We're back once again with some cross-blog chatter. I took a few minutes to discuss 49ers-Cardinals with Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds. You can view my answers to his questions over at RotB. We also discussed who we would take from the opposing team, earlier this week.
Thanks to Jess for taking a few minutes to discuss his 2-0 Cardinals. Here is what he had to say:
Niners Nation: How has the Cardinals offensive line kept Carson Palmer upright through two games? They had to adjust in August when Mike Iupati had knee surgery, so what has led to the success?
Revenge of the Birds: A lot of the success has to do with continuity, I believe. Since Iupati got hurt, everyone who has been playing is in at least their second year in the offense. Even Ted Larsen, who looked awful last season, has been quite effective. They understand their assignment and Carson Palmer knows what he is to do. He has been a man on a mission. It also helps that the Bears don't really don't have a great outside rush guy and the Saints lost their best one.
NN: What does David Johnson bring to the table, and what role do you expect for him on Sunday?
RotB: He brings dynamic speed and playmaking ability. But you won't see much of him. He is getting just a few touches a game. He will return kicks and he will get just a handful of snaps. He is particularly good as a pass catcher. He looks like a receiver running routes and catching the ball, but he is 6-1, 226 with sub-4.5 speed. Because he is a rookie, he isn't getting a ton of looks, especially since running backs are expected to be able to pick up blitzes. I'm not sure they trust him with all that yet.
NN: How would you attack the Cardinals defense? What are the strengths and weaknesses?
RotB: They have been pretty good against the run and also pretty good about defending down the field. Nickeling and diming them with the short passing game is probably the best way to go. The defensive line is stout and the secondary is strong. There is potential at linebacker, but there is no great pass rush. The tight end is also a wild card. We don't know if they defend it well. They can, but we haven't seen any consistent big plays against them.
NN: Bruce Arians is one of the more popular coaches in the league. What has he brought to the Cardinals, and are there any questions on the coaching staff?
RotB: The only real question on the staff is whether James Bettcher can be a good defensive playcaller. Arians brings confidence and a belief the team is good and can compete for a title. There is no real criticism of the staff right now. He is the offensive playcaller and everyone loves his "no risk it, no biscuit" attitude. Defensively, they have been good so far -- not great, but good.
NN: Prediction time. For the game, how do you see it playing out. The line is -6.5, and I imagine you see the Cardinals winning. Do the Cardinals cover, and if so, why?
RotB: Well, a Drew Stanton-led team at home with a lesser offensive line was able to defeat San Fran at home by nine last year and that offense wasn't good with Stanton. The Cardinals offense has looked very effective early on the passing game has been on point. It is weird to say this, but I feel quite confident that the Cardinals will win and cover this game. Focus won't be an issue. It is a home game in the division. Palmer is playing at a very high level. The defense has been playing well and the offense is scoring a lot of points. I see a game going something like 30-19.