Behind Enemy Lines: Part 1

Scout.com insiders Amberly Dressler and Bill Huber begin their breakdown of Round 2 of the Packers-Cardinals doubleheader. Is last week's domination by the Packers irrelevant? Who will be the Cardinals X-factor? Do the Cardinals have a chance against the Packers? That and much more inside!

We go Behind Enemy Lines with Amberly Dressler of ArizonaRedReport.com

Bill: So, you would know better than anyone: Just how vanilla were the Cardinals on both sides of the ball last week? And is the Packers' domination last week and in the first half of that preseason game totally irrelevant?

Amberly: The Cardinals definitely kept their playbook under wraps. Whether the decision to wave the white flag last week will ultimately produce a win in the opening round of the playoffs or blow up in Ken Whisenhunt's face, is yet to be seen. But the Cardinals were bland on both sides of the ball for two reasons. First and foremost, that was all part of the plan. Secondly, Whisenhunt will always take the conservative route with Matt Leinart under center. Leinart's performance through the air should explain that sentiment. On the other hand, the Packers' domination last week isn't meaningless. The Cardinals were able to see where their first team struggled. Whisenhunt's plan aside, the Cardinals weren't able to execute with their starters either. The Cardinals will focus on getting their players healthy this week and plugging the holes that were exposed last week (see: offensive line).

Bill: We know about your big guns at receiver, but I'm guessing Steve Breaston might be the X-factor against the Packers' secondary. What can you tell us about Breaston — as well as the other receivers in Kurt Warner's arsenal? And just how good is Tim Hightower in the passing game, because I'm betting he'll see the field a lot instead of Beanie Wells.

Steve Breaston
(Getty)

Amberly: Steve Breaston has been relatively quiet this year. He's dealt with a bruised knee this season, but built steam toward the final games. While Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Breaston didn't quite make up the Three-Headed Monster of 2008's run, it's safe to bet that Breaston will become more of an impact player in the post season. With his experience, he should see more reps than second-year player Early Doucet. Behind those two is Jerheme Urban who saw half the catches in 2009 as he did 2008 because of Doucet's role on the team. But all the Cardinals receivers are more than capable of hauling in clutch plays. Another reason for Breaston and Urban's diminished role is the emergence of Tim Hightower in the passing game. Here's a player who came out of small-school Richmond with a chip on his shoulder. He was one of the best sleeper picks in the draft but nobody knew it. Hightower boasted a pair of the best hands in college football, as he never fumbled in around 700 carries. Wells rubbed off on Hightower a bit this season. Each of the backs have four and five fumbles a piece, respectively. But the bottom line is that Hightower is another major threat in the receiving game. And that's where Hightower will continue to make an impact because Wells has taken a lot of his carries.

Bill: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has found a new favorite target in Jermichael Finley. How have the Cardinals done against the top tight ends they've faced (Vernon Davis, Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels, Visanthe Shiancoe)?

Amberly: The Cardinals have struggled against tight ends because they've never had good tight ends to go up against in practice (at least that's the joke). One tight end you failed to mention is the Bears' Greg Olsen who burned the Cardinals for three touchdowns (the only multi-scoring game of his three-year career). As for Davis, he hasn't been a problem for the Cardinals. He was touchdown-less in both meetings this year and was kept to 40 yards or less. Clark got the better of the Cardinals but so did the entire Indianapolis Colts team. Like I mentioned last week, Arizona got too big for its britches a few times this year and that was the story following its 2-0 start. Then the Colts came to town and took candy from the Cardinals. Owens Daniels didn't score a touchdown and Visanthe Shiancoe was quiet on the yards front (14) but executed in the end zone for Brett Favre. Jermichael Finley could very well continue his production.


Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
(Getty)

Bill: How much talk out there is of the Cardinals having "no chance" to win this game? I ask because nobody gave the Cardinals a prayer entering the playoffs last year. I know Ken Whisenhunt believes that kind of talk fuels his team.

Amberly: The Cardinals raced through the playoffs on the Roger Dangerfield card, "we get no respect." But I don't think they get to play that card for much longer. The league has seen what Arizona's passing game can do and voted three of its defensive players into the Pro Bowl. I think Cardinals fans are confident, but a lot of times confident hasn't gotten them anywhere this season. The Cardinals were confident against the San Francisco 49ers (twice), against the Carolina Panthers and against the Packers, and we see where that got them. But the Cardinals are never down for the count. Most people who follow the Cardinals regularly will tell you that they'll pull out a win this week.

Bill: Your prediction comes later in this series, but what do you see happening on Sunday?

Amberly: I can foresee a lot of the inconsistencies biting the Cardinals in the beak. On the flip side, I can see Kurt Warner playing a perfect game (if you are a perfect passer rating believer); Fitzgerald putting up 150 yards and three touchdowns; And the Cardinals defense being focused and winning the turnover battle. It's hard to put your chips for the Cardinals and against them.


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