Defense Could Be In Tact for Big Game At Home

The Cardinals are hopeful of having the full services of three key defenders Sunday when they take on the high-powered offense of the Cowboys. Defensive end/outside linebacker Bertrand Berry, who had one sack in each of the first three games, could return from a groin injury that's caused him to miss the last two games.

The Cardinals have a bye next week, so they could play this two ways. They could figure Bertrand Berry would have some time to rest after playing this week, or they might choose to sit him out and take the extra week of rest.

Strong safety Adrian Wilson played a very limited role last week against the Bills because of a hamstring injury. Wilson hopes to resume regular duties this week.

Having Berry and Wilson would be a huge boost to the team's chances of beating the Cowboys. Berry is an excellent pass rusher, and Wilson also is a big part of the team's pressure package.

Travis LaBoy starts over Berry and has played well, but Berry would give the club some depth. Wilson is a solid pass defender and excels when the Cardinals move him closer to the line of scrimmage, where he is forceful against the run and a dangerous blitzer.

Starting right corner Rod Hood suffered a groin injury last week, and his status is unknown. On Monday, Hood said he was very sore. Rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would replace Hood. But while Rodgers-Cromartie has great physical tools, he's still learning the game at the NFL level.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner focused so hard on ball security last week that he carried a ball around his house for a couple of days, daring his two youngest kids to knock it loose. Warner didn't have a turnover against the Bills.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald is being used on more crossing routes this year than ever before. Fitzgerald has improved his run-after-catch ability, and he's tough to bring down because of his size.

--WR Anquan Boldin might not play this week after taking a vicious hit two Sundays ago from Jets safety Eric Smith. Boldin had surgery to repair a facial fracture and likely won't return until Oct. 26 the week after the bye.

--WR Steve Breaston, the No. 3 wideout on the club, has done a nice job of filling in for Anquan Boldin. Breaston has proven reliable, and his speed gives the club a missing dimension.

--RB Edgerrin James remains consistently productive. He's not going to break many long runs, but he doesn't make many mistakes, either.

--RB Tim Hightower has five rushing touchdowns, more than any Cardinals rookie since 1993, when Ronald Moore had nine.

--TE Leonard Pope is playing well, despite a sore foot/ankle. Pope hasn't been a focal part of the passing game but has improved his blocking.

--NT Gabe Watson (fractured kneecap) could make his first start of the season. He played well last week in his season debut.


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