Tag:Ken Whisenhunt
Posted on: October 29, 2010 6:22 pm
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Wells will take over Hightower's starting spot

T. Hightower loses a fumble against San Francisco. His fumbling was one reason C. Wells will take over Hightower's starting spot (US Presswire) Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Today’s news that Cardinals RB Beanie Wells would start in place of Tim Hightower is not a surprise. While Hightower has averaged 5.7 yards per carry this year, he’s more valuable on passing downs because of his superior blocking ability.

But, with Wells slow to return to 100 percent because of a knee injury, Hightower has found plenty of time to fumble on key possessions. In that time frame, he’s managed to lose three fumbles, while Wells – who’s expressed his displeasure at his role in the offense – has continued to improve on his pass-blocking ability.

All of which means we’re going to see more of Wells as an every-down back and much less of Hightower.

“Tim is still going to get carries and be involved in all aspects of the offense,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said in quotes recorded by the team’s official website. “He’s not going to just be a third-down back. … But (Beanie starting) is the way we’re going to go.”

Hightower fumbled in the second quarter of last week’s game against the Seahawks, and you didn’t see him much the rest of the game. In fact, he got zero carries the rest of the day. Now, no matter what Whisenhunt says, it wouldn’t be shocking not to see Hightower at all this Sunday.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 2:20 pm
 

Max Hall to replace Anderson as Cards starter

M. Hall will take over for D. Anderson as Arizona's starting QB (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It looks like Derek Anderson’s reign as the Cardinals starting quarterback has come to an end – at least for the time being.

After Anderson beat out Matt Leinart in the preseason for the right to start, coach Ken Whisenhunt apparently will start undrafted free agent rookie Max Hall Sunday against the Saints.

That’s according to a source for the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers.

As Somers points out, Anderson had the worst QB ranking in the league (a measly 59.5), and the Cardinals rank 31st in the NFL in offense.

After replacing Anderson in the Chargers 41-10 beatdown of the Cardinals, Hall went 8 for 14 for 82 yards. He also was sacked six times.

It’s also official: Anderson has been Wally Pipp’d.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 6:41 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Curse of Wally Pipp

P. Hillis has taken over the Cleveland running game (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re a quarter of the way into the season, and some players who were originally slated to be backups suddenly have emerged as starters. Maybe it was through an injury to the former starter. Maybe it was because the starter wasn’t as good as the team thought and the backup was better. Maybe it was because – and Wally Pipp could relate to this – somebody just needed an off-day.

In fairness to the old-time Yankees first baseman, who was replaced one day (permanently, it turned out) in 1925 by a guy named Lou Gehrig because Pipp had a headache, that story might not be true exactly. Instead, he might have been benched because manager Miller Huggins simply wanted to shake up the lineup. Either way, Gehrig played the next 2,130 games, and Pipp ended up in … Cincinnati (and apparently, he was also one of Sports Illustrated’s first writing hires, one of those cool but useless facts).

Anyway, there have been some impact players to emerge this season so far, simply because they, like Gehrig, were given that chance to shine. Some have won a starting position. Some are just holding it until the real starter returns. But they’re all making a (mostly good) impression. It sounds like the perfect Top Ten With a Twist list to me.

10. Lance Moore, WR/PR, Saints: The story of Moore’s career. A Saints starts gets injured. Moore steps in and makes plays. Remember in 2008 when Moore caught a team-high 79 passes for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns after Marques Colston was hurt? Obviously, when Reggie Bush returns from his broken leg, Moore will fade back into the background – maybe. But man, he looked electric against the Falcons (six catches, 149 yards, two touchdowns), and he’s become a big target for New Orleans when it’s in the red zone.

9. Max Hall, QB, Cardinals: Look, we all know Derek Anderson isn’t a very good quarterback. But I didn’t think he would have a chance to lose his job this early. Hall, meanwhile, was a 2010 undrafted free agent (seriously, how poor is Anderson to lose to an undrafted free agent?). Not that Hall was great when he replaced Anderson on Sunday, because he wasn’t, but he might be Arizona’s best option at this point. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, meanwhile, isn’t talking. “I think we're going to go without [a quarterback) this week,” he joked Monday. “I think we're going to go with all Wildcat."

8. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots: He averaged about eight carries per game his rookie year in 2008, but with Kevin Faulk lost for the season – and Fred Taylor unavailable for the Miami game Monday – Green-Ellis (47 carries this year for 215 yards) has already nearly doubled his attempts from last year. He had his breakout in Week 3 against Buffalo when he carried the ball 16 times for 98 yards and a score, and vs. the Dolphins, he was impressive with a 16-carry, 78-yard, one-touchdown performance.

7. Shaun Hill, QB, Lions:
The reason Hill is so low on this list is because there’s no way he’ll take the job from Matthew Stafford. But still, how impressive has Hill looked the past few weeks? After Stafford went out with the shoulder injury in Week 1, Hill was terrible. But the past three weeks, he’s completed 61.9 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and six interceptions (he’s also averaging 301 passing yards per game), and he really impressed me in Detroit’s two-point loss to Green Bay.

6. Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Raiders: It didn’t take long for Raiders coach Tom Cable to figure out that, in order to save his job, he’d take his chances with Gradkowski instead of Jason Campbell. This is not to say Gradkowski is an elite quarterback, because that’s a laughable notion. But he played well at times when he was in Tampa Bay after Chris Simms ruptured his spleen in 2006 (Gradkowski failed to win the starting job in 2007). For now, though, Gradkowski is entrenched as Cable’s guy. As long as Cable is around.

5. Koa Misi, LB, Dolphins: Ikaika Alama-Francis was supposed to be the starter, but the night before the season opener, he caught some kind of illness and he’s been recovering ever since, losing 15-20 pounds in the process. Misi, the team’s second round Draft pick this year, has taken over his starting spot with consistent play and a smooth transition to the pro game. It was originally thought that Misi’s main objective would be as a situational pass-rusher – he was, after all, a defensive end in college – but he’s proven his worth as an every-down back with two sacks and a fumble recovery TD. In the meantime, he’s also Wally Pipp’d Alama-Francis.

4. Taylor Mays, S, 49ers: Mays so Wally Pipp’d former starter Michael Lewis that San Francisco released Lewis Monday, the day after Mays’ huge game against Atlanta. Mays had taken Lewis’ starting job already, and it sounds like Lewis asked for his release, but still, that’s pretty impressive for a rookie. Mays, in case you didn’t see it, had a phenomenal touchdown (both feet down!) after a punt block to give San Francisco a 14-0 lead. He also made 11 tackles.



3. John Carney, K, Saints: Carney, who will turn 65 later this year (I’m kidding, he’s 46), has returned once again to the NFL, and after making three kicks this past week, you have to wonder how much longer Garrett Hartley will stay on the roster – or why he’s on the roster at all at this point. Obviously, Carney isn’t the future kicker in this organization, and maybe the Saints are keeping Hartley around, because they’re hoping he can overcome what’s been a terrible start to the season for him. Otherwise, he’d already have been Pipp’d.

2. Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins:
Torain and Clinton Portis have split carries, but it seems that if this was the 100-meter dash at the Olympics, Torain would be Usain Bolt and Portis would be the other seven guys. Meaning Torain is pulling away and eventually will take Portis’ starting role. It could happen this week actually as Portis hurt his groin Sunday. Let me also briefly mention San Diego’s Mike Tolbert, who replaced first-round pick Ryan Mathews when he was injured and rushed for 255 combined yards the past three games (including a 100-yard performance Sunday when Mathews was in the game). But coach Norv Turner says he’s committed to keeping Mathews as the starter, so Tolbert doesn’t fit on this list all that well.

1. Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: It was supposed to be Montario Hardesty and Jerome Harrison running the ball in Cleveland. Hillis – who was traded from Denver in the Brady Quinn deal this past offseason – was supposed to be just an afterthought. Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs had never heard of the guy until he ripped off 180 total yards (144 on the ground, the most Baltimore has allowed in five years) against the Ravens. With Hardesty out with a season-ending injury and with Harrison failing to make an impression on the Cleveland coaching staff, Hillis has taken advantage, tying the league high with four touchdowns and averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Like Gehrig, it appears that Hillis has no future plans to give up his starting spot.

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:53 am
 

Hot Routes 09.29.10: Questionable injury lists

B. Wells gains extra yards against Oakland (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

-Although coach Ken Whisenhunt completely misled everybody not in the Arizona Cardinals locker room regarding the health of running back Beanie Wells’ knee – he said it was a bone bruise when, in actuality, Wells had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus – Whisenhunt said he didn’t use the weekly injury report to his advantage. In the first two games Wells missed, he was listed as questionable.

-At least one 49ers player was excited by the ascension of Mike Johnson to the offensive coordinator position to replace the fired Jimmy Raye. And by excited I mean pumped. That’d be tight end Vernon Davis.

-Suddenly, Bears coach Lovie Smith is holding accountable – in very public ways – some of his team’s top players. If they’re not good enough to play – a la Tommie Harristhey’re simply not going to be on the field. With a 3-0 record, who’s to say Smith is wrong about this?

-The Green Bay Press-Gazette writes that tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are starting to look a little old. After watching Monday night’s game vs. the Bears, I was surprised with some of the mistakes made by Clifton (I didn’t notice Tauscher as much, though he had his fair share), especially with the penalties.

-Apparently nobody seems bothered by Ravens RB Ray Rice’s injured knee. It was not mentioned by anybody – not by coach John Harbaugh, not by radio host Gerry Sandusky, not by any callers – during Harbaugh’s weekly radio show.

-After watching the Dolphins lose 18 yards on eight attempts using the Wildcat formation, Sun Sentinel columnist Ethan Skolnick says Miami might want to dial it down a little. Skolnick calls the Dolphins victims of their own success and says the Wildcat has become rather predictable.

-The Jaguars re-signed S Gerald Alexander a few weeks after cutting him, and Alexander is happy to be employed once again. He said he wasn’t surprised by Jacksonville releasing him. In fact, he said he didn’t deserve to make the team, and he’s surprised he’s been re-signed.

-You might be wondering what’s up with Dolphins LB Ikaika Alama-Francis and why he hasn’t played this year (and subsequently allowed Koa Misi to have a big impact at that position). The answer is that Alama-Francis has been ill and has lost 15-20 pounds.

-Giants S Michael Johnson has been placed on IR with a herniated disc in his back.

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 4:57 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 5:20 pm
 

Beanie Wells had secret surgery

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Looks like we have the answer to the question of why Beanie Wells hasn’t played the first two weeks of the season.

It’s because, as Arizona Rapid Reporter Craig Morgan writes, the Cardinals RB has been recovering from knee surgery. Um, say what?

"I had my knee scoped, I had to take some time off and I'm back from it,” Wells told reporters today. “It was a torn meniscus."

Funny: I thought coach Ken Whisenhunt originally said the knee injury was a bruise. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt: he must have heard wrong and then accidently gave out the wrong information to the media and his team’s fans.

“He cleaned it out, but it wasn’t like a normal procedure where you are down ‘X’ amount of weeks,” Whisenhunt told the media today. “It was a day-to-day thing. It was something he had done in college and he played a week later.

“It was definitely something we wanted to check out, but it was never anything we thought was serious where it would keep him from playing on a week-to-week basis.”

Said Wells: "It's very frustrating. People don't know the half of what's going on. They only know what they're told."

Still, Wells is scheduled to play this Sunday, but his role will be more limited because he’s not in football shape yet. Unless, of course, Whisenhunt misheard that as well.

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 10:04 am
 

Hot Routes 09.21.10: Don't touch me there

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- You can’t like it when a dude grabs your junk in the middle of a football game. Yet, that's exactly what Cleveland C Alex Mack says his former teammate, Chiefs DL Shaun Smith, did during Sunday’s game. “Not cool,” says the all the world’s men. “Not cool at all.” Smith said he didn’t recall doing anything like that.

- Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn’t a fan of the way Jets DB Eric Smith hit New England WR Wes Welker in the head during Sunday’s game. “I don’t think that’s really what the league is looking for with those kind of plays,” Belichick said. “I can’t imagine that they are. We’ll see what they want to do about it.”

- Titans coach Jeff Fisher expects Vince Young to respond to his benching last Sunday by returning next week and playing better. Fisher said Young doesn’t have to look over his shoulder at backup Kerry Collins, but then again, Fisher showed why Young should look over his shoulder if he plays poorly in a game.

- A little less high profile than Braylon Edwards’ DWI arrest this morning, but still important to know nonetheless. Ravens assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller is facing drunken driving charges again. He was stopped just before 1 a.m. Saturday. He was charged with the same offense in May but ultimately was acquitted.

-`At this point, it doesn’t seem like Ken Whisenhunt knows too much about Arizona’s football team. Which is strange because … you know … he’s the coach.

- Raiders coach Tom Cable seems to know who will start at quarterback – either Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski – for Oakland next Sunday. But he said he’s not going to inform the world until Wednesday.

- It’s shocking that a team that kept just two running backs on the initial 53-man roster – and three fullbacks! – is having problems running the ball. Yet, after Ryan Grant’s season-ending injury, that’s exactly where Green Bay finds itself.

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Posted on: September 14, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: September 14, 2010 9:47 am
 

Hot Routes 9.14.10: Paging Ken Whisenhunt

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- Browns QB Jake Delhomme will undergo an MRI as early as today to determine the extent of an ankle injury suffered against the Buccaneers. Apparently, he hurt himself in the first half but powered through the pain to complete the game.

- Ines Sainz, the object of the recent affection/alleged misogyny by the Jets, says she doesn’t plan to sue the club. This article is behind a paywall on the Newsday website, but hey, the headline is enough to cause a little bit of relief for the Jets. Even if she would have had no chance in hell of winning any kind of judgment.

- Another twist in the Logan Mankins-Patriots contract debacle has appeared. Although an ESPN report came out Sunday saying the two sides were close to an agreement, only to be thwarted when Mankins refused to publicly apologize to New England owner Bob Kraft, Kraft said that simply isn’t true. “That is a bold-faced fib,” Kraft told WEEI. “We never had a deal with Logan.”

- Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt talked to RB Tim Hightower about securing the ball and, you know, not fumbling so much. That’s probably a good idea, because Hightower – who already has a reputation for putting the ball on the ground – lost two more fumbles Sunday.

- Despite a poor performance against the Saints, Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf still believes the pieces are in place for the Vikings to win a Super Bowl. Perhaps, Whisenhunt needs a come-to-Jesus chat with Wilf after he’s done talking to Hightower.

- Where is Jeff Feagles when you need him? The Giants fans would like to know after watching punter Matt Dodge endure another performance in which the rookie struggled to, um, punt the football very well.

- Neither the Jets nor the Giants sold out their season openers in the New Meadowlands Stadium. In part, you can blame the expensive personal seat licenses.
 
- There was as kerfuffle before the Patriots-Bengals game when a fan needed immediate medical attention. The Patriots said today that the fan, whose name has not been made public, has died.

- Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco took Patriots fan Will Ditullo to dinner where the two talked about sports and about life in general.

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Posted on: September 5, 2010 9:22 am
 

The next Cardinals QB of the future?

M. Hall was the best QB that Arizona had in the preseason, coach Ken Whisenhunt said (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The biggest beneficiary of the entire Matt Leinart/Arizona saga is the quarterback who now is being looked upon as the Cardinals potential QB of the future. And he’s a rookie who was undrafted out of BYU. So, don’t worry if you hadn’t heard of Max Hall before Leinart was released.

Not many people had.

"Coach (Tom) Landry used to say there were guys who had 'it,'" Danny White, a former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler (and Hall’s uncle), told the Arizona Republic . "If you asked him what 'it' means, he'd say 'I don't know. Just “it.”’

"You might sit back and watch Max play, and after his team wins you'd say, 'Well, the defense played great. The running game was going good. That's just luck.' You know what? It isn't luck.

"There are guys who other guys just feed off of. The way he played the other night (in the Cardinals' final preseason game) was prototypical Max Hall. All of a sudden, the whole team was playing better - the special teams, the defense, the offensive line. You can't explain that."

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Hall was the best of the team’s four quarterbacks in the preseason, and apparently he inspired more confidence in his teammates than Leinart ever did.

Now, it stands to reason that starter Derek Anderson, who hasn’t been very good since 2007, won’t have a huge margin of error once the season begins. So tell me: why did all 31 other teams pass up the chance to draft Hall, a potential starter this season?

From the story:

"The draft isn't an exact science," White said. "It works for defensive linemen and receivers and linebackers.

"But so much of the quarterback position is intangibles - leadership, confidence, decision making – that you can't measure.

"A quarterback has a lot of options. Throw to the primary receiver. Check down. Throw it into a tight spot or throw it away. Move around to buy time. Run with it. And he has to factor in field position, the time, the score.

"Max factors those options so fast, as well as anybody I've seen. And he's right most of the time."


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