Cards Ready To Head to St. Louis
Cards Ready To Head to St. Louis http://www.azcardinals.com/des_images//clear.gifhttp://www.azcardinals.com/des_images//clear.gifhttp://www.azcardinals.com/des_images//clear.gifThe Arizona Cardinals have lost the last 13 games on the road and they are heading into one of the most difficult places to play at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, where the Rams have won their last 14 straight home games.
Despite the Cards lethargic road performances in previous years, Head Coach Dennis Green said he actually prefers going on the road.
“Your advantage can be that from 10:30 on we are thinking about playing the St. Louis Rams. The St. Louis Rams, from about 8’o clock at night are thinking about playing the Arizona Cardinals. When we go and check through security, from that point on, we are not going unless we are going to play the St. Louis Rams. You can gain an edge because you have more focus and a sense of purpose.”
“You have to be able to be relaxed and take on the mindset that everyone is against you. They’ve got a great crowd, a very noisy crowd and they’ve had success. They bring the pomp and pageantry like nowhere else and you have to say hey that is good, and you have to play 60 minutes.”
To prepare for some of the expected crowd noise, the Cards blasted loud music during Friday morning’s practice.
After spending two years with ESPN, Green is also looking forward to the excitement of Sunday’s game.
“I’ve done a lot of television in my days but I’ve done a lot of coaching and whether I was 31-years old at Northwestern or now at this stage, it is exciting and what is happening now, things are taking shape. I said a week ago, ‘Not Ready.’ I thought we’d be ready Thursday and we were right on time. We’ve come together as a team and that is exciting.”
Likewise, 15-year veteran running back Emmitt Smith stated that there is nothing else like opening day.
“Fifteen of them and it is always special when you train for six to seven months, and now this is your reward, making the ball club, and having a chance to play on opening day, it is special,” shared Smith.
Green said all preseason that the offense will show a lot more once the regular season kicks off, and Smith and the rest of the players are curious to see how that plays out.
“I am very curious, in a good sense, because I’m excited because the things I’ve seen happening throughout this team have been very positive,” said Smith.
If the Cards have any advantage at all, it could be the element of surprise. Although Rams Head Coach Mike Martz has played against Green before, with Green running a vanilla offense this preseason, the Rams really don’t have much tape to study of what the Cards may run.
“You have to go back and look at what Denny has done offensively through the years and he’s always been very explosive and put points up obviously and very productive,” said Martz. “He’ll know how to use them to their fullest. Defensively and offensively, we are not really sure what they are because in the preseason nobody really displays that. We’ll just have to adjust. It makes you a little nervous when you go into a game with a new staff like that and you are not really familiar with their coordinators and they keep things close to the vest in the preseason but we’ll just see.”
Wide receiver Nate Poole said that the playbook definitely got thicker this week.
“I don’t want to anything away in terms of percentages, but the playbook got better and we got a lot sharper with what we are doing.”
According to Smith, it will still be up to the players to execute.
“We’re very familiar with the Rams,” offered Smith. “I’m not going to say they are very familiar with us because we do have a different ball club than we did last year, and we have a different coaching staff which presents a new challenge for them, but we still have to go out and execute the X’s and O’s. That is the bottom line.”
Linebacker Ray Thompson (knee) did not practice and is on the team’s doubtful list for Sunday. Joining him on the doubtful list is linebacker Levar Fisher (knee). Offensive tackle L.J. Shelton (back) is questionable. Safety Ifeanyi Ohalate (ankle) is probable. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin (knee) is out.