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Rally A Morale Booster

Posted Dec 7, 2011

Notebook: Kolb comeback helps; Heap role undefined with injury

Quarterback Kevin Kolb eludes pressure to get off a screen pass to running back LaRod Stephens-Howling for the game-winning touchdown pass Sunday.

Kevin Kolb’s return looked so much better in the second half and overtime against the Cowboys, completing 9-of-14 attempts for 243 yards and a touchdown in that time.

Perhaps more important for the quarterback, though, was the rally factor.

The Cardinals had had a few chances to put together a fourth-quarter scoring drive earlier in the season to take a lead and win a game with Kolb behind center, but couldn’t complete the deal. That changed with overtime, when the Cards took the opening kick and never let the Cowboys have the ball on an 80-yard touchdown drive.

“Anytime you come back and win a game like that, it means a lot for morale and just to know you can do it,” Kolb said.

Kolb completed all three passes he attempted in overtime, including the screen to running back LaRod Stephens-Howling on which he used some nifty footwork to avoid pass rusher Anthony Spencer.

“It’s good for the team to know Kevin is in there and he can pull out the same thing as (John) Skelton has been doing,” Stephens-Howling said. “It would be nice to blow somebody out, but tight games, it feels good.”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt called Kolb’s play down the stretch “progress” and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said he was encouraged by the offensive rally and “happy” for Kolb. Earlier in the season, Kolb and the Cards had the ball against the Redskins (Chansi Stuckey fumble), Seahawks (interception) and Giants (fourth-down incompletion) late in the fourth quarter with the chance to tie or take the lead. They couldn’t convert.

“I’ll take a late rally with (a reporter) at quarterback,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think it really matters who is back there (at QB), who is running, who is catching. If we are winning ballgames, we can move forward.”

HEAP’S ROLE

Whisenhunt said the Cards are “trying to find out” what role tight end Todd Heap would fit, but that is has been impossible to this point because of Heap’s hamstring injury. Heap has only played in two games – and one of those was just for a couple of plays – and has no receptions since getting hurt Oct. 2 against the Giants.

“As far as being able to target plays, design plays, put him in situations where you try to get matchups with him, we haven’t been able to do that because he hasn’t been on the field,” Whisenhunt said.

Heap is frustrated, as expected. He spent as much time answering questions about the Arizona State coaching situation – Heap was a Sun Devil – as he did about his own situation.

“My main focus is doing whatever I can to get back in there and help us win,” Heap said. “That’s all I can worry about. … I do have a lot more confidence in it than I did at this time last week. That’s a positive and I’m looking for any of those right now.”

Heap was limited Wednesday.

SOME FREEDOM AT FREE SAFETY

Whisenhunt said while safety Kerry Rhodes “looked good” in limited drills Wednesday, he still wasn’t sure when Rhodes would return and put him in the same category as he did with Kolb when the quarterback was injured – a day-to-day reaction-to-work evaluation.

The Cardinals have gotten solid play at free safety in Rhodes’ absence, however. The Cards have used both Richard Marshall and Rashad Johnson in packages while the defense has improved.

“Kerry was playing well,” Whisenhunt said. “The reason we didn’t (put him on injured reserve) was because of that. A lot of times when that happens, you find out about other guys. Richard stepped up, and so did Rashad. That gives you a little bit more versatility when Kerry does come back.”

BEANIE SITS

Running back Beanie Wells did not practice Wednesday and is listed with knee, thumb and hamstring problems. Nevertheless, Wells has missed a day of practice here and there and there are no indications he will not be playing against the 49ers Sunday.

Limited for the Cardinals were safety Sean Considine (Achilles), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (quadriceps) and linebacker Joey Porter (knee). Cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring) worked full.

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