Behind Enemy Lines, Part I

The Arizona Cardinals, despite issues at QB, have their eyes set on a 3-1 start. Standing in their way are the San Diego Chargers, who need a home win to avoid another disastrous start to the season. To break down the game, Scout.com's team experts go back and forth in this exclusive Q&A.

Michael Lombardo: What's going on with Arizona's quarterback situation? If Ken Whisenhunt hands the reins to rookie Max Hall, isn't that akin to giving up on the 2010 season?

Brad Wilbricht: Derek Anderson has shown very little over the first three games but is clearly the best option on the roster. Backup Max Hall was an undrafted rookie who's shown promise but he's at least a year away from having a realistic chance at starting. The only way he'll see expanded playing time in 2010 is if Anderson goes down with an injury.

ML: Larry Fitzgerald lost his Pro Bowl quarterback (Kurt Warner) and his Pro Bowl running mate (Anquan Boldin). Is he still as dangerous as he was in recent seasons?

BW: Fitzgerald is just as good as ever but his supporting cast obviously took a hit. The losses of Warner and Boldin hurt, but injuries at wide receiver have also affected the All Pro's play. Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are out, leaving a trio of rookies behind Fitzgerald (Stephen Williams, Max Komar and Andre Roberts).

ML: How has the defense responded to life without Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle?


FS Kerry Rhodes
Getty
BW: The losses of Dansby and Rolle have been felt but were addressed to some degree. Rookie LB Daryl Washington has done a nice job filling Dansby's shoes but is still prone to mistakes made by a first-year player. Free-agent acquisition Kerry Rhodes is an upgrade over Rolle in certain areas but lacks Rolle's playmaking ability.

ML: The Chargers have allowed three kick-return touchdowns already this season. Do you see LaRod Stephens-Howling delivering No. 4?

BW: Stephens-Howling is a weapon on specials teams and has a similar skill-set to Darren Sproles. Based on the Chargers' apparent lackluster kick-return defense, at least as seen against the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks, I wouldn't be surprised to see Stephens-Howling find the end zone. The Cardinals will likely need one to keep pace with San Diego.

ML: Which Cardinals newcomer will make the biggest impact on Sunday's game?

BW: For the Cardinals sake, they hope it will be LB Joey Porter. Porter has been relatively quiet so far this year but will need to get pressure on QB Philip Rivers. If not Porter, guard Alan Faneca needs a solid performance as Arizona will depend on its run game to keep Rivers and company off the field.

ML: What is the most important thing the Cardinals must do in order to leave Qualcomm Stadium with a victory?

BW: The Cardinals need to pressure Rivers and force a couple turnovers. A defensive or special teams touchdown will help their case, as well. Offensively, it starts with the running game. Beanie Wells is back from injury and Arizona has rushed for 100-plus yards in all three games this year. A fourth will be needed to stay competitive on the Chargers' home turf.


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