NFL Nation: Cardinals-Bears 110809

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

You read it here Sunday: The NFL should suspend Tommie Harris after the Bears' defensive tackle slugged the Cardinals' Deuce Lutui in the helmet Sunday.

There will be no suspension.

How can that be?

I suspect the league is treating Harris' ejection as the loose equivalent of a one-game suspension. Harris played only four snaps against the Cardinals before the ejection. Had Harris been ejected in, say, the third quarter, I'm guessing the league would have suspended him for the Bears' game against the 49ers on Thursday night.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui decked Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris twice before Harris threw the punch resulting in his ejection Sunday.

Lutui's actions were within the rules. Harris' were not.
 Harris
 Lutui


Harris' ejection following only the fourth play from scrimmage followed this play-by-play sequence:
  1. The Cardinals threw the ball on first down. Nothing of note happened.
  2. Lutui shoved Bears defensive lineman Marcus Harrison after the play. Harris and Lutui made no contact. Harris hit Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner legally after Warner threw the ball.
  3. The Cardinals threw again, this time completing a 23-yard pass to Steve Breaston. Lutui decked Harris during the play, then hit Harris again as the defensive tackle tried to get up. The second hit might have been unnecessary. Any defensive lineman would have been ticked off even though Lutui did not appear to violate rules.
  4. Lutui quickly pushed Harris at the start of the Cardinals' fourth play, a run. Harris was engaged with center Lyle Sendlein and could not see Lutui. Lutui blocked linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer on the play. Replays did not show what happened immediately next, only Harris' fateful punch to Lutui's facemask while Lutui was down on the ground.
The punch appeared more dramatic from the press box than on replays. Lutui had no noticeable marks on his face after the game. He did not miss any plays.
Jerry Lai/US Presswire
Larry Fitzgerald pulled in two touchdowns to spark the Cardinals offense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- Recent history urges extreme caution for anyone remotely close to thinking the Arizona Cardinals have finally grown into a consistent team.
Week 9 Coverage
• Kuharsky: Caldwell not challenged
• Walker: Bengals are no joke
• Yasinskas: Hargove plays through pain
• Seifert: Bears at a loss
• Sando: Cardinals hot and cold
• Wojciechowski: Joke's on the Bears
• Mosley: Defense carries Cowboys
• Graham: Patriots pull away
• Reiss: Patriots tame Wildcat
• Clayton: Last Call
• Pasquarelli: Rivers best for a night
• MNF: On the same path | MN HQ
• NFL Nation: Reactions | Wrap-ups | Live

Doubts naturally linger following their 41-21 dismantling of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Week 9.

"The thing I like best about our team is that we do respond," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "Hopefully, we've learned from out last home game [34-21 defeat to Carolina] that we can't go into the game and have a letdown like that."

Is this team for real? Or will the Cardinals, notoriously unable to handle success without high stakes, again fall flat following another impressive road victory?

The answer, plus nine other observations pertaining to the latest performance from NFL's least consistent 5-3 team:

1. The Cardinals have memorized their lesson.

That doesn't mean they've learned it.

Long-term retention might prove challenging for this team, but there's no question in my mind about the Cardinals' resolve heading into a Week 10 home game against the Seattle Seahawks.

"Seattle!" shouted a Cardinals player I couldn't identify as players filed into the locker room Sunday.

Arizona is 4-0 on the road and 1-3 at home this season.

Like young children, these Cardinals respond to simple psychological stimuli. Tell them they cannot win on the road and they'll prove you wrong. Tell them they cannot win at home -- the record speaks for itself this season -- and they'll prove you wrong again.

I think that's what will happen in Week 10. The Cardinals will play their best home game of the season against the Seahawks.

"Seattle has been struggling and that is the most dangerous team," defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "Ain't going to be no overlooking Seattle. They know they've got their hands full on Sunday. We have to establish our home field."

2. Anquan Boldin was not missed.

It's tough to fathom how an offense could become better without one of the toughest and most productive receivers in the game.

The Cardinals are now 5-1 since the start of last season when Boldin does not play. Kurt Warner matched a career high with five touchdown passes Sunday. He threw two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald, one to Steve Breaston and one apiece to tight ends Ben Patrick and Anthony Becht.

Whisenhunt insisted the Cardinals stuck with their intended game plan after deciding 90 minutes before kickoff to rest Boldin and his injured ankle.

That might be true, but Arizona did shake up its personnel use in this game. The team used four wide receivers a season-low 15.6 percent of the time, down from at least 25 percent in blowout victories over Jacksonville and Seattle earlier this season. The team used "11" personnel with one back and one tight end 29.7 percent of the time, a season high. It also showed more willingness to run the ball from passing formations.

Part of me thinks the Cardinals might sometimes be more apt to give their ground game a chance when Boldin is on the sideline.

"We've shown we can do it," guard Reggie Wells said, referring to the ground game in general and not in relation to Boldin's status. "It's just a matter of sticking with it. Sometimes we've gotten away from it."

3. The Cardinals should consider trading Boldin.

This wasn't the first time Boldin seemed unable to enjoy a Cardinals victory. It happened last season and again Sunday when the Cardinals decided to name him inactive.

Boldin, suffering from an ankle injury, warmed up and declared himself ready. Whisenhunt cited loose sod at Soldier Field as one reason he decided to play it safe. Also, Doucet had gotten most of Boldin's reps during practice.

"The only thing I can say is that when I came here, all of my stuff was in my locker," Boldin said. "I went out and warmed up -- felt great -- and when I came back in, everything was gone. Nobody was man enough to come to me and tell me what was the situation.

"I would have probably felt better had somebody been man enough to walk up to me and tell me what the situation was, but I had to walk back in the locker room and find all of my stuff gone."

Two points here.

One, Boldin deserves to be treated with respect. He plays hurt. He appears to be an excellent teammate. I've seen him mentor younger players, including Doucet, during offseason minicamps even when Boldin was upset about his contract.

Two, the head coach has more on his mind than making sure his toughest player's feelings aren't hurt. I highly doubt Whisenhunt meant any disrespect in this case. He was preoccupied with making the right decision and informing NFL officials before the deadline for naming inactive players.

The Cardinals need to strongly consider trading Boldin after this season. They're loaded at receiver without him, they have a young running back who needs to get more carries, they cannot justify giving a long-term deal to a 29-year-old player with injury concerns and it's clear Boldin cannot be happy in Arizona without a new deal.

4. Warner handled pressure much better.

Warner made the Bears pay for rushing five defenders.

He averaged 7.8 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and a 104.8 rating when the Bears rushed five. That was up from 5.9 yards per attempt with three interceptions and a 61.3 rating when the Cardinals' previous 2009 opponents rushed five, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Running back Tim Hightower helped hold the Bears without a sack when they came after Warner. His block in blitz pickup freed Warner to find Fitzgerald for an 11-yard touchdown reception early in the game. The Cardinals brought a linebacker as the fifth rusher on that play.

Chicago was most effective against Warner when overloading one side. The Bears did not try it much, however.

5. The defense remains vulnerable to the big play.

Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, burned for a 50-yard touchdown against the Panthers' Steve Smith in Week 8, gave up another big pass play, this one to the Bears' Devin Hester.

Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson had a rough game in coverage against Bears tight end Greg Olsen.

Arizona's offense took off the pressure Sunday, but the Cardinals must resolve their problems in coverage. Limiting the big pass play has been Whisenhunt's top defensive priority this season. The Cardinals have shown improvement at times, but they have not been consistent enough in that area.

6. This is a loose, unapologetic team.

Reporters were reaching for their recorders and moving toward the locker room when Whisenhunt informed them he had one more thing to say.

"I'd also like to compliment the Bears because they played hard and they came back," Whisenhunt said. "And the last thing I'll say is, 'We didn't let them off the hook.' "

Whisenhunt's playful reference to predecessor Dennis Green's postgame harangue -- that one following an infamous defeat to the Bears in 2006 -- arguably showed little regard for an already embarrassed opponent.

At least Whisenhunt didn't slug anyone.

7. Tommie Harris' punch had little impact.

The Cardinals players I polled regarding Harris' sucker punch on Arizona guard Deuce Lutui effectively shrugged when asked about the play's impact.

They did not seem to take offense. Even Lutui expressed no malice toward Harris.

"It didn't hurt," Lutui said. "It happened so fast. It was nothing serious. I just know the refs caught it. Things like that happen."

The only effect, if any, was that the Cardinals no longer had to worry about Harris. They were already running the ball effectively when Harris was in the game.

Dockett expressed disappointment in Harris, a player he says he admires, but there were no hard feelings. The key, Dockett said, is to deliver punches during pileups, where officials have a harder time spotting them.

8. Doucet's role no reflection on Urban.

Fitzgerald, Breaston and Doucet generally served as the Cardinals' receivers in three-receiver sets, even though Jerheme Urban outranks Doucet in the receiving hierarchy.

Doucet had taken some of Boldin's reps during practice. Leaving Urban as the fourth receiver meant fewer receivers had to deviate from their usual roles.

Doucet had a 6-yard reception on third-and-5. Urban played less than usual because the Cardinals ran so few four-receiver groupings.

9. Beanie Wells, Hightower deserve more carries.

Both players averaged more than 5 yards per carry on a combined 28 rushes. Wells' first four carries went for 6, 13, 5 and 26 yards.

Hightower remains the superior pass protector, but Wells' big-play ability is apparent.

"I'm sure he's getting more comfortable and adapting to what we are doing as an offense," Reggie Wells said, "but it takes time when you are called upon to do more in our passing game. He has been coming arond great."

10. The rest of the NFC West cannot like this result.

While the 49ers and Seahawks fought tough battles against losing teams Sunday, the Cardinals were breezing to victory over a team with a winning record.

Arizona will be tough to overtake in the division if -- make that when -- the Cardinals take care of business against Seattle in Week 10.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Bears didn't have any answers for the Cardinals in Sunday's 41-21 loss.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

CHICAGO -- I think I heard a collective groan here Sunday when Bears coach Lovie Smith stepped to the podium and said: “I don’t have a lot of reasons to give you on why we played that way.” In this case, however, I’m with Smith: The Bears’ performance Sunday was inexplicable.
Week 9 Coverage
• Kuharsky: Caldwell not challenged
• Walker: Bengals are no joke
• Yasinskas: Hargove plays through pain
• Seifert: Bears at a loss
• Sando: Cardinals hot and cold
• Wojciechowski: Joke's on the Bears
• Mosley: Defense carries Cowboys
• Graham: Patriots pull away
• Reiss: Patriots tame Wildcat
• Clayton: Last Call
• Pasquarelli: Rivers best for a night
• MNF: On the same path | MN HQ
• NFL Nation: Reactions | Wrap-ups | Live

How does a team with playoff aspirations fall as flat as the Bears did Sunday? Why were no adjustments effective as the opponent scored on its first six possessions? How did a starting defensive lineman get so worked up after four plays that he punched an opponent, leading to his ejection? And why did your quarterback take a 15-yard penalty for arguing with officials and then question his team’s internal makeup afterward?

That’s right. Quarterback Jay Cutler was asked if the Bears have a chemistry and leadership problem after their 41-21 loss to Arizona. Cutler response: “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

To a man, the Bears had no answers after their second blowout loss in three games. The only variance was how alarmed they were. Smith noted “our entire play was bad,” but he optimistically suggested the quick turnaround to Thursday night’s game at San Francisco would serve the Bears well. Tight end Greg Olsen said it was “unfair” to suggest the team is going in the wrong direction after blowout losses Sunday and two weeks ago at Cincinnati.

Only Alex Brown, the Bears’ classy and well-spoken defensive end, was visibly disturbed by what happened. Brown has been with the team since 2002, and if anyone deserves to hit the panic button, it’s him.

“For this to work,” Brown said, “we have to believe it’s going to work and we have to have a sense of urgency and we don’t have that right now. I don’t know what the hell is wrong, but we have to change it. It’s the eighth game of the season, and I know a lot of people like to think we’re better than 4-4. But hell, our record is 4-4. ... If we want to have any aspirations of going further or making it to the playoffs and stuff like that, then we’ve got to play a hell of a lot better.”

Brown went on to say that “anybody that doesn’t feel bad after that shouldn’t be here,” making me wonder which Bears players he was referring to.

“We keep saying, 'Go home and soul search and look at yourself,' but I don’t know. Something’s a little ... there might be a little more than that.”

Brown said he had “no idea” exactly what “a little more” was. But I’m less inclined to believe the team has quit or that there are some bad apples damaging the group. More than anything, when I watch the Bears, I see a team that has lost its edge and deleted its own identity. Simply put, there is no longer an internal or external expectation in Chicago that the Bears can play good defense.

Two weeks ago, Cincinnati led 31-3 at halftime and finished with 30 first downs. On Sunday, the Cardinals rolled up 296 offensive yards and 20 first downs in the first half alone. After defensive tackle Tommie Harris got himself ejected in the first quarter, the Bears allowed an average of 6.1 yards per middle rush for the rest of the game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Finally, the Cardinals converted eight of their first nine third-down opportunities.

I suppose every team is allowed one lemon per season, one game where nothing seems to work and the end result is a college homecoming-style blowout. But deeper problems are evident when you can’t slow down your opponent twice in a three-game span.

The Bears' defense seems beyond repair to me. I know. Just last week I suggested the Bears could milk six more wins out of their schedule. But in Sunday’s affair, at least, I underestimated the impact of a steamrolled defense on the entire team. It seemed to send the Bears’ offense into a panic; coordinator Ron Turner called passes on 10 of his first 12 plays. Tailback Matt Forte got only five carries.

Brown suggested that players should play “like our backs are against the wall” from the first whistle, but that seems like wishful thinking to me. The Bears briefly got back into Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter when the Cardinals started emptying their bench. Danieal Manning’s interception of backup quarterback Matt Leinart might have been a turning point, but the Cardinals restored order as soon as starter Kurt Warner returned to the game.

“If we don’t figure it out, there’s going to be a lot of those games,” Brown said. “We’re going to have a lot more of those games these last eight games if we can’t figure it out.”

After watching Sunday’s game, however, I don’t have much faith in the Bears’ ability to do that. We should all agree that cornerback Charles Tillman shouldn’t be matched up in single coverage with an opponent’s top receiver, as he was Sunday against Larry Fitzgerald and two weeks ago against the Bengals’ Chad Ochocinco. But would Cover 2 approach be any better considering the Bears’ questionable pass rush of late?

Can we now accept that the Bears don’t have the personnel to blitz effectively? On Sunday, they faced a quarterback in Warner who had been highly vulnerable to the blitz this season. In the first eight games of the season, in fact, Warner had a 61.3 passer rating when opponents sent added pressure.

On Sunday, Warner’s rating was 104.8 against the blitz, and it didn’t matter how the Bears schemed it. He went 3-for-3 when the Bears blitzed two linebackers. He was 4-for-4 when the Bears blitzed a safety. And when they emphasized coverage, rushing only four defensive linemen, Warner completed 10 of 13 passes.

(Those figures are all courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.)

So let’s try to put it all together. The Bears are supposed to be a team built around defense and an offense that, to use Smith’s phrase, “gets off the bus running.” But they no longer have a competent defense, let alone one that can play at an elite level. They haven’t been able to run for most of the season, and Sunday they never even tried.

Chicago is three games behind Minnesota in the NFC North and has three days to prepare for a Thursday night game at San Francisco. Smith referred to that quick turnaround as an “opportunity” and said the Bears are no different than a team that “played bad ball right at the end of the half” and has a “chance to regroup quickly.”

Smith, of course, couldn’t say why his team had played “bad ball” or how it would “regroup quickly.” I hope this conclusion isn’t too dramatic, but it sure seems like his team has strayed irrevocably from the core values he installed in 2004. They don’t play decent defense and they don’t even try to run the ball. What is the Bears identity? Who are they? It’s inexplicable.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin was unhappy with the Cardinals' decision to name him inactive Sunday.
Boldin

Loose sod and overall poor field conditions at Soldier Field led coach Ken Whisenhunt to make the decision 90 minutes before kickoff, the latest allowable time.

Boldin said no one was "man enough" to tell him about the deactivation in person. He said he warmed up and felt great, only to find out upon returning to the locker room that team personnel had removed his equipment from his locker.

This sounds like a miscommunication. Whisenhunt waited until the last possible moment before making the decision. He probably didn't have time to brief Boldin before Boldin returned to the locker room.

I understand Boldin's frustration, but if he complains too loudly following a 41-21 victory, someone will point out the Cardinals' record without him since last season: 5-1, counting playoffs.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals took the Bears' best shot -- a first-quarter sucker punch from defensive tackle Tommie Harris to guard Deuce Lutui's head -- and did not blink.

They again distinguished themselves from the NFC West pack by beating a decent team on the road.

Arizona improbably improved its road record to 4-0. The focus will now shift to the Cardinals' inability to win home games. Arizona, always up for a challenge, will probably refocus its fury upon visiting Seattle in Week 10.

The Cardinals then visit the Rams in Week 11, followed by a trip to Tennessee.

Beating the Bears put Arizona in strong position to match its record through 10 games last season (7-3) and possibly get to 8-3. If the Cardinals can get to that mark, the rest of the division will have a very difficult time catching them. Nothing is automatic with Arizona, of course, so the team should proceed into this three-game soft stretch with caution. Facing a division opponent in Week 10 should help the Cardinals keep their focus.

Establishing a strong ground game against the Bears gives the Cardinals a needed confidence boost in that phase of the game. The Cardinals will become dynamic offensively if they can build on their most impressive rushing performance since the playoffs last season. Kurt Warner matched a career high with five touchdown passes Sunday largely because the team established credibility on the ground early in the game.

That must continue for Arizona to realize its potential.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

CHICAGO -- No one should spend time celebrating Chicago for its mini-comeback Sunday at Soldier Field, one that allowed a blowout loss to appear somewhat less painful on the final scoreboard. The Bears got the living daylights beat out of them at home Sunday in a game that should call into question the viability of their organization from top to bottom.

Arizona led 34-7 early in the fourth quarter before the Bears closed the gap with two quick touchdowns. But Kurt Warner’s fifth touchdown pass of the game sealed the Cardinals’ victory with 4:30 remaining.

The Bears had no answer for the Cardinals’ passing game and gave up more than three times as many rushing yards (182) as Arizona has averaged on a per-game basis this season. The Bears offense was one-dimensional from the start, all but ignoring the running game, and even their normally-reliable special teams made a critical error.

Most alarming to me was the relative willingness with which the Bears seemed to accept their fate. A few players were mildly enthusiastic during the mini-comeback, but otherwise the team was totally flat in a key November game. It’s fair to ask, for the second time in three weeks, why coach Lovie Smith’s team seemed so ill-prepared.

Two weeks ago, you’ll remember, the Bears absorbed a 45-10 loss at Cincinnati. This stretch has dropped the Bears to 4-4 and a full three games behind Minnesota in the NFC North. They need to find answers quickly. They’re running out of time.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

CHICAGO -- Stop reading now if you want to see something -- anything -- nice about the Bears. They played a terrible half in all three phases of the game and have been jeered loudly in their home stadium. Arizona leads 31-7 -- yes, that’s right -- and here are my halftime thoughts:
  • The Bears have been a step behind the Cardinals’ offense, both physically and from a scheme perspective, all game. Their front four has gotten almost no push, and their blitzes have been wholly ineffective. The Cardinals are running out of passing formations and passing out of run formations, clearly confusing the Bears and again calling into question their ability to make in-game adjustments.
  • I don’t consider the loss of defensive tackle Tommie Harris to be significant given his production this season. But if nothing else, his ejection has left some of the Bears’ other defensive tackles winded while rushing Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.
  • The Cardinals have compiled a full game’s worth of statistics in one half: 296 total offensive yards and 20 first downs. Warner has four touchdown passes and has completed 17 of 22 passes.
  • The Bears opened the game throwing and I don’t think we’ll see much of Matt Forte in the second half with this deficit. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw on 11 of the Bears’ first 13 plays. His 42-yard pass to Devin Hester set up a 33-yard scoring strike to tight end Greg Olsen, but since then, Cutler has had trouble moving the Bears down the field.
  • Even the Bears’ usually-strong special teams have failed them. Robbie Gould’s 48-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter was partially blocked, and Antrel Rolle’s 59-yard return set up the Cardinals’ final score before halftime.
  • The Bears finished the half without two of their four starting defensive backs: Cornerback Charles Tillman and safety Al Afalava, both of whom had shoulder injuries.
  • The boo birds have been out early and often in this game. I’ll be very curious to see how fans react if the Bears roll over in the second half.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals' offensive machine has dominated to dream-like levels while building a 31-7 first-half lead over the Bears at Soldier Field.

The chart illustrates just how complete Arizona's mastery has been to this point in the game. Check out those rushing numbers across personnel groups.

No other team in the NFC West and very few in the NFL can produce to that level against a decent team on the road or anywhere. Enjoy this, Cardinals fans. It doesn't get much better during the regular season.
Cardinals Personnel Group vs. Bears in First Half
Carries Yards Per Carry Pass Attempts Yards Per Attempt TD
2RB-1TE 5 10.2 5 11.6 0
1RB-1TE 2 15.0 8 7.3 2
1RB-2TE 5 8.2 4 8.0 2
4WR 2 4.5 4 10.3 0
2RB-0TE 0 0.0 0 0.0 0
3TE 0 0.0 0 0.0 0
Totals 14 9.4 21 9.0 4
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

CHICAGO -- Just when you thought Tommie Harris couldn’t become a more bizarre character in Chicago, he comes up with another stunt.
 Harris


Harris just got ejected on the fourth play of the Bears’ game against Arizona for a blatant, ridiculous punch of Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui. The two had begun scuffling on the previous play. After the fourth play was whistled dead, Harris was lying on top of Lutui and delivered a closed-fist punch through Lutui’s facemask a few yards away from the Cardinals bench.

Referee Ed Hochuli immediately ejected Harris, who was replaced by Israel Idonije. Harris has hardly made an impact this season, as we’ve documented repeatedly, but now he’s given the Cardinals a huge early emotional advantage as well.

Before he left the sideline, Harris seemed to be telling Bears coach Lovie Smith that Lutui had kneed him. But there’s no excuse for punching a player who is on the ground.

It was a tough opening drive for the Bears, who also lost middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer to another injury. His status is uncertain, but for now the Bears are using Nick Roach in the middle and Jamar Williams on the strong side.

The Cardinals lead 7-0 after Larry Fitzgerald beat Charles Tillman for an 11-yard touchdown reception.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- The NFL needs to -- and probably will -- suspend Bears defensive lineman Tommie Harris after Harris punched Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui in the face.

Referee Ed Hochuli ejected Harris.

Harris and Lutui had tangled on the ground earlier in the game. Harris lost his cool the second time, slugging Lutui in the head while Lutui was on the ground. I'm not sure what Lutui did to enrage Harris. Either way, it was bush-league stuff from Harris.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- Anquan Boldin warmed up for the Cardinals at Soldier Field on Sunday morning, but the team named him inactive at the last minute.
 Boldin


The decision gives Boldin a week to recover from the ankle injury he aggravated against the Panthers in Week 8.

Sitting down Boldin strikes me as a smart decision. If allowed to play, Boldin would have toughed it out, perhaps at the expense of his ability to recover -- and arguably at the expense of the offense.

Steve Breaston joins Larry Fitzgerald in the starting lineup at receiver. Jerheme Urban becomes the third receiver. Early Doucet is active after getting additional reps during the week. Doucet, a third-round draft choice in 2008, hasn't had many opportunities. It's important for him to play well.

Also inactive for the Cardinals: safety Rashad Johnson, linebacker Gerald Hayes, tackle Herman Johnson, guard Brandon Keith, tight end Stephen Spach and tight end Dominique Byrd. Brian St. Pierre is the third quarterback.

Spach was healthy enough to be active this week.

SPONSORED HEADLINES