As the nation and world take time to remember the events of ten years ago on Sept 11, the NFL begins its control over the people of the world with its mesmerizing game known as football. If you were watching on Thursday, you saw a great beginning to the regular season when the Green Bay Packers held off Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Today is the start to a hopefully cathartic and successful 2011 season for the Cardinals. It starts with the Carolina Panthers, who are a much different team that they were even the last time they faced off. They have a new head coach and defensive coordinator. They have a rookie quarterback in Cam Newton making his league debut. The Cardinals will send Kevin Kolb under center for the first time.
The Cardinals players are all fired up. According to coach Ken Whisenhunt, who spoke on the Doug and Wolf show last week, the players "are getting excited about the opportunity to make some plays and erase the 5-11 season from our mindset."
The game for many of these players will be one for vengeance after the Panthers pulled off one of their two wins on the season against the Cardinals. Now they will have the chance to face the number one pick in this year's NFL draft -- quarterback Cam Newton.
Preparing for the game this week, Whisenhunt said this about the rookie QB, also on the radio:
"I think he's a guy you gotta make sure you understand he can hurt you with his feet. As far as a guy who's going to drop back and throw the football and win games for them right now like you see some of the veteran quarterbacks? That's tough. That's tough for a young player, but when things break down he can move in the pocket and he can chew up some yardage getting down the field. You've seen that in preseason games, so I think he's a guy you gotta make sure you are very disciplined in your rush lanes, in your contain and understand you don't want to let him create big plays with his feet and try to make beat you by playing a normal quarterback game. He's a good football player. There's a reason he was taken with the first pick in the draft and there's going to be an adjustment for a young player just like there is with all young players and it'll be an interesting chess match this first game."
Newton, though, is not the only player who will be starting for the first time.
Kolb starts his first official game with the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie Patrick Peterson is starting at cornerback, as well as second year corner A.J. Jefferson. The Panthers will be starting two rookie defensive tackles.
Starting safety Adrian Wilson will play, which is nothing short of amazing. He has torn his biceps tendon and decided against surgery. We will have to see how he plays, but having him on the field will be a boost to the defense and the team over all.
So, the wait is now over. Games count for something and the Cardinals begin officially in their quest to return to the playoffs.