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"BASHED IN NASH"

I looked forward to the Cards - Titans 2nd preseason game as aq "question-answerer." Did our offense, defense and special teams look crisp and buttoned up? Would Matt Leinart step up and seize the moment? Would the young guys who looked so good a week ago continue to look good? Were any position-battles resolved.

Almost every answer drips with disappointment. Our defense didn't look crisp. Our defense played as if it didn't care. Leinart did nothing to earn the confidence of his teammates, going 3 & out on three successive series. . Although Anderson did move the team a couple of times, he missed open receivers in the end twice on the same scoring drive. In several cases, the youngsters outplayed their 1st string vets, but that was more the function of the 1st stringers performing so abysmally. By early in the second half, blocking turned into pushes and tackling became "lunging and missing."

Bright spots were few and far between, but a few that caught my attention were DRC (Titan QB's avoided him), Max Hall (the only QB who seemed to (a) see the field, (b) know what to do, (c) escape the rush and (d) find and hit the open man downfield), Justin Miller (a couple of nifty punt and KO returns), a couple of decent runs by Beanie and TD-saving catch-up effort by UDFA corner AJ Jefferson. And, oh yeah, although Stephen Williams didn't necessarily sparkle, he got the job done whenever he was called upon - a solid effort.

Game Recap

  • 1st Quarter
    Tenn. received and the two teams traded two 3 & outs apiece. On the next series, Vince Young completed 4 of 4 passes and Chris Johnson ran twice for 4 yards (the final one an 8-yard TD run). Titans 7 - Cards 0.

  • Leinart went 3 & out for the third consecutive time. He wasn't reading blitzes or coverages well; and when he did, he seemed clueless about providing the right answer. All night long, both Leinart and Anderson would come up short of a 1st down on 3rd down passes.

  • On the final Tenn series that extended into the next quarter, Vince Young continued to slice and dice the Cardinal defense, moving to theTitan 45 as the quarter ended.

  • 2nd Quarter
    Young managed to lead his team to the Cardinal 8-yard line, where the Big Red defense stiffened and a 3rd down sack by Lenon and A-Dub held them to a 29-yard Bironas FG . Drive took up 15 plays and used up 7:36 of clock-time.  Titans 10 - Cards 0.

  • Anderson in for Leinart (less a reflection on Matt than Wiz wanting to see how Anderson performed with the first unit). A couple of completions (including a 37-yarder to Steven Williams) got the Cards to the Tennessee 6, but a couple of off-target passes to receivers open in the end zone "gave back" 4 points and we had to settle for a Feely 19-yard FG. Tennessee 10 - Cards 3..

  • Kerry Collins in for Young. Titans went 3 & out. Despite a couple of completions from Anderson to Steven Williams, the Cards were forced to punt from the Tennessee 44. The two teams exchanged 3 & outs once more. Each team had one more shot at scoring before halftime, but both came up short.

  • 3rd Quarter
    Cards received and the possession was full of mixed reviews: Beanie ran for +17, 0 and +2. Wright picked up +13 on a draw play. But Anderson was sacked once and fumbled on an aborted snap. Wright was flagged for holding. Cards punted. A couple of medium-length Collins completions and a 22-yard Hawkins run later, Gado (who?) ran it in from 4-yards out. (It was right about now that you could see the tackling get sloppy).  Titans 17 - Cards 3.

  • Hall in for Anderson. Cards went 3 & out. Graham fumbled the snap, and it was Tenn, ball on the Arizona 15. Three plays later, Gado scooted in from 4-yards out.. Tennessee 24 - Cards 3. On the next series, the Cards seemed to get something going, with LSH picking up +16 and +10 yards, but a holding call on Lutui overturned the latter. A deep throw from Hall to Mougey (who was double-covered) was picked off as thequarter ended..

  • 4th Quarter
    Cards had trouble tackling Blount, but a couple of incompletions by Simms and two penalties helped stall the Tennessee drive at the Cardinal 40. Marshay Green fair cought the punt. Hall then led the offense on its only TD drive of the night - mixing completions to Komar, Gant and Dray with nice runs by LSH. Scoring play was a pretty 22-yarder from Hall to Komar. Tennessee 24 - Cards 10.

  • 7:43 left. Titans moved the ball from their own 41 to the Cardinal 18, but couldn't punch it in on 4 shots. I was kind of bummed that they went for it on 4th & 8 instead of settling for a FG, because I was hoping to see Skelton on the final series. But it wasn't to be, anyway: Hall remained in the game. It took 7 plays for the Cards to move from their own 16 to their own 31, where they punted on 4th & 15. An illegal formation penalty on Pestock undermined an 12-yard completion to Komar. Tennessee got the ball back on their own 34 with 2:08 left to play. Two runs and a knee later, the game was (mercifully) over.

Dark Spots

  • Neither of the 2 leading Cardinal QB's looks ready to effectively quarterback the offense. Preseason time's running out.

  • The defense couldn't stop the Young/C Johnson tandem..

  • The pass rush was virtually invisible.

  • HIghtower had no holes to run through.

  • Leinart couldn't make anything happen. He wasn't reading defenses well and, when he did, seldom had an answer for what the Titans were throwing at him.

  • You can see how good Anderson could be, but he was terribly erratic - missing open receivers, throwing too short to pick up first downs and not very nifty moving around in thepocket in the face of a tough pass rush.

  • Our offense had problems dealing with the blitz-happy Tennessee 46 defense.

  • It seemed to me that, on 3rd downs, our QB's (especially Anderson) were repeatedly completing passes "short" of the 1st down marker. (Routes? Pass Blocking? Or QB? I don't know).

  • Our back-ups stopped blocking and tackling by early in the 3rd quarter. They didn't look like they wanted to be out there. (There are starting jobs to be taken - doesn't anyone want to step up and take them)?

  • A couple of times, the TV camera caught #78 (Alan Branch) trotting along after a play with his head down. If an example has to be made by Wiz, it wouldn't shock me if Alan was made the example.

  • Was it my imagination or did Pago Togafau play like a guy who feels he's already won a roster-spot and has nothing more to prove. (Is this what has caused him to be cut in past seasons)?

Bright Spots

  • DRC was totally avoided by Titan passers (except for this one time when he blew up a play).

  • Roberts didn't drop any throws or punts.

  • Justin Miller displayed the knack - for returning punts and KO's for good yardage.

  • LSH was our most consistent ground gainer.

  • I liked the way AJ Jefferson stayed with his man on a deep fly pattern and refused to give up pursuing a TD-bound KO returner (He caught the dude and nailed him at the sideline) .

  • Stephen Williams caught whatever was thrown his way.

  • It's time to promote Toler to starting CB.

  • Cards penalized just 5 times (for 35 yards)


Updated August 24, 2010 Return to Highlights Page
How Each Player Did"

Quarterbacks:
7 Matt Leinart
 
6-4 224 USC (D1) Did not look like a field general  who could make things happen - who  (a) knew what to do and then (b) went out and did it He failed to audible out of a running play directed into the teeth of a blitz and went 3 & out each of the three series he was in for.
03 Derek Anderson  6-6 230 Oregon State Saw plenty of action. Up and down - demonstrated the ability to move the offense, but then would shoot himself in the foot by missing the open target, muffing the snap or taking a sack. Did look more comfortable (& accurate) throwing on the run.
19 John Skelton
 
6-5 243 ( D5)) Didn't play.
06 Max Hall 6-1 201 BYU (UDFA) Like Skelton a week ago (albeit with and against backups) he demonstrated that (unlike Leinart or Anderson) he could make sense out of  the defense and come up with the right answer. Definitely looked most comfortable moving around in the picket to buy time.
Running Backs:
34 Tim Hightower RB  (6-0 217 - Richmond D5) Started. 3 carries for 5 yards "running to darkeness." Our O-line may force each Cardinal RB to "create his own holes." At present, THT isn't delivering.
26 Chris "Beanie" Wells 6-1 235 Ohio State (D1) 6 carries for 19 yards with a longest gain of 17 yards. Given the state of our run blocking, I'd elevate him to starter because he has the most ability to create his own running room.
31 Jason Wright 5-10 215 Northwestern  (FA - Browns) Nifty 13-yard gain on a draw play. Holding penalty wasn't so hot. 2 ofr 2 catches for 6 yards. Remains steady  3rd down presence capable of winning at least a couple of games for us this season.
36 LaRod Stephens- Howling 5-7 180 Pitt (D7a) 5 carries for 30 yards, & looked the best of our RB's doing it.
46 Alfonso Smith RB 6-1 208 Kentucky (UDFA) Didn't see.
32 Nehemiah Broughton FB 5-11 255 The Citadel Didn't notice
45 Reagan Maui'ia FB 6-0 260 Hawaii Didn't notice
Wide Receivers:
11 Larry Fitzgerald (D1)
 
63 225, Pitt (D1) Didn't play.
15 Steve Breaston (KR/PR) 6-0 193 Michigan (D5) 3 catches in 4 attempts.
85 Darrin Mougey WR 6-6 230 SD State (Atlanta) 1 catch in 5 attempts.

80 Early Doucet  WR

6-0 211 LSU D3) Didn't play.
12 Andre Roberts WR 5-10 195 The Citadel (D3)
1 catch out of one thrown his way.
86 Jones, Orea WR 6-0 202 Hampton  1 catch out of one thrown his way
14 Stephen Williams WR 6-5 199 Toledo (UDFA) CaStarted in place of Fitz. Thrown at 8 times; caught 3. Led team in yardage with 59.

87 Mike Jones

ASU Shortarmed a catchable ball up the middle..

16 Edward Gant

6-1 197 No. Alabama Caught 2 of 5 balls thrown his way (Long gain: 20 yards0.
18 Max Komar 5-11 202 Idaho (UDFA) 3 for 6 (22 yard long gain. One TD).
Tight Ends:
84 Anthony Becht 6-5 280 West Virginia Didn't notice
83 Stephen Spach 6-4 250 Fresno State 1 for 1 and 7 yards.
89 Ben Patrick 6-3 252 Delaware (D7) PUP list
86 Dominique Byrd, TE  6-3 255 USC Didn't notice
81 Ken Dray 6-4 251 Sanford (D7) 1 grab out of 2 thrown at him.
Offensive Linemen:
75 Levi Brown OT 6-5 323 lb Penn. St. Penalized once. Didn't notice, but entire unit struggled vs. Tenn. 46 blitz-schemes. And our running attack was anemic.
66 Alan Faneca 6-5 307 lb LSU (FA Jets) Appeared briefly. Didn't notice, but entire unit struggled vs. Tenn. 46 blitz-schemes. And our running attack was anemic.
63 Lyle Sendlein C (6-2, 305) -Texas (UDFA)
2007
Nothing of note. Didn't notice, but entire unit struggled vs. Tenn. 46 blitz-schemes. And our running attack was anemic.
74 Reggie Wells OT (D6a) 
 
6-3, 302 Clarion
2007
Played a lot. Nothing special to report. Didn't notice, but entire unit struggled vs. Tenn. 46 blitz-schemes. And our running attack was anemic.
76 Taitusi (Deuce) Lutui G/T 6-4 350 USC (D2)
2007
Penalized onced
70 Rex Hadnot G 6-2 310 Houston (FA Cleve) Didn't notice.
72 Brandon Keith OG/OT 6-5 345 lb No. Iowa (D7) Didn't notice, but entire unit struggled vs. Tenn. 46 blitz-schemes. And our running attack was anemic.
73 Jeremy Bridges G/T 6-4 326 So Miss (FA)  
62 Ben Claxton C 6-2 301  
67 Herman "House" Johnson G 6-7 382 LSU D6) I could have sworn I saw him playing on the defensive side of the ball late in the 4Q..
69 Casey Knips G 6-8 300 So Dakota St (UDFA)  
60 David Moosman C 6-5 293 Michigan (UDFA)  
68 Pestock, Tom G/T 6-6 317 MW Missouri St Penalized once.
66 Jordan Palmer G 6-5 338 Auburn (2))  
Defensive Linemen:
90 Darnell Dockett UT/DE  6-3 292 Florida State (D3) Brief showing. Good pressure on QB on one play.
98 Gabe Watson NT 6-3 341 Michigan (D4)  
93 Calais Campbell (D2) 6-8 283, Miami (FL)

Led team in tackles with 7..Good pressure on QB on at least one play. Noticed him out of position on 2 successful Titan running plays.

74 Ken Iwebema (D4) 6-4 269, Iowa

Didn't notice.

92 Dan Williams NT 6-2 327 Tennessee (D1) 3 tackles but nothing spectacularl
.71 Jeremy Clark DE 6-3 09 lb Alabama (FA)  
78 Alan Branch 6-6 331 lb Michigan (D2 2007) Saw him trotting after a couple of plays as though he didn;t care.
97 Bryant Robinson (FA) 6-3 304, Fresno St

Didn't look good

65 John Fletcher DE 6-6 272 Wyoming(FA1)

Was missing a couple of tackles in 4Q.

Linebackers:
55 Joey Porter OLB 6-3 255  (FA Miami)
Did not notice.
54 Gerald Hayes ILB 6-1, 239, Pitt (D3) PUP - Did not play.
58 Daryl Washington ILB 6-1, 230 TCU (D2) 3 tackles. Nowhere near the presence he had a week ago.
53 Clark Haggans DE/OLB 6-4 243 (Steelers) 2 tackles - one nice stop in backfield.
51 Paris Lenon 6-2 235 Richmond 9 (FA Rams) Half a sack in brief appearance.
50 Monte Beisel 6-3 240 Kansas St Did not notice.
56 Reggie Walker 6-0 238 Kansas State .
52 Cody Brown 6-2 244 UConn (D2) Did not notice.
59 Will Davis 6-2 261 Illinois (D6) .
43 Chris Johnson 6-2 230 So Dakota St  
57 Stevie Baggs 6-1 245 Bethune Cookman(FA fr CFL)) One tackle behind LOS. One QB hurr7
95 Pago Togafau 5-10 242 Idaho St.FA 4 tackles

96 Mark WashingtonOLB

 

6-3 245 Texas St. - San Marcus  
48 O' Brien Schofield  Signed 6-2 235 Wisconsin (D4)  
Defensive Backs:
24 Adrian Wilson S 6-2 213 (D3) 4 tackles..
25 Kerry Rhodes 6-3 209 Louisville (Jets(Trade) 4 tackles. On one play, he let the TE get behind him for a long gain.
29 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 6015 185 Tenn. St. (D1)
Avoided by Tenn passers.
28 Greg Toler CB 5-11 191 St. Paul's (D4) Didn't start (but looked as if he should)
21 Jorrick Calvin  Signed 5-11 185 Troy Saw some late action.
27 Michael Adams CB  (5-8, 178) - Louisiana-Lafayette (UDFA) Made one nice play in 2H which demonstrated hos value as a nickel or dime slot specialist..
49 Rashad Johnson S 5-11 205 Alabama (D3) My impression continued to be that he was "up & down" (some good plays/some not-so-good). 1 tackle.
41 Hamzah Abdullah  S 6-2 215 Washington State 2nd on team in tackles with 6.
20 A.J. Jefferson CB 6-0 190 (UDFA) Fresno St (UDFA) TStood out on 2 plays: (1) He stayed with a speedy receiver on a fly pattern - pass fell incomplete. (2) Took correctr angler,  ran down and caught up with speedy Tenn. punt returner and blasted him out of bounds to save a long TD. .
30 Marshay Green CB 5-9 175 Ole Miss (UDFA) Husted all over the field and seemed to be doing what he was supposed to do
22 Matt Ware S 6-0 210 (Waivers Philadelphia) UCLA Saw him in there, but isn't listed in defensive stats..
47 Justin Miller CB
5-10 195 Clemson (FA Jets, Raiders) A couple of nice KO returns (defined as: "nearly double what Breaston or LSH would have gotten").
37 Trumaine McBride CB 5-9 180 Ole Miss

 

39 Trevor Ford CB 6-0 188 Troy

1 terrific late-game tackle (at a time when everyone else seemed to have packed it in).

40 Pat Tillman,   (S) 5-10 208 (3) ASU Permanent part of the Cardinal roster..
Specialty Teams
04 Jay Feely K (FA - Jets) Hit one chip shot. Kicking off  2or 3 yards into end zone but not far enough to prevent returners from bringing it out.
05 Ben Graham  P 6-5 235  FA) Jets Continues to punt well, but bobbled snap on one play to hand Tenn. a big scoring opportunity (which resulted in a TD).
82 Mike Leach LS 6-2 240 William & Mary (FA Denver)  
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