49ers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on September 13, 2009 – 11:19 pm

What sticks with me more than anything else after the Cards’ disappointing season-opening loss was the TV shot of an animated Larry Fitzgerald talking to Kurt Warner in the huddle late in the first half. I don’t know what Fitz was saying nor did I get a chance to ask, but I’m willing to guess – since Fitz didn’t have a catch at that point – Fitz was saying something along the lines of “Just give me a chance and I’ll go get it for you.”

Shades of last season’s opener against the Niners. Of course, the Cards ended up winning that game. The Cards didn’t win Sunday. But it was game two where the offensive air attack really starting clicking after an uneven first game. Can they repeat that in Jacksonville?

Anyway, some other thoughts:

— If the Cards can really play defense like that, they’ll be in good shape. Their new style is now on video though, so teams will be better prepared. But if Chike Okeafor can play like that and Darnell Dockett continues to be disruptive ad Calais Campbell (pictured below stuffing Frank Gore near the Niner goal line) plays like he is ready to make us forget Antonio Smith, that’s a start.

— Beanie Wells showed some things after his messed-up first play, but if Tim Hightower can make plays out of the backfield catching the ball, that’s why Hightower will continue to start. Hightower did seem to slip back sometimes into some east-west running after making strides toward north-south in the preseason.

— The receiver injuries have to be a concern. It’s now clear why Lance Long made the team, because Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston were banged up. Are the injuries a major reason the offense has slid backward? That makes sense.

— The penalties should be a thing of the past. They were a bugaboo in 2007. They were cleaned up for the most part last season, but there they were Sunday killing the Cards. “There was a lot of aggression out there, a lot of emotion,” Dockett said of the penalties. “Penalties hurt you but at the same time I don’t think that dictates whether you win or lose the game like that out there.” That could be true, but what stuck with coach Ken Whisenhunt afterward were the two penalties when the Cards got the ball back when they could have won. They had 38 yards to go and went backwards 15 yards first.

— The offensive line play was uneven. It wasn’t helped when Warner held the ball a couple of times waiting for plays to open up. But Levi Brown had trouble with rush end Parys Haralson, as one example. The Cards didn’t get to establish much of a run, either, playing from behind much of the game.


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27 Responses to “49ers aftermath”

  1. By Brent on Sep 13, 2009 | Reply

    I think today showed how much Haley is missed. The defense was incredible. The penalties killed us. We can overcome the penalties.

    Not the start we had hoped for, but there is time to make corrections and have a great season.

    One thing for sure, it was good to see the Cards back in action!

  2. By andy on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    My biggest concern is Levi Brown. Is Parys Haralson that good? The collapsed right side essentially took away the downfield threat. Of course, bombs wouldn’t have been a necessity if we weren’t faced with 3rd and long so many times. Then again, the dropped passes didn’t help for first downs, but it wouldn’t be so hard to move the chains without that 83 yard wall of penalties we crafted for ourselves.

    There are a lot of talented, smart players on this team, so I still feel real good about the season ahead. Hightower worked hard, and Wells continues to impress me, for the most part. Wilson seemed to be in on every tackle, save for one, and the defense made stop after stop. We had great punting and positive yards on returns.

    There are plenty of bright spots. I just want a mulligan . . . 6 games in a row.

  3. By shannon robinson on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Beanie Wells follows Kreider and Wright to the hole and hits it with speed. the drive to score the cards last TD was set up by 25 yards running the ball. then we never saw beanie again. what’s up with that? shannon

  4. By Aaron on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    What I’d like to see is more two-back sets with both Hightower and Wells. Keep the line of scrimmage simple, have Hightower and Wells back there (instead of some of the other two-back sets I saw usually including Wright) and the defense will have no clue if you are going to be running it between the tackles with Wells or splitting out a dump pass for Hightower! Also mix in LSH in similar situations due to his speed…

    I think the play calling had a lot of room for improvement as well. The offense as a whole left a lot to be desired, but that started with the coaching.

  5. By Justin on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Injuries played a large role in our offensive struggles, without Breaston and with a gimpy Boldin, Fitzgerald turns into the only dangerous target. Jerehme Urban, I don’t know whether it is a lack of talent or motivation with this guy, he seems to consistantly drop passes and quit early on routes. How he remains on the field on game day is beyond me. Also, did we hire a magician at tight end? Because they all seem to perform disapearing acts during passing plays. Pope and Spach show promise but seem to lack the burst to get open and make plays. I would love to see more two back sets with Beanie running, and Hightower recieving. Penalties should be eliminated with time and protection for Warner needs to improve, at least long enough for a plethera of recieving options to get opened. I have been a Cardinal fan my entire life, and have no doubts in what they are capable of. To see them struggle and squander that talent due to sloppy offense and poor play calling would be extemely disheartening.

  6. By darrenurban on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Justin —

    Just FYI, Pope is no longer on the team.

  7. By Rick Kelsey on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    While Levi Brown got beat quite often he seemed to be left on an “island” and no adjustments were made. With that I am curious as to how many penalties are actually called on Levi Brown. It seemed like Mike Gandy got called for more penalites than Levi did, especially that critical holding penalty late.

    What’s tough is that a quarter of the penalties were called on our two superstar defensive players (Dockett -2, Wilson -2) and a blown coverage by Wilson. Between the blown coverage and the personal foul Wilson alone accounts for 10 points. Not blaming the game on him but just a point of reference.

    Can you provide a break-down of penalties called against the offensive line, including tight ends for last year and this year? I would like to see who has the most infractions and if it is holding or false starts that are killing them more.

  8. By darrenurban on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Rick —

    I can look that up. I may not get to it until tomorrow, but I will get to it in a blog.

  9. By Eazy E on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    The defense played a almost perfect game save for the blown coverage on the Frank Gore td. 4 sacks, Gore shut down (22 car. 30 yds). Shut down their receivers also. The O looked sluggish, Quan was playing hurt, Fitz was double-covered but still ended up with 6 catches, 71 yds and a td. The running game couldn’t get going because of the trailing we did most of the game. I agree with andy too on Levi, Parys Haralson is their best pass rusher, but the commentators even said Levi was getting beaten like a drum, we can’t have that from the 5th overall pick in 07′. Gandy had a big holding call that pushed us back and too many penalties.

  10. By joey on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Kurt took a beaten all game yesterday!!! No protection from the o-line whats over!!! I hope coach Wiz lays it into the o-line!!! Thats unexceptable!!!!

  11. By Don on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    I love Warner but he has to take more responsibility for his play … missed open receivers a number of times, but throw on the 1st interception, throwing the second interception when he shouldn’t have because he isn’t going to outrun anybody. He says the offensive team isn’t in sink, I don’t he is. He isn’t going thru progressions very quick, he looked at the first receivers way too long yesterday.

    Here is what Ohio States young quarterback said in his loss. “We’ve got to punch it in offensively,” he said. “It just comes down to me. I take the whole blame for it.”

    Hope he gets it going next game.

  12. By tranders on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Why do the Cardinals not have plays that are designed to get them a certain # of yards? 3rd & 6? Run a six yard pass play. If it fails, it fails and you’re punting at 4th & 6. If you complete, you have the first down. It seems the Cards would end up in a 4th & 3 situation and be punting anyway. This is the characteristic that keeps sticking with me game after game. If a quality team needs a first down, they run a play that will get them just enough yards to keep the drive moving. Nothing greedy. Control the game, clock, etc. Play smart.

  13. By nor cal cards fan on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Tough way to start the season no doubt.Unfortunately, with that loss,it makes next weeks game almost a must win and it’s only week 2. URB- i had a quick question for u.I know Wilson has been fined several times in the past for helmet to helmet hits.After the latest hit yesterday, is there any concern from the team that he could face a suspension or be warned by the league that next time he could face a suspension?I know the league is trying to make it a point of emphasis this year.Thanks.

  14. By darrenurban on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    There is concern. I’ll address it later in the story, but even Wilson knows there is a chance to be suspended.

  15. By Jesus on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    hang it up warner, great last season new year and your showing it,

  16. By Dcmase on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Warner looked really slow out there. Stretch plays took too long for him to get the ball to the back. He can’t avoid the rush to save his life. On that late critical drive facing a 3rd and 3 he scrambled and only got one yard when it looked like he could pick it up. Not sure if coach will bench him after that huge contract but another few outtings like this and the whispers for Matt will be an outcry.

  17. By Joe on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    I’m not blaming Warner for the problems he had, the O-Line was doing a horrible job protecting him.

    The Penalties were ugly and they should be more disciplined by now.

    And I’m worried about the playcalling, we need to be more aggressive, I want to see more run plays, but Whiz needs to call the plays more like Haley did.

  18. By Mike S on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    “BEANIE-BALL” is coming…

    We have to get his talent more incorporated into what we are trying to do, quickly. A good running game can help an out-of-synch tempo offense like we have, in time of need. Beanie is a mismatch for nearly anyone who could be assigned to watch him on defense. Few players’ skillsets match up with his own. Hightower is a great overachieving hustler, and we need him too. Beanie is a playmaker. He changed the game yesterday, by virtue of walking on the field. Teams have to allocate someone for him, and that limits the scheming they can do. His upside is huge…I am going to start printing the T-Shirts.

  19. By cvilla on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Have faith! Our guys have what it takes and will have a winning season. We had some kinks to work out and it will happen fast.

    A rookie offical crew that argued among themselves the whole game didn’t help. What was the NFL thinking giving a rookie crew that had never worked together a division game? They should have had a game that didn’t count as much as this one did. Hope we draw a better crew next time around.

    We, the Cardinal Nation, are behind you guys. Go get ’em.

  20. By Peter on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    We need a Running RB not a Reciving one… line hightower at WR because he didnt pose a threat at all as a rusher.. they only braught 4 players all game and that gave them 7 in coverage … Kurt didnt look to sharp but nor did the o-line we need to clean that up.. WE ARE NOT going to have a superbowl hangover ,…. This team will make the playoffs again ..


    Also: We seemed to palay it safe and not take any chances …. we should do what got us to that superbowl… use our Explosive offence to the max…..

    -Holding it down for the Cards fans on the east coast-

  21. By Kevinator on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Hayes had an outstanding game. He doesn’t get mentioned enough (no I’m not Hayes). He has led this team is tackles several times (not last year) in the past. I think he had 12 tackles yesterday. I was impressed with the way that ADub manned up about that last TD pass to Gore. DRC showed us again why he plays D, he can’t catch. I will admit it would have been a good catch had he made it.

    The O line, minly the tackles Brown and Gandy, looked bad. To bad Johnson and Keith were inactive, they probably would have done better. With Q hobbled, Breaston out and Doucet (who I think is the number 4) out, there waasn’t much for Warner to hit except Hightower. The coverage on Fitz was pretty tight, but there were plays he could have and should have made.

    Special teams looked good all day. Rackers did a good job, the punting was very good as was coverage.

    Go Cards!!

  22. By SG on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    Well, I don’t know why anybody will be surprised by our defense. The 3-4 made us even better with Dansby, Hayes and Okeafor confusing the QB with Steeler-like motion and then either blitz or drop back. We shouldn’t really worry about Haley’s departure either. Steve Breaston is the primary slant target for Kurt Warner and if Levi Brown would have held Harlson and we didn’t give many penalty yards, Our offense could score as good as the year 2008. Kurt never had a chance to throw to Fitz or Q and its not like Spencer and Bly.

  23. By Henry on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    I think alot of it was the fact we are dealing with a new coaching staff. The Cards have become know for high flying offense and not smash mouth offense. If we can get a better balance of run and pass and healthier receiving core no one can stop us but us. As for the penalties, it happens some were good calls some bad. Defense was outstanding but the one thing I cannot stand hearing is “the defense has been out there for a while, they need a break” well everyone tends to forget their offense has been out there just as long as our defense, they are just as tired of getting pounded by our defense. Maybe some changes in the late third and fourth quarters will make our defense even more potent. Special Teams ROCK outstanding. Offense will get things together, just keep the faith in GOD and yourselves.

  24. By Big D on Sep 14, 2009 | Reply

    what happened to byrd where is he

  25. By darrenurban on Sep 15, 2009 | Reply

    TE Dominique Byrd is on the roster. He was inactive Sunday.

  26. By Big D on Sep 16, 2009 | Reply

    really that sucks he seems like the only tight end that can really run deep routes and get open and with breaston not playing and boldin hurt he really could have helped the offense out

  27. By shannon robinson on Sep 16, 2009 | Reply

    Unfortunately you can’t put Beanie and Hightower in the same backfield – Hightower doesn’t hit the hole or see it so he’s not a lead blocker – Hightower can’t even follow Kreider who always hits the hole. Beanie ran real well behind Dan Kreider and Wright as well – 25 yards in two carries.

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