Before his first NFL start last Sunday, Max Hall approached outside linebacker Clark Haggans, an 11-year veteran about to start his 80th game, and gave him some advice.
"Get your mind right," Hall said.
Haggans had to laugh to himself, but he loved the rookie's confidence. Ask anyone who knows Hall to describe him, and the words "tough" and "moxie" likely will be used.
Hall displayed those qualities in the 30-20 victory over the Saints, and he earned even more respect from his teammates. Hall took a vicious hit in the first half while trying to run for a touchdown and had to be helped off the field.
But he returned in the second half, and the hit gave him more "street cred" with his teammates, coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
"I need to fix my mistakes, but I think those guys trust me," Hall said, "and I think when they look at me, they know we have a chance to win."
Hall easily could have been the goat in his first start. His two fumbles were recovered by offensive linemen. His second pass attempt was intercepted.
But he also improved as the game progressed and completed nine of 12 passes in the second half.
The Cardinals became the second team in history to score as many as 30 points without a rushing or passing touchdown, so there is plenty of room for Hall to improve.
"I hope (Sunday) was the day it started to turn," Whisenhunt said. "The thing we have to focus on is we have to continue to learn about ourselves."
The Cardinals enter the bye week with a record of 3-2, depsite a rash of struggles…