Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt was clearly pleased at his Monday morning press conference. He was encouraged by the road win, only the second of the season, and was happy with the way his team finished the game late.
The Cardinals broke a tie with a field goal, got a defensive hold, and were able to run out the clock on offense. These are the types of late-game sequences that went against the Cardinals in several early season losses.
Obviously, a lot of praise went to Beanie Wells for his franchise record-breaking 228-yard game which is also the second-highest rushing game in the NFL this season (behind only 253 yards from the Cowboy's DeMarco Murray which was also against the Rams).
"Beanie (Wells) is sore today (with) a little swelling but not as bad as we thought it might be," Whisenhunt said.
"When he got his knee bent back, it looked horrible. At that point I'm sure most of us assumed that was it, he's done, because he was already fighting the knee. But to his credit, he fought through and came back in and had a couple of big runs. Kudos to Beanie."
Whisenhunt said that Wells has shown a lot of growth this season in his understanding of what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
Other than a few little nicks and bruises, the Cardinals came out of the game with no new injuries.
Kevin Kolb is expected to play this coming week against the Dallas Cowboys. He made a lot of progress last week and was able to participate in practice in a limited way and could have been activated and used later in the game. Whisenhunt said the artificial turf at the Edward Jones Dome caused concerns about his ability to warm up the foot after sitting on the sidelines.
"We are certainly a lot more optimistic about him going this week. It's really going to depend on where he is Wednesday and as that progresses but he made enough progress last week that you feel good about him doing it this week," Whisenhunt said
John Skelton had another poor game with two interceptions and a 12-for-23 completion rate. Whisenhunt said a change in protection call that lead to an early sack got in his head and that he appeared uncomfortable. When Skelton sets his feet and has good technique he throws the ball well. Otherwise, as we saw, the ball can sail.
- In the past few games where the Cardinals haven't ran the ball well, Whisenhunt stressed other teams loading up in the box to take away the run. Against the Rams, Whisenhunt said they saw a mix. He credited the wide receivers for blocking well against the St. Louis pressure defense.
- Whisenhunt challenged his team to run the ball well. He had read comments from some Rams players saying they had shut down the Cardinals in their last game and would do so again. The offensive line and Wells responded well.
- Sam Acho made a difficult transition to stand up linebacker with no offseason. He's always talking to veterans when he comes off field.
- "He's (Acho) worked hard and I think he's got a very bright future at that position. Obviously, two sacks (Sunday), causing the fumbles, he came up big for us. It's really exciting to see young guys, especially a player like Sam where we drafted him, making that kind of contribution." -- Whisenhunt
- Whisenhunt would push for Patrick Peterson for the Rookie of the Year. "What's he's done is special."
- Teams try to kick away from Peterson but sometimes the punter doesn't get it right. By kicking to the sidelines, the Cardinals also have an improved chance at getting better field position.
- Wells was allowed to run one final time to set the rushing record thanks to team PR guy, Mark Dalton, who informed Whisenhunt during the two-minute warning that he was close. Breaking the record was important for the entire team, not just Beanie.