It has become quite the fashionable and correct thing to bash our now infamous head-basher, Owen Schmitt. Commentators and media alike quickly realized that showing any sort of support for his bloody act would potentially encourage younger players to follow his lead. I get that. I, however, have no such obligation or responsibility to worry about since I am not concerned that my faithful two readers will be bashing their heads with hard objects any more now than they were before Schmitt did the deed. I, for one, loved it. As a fan of a team stuck with the "finesse/pushover" label for its entire history, I was thrilled to see one of our own buck the trend and perception. Nothing would help this battered team more than to grow a collective spine and decide that toughness and anger and grit were their ticket to success and respect this season. Because let's face it, as much as we talk about how critical this game in against Arizona, our biggest aspirations are to make the playoffs. Nobody could credibly argue we can reach the same class as teams like the Giants or Saints.
I'd almost rather see the Hawks let go of the playoff dreams and focus instead on establishing a new identity as a team that is going to physically kick your ass every time we play you, win or lose. Aaron Curry plays that way. Lawyer Milloy plays that way. David Hawthorne plays that way. We need more violence from our defense. We need to punish teams just for playing us. It's a shame that the first demonstration of maniacal toughness this team has seen in years is so widely panned. I'll be showing my support today by celebrating Halloween a few weeks early with a fake gash and blood on my face today at Qwest. Hope to see you there!
THOUGHTS ON TODAY'S GAME
I have gotten progressively less confident about today's game as the week as gone on. Matt got through last week almost untouched. It feels like he is one blindside hit away from being out again. Kelly Jennings might be the worst matchup with Larry Fitzgerald in the NFL given his total lack of ability to compete for the jump ball, and I expect him to line up against him for much of the day since Josh Wilson slides inside to guard the slot receiver in 3 WR sets. All that said, I think we have a shot given it's a game at Qwest and the Cardinals are not a dominant team.
To win, we need to hit Warner regularly. I'd take a few roughing the passer penalties if we could get some good shots in. I don't know that knocking out Warner to bring in Leinart is a net positive for us, though. I'd prefer a skittish Warner. Tackling will be key. Lots of swing passes to their RB and big, strong WRs. The difference today will be turnovers and passing. I'd bet the team with the highest QB rating wins today.
Feel free to chat during the game without me: http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/hawkblogger