NFC Mid Week Notes

<b>Arizona Cardinals -Defense Not the Reason for the Slow Start</b> <br><br> The club may have an 0-3 record but their defense certainly isn't the one to blame.

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast's scheme certainly seems to be very aggressive shown by the numbers. In the first three games of the season, the Cardinal defense has recorded 11 turnovers and has only given up 45 points (15 per game average). One other surprising stat is that they have only give up three touchdowns.

One of the big reasons for their improvement defensively is veteran cornerback Duane Starks. The oft-injured Starks has stayed mostly healthy so far and he's been part of a secondary that has given up only one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver.

If starting quarterback Josh McCown could start to play with some consistency, the Cardinals could get themselves back to respectability-very, very fast.

Dallas Cowboys - Size Might Matter

With starting cornerback Pete Hunter (knee) gone for the rest of the season, the club lost not only an emerging solid young defender but their tallest defensive back.

This could become an issue when Dallas goes up against a tall receiver such as Terrell Owens (twice).

New York Giants - Warner Impressing Critics

While some of his harshest critics might argue that quarterback Kurt Warner isn't the player he once was, it certainly doesn't look that way on tape.

According to a league source who has watched the coaches tape of the Giants first three games, Warner has looked good so far as he has in the past few seasons. Warner seems to have a good grasp of the club's offense and he has been able to throw with a rhythm and with a good sense of time. He also hasn't been holding on to the ball too long which was a trait that he had with the Rams. He's taking what the defense is giving him and that's been evident by his low turnover total so far.

Washington Redskins -Who's the Top Receiver?

Most team observers thought coming in to the season that fifth-year pro Laveranues Coles was going to the club's leading receiver for the second straight season. However, that certainly doesn't seem the case through three games.

Fourth-year receiver Rod Gardner has caught the same amount of passes (17), had one less pass thrown to him (33), caught two more touchdown passes, and has posted 125 more receiving yards than Coles.

Atlanta Falcons -Dunn Making Most of Opportunity

When the club moved to a true West Coast offensive attack this season, the one player that benefited as much as anyone was veteran back Warrick Dunn.

In most true West Coast offenses, you'll see more versatile smaller to mid-size backs handle the rushing load. Dunn, even at 5'8"/180, has proven over the years that he can handle a variety of roles. The most surprising thing about him this year is that he's been handling the goal-line carries (four rushing touchdowns so far) over the much bigger T.J. Duckett.

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