AZ Not Living Up to Its End of the Bargain

Tim Hightower (Getty)

The Cardinals are reasonably healthy, so having a bye this week doesn't necessarily benefit the team from a health standpoint. The club does need some time, however, to fix the numerous problems apparent in the first three games. The Cardinals' pass protection has been porous and the run game spotty. The defense has looked great at times, but has allowed long drives at key times.

There is a distinct lack of attention to detail. What is worked on in practice isn't carrying over into games. That's evident in blown blocking assignments and mistakes made in pass coverage.

"I think that is the biggest thing, missed opportunities," said receiver Steve Breaston. "We can't make any mistakes."

The Cardinals are 0-2 at home after going 14-4 there the past two seasons.

"It doesn't feel good at all," said cornerback Bryant McFadden. "Coming into that bye week we will get a chance to get back to basics and start from square one. It's still a long season with 13 games left. Nobody wins the Super Bowl in the month of September.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Quarterback Kurt Warner is looking forward to the off week this week. He's dealing with a sore right shoulder, and the Cardinals need the time off to fix their numerous problems. "I don't know what the perfect time for a bye is, because if you're playing well, you always want to get back on the field. But who knows? We've got to regroup and put these games behind us and figure out what we're doing wrong."

--Defensive end Alan Branch has played well in the first three games and is getting more snaps as a rotation player. Branch said it's time his talents weren't recognized. "Honestly, I don't need to prove that I'm a great football player," he said. "I know I am a great football player."

--The Cardinals are 0-2 at home after going 14-4 there the past two seasons. "I'm disappointed because we haven't lived up to our end of the bargain for our fans," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "All I can tell you is we're going to do that. We're going to play better at home because our fans have been so supportive of us. We will get that fixed."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner has discomfort in his right shoulder because of a stinger suffered in the first game. He's played through the pain but the week off should help.

--RB Beanie Wells carried just two times against the Colts after fumbling twice the week before. The Cardinals went to their no-huddle package in the second half, and Wells isn't far enough along in his development to handle playing in that scheme.

--LT Mike Gandy gave up two sacks last week to the Colts Dwight Freeney and will face some elite rushers in the next three weeks. Gandy needs to do a much better job if the Cardinals' offense is going to ignite.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald's longest catch this season is 25 yards. Pressure on Kurt Warner is making it difficult to get the ball deep to Fitzgerald, a key to the team's playoff run last year.

--S Matt Ware has missed the past two games and his absence has hurt. Without him, the team can't play its normal dime package. Coaches don't trust rookie Rashad Johnson yet to play in dime, so Adrian Wilson is playing back in coverage. In the normal dime package, Wilson often will move down to the line of scrimmage and blitz.

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