Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Will Cardinals emphasize run against Colts?
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Cardinals ran the ball five consecutive times to close their 11-play opening touchdown drive during their Week 2 game against the Jaguars.
Running five times in a row during the same drive is unusual. The Cardinals did it against the Rams last season, but four of those runs were from the St. Louis 2-yard line. They did it other times when running down the clock. They emphasized the run during other drives, but the way they finished this one stands out to me for three reasons.
One, coach Ken Whisenhunt wants to run the ball more this season and this seemed to provide evidence. Two, running the ball appears to be a solid option against the Colts in Week 3 after Indianapolis allowed 239 yards rushing to the Dolphins on Monday night. Three, Tim Hightower and especially Beanie Wells ran impressively against the Jaguars, but Wells' fumble inside the 10-yard line, coupled with another fumble later in the game, seemed problematic for Arizona.
Giving the ball back to Peyton Manning and the Colts puts too much strain on a team's defense. The Cardinals got away from the run last season in part because their defense was inconsistent. They fell behind at times and felt compelled to throw. Their defense, strong to this point in 2009, has not faced an offense anywhere near as dynamic as the one Manning leads.