Running (in)to New England

Posted by Darren Urban on September 12, 2012 – 10:43 am

The Cardinals had — and still have — hope their run game can generate something good this season (although the loss of tackle Levi Brown, a very good run blocker, obviously hurts). They didn’t get enough production in the opener, clearly. Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells combined for only 23 yards on 15 carries.

“It wasn’t as much the running backs as it was one or two guys breaking down and not finishing a block the right way,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

What will be interesting is the next step, seeing that the next step comes in New England. The Patriots are coming off one of their best days ever as a running defense. They held the Titans’ Chris Johnson — the former NFL rushing champ — to a mere four yards on 11 carries. Overall, the Titans gained just 20 yards rushing on 16 attempts, and that includes 11 yards from scrambling quarterback Jake Locker. Now, the Titans were playing from behind, but still.

The scary part, although not unexpected, is that Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn’t overwhelmed, noting that there were still breakdowns in certain plays that could’ve cost the Pats. They just didn’t.

“From a production standpoint, it was great but all the parts of the play didn’t necessarily always equal the final production,” Belichick said. “Like I said, eventually those things are going to show up.”

The last time the Cards faced the Patriots, in the snowy disaster of 2008, the Cards only rushed for 44 yards, but again, they got behind early and the run game was made moot. The game needs to stay close. And as Whisenhunt said, “you have to stay with it.”

Belichick kept praising the Cards’ run game Wednesday morning. “They have a lot of plays that, not that they’re rare, but you just don’t see as many scheme plays from most teams as what they run,” he said. “A lot of teams run a heavy amount of zone in the running game. These guys, Arizona, mixes that with scheme plays, gap plays, where they pull the guard, pull the tackle, pull the tight end, pull the fullback across the ball, or keep them all on the same side of the ball and run power-type schemes. The scheme part of it is hard because, again, they are very well coached. They have a good game plan. They do a good job of running plays, creating blocking angles, and they are tough for the defense.”

The Cards are hoping they can be much tougher on the Pats than what came down for both teams in Week 1.


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38 Responses to “Running (in)to New England”

  1. By martin on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    belichick sure knows how to butter up an opponent

  2. By Shaun M Church on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Running the ball is great, but when seven of Wells & Williams’ runs come off the center’s rear, there’s a problem—unless it’s working. 2.43 yards per carry combined says it was not working.

    Arizona’s stable of backs thrives on the edge. Wells is able to plant his foot and go, while Williams can cut his way upfield. That didn’t happen Sunday. No toss plays; no sweeps. This is not the 1995 Pittsburgh Steelers; they can’t just overpower defenses, especially with Levi Brown out.

    One of the things offensive coordinator Mike Miller said he likes about Adam Snyder is that he is athletic and pulls really well. So where is that? Get him out on the edge in front of Beanie and Ryan and let’s get the offense going.

  3. By Nick Pepe on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Hopefully we can establish enough of a run game to keep the defense fresh and the offense doesn’t become too predictable. If we can manage that and keep it close enough to give us a chance in the 4th quarter, anything is possible. Especially when you consider our affinity of playing nothing but close games.

    When was the last victory when we didn’t have to sweat out the 4th quarter? For the life of me, I can’t remember a win in which when entering the 4th, that we knew it was in the bag. Anyone?

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  4. By Dynosoar on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    We’re not Tennessee. They don’t have years of footage on Williams like they do on Johnson. We also have three very different RB’s than Tennessee to prepare for (I’m not sure yet if Powell’s style is similar to any of our other backs, so I say three.)

    What’s more, we have a wide receiving corps that can and will be very productive and New England does not have the best secondary.

    My biggest worry for the game is not getting coverage. This is 1 of 20 Cardinal games I want to watch this season.

  5. By bluepitt on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    I got $Fidy$ on the cards…

  6. By Dynosoar on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    After last week with only one sack, I feel real good about things. Brady’s seen a lot, but Ray Horton has things up his sleeve that should caue him dificulties. He seems like a QB that is great when things are according to plan. Here’s to our Defense wrecking a little bit of havoc with that plan.

  7. By D on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Belicheck can make any team sound like Superbowl Champs. Cards need to use thier fullback and let Williams touch the ball 20 times on Sunday…or at least as much as possible before Brady gets up on them too much….Welker and Gronk will be tough to match up with…

  8. By cardsalltheway 2 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    This OL only had about a week together as a unit. I’m sure their practices concentrated on pass protection, since it was their weak-point, with the assumption the run game would still be productive. The coaching decision makes sense, but with this group, they just need more practice time together to get the whole package down. Our run game will be much improved in New England.

    And then the coaches also concentrated on starting fast, which the Cards did, but then they came out flat in the second half. So here again, the things they emphasized worked great, but to the neglect of other stuff.

    With this offense, what you see is NOT what you get. It is a work in progress. There has been so much flux with the line, the QB’s, and 2 hurt running backs — with more time together they are going to steadily improve as the season unfolds. I am very hopeful.

    The biggest question (now with Skelton hurt) is if KKolb will ever settle down? He can look brilliant one moment and horrendous the next. Its all feast or famine with him. Maybe Kevin will calm down a little now with these new tackles. If he does, we could shock a lot of people in New England.

  9. By Nick Pepe on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Somebody who makes a little sense just hacked into Cardsalltheway’s account !!!! Wow

  10. By ken on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    i cant ever remember a cards game that i wasnt on the edge of my seat in the 4th qrt

    go cardiac cards

    make sure u have blood pressure meds

  11. By Nick Pepe on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    already on them !!! Need a double digit win

  12. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Bill Belichick was on with Wolfley last nite, KTAR.

    He named every defensive starter for Cards in a single sentence with comments on each (and noted Stewart Bradley had a great preseaon)… he is so zoned in, but Whiz is too. They coach in similar ways.

    No sneaking up on NE.. but they can be beaten… won’t play “what if”.. but… should lightening strike and Cards win, oh my how the NFL would be rocked… opportunity knocks, all you can ask for.

  13. By rdixon50 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Really good comments from everyone today. Really liked Shaun’s comment about Snyder pulling for toss and sweep plays. We all reailized during the Seattle game that rushing yards had to come on the outside, not up the middle.

  14. By Derrick Haskan on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    We will be alright guys we do this together!!!!

  15. By Chuck 1 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Many fans have written for years that Whiz, coming from the Steelers, which usually featured a solid running attack to complement Big Ben’s passing, would install that kind of punishing aspect to the Cards’ offensive game. Recall Ben’s great success in his rookie year when the Steelers won the Super Bowl (?) or at least went far in the playoffs.

    That was possible because Jerome Bettis and the OL were dominant and the defense was dominant as usual overcoming Big Ben’s inexperience.

    Well, so far the Cards don’t have an OL that can open holes for the RBs or a defense that can rival that Steeler defense.

    I understand that the running attack is hampered by inexperienced tackles. Why is that? Poor drafting (and coaching?). That won’t be fixed this season (and probably not next season either when the Cards take “the best player available”)..

    It doesn’t bode well for the game this weekend that the Patriots shut down the Titans running game or that the Cards could only gain 23 yards in 15 carries.

    Neither Skelton or Kolb can carry the team on his back against the Pats, given these circumstances.

  16. By Dynosoar on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Being the first gsme of the season, there’s not a good coach in the league that’s going to show everything. I’m fine with Whizenhunt’s not showing everything our Running Backs can do.

    Also, it was the first game that counted with our new Tackles. They protected the QB, the run game will come. I’m fine with the play calling last week and the ply, we won and that shows we were the better team that day.

    Looking forward to this week and the next 19 games we’ve got this season. Which would be more devastating to Brady, the broken nose from last week or a second loss in a row. I say, let’s win and find out.

  17. By dstock21CardinalsWINRLOSE on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    We do need to run the edge it is a strength in our backs, and I agree wondering where it was against Seattle. Whoever is quarterback we need to establish that run game, keep the passing game short and quick, control the clock and open the deep threat with play action and pump fakes.

    I am confident Horton and the defense has studied films on what has beat the Patriots, example being the Giants twice!! Control the clock, spread out their offensive line and time the blitzs coming from various areas.

    We can and will win!!! The NFL has no respect for us, time to bring it to the house and smile afterwards.

    I say we as a season ticket holder and time invested FAN WINRLOSE, JOHN OR KEVIN I’m an Arizona Cardinal fan!

  18. By Dynosoar on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Nick, that’ll have me laughing all day.

    You probably could’ve made the same statement about 2/3 of us and had the same effect.

    We can win this game. It’ll be tough in their home stadium, but others won away games last week (including NE). We can win this. Good teams find a way to win and that’s what I saw last week, one very good team.

    What’ll the pundits do when we win? (Cards dropped in this weeks power rankings because even though they won, we thought they’d lose, so we’ll just pretend as if they lost anyway and blame the win on Voodoo, or something; because what we think before the event is more valuable than actual results. After all, it’s the thought that counts, non?)

    Here’s to 12-4 in 2012.

  19. By Nick Pepe on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply


    I’m with ya. It is winnable. Our defense is that good. I don’t think it’s a mirage. How will the crowd react if we smack them in the mouth

    Would love to see them have to punt from inside their 40 a few times. Field position is goin to huge this game.

  20. By cardsalltheway 2 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Nick Pepe –

    Yeah, I’m the guy who likes to poke fun at cardsalltheway every once in a while by posting under “cardsalltheway 2” — but I forgot to switch back to my real name.

    Sorry. No one should ever expect him (or Chuck) to ever say anything positive.

  21. By Dre on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Go cards I hope they pull it out and beat them.

  22. By cardsalltheway on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    “Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells combined for only 23 yards on 15 carries.”

    How easily you and Ken W. forget about WILLIAM POWELL. Both Beanie and Ryan showed they weren’t ready for game 1, is Ken W. going to rely on them again and not suit up WILLIAM POWELL? Beanie didn’t show anything during preseason games while Ryan W. barely did compared to WILLIAM POWELL.

  23. By Derrick Haskan on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Let’s put Powell in and let wells and howling get hungry or get replaced

  24. By drummer-1 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    And then there had to be one!!

  25. By ken on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    what i saw of powell this preseason was very impressive i agree put him in and lets see what he can do

  26. By acid77haze on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Perhaps the reason the Cardinals did not run ground plays to the edge was to allow the tackles to focus on pass blocking. This was their first starts at their positions in the NFL, you don’t want to ask too much too early and set them up for failure. That is just a quick surefire way to break their confidence. So what do you do? You call your run plays up the middle so as not to put too much pressure on your new tackles. Teams do this all the time, but usually its only a new guy on one side, so you just try to avoid that one side. However, the Cards and Whiz found themselves in a tricky position with Batiste and Massie both making their NFL left and right tackle debuts respectively.

    Don’t lose faith in this team, fans. Our Cards need our support right now for this huge game, not some senseless bickering about how bad we are when we don’t even know WHO we are yet…

    Cardinals 27, Patriots 20

  27. By cardsalltheway on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    And the ELEPHANT-in-the ROOM is…Shhhhh ~ WILLIAM POWELL

  28. By cobra on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    cardsalltheway 1&2, chuck1, don’t really want to go any further with AKAs.

    Just saying for what it’s worth, nice to here 1 good comment in forever, or never? It won’t kill you to do that at times. This season is gonna be hell as it is. If anything, show respect for the players, coaches, and management who have been busting their balls to put a winning team on the field.

  29. By Chuck 1 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply


    Apparently, you are satisfied with the W/L record over the last three years.

    As Jack Nicholson said: “You can’t handle the truth”. (and, I would add, you are satisfied with mediocrity)

  30. By Eazy E on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    Gotta love Belichick, this guy makes the worst team sound like the defending super bowl champs, but that is why his team is so grounded and almost never gets outcoached.

  31. By dan on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    I say we come out throwing the ball all day, line up with 5 wide and make it an old west shootout.

  32. By truths4all on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    Unfortunately, wildcards Powell and Bryd will probably end up on the inactive list. And if activated, who do you then put on the inactive list instead? As it is, the Cards can win IF the Defense shuts down the Pats Offensive Line, no blown coverages, and limit Brady to a so-so day for him (meaning 60% completions, 1TD and no interceptions). The Card can win IF their Offensive Line controls the line of scrimmage in run blocking and pass blocking. The Cards can win IF Peterson can find a way back to breaking a return back instead of being boxed in and controlled as Seattle did in neutralizing him. The Cards can win against the Pats IF they can execute on all of these aspects. If not, expect the loss.

  33. By Nick Pepe on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    @ Eazy E, you saying this is the worst team in the league? I agree Belichick sounds a lot like Lou Holtz of 1988 talking about how good Navy is, but I don’t the Cards are the worst team in the league.

    I like our football team. Sure we are youthful at OL and we don’t have Johnny Unitas at the helm. But…. our defense is damn good. Almost scary good. And there is no shortage of skill players on O and special teams.

    Why not us? Why not this week? Why not this year?

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  34. By philly cards on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    I think belicheck is really saying
    ‘ why do they have so many personell groupiings?u can’t go no huddle like that.
    Their run game is too complicated, that’s why they miss blocks and can’t run ‘

    He’s not impressed with anything we do,he’s playing the game already with our heads

  35. By Matthew Wood on Sep 13, 2012 | Reply

    Bottom line is beanie wells needs to step out. That monster out of ohio state needs to show up or shut up this week. Ryan Williams is a good 3rd down back but beanie needs to up his production. Its go time!

  36. By Eazy E on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Nick Pepe-

    No, I’m not saying we’re the worst team, but he can make you seem that way and you fall maybe into that trap. We definitely have a special Defense and weapons on Offense, but our QBs and O-Line are suspect @ best.

  37. By Eazy E on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Special Teams are very good too including a pro bowl PR and kicker IMO.

    Pro bowl KR also in Larod.

  38. By Nick Pepe on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply


    I agree with you about O-line and QB, and I think I made that clear. But there are very few teams that are pro-bowl stocked at EVERY position. And I am not ready to say we are “weak” at those two facets of the game. Could they be better, sure. But they may also be just adequate enough. Only time will tell.

    Can’t wait for the Friday before!!!!

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

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