Buccaneers-Cardinals: 5 Keys to a Bounce Back for 'Zona
For those of you that don't know, after their last nine losses, the Cardinals have followed up with a win.
That's very difficult to do for an organization like Arizona, which hasn't experienced the success of a New England, Green Bay or Pittsburgh.
But even I'll admit, coach Ken Whisenhunt has his work cut out for him in this game.
Yes, this is a very beatable Tampa Bay team coming to town, one with an overrated defense and, in my opinion, an overrated quarterback.
Which makes this a trap game.
Because the Cardinals can lose this game without a doubt in my mind.
Here are five things they can do to make sure it doesn't happen.
1. Run Beanie Run
It's interesting that the rest of the league sees what most Cardinals fans see—that they have a strength in the run game.
Ask coach Pete Carroll.
I myself don't understand it.
I love Coach Whisenhunt, as I've said before.
But I can't remember how many times I've said the Cardinals should become a running team despite the fact that the run game has been inconsistent so far.
But remember that one drive against the Rams where it was all runs?
If the Cardinals consistently run, then maybe the run game will be consistent.
Just a thought.
And so we get to Wells, who has the potential for a breakout game against the aforementioned overrated Bucs defense. He should get the chance too, given Tim Hightower's fumbling issues.
I'll admit, the Bucs pass defense is pretty decent, but their run defense is very suspect.
So this Sunday is a perfect time to tote the rock.
2. Simplify the Offense
I can't take originality on this one.
Coach Whisenhunt said he was going to simplify the offense.
I couldn't agree more.
I'm not sure why they didn't do this before, considering the offense has tons of talent.
But it's difficult to show your talent if you don't have the ball in your hands.
As well, to expect that Derek Anderson or Max Hall is Kurt Warner, I believe, is one of the biggest mistakes I've seen Coach Whisenhunt make.
There are so many easy ways to do this as well: more play action, more throws to the tight ends, simple throws to Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet and Steve Breaston, who are all great with running after the catch, etc.
This Sunday presents the perfect opportunity to do that.
3. Shut Down Mike Williams...No, the Other One
This has to be one of the first times in NFL history a team has defended a player with the same name, in the same position and of the same caliber.
Mike Williams and...well, Mike Williams are very similar.
The Seattle version is a little more experienced and bigger, but that's about it.
And so for the Cardinals to win Sunday, they must contain the other Mike Williams, because after that the Bucs passing attack isn't something to fear.
There are a lot of check-downs, which the Cardinals' speed on defense should at least curtail, and Kellen Winslow will be one to watch.
But tight ends haven't been a huge problem for Arizona. Sure, Zach Miller and Antonio Gates have had huge games against them, but Winslow is not Zach Miller.
So to make the Bucs one-dimensional, it's essential to shut down Mike Williams.
4. Limit the Turnovers
Seems a bit obvious, doesn't it? Hear me out.
I'm almost certain the Cardinals will turn the ball over. They've had a lot of trouble with it this year, and even if Tim Hightower doesn't get any carries, I imagine we'll see a Max Hall interception or something.
But what Tampa Bay has done an excellent job of this year is taking one mistake and making it loom large.
So if the Cardinals have more than one turnover, they will be in trouble this week, especially with the sputtering offense, as they can't afford to waste opportunities or give away free points.
Even if the offense sputters again, if they don't turn the ball over, that may be enough to beat Tampa Bay, as I see the defense, coming off a good effort against Seattle, not having too much trouble against the Bucs.
5. Slow Down LeGarrette Blount
You all remember Blount, guys?
The guy who decked a Boise State player to start the year last season in college football?
He's back, and he tore up the Rams last week.
Now, the Rams defense has actually gotten much better, so for him to do what he did against the Rams is impressive.
In fact, he would've had over 100 yards if not for a couple of holding calls.
Given the Cardinals defense's affinity for struggling with big, physical backs, as they did last week with Marshawn Lynch, Blount poses quite a threat.
Daryl Washington and Paris Lenon will be keying on Blount all day, and they'll need to be ready, because as big as Jason Snelling was, Blount may be bigger.