The Cardinals offensive line has played pretty well the past couple of weeks. And when you consider they went against the likes of Mario Williams and Patrick Kearney, that’s something to build on.
And build on it, they must.
There seems to be a general consensus that the best (only) way to keep Cards QB Kurt Warner from picking the recently exposed New York defensive secondary apart is to put massive pressure on him, rattle him early, don’t let him get comfortable, etc. ...
Gee, that may be easier said than done. More on that later. I need to get busy gushing all over the Giants DL. It’s a MUST, you know, when you have the Gee-men on your schedule.
The Giants have an excellent defensive line.
That said, the question now would be, do they try to get pressure, as the Colts and 49ers did, with generally a four-man rush?
I mean these guys are the cats pajamas! Ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are among the league's best tandems going. The ability to pressure with four, and have seven back in coverage, would cover the weakened pass defense quite nicely, no?
Or will they, as some are saying, provide a relentless blitz package early and often. Don’t even allow Warner a chance to get hot. Keep him off balance and uncomfortable from the get go.
With the return last week of TE Ben Patrick, the Cards used a two TE set more than they have all year. It worked well against Seattle, and was nice to see.
It seems to me that it would behoove the Big Red to use it often Sunday night in the Meadowlands. If the OL can handle a four man rush pretty well, they’ll pull the safeties up as the TE’s chip a guy, and take a few steps up-field. Work RB Tim Hightower early and often with screens and little passes over the middle. Five and seven-yard gain their defense to death.
This, of course will allow the Cards terrific trio of receivers more room, and provide more one-on-one matchups against inferior defenders for long passes and big plays.
I realize that with two TEs, there will generally only be two of those talented receivers out there, unless they go with an empty backfield at times. But with Anquan Boldin missing much of practice this week, and obviously hurting, even though he’ll be on the field, few teams can have as capable third receiver to slide into the No. 2 spot as Steve Breaston.
I would reeeally like to see them try at least two or three "jump balls" per game in Larry Fitzgerald’s direction, too.
Back to Warner. The Giants, or any team, can get pressure on him. That, of course, will cause a drop in his production if successful. Warner isn’t a scrambler, and if the OL plays like turnstile's, it can and will make things a lot harder for the offense to move the ball.
But rattle him? Make him uncomfortable ?
Warner’s days of getting rattled are over. This guy has been through it all. He’s played behind horrible lines, and great ones.
He’s played against the best the NFL has to offer for a decade, and keeps his emotions in check even on days he’s harassed, hurried or hauled down throughout the game.
The guy is about as even keel and cool behind the line as there is. He’s among the best at quick reads and making the right check at the line. He can get drilled one play, then launch a perfect 35-yard "thread the needle" pass the next.
So while the Giants DL may— may — get to him physically, they will NOT "get to him".
He’s just way too cool for that.