Quarterback Derek Anderson fires a pass against Minnesota last weekend.
Sometimes, Derek Anderson said, a play sheet for a particular game can "get out of control."
The Cardinals have been careful not to let that happen of late, and make sure that sheet is filled with plays the Cards' offense – and Anderson in particular – is more comfortable running. The result was, for the most part, effective and definitely Anderson's most efficient performance of the season.
"I don't think everything was obviously as good as it could have been," Anderson said Wednesday after practice. "I think we need to run the ball a little more effectively. But I think we kind of established a base."
Anderson was 15-for-26 for 179 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota, and didn't turn the ball over.
"I feel like I made pretty good decisions for the most part," Anderson said. "There were a couple I wish I had back. I missed Larry (Fitzgerald) on the sail route, which was ridiculous. Other than that, I thought things were decent. But we have to be better to win."
The Cardinals need Anderson to continue his development. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said one aspect the Cards are finally beginning to smooth out is the ability to convert the plays that are available. That doesn't include what Whisenhunt called "extraordinary" plays but instead the open, move-the-chains-in-chunks plays that the offense couldn't seem to pull off earlier in the year.
Anderson will always be at the center of any of those situations.
"I think you're seeing him start to grow a little bit into our system," Whisenhunt said. "Making some smarter decisions, making some good throws, and he scrambled for a first down last week."
HOBBLING BEANIE RESPONDS TO CRITICS
Running back Beanie Wells sat out practice Wednesday as he continues to have issues with his knee, which continues to have some swelling problems after having a lubricant injection a week ago Monday.
"It just takes some time," Whisenhunt said. "It's like any reaction. When it is inside the capsule of your knee, you have to continue to try and get rid of it. We got it down last week and he had a good practice Friday, and going on that surface and warming up and running around … even though he got limited work it still affected that knee. Hopefully we are close to getting (the swelling) knocked out."
Wells said he was feeling better. After getting just one carry in Minnesota, Wells said he hadn't been expecting such little work but "I felt coach's reasoning for doing it."
What Wells isn't feeling is growing discontent from outside sources – including fans – about his lack of production.
"I don't agree with it," Wells said. "Things happen. I had a knee injury. Once I am healthy I will play the way I am capable of playing. There is nothing you can do about injuries. You can't prevent them 100 percent.
"It is (unfair) but it is expected. It's the way of the world nowadays, how fans and people have their opinions about everything. You expect it."
THE DEFENSE RESTS
Besides Wells, it was key defensive players sitting out with injuries, especially a linebacking corps that saw four members – Clark Haggans (DNP – groin), Paris Lenon (DNP – ankle), Joey Porter (limited – knee) and Will Davis (limited – knee) – on the sideline Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder) and safety Kerry Rhodes (hand) also sat.
"It's what you expect after eight games especially going a lot of snaps on that turf on Minnesota last week," Whisenhunt said, noting that as the season goes on, some veterans will get some down time for rest.
"There are guys like Joey Porter and other guys you consider resting," Whisenhunt said. "Some of that was today."
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