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A Good Defense Wants More

Posted Oct 12, 2012

Notebook: Peterson talks of stopping big plays; Skelton probable, defenders doubtful

The Cardinals' defense played well in St. Louis but the unit wants to play better.

The Cardinals’ defense is coming off a game in which they gave up only 17 points and allowed just seven completions to the opposing quarterback.

Not good enough, safety Adrian Wilson said.

“No, because we have zero margin for error,” Wilson said. “That’s the reality of what we are working with right now. Defensively, obviously, we feel we are the strength of the team and being the strength of the team, we have to carry the team the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, fifth quarter, however long it takes.”

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said he liked that the Rams’ Sam Bradford only completed seven passes, but two were for 44 and 51 yards respectively, instrumental in the two St. Louis touchdowns. Horton Friday was still lamenting a wide-open seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Lance Kendricks as well.

“We are better than we were last year (defensively),” Horton said. “But we’re not where we want to be this year.”

There is a balance needed. While Wilson said the defense needs to shoulder more of the load, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald shook his head and talked about the offense’s need to execute, knowing the defense had a good game in St. Louis.

“You hold someone to 17 points, hold a starting quarterback to seven completions in a game, that has all the makings of a game you should win,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to be able to pull our weight as an offense.”

Wilson said the defense needs to provide more turnovers and short fields. That would help everyone.

“You have to be there for the team, you have to create more opportunities for the offense,” Wilson said. “That’s something we didn’t do. We may have done well yardage-wise, but we didn’t create opportunities for the offense and we didn’t create field position. So that is something we definitely have to get better at.”

STOPPING THE BIG PLAY

Cornerback Patrick Peterson was beaten by Danny Amendola for a 44-yard bomb to set up the first score against the Rams, while Greg Toler was the culprit when rookie Chris Givens beat him for a 51-yard touchdown.

The Bills have wide receiver Steve Johnson, who is looking forward to a matchup with Peterson – “He can be beat, anybody can be beat. … With a style like mine we’ll see if he can hold up to it,” Johnson told BuffaloBills.com – but Buffalo has been struggling. Before last week, though, Horton said the Bills had the most explosive plays in the NFL.

“The Bills have a good offense,” Peterson said. “It hasn’t shown in the last couple of weeks, but we have given up explosive plays the last two weeks, we have to do a better job in the details.”

The Cards have fought against the big play, but it also showed up against Miami when the team allowed an 80-yard touchdown pass that almost cost them the game.

“It hasn’t killed us yet, but we don’t want (to have to) make that a priority to focus on,” Peterson said. “We want to execute the game plan to the full potential.”

DEFENDERS DOUBTFUL, SKELTON PROBABLE

The addition of cornerback Crezdon Butler makes a lot of sense now that Toler and Michael Adams, both battling hamstring injuries, are doubtful to play Sunday. Also doubtful is linebacker Reggie Walker, who suffered a concussion against the Rams. That could open the door for defensive snaps for Stewart Bradley, who hasn’t gotten many this season. Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) is also doubtful.

Six players for the Cards are questionable: defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, tight ends Todd Heap and Jim Dray and linebackers O’Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon and Quentin Groves.

Quarterback John Skelton is listed as probable with his ankle injury for the first time since getting hurt. Kevin Kolb is still expected to start, but Skelton could dress as backup.

For the Cardinals’ injury report, click here. For the Bills’ injury report, click here.

FITZPATRICK’S CARDINALS ROOTS

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is from nearby Gilbert and attended Highland High School. While Fitzpatrick went to Harvard for college, his parents are both Arizona State University products and Fitzpatrick frequently attended Sun Devils games growing up.

Because of that, it’s not a surprise who his favorite Cardinals were when he was younger.

“Jake Plummer has always been my guy,” Fitzpatrick said, naming the former ASU and Cardinals quarterback. “(And) Pat Tillman and some of the other guys who moved on from ASU to the Cardinals.”


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