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Working On The Offense

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Notebook: Campbell sits again, Snyder upgraded; Falcons bounce back well

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards' offense "had some things we could actually build on" in Green Bay.

There was nothing “eye-opening” during the review of the Cards’ offense over the bye week, offensive coordinator Mike Miller said.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t things to fix. Just that the coaches knew what they were.

“We expected to see a few things that we spent last week trying to correct,” Miller said, without being specific.

The constant, injury-driven movement in the lineups has not helped the offensive cohesion this season, but the Cardinals have to find a way to upgrade production on a unit ranked 31st in the NFL. It was effective enough early. The Cardinals’ offense scored at least 20 points in each of the team’s season-starting four wins, enough with which the defense to work.

During the team’s current five-game slide, the Cards’ offense hasn’t been able to hit that mark, although there were signs of progress in Green Bay – not coincidentally, the game in which the Cards scored the most points (17) in the last five.

“We had some things we could actually build on,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.

Miller would like to hit on more big plays, and the Cards had a few against the Packers. A 40-yard pass to Andre Roberts set up a touchdown, Fitzgerald had a 31-yard touchdown catch, and Michael Floyd hauled in a 37-yard pass as well.

Pulling off some of those field-position changers, especially early in games, can only help the offense’s collective confidence.

“You walk a fine line in trying to press to make a play because if you don’t make a play it discourages you a little bit,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It’s not an exact science.”

But, Fitzgerald said, “This is about us, and our offense going out and executing. We have to do a better job putting points on the board.”

Miller, like Whisenhunt, emphasizes essentially the need to keep at it. There will be pieces the Cards will be able to add back into the mix. At some point, tight end Todd Heap will return, running back Beanie Wells is on track to play again a week from Sunday against the Rams, and there is still the expectation that quarterback Kevin Kolb will return at some point.

The current stretch hasn’t been easy, Miller acknowledged.

“It’s all facets, run, pass, protections, you have to get better,” Miller said. “Whenever you’re not executing the way you want, there are obvious frustrations that set in, but we are all professionals. You have to keep trying to improve.”

CAMPBELL STILL SITTING, SNYDER UPGRADED

Defensive end Calais Campbell missed practice for a second straight day with his bad calf. Although Whisenhunt said Campbell was “making good progress,” the chances he will be able to play Sunday in Atlanta are dwindling. A rotation would be used to replace Campbell, likely featuring David Carter and Vonnie Holliday.

Guard Adam Snyder (quad) was back to practicing fully. He should move back into the starting lineup after missing the last two games. Quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) remained sidelined and is expected to miss a fourth straight game Sunday.

Still limited for the Cardinals were cornerback Greg Toler (hamstring), long snapper Mike Leach (back), tight end Jeff King (knee) and cornerback Jamell Fleming (back).

The Falcons have had one of their star receivers, Julio Jones, miss both days of practice with a bad ankle. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has done the same with the same injury. A pair of other key Falcons, defensive end John Abraham (back) and running back Michael Turner (groin), were still limited.

FALCONS KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH DEFEAT

The Cardinals were waiting to see if the Falcons could remain undefeated going into their matchup this weekend, although that was scuttled when Atlanta fell to the Saints for the first blemish on their previously spotless 8-0 record.

Playing an undefeated team might have been better. Since Mike Smith took over as coach in 2008, the Falcons have fashioned an impressive 18-3 record in games following a loss.

“You’ve got to put that previous game behind you and when you don’t get the outcome you want, there is an emphasis point of stopping that streak at one,” Smith said. “That’s how we’ve approached it since we’ve gotten here.

“In the National Football League, it’s simple in some senses that you got to win at home. You’ve got to take care of at least half the games on the road and you don’t lose back-to-back ballgames. If you do that you’ll look up at the end of the season and you’ll be where you want to be.”


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