Whiz wrap, featuring the fumble that wasn’t

Posted by Darren Urban on October 3, 2011 – 11:44 am

Coach Ken Whisenhunt was philosophical about the Victor Cruz fumble-that-was-called-“given up,” saying it shouldn’t have mattered and that his opinion doesn’t matter either.

“I’ll be perfectly honest with you: It really doesn’t matter what I think,” Whisenhunt said.”I threw the challenge flag and they wouldn’t allow me to challenge, so they made the ruling and I have no choice to live by the ruling. But I’ll tell you this … if we had done some of the things we should have, it wouldn’t have come to that.

Whisenhunt was asked about other situations, including how the Cards approach such a play. “I was in Pittsburgh for the Plaxico incident in Jacksonville,” he said, noting Plaxico Burress’ infamous spiking of the ball after a catch — when he was not touched down — and having the Jaguars recover. “We have a play, we call it ‘Down-Down-Call-A-Timeout’ or ‘Down-Down-Spike-It’ and we tell guys to get down and give themselves up, but we tell our guys slide, or taking a knee and holding on to the ball. The idea is to declare yourself down and to give the ball to the official so he can get it spotted quickly enough so you can get the next play going. Instead of leaving the ball there so (the officials) have to get it.”

Whisenhunt said he hoped the play didn’t have a residual effect (as Calais Campbell suggested) but if it did, the players had better learn from it.

I still don’t understand why Cruz would have been in such a hurry down three with three minutes on the clock at the Cards’ 29-yard line to need a “give-up,” but the officials didn’t see it that way.

Among the other notes from Whiz’s talk:

— RT Brandon Keith had swelling on his knee. Jeremy Bridges “did an OK job” replacing Keith, Whisenhunt said, and whether Keith returns to the lineup will depend on his health, Whisenhunt said. Otherwise, Bridges can step in.

— RB Beanie Wells is sore, but otherwise no worse for wear after getting 27 carries one week after missing a game with a hamstring problem.

— QB Kevin Kolb needs to get more comfortable in the offense so that he will make the consistent right reads and remain in the pocket more often. That, in Whisenhunt’s opinion, clearly is going to take more time. He is trying to have patience, but he knows the Cards need to win in the meantime. “I feel for the player and the fans,” he said.

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Giants aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on October 2, 2011 – 9:35 pm

Was it a fumble? Does it even matter?

This is the reality – Giants receiver Victor Cruz did an amazing job keep his feet after an initial hit by cornerback Michael Adams. He made a couple of moves back and forth. Then he “gave himself up” and then dropped the ball. The Cards picked it up. “I thought it was a fumble,” safety Kerry Rhodes said, and honestly, as I stood down on the sideline some 20 yards away, it looked that way to me. Giants quarterback Eli Manning admitted the Giants caught a break.

To me, I get the idea of being able to give yourself up, OK. But to me, you’ve got to catch and drop down immediately. If you’re not a QB, once you are running down the field, you should have to be touched down. If Cruz ended up pulling a Plaxico, so be it. It seems – based on reaction by NFL analysts around the league – the Cards indeed should have gotten the ball.

Watching the replay seems to make the call even more egregious than I originally thought.

Of course, as Larry Fitzgerald said, it shouldn’t have come to that and that’s completely true. The Cards aren’t the only team melting down with a lead Sunday. I was listening on the radio on the ride home about all the big lost leads and it was Dallas blowing one against Detroit and Philly choking against San Francisco. It doesn’t make it OK, but it happens.

The emotional swing from the time Beanie rumbled in for his third TD to the last incompletion to Fitz on fourth down was simply giant (pun intended). To be 2-2 going to winless Minnesota, compared to 1-3 …

Some thoughts about today:

— Beanie Wells said he isn’t even completely healthy. He sure looked healthy. He gets 138 yards and three touchdowns. He finally gets a big-carry game – 27 when it was all over. It was enough. It really should have been enough (although I won’t lie, I was hoping for the shotgun-quick draw to him on that final fourth down just to pick up the first down).

— The heave-it-up-to-Fitz-and-let-him-make-a-play worked giveth – on the 47-yard bomb to set up a TD – and it taketh away – on the Antrel Rolle interception. Although it did look like if Kevin Kolb had a little less air under the pass, I’m not sure Rolle would have gotten there. It was a very athletic play by Rolle. (Although Rolle said he “knew” that’s where he’d be headed the whole time.)

— Eli Manning has had some pretty good luck throwing into that one end zone at University of Phoenix Stadium.

— As usual, Jeremy Bridges brought a little bit of nasty to the field when he replaced Brandon Keith at right tackle. Keith hurt his right knee, but it will be interesting to see, even if/when Keith is OK if Bridges gets a chance to play more.

— The last sack Kolb took was on a screen, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said it was simply a four-man rush (which makes sense, because on a screen the linemen basically let the rushers go). “We should have gotten rid of it,” Whisenhunt said. To take a 10-yard sack there was a killer.

— Many people think Hakeem Nicks is one of the top receivers in the game. His numbers – 10 catches for 162 yards – seemed to show that. I know there is frustration with the cornerbacks, like Patrick Peterson on the last play, but Nicks made some Pro Bowl-esque plays.

— A.J. Jefferson was still returning kickoffs. I would guess that has more to do with LaRod Stephens-Howlings coming off the hand injury rather than feeling the Hyphen isn’t the best kick return man anymore.

— The vaunted running duo of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined for 57 yards rushing on 21 carries. It’s hollow somewhat because of the Giants’ comeback, but it was a nice effort by the Cards’ rush defense.

— I thought Darnell Dockett played really well. Officially Dockett had two tackles for loss among his four tackles, but he drew a few holding penalties and was in the backfield most of the day (and another hold could have been called on the infamous non-fumble play. I thought Dockett was going to reach Manning on that play).

Well, everyone was talking about moving on. That sounds like a good idea. I still have a little Sunday left to not think about football.

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