Al Holcomb was talking about his run defense – again – this week. He was initially talking about steady nose tackle Corey Peters, but it drifted back into the many things the entire defense needed to do to stop the run.
“It’s getting to a point where, we can’t live this way,” Holcomb said.
“We can’t live this way.”
It may have been the run defense about which he was speaking, but it could’ve been the Cardinals in general. At 1-5 going into Thursday night’s national television game, this wasn’t the season Steve Wilks planned or one anyone expected. He certainly wasn’t planning on answering job status questions about coaches at this point, or having to figure out why the same mistakes are happening week to week, or even going into the halfway point of the home schedule still seeking a victory.
The plus is that, on a short week, the Cards do get the home game. And while there are some injuries with which to deal – safety Tre Boston being down could be a monkey wrench – the Broncos are missing some key pieces, including a couple of starting offensive linemen.
The Cardinals don’t want to live this way.
-- Boston’s absence provides this big question: Just how will the Cardinals choose to play defense this week? Rudy Ford will take Boston’s place at safety and there is little question the Cards will still use the nickel/three-safety alignment at least sometimes. But without Boston, might the Cardinals use a base 4-3 a little more often, especially with the issues against the run? Or might the struggles of the linebackers – in particular Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick – short-circuit such an idea?
-- Von Miller’s “kick their ass” comments this week brought a little flavor to a short week, but again, they were shrugged off. That makes sense to me. Trash talk doesn’t mean much, because if you play well, it was unnecessary and if you don’t play well, it was meaningless anyway.
That said, you could see it from Steve Wilks that he probably doesn’t love trash talking much anyway. He made it clear he hoped it wasn’t something his guys needed as motivation. And in terms of bulletin-board material, asked if he really thought it meant much in the NFL, Wilks was blunt.
“I hope not, from a standpoint of trying to get guys ready to play football,” he said.
-- This is the Cardinals’ “Crucial Catch” game to raise cancer awareness.
-- While Thursday nights are no longer “Color Rush” mandated, the Cardinals will be wearing their (very cool) black jerseys with the red numbers. I love these uniforms.
-- It’s not as if David Johnson hasn’t gotten touches. Yes, you’d like for him to have some more, but he had 20 last week when the Cardinals only ran 55 plays. Percentage-wise, it’s right. But again, the Cardinals aren’t getting enough production in the run game, and Johnson is not being utilized enough in the passing game.
More than that, Johnson admitted (although it’s not a huge surprise) that he feels better about himself the more work he gets.
“I feel like I need to get in a rhythm,” Johnson said. “I feel I get better as I get more carries, as I get more touches, as the game goes along and seeing what the defense is giving me.”
-- Chandler Jones is going after his third straight monster game against young Broncos tackle Garett Bolles, who leads the league with six holding flags in this young season. That’s as much of a matchup to watch as Miller v. D.J. Humphries, especially with how turnover prone Broncos quarterback Case Keenum has been.
See you tomorrow night.