Arizona Beyond Doubt, Now Face Giant Task

The Cardinals know keeping quarterback Kurt Warner upright and healthy is the key to success for the rest of the season and to a possible playoff run. They've done a good job of protecting Warner so far. He's been sacked 18 times, which isn't much considering the club is throwing an average of 38 times a game.

Arizona's pass protection, however, will face its stiffest test on Sunday against the Giants. The Giants have the best pass-rushing front four in football, and the key to stopping Warner and the Cardinals passing attack is get pressure on him with the front four.

Warner has been brilliant against blitzes. He's stood tall in the face of defenders in his face, and he's uncanny at making defense's pay for taking chances. The tradeoff is that he is prone to taking a beating.

Part of the reason Warner has performed so well in the face of pressure this year is the work he did in the offseason. Warner and backup Matt Leinart spent a considerable amount of time going through drills designed to help them move around the pocket and protect the ball.

The Cardinals researched Warner's problems in fumbling and found that he was most likely to do so on seven-stop drops when he was forced to move up in the pocket. They found that when he moved around the pocket, he usually had just one hand on the ball.

So Warner and the other quarterbacks go through drills almost daily that try to simulate moving around the pocket while keeping both hands on the ball. It seems to have helped Warner.

He has fumbled seven times this year, losing five of them. But four of those fumbles including three of the lost ones, came in one game -- against the Jets.

Warner has been far better at holding on to the ball than he was last year, when he fumbled 12 times and lost six of them.

Meanwhile, right tackle Levi Brown, the fifth overall pick in last year's draft, has improved but Sunday's game will be a severe test for him.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have heard a lot of talk about people doubting us, that we weren't playing anybody. What we did today speaks for itself. They say the road comes through here. We came in and took care of business." - WR Anquan Boldin.

TRENDING: The Cardinals are adding to their offensive playbook almost weekly and the latest addition is a scheme that puts receiver Anquan Boldin in the backfield.

The Cardinals version of the "Wildcat" formation is called "The Pahokee", named after Boldin's hometown in Florida. The Cardinals have only had Boldin take a direct snap a handful of times. Most of the time, they either throw a swing pass to him or motion him to the edge of the formation, where he catches a short pass or a screen. By using this formation, the Cardinals can get Boldin matched up against linebackers, and he'll win that battle almost every time.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--SS Adrian Wilson could be suspended for his hit on Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck. No penalty was called but it appeared Wilson might have made helmet-to-helmet contact on the play. Wilson already has been fined $25,000 for a hit this year and the league informed him that the net infraction could result in a $50,000 fine and a one-game suspension.

--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted the first two passes of his career. The 16th overall pick in the draft, Rodgers-Cromartie entered the starting lineup last week. His second interception stopped Seattle's last drive.

--QB Kurt Warner has passed for more than 300 yards in four consecutive games, setting a Cardinals record. He shares the NFL record of six consecutive games with Steve Young and Rich Gannon.

--QB Kurt Warner has thrown a touchdown pass in 18 straight games, one short of Neil Lomax's franchise record.

--K Neil Rackers made four field goals on Sunday, including a 54-yarder, his longest since 2004. Rackers has now made 13 consecutive field goals. Over the past two years, he had made just four of 16 from 50 yards and beyond and his longest previous attempt this year was 47, which he made.


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