Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cards @ Hawks: What's different?

Our last game against the Cards almost feels like it was last season. We've played ten games since then, going 7-3. They have gone 5-5. There are usually major differences in personnel and identity in the NFL over the course of ten games, so let's take a look:

For the Cards:
  • Matt Leinart will not go 23-37 and throw for 299 yards and a TD (he's injured in case you missed it). Kurt Warner starts in his place and has posted an impressive 90.1 QB rating this season.
  • They will not be starting a 3rd-string rookie free agent at center, and their rookie 1st-round right tackle is no longer an unproven commodity.
  • Their best player, Adrian Wilson, is out for the season, leaving former Seahawks practice squad member Oliver Celestin starting at the SS spot.
  • Starting CB Eric Green is also out for the season, elevating former 1st rd pick Antrel Rolle (also known as Darrell Jackson's whipping boy) to a starting role.
  • Bertrand Barry is out for the year, so former Seahawk Joe Tafoya starts RDE.
  • Where most people saw weakness, we've now seen a season of strength from the Cards young offensive line. They allowed zero sacks in the first game against us (the second time in a row they've shut us out on sacks), and have allowed only 17 all year while also paving the way for the NFCs third leading rusher.
  • Both Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are injured, where both were healthy for the first match
For the Hawks:
  • Mack Strong is retired. Leonard Weaver is starting.
  • The Hawks running game is no longer feared. Alexander's 18 rushes for 70 yards in the first game would be considered great by recent measures.
  • Chuck Darby is out for the year. Brandon Mebane starts.
  • LeRoy Hill did not play in the first game due to injury, and we've seen what a difference he seems to make.
  • The Hawks defense has almost a full season of playing together. Our safeties hadn't made their presence felt yet, but are now a proven security blanket.
  • Alvin Pearman was returning kickoffs. Forgot the dude was even on the team.
Oh, and of course, we're playing at QWest Field.

Here's a look back at the post-game observations of that first game.

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