Behind Enemy Lines: Part II

Our Scout.com experts, John Crist of Bear Report and Amberly Dressler of AZ Red Report, go Behind Enemy Lines for an analysis of Sunday's matchup between the Cardinals and Bears in Chicago.

John Crist: We know what Kurt Warner has done rejuvenating his career in Arizona, recently becoming the first passer in NFL history to throw for 14,000 yards with two different teams, but is there any future for Matt Leinart at this point? He looked great against the Bears for a half back in 2006.

Amberly Dressler: Leinart has earned a few opportunities to play this season in games where the Cardinals were too far behind or held a large enough advantage to take Warner off the field. Leinart's main duty was not to make mistakes. But he appeared to want to make something special happen. He should get his chance at the end of Warner's two-year deal that he signed this past offseason. Leinart has been the model citizen sitting behind Warner. He's done everything asked of him. Leinart has really matured both on and off the field. Many people feel empathetic to Leinart's situation. He's sitting behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback, so he's learning through osmosis. But his sideline duties are wasting a lot of good playing years for USC's former golden boy.

Leinart has handled the whole situation very professionally, but I'd be hard pressed to find an agent who doesn't want his former Heisman Trophy winner not to start for another 25 games. On the flip side, Leinart is comfortable in Arizona. It's the only pro team he has ever known. The job is his when Warner retires.

JC: The running game continues to be a problem for the Cards, despite the presence of Tim Hightower's all-around efforts and Beanie Wells playing better in recent weeks. Is the offensive line mainly to blame? That seems to be the excuse for Matt Forte struggling so bad here in Chicago.


RB Tim Hightower
AP Images: Paul Connors

AD: The Cardinals offensive line should shoulder much of the blame. Regardless of Wells' first-round pedigree, he's still a rookie who needs more than a little help from the big men up front. Arizona's offensive line has started 20-plus consecutive games together. The unit should be much further along than where it is.

Hightower isn't a huge threat, but he can get the job done. Wells needs to take care of the football more, but he showed great power against the Giants and should excel as his carry count increases.

JC: Bears fans wanted the team to take a shot at Anquan Boldin this past offseason, even after giving up two first rounders for Jay Cutler. But once again, Boldin is battling injury. Will we see more of Steve Breaston opposite Larry Fitzgerald the rest of the way, both now and down the road?

AD: Boldin is day-to-day for Sunday. The big question is to rest him for a week or to play him. The Cardinals can play without him, but they are much better with him. That said, Arizona will need him to be healthy for the long run, and ankle injuries tend to nag players for a while.

If the Cardinals decide to play Boldin against the Bears, he will be limited. Breaston will pick up the slack. He's shown more Boldin characteristics as his playing time has increased over this season and last. Some of Breaston's best games have been when he gets the starting nod.

JC: What exactly happened last week against the Panthers? The Cardinals supposedly had the No. 1 run defense in the league, but they got steamrolled by the combo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Was it an aberration, or is there something horribly wrong with the front seven?


DT Darnell Dockett
AP Images: David J. Phillip

AD: The Cardinals defense got too big for its britches following a dominant performance over the Giants. Arizona's standout players were quiet against the Panthers.

The Cardinals defense has the ability to bounce back from poor showings and should do so when it takes on the Bears.

JC: Last year, Arizona was a poor road team and racked up a bunch of wins at home. However, this season, the opposite seems to be true. After an impressive victory in Week 7 at the Meadowlands, the Cards stunk up their home field in Week 8. Is there any way to explain away such a weird flip-flop?

AD: The Cardinals' losses in Glendale baffle me. A few possible explanations could be the emphasis Arizona has put on winning on the road because of their embarrassments away last year. Or, possibly, the Cardinals have gotten over-confident at home. Another possible theory could be that the players just have a lot going on at home. On the road, they get to escape the demands that come with home life.

Whatever it is, the Cardinals need to fix it. Their fans deserve a good show.

To read Part III of this Behind Enemy Lines series, Click Here. To go back and read Part I, where John answers five questions from Amberly, Click Here.


Agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard on our message board RIGHT HERE.


John Crist is the publisher of BearReport.com. Amberly Dressler is the publisher of AZRedReport.com.


Bear Report Top Stories