Whisenhunt Plans to Call More Run Plays

Ken Whisenhunt and Kurt Warner (Getty)

The Cardinals couldn't run in the second half against the Colts on Sept. 27 because they were down 21-3. They declined to run against the Texans last week, despite being ahead 21-0 at halftime. The Cardinals had just four running plays in the second half and gained only one first down overall.

On many plays, quarterback Kurt Warner had the option of changing to a pass at the line of scrimmage. Often, the Texans kept single coverage on receivers, bringing a safety down to help against the run.

That was too alluring for Warner to pass up, but the passing game wasn't clicking in the second half.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt, who calls the plays, took the blame for not running more.

"It's not Kurt," Whisenhunt said. "Kurt's operating the offense the way he is taught to. He does a very good job with that. If we give him the option (to change the play), it is pretty clear cut. He is going to get yelled at if he runs the ball into an eight-man front.

"I think I have to do a better job of making sure that I call those runs. If it means we have to win on third-and-3 or third-and-5, then that is what we have to do."

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner is still one of the game's most accurate passers when given time. In the first half last week against the Texans, he completed 20 of 23 for 262 yards and two touchdowns. He rarely was under pressure.

--RB Tim Hightower likely won't rush for 1,000 yard this season, but he's on pace to finish with 100 receptions. Hightower is second among running backs with 25 receptions. The Colts' Joseph Addai has 28, but he's played in five games, one more than Hightower.

--RB Beanie Wells had just seven carries last week and the club ran the ball just four times in the second half, even though Arizona led 21-0 at halftime. Coach Ken Whisenhunt admitted he made a mistake by not calling more runs and not using Wells more.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald's longest catch this season is 26 yards, but he has scored four touchdowns in four games. Teams are taking away the deep pass to Fitzgerald, and the Cardinals haven't been running enough to make play-action a realistic option.

--WR Anquan Boldin had his most productive day of the season last week, catching seven passes for 81 yards. Boldin, however, fumbled near the Texans' end zone, spoiling one scoring opportunity.

--WR Steve Breaston has recovered from a knee injury and is as productive as any third receiver in football when healthy. Breaston has the speed to get deep, and he also runs well after the catch.

--TE Stephen Spach suffered a sprained right ankle against the Texans, and it doesn't look as if he will play Sunday in Seattle.

--TE Ben Patrick is eligible to return after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Patrick might step into the No. 1 role because Stephen Spach suffered an ankle injury last week.

--K Neil Rackers has done a nice job, missing on just one field-goal attempt in four games.

--S Matt Ware, who plays in dime packages, returned to action last week and was a big contributor. When he's in the game, SS Adrian Wilson moves closer to the line of scrimmage, where he is a bigger force.

--DE Darnell Dockett has played at a high level through four games and is probably the most dangerous defensive player the Cardinals have. He has a powerful lower body and is quick off the ball.

--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has started 16 NFL games and has eight interceptions, including two that he returned for touchdowns.

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