Ready for a rematch

"The way they run the football and as proficient as their offensive lineman are, you have to be very precise when you play the 49ers. You have to be ready to defend both (the run and pass). I don't think they are either a running team or a passing team. They can do both very well. If we don't defend it and we don't defend the quarterback on the move, we are going to have a long afternoon out there." --- Arizona Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis

Q: What accounted for your success running ball against 49ers in your Oct. 26 meeting?

McGinnis: I think we were fortunate to get some runs at opportune times. I think Jim Mora Jr. has put together a tremendous defense there. It's an all day's work to make any yards on them. Sometimes, ball games evolve differently Sunday after Sunday. On that day, it just seemed to be our day, and we were able to move the ball on the ground.

Q: What do you do with your defensive game plan when going up against a 49ers offense that appears to be struggling?

McGinnis: Well, when I look at the 49ers, I see a very talented group. You know that Garcia has just come back in with last week being his first game back. There were some very unusual plays last week that resulted in those interceptions. There were balls being tipped into guys' hands. We've had those things happen to us. When that stuff starts happening to you, it kind of snowballs on you. So, we are really not taking that ball game as any real indication of where their offense is. I mean, they've got very dangerous people to throw the football to. We are all very cognizant of the talent that they have at receiver. Garcia has been a guy that has given us tremendous problems in the past. I know Garrison is going to be out, but Barlow is a back that can take 25-30 carries a game because he's a big back and he has great balance. So, what we have to do is play much better than we did last week against the Bears, especially in the fourth quarter. We were able to do some things through three quarters that gave us a chance, but in the fourth quarter, we were not able to make any kind of timely stops. Plus, we gave up two deep passes, and that is something that we just can't do against the 49ers.

Q: Is playing defense against Barlow any different than playing against Hearst?

McGinnis: No, not really. We really can't because he is a guy that can run inside or outside. Even though this is his first start, he's not brand new to the game. Because of the way they use Garrison and him back there together, he's a veteran player that has given us problems in the past. He's a very capable runner, as I said, both inside and outside. He's a very powerful back. We have to get a lot of hats to him once they do decide to start handing him the football because he'll break through one or two guys. He'll break through arm tackles. We're going to concentrate very hard on being able to slow him down.

Q: What has Emmitt Smith brought to team and how does he compare to Marcel Shipp?

McGinnis: Emmitt has brought a number of things to this football team. I was fortunate to be in Chicago with the late Walter Payton. I followed the things that he brought to that football team, not only on the field, but everywhere else. His work ethic, the way he approaches the game and what he is. Emmitt Smith is just that. Emmitt Smith is a Hall of Famer that is in our locker room every day. You just can't measure the importance of that. He's been absolutely fabulous for this football team in a lot of different areas. I think these guys will always appreciate the fact that they were on this football team with Emmitt Smith. He's a guy that brings a very good understanding of everything that goes on in the National Football League; through the good times and the hard times. I couldn't be happier that he is on this football team. He and Marcel are two different types of backs. Emmitt is Emmitt Smith. This guy is the All-time, All-time. Marcel is a young back that is a bigger back that has good speed, power and explosion. Marcel has learned a lot from Emmitt, as far as being able to read defenses and how to approach things, as far as getting ready to play. So, it has been a great marriage between the two.

Q: Do you see receiver Anquan Boldin as a possible rookie of the year?

McGinnis: He is the Rookie-of-the-Year. I don't know how much my vote counts, but if my vote counts a whole lot, then Anquan Boldin is not just the Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year, he is the Rookie-of-the-Year. I've only been around one other rookie in my 18 years in the league that has had as much an impact and that has been as mature as coming into the league. He approaches the game like a veteran with a tremendous attitude and tremendous work ethic. He is very humble. The only other guy that I have ever been around that has come in as a rookie and been able to do that is Mark Carrier out of USC when we drafted him number one at the Chicago Bears. He came in, and was an immediate starter on a very good defensive football team. He had 10 interceptions, and went to the Pro Bowl. He made a huge impact in the league. Anquan Boldin has made the same type of impact. He is a guy that you would like to build your football team around. He's a guy that has become a fan favorite here in the valley, and even throughout the country. He's the type of person that you would want your son to emulate. He's the type of person that you would want to represent your company. He's the type of person, like I said, that you want to build your football team around. He's been absolutely fabulous.

Q: What characteristics make Boldin so good at a young age?

McGinnis: I think his parents deserve all the credit in the world for the way that he was raised, for the work ethic and for the consistency. He's very grounded in what is very real and what is not real. He's very disciplined. I think he had tremendous upbringing by his parents. He has taken that and taken it all to heart. Believe me, Anquan Boldin is a guy that you want to be around 24 hours a day because he is solid, a tremendous representative of the Cardinals and great ambassador for the National Football League. This guy is a guy that will around for a long time, and the league is going to be glad that he is around.

Q: How does starting linebacker Ray Thompson's suspension affect the defense?

McGinnis: Ray was a very good player for us. I was very sad to learn of it. I was very sad to have to report it. You know, the league is very, very clear on the repercussions. So, Ray will serve his four-game suspension. We'll have players that will step in, but Ray Thompson, again as I said, I'm just very sad for the occurrence.

Q: How do you expect San Francisco's offense to change with Barlow in the backfield instead of Hearst?

McGinnis: It is different when you have two backs that you have to prepare for rather than one, but I think they are a tremendous offensive football team running the football. They average over 4.5 yards a carry. If Barlow is the back, they will still run the same plays. To me, either one of those guys can be a starter in his own right and carry the ball 25-30 times a game and they wouldn't miss a beat. They are very fortunate to have both of them. This week, they'll just have one of them, but I don't see them changing their offense a whole lot.

Q: Is it tougher than ever now to win on the road in the NFL?

McGinnis: Well, I think it depends on how you play. We've had problems winning on the road because we've turned the football over. I think if we had turned over the football at home as we did on the road in some of those ball games, we wouldn't win those either. To me, whether or not you are on the road or at home, I think the formula still has to be the same. You have to be able to protect the ball with your offense. You have to be able to take it away from the opponent's offense. Then, when you have a chance to make plays, on either side of the ball or on special teams, you've got to be able to do it. That is what is killing us on the road. We've turned the football over way too many times to be successful.

Q: Is that all it is, or is there a mindset when you go on the road?

McGinnis: No, there is no different mindset at all. In this day in age, with jet travel the way it is, it is not like it takes two or three days by train to get somewhere. The mindset is exactly the same. The results haven't been very good and we need to get it stopped.

Q: Do you look at the 49ers offense now as more of a running team or a passing team?

McGinnis: I think they have the ability to do both because Garcia is a guy that has always given us huge problems with his ability to throw on the move. He makes plays with his legs. He's driven us crazy running the football. Their talent at receiver is very well documented and known. They've always had an offensive line that has been very good at getting a hat on people, regardless of what defensive fronts they are facing. When we played them before, they had both running backs. We've always been very prepared for both running backs. Each one of them has a little different style. But, as I said, the way they run the football and as proficient as their offensive lineman are, you have to be very precise when you play the 49ers. You have to be ready to defend both. I don't think they are either a running team or a passing team. They can do both very well. If we don't defend it and we don't defend the quarterback on the move, we are going to have a long afternoon out there.


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