Mike Duggan, the lead writer for the Cardinals Page, Mike Duggan, the lead writer for the Cardinals Page,

5 Pack with Mike Duggan from Raising Zona


Mike Duggan, the lead writer for the Cardinals Page, Raising Zona. and I decided to exchange a 5 pack of questions before this weekends tilt at Raymond James Stadium.

I’m a huge Darnell Dockett as I attended FSU. I do not get to watch many Arizona games, between going to the Bucs games, and the Cards lack of national TV time. Tell me how good Dockett is, as his stats would tend to indicate he is a beast?

"He is a beast! Dockett is every bit as good as his stats, but this has been his breakout year. He has shown flashes of talent in the previous 3 seasons, but after getting a 4 year contract extension last year and shifting to the DE spot in our new 3-4 system, Dockett has been on fire. He is a sort of hybrid DE/DT because he has the quickness off the ball to be an effective pass rusher along with having the size and strength to clog up the middle and get penetration against the run. I think he is heading to the pro bowl this year."

Why does your offense not light people up each week?

"Honestly, that’s a difficult question to answer because I wonder the same thing myself. But I would have to say that it is probably due to a combination of two factors: penalties and turnovers. The Cards have been killing their own drives this year with stupid penalties. We’re leading the league once again with 59 penalties, the majority of them being false start or holding penalties committed by the offensive line. And turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. In all four of our losses, the Cards have committed turnovers while in the redzone, often multiple times. But I believe as the players spend more time in this system, they will become more comfortable and thus more productive."

From a cursory look at your depth chart, it appears you have solid players all over the field. If you could address one main area on either side of the ball, where would It be?

"Definately at Cornerback. Our offense is truly solid, they just need to be consistent. We have a great defensive unit and we’re tough against the run, but our weakest area on the team right now is at the Cornerback position. Eric Green and Rod Hood are solid role players, but they don’t have the speed or the instincts to become lock down corners. Our first round pick, CB Antrel Rolle, out of Miami was a bust and is now working only in our nickel packages. God I miss Aeneas Williams!"

Can Kurt Warner lead the Cards into the playoffs and when Leinart was healthy, who did you feel gave you the better chance to win?

"I believe he can, but it is going to take a great amount of balance on offense with Warner and with RB Edgerrin James. Warner is not the same QB he was when he was the former MVP, but he can still make every throw on the football field. A balanced attack will take the pressure off of him and keep the opposing defenses guessing, allowing him to pick them apart. I actually was a big fan of the platooning situation with Leinart and Warner. I think if he was healthy, than that system of rotating the QBs would have been very effective this year. Remember that Leinart was thrown into the fire last year in the middle of the season without full knowledge of Denny Green’s offense. He eventually got that team rolling, passing for over 2400 yards and 10 TDs in 10 games. And then after he absorbed that playbook, he had to scrap it and learn an entirely new system under Whisenhunt. Kurt is a smart, veteran player who can do that. Leinart needs time in this system as he has yet to play a full NFL season. But in the end, I believe in Leinart and feel he will be the guy next year."

Who is going to win on Sunday and why?

"I’m picking the Cards, and it’s because of our defense. I wouldn’t put us on the same level as Jacksonville, but we have been solid on that side of the ball all year. We’ve compiled 17 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 6 interceptions in seven games. We have been solid against the run, only allowing one 100 yard rusher in our last 11 games (going back to last season) which sets up a lot of 3rd and long situations. And our D-Line has been getting consistent pressure on the QBs, which we can hopefully continue on Sunday due to the losses on the Bucs O-Line. I think it will be a fight, but the Cards pull it out: 20 – 17."