Defensive end Calais Campbell (93), linebacker Ali Highsmith (95) and safety Aaron Francisco stop running back Pierre Thomas on fourth down Thursday night.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may be rail-thin at 6-foot-2 and 182 pounds, but the Cardinals rookie cornerback wanted to show he's more than just a cover man.
Rodgers-Cromartie delivered a two-forearm-to-the-chest shot to Saints tight end Mark Campbell, sending Campbell out of the game during Thursday's 24-10 loss to the Saints.
Campbell still held on to the 14-yard catch, but Rodgers-Cromartie got his point across.
"They were just running my way, so I was just anxious to get a good hit on somebody," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I was running around full-speed just trying to tackle somebody. I'm a small-frame guy but I can tackle too."
He proved it to his coach.
"For a guy that was supposedly not very physical, he looked pretty good to me," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "One of the knocks many people had of Dominique was that he wasn't a physical player."
Whisenhunt had made it clear before the game backup quarterback Kurt Warner might not play, so it was not a surprise to anyone when Brian St. Pierre succeeded Leinart in the second quarter.
"The (starting offensive) line was only going to go one more series and I didn't want to put Kurt in for just one series," Whisenhunt said. "He'll get his opportunities to play. Was it tough? Yes, because Kurt is a good player. I didn't want to put him in with our second line because we have a center (Pat Ross) who's only been with us four days and a number of young players playing different positions."
RACE FOR RECEIVER
The two leaders for the backup receiver roles – and the third wideout slot behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin – each were solid Thursday. Jerheme Urban, the most experienced candidate behind the Pro Bowlers, had four catches. Steve Breaston, who had the most impressive offseason, had three receptions.
"You never know until you are involved in a game with the situations and the playcalling and taking everything in," Breaston said.
Jamaica Rector also got significant playing time, making four receptions.
One of Breaston's grabs was a 34-yard catch-and-run that helped set up the Cards' lone touchdown.
"It was a simple play," Breaston said. "Coaches put us in the right positions, it came open and there was a lot of green in front of me. But it was a key play in a key drive. We scored, so that was a positive."
A STAND AT THE GOAL LINE
Whisenhunt wasn't thrilled that his first-team defense allowed the Saints to drive 80 yards for a touchdown on the game's first drive, especially since three penalties helped New Orleans down the field.
But the second unit defense came up with a couple of big plays, with rookie Kenny Iwebema sacking quarterback Mark Brunell on fourth-and-1 to stop a drive and then linebackers Ali Highsmith and David Holloway spearheading a stop of Saints running back Pierre Thomas on fourth down from the Arizona 1.
"We were just going out and defending our end zone," said Highsmith, the rookie who led the Cardinals with six tackles. "My teammates cleared a hole and I just jumped in there and made the play."
The Cardinals had no injuries in the game. ...
Safety Antrel Rolle got a chance to return a punt as Whisenhunt promised. Rolle fumbled the attempt before picking it up and losing three yards. ...
The players are off until they have a Sunday afternoon practice in Flagstaff.
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 8/7/08.