The Arizona Cardinals welcome our San Francisco 49ers to town later tonight, and a key part of the game for Arizona will be trying to establish the run. The Cardinals passing attack is inconsistent at best, with John Skelton unable to do much of anything with regularity. He found some big passes against the 49ers late last year, including a big one to Larry Fitzgerald, but the consistency remains an issue.
Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling emerged as the starter last week, usurping the role from William Powell right off the bat against the Vikings. Powell was the apparent starter after taking over for an injured Ryan Williams, who had taken over for an injured Beanie Wells. Beanie will be back at some point later this season, but it will be LSH and Powell facing the 49ers this week.
LSH had a solid game against the Vikings, but part of that was due to the Vikings electing to focus on taking Larry Fitzgerald completely out of the game. The Vikings removed Fitzgerald from the equation for the most part (four receptions, 23 yards), but Stephens-Howling stepped up with 104 rushing yards and Andre Roberts had seven catches for 103 yards. Of course, the Cardinals lost, so the Vikings were obviously doing something right.
LSH conducted a radio interview today and seemed confident heading into tonight's game:
You had this great game against the Minnesota Vikings. Can you do that again into the teeth of the 49ers defense?
"That's the plan. We definitely have the confidence to do it again and the offensive line is excited for the matchup, so I am feeling good about it."
Confidence is obviously not surprising, particularly in a divisional matchup. It will be interesting to see what the 49ers show on defense. This is not quite a Packers- or Lions-style passing attack, but the passing attack is more dangerous than the rushing attack. The Vikings got plenty of pressure without sending extra blitzers, so maybe we see something similar from the 49ers? Perhaps primarily a nickel front?