Quarterback Max Hall was back at practice Wednesday after suffering through a bad day and a concussion up in Seattle.
Max Hall said he can be smarter.
The rookie quarterback can avoid taking blows to the head – and that's two in two games as starter – if doesn't take a hit like the goal-line hammer against the Saints or if he can see the blitz coming, unlike Sunday when he suffered his concussion.
But he also wants to be smarter when it comes to playing the game, after his 4-for-16 passing performance Sunday in Seattle. Hall was back on the practice field Wednesday after passing neurological tests, confident he could bounce back.
"That's not me and that's not who I am so I want to get better," Hall said. "It's only my second start, but that's no excuse. They're trusting me to execute."
Hall said he felt fine, although coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Cards need to see how Hall responds from practice health-wise before committing to him for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. Whisenhunt was asked if, after Matt Leinart got limited reps last season following Kurt Warner's concussion and then was forced to start at the last moment, he would consider giving backup Derek Anderson more reps this week.
"We'll give Derek some reps for sure," Whisenhunt said. "I think that Derek can manage it if he has to play Sunday."
It seems likely that Hall will be available, however. Whisenhunt said he isn't concerned about teammates losing faith in Hall, in part because they understand the situation at quarterback. But the coach said it is a production business and Hall knows that.
"There are a lot of things I need to get better at," Hall said. "But even the great ones get knocked down once in a while. It's how you respond. Hopefully, I'll respond good."
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, in his second season, admitted it took "four or four games" before he started feeling comfortable with both his role in the offense and understanding the opposing defense. Freeman, who remains a work in progress, will make his 16th career start against the Cardinals.
Hall, meanwhile, likely gets his third, hoping it is much better than his second.
"I'm excited to prove I am better than that," Hall said.
Linebacker Clark Haggans was the only Cardinal to sit out practice with his bad groin. Will Davis would step in for Haggans if Haggans can't go this week. The Cardinals should also get linebacker Gerald Hayes – an inside man, as opposed to the outside spot Haggans plays – back this week, although Whisenhunt said the Cards want to make sure Hayes is comfortable with his assignments before asking him to contribute.
With Haggans hurting, the Cardinals filled the final practice squad spot left open by the promotion of cornerback A.J. Jefferson by signing linebacker J.D. Folsom – who just happened to be on the practice squad of the Buccaneers before being released earlier this month.
Limited at practice Wednesday were linebacker Joey Porter (groin), cornerback Greg Toler (back) and receivers Steve Breaston (knee) and Early Doucet (groin). Barring setbacks, all should be able to play Sunday.
The lack of extended drives for the Cards means many fewer chances to run through the game plan. The Cardinals had just 55 offensive plays in Seattle when in the past, they'd have another 20 or so per game.
"It's very frustrating because you don't get any continuity established either," Whisenhunt said. "Last game, we shorted ourselves two possessions with special teams turnovers. You can't do that. That's the thing that's got to stop, and that point has been made to the team."
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