JOEinPHX Posted September 15, 2010 Share Posted September 15, 2010 (edited) It’s generally accepted that Ken Whisenhunt has rebuilt the Cardinals in the Steelers image, with an emphasis on defense, and in the absence of Kurt Warner, a lunchpail offense. As a consequence, I think the Falcons will face essentially the same challenges in Week 2 that they faced in Week 1.The Cardinals 3-4 defense doesn’t feature quite the personnel that Pittsburgh’s does, but there are parallels. Darnell Dockett is a force and Calais Campbell is developing very nicely. Bryan Robinson at NT is the only average player on the frontline. The linebackers include two former Steelers in Clark Haggans and Joey Porter. Neither is in their prime but both bring Pittsburgh-like intensity. Paris Lenon is playing very well on the inside as is rookie Daryl Washington who has sideline-to-sideline range. In the backfield, Adrian Wilson doesn’t have the cover skills of Polamalu but his ferocity and run support are superior. They’ve upgraded the FS spot with Kerry Rhodes. Dominique Rogers-Cromartie is better than any CB on the Steelers. Greg Toler is still developing but competent.On the offensive side, the Cardinals front line has been completely revamped – cobbled together some would say, but that’s exactly what was said about the Steelers line. Ben Patrick at TE isn’t the option that Heath Miller is. The Cardinals elite receiver corps is no longer elite. Larry Fitzgerald is still gimping. Anquan Boldin is gone, but Steve Breaston is one of the better #2’s in the league. Early Doucet has been diagnosed with a sports hernia, so the #3 will be a rookie. Tim Hightower can be likened to Rashard Mendenhall, but has ball security issues. A forced fumble or two would be great. Beanie Wells is dinged and a game time decision. Even if he goes, I don't think he'll be effective.Finally, there’s Derek Anderson, who’s not the same running threat as Dennis Dixon, and might be an inferior passer as well. Dixon put a lot of balls in the dirt, which Anderson won’t do. But Anderson might put a few more balls in the hands of Falcons defenders.The Falcons were supposed to dominate the Steelers O-line, but only did so occasionally. I think the Cardinals run game will be stuffed, but Derek Anderson has to be pressured more than Dixon was. If not, and he’s on, he can make it a long day. The best scenario is that he uncorks one of his stinker performances, but that’s the sort of thing that has to be helped along by the Falcons defense.On offense, the Falcons O-line has to do better, and I think they can. They’ll open bigger holes against Arizona than they did against Pittsburgh and Turner will have a better day. They'll also have to provide more time for Ryan if we want to see any long balls, and I think they can do that, too. The Steelers provided a blueprint for limiting the Falcons offense by jamming Weems and Douglas all game long – as small receivers, they were seldom able to complete their routes. That left only Roddy and Tony as regular options, and there was almost always safety help available against them. In my opinion, that’s why the longest completion of the day was 23 yards. In fact, I think Roddy had a remarkable day given the way his routes were limited. Having a viable #2 receiver will be critical in this game. If Jenkins is healthy, he can be that player, and I’d also like to see Finneran have a relief role. Size at the #2 spot can make a lot of difference, more so than speed. If either of those guys can get into their routes and demand safety respect, Roddy and Tony will be much more effective. Finally, I think double-TE sets can be very effective. I’d make Peelle a regular option.Can Matt Ryan be better against the Cardinals than against the Steelers? Personally, I think he did extremely well against the Steelers, but with an open #2 and a more effective run game, he can dominate the game on Sunday. I think he will. Edited September 15, 2010 by JOEinPHX Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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