Welcome to UoP stadium, it's a beautiful day here in Arizona, and the tension for the first game of the season is apparent. Before we get to the kickoff, let's go over the (insert advertiser name here) keys to the game.
For the Cardinals, on the offensive side of the ball, it all comes down to:
- The trenches. The Panthers have a good edge rusher in Charles Johnson, 11.5 sacks in 2010. Win at the line of scrimmage. Open up holes for Chris Wells. Protect Kevin Kolb.
- Protect the football. This was the reason Tim Hightower now runs the rock for the Washington Redskins, who the Cards will meet in game 2.
- Start quickly, and get Larry Fitzgerald involved early. Simple enough. The quicker the Kolb to Fitz TD machine starts turning the better.
- The trenches. It's a 3-4, a good NT takes up two bodies and frees the MLB to eat the run or the QB. A stellar NT takes up 2+ bodies (Lead blocker), and or gets a hand on the runner. They also don't get their named called a bunch. Dan Williams needs to be stellar. Darnell Dockett needs to be pro bowl season disruptive, and Calais Campbell needs to step up and realize his potential.
- Control the edge. Cam Newton is young, he will be a short quick read QB until he develops. He will look to tuck and run. If he gets the edge it will be bad. Look for a monster (joker/sniffer) to have Newton's jersey number as his only duty. I'm thinking of Adrian Wilson.
- The secondary needs to be sharp. If they get Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie disease, they will give up the big play as the Panthers still feature Steve Smith as a receiving threat. A.J. Jefferson, Patrick Peterson, and Kerry Rhodes will all get looks from the rookie QB. In fact, Kerry Rhodes for NFC West Defensive player week 1.