The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Republic
Either the Arizona Cardinals’ defense is doing a fine job of keeping its prowess under disguise this preseason, or it is going to have serious problems stopping anyone in the regular season.
After an impressive performance in the first preseason game, the Cardinals’ defense has yielded more than 400 yards and 30 points combined in the first halves of the past two preseason games.
While fans might be panicked, players and coaches aren’t. The Cardinals are playing only a small fraction of their overall scheme, they said. When the whole thing is unveiled in the regular season, which begins Sept. 10 in San Francisco, things will be different.
“We’re right where we want to be right now,” inside linebacker Karlos Dansby said.
The Cardinals are playing very basic schemes in the preseason, Dansby added, “and when I say very basic, I mean very basic.”
The idea behind playing basic schemes is to not only keep things under wraps until the regular season starts, but also to evaluate players in one-on-one matchups.
There haven’t been many positives the past two weeks. A week ago, Houston scored on drives of 85, 73 and 82 yards in the first half. On Saturday night, San Diego had scoring drives of 65, 80 and 64 in the first half in the Chargers’ 33-31 win.
“We’re playing pretty basic,” defensive end Chris Cooper said, “but, still, it’s like man on man, how to beat the guy in front of you. When it comes down to the season, you are going to see a whole lot of different blitzes and a whole lot of crazy things.”
But will they have to do those things just to be successful? The defensive line hasn’t been able to pressure the quarterback the past two weeks. The last two starting quarterbacks the Cardinals faced – Houston’s Matt Schaub and San Diego’s Philip Rivers – completed 23 of 35 passes (65.7 percent) in the first half for 325 yards and one touchdown. Neither was sacked.
“We’re trying to learn about our defense and what we can do,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We put them in situations where I know it’s difficult for them. What I really like is, they didn’t quit. They hung in there, made some plays when they had to and kept them out of the end zone in critical situations.”
Steelers beat Eagles
PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers looked exceptional for an exhibition game, especially for only a half.
Roethlisberger, effective for only one drive previously in this preseason, passed for 247 yards before halftime to lead three Pittsburgh scoring drives in a 27-13 win over Philadelphia on Sunday night.
Roethlisberger didn’t pass for a score, but he spread the ball among seven receivers, and six caught at least one pass of 18 yards or longer. Running back Najeh Davenport had two long receptions totaling 58 yards, and tight end Heath Miller, often absent in the offense, had two for 50 yards.
Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker, limited to four carries before Sunday because of a sore knee that sidelined him for two weeks of training camp, ran 18 yards for a score following Roethlisberger’s 22-yard completion to Santonio Holmes during a 13-point second quarter for Pittsburgh. Parker also caught three passes for 40 yards.
The Associated Press