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A Run At Redemption

Posted Nov 5, 2009

Cardinals will try to reset itself against the rush

The Cardinals will try and clamp down against the run after a rough game last week.
 
 
The Cardinals were the top-ranked run defense in the league heading into their game against the Panthers.

Two-hundred and seventy rushing yards later, the Cards were left blaming themselves for what could have been.

 “We didn’t play together,” defensive end Darnell Dockett said.  “We didn’t play the way we are capable. We played down to their level.

“Taking nothing away from the Panthers, that’s a good team … but we didn’t play the type of football we played against the Giants the week before and that’s a lesson learned. The dominant defenses don’t have one good game; they are consistent through the year. That’s not where we are at right now.”

Where they are and where they want to be, however, may not be far apart.

Missed tackles and blown assignments cost Arizona, but they are correctable mistakes. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team’s biggest problem, aside from missed tackles, was the inability to finish some of the plays where the Carolina runners were stuck and broke out to the backside for big gains.

 “We have to believe in the scheme and continue to play the right way and we’ll have success,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “If we don’t, we get L’s (losses) and get the running game run on us so we just have to play with discipline and be consistent.”

Consistency is what the Cardinals were able to accomplish in the first six games of the season.
After their loss to the Colts in Week 3, the Cards responded by holding the Texans to 45 rushing yards and the Seahawks to 14, both Arizona victories. 

“We’ve been counted for dead once already defensively after the Indianapolis game and we responded well,” Whisenhunt said.

This Sunday, the Cardinals face a Bears team, who ran for 170 yards in their 30-6 win over Cleveland last week, which will to try to exploit the same spots the Panthers found.
 
Chicago’s running attack begins with second year back Matt Forte, who rushed for 90 yards last week against Cleveland but has been held in check so far this season, averaging 58.3 yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry. 

“We have struggled at times,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Matt, of course, has been a part of that.  Teams can come in and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to stop the run no matter what,’ and they can stop the run.”

Smith, however, insisted the Bears are a running team – a challenge not lost on the Cards, even though they know Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler is dangerous.

 “I’ve played on that team, in that division and I know what they are capable of,” defensive tackle Bryan Robinson said.  “You don’t want to underestimate what the Bears can do in their running game because if they get a good thing going, they will stick with it.”

After his team’s rough game against the Panthers, Robinson said he’d expect nothing else than the Bears to stay on the ground.

 “You have to give the Bears credit if that’s what they are going to do,” Robinson said. “I would do the same thing. ‘Let’s do it until they stop it,’ that’s probably what they are thinking.  If we don’t stop it, they’ll keep doing what they saw on film.”
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