, if it was caught on tape, Dockett will probably be losing a little money to the NFL by the end of the week.
UPDATE: Dockett addressed the issue.
Tags: Darnell Dockett, Jim Mora, Matt Hasselbeck
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It’s been a long week, but here we are to the end, with the second half of the season about to begin. It’s been an odd first half too – the Cardinals are 5-3, and yet, there isn’t that joy you’d think would come with such a record or first-place standing.
“Last year we were excited to be 5-3 and this year we are disappointed to be 5-3,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, “because we have had opportunities to be better than we are.”
That’s true, although the players who were around for the more difficult (*cough*DennyGreen*cough*) years aren’t about to complain. “I was hoping we’d get to this point eventually,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, with safety Matt Ware adding “I’d rather have it be this way than the other way.”
Me too. No denying that. Can’t imagine being the writer for stlouisrams.com right now (Hang in there, Nick).
Anyway, the Seahawks are coming in, the Cards are trying to right their issues at home (more on that in a story I’ll post tomorrow) and it’s time to take control of the NFC West.
— I expect a lot of passes Sunday. From the Seahawks because they can’t run the ball – I read one story from Seattle that pointed out their yards-per-rush is the team’s worst since 1984, when their top back was an on-his-last-legs Franco Harris after the other Curt Warner blew out his knee. Matt Hasselbeck threw it 51 times last week. Not that you wish ill will, but since Hasselbeck is already hurting with his old ribs injury and now a sore arm, I will not be shocked with a Seneca Wallace sighting at some point.
— The Cards will run for sure, after 182 rushing yards a week ago. But Larry Fitzgerald seems like he has raised his level of late and I think it’s safe to say (a healthy) Anquan Boldin is, uh, motivated to have a big game.
— Will the roof be open? Whisenhunt called it a game-day decision. The temperature works. The Cards, with the noise trapped inside, always had a lot of success with the roof closed. But I guess, given the road success this season (and the home defeats) you could argue trying the other way. We’ll see.
— With Mike Gandy iffy with his pelvic injury and veteran Jeremy Bridges slated to fill in if needed, I’ve had a lot of fans ask me what the deal is with Herman Johnson and Brandon Keith. Simple – neither is ready on the level of Bridges. Yet. Gandy is going to be a free agent at the end of the season and we could be (probably are?) looking at an Antonio Smith-Calais Campbell thing going on. Whisenhunt said Johnson remains raw and, don’t forget, he played guard in college and the Cards want to use him at tackle. Keith is further along, although he’s been working at guard and Whisenhunt said the Cards envision him as a tackle.
— For all the gnashing of teeth regarding the offense’s perceived ups and downs, Kurt Warner is on pace for 32 touchdown passes – which would eclipse the franchise record of 30, set by Warner last season.
— Safety Antrel Rolle, during a part of practice Friday when he wasn’t needed, took a ball and stood on the south goal line and threw a bomb toward teammate Karlos Dansby – and it landed on the other 25-yard line. There’s no question Rolle has got an arm.
— Fitz, talking about whether Beanie Wells will get that “big” breakout game: “They are splitting carries. If you were to give the ball to Beanie 30 times or Tim (Hightower) 30 times, they would have 100-yard games. But when you are just getting 12 carries, 15 carries and trying to keep guys healthy and keep balance, sometimes it is going to be difficult to have those really big games.”
— It looks like the Cards will be without linebackers Gerald Hayes and Chike Okeafor, both of whom are battling back problems. They showed, with Ali Highsmith, they can get away with not having Hayes like last week. But it will hurt to not have Okeafor as a pass rush option; as I said, I think the Seahawks will throw a lot and the Cards could use a rotation of fresh rushers.
Or maybe Rolle, Adrian Wilson, Bryant McFadden and DRC can just make sure no one catches the ball.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle, Beanie Wells, Brandon Keith, Bryant McFadden, Chike Okeafor, DRC, Gerald Hayes, Herman Johnson, Jeremy Bridges, Karlos Dansby, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Ware, Mike Gandy, roof, Seneca Wallace, Tim Hightower
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Let the road trips begin.
It’s been nice mostly hanging around home since the regular season started, but now comes the flip side – three roadies in four weeks, five in seven, and seven in 10. But it’s a little goofy of me jumping that far ahead. Like coach Ken Whisenhunt said, his team operates better when they are just looking at the one game in front of them, and that’s the Seahawks in Seattle this week. So I’ll take that advice.
— We’ll start with Cardinals fullback Dan Kreider, who has spent a decade in the NFL, compared to his crazy rookie counterpart on the Seahawks, Owen Schmitt. Schmitt made all the highlights this past week for bashing his head with his own helmet before the game and cutting himself pretty good. Seahawks coach Jim Mora told Schmitt no more, admitting to us on a conference call “I didn’t know he really had that in his arsenal still” after seeing Schmitt do it in college.
Kreider saw it too. And he could only chuckle.
“We’re already meatheads enough playing this position,” Kreider said. “Then when you are cracking yourself in the head with your own helmet, I don’t know. That’s certifiable. Flat-out crazy. I don’t even know what to say, except that I hope it doesn’t link all of us (fullbacks) together.”
I’m guessing those who are concerned about concussions in NFL players – guys like Sean Morey – aren’t thrilled with the practice either. Kreider said he’s never really had to go crazy to get ready for a game, much less whack himself with his helmet.
“If anything, I’m one of those guys who needed to calm my nerves down, because I’d be throwing up in the bathroom or something,” Kreider said. “I can get amped up … doing that, I’m not sure what that proves.”
— Anquan Boldin had 13 catches in Seattle last season. If he gets 11 this week, he’ll surpass Larry Centers as the franchise’s all-time leader in catches with 536. I don’t expect the Seahawks to let Q and Fitz (who went 10 for 151 in Seattle last season) erupt again, but that can always leave room for someone else (Breaston? Beanie?)
— At some point, the Cards’ offense wants to be satisfied with a performance. I think they were definitely there against Jacksonville, but right now, that seems so long ago. “I’m not happy yet,” quarterback Kurt Warner said. “Until we start performing like we did in the first half last week (against the Texans) every time out, I’m not going to be happy.”
— Weather.com is calling for a 40 percent chance of rain Sunday, with a high of 59 degrees. Not terrible.
— Curious to see if tight end Ben Patrick can impact the game in any way. Whisenhunt said his status for Sunday will be a game-time decision, but my gut tells me they use him. To be isolated from a team that’s constantly working for five weeks and then come back to play after a few days of practice is fascinating to watch. But that’s what Patrick has to do.
— Key things to watch for: When the Cards are on offense, can they handle rookie Aaron Curry? Is he everything they said he was? And can the Cards protect Warner well enough? Because if Warner has time, I have little doubt he can have another great game. Defensively, the Cards must exploit the Seahawks’ inexperienced offensive line. They have to, both to possibly force turnovers and to get Matt Hasselbeck off his game.
— Key thing that’s tough to watch: Warner split wide (pictured below), like he did when Beanie Wells took the direct snap last week on one play. Just don’t get hurt, Kurt. Then again, I don’t think Dunta Robinson could have been less interested in what Warner did.
OK, that’s all folks. See you on the other side in Seattle, where it’s definitely supposed to be raining all Saturday.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Beanie Wells, Ben Patrick, Dan Kreider, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Hasselbeck, Owen Schmitt, Seahawks, Sean Morey, Steve Breaston
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Tim Hightower had one of those smiles, one of those Sure-I’m-happy-but-I-know-better-than-to-be-too-happy looks.
“We won,” the Cardinals’ running back said. “At the end of the day, you want to play better and we’ve got to play better, but in this league when you get wins, we appreciate it, thank God for it, learn from it, and move on.”
That’s probably the best way to view Sunday’s 28-21 win over the Texans. Fans didn’t get cheated in terms of having their heart tested; they got 21 points (and what should’ve been 28) in the first half, and then, just when those hearts may have been ripped out, they got DRC’s Pick-6 and a goal-line stand. Whew. But here we are, Sunday night, and the Cards are right where they hoped they’d be when the day dawned. They are 2-2, the 49ers were run out of Candlestick Park (is that what they are still calling it?) by the Falcons, and the Cards are back to controlling their own destiny starting with a trip to Seattle next weekend.
“It’s gonna be a helluva week this week at practice because this is personal between us and Seattle,” defensive end Darnell Dockett said. “We know for a fact we’ll get their best shot and I’ll probably send Matt Hasselbeck a Twitter message later this week, so stay tuned.”
But first, cleaning up some thoughts from the Houston game:
— The good, obviously, was what the defense did at the end of the game, both with the DRC interception and prevention of the final touchdown. It would have felt a lot better had the unit not surrendered TDs on three straight possessions, but coach Ken Whisenhunt talked afterward about how his team responded to the change in momentum and Rodgers-Cromartie was even more specific.
“Being up 21 points at the half, coming back and giving up three touchdowns you kind of think, ‘Oh snap.’ You want to hit the panic button,” DRC said. “Our captains, Darnell and Adrian (Wilson) came up and were like, ‘Don’t panic just yet. It’s still 0-0.’ That stuck with me.”
Did it lead to the interception? Who knows? DRC clearly felt like he got a little something back after all the slings and arrows he had endured following his less-than-memorable Colts’ game.
— That last goal-line stand wasn’t the only stand the defense made. Remember the key one early in the third quarter, in which the Texans had a second-and-1 on the Arizona 22 and the defense held up as follows: Stuff Steve Slaton for no gain, stuff Steve Slaton for no game, force a bad deep pass to Andre Johnson that DRC had perfect coverage upon. Zero points (think the Texans would have liked a field goal there by the time the game was over?).
— That third-down play on the final stand, the pass to tight end Joel Dreessen, was the key play. That was the play call on which the Texans needed to score. “That kind of scared me,” Dockett said. “He was wide open.” But linebacker Karlos Dansby forced Matt Schaub throw it justabit too high.
— Hope you didn’t blink because you might’ve missed it, but the Cards ran a version of the Wildcat for a play Sunday. Not with Anquan Boldin taking the snap but instead Beanie Wells. Not sure there’s much threat of a pass there. Beanie gained two yards.
— Boldin was a big part of the game plan and had seven catches, but he fell into the trap of turning the ball over inside the 10-yard line. Turnovers kill, but ones that close to paydirt usually are devastating. That’s what made Calais Campbell’s blocked field goal so huge, because it stopped the Texans from using the turnover for their own score.
— Not sure the extent of the ankle injury to tight end Stephen Spach, but the Cardinals get previously suspended tight end Ben Patrick back tomorrow. A roster move will have to be made to bring back Patrick.
— There will be more talk about running more often. Whisenhunt said he wanted balance if possible and the 21-0 lead would seem to have played into that possibility. But if Kurt Warner is going to have to option to have a run/pass check at the line of scrimmage, he’s going pass if he determines that’s what the defense dictates. Can it be argued the Cards need to force the run game sometimes in certain situations, especially with the lead? Maybe. But again, I think the thought process is, this is our offense, these are our stars – Q, Warner, Fitz – and they will sway the thinking.
OK. That’s plenty for now. Like Hightower said, a win is a win in the NFL. The Cards will take it and move on — even if it comes down to (almost) the final play.
UPDATE: OK, couldn’t go to bed without watching the final stuff one more time. While the players all said it was a team effort — and it was — nose tackle Gabe Watson got off the snap incredibly quick (with Dockett right after) and the Texans’ o-linemen weren’t as quick. That penetration, along with a perfect get-lower-than-the-opponent move by DT Bryan Robinson, created the push the Cards needed. Alan Branch and Calais Campbell pinched from the sides, and Chris Brown never had a chance.
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Wilson, Alan Branch, Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Beanie Wells, Ben Patrick, Bryan Robinson, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, DRC, Falcons, Gabe Watson, Kurt Warner, Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks, Stephen Spach, Steve Slaton, Tim Hightower, Wildcat
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