Monday, December 15, 2008
Quick thoughts on the Cardinals
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Unable to handle success, the Cardinals expect their sorry showing Sunday to spark improved play against New England in Week 16.
That was one of the messages Ken Whisenhunt touched upon during his day-after-game briefing. I'll hit on a few other highlights, with additional notes culled from the locker room:
- Anquan Boldin's recent run of dropped passes and fumbles has been uncharacteristic. In searching for possible answers, Whisenhunt wondered if the team had burdened Boldin with too many extra responsibilities within the game plan. The team has incorporated Boldin in multiple packages, including a Wildcat-style group featuring Boldin as a rusher. Perhaps Boldin has been thinking too much.
- Clark Haggans is wearing a cast on his left foot and lower leg after suffering an injury to the Lisfranc joint. Haggans compared the injury to the ones Justin Tuck and Michael Strahan overcame without surgery. Healing could take 4 to 6 weeks, doctors have told Haggans, but the linebacker hopes to return for the playoffs. That might be optimistic.
- The Cardinals didn't use their four-receiver package until running 20 plays in the game against Minnesota. Arizona felt the three-receiver package with a tight end might make the Cardinals more credible as a run threat. But when the Cardinals opened the second half with four receivers, they scored quickly, with fourth receiver Jerheme Urban hauling in a 50-yard touchdown reception.
- Whisenhunt thought the Cardinals adjusted effectively enough to the Vikings' safeties, who shifted position in an effort to throw off Kurt Warner. Whisenhunt pointed to specific plays when the Cardinals simply missed a throw or missed a catch against those varied looks.
- Travis LaBoy suffered an ankle injury of undetermined severity. With Haggans out for now and Bertrand Berry best suited to a situational role, the Cardinals are already testing their depth on defense. That could become more of a problem if Arizona fails to sustain drives on offense.
- Cornerback Rod Hood gave high marks to Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson for making accurate throws. The Vikings attacked Hood's aggressiveness for a touchdown on a double move. Vikings coach Brad Childress had a good read on Hood from their days together in Philadelphia, and it showed.
The mood in the locker room seemed serious but not tense. I don't know how that might translate to the New England game.