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Concentration in One Area Is Bound to Hurt the Cardinals

Wednesday, September 8, 2004; Page H13

The Cardinals gave up 417 points in 2002, then used their two first-round draft picks on wide receivers. They gave up 452 points last year, then used their first-round pick on a wide receiver.

Those are what pass for smart decisions in this parsimonious organization, which has a visitors' locker room that is actually a trailer bolted to a parking lot at Sun Devil Stadium.

_____ Arizona Cardinals _____
Catchall
Schedule
Cardinals Section

_____NFL '04_____
 catch
With what may be the most talented group of receivers the NFL has ever seen, look for the game to be more wide open than ever this season.
Officials will put teeth in a rule prohibiting a defender from impeding a receiver downfield.
How the rule is to be interpreted.
Darrell Green knows a thing or two about receivers and shares his all-time top five.
Receivers should get a big boost from the rule modification.
Don't call it the T.O. rule or the Joe Horn rule, but expect a crackdown on TD celebrations.
A WR's tools of the trade
Top 5 end zone celebrations
The NFL's Top 10 storylines of '04

_____Team Previews_____
In predicted order of finish

NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins
New York Giants

NFC South
New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons

NFC North
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions

NFC West
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals

AFC East
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers


Maybe the Cardinals are drafting for offense to fill their 73,000-seat stadium. They have played 112 games there since moving from St. Louis in 1988; 70 times they've drawn less than 50,000.

Four crowds last year didn't get above 25,000. Come on -- Arizona State has fraternities that draw more than that to their parties.

Enter first-year coach Dennis Green. He says the team will finish 10-6, which is probably just more blather geared toward ticket sales.

It certainly doesn't seem a likely outcome. Not with star Anquan Boldin (101 catches) out until at least October with a knee injury. Bryant Johnson (35 receptions) and acrobatic rookie Larry Fitzgerald also missed time in the preseason with foot and ankle injuries, respectively. They are the three aforementioned wide receivers.

"We don't have the full complement of players that we wanted to have or that we will have," Green said in a news conference in August. "I don't know if you took the Indianapolis Colts without their top three receivers and expect them to be as effective and Manning an MVP, I seriously doubt it."

True, but the Colts also have these things called defense and special teams. Arizona counters with defensive tackle Kenny King, who was expected to start. He took four months off following surgery on his right wrist this past offseason, only for the team to realize he needed the surgery again.

He will miss the season. He won't be missing much.


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