Friday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on November 20, 2009 – 5:32 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked Friday about the existence of “dog days” in an NFL season. Whisenhunt didn’t hesitate in saying that’s exactly where the Cards are right now.

“No question about it,” he said. “It’s really a battle of attrition right now.”

That’s true, with guys banged up and sitting out some time and, let’s face it, no breaks coming. The bye came so early the Cards will end up playing 13 straight weeks and – barring a meltdown at the top of the NFC – won’t get any off time in the playoffs unless they get to the Super Bowl (*crosses fingers*).

For the players, though, there is enough emotion on the weekend to carry them through.

“You really have to muster it up during the week because it’s hard and nobody likes to practice,” Whisenhunt said. “But the excitement of game day – that’s what gets you going. There is nothing like Sundays.”

OK, so this is only Friday. But we’re going to muster up some energy to get through this last blog post before we get to the Edward Jones Dome in less than 48 hours.

— Getting MLB Gerald Hayes back before a game against Steven Jackson would seem fortuitous. The Cardinals will have a huge upper hand if they can just control Jackson and not let him control the clock. The Rams shouldn’t have the ability to slow the Cards’ offense and I don’t think the Rams will be able to pass much on the Cards given their offensive line issues. This will be about making sure Jackson doesn’t keep the Rams in the game.

— Speaking of Hayes, he was asked if he’d rather face a back who would rather run over him or was fast enough to run around him on the end (knowing, of course, Jackson can probably do both). Hayes laughed. “Speed kills,” he said. “I’d rather it’d be somebody who could run through me, because he’s not going to get far.”   

— CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was off the injury list this week for the first time since fracturing his finger. So does that mean he’s not going to wear the cast in the game anymore? “Yes sir,” he said. And does it mean the finger is totally healed? “No sir.” Having two hands for an interception would be nice for DRC, who is in the running for the Pro Bowl.

— Speaking of which, FS Antrel Rolle feasts on Rams passes the last couple of seasons and he’s playing well in coverage. Can he grab another?

— The Cards were only the fifth team in NFL history to have three players with 75 catches last season (Fitz, Q, Breaston). They are on pace to be the only team to ever do it twice if three guys keep it up: Fitz, Q and Tim Hightower. And if Breaston, who is just off that pace, can do it too, the Cards would be the first team ever with four guys with 75 receptions in a season.

— Oh, and the QB for three of the five thus far? Kurt Warner.

— Here’s one measurement on how the Cardinals are playing right now: “I think last week was the least amount of mental errors we have had as a team,” Boldin said.

— The Cards have averaged 35 points a game in their last four trips to St. Louis: 38, 34, 34, 34.

— Then again, Whisenhunt isn’t assuming past performance equals future results. He’d like to believe they are ready – he told the team Friday this game is a business trip – but again, you never know. “You always worry about that. We are a long way from being that mature team you count on showing up every week and playing the game you are supposed to play. But we have made great strides in that direction.”

— Here’s why I don’t worry about this weekend (I know, I know, famous last words): Kurt Warner. Given his weapons and the level at which the offense suddenly is playing (a killer run game!), he won’t have a bad game against the Rams. He just won’t. Will he go for five TDs like Chicago? Maybe not. Will he throw for 340 like Seattle? Maybe not. But he will play well and the Cardinals will take care of things. Warner insists the Rams game doesn’t mean as much to him anymore, but sorry, I just don’t see it.

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4 Responses to “Friday before the Rams”

  1. By Mike on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    It won’t take a meltdown to get a buy in the first round of the playoffs. I know it’s a big “if” with this team, but if they do take care of business and win the games they’re supposed to win they could be there at the end for a buy. If they win the next two games it will set up a huge game with Minnesota that very possibly could decide the first round buy because the winner of that game will have the tie-breaker. Wow…….I NEVER thought I would ever say something like that.

  2. By Jay Martin on Nov 20, 2009 | Reply

    It is sometimes hard to grasp how far we have come as a team. I remember just how recent it was for others to laugh at me as a cardinals fan on sunday. Here we are now, several years later and we have an offense that is setting and even potentially breaking records. The entire attitude has changed, instead of worrying if we will break .500 for the season or IF we make the playoffs, the worry now is whether we can catch a bye in the first week of them. Amazing how far we have come, keep up the good work boys, and just do what ya do this sunday.

  3. By az1965 on Nov 21, 2009 | Reply

    Good stuff, Darren… Always enjoy your “Friday before …” blog.

  4. By Walter L on Nov 22, 2009 | Reply

    Nobody plays better then Warner in the dome. Good stuff Darren. Here’s to the #1 sports writer in all of football! Cheers!

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