Monday, October 20, 2003
Updated: October 21, 3:15 PM ET
Former backup ready to run again
TEMPE, Ariz. -- This weekend's game against San Francisco
feels like an opener to Marcel Shipp.
"We're looking at starting the season over," the Arizona
running back said after the Cardinals practiced Monday following
three days off. "We've just got to go from there. We worked hard
today, got a lot done, so hopefully that will carry over to Sunday
and we'll get a win."
Reality is a 1-5 record, a three-game losing streak and a
division rival coming off a strong performance. During Arizona's
bye weekend, the 49ers (3-4) beat defending Super Bowl champion
Tampa Bay 24-7.
The Cardinals went into the off-week after a 26-18 loss to
Baltimore on Oct. 12. The Ravens failed to score on offense, but
converted one of Jeff Blake's three interceptions into a touchdown,
blocked a punt for another and kicked four field goals.
"We're 1-5," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said Monday. "No
one is happy with where we are."
But Shipp, suddenly the team's No. 1 ball carrier again,
returned in high spirits.
"It means a lot," he said. "You could tell today that
everybody came back fresh. Everybody has a new attitude and
they're, like, rejuvenated. It just means so much to get that rest
for your body."
Shipp ran for a team-high 834 yards in 188 carries last year
while starting six games.
His breakthrough second season made former starter Thomas Jones
expendable, and Shipp was clearly No. 1 on the depth chart until
NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith he signed with the Cardinals
after parting ways with Dallas.
Shipp had only 15 carries until Smith broke his left shoulder
blade in the second quarter against the Cowboys on Oct. 5.
That led to Shipp's start against the Ravens. He gained 61
yards, most of them by midway through the third quarter before
being left out of the equation while the Cardinals tried to play
Small wonder Shipp welcomes the new beginning.
"I just want to do something out there, execute and get some
wins for this team," he said.
Center Pete Kendall believes the running game can be an asset if
the offense can eliminate turnovers.
"We feel like Emmitt or Marcel, any of our backs, can be
effective if we can get in a situation where we continue to run the
ball throughout the game. It's no secret in this league that the
longer a game is close, the bigger advantage it is for the offense,
because the defenses start to wear down.
"When they can get you off the field in three plays and go
catch their breath again, then the tables turn."