“12th Man” presents the Cardinals with a unique challenge

Qwest Field is one of the loudest venues in the NFL

The Seattle Seahawks enjoy a home field advantage unlike most other NFL teams.  Qwest Field, so its been said, is one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, something that is obviously attributed to the fans, but also the stadium’s design.  In any event, it’s something that the Cardinals will have to deal with this Sunday if they want to leave Seattle with the NFC West lead.

Quarterback Max Hall weighed in on what he’s heard about Qwest, which will be the setting for his first NFL road start.  “I’ve heard it’s noisy and a fun place to play,” Hall said.  “Coach (Chris) Miller says this is why we play the game is to play in games like this.  The best way to prepare is to have the (piped-in) noise out at practice and work on the silent count and make sure as a quarterback you communicate to your guys as clearly as possible.”  Something tells me that there’s no replacement for the actual experience.

It’s also quite difficult on an offensive line.  Darren Urban of the Cards’ official website points out that the Cardinals “have been called for 18 false starts in the seven games they have played there since it opened in 2002, including three last season.”It could be worse, though.  The New York Giants were called for 11 false starts in a single game in 2005.  Obviously, it’s loud there.

If you believe Levi Brown and Brandon Keith the noise is hardest on the offensive line, particularly the tackles.  “We’re the furthest from the center, so we are trying to look past the guard and see the center’s head, especially on the silent count, and it gets tough sometimes,” Levi said.  “It will happen.  Sometimes you will be late and you just have to try and run that defensive end past the quarterback, but it’s part of the game.”  Brown, who already has trouble getting back in protection, can’t afford to be late this Sunday.

Right tackle Brandon Keith also expressed concern over the challenges that Qwest Field brings.  “You have to really tune in, because beyond just worrying about your responsibility on a particular play, you’ve got to make sure you get off the ball on time, you make sure you make the right read, so you have to be so focused,” Keith explained.  “Like coach said, it’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere, so that’s how we have to approach it.”

There’s one Cardinal that isn’t concerned at all about the hostile atmosphere; Larry Fitzgerald.  “You definitely have that you-against-the-world feeling when you go on the field,” Fitzgerald said.  “You see the ‘No. 1’ (jersey-wearing) guy and the crazy guy above the tunnel calling your name.  It’s a great atmosphere.  It’s the 11 men in the huddle and no one else in the building is supporting you.  I love that feeling.”

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