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Chargers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2009 – 2:21 pm

It was a late night Saturday, and while I tried to cover as much ground as I could with both my game story and my notebook, it’s always good to have the blog for a little analysis:

— Watching the plays again on DVR when I got home (yeah, there’s nothing like throwing on a game – preseason no less – at 1 a.m.) it was good to see the pass rush pressure. Now, there were a couple of times on the sacks where the Cards were bringing extra pressure. On the Dockett sack, MLB Gerald Hayes was brought as a fifth rusher; Dansby was obviously blitzing to get his sack (on a cool twist move when Dockett and Chike Okeafor ran their moves perfectly disciplined to create room for Karlos); Calais Campbell’s sack came when safety Antrel Rolle was a fifth rusher; and Bryan Robinson’s came when Hayes was a fifth rusher again. But in the sacks of Campbell, Dockett and Robinson, it looked like in every case they would have gotten the sacks regardless of the extra rusher. All three of them just abused their blocker to reach QB Philip Rivers.

— We’ll see what happens in the regular season, but man, it looks like Calais Campbell will be just fine replacing Antonio Smith.

— Kurt Warner said, despite the results deep in the red zone with the one field goal in two trips there, he still felt very comfortable with how he played. That lack of concern is a big deal to me – in a good way. Warner has never been one to shy away from voicing worries about issues so for him to say he felt as good in the second game as the first is a plus for the offense. You definitely get the sense, as a veteran offense, how much the key players just don’t put much stock in these exhibitions.

— I know coach Ken Whisenhunt said receivers were running the wrong routes sometimes for Brian St. Pierre, but it was tough not to notice St. Pierre’s struggles for a second straight game. In the grand scheme, it feels like this battle between St. Pierre and Matt Leinart is gaining steam for each on opposite directions; For Leinart, the confidence just seems to be growing (yes, he played against the end of the bench last night but he looked solid) while St. Pierre seemed to be feeling the pressure of an opportunity slipping away.

— So you keep LaRod Stephens-Howling as a fourth tailback with Beanie, Hightower and Jason Wright. You keep one fullback – Kreider, probably – and there you have five running backs on the roster. Maybe keep a fullback on the practice squad, but it works, especially since Wright can play special teams.

— Not all rookies are popping like LSH. It was a tough night for safety Rashad Johnson; he dropped an easy interception and there were a couple other plays that sure looked like he was in a bad position, leaving him at awkward angles to try and make a tackle. That’s all about the learning curve. And the Cards have to hope the wrist of linebacker Cody Brown isn’t too bad, although we will have to see.

— Speaking of rookies, Beanie Wells dressed but didn’t play. It’ll be an important week of practice this week for Beanie. I think he needs to get some snaps in the next preseason game to be able to be ready for an impact early in the season. That said, it may not matter – Tim Hightower looked very good again last night.

— Finally, a brutal hit endured by Early Doucet last night (although, despite my claims on TV at the moment of impact, it sure seemed in subsequent slo-mo replays the hit was clean, with safety C.J. Spillman using his shoulder up under Doucet’s armpit to force Doucet’s own shoulder up to knock off Doucet’s helmet). Good to see Doucet back out there, but again, as far as game production, Lance Long has been able to do more than Doucet. Shaving down the receivers on the final cuts – as we have said a million times – is going to be very, very interesting.

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