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Taking The Mystery Out Of Offensive Issues

To Boldin, simple attention to detail changes things for Cards

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The Cardinals' offense is still looking to click for the first time in 2009.
 
 
Anquan Boldin spoke matter-of-factly, even if the message had some intensity.

The same thoughts the Pro Bowl wide receiver delivered to the media Wednesday were the ones he let his team know in the locker room after Sunday's loss, especially when it came to an offense expected to be among the best in the NFL scoring just 16 points in the opener.

The Cardinals aren't paying attention to detail.

"It's not like you can't put your finger on it," Boldin said. "We know exactly what it was. It can be fixed. It's not a mystery."

There was a level of irritation to Boldin, as different reasons for the offensive inconsistencies were raised. Earlier, quarterback Kurt Warner, head coach Ken Whisenhunt and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald talked about the attention to detail among their multiple theories, but for Boldin, the issue was much more black-and-white.

"The only way it gets fixed is if we fix it," Boldin said, recalling what he told his teammates Sunday. "It shouldn't be a coach saying this or that. We're all grown men who have been playing a long time. As a man, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'Did I do everything I'm supposed to do?' "

The first game played out offensively much like it did for the Cards a year ago in San Francisco during the 2008 opener. The offense sputtered, especially through the air, and afterward Warner was clearly unhappy with how it played out.

The difference was the Cardinals grinded out yards via the running game and eventually won that game, 23-13.  But the parallels weren't lost on Whisenhunt.

"We had trouble getting started," Whisenhunt said. "It's unfortunate, but hopefully we'll get to where we need to be this week."

That's what happened last season, when the Warner-Boldin-Fitzgerald trio shredded the Dolphins through the air in Week 2 as the Cardinals scored 31 points.

"Anytime you have an offense like we had last year, it didn't happen overnight," guard Reggie Wells said.

But it is hard to tell if the Cards' offense is on the cusp of where it needs to be. Injuries don't help – wide receiver Steve Breaston didn't practice Wednesday with his bad knee, and while Boldin did a lot more at practice, he is still not near 100 percent – but Warner said a team has to find a way to overcome such problems.

"You get a sense we are close because there are a lot of things that are close, but at the same time not making those plays and not executing to that degree puts doubt in your head – how close are we?" Warner said.
 
Warner said he felt good all the way through the Green Bay preseason game, although that has waned the past two games. Whisenhunt said he has a much better handle on the status of his banged-up receiving corp, which should help in preparation this week. Because Breaston surprisingly missed the opener after practicing all last week, Whisenhunt said too many other receivers were forced to play in different spots than they expected during the week, throwing the offense off.

Fitzgerald said all the Cardinals need to do is string together some positive gains and face some second-and-3s and second-and-4s, rather than first-and-20 or second-and-15.

That's penalty-related, and in the end goes back to Boldin's point.

Boldin bluntly said he didn't think his lack of practice time was affecting how he was working with Warner. Asked how he was compensating for his injury while playing, Boldin said it didn't matter and that he would be where he needed to be on the field.

"What are we missing?" Boldin said. "I don't think we're missing anything. We just didn't play disciplined football."
 
 

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