Cardinals conference calls

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Cards head coach Dennis Green

(on why the Cardinals feature the top-ranked passing attack but the last-ranked rushing attack in the NFL) "We've had a ton of injuries.  We've had like 13 guys on IR.  I think it's more difficult to run block with five guys than it is to pass block.  It's easier to pass block, you pass guys off, all that.  Run blocks, guys have to work together much better.  We've got a couple tackles playing guard that were backups and the timing has not been there.  That's one reason.  Number two, we throw the ball a lot.  We've got some pretty good receivers.  Number three, we've been behind a lot.  We've given up a lot of touchdowns to begin the game and a lot of touchdowns to begin the second half of the game, so we find ourselves behind a lot.  That and there's probably a few other reasons, too."

(on Anquan Boldin) "I think Anquan can be a terrific player.  If you look at him and Larry Fitgerald, Anquan's only 25 years old, Larry's only 22.  Those guys are big, strong players.  Very similar to Andre Johnson.  Andre's a fabulous player.  He's big, strong and can run.  Anquan's big, strong and can run.  Larry, too.  They're of that new breed, I think.  Plaxico Burress, all those guys are big, strong receivers that can make a lot of plays."

(on Leonard Davis) "Leonard's had a solid year.  I've always felt Leonard has the potential to be every bit as good as Orlando Pace and Walter Jones.  That's what our mindset is.  I think he's having a better year than he had last year.  I think he's probably had the best year he's had since he's been here.  This is his fifth year."

(on the difficulty of keeping Boldin and Fitzgerald with the team long-term) "No.  Larry was a top three pick just like Andre Johnson, so you understand the kind of money that is just from the draft position.  Anquan just signed a new contract extension and he's got five more years on top of this year.   Larry's only in his second year.  So, I think those guys will be around here for a good while.  I think what they want to do is win.  Larry's number two in receptions in the league.  Anquan's probably number five or something.  Larry's maybe fourth or fifth in yardage.  So they've had the statistics but they don't worry about statistics, they like to win.  They come from winning programs.  That's what they're accustomed to and nobody around here is comfortable with being 4-9."

(on Kurt Warner) "There are very few times a quarterback can come into a new system and do everything well.  That's the rub in unrestricted free agency.  Track records show very few guys change teams and then play lights-out.  In many ways they have to learn everything all over again.  They know football and they can play but they have to learn a whole new system.  Our system is quite a bit different than St. Louis'.  I think it took Kurt awhile to get a feel for it.  I think it took awhile for the coaches to mesh.  But I think he's playing well, very competitive.  I think if we had some other things going on with it, he would have led us to a lot more wins."

(on why he went after Warner in the offseason) "Well I think he can still play.  He's still a very young, very healthy 34-year old.  Extremely competitive, a good arm and a great mind for the game.  One of the best success stories in the history of the game and I think his final chapter hasn't been written yet."

(on Bertrand Berry) "Well, Bertrand was one of about 12 guys.  All the other 12 guys were not Pro Bowl players.  Bertrand was a great example for us of a guy who came here seeking his fame and fortune as an unrestricted free agent.  He came in here felt that he could do well here and did well here.  He's a very good up-the-field pass rusher, pressuring the quarterback.  And I think that element is something that we've missed.  We haven't been able to replace that with someone else who can be that up-the-field pass rusher, pressuring the quarterback."

(on Rod Graves) "Rod and I have gotten along real well.  I think it's been two years.  We work together; we look at personnel, talk personnel every single day.  He's got a lot of other duties, too.  He's vice president of all other operations, so everybody reports to him besides just myself.  I think we've able to put together two pretty good drafts.  We've put together two pretty good classes of unrestricted free agents and I think we'll continue doing that."

(on the struggles of the Cardinals franchise) "It really doesn't matter expect for this year.  In other words, the players that are here are new players and they don't have to carry the burden of five or 10 years ago.  The one thing I try and get everybody to understand is our 4-9 represents one of about 13 teams that have a 4-9 record or worse.  That's all.  It doesn't represent the Cardinals in St. Louis or anything else.  The losses that we've had, we've had four losses right here that could have gone either way.  [There's games we've] lost because we didn't stop them, or we let a guy knock off a kickoff return, or because we had to kick a field goal instead of [scoring] a touchdown.  Those don't really have anything to do with the past.  I think as long as you understand it – and that's what I'm trying to get our players to understand – is that you don't carry the burden.  There's no magic about winning and there's no evil curse about losing.  You win and lose based on how you play and how you perform in the game.  We've been good enough to have a better record but we have not finished games and that's where it's at."

(on positives carrying over to next season) "Absolutely, but there's nothing easy about that.  We feel we had a very good draft the last two years.  Every guy we've drafted has made our team and is considered a pretty good player.  We want another year on top of that.  That's a lot of players.  That's 21.  We'll probably be in the unrestricted free agency market.  Hopefully, the guys who we got the first year will continue to play well, like Bertrand Berry, guys like that.  Then we add to that.  Then the next step for us is to win.  We're very excited; we have a new stadium coming up.  It's going to be one of the best in NFL.  But you don't win with a new stadium and you don't just win with a new class, you have to win with everybody working together.  What we should assume is that Indianapolis doesn't necessarily have the best 53 players in the NFL.  What they have is the best 53 players playing the best football in the NFL.  I think that's what team work is all about and hopefully that's something we can develop here."

(on the possibility of the Texans tanking games) "No way.  When you look at their front, we are very familiar with Robaire Smith.  We had his brother with us up in Minnesota.  He's a very physical player.  [Gary] Walker is a very physical player.  [Seth] Payne's a physical player.  I think they're being very aggressive.  They've had some bad luck.  I think they've had some calls that they probably didn't like the way they went, and had some passes they could have intercepted that didn't quite get there.  They've got a lot of guys.  We were interested in Morlon Greenwood a few years ago.  They've got some good, good players.  They play very physical football, particular defensively.  Johnson is making every play he can make.  I just think what people don't understand is the scheduling.  I know for us, our schedule was very difficult early.  We played at New York first; we played at Seattle third, at Dallas fifth.  I don't know how many teams can handle that type of scheduling on the road.  I think it's been one of those years where all of a sudden, you got a whole lot of teams with outstanding records.  There are a lot of teams that are 9-4 or better and then you've got a whole lot of teams that are 4-9 or worse.  About 13 teams, we're one of those 13 teams.  That normally doesn't happen."

(on the Colts) "I think they can [run the table] because boy, what a fabulous team!  We played Jacksonville right before they did and Jacksonville's a very good team.  I think they have the potential to do it because they have all the elements.  They can run the ball, they can throw the ball, they can counter-punch you, they are very good defensively, and they have great pass-rushers, both outside guys.  They play a lot of zone which means they're not going to give up a lot of big plays.  They're extremely well coached.  Tony Dungy is one of the best even-keeled minds in the game.  I think they have a great chance to do that."

Cards quarterback Kurt Warner

(on Cardinals passing game) "Obviously we feel good about a lot of the things that we've done this year. Although a lot of it hasn't calculated into wins and losses for whatever reason. But we do feel like that's one of the things we've done really well this year. We've thrown the football, we've made plays, we've put ourselves in positions to win, we've moved the ball up and down the field and we continue to grow in that area. I definitely feel good with our position in that regard. I feel good with the way that I've thrown the football this year, and it feels good to be back in a system where they allow me to throw the football and make the decisions like I'm accustomed to making. I just feel I'm back in a place where I can play my kind of football. And because of that, people are able to see that I can still play)

(comparing Holt/Bruce to Fitzgerald/Boldin) "Obviously, I've had four great receivers. Four guys that I've been around that continue to impress me every time I play with them because of their capabilities and what they do every Sunday. That's I think that's special about all of them: they all show up every week to make plays for you no matter what the situation, no matter what the game. As far as comparing them obviously there are a lot of similarities, but I think what separates the two tandems is that the guys I had in St. Louis were really built off of quickness and speed in and out of breaks. When I played with them I could always tell whether they were open or not based on the separation they got from the defensive back, because they were so good at gaining separation on the top of their route. The guys that I have here are maybe a little bit bigger in that regard, play the football very well and are very strong to the football. They may not create as much separation between themselves and the DB, but I've never played with two guys that are stronger to the football, able to go get it at any position like these guys. With them I know if they're in a leverage position against a defensive back that I can make that throw. I can put the throw on them because they're going to make that catch nine times out of 10, and it's going to be tough for anybody else to make that touch over them because they have such great feel for the football and such great size and strength. And then you have a guy like Anquan. I've never played with a guy that has the type of run-after-catch ability in regards to not only making guys miss, but being able to shed tacklers the way that he has. So that's another thing that separates him from the other guys that I've played with.

(on problems with run game) "It's hard to tell. I think some of it has to do with the fact that we continue to have new guys in the mold as far as the offensive line is concerned. We've got a number of guys on IR, we've got a number of guys that have played two or three different positions and we've only got one guy starting for us right now that has played in every single game this season. I think that's one of the biggest things about why we haven't run the football very well. It's just continuity up front and getting a feel not only for the individual positions those guys are playing, but also a feel and a mesh with one another. And I think it's a hard thing to do because that unit has to work so well together. When you have different guys mixing in and out, it's hard to get a feel and to build that continuity.

(on the Texans) "I feel like there are some similarities with our team. We've played and put ourselves in a position to win in a lot of football games. But, for whatever reason, we haven't made those one or two plays that are difference-making plays throughout the season. And that's how I feel the Texans are this year. They've put themselves in position a lot of times. For whatever reason, whether it's a lack of confidence or a lack of execution at certain points in a game, they haven't made those crucial plays to get victories. Not that they're a 1-and-whatever football team, it's just a fact that there's difference between them winning five, six, seven games in just those few plays. We feel the same way about our team. We're battling every week, we're putting ourselves in position to win, and they're doing the same thing. As some of those things come together because of the effort and the ability that they're playing with, some of those things are going to fall in their favor. We feel the same way with our team. It's just a matter of continuing to battle every week until those things start to take place."   

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