Friday — Christmas — before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on December 25, 2009 – 4:41 pm

First, a definition. The “third rail” of politics is a subject so untouchable or controversial that to take it on would mean basically blowing up one’s career. The metaphor comes from the third rail of a railway that is exposed while carrying high voltage power – think a subway system. To step on such a third rail means electrocution and death.

Bet you didn’t think you’d read that on this blog. Ah, but there is a method to the madness.

When talking to Cards analyst Ron Wolfley about Beanie Wells for the story about he and Ottis Anderson, Wolf came up with this gem: “There are running backs, there are scatbacks, and then there are the third-rail backs. Beanie Wells is a third-rail back.” Why? “Because he can run around you, he can go to the right, he can go to the left, or he has the option of dipping and ripping.”

Dipping his shoulder and running people over, in other words. The third rail, in which a back blows up the defender. “When you’ve got a big back who rips it between the tackles for eight yards, 10 yards, 20, you are interfacing with the essence of the game,” Wolfley said. “Every football player has this primal aggression … and Beanie brings that out of the team.”

Obviously, Wolf – who also is a huge fan of Tim Hightower, by the way – loves Beanie and what he brings to the table. I know it’s early in Beanie’s career and the guy barely has 700 yards rushing on the NFL level, but assuming he stays healthy, I am guessing the third rail will stay intact.

Unleashing him on the struggling Rams Sunday could get interesting.

— The talk will continue about how long to play the starters, but for this weekend at least, unless the Cards build a giant lead, I don’t see why the Cards will gear it down against the Rams. The Vikings, the team the Cards are chasing for the unlikely chance to be the No. 2 seed, don’t play until Monday night. You won’t know if they eliminate you from that race, so there is no reason to pull back. Besides, I personally think the Cards need to get back in sync offensively and defensively and make sure they feel better about themselves, something that was lacking a bit after the Detroit win.

— In training camp, Kurt Warner mentioned he felt worn down late last season because it was clear he had to have a great game every game for the Cards to have a chance. Thanks to the running game plowing ahead behind Hightower and Wells, that’s not a concern anymore. “It’s a completely different team this year,” Warner said. “You’ve seen so many games we’ve won in so many different ways. A sign of a good football team is when somebody doesn’t have their ‘A’ game and someone else can step up and win it for you.”

— Speaking of Warner and the now-infamous touchdown-pass-that-wasn’t, I watched one replay – from ground level and the end zone – and immediately thought, “How was that not a forward pass?” But then I went back and watched the TV play (and replay) from the side, and there is little doubt Warner threw the ball a smidge behind the 7-yard line and Anquan Boldin, drifiting backward while in motion, caught it between the 8 and 9. Lateral.

— How unknown is probable Rams starting quarterback Keith Null? Here was Warner when asked about Null on the conference call this week by St. Louis reporters: “I’m sorry, who did you say?” Warner asked before a long pause. “I don’t know a lot about him. I can’t say I’ve seen him play much. Obviously, I guess I’m kind of at a loss.”

— Null at starting quarterback, Steven Jackson playing with a bad back, it all seems to point to a big day for the Cards Sunday … except that’s what we all thought last weekend when the Lions ended up with their backup running back and third-string QB.

— The Cards continue to lead the NFL in red-zone efficiency, converting 68.8 percent of their trips inside the opponent’s 20 into touchdowns.

— Thanks to the TD pass takeaway, Warner still needs two TD tosses to join Fran Tarkenton to be the only QBs to have 100 touchdown passes with two different teams.

— It’ll be interesting to see if the Cards can rev up the passing game. With the possibility the last game against the Packers will be nothing but a glorified scrimmage (because the teams would meet a week later in the playoffs), you know Larry Fitzgerald would like one more bust-out game. And Boldin is sitting at 870 yards receiving, so close to 1,000 that it’d be a shame not to try and get him there.

— Finally, I’m hearing the team won’t be raising the division championship banner this week. Maybe next week against the Packers. Meanwhile, I hope everyone had a good Christmas/holidays. But there’s an NFL season to finish, right?

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Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Friday — Christmas — before the Rams”

  1. By Derek on Dec 25, 2009 | Reply


    Thanks for the update even though it is Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and yours, hopefully we’ll all be celebrating throughout the weekend with another Big Red win! Go Cards!

  2. By shannon robinson on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    Darren, thank you for interpretting Wolfisms for us. Ron told Card fans early on that Beannie was special and I remember he was glowing about Dan Kreider – I think Ron was making animal sounds when he talked about our new fullback – then Wolf talked about running into Anthony Becht, about how big he was. And now Beannie ball is upon us – add to the blocking mix Jason Wright who is sure to the hole and lead Beannie with two key blocks this last game.
    My vote for biggest hit of last weekend was Calais Campbell “almost” hitting Culpepper and missing to smash Dockett in the chest coming the other way!

  3. By Cards Fan for 41 Years on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    I love the fact that we have Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells. I don’t remember a time when the Cards had such a great running duo in the back field. It is a good feeling to know the Cards offense is more balanced this year and can move the ball in so many ways.

  4. By azcardsfan22 on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Darren, I know you hate me but i do wanna, thank you for your hard work and all that you do for my pleasure reading up on my beloved Cards, hope you had a great Christmas………….but did you think I”d end this nice, nah I still think Whiz is a bad coach

  5. By darrenurban on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    azcardsfans22 —

    No way do I hate you. Obviously, I’d love to swing your way of thinking on some subjects, but that’s what this blog is for, to give fans an outlet. I hope you and your had a great Christmas … and I still think you are wrong. I guess, as long as you stick with the team, I can’t complain much. 🙂

  6. By chem dawg on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply


  7. By Big Red on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    Give WHIZ a new contract, his a great coach. Some people just can’t see that. Go Cardinals!!!!! Right, Darren.

  8. By thereisonly1 on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    im almost a little more concerned going into the playoffs this year than last. last year they were an underdog with nothing to lose. this year i think more people expect success out of them. and as we all know the cardinals have a hard time dealing with success. i dont mean to be a pessimist. just keepin it real.
    darren you do a fine job with all your blogs and such. keep it up buddy.

  9. By Joe Chaundy on Dec 26, 2009 | Reply

    I hate to see comments about people who think Whiz is a bad coach.
    Obviously azcardsfan22 wasnt a fan before whiz when we had year after year of losing seasons even though we had talent.
    Since Whiz has been the coach, we have had ZERO losing seasons. The facts show he is a good coachh and the best we have ever had in Arizona.
    Go Cards!!!!

  10. By azcardsfan22 on Dec 27, 2009 | Reply

    I have been following this team since the Roger Wherli, Jim Hart, Mel Gray days, I just think this team with the talent should be way better in sitution football and until Whiz starts to become more unpredictable, you will see more plays like Harrison’s int ret for TD in super Bowl…………and he still is runni ng that play its only a matter of time before it happens again in a big game

  11. By AlexFromAZ on Dec 27, 2009 | Reply

    azcardsfan22, I can totally see where you are coming from, but I also disagree with your overall assumption. While I do believe that we can be too predictable at times, Whisenhunt has done so much for this team. The entire team was conditioned to lose for so many years, and Whisenhunt is instilling an air of confidence to help change that. BUT, I can absolutely see that with the talent we have, we should be much better. This team has the capability of winning 13 games a year, and hopefully we can improve once again next year.

  12. By nor cal cards fan on Dec 27, 2009 | Reply

    Azcardsfan22- just for your info Coach Whiz didn’t call that play in the Super Bowl, Todd Haley did. I can get a little upset with Whiz at times also, but if u have been following the Cards for as long as you say you have you should know better than anyone else that he’s completely changed the culture of the entire organazation. I mean all he did was coach the team to the Super Bowl. And when was the last time the Cards won consecutive division titles? Give the guy a break. No coach is perfect. Who would you rather have coaching the team, Denny Green? As they say on ESPN Monday Night Football, C’MON MAN! GO CARDS!

  13. By Aaron Lone-Eagle on Dec 27, 2009 | Reply

    This may be a little late, but hey, I’ll probably be late for my own funeral. Merry Chriistmas to all the players, coaches, and all the fans. I Hope everyones holiday was wonderful and safe. Let’s go Cards!! Let’s have some fun!!!

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