Staying on the Defensive – Cards v. Seahawks
The month of September is absolutely critical for a football team, as it sets the tone for your season. Last year, the Arizona Cardinals won their home opener and then dropped the next three in September to start the year 1-3.
This year going into week 2 we are 0-1 and hosting last season’s division winner, the Seattle Seahawks, in our home opener. It’s our second straight division match-up and it could not be more critical to this team. This single win can energize the players, the coaches and the fans, which we will need going into the next two contests. It can erase the mental weight felt by the players from last week’s Monday night letdown and be the beginning of something great. But there are a few things that have to happen for the Cards to walk out on top on Sunday. Here are my keys to the game….
1. To the Defense: JUST PLAY LIKE YOU DID LAST WEEK!
The Cards were absolutely lights out against the Niners running game last week, limiting Frank Gore to just 55 yards on the ground while sacking Alex Smith two times and causing him to fumble in Niners territory which eventually led to a Cards TD. They face just as difficult a challenge in Seattle RB Shawn Alexander who rushed for 107 yds last week against Tampa Bay.
The difference this week is the Seattle QB; Matt Hasselback is not Alex Smith, he will make the throws and the plays that Smith couldn’t. So continued pressure on quarterback is critical. While it may be impractical to expect that kind of performance every week, the defense needs to limit the amount of big plays from Seattle’s offense as much as possible. Basically, the defense needs to prove that performance against San Francisco was not a one hit wonder.
2. To Matt Leinart: LAST WEEK DOES NOT EXIST!!
Cards QB Matt Leinart needs to forget about last week if he hasn’t already. He’s playing at home, in front of his home crowd, in his city, in his stadium! Leinart has all of the tools, he just needs to settle down and make the throws he knows he can make. Seattle has a suspect secondary, especially with the absence of former Hawks Michael Boulware and Ken Hamlin.
The running game should be just as strong and really be able to set up the pass with effective play action. The Cards aerial attack, and namely its two targets of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, will be flying once again in this one……as long as Leinart does what he is capable of doing.
3. To the O-Line: STUPID PENALTIES WILL COST US THE GAME!!!
Here are a few facts: Penalties have been a mainstay of this team for too long. Penalties kill the morale of a team. Penalties allowed the Niners to win the football game last week. Most of the penalties that the Cards commit can easily be prevented. The false starts, the illegal formations, simple stuff that turn a 2 down & 3 into a 2 down & 8 – you just can’t have those and expect to win too many ball games.
We had over one hundred yards in penalties last week and it cost us the game. If we do the same thing against the Seahawks, they will make us pay a lot worse than the Niners could. Sometimes we don’t get the call, that’s just a part of the game, but penalties that are no one’s fault but our own, that cannot be a part of our game.
So that’s how I see this matchup. LETS GO CARDS!!!!