The last time Anquan Boldin played at Detroit’s Ford Field, he was a relatively unknown second-round pick. After that game a year ago September — when Boldin had 10 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns — he was on his way to a recordbreaking Pro Bowl rookieof-the-year season.
Sunday, Boldin and the Cardinals return to Detroit, but "they won’t let that happen again," Boldin said Wednesday.
At this point, Boldin would like to just crack 100 yards. Or get his first touchdown. Anything to wipe away what has been a disappointing 2004 season, buried under a training camp knee injury and a Cardinals passing game that has been terrible.
Boldin has been back for five games, but said he hasn’t felt 100 percent back from his surgery until playing the Jets five days ago. There was a sequence of plays late in the second quarter — a slant route, a hitch route and then a fade route — that let him know he could do things like run and cut and turn like he used to.
Now, Boldin said, "I think I am right where I should be."
Big numbers, like those in Detroit, are harder to come by now. Because coach Dennis Green has chosen to use him outside more than the slot position he played much of his rookie season, Boldin isn’t seeing as much man-to-man coverage and as a result, isn’t breaking away for as many big plays.
Green, though, thinks that will change in 2005, when Boldin is fully healed.
"He will have a much better year next year," Green said.
Green said Monday running back Emmitt Smith was out two to three weeks because of a sprained big toe, but then Smith was listed as questionable on Wednesday’s injury report.
"Emmitt’s situation is probably a little better than it was," Green said.
Larry Croom is still expected to start in Detroit. Smith didn’t participate in any part of practice, and was wearing a walking boot on Wednesday.
The only other player who missed part of practice was defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (groin), but he is expected to play Sunday.
Running backs coach Kirby Wilson acknowledged he interviewed Tuesday for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas head coaching job.
"We just have to wait things out and see what happens," Wilson said. "I’m sorry. I wish I could give you more."
Green, whose philosophy has always been having assistant coaches who strive for promotions, gave Wilson his blessing.
"A guy should have an opportunity to advance himself," Green said. "We are hoping he gets the job.
"We think he’d be a great choice."
Quarterback Josh McCown may be on the bench but his brother, Luke, might get the start in Cleveland with Jeff Garcia nursing an injured shoulder. . . .
The Cardinals cut cornerback Dyshod Carter, signed receiver Reggie Newhouse from the practice squad and signed cornerback Clarence Curry to the practice squad.