Tag:Arizona Cardinals
Posted on: September 16, 2008 6:23 pm

Season Opener vs. Arizona Observations

Even though my access to the game was intermittent at best I will give my thoughts on what I saw from each player

Players of the game: Frank Gore, Nate Clements, Justin Smith, Parys Haralson

- J.T. O'Sullivan looked okay but was making a few mistakes. The interception was a terrible decision and on the first fumble he held the ball too long and then didn't step up into the pocket when he threw it. I am not ready to give up hope on him yet but I still think that a healthy Alex Smith is better than him. Too bad Smith isn't healthy, however, so now we have to just hope that JTO starts to play better

- Frank Gore is going to have a monster season. I think that after watching him yesterday my original predictions might be a little on the low side. I could see him breaking 1500 yards rushing and 800 yards receiving if he stays healthy, knock on wood. DeShaun Foster got very few touches and looked okay like we all expected but probably would have gotten the ball more if the offense wasn't on the field for so little time.

- Most of the offensive line was pretty good, especially in the running game. Jonas Jennings and David Baas stood out. Joe Staley, Tony Wragge, and Eric Heitmann all looked solid as well. The only player that looked bad was Adam Snyder. After the game I am convinced our starting offensive line should be, from left to right, Joe Staley, Tony Wragge, Eric Heitmann, Davis Baas, and Jonas Jennings.

- I was the first to say that Bryant Johnson shouldn't be just given a spot as the top receiver but he earned it yesterday. I am now conviced that he should be the number one receiver. I didn't see much from any other receiver. Arnaz Battle had a nice run after the catch on that third down play and I don't even think a pass went Isaac Bruce's way.

- The defense was pretty good, in my opinion. The Cardinals had only 2.8 yards per carry and 5.3 yards per pass play. The pass rush wasn't great but the secondary forced a couple of coverage sacks.

- I knew Justin Smith was going to be good and have a huge impact but after watching him play yesterday I am even more excited. He drew a double team on almost every play and was still making plays. Isaac Sopoaga also had a good game making 4 solo tackles after an average gain of 1 yard. The rest of the defensive line, Ray McDonald, Kentwan Balmer, Ronald Fields, and Aubrayo Franklin, all looked solid.

- Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson both looked solid considering they were on the field almost the entire game. Willis knocked down a couple of passes and all of his tackles except for one came within 4 yards of the LoS and Lawson looked good in coverage. Jeff Ulbrich and Takeo Spikes looked good as well but that muffed catch by Spikes might have cost us the game. If you are an NFL player you should be able to catch a kickoff and fall down, I don't care what position you play. How about Parys Haralson? Two and a half sacks is pretty impressive even if 1.5 were coverage sacks. With him rushing the passer, ManLaw back in coverage, and Willis/Ulbrich/Spikes patrolling the field we have a good linebacking corps

- What can I say about the secondary except that they were damn good. Nate Clements completely shut down Larry Fitzgerald except for the touchdown but no corner can cover that play. Walt Harris looked to be back to his 2006 form as well, Anquan Boldin had 0 catches in the first half and didn't start doing well until he got Donald Strickland covering him. Michael Lewis looked solid is both run support and pass defense. Both Dashon Goldson and Mark Roman made their share of mistakes but I still can't figure out why Goldson, who can at least make plays, isn't starting

All in all I am not too upset about the loss. Sure it would have been nice to be the only team with a win in the division and have some confidence going into Seattle and sure if we had won and then took care of Seattle we would have a nice cushion in the division but a lot of good things came out of the game. Our offense was better than last year in every facet of the game and our defense held the Cardinals to only 4 yards per play which is very good. If JT can start being more careful with the ball and we can minimize stupid mistakes, like muffing a kickoff and commiting a roughing the passer penalty to give Arizona a first down even though I still think that was a crap call, I still believe this team can win 9 games
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