This week Eli Wahlstrom of The Cardinals Report joins us for a question and answer exchange. Following are our questions for Eli with his answers. Later, I’ll post his questions for us with my answers.
Total Titans: What has happened to the Cardinals this year on the road? Last year, I think they were one of the worst road teams, especially when they had to come east, but this year they are undefeated on the road. Have they done something different to prepare for road games this year?
Eli Wahlstrom: I think confidence has the most to do with the Cardinals road success in 2009. Other years Arizona has been awful on the road especially in the eastern time zone. Coach Whisenhunt said and I agree with him that the playoff win in Carolina last year did a lot for the teams confidence on the road. The whole playoff run last season gave the team a toughness that I’ve never seen a Cardinals team have before. Coach Whisenhunt also said his team plays better on the road because they respond well to the “us against the world” situations and that’s how they treat every road game.
Total Titans: The Cardinals have an above average defense and Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett are both Pro Bowlers. Why do you think the Cardinals defense is underrated?
Eli Wahlstrom: I’d say it’s because they lack consistency. One game we’ll watch Arizona shut down a great team or great player. The next game the defense will let an opposing offense or player that’s less than spectacular light them up. It’s almost impossible to tell which defense is going to be showing up. I’m hoping it’s the defense that was ranked number one in run defense because Arizona will need it against Chris Johnson and Vince Young. Also, the Cardinals linebackers are really beat up right now which has caused issues with their run defense as of late. So hopefully the guys filling in this week can contain that Titans run game.
Total Titans: What should the Titans expect if Matt Leinart has to replace Kurt Warner?
Eli Wahlstrom: It looks like Kurt is feeling good and ready to play on Sunday but if he doesn’t I have to say I’m not all that confident with Leinart. Matt played the whole second half against the Rams last week and they didn’t score a single point. They kept the play calling simple for Matt which helped a little but he was still missing a lot of throws. I think Leinart can still come in and be a good quarterback but the offense won’t click like it does when Warner’s in the game. I’ll admit a part of me wants to see that Vince Young vs Matt Leinart National Championship rematch but it looks like that will have to wait.
Total Titans: What will the Cardinals do to beat the Titans on Sunday and what will the score be?
Eli Wahlstrom: I’m saying the Cardinals will contain Chris Johnson and Vince Young just enough to hold the Titans under 20 points. On the offensive side of the ball Arizona will get a steady run game going with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower which will lead to some big pass plays down field to Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. The score will be 17-28 Cardinals.
Total Titans: Finally, this doesn’t have anything to do with the game but Rod Hood has done a good job for the Titans. Why did the Cardinals let him go?
Eli Wahlstrom: This caught a lot of Cardinals fans by surprise. Rod had been a very solid CB for Arizona over the years. It was reported that cutting Hood was a salary cap move. Rod, just a year ago was the number one CB for a team that went to the Super Bowl so it was very surprising to me that he couldn’t find a team. I’m glad Tennessee picked him up because he’s a good player and needed to be on a team. He was always great at making plays when the ball was in front of him but as soon as the ball got over his head he was pretty much lost. I beg the Cardinals to attack Rod deep on Sunday because if they do it should result in a big play.
Thanks again to Eli for joining us this week. For more on Eli’s take on the Cardinals, check out The Cardinals Report here on MVN.