Arizona Cardinals  

 

Cards QB Hall 'ready to roll' after concussion, vows to improve

  • By Associated Press
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Three days after suffering what he determined to be the first concussion of his football career, Arizona Cardinals rookie Max Hall practiced Wednesday and said he was anxious to prove he is a far better quarterback than he showed on a dismal wet afternoon in Seattle.

Hall said he's "good to roll" for Sunday's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was more cautious, saying he must see how the rookie does throughout the week before being more definitive. Meanwhile, Whisenhunt said backup Derek Anderson would take some extra reps with the first unit in case Hall can't go against the Bucs.

Hall, who wasn't drafted after three years as the starter at BYU, completed just 4 of 16 passes for 36 yards during a 22-10 loss to the Seahawks last Sunday. He was intercepted once and fumbled the ball away on the blindside third-quarter sack that knocked him out of the game.

"It was everything from having the ball slip out of my hands to making bad reads to not seeing a blitzer or whatever," Hall said. "There's just a lot of things that I need to get better at, but even the great ones get knocked down once in a while. It's how you respond. Hopefully I'll respond good and play well this Sunday."

All things considered, Hall acknowledged it probably was the worst he has ever played.

"Obviously that's not me. That's not who I am," he said. "So I want to get better. It's only my second start, and it's no excuse. They're trusting me to execute and be efficient and run the offense, so that's what I need to do."

Cardinals coaches are paring back the playbook this week in the hopes that they can see more of the Hall that they did during the preseason, when he was consistently effective, although it was against the opponents' reserves. Hall likes the idea.

"I think we're going to kind of simplify things a little bit, eliminate some of the thinking so that I can just go play instead of thinking about it too much," he said. "The game plan that we've installed so far this week is really good. I really like it. I feel comfortable with it."

Through six games, the Cardinals rank last in the NFL in offense (237.8 yards per game) and passing yards (146.2) per game, a precipitous drop from the days, not so long ago, when Kurt Warner operated one of the game's most prolific offenses.

Hall, who has yet to throw for an NFL touchdown, has completed 30 of 59 passes for 289 yards with three interceptions for a rating of 43.7.

The passing woes have handcuffed one of the game's best wide receivers, Larry Fitzgerald, who has been the target of 64 passes but has caught just 29. With big-play threat Steve Breaston out the last three games while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, defenses have been able to concentrate on Fitzgerald even more.

At times during games, the usually mild-mannered Fitzgerald has shown his frustration by throwing his hands up in exasperation, something he said he regrets.

"I'm human," Fitzgerald said. "I want to be successful. I have a burning desire to be great, not only as a player but as a team. Sometimes my emotions flow over, but as the captain, I have to keep an even keel. I never want to give bad body language to my teammates to think that I'm not on the same page with them."

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Arizona's running game has shown signs of effectiveness, averaging 4.7 yards per play, but it has been hampered by the team's penchant for turnovers. The Cardinals had five of them in Seattle.

"We can't go out there and expect Max to be Superman and do it on his own," Arizona running back Beanie Wells said. "We have to help him out a lot, rally around him, run the football well so he can go out there and be comfortable."

Cardinals players seem to be firmly behind their young quarterback, mistakes and all, Whisenhunt said.

"I think they understand the situation with the quarterback, and I think they like Max," the coach said. "I mean, really this is a production business if you're not successful, I don't care what position that you play. The way Max handles himself, the way he works, I certainly think that our guys respect him and are pulling for him. At least that was the sense that I got after the game in Seattle."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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