The club is hopeful that two key starters will return to practice
Wednesday after missing either all or most of training camp.
Offensive right tackle Oliver Ross suffered torn meniscus in his
knee early in camp, leaving a gaping hole in the starting lineup. He
had surgery and coaches are hoping he can practice Wednesday. If not,
he probably will be available next week.
Outside linebacker Karlos Dansby missed all of training camp with
a toe problem. Two weeks ago, he told coaches and front office
personnel that he was almost ready to start practicing. They are
hoping that means he'll be able to go today or next week at the
Even if they practice this week, Ross and Dansby aren't expected
to start Sunday in Seattle. Coach Dennis Green would like to have
them go through two weeks or practice before counting on them to play
a whole game.
Depending on their condition, however, they could play in spots
Sunday, maybe between five and 15 plays.
Ross's replacement, Chris Liwienski, struggled in the opener
against the 49ers, giving up a couple of sacks. Dansby's replacement,
Calvin Pace, has a sprained right ankle and is questionable. The club
could use Dansby Sunday, even if it's only for a few plays.
--QB Kurt Warner last Sunday looked like the Warner of old. He
threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns and did not have an
interception. He did particularly well considering he was under
pressure most of the day.
--RB Edgerrin James looked like someone who had carried only seven
times in preseason. He made something out of nothing on several runs,
but there were other occasions in which he missed some running lanes.
He'll be better two or three games into the season.
--WR Anquan Boldin rivals Hines Ward as the physically toughest
receiver in the game. He enjoys blocking and hitting. He's
particularly adept at running after the catch. The club will try to
use him on shorter, slant routes and count on him to fake out
linebackers and defensive backs.
--WR Larry Fitzgerald caught 11 passes last week, but he also had
two drops. Still, Fitzgerald is a dangerous weapon. Only 23, he could
get considerably better, a scary thought for opponents.
--WR Bryant Johnson is a solid third receiver and the club needs
to continue to use him. He also is good at running after the catch.
--TE Leonard Pope didn't do much in his first NFL game. He looked
overwhelmed at times, but then the team didn't play to his strength,
which is throwing him the ball.
--TE Adam Bergen is the club's best all-around tight end, even
though he lost the starting job to Pope. Bergen had a touchdown catch
in the opener and is sure handed.
--OLB Calvin Pace suffered a sprained ankle in the game and is
questionable. He says he's going to play, however. If he can't,
Darryl Blackstock will replace him.
--CB David Macklin was replaced after one series in the opener and
likely has lost his starting job to Eric Green. It was a quick hook.
Macklin dropped an interception and missed a tackle, but there were
numerous missed tackles in the opener.
--DT Darnell Dockett didn't produce much in the opener. He was
handled pretty well by 49er guards Larry Allen and Tony Wragge, who
came in when Allen was hurt. Dockett needs to make plays in the
The Cardinals won their opener, 34-27, over the 49ers but you
couldn't tell from coach Dennis Green's mood these days.
He's unhappy with the way his club played last Sunday, and he
knows it needs to play much better if it has a chance to win Sunday
He was particularly unhappy with his defense, which he felt was
too passive. The 49ers gained 393 yards in total offense, and
quarterback Alex Smith was sacked just once.
"I didn't think we did a very good job as far as attacking them at
all," Green said of his defense. "I thought we stood around and we
played catch. And that's not very good because they were moving full
speed and we were waiting. That's why they made big plays on trick
plays. You can always make big plays on trick plays if you don't
penetrate the line of scrimmage."
Several Cardinals defenders pointed out that San Francisco had to
resort to trick plays to have success offensively, as if that made
the yards and points worth less. And the 49ers didn't use that many
trick plays. They hurt the Cardinals with screen passes and runs by
back Frank Gore.
Offensively, the Cardinals appeared improved over last year. The
passing attack looked sharp, and while the run game looking improved,
it's still lacking.
Kurt Warner was sharp, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns
and completed 23 of 37 and had three passes dropped. He looked like
the Kurt Warner who won two MVP awards while in St. Louis, and was rightfully
named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
This offense, with receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald,
and running back Edgerrin James, reminds him of his old Rams' teams.
"When you get playmakers in this offense, you can do some great
things," Warner said. "We definitely have that. You add a guy (James)
in the backfield that gives you the threat of the run and the guy who
can make a couple of guys miss ... it's given me a very similar feel
to (St. Louis)."
--RB Edgerrin James was disappointed he gained only 73 yards last
Sunday in his Cardinals debut.
"When you don't get 100, for me, it's not that good of a day,"
James did make some nice gains out of runs that weren't blocked
that well. "He helped us more than we helped him," coach Dennis Green
--CB David Macklin, who had a light grip on a starting job for
much of the preseason, apparently has lost it. He was replaced by
Eric Green after missing a tackle and dropping an interception on the
"I'm not going to be very patient," Green said. "I'm just not
going to be."
--DT Darnell Dockett doesn't regret his late hit on QB Alex Smith,
even though it drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Dockett dove
at Smith's legs, and could be fined for the play.
"I don't think it was a dumb mistake," Dockett said. "I was
running and I'll do the same thing next week against Hasselbeck (St.
Louis quarterback Matt Hasselbeck).
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
REPORT CARD VS. 49ERS
PASSING OFFENSE: A -- QB Kurt Warner passed for 301 yards and
three touchdowns, all to different receivers. Warner made grow throws
despite having defenders in his face all day. The Cardinals passed
for a lot of yards last year, but this time they got some points out
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Cardinals didn't have great numbers but
they were able to grind out a long drive in the fourth quarter,
running just enough to keep the 49ers honest. The offensive line has
to perform better, however. Right tackle continues to be a problem.
PASSING DEFENSE: C -- The Cardinals kept Alex Smith in the pocket
but they didn't sack him. The secondary had some coverage breakdowns,
mostly because some players seemed to lose focus. And there was poor
tackling on tight end Vernon Davis' 31-yard touchdown catch and run.
RUSH DEFENSE: C -- 49ers running back Frank Gore gashed the
Cardinals early. The Cardinals over-ran some plays and displayed poor
tackling technique on others. Defensive tackles Darnell Dockett and
Kendrick Clancy didn't make many plays.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Much more was expected of this unit. They gave
up a 60-yard punt return that led to a field goal, and there were far
too many penalties. Kicker Neil Rackers is still automatic, however