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Chargers scouting report: Cardinals

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Chris Jenkins
    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 4:04 p.m.

    Well, well. How's this for coincidence(s)?
    The Chargers next opponent, Arizona , is coming off as game decided on special teams. Through the good (unintentional) graces and inaccuracy of Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, whose third miss of the day came on the game’s last snap, the Cardinals went to 2-1 with a one-point win.
    And, oh yes. While that Leon Washington fellow was returning kickoffs against the Chargers for touchdowns of 101 and 99 yards _ that still looks like a misprint _ the Cardinals had a guy run one back even farther, LaRod Stephens-Howling went 102 yards with the opening kickoff against Oakland. A week earlier, he had a 98-yard TD return nullified by penalty.
    Conversely, as the Chargers lose games in which quarterback Philip Rivers passes for 455 yards, the Cardinals are winning games without much of an offense at all. Derek Anderson, who made bigger headlines around the league for not being Matt Leinart , has Arizona ranked 25th in the NFL in passing yardage. And without Kurt Warner around to bail him out _ he’s now off dancing with other sorts of stars _ Arizona’s more dependent on the running tandem of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells.
    Conversely, again, rookie Ryan Mathews might be especially eager to return to action this weekend. Arizona ranks 31st among the league’s 32 teams in rushing defense.

    Three players to watch

    Derek Anderson, QB. The oddest part of the Cardinals’ decision to just cut bait on Leinart in the preseason wasn’t Arizona’s willingness to give up on him, but that the Cards were putting so much stock in Anderson, who had a mixed history with the Cleveland Browns and was released last year. Strapping at 6-foot-6, Anderson has a cannon arm, but sometimes it looks like the cannon is firing canteloupes. Already, even with the Cardinals over .500, there’s rising noise in the Valley of the Sun to test-drive Phoenix product Max Hall, an undrafted free agent from BYU.
    Larry Fitzgerald, WR: If you looked at his resume, you’d think the Cardinals would throw every pass to the receiver, especially since Arizona no longer has Anquan Boldin. If you looked at the stats to this points, you’d think the Cardinals were using him as a decoy receiver. In fact, Derek Anderson has intended 34 passes for Fitzgerald in three games and hit on only a dozen of them. For sure, nobody thinks the disconnect is on Fitzgerald’s end.
    Adrian Wilson, SS. For all the questionable changes they’ve made since their stupefying run to the Super Bowl, maybe the smartest thing the Cardinals have done is not let Wilson get away somehow. When it comes to opponents, he’s best to be avoided, a big-play guy who recorded two interceptions and a sack and blocked a field goal in this year’s opener versus St. Louis. With his incredible leaping ability, a jump ball between him and Malcom Floyd would be something to see.

    Familiar faces

    None of note, save the fact that Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason starred down the road from Phoenix at the University of Arizona.

    Injury report

    Wide receiver Steve Breaston, who played Sunday despite a knee issue and caught four passes, underwent knee surgery Tuesday and will miss a couple weeks. Wells also played against Oakland, and ran well, but is now coming off his first game activity while on the rebound from arthroscopic knee surgery just a few weeks ago.

    Series history

    The Chargers hold an 8-3 edge on the Cardinals, dating back to when the latter was still in St. Louis and Don Coryell was their coach. Since the Chargers won six of the first seven, they’ve split the last four, with the Chargers taking the most recent games in 2006 and 2002.

    Did you know?

    The Cardinals’ defense was on the field for 81 plays in the season-opening win, 78 plays in a loss the next week and 70 in a win Sunday.


    “If you get into a fight, you at least want to scratch the guy. We didn’t even scratch the guy, black his eye, bloody his nose, anything.” _ Wilson, on his radio show, explaining the defense-only meeting the Cardinals had after getting thrashed two weeks ago.

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