Cards: Run Game Needs to Carry Offense

Due to dismal quarterback play by both Max Hall and Derek Anderson, the Cardinals' ground game needs to emerge.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt might be forced to make a bigger commitment to the run game in the second half of the season because of poor play at quarterback.

Whisenhunt believes in the importance of the run game, but he also knows that the best offenses in the NFL today are the ones that can attack through the air.

And with talented starting receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, Whisenhunt is reluctant to move too far away from that philosophy.

The problem is the Cardinals don't have anyone who can get those two the ball consistently. Rookie Max Hall played poorly in his three starts, and hasn't finished his last two: one because of injury and another due to performance.

Derek Anderson can make every throw necessary and a bunch of ones that aren't. Neither quarterback has proven worthy of anywhere close to the trust he had in Kurt Warner.

So Whisenhunt is faced with the prospect of pulling back and becoming conservative. His offensive line is not great at pass blocking, but it has the power to be an effective run-blocking group.

Beanie Wells is now the starting back, but he hasn't look as dynamic as he did last year. Wells seems to lack patience and is looking for the big run all the time.

There are times where it appears he is bouncing outside too early, rather than squaring his shoulders and moving up field.

At nearly 230 pounds, Wells is powerful enough to break tackles in the secondary. But by trying to break outside for big plays, he's giving defensive backs better angles. It's clear, however, that Wells is now the Cardinals back of the present.

Tim Hightower was not only benched last game, but he carried just once and caught one pass. He produced only one yard.

Whisenhunt doesn't appear to have much trust in Hightower, who has lost three fumbles this season.

Whisenhunt denies that and said Hightower will be an integral part of the offense.

But there's no question Hightower's fumbles have resulted in a severe curtailment of his playing time.

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