The Cardinals Rushing Plague

The Cardinals have rushed for 170 yards in the past four games, but coaches don't think personnel changes are going to help. So Tim Hightower will continue to start at running back, and Edgerrin James will continue to stand on the sideline. The Cardinals should get a boost from the schedule-makers.

The Cardinals play the Rams this week. When the teams met a month ago, the Cardinals rushed for 177 yards, and Hightower had 109 in his first start.

Since then, however, the run game has been terrible.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt, however, believes Hightower remains the team's best option. None of the team's running backs would have fared better in the past four games, he said.

James, meanwhile, stands on the sideline and bides his time until the team releases him after the year. He recently joked in a Florida paper that he felt like an inmate waiting for his release from jail.

Whisenhunt doesn't think his team is far from developing a competent running game. It's a missed block here, a blown assignment there, he said.

That, of course, is what poor running teams always say. It's clear, however, the Cardinals need to improve that area over the last month of the season if they are to get on a roll heading into the playoffs.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner has committed seven turnovers in the past three games -- five interceptions and two fumbles.

--P Dirk Johnson was cut this week after performing inconsistently throughout the season. Johnson kept his job only because he was holding for K Neil Rackers. Johnson averaged 41.8 yards a punt and had a net average of 35.2. The Cardinals signed former Jet Ben Graham to replace him. He will hold for Rackers.

--RB Tim Hightower has averaged about 2.0 yards a carry over the past four games. He's finding little room to run, and he appears to be dancing too much now.

--OLB/DE Travis LaBoy has not had a sack in his past seven games. He's been hampered by groin and ankle injuries.

--CB Rod Hood is expected to play this week after missing last week's game with a rib injury. Hood barely played the week before in Seattle.

--CB Ralph Brown has moved past Eric Green on the depth chart. Brown started last week in place of Green.

--OLB Clark Haggans is expected to play this week after missing the past two games with a sprained left foot.


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