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Signs Of Pressure

Posted Aug 19, 2011

Notebook: Pass rush flashes in Green Bay; Housler takes advantage

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during Friday night's 28-20 Cardinals' loss to Green Bay.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The pressure was better.

The Cardinals did lose to the Packers, 28-20, at Lambeau Field but the pass rush flashed for the first time in the preseason. The defense collected four sacks all told, three by starting defensive linemen Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and Dan Williams and another by linebacker O’Brien Schofield.

“It comes down to some players winning some one-on-one battles,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That’s a good sign.”

The Cards definitely need Dockett and Campbell to make that kind of impact. Dockett, in fact, got to show off a little of new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheming when he dropped back in coverage on one play and stopped running back Ryan Grant on a linebacker-esque play.

But it was Schofield that might have meant the most. He had a sack of backup quarterback Matt Flynn and caused a fumble (the Packers recovered) and drilled Flynn another time just as Flynn released the ball for an incompletion.

Schofield has struggled with his technique, admittedly having issues knowing when to drop into coverage and when to rush.

“I got to the point where I had to make some flash cards,” Schofield said. “But tonight was a glimpse of what I can be when I am able to play and not think.”

COSTLY PENALTIES

The Cardinals were flagged 11 times for 60 yards, but it was when and how they happened that was the most frustrating rather than the yards cost. Still, Whisenhunt felt comfortable they were fixable issues.

The Cards lost big yards on a screen pass to running back Beanie Wells because wide receiver Early Doucet hadn’t come set. Tackle Levi Brown was flagged for a couple of false starts, and Whisenhunt said the defense was warned at one point about a hard count on third-and-short and they still jumped offsides.

“Those are all things we have to clean up,” Whisenhunt said. “They are in our control.”

Said quarterback Kevin Kolb, “You always want it to be in your hands and obviously the mistakes were in our hands tonight.”

HOUSLER EMERGES AT TIGHT END

With Todd Heap (thumb) and Stephen Spach (calf) out, rookie tight end Rob Housler had a team-high five catches for 68 yards.

“Each week, each day, each practice is a chance to learn,” Housler said. “I knew there would be increased reps and you have to take advantage.

“That’s been the biggest challenge for me, to play to my potential. Because if you don’t know what you are doing, you’re going to run out there and not be able to play full speed.”

SKELTON HURTS ANKLE

Backup quarterback John Skelton sprained his ankle on his first series, and after coming back in to play the next series, he was taken out of the game for good. The extent of the injury is unknown, Whisenhunt said, and since the Cards had two other quarterbacks left to evaluate in Max Hall and Rich Bartel, Skelton’s departure wasn’t significant.

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