I don't want to spend too much more time on the 49ers game. Positional grades seem futile - in my mind, all units deserved no lower than a B, and no higher than an A-. We were solid, if not spectacular in all areas. So, let's move on to Week 4 and the Arizona Cardinals.
Just about every serious NFL fan knows of Anquan Boldin, the tough, physical specimen out of Florida State, and for good reason. He's freakishly big and cut for a WR that moves as well as he does. His toughness allows him to be a possesion receiver, and his speed forces corners to respect the threat of him going deep. Boldin burst on to the scene in 2003 with a 101 reception season. Despite a few injuries, he's remained extremely productive and typically draws opposing team's best cover-corners. I suspect Ike will line up across from him predominantly, but if we play a bunch of nickel with our 4-2-5, other Steeler DBs will certainly get their shot at shutting him down.
As good as Boldin is, they have an equally dangerous weapon on the other side in Larry Fitzgerald. Boldin is the first that comes to mind when you think of the Cards talent WR corps, but Fitzgerald potentially poses more of a threat to opposing defenses if Boldin's doubled up. He's not quite as tall as Boldin, but he's still 6'3", strong in the legs, quick, and has exquisite hands. For those of you who live in the Pittsburgh area, you might remember Fitzgerald's career at the University of Pittsburgh. He put up crazy numbers in college, and was a big reason Pitt was actually competitive for a few years there at the turn of the century.
Fitzgerald has gotten off to a decent start in '07, hauling in 15 catches for 192 yards. We'll see who's throwing the ball to him on Sunday - I suspect the Cards will start Leinart, then perhaps go to Warner again if things start getting out of hand - but if Arizona is to have any chance against the Steelers, they're going to have to spread the wealth in the passing game.
Fitzgerald needs to match Boldin's production if the Cards are going to score enough to win
I can't imagine Edgerrin James will do too much running the football, and you're just not going to beat us keying in one one WR. So, I'm calling out Bryant McFadden and DeShea Townsend to continue their strong early season play against Mr. Fitzgerald. Whisenhunt and Grimm obviously are aware of the issues our corners had covering last year, so I most certainly would expect them to take some shots down the field. That's a potentially scary proposition with both Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.