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Blogs

Friday before the Panthers

Posted by Darren Urban on October 30, 2009 – 5:06 pm

Funny how the week seems to fly by when the team is playing well and the storylines are basically positive. And there’s no plane to climb aboard this week. OK, maybe it’s not funny. Just pleasant.

But enough chit-chat. I have a ton of stuff I haven’t been able to notebook/blog until now. So let’s get to it:

– The last time the Panthers came to Arizona, it was quite the result, if you don’t remember. It was 2007, and WarnerHurtCarolinaBlogMatt Leinart had just broken his collarbone the week before. The Cards wanted to sign Vinny Testaverde to back up Kurt Warner, but the Panthers, looking for a replacement for the injured Jake Delhomme, convinced Testaverde to go there instead – and he started despite being in Carolina all of three practices. The Cards signed Tim Rattay, and when Warner badly hurt his left elbow (pictured) on a Julius Peppers’ sack early in the game, Rattay – who also only had three practices – was forced to play. Eventually, Carolina pulled away late in a 25-10 win, a game the Cards always regretted after finishing 8-8.

– To think, Warner began his current 37-game starting streak that day and kept it up the very next week even though his elbow was scrambled and he had to play with a brace. That told me and a lot of people about Warner’s toughness (And no, before you all send e-mails or comments that I’m jinxing Warner, no I’m not. That’s simply a silly thought).

– Speaking of Warner, keeping him clean is the key, right? If he’s sacked two times or less, the Cards are 4-0 this season. More than twice, 0-2. For his career, those numbers are similar: 46-22 when sacked twice or less, 15-24 when sacked at least three times. His passing stats are also much better in the former than the latter. Yes, I know it’s kind of a “duh” stat. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pointed out.

– Whisenhunt has been leaning toward taking the ball if the Cards win the toss this season rather than deferring. “How many times have we scored on the opening drive?” Whisenhunt said. “We would have had (Sunday) night too.” I agree. If Tim Hightower hadn’t fumbled in New York, I have no doubt the Cards would have gotten at least three points there.

– The last time the Cardinals (4-2 going into the Panthers’ game) started 5-2 in a season was 1976, when they were actually 5-1. They eventually ran their record to 8-2 before finishing the 14-game season with a 10-4 mark.

– One man who doesn’t get mentioned much is backup safety/special teamer Matt Ware, who was in a serious fight in training camp with two others – Aaron Francisco and Keith Lewis – for one roster spot. Whisenhunt specifically talked about him today, noting it was Ware who caused the fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw in the Giants’ game. “The arrow is going up with him,” Whisenhunt said.

– No, the Cardinals aren’t going to wear white-on-white this weekend, because they didn’t request it in the offseason (the last home game was planned because of the pink for breast cancer awareness). Had Whisenhunt been given a choice, knowing the Cards are 4-0 this season wearing white jerseys and knowing how superstitious he is, would he have? Heck yeah. “You know I’m aware of it, that’s for sure,” Whisenhunt said.

– A couple fans have asked me about dropped passes and the Cards. The bottom line, there haven’t been many, not officially. The Cardinals have been charged with only 10 dropped passes out of 175 catchable balls, and their 5.7 percentage is sixth-best in the NFL (The Bears, at 3.5 percent, are first; the Browns, at 17.3 percent drops, are last). Fullback Dan Kreider has two of the drops; running back Tim Hightower three. Fitz has been charged with one drop in 63 passes targeted his way. Anquan Boldin has two in 51 targets, Steve Breaston none in 32 and Jerheme Urban none in 23.

– I do say, in light of the fines announced today by the NFL, I did enjoy Darnell Dockett’s response to the Ahmad Bradshaw fine for hitting Dockett.

– The Cards could make an impact with a sudden score, given that the Panthers have had trouble in that area. Carolina, in six games, has given up five such touchdowns – one kickoff return, one punt return, one fumble return and two interception returns.

– I think Fitz could be due for a big game. Sure, the Panthers lead the league in pass defense, but they are dead last in the NFL in pass attempts against. That tends to help your yardage average. Teams run the ball against Carolina (Beanie?) and don’t need to pass as much. The Cards, with Hightower and Edgerrin James, had 145 yards rushing in the playoff game in Carolina. And something tells me that’s going to free Fitz deep.

– Speaking of Fitz, if you haven’t caught it already, Fox Sports Arizona is airing one more time his story on an episode of VIZIO’s Pro Football PROfiles tonight at 11 p.m.

– Finally, it’ll be interesting to see what the Panthers do to free up Steve Smith, who’s been a non-factor. The Pro Bowl receiver used to always torch the Cards, all the way up until the playoff game. “He’s got that big-guy mentality,” Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “He doesn’t fear anything.”

That’s probably true. But the Cards’ defense is playing so well right now. They handled Smith in the playoffs. Their run defense is prepared for DeAngelo Williams. Here’s hoping for another quick week around the Tempe office come Monday morning.

DRCSteveSmithBlog


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Posted in Blog | 14 Comments »


14 Responses to “Friday before the Panthers”

  1. By William on Oct 30, 2009 | Reply

    Ahhh, so the white on white is a supersticious thing… I get it. Ok, thanks for clearing that up. I guess we are 4-0 in white, 0-2 in red. I’m all for the all white now.

  2. By William on Oct 30, 2009 | Reply

    Pro Bowl balloting has begun. Vote for the Cards!!

  3. By GonzoBobH on Oct 30, 2009 | Reply

    Voted.

    Hey, this is a very winnable game. Go Cards!

    PS Being from the East Coast, my back up team is the Giants — but I have been a Cardinals fan since 2000, ever since moving to Chandler.

    Half time yesterday I got off the couch and put on all my Cardinals colors and came back, gave a big anti-Giants shout, and enjoyed the second half.

    Go Cards!

  4. By Danny Heksolson on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Hell yeah! Dear Cardinals family; we entered the section of the season which will be very confortable and enjoyable, filled up with big plays and great defense! So, please sit and enjoy, this will be historic as we finish the season 14-2 or 13-3!! GO CARDS, win this game!

  5. By Joe on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    This should be another easy win, but November is a really easy month for them.

    The only game that I see presenting any challenge is the one against the Bears.

  6. By logan cooper on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    I thought larry looked great in the white socks on sunday night. He looked faster and made him not look so bulky.

    Darren if you see him tell him to keep the white socks.

  7. By chem dawg on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    ALL I KNOW IZ IM WEARING MY WHITE JERSEY TO THE GAME !!!!! GO CARDINALS !!!!

  8. By Doug Hart on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    The Cardinals aren’t the only ones stepping up their games. Solid reporting! I wish I would have met you when the Red Army went to Seattle.

  9. By William on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Joe-
    I agree.

  10. By William on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Let’s just hope Tommie Harris won’t be playing in the Chicago game. ESPN.com reported he might be back next week.

  11. By bigredmachine75 on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    All our games can be won. Concentration, combined with a committed focus and the ability to over come mishaps will be the key for our team for the rest of the season. We all know what we look like on paper and what could be considered a victory against a losing opponent but you all know; “this is why they play the game” instead of going off of paper stats. Wells and Hightower must focus harder, the o-line has been creating holds only to have the end result of a productive run spoiled by a fumble. Lets go guys and help those wide outs who must work extremely harder than they should for catches without a respectable run game in place. Lets go Cards and keep the NFC championship banner in ARZ!

  12. By nor cal cards fan on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Darren-Thanks for putting up that link to D. Docketts tweet about the Ahmad Bradshaw fine.That was pretty funny. If you had to guess would u say Antrell can go tomorrow or not?

  13. By darrenurban on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Doug –

    I appreciate that. Sorry about Seattle, but with radio duties, it’s tough to do much of anything but be in the press box on game days.

  14. By darrenurban on Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

    Nor Cal –

    If I had to guess, I’d guess Antrel is playing.

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