Hawks count on 12th Man
Arizona rookie QB will try to silence the fans
RENTON, Wash. – Lofa Tatupu almost sounds sympathetic.
The Pro Bowl linebacker understands the difficult task Arizona quarterback Max Hall has Sunday when he tries to communicate with teammates at Qwest Field.
“I know what it’s like because I have the same task as (quarterbacks) do on Sundays at home,” Tatupu said. “It’s not easy. It’s stressful.”
Stressful might be an apt description, but Hall has another word for Qwest – fun.
“From what I’m hearing, it’s a great environment to play a football game in and it’s loud,” he said Wednesday during a conference call. “They have a really good fan base, so it’s going to be a crazy yet fun environment to play in.
“Obviously, it’s going to be loud, so you’ve got to work on that at practice and work on your silent count, make sure you’re good with your communication, everybody’s on the same page.”
Overcoming the ear-splitting environs at Qwest and the raucous 12th Man is a tall order for most NFL quarterbacks. But imagine what Hall must be feeling.
The 25-year-old undrafted rookie from Brigham Young is making his second pro start and playing his first road game with first place in the NFC West hanging in the balance for the teams with 3-2 records.
Plus, he’s facing a defense tied for sixth in the league with 17 sacks, while Arizona is 30th in the NFL, allowing 19 sacks.
Throw in the noise factor and it could be a long day Sunday.
“It’s very tough to audible and that’s what we bank on and enjoy,” Tatupu said. “When they get into one look, they usually have to stick with it. There’s not too many guys that can get to that second play and just keep everybody in a rhythm.”
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt downplayed the crowd being a major factor.
“What’s difficult for a rookie quarterback is just being able to manage the whole process – being able to call the play in the huddle, get lined up, get guys in the right positions – those are the things that I think affect a rookie quarterback whether the noise is there or not,” he said during a conference call. “It’s a hostile environment, which a lot of teams on the road are, and they do a great job in Seattle.
“So that’ll be tough enough as it is, but I don’t think it’s any tougher because he’s a rookie.”
Maybe so, but Arizona wasn’t expecting to rely so heavily on Hall so soon. He started the season battling for the No. 3 quarterback job. Now he’s No. 1 and in charge of the 30th pass offense in the NFL and 31st total offense.