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Monday, November 3, 2008
Around the NFC West: New ground for Cards

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes Edgerrin James as saying the Cardinals' style of offense doesn't suit his game, one reason the team named Tim Hightower as the starter.

Also from Urban: Eric Green's inexplicably bad play in coverage against Rams receiver Derek Stanley served as a wake-up call for the Arizona defense. The Cardinals seem to give up a huge play on defense almost every week. They'll need to clean up that aspect of their game to beat the better teams on the road.

More from Urban: Kurt Warner downplays the Cardinals' big lead in the NFC West. I see Arizona winning this division comfortably as long as Warner stays healthy.

And this from Urban: Returning to St. Louis allowed Cardinals brass to catch up with links to their past, including Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli.

Still more from Urban: Six Cardinals players caught a pass for at least 18 yards against the Rams.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic looks at the changeover from James to Hightower, noting that there's no room for sentiment in the NFL because the stakes are too high. James continues to mentor Hightower, a credit to the veteran back.

Also from Boivin: A look at Hightower's 30-yard touchdown run, a key play in the game. The Cardinals now have three rushing plays of at least 30 yards, but none longer. Hightower and J.J. Arrington each had a 30-yarder Sunday. Receiver Anquan Boldin had a 30-yard run the previous week. James' longest run this season covered 16 yards.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the offense put up huge numbers again, but the defense was the catalyst to this Cardinals victory. Antrel Rolle's interception return for a touchdown changed the game.

Also from Somers: It's the time of year when Adrian Wilson's role tends to expand, and it happened against the Rams. Wilson had a sack and forced fumble.

More from Somers: Larry Fitzgerald dropped two passes. I never thought I would write that sentence.

From Somers and Boivin: A notebook with an item detailing the dispute between Rams receiver Torry Holt and Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals can taste the playoffs, at least in the words of defensive tackle Darnell Dockett.

Also from Bordow: Hightower gave the ground game a spark, leading offensive coordinator Todd Haley to say the Cardinals finally have a complete offense. James carried 26 times for 100 yards in the opener, but Hightower provided more of a big-play ability.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals win five of their first eight games every 24 years or so.

Also from Tulumello: James remains supportive of Hightower despite the lineup change.