Cardinals come to town, Alexander ready

Seahawks.NET
Posted Sep 14, 2006


Seattle dominated the NFC West in 2005. They outscored their three divisional opponents 206-106 and never scored less than 27 points in any of the six games. One team they were particularly hard on was the Arizona Cardinals and one player who relishes the chance to play the redbirds is RB Shaun Alexander.

Alexander has averaged almost 100 yards per game (99.6) against the Cardinals in the eight games they have faced each other since the NFL realigned itself in 2002. Last year he was particularly hard on them, rushing for a combined 313 yards and six touchdowns in their two meetings.

“It’s because we know since their defense allows them to do so many different things it has to be a max effort,” Alexander told the assembled media today. “Everybody comes relaxed and ready to play as hard as they can to make whatever needs to happen, happen. It’s been really good for us the last couple of times we played them.”

In last year’s second matchup, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, Alexander took his first carry of the second half 88 yards for a back-breaking touchdown. This year, he knows they’ll be keying on him – just like Detroit did. It wasn’t a pretty offensive performance for the Seahawks last week, but his team got a win and Alexander said he likes the expectations everyone has for the offense.

“I’ve always wanted to play on a team that the standard was high, where everybody would expect a hundred yards and touchdowns, and everybody would expect our team to win, and that’s the standard that we’ve taken,” Alexander noted. “When those things don’t happen, it’s a good thing if people are expecting it because we expect it.

“We put pressure on ourselves every week, so it’s no different. We expect to score 50 points or 60 points every week, and we’re never really satisfied. It’s kind of where we always are.”

With a tough win under their belts, the team has said several times this week they are ultra-focused for their game this week.

“It’s huge,” Alexander said of Seattle’s first divisional game. “Everybody knows that if you lose division games it’s almost twice as bad as losing any other game. Especially a division game at home it’s almost a must.”

One player who had a lot in common with Alexander this past offseason was new Cardinals RB Edgerrin James. Both were unrestricted free agents following the 2005 season, but Alexander chose to re-sign with the team that drafted him and James opted to leave what seemed like a cushy job in Indianapolis for the warmer climes of Phoenix, Arizona.

“I always knew Seattle would get (a new contract) done,” Alexander said of his new deal. “I was surprised that Edge wasn’t back in Indy, but Arizona did good with his contract. For that it’s just business, but when it comes to football it’s a whole different matter.”

Alexander has feasted on the NFC West the past couple years, rushing for 100 yards in nine-consecutive games against the division. He also only needs two more touchdowns to pass Hall-of-Fame WR Steve Largent, who has 101, on the franchise’s all-time record list.

To get that, Alexander said he’s just happy he doesn’t have to face his own defense, something that James won’t be lucky enough to avoid.

“We have a good defense, and I’m glad we don’t have to play against our own defense,” Alexander said. “When I first got here my rookie year, Stump (Mitchell) and I sat down and looked at all the Seahawks records. Then my second year we sat down and looked at all the NFL records. We haven’t changed. We haven’t looked at Seahawks records since I was a rookie. We’re still going after all the NFL records like we were my second year.”

Alexander and his teammates face the Cardinals at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.


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