TEMPE, Ariz. -- Max Hall says the jitters that came with his first start as an NFL quarterback are gone. Now comes the challenge of operating an offense in one of the noisiest venues in the NFL.
The Arizona rookie will make his first road start Sunday when the Cardinals play the Seahawks. Both teams are 3-2 so sole possession of first place in the NFC West will be at stake.
"I think I've settled down," Hall said after the Cardinals practiced on Wednesday. "I think the anxiety part's over. Now I'm just really trying to get better every day, to be the quarterback of this team, to be the leader and to step up into that role that everybody is expecting me to step up into. I'm just keeping my head down and working as hard as I can."
Instead of the support he received from a sellout home crowd in Arizona's 30-20 upset over New Orleans on Oct. 10, he will have to operate the offense in the din of Seattle's Qwest Field.
"It's just like our stadium. That's what they have home field advantage for," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "They have it and we have it. Part of growing as a team means, with all of our new guys and new faces, go in there and handle it better than we have so far this season."
After winning its opener at St. Louis, Arizona has been outscored 82-17 in its last two road games -- at Atlanta and San Diego -- performances that led Whisenhunt to bench Derek Anderson and give the undrafted Hall the job.
Hall said he's heard that the Seattle stadium is noisy and "a fun place to play." Quarterbacks coach Chris Miller told him that players live for these kinds of games.
"The best way to prepare for it is to have the noise (machines) out here and practice and work on the silent count and make sure as a quarterback you communicate to your guys as clearly as possible," Hall said.
As a three-year starter at BYU, he saw some hostile crowds.
"I played in some loud places," he said. "I've worked with the silent count before, so it's nothing new. It's something I feel fairly comfortable with."
Whisenhunt said the noise is tougher on the linemen than it is the quarterback.
"Playing tight end I thought that was probably about the hardest thing you could do," Whisenhunt said, "especially when you're that far removed to the ball because when you're trying to do the silent count or go off of a signal, it's hard to see the ball and then try to figure out what the defense is doing, so it's difficult. As a quarterback, at least you know when the ball's coming."
Hall was named NFL rookie of the week for his performance against the Saints despite some unspectacular statistics. His second pass of the game was intercepted and he fumbled twice. Both were recovered by teammates. The first was returned two yards for a touchdown by tackle Levi Brown. The second resulted in a 10-yard gain. But Hall did direct two drives that resulted in field goals as Arizona rallied from an early 10-0 deficit. He finished the game 17 of 27 for 168 yards.
"There's definitely some improvement I can do, especially in the ball security area," Hall said. "I can be a little bit better but I got better as the game went on so hopefully we can come out with a fast start and gain momentum again and develop a rhythm."
After having last weekend off, the Cardinals had every player practice on Wednesday, including wide receivers Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. Breaston has missed two games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Doucet hasn't played since the opener because of a sports hernia that also required surgery.
"They didn't go through everything in practice today, which we didn't want them to," Whisenhunt said. "They've got to get acclimated and make sure they're OK. It was more of a test period but it was good for them to do that. I mean, it's encouraging that there's a chance we're going to have them to play."
Gerald Hayes, a four-year starter at inside linebacker, practiced for the first time since undergoing offseason back surgery. Rookie outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield's practice was his first since blowing out a knee preparing for the Senior Bowl.
The team has up to three weeks to evaluate both players before deciding whether to add them to the active roster.