Kurt Warner (Jonathan Ernst/Getty)
The Cardinals knew that a win against the Washington Redskins wouldn't be easy, but the popular vote says advancing to 3-0 would have been nice. The Redskins were aware that Arizona's defense is new and improved, but its run and pass stoppers were sizzled out as they weren’t able to stop the Redskins’ big threats. In the end it wasn’t one or two things that made the difference in the 24-17 loss.
Kurt Warner was the first to say that the Cardinals opening loss of the season can’t be blamed on a single call or another pinpointed mistake.
“It was us not playing up to this game and them making more plays than we did,” Warner said. “It’s unfortunate.”
The situation isn’t dire. Sure, the Cardinals are 2-1, after the Redskins stalled Warner from finding a rhythm, but the Cardinals saw their best competition of the season and pulled out all the tricks to get points on the board. The defeat could foreshadow the rest of the east coast play or Arizona can pull itself up by the boot straps and focus on what is to come because Brett Favre and his New York Jets aren’t playing around.
The Cardinals defense will have to show better than they did near the nation’s capitol.
“I thought that defensively we didn’t put a lot of pressure on their quarterback [Jason Campbell] and I give him credit, he played well today,” Ken Whisenhunt said. “He did a good job with getting the ball out of his hands and if there wasn’t anything there then he ran with it. I can’t fault our defense as much as they (the Redskins) played well offensively today.”
Outside linebacker Karlos Dansby saw a different story. He was second on the team in tackles with nine total, second to Gerald Hayes who had 13. Dansby also picked up his first sack of the season, which explains what he saw out of Campbell.
“(Campbell) was nervous the whole game,” Dansby said. “I was looking in his eyes, he was nervous the whole game. He didn’t know where we were coming from.”
Dansby also thought Campbell played somewhat reserved.
“(Campbell) didn’t try passes he couldn’t make,” Dansby said. “Screens and underneath stuff, you got to get in a rhythm and that’s what they did today, they got in a rhythm. We couldn’t get them off the field.”
All in all, safety Adrian Wilson thought Washington played conservatively, but it was the Cardinals who couldn’t air it out.
“They went out and were very conservative in the passing game and did things we didn’t expect,” Wilson said. “I thought we prepared well for it, we just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch.”
Road to Redskins
The first two games were contests that Arizona should have and did win. The San Francisco 49ers held the Cardinals close in the first half of Week 1. But when they hit the field in the second half, Warner found his niche and Anquan Boldin got involved.
Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins was also a game that the Cardinals needed win. Finishing the 2007 season with a 6-2 record at home and facing an opponent that posted just one win last year, the alternative would have been dismal to their confidence level. Ask the New England Patriots who suffered a loss to the Dolphins, one week later.