Hitting the ground (in St. Louis) running

Posted by Darren Urban on October 2, 2012 – 1:50 pm

The Cardinals aren’t running the ball as well as they would like. That’s not a mystery. “It’s disappointing we’re not running the ball better,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, “but that’s something that we can work on. Hopefully we can get better at it.”

It’s not as if the Cards haven’t flashes, especially late in the Philadelphia game when Ryan Williams had the majority of his 83 yards on 13 carries for that game even though the Eagles knew he would be toting the ball. But against Miami — a team with arguably the best run defense in the NFL — Williams managed only 26 yards on 13 carries. The Cards only had 15 total attempts for 28 yards (William Powell had the other two carries and two yards) as they played catch up most of the game.

“I think we still have a lot strides to make in the running game,” Williams said. “(Find out) what are our bread and butter plays, things of that sort.”

By coincidence, the Rams are next up, and that might just make an impact.

The Rams are giving up 135 rushing yards a game (the Cards are averaging 68.) And it should be noted, the last time the Cards went into St. Louis last season, Beanie Wells blew up. By the time the Cards finished with a 23-20 win, the running back had piled up a franchise-record 228 yards.  Now, Wells isn’t around this time, having gone to temporary IR last week. This is Williams’ show now. But history provides optimism: Since Whisenhunt arrived in 2007, a Cardinal back has surpassed 100 yards rushing in the five trips to St. Louis four times — Wells, Tim Hightower (twice), and Edgerrin James. A good day from Williams would help the cause.

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34 Responses to “Hitting the ground (in St. Louis) running”

  1. By Kevin S on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I’d love to see a nice rushing attack and see how much that helps our passing game. As pointed out in another forum I was reading, the Cards haven’t reached 300 net yards in any of their games — something no 4-0 team has done in over 70 years (not to mention we’ve been outgained in every game — on the one hand, proves that you don’t need to pile up total yards to dominate a game, as the Patriots outgained us by 58% and yet were down 20-9 with 7 minutes to go, and the Eagles outgained us but were clearly outclassed. But on the other hand, being outgained is not a long-term formula for success).

  2. By George on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    The Cardinals have to keep on trying to run the football to keep opposing defences honest. Cannot have 50 or 60 pass attempts a game. I believe that the offensive line will improove as the season goes along. Lets remember that Massie is a rookie and Batiste has not played left tackle until this season. There is a learning curve for both but they seem to have the athletic ability to play their positions. If the line avoids injury, they will be a good unit by the end of the year. Trial by fire will harden them up.

  3. By Starving Scout on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    The problem isn’t that the runs aren’t successful but rather that they don’t stick to running enough. The problem with the Cardinals running game is more a lack of run calls than it is a lack of execution.

  4. By Secret on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Another stat related to this game: The cardinals haven’t won a Thursday game since 1948

  5. By Scott H on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Nothing cures too mny QB sacks like being able to run the football. Period. We may be 4-0 but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a LOT of room for improvement in key areas. As much as Kolb has looked pretty good and guys like Roberts and Floyd are emerging as true play-makers at WR, I want to see the ball in the hands of the RB’s much more going forward. Not having to play from a 13-0 deficit would help!

  6. By Cobra on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Kevin S:

    Re: Formula for Success,

    I agree, eventually it will catch up with us.

  7. By Edjikstra on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Interesting comments, Kevin S. It appears that the keys to winning so far are turnovers (Cards are +4) and red zone effectiveness (Cards have 10 TDs to the opponents 4).

    The offense is vastly better than I expected (from what we saw in the pre-season). I think there’s every reason to expect continued improvement.

  8. By philly cards on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I expected a running attack by now also.but correct me if I’m wrong kolb lost his job to injury last year or was he pulled for performance.he had an ankle problem and concussion.
    (Also didn’t get off season)

  9. By DontTakeLoses on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Ryan still is not healthy. imo.

  10. By KYCardfan87 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    @Kevin s. Kolb had over 300 yds passing last game himself. We have netted over 300yds in a couple of games this season but I think our opponents have surpassed us each game in yardage.

  11. By Cobra on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    philly cards:

    Your are wrong! AKA, CATWAY. This is this year, why are you a 1 year wonder with Cards stats?

  12. By mal on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    With 3 new guys on the OL and 2 rookie RBs(the only ones active last game), it shouldnt be a huge surprise the run game is still a work in progress. But its early — this is only the first game of Oct.

    Nov + Dec is when the great teams really kick it in gear. Meanwhile in these next few games if we could just slowly develop a decent run attack, and then with a fresh Beanie coming back the middle of November, its scary how good this team could be by then. We gotta stay patient.

  13. By john the draft guy on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I havent had a chance to get to the site since the game but wanted to say thanks for the shoutout.

    Yes, I still wonder how much better shape we would be if we had Tannehill. Heck, with Tannehill, we might even be 4-0. 🙂
    But seriously, when you have a guy with the possibility to become a franchise guy, it give a franchise something to build around.

    Kevin Kolb; Man, was that int bad. To roll out, have the play in front of you, and make that throw, makes you wonder why he is in the NFL at all. Then he makes some of those other throws like the TD to tie the game and you see why we traded for him. Will the real Kevin Kolb please stand up. He did fall back into the mistakes of staring down wrs and holding on to the ball to long, but I also noticed, seeing it live, that many times, it seemed he had one option and the other receivers were used to clear out an area or zone. Not a fan of that style of offense. It seemed they were protecting Kevin from mistakes.

    Patrick Peterson was the best special teams player for the dolphins. 3 fumbles and downing a ball at the 3 yd line. Wow. he was off.

    The Dolphin OLine really picked up our blitzes. We did make some plays, but 431 yds passing, we weren’t getting to Tannehill.

    Paris Lenon is the teams unsung hero. When he leaves, fans will say we wont miss him, but I guarantee if you asked his team mates, this guy is the heart of the defense. Every game, all he does is make plays. (like the hit on Tannehill that lead to the pick by Rhodes in overtime) Very underrated.

    Andre Roberts is making a statement. He is showing everyone he is a solid #2 wr.

    Which goes back to the original point. We should have traded that 13th pick and next years #1 to the rams and landed Tannehill instead of landing a wr who isnt needed.

    Had to give one more shot, Darren…

  14. By cardsalltheway on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Lack of rushing yardage problem?
    Hint: vs. Miami
    W. Powell – 2 carries
    R. Williams – 13 carries

  15. By cardsalltheway on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Rams rank better than us in 3/4 major rankings below…
    League Rankings:
    Offense: Cards – 31st / Rams – 27th
    Defense: Cards – 17th / Rams – 14th
    Passing: Cards – 25th / Rams – 28th
    Rushing: Cards – 29th / Rams – 20th

  16. By Dynosoar on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve got Williams and Powell on Fantasy teams this week, let’s hope they roll… over those Rams. I’m a trusting.

  17. By jeffgollin on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    While I understand the need to run the ball more often (even if we’re not effective) to keep opposing pass rushers honest, I really wish that – until we perfect it – we remove that delayed-handoff draw-left play from our playbook where our RB barely beats the penetrating lineman or LB to the ball at point of handoff.

    Consistently doesn’t work. Wastes a down. Continually puts us in 2nd & 12..

    And while we’re at it, we need to become a better screen-team offensively (an extension of the run-game). We’re lucky if more than one out of four screen plays doesn’t resemble Keystone Kops. Yet it’s one way we can attack the perimeter and take pressure off Kevin Kolb from outside rushers. It might also open things up a bit for Fitz or A-Rob to get open on short routes.

  18. By wnycardfan on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    I agree, run the ball more. I can see why they are struggling and am hoping as time goes on they learn and get better. I think they can do it (Better), just gotta keep banging on it.
    On another note, almost every radio, tv show, etc lately talks about the 4-0 teams and says basically cards getting lucky, they’ll be who we thought they were soon.
    Well, I hope that they a)aren’t listengin to that crap and b) if they are, using it to pump them up. I like how almost eveyrone on the team seems confident, but not blown out of proportion “we don’t stink” confidence. They seem to know where they need some more work and are doing it. That is great. They seem like a true TEAM. Keep at it guys.

  19. By Mr Robles on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren have you seen the Power Poll? Do you agree with it? We did beat 2 top 10 teams.

  20. By Darren Urban on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Mr. Robles —

    RE: Power poll

    You’d have to be more specific.

  21. By philly cards on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Please give me some details.I just remember him being hurt.or trying to play hurt. I wouldn’t say skelton didn’t get there without 3 injuries not just 1.when I think

  22. By Kevin S on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    KYCardfan87 —

    Look at the final box score for each game under “Total Yards.” Cards have yet to net 300 yards. In the last game, Kolb threw for 324 yards, but then further down the stat line, we lost 55 yards on his 8 sacks… so that’s a net of 269 so far. Add in our whopping 28 rushing yards and we had 297 total yards for the game.

    And not a single first down by rushing the football in the MIA game, which hopefully can change vs. STL.

  23. By tentpeg107 on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    to john the draft guy:

    I agree with you the Cards changed their offense to go with much shorter passes, thus making Kolb look better.

    But we are set up on offense to GO DOWNFIELD.

    John Skelton is the guy to lead us: he has “it” and he just needs to fix his mechanics (simple:cock the wrist to throw the ball and LEaVE it cocked all the way through the throwing motion). Skelton came from a small school – Fordham University, and I guarantee you Fordhem did not have a quality QB coach.

  24. By j on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Stll no respect for this team, ranking has us at 7!!!. and the slander is getting worse. what QB has a perfect day, what team doesnt win as a team. NFL stuck in old ways old days, saying the same stuff about the same teams. I wish emaculate that cards go on a 3 game crushing spree and put some crow in these fools meals. Jeez why do cards get such a bad wrap… THEY are THE MOST entertaing team in the league and yes that is do to there winning style, cardiac. There is more to proove now then anyseason ever in az, 4-0 and own it. Undefeated going to MNF vs the Winers… Lets go!!! Kolb get that ball higher for fitz, throw it up he’ll come down with it…

  25. By Kevin S on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t agree with just running the ball more if it isn’t working. MIA was completely shutting us down. Running the first play of OT set us back to 2nd and 13 and ultimately led to a 3-and-out.

    But I think we’re going to see things change somewhat vs. STL. We’ve faced 4 very good rushing defenses so far — the two best, and four of the top 11 in terms of yards/rush. MIA is smoking everyone (2.4 yards/rush, 56.8 yards/game). SEA is 2nd in both cats (3.0/rush, 62.8 yards/game). The Pats and Eagles are at 3.4 and 3.8 yards/rush and well under 100 per game. STL, meanwhile, is at 4.7 and 135. If we have a running game, we should find it this week.

    Cardsalltheway — I know you’re always a fan of the guy we’re not playing, but when MIA has faced Arian Foster and Darren McFadden and limited those guys to 79 yards (on 26 carries!) and 22 yards, I think it’s safe to say that Powell wasn’t likely to be any more successful against MIA than RW.

  26. By drummer-1 on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    @ cardsaalltheway…

    Nice Stats… They may have better stats, but not in the win/loss column were it really matters.. That just shows stats mean nothing, find something else to whine about..

    So answer me this.. which is more important to you team stats or win/loss?

  27. By Dynosoar on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply


    Facepalm, they probably felt like Miami did that.

    Here’s some statisctics you missed.

    Wins: Cardinals 4 (1st) / Rams 2 (Tie 3rd)
    Losses: Cardinals 0 / Rams 2

    W-L: Cardinals 4-0 (5-0?) / Rams 2-2 (2-3?)

    Sacks by: Cardinals 16 / Rams 6 – Good one trick pony
    Sacks allowed: tied at 14
    QB Hits allowed: tied at 24
    Touchdowns scored: Cardinals 10 / Rams 6 (last)
    Touchdowns allowed: Cardinals 4 (1st) / Rams 10 (17th)
    -another good one trick pony
    Turnovers: Cardinals 10 / Rams 8 – good one trick
    Arizona score differential: +30, 7th in league
    – apparently our offense isn’t that bad.
    Rams score differential: -12, 19th in the league

    Thought you might appreciate these my friend.

  28. By T-Roy on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    To jon the draft guy. Are you a Cardinal fan or a Dolphin fan? Is there anything else that you could make any more negative about the CARDS? You honestly believe Tannehill is a franchise guy? Do you watch the NFL?

    In my years I have seen 4 or 5 maybe even 6 or 7 teams win the Super Bowl with great D/SP. Maybe it would be great if the “CARDINAL” fans would be CARDINAL supporters. I theink that we need to get on the wagon and ride this with these guys. SUPPORT. SUPPORT. SUPPORT. That is the best word that i can say. Support these guys. They go to battle with great attitudes every day. No one talks about the mopney they make. No one talks about their stats. No one but no one ever shows that they are any better than the next guy. Oh yeah, the next guys, if you will, have stood up and mad a statement for all of us fans. So I say again, support your team.’

  29. By cdj on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    idk if i can deal with so much negativity around here anymore

  30. By truths4all on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Let’s keep in mind the double-edged sword of a WCO passing attack which mainly features short routes with the majority in the flats. Defenses defend WCO attacks by placing more defenders in the box which also adversely impacts your running attack. The other side is when to call and execute those quick seam and go routes to catch the defenses leaning the wrong way and with the wrong or blown coverages. We have seen those outcomes with Robert’s longish TD catch and score and Fitz’s TD in the past few games. But remember, this hardly works when the defense remains disciplined enough and prepared enough to recognize when the WCO type offense takes those shots.

    Again, this another reason why being able to execute the entire Cards passing playbook is important.

  31. By D.E.Sides on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    All I know is the Cardinals are 4-0 and I have been a faithful fan living in Illinois for over 44 years .Will be sitting behind the visitors bench in St.Louis cheering on “The Big Red”hopefully to a 5-0 start.

  32. By John the draft guy on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Being a season ticket holder since 1991, I’d say I support the cards.

    My comments about Tannehill go with what Darren said a couple of days ago about me being a big Tannehill supporter before the draft. If you just jump in every now and then , you end up a little lost. So , Ill cut you some slack.

    I think my comments above are just observations of what I saw in the game. As an old coach and avid football fan, I enjoy good football . If thinking the dolphins oline did a great job picking up blitzes makes me a non supporter, I guess I’m just not a good fan. By the way, I think I gave Lenon credit for finding a way in to make one of the plays of the game.

    I have given kolb credit, since I did not think he could progress to what he is now. I think he is a guy caught in the middle of moving forward and correcting his mistakes or falling back to journeyman.

    So, T-Roy, I would say most people on this blog are big supporters of the team. Lighten up and enjoy the debates. I do, even when they are a little crazy like Powell should start over beanie and Williams .

  33. By philly cards on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    Isn’t it too early for stats?

    I think one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen was marcel ships 80 yard screen vs the rams. Funny he really worked hard never really got a shot.
    While Tanneyhill ran the same offense in college and has the same coach on the miami staff and that’s the best he can do?

    If kolb does fail won’t that equal about 120 m between him and matty?so give him this season!!!we have a long way to go with the ground game and this is a great spot to show up! 5-0

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