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Friday before the Chiefs

Posted by Darren Urban on November 19, 2010 – 3:38 pm

Fitz says it’s impossible to understand.

He can’t escape it. Football, that is. A four-game losing streak. “You go home and turn on the TV and ‘Cardinals have lost four in a row,’ ” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “Or I go to dinner and, ‘Hey Fitz, what’s wrong with you guys?’ You guys (in the media) go to dinner and no one ever bothers you. They don’t talk football with you. From that perspective, it’s difficult.”

Wait, I do too have people ask me about the Cards in public … OK, not as much as Fitz, but still …

Anyway, you can see where he is coming from. Fitzgerald is one of the few Cardinals still around from those terrible days pre-Whiz, when losing was practically ordained from training camp. Instead of making this four-game losing streak easier to deal with, it’s made it harder.

“This is way worse than before,” Fitzgerald said. “I had never won on this level before. I have tasted the caviar now, and eating out of the garbage is not where I want to be.”

Not sure you can find caviar in Kansas City. Barbeque, yes. But the Cards want their caviar, and want it fast.

– Fitzgerald, talking about his chemistry with Derek Anderson, said he just hasn’t had the same amount of time with D.A. as hookups like Palmer-Ochocinco or Schaub-Johnson or Manning-Wayne. But he insisted it is getting better (and Fitz’s stats of late bear that out; 20 catches for 270 yards the last three games).

“That’s life in the league,” Fitz said of dealing with a new QB. “I’m going to roll with the punches. Early on in my career I played with a number of different quarterbacks. It’s part of the deal. I am going to play hard and give it everything I have for my teammates and the fans here and that’s my passion.”

So I asked if it was tough to continue to answer such questions. “I don’t understand because I give the same answers every time,” he said. “That’s not going to change.” In other words, if he was ticked (and I don’t think he is, frustrated, but not irrationally so) he isn’t going to pop off anyway.

– More proof that the offense isn’t as ragged as its been? Nine pass plays of 30 or more yards the last three games (five to Steve Breaston) after having only one in the first six games.

– I’m not saying the offense/passing offense is good. Everyone settle down. We all know it is struggling. But there are moments.

– Barring something shocking, Beanie Wells will play this weekend. I don’t think he starts. Until he shows a little something on the field, I’d think Tim Hightower will remain the starter and Beanie getting a chunk of work – you know, like it was the entire back half of 2009. Will Beanie be made the starter again at some point? Perhaps. But I don’t think it’d be a guarantee.

– If LaRod Stephens-Howling can’t go, that’s a major blow to special teams all the way around. There is a reason he’s been considered by many the MVP in the first half of the year, and it’s not just because of his kickoff returns.

– I don’t know if Greg Toler is going to be able to play with his bad foot, but Fitz sure put a shot across his teammate’s bow, good-naturedly, of course. Fitz picked up a Celtics Paul Pierce jersey and hung it on Toler’s locker. Is Toler a Pierce fan? Fitz? No and no. Turns out Fitz was jabbing Toler for his injury this week by comparing it to Pierce’s “miraculous” game in the 2009 NBA Finals (watch the video; it explains it all). I would love for that to mean Toler would be fine for Sunday. We’ll see.

– The Cards could use all hands on deck for this secondary. The Chiefs feature wide receiver Dwayne Bowe a big target (think a more-polished Mike Williams, the Seattle version) who already has nine TD catches.

– The Cards have to find a way to slow the running back tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones first.

– Both Ken Whisenhunt and Todd Haley have tried to downplay it this week. But make no mistake — I think both are burning to be able to beat the other Sunday. It’s not one-on-one basketball. It’s much, much bigger.

– Whisenhunt was asked about the offensive line and its play. The first part of his answer? “It’s hard for me to sit here at 3-6 and say we’re doing anything good.”

That may be a good walk-off quote. If you want to look at the glass half-full (three-quarters full?), you figure that while it was easy to, beforehand, count the Seattle home game as a win, the Kansas City game looked like a loss a couple weeks ago, so if the Cards go in and find that long-lost win, then they are right where they were expected to be and….

Ah, never mind. Talk to you in K.C.


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Posted in Blog | 45 Comments »


45 Responses to “Friday before the Chiefs”

  1. By tRiGidY on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Lol did Someone missed the prayer circle!! Lets go Bigred!!

  2. By Brandon LA on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    HA HA. “nevermind”… Yes it has reached far beyond that point. Just gimme some good football and a W please.

    Darren,

    What’s the linebacker situation look like for Sunday? Davis still on the outside (didn’t check the injury list sorry)? What’s your outlook on stopping the run this weekend?

  3. By TucsonTim on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Tried to find a KC receiver to start on my fantasy team. Gave up after #120 WR. Guess we’re not the only ones to know that Billy ‘avis can’t coach D.

    Darren, I remember you once saying something about the D-backs and Henderson and wondering how they would jel. So over half way into the season, what do you think; and why didn’t you ever write that piece about Henderon. Feel free to use my googled research. I’m still shocked he isn’t the defensive coordinator. Too much friction???

  4. By Darren Urban on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    BrandonLA —

    RE: LBs

    I expect all of them to be available.

    My outlook on stopping the run? They better, or it’s going to be a long, painful day.

  5. By Darren Urban on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Tucson —

    RE: Henderson

    Had planned to write that in camp, but stuff happens and I never got around to it.

    And he isn’t the defensive coordinator because the Cards already have a defensive coordinator (It kind of surprises me too; fans are hot to have Henderson take over for Davis, it seems, yet — with all due respect to Henderson — the defensive backs aren’t exactly shining right now. So why is everyone high on Henderson and down on Davis?)

  6. By AndyStandsUp on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Since the special teams are the only phase of the team performing adequately, I suggest Kevin Spencer is placed in charge of coordinating the offense and the defense; thereby satisfying the fans need to have competence in those positions.
    Also, I’d like to nominate J.J Audobon as head coach- he may be the only person qualified to save the Birds.

  7. By TucsonTim on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Henderson works for the man doesn’t he?

  8. By Eazy E on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    We have to stop the run first every game and this one is no different with 2 pro bowl backs in their backfield. Put DRC on D-Bowe every play guy is playing at a all-pro level because toler is injured(oh no) and mike adams would be a little overmatched no pun intended. We have to get more big plays passing and running.

  9. By Eazy E on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Obviously LOL!!!

  10. By Brad ONeill on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    I dont think people are high on henderson and down on davis i think everyone is looking for a reason this defense sucks. Too me its obvious that the defense is exhausted you can’t play game after game and stay on the field for as many minutes as they have and not begin to see the effects by this time of the year. I don’t think it is all billy davis, i think he gets a little conservative at the wrong times but its understandable. I really dont think we can count on the 4 man rush getting any pressure at the end of games especially when they are exhausted.

    the thing that scares me the most about this season is we had a great attitude during preseason, with everyone on board and working hard. I hope all that doesn’t go out the window with the terrible results we have gotten despite the effort put in by Dockett and company.

    if docketts hammy is hurting next preseason I am getting off the bandwagon.

  11. By CNelson on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Darren (And to all of the Cards fans calling for B.Davis’ head)

    The proof of how our Defencive Q.’s scheme and play calling is working is right there in the Red Zone stats. If the scheme or play calling was suspect then we wouldnt be able to stop teams at all. The fact we can keep them out of the endzone when we are in the “right” places tells me that we just arn’t executing the scheme right when we are not in the Red Zone. I do agree that B. Davis does need to be slightly more creative to throw the offences off but how can u change up ur play calling when we cant execute the simplest packages?

    I for one will Allways believe our team can be the best when our game plan is executed properly… However, untill they do it the right way enough times to get it in their head that, thats the way to do it we will continue to make the kinds of mistakes we are making thus rendering 1. The scheme 2. The play calling (game planning) useless because we won’t be where we are sopose to be so that we can make the plays. Look at the turn overs we have generated when the scheme is executed properly!

    Darren please tell Whiz, B.Davis and the rest of the coaching staff that, at least a few of us true fans understand that they are doing a great job and that “We” (at least I) hold the players responcible for the break down… Even if this year ends up upside down frm last year (10-6 / 6-10) or worse I still believe in their coaching and that they will rectify it asap!

    Again as always thanks for all the info and your hard work Darren & company! Without it I would be at a loss all week.

    CNelson of Az since ’86

  12. By Darren Urban on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Tucson —

    RE: Henderson

    Works for what man?

  13. By TucsonTim on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Are you saying there is no clear chain of command in this organization. Oh my, things are worse than I thought.

  14. By steve on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    WITH THE 9TH PICK IN THE 2011 NFL DRAFT………….THE ARIZONA CARDINALS SELECT……………………………QUATERBACK RYAN MALLET UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

  15. By The Truth on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    I would like to respond to you about your question on Henderson. You are wondering why so many people want him to be the DC when the DB’s aren’t looking that good. There is no way that you can ask any DB in this league to stay with a reciever as long as our guys are asked to. We are not getting any pressure on the QB! If you give a QB and reciever all the time in the world a play is bound to happen. Has A-Dub ever said that he is not a good man coverage safety? I believe he has, and yet he is still being used in that capacity. Bottom line is we have way too much talent on this defense for them to be getting beat like they are. At some point you have to look at the way they are being used.

  16. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    So does Fitz really think Toler is faking his foot injury?

  17. By Billy Thomas on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    All I can ask for is some good football and a win, overtime, close, blowout, whatever. Just give me a win! I figure with Seattle almost definitely losing this week to the Saints, we can bring ourselves within 1 game of a tie for first place. Just give us any reason to hope. Just something to make this next string of 3 home games worth going to and cheering for!

  18. By Havasu Tom on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Good Morning Darren,
    Another great column, Did you hear of any grand changes for the ‘D’ such as a change in how our backs approach the game?
    Is ’90’ starting?
    Thanks, have a great flight. Get some K.C. BBQ, it’s the best.

  19. By ross on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    As much as they can frustrate me, come Sunday I will pull out my 34 jersey and ride the roller coaster yet again.

    Go Cards. May the schwartz be with you.

  20. By shannonrobinson on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Don’t panic, don’t tell us the odds – go play the game to win….we deserve the chance to be one game out with six to go. We’ve got ‘em right where we want them, run Beannie, go Cards. Let’s save Billie Davis from Andy Stands Up!

  21. By tRiGidY on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Is this the week we get closer to Top Pick Status??

    How did we win 3?? LOL

    How about starting John Skelton?? over the Pick Machine’DA

    In Whiz I Trust (I Don’t Know)

    Can Ownership bring D.Green back for are Draft War Room!

    BigRed Game plan for this week! Throw it too Fitz 50times! Hail-Mary!

  22. By Jessica(: on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren!
    Getting ready to leave for sky harbor airport to fly out to kansas city. Me and my dad will be catching the game tomorrow with some extended famiy. First cardinals game for me this season, as weird as that may be. Can’t wait to see Fitz beast it and lead us to the win! Statistically, has there been a drop in production from q’s stats last year to breastons this year?

  23. By tRiGidY on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    So if Coach is going to start DA! the rest of the year does that mean, we are going for that number#1 overall pick! 3-13 (A.Luck)?

    Coach would Draft Luck number1 an start DA’ LOL Bro-man crush!

    Hope Whiz leaves with DA’ Next Season,Time to move on!

    Ownership is a joke! someone needs to get Fired!!

    What are the Cards worth Now’ In Forbes Mag?? Dollar Dollar Bill”

  24. By tRiGidY on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, Any word on Burgerking using Bill an Bill Jr in a New Bk’ commercial?? How does Jr Whopper feel that Daddy still uses his Weight!! LOL

    Lets Go BigRed! Lets shock the world an go Undefeated the rest of the way!

  25. By Darren Urban on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Tucson —

    RE: ???

    What the hell are you talking about?

  26. By Darren Urban on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    RodgersCro —

    RE: Toler/Fitz

    No idea what Fitz really thinks. I just know I watched him hang that jersey, and then he came up to me — with a smile on his face — and told me to ask Greg what it was all about.

  27. By Darren Urban on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Havasu —

    RE: Dockett/D

    Darnell will be a game-day decision. And no I haven’t heard of any grand changes.

  28. By TucsonTim on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Don’t all of the defensive coaches work for Davis? How is the DB coach responsible for terrible coverage when the line doesn’t know if they’re rushing outside or inside and the LB’s can’t put pressure on the QB. Give DA 6-8 seconds to throw and even he looks pretty darn good. Who calls the defensive play that puts A-dub in one on one coverage with Antonio Gates, is that Henderson? Letting Davis continue on sends a clear message to the entire team, NO ACCOUNTABILITY. Every Monday Whiz bemoans the fact that the PLAYERS aren’t executing. The PLAYERS are making mistakes. Just once I’d like to hear him say, our game plan sucked. The DC didn’t make adjustments. The DC called defenses that these players couldn’t execute. The defense was confused. We made poor substitutions. We weren’t prepared.
    To me it looks like we call plays for the players we wished we had, not who we have. Whiz wants a 3-4 defense so we have a terrible 3-4 defense. We don’t have the personnel to run a 3-4 defense. Square peg round hole, we just keep banging it. DA is who he is, so call the plays and run the offense around his limitations and stop hoping this week he will suddenly become KW. You’re going to see blitz after blitz from KC on Sunday. Do you think Haley doesn’t know Levi Brown. Whats the over under on blind side sacks for this game. So stop thinking he is going to take a 5 step drop then step up in the pocket and float a 50 yard bomb to Fitz. It worked on one play to Fitz against Seattle and it ain’t going to happen again unless you recognize the defense and adjust. Everytime pressure is brought on DA he gets flustered and becomes ineffective (like just about every other QB) Until KC sees that our offense has an answer to the pressure they are just going to bring it on, and you’re going to see 3 and out over and over.

  29. By Money on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    I just finished reviewing the recorded Seattle game (was at the game) to see where the real flaws are. I have to take back the issue I had with Billy Davis, his defenses are not losing games, There were 3 calls I’d consider unsound – two had a LB covering a slot WR, one was rushing 4 on 6 with Porter and Adams covering air instead of reading and blitzing. Bottom line, our defense sucks because players are lazy about their technique. These are things they should already know – don’t leave your feet to tackle, stay parallel with the line of scrimmage, wrap up, DB’s use keys don’t keep looking in backfield, safeties don’t let anyone behind you. A grades: Williams, Branch. F grades: Wilson, Rhodes, Hayes (F-), Lenon.
    Offense or the lack of it…definitely not all on Anderson by a long shot. He is what he was when we signed him, a low percentage completion QB mostly due to accuracy. DE’s/OLB’s can use basic bull rush to beat Brown, Hightower, and Patrick even if we double team or they rush 5 against 7! F grades to all three of them. Run game is not explosive because on nearly every play, at least two players make significant mistakes…blocking the wrong guy, running the wrong way (Hightower 3rd-G on 5 2Q breaks draw right to 8 defenders instead of left to open field). You cannot win if you are 0/5 on third downs at half time. This team needs to practice more and practice more intensely.

  30. By Birdlegs on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Whiz will never say the gameplan sucked because he values his paycheck. At some point, the fans are going to start really seeing the high level of talent on this team and begin to question who is really at fault for the poor performance of this team. They can blame the players all they want, and the players do bear some responsibility. But, the coaching, in all aspects, is really not up to par here.

  31. By Jones from IL on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    If we couldn’t stop Williams of the Sehawks, I doubt we’ll do any better stopping Bowe of KC. We have our own 6’5″ receiver S. Williams and I’d like to see him play more.

  32. By Adam on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    WHo is CNELSON??? YOU have no idea of what you are talking about. Every tdefense should be able to perform well in the redzone. This reason for this is because the field is compressed! That limits the offensive playbook and makes it harder for the offense to score because the windows are smaller.

    CNELSON.. You don’t know football. BILLY DAVIS IS HORRIBLE!! That’s why they got rid of him in San Francisco when he was the Defense Coordinator. The same thing is gonna happen here in the desert. He has no excuse for the way his defense is playing. He is not detailed and his playbook doesn’t open up when it is crunch time. That shows that he is a timid coach. BILLY’s playbook book is wide open in the first half. Do your research before you try to speak up for someone.

    In the 4th quarter when a team is trying comeback on you is the time to start calling elaborate blitzes and coverages. He is just not cut out to be a DC. That’s some people just aren’t leaders. They want to be but they’re not.

  33. By Adam on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    When is WHIZ gonna own up for running a bad ship???? He blames the players for everything. You think the players want to play for someone like that?? He is afraid of the rich players and picks on the back ups and young players. FIx the problem.

    Whiz.. You brought in all of these coaching goofs that don’t know what they are doing. Admit that. All of the coaches suck and just want to keep their mouth shut so they can get the nod to be the next DC or OC. HAHAHA!!

    A bunch of SYCOPHANTS!!! I wouldn’t even hire SYCOPHANTS if I was a head coach. I want brains and detials and passion!! There are no smart coaches on this team.. Fire them all!!!!

  34. By drumm-1 on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    @ tucson tim.. glad to see you have all the answers, maybe you should be a coach, so glad to have fans like you.. why play the game we could just ask tucson whats going to happen..IF you think the cards are so bad why watch or even comment on them…go else where..

  35. By cardsalltheway on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s be clear, a win in KC does not “negate” the loss against Seattle.

  36. By Darren Urban on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Jessica —

    RE: Q/Breaston

    I would have to look it up. Breaston did miss a couple game this season. I will try to update this later.

  37. By Dre on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    CNelson–

    Re: Davis “D”

    To say the defensive scheme is great because of the success in the red zone when you are giving up the most points in the league is an oxymoron. The only thing that suggest is teams are scoring from outside the red zone. To say it’s the player versus coaching is like saying what came first the chicken or the egg.

    I think it’s a matter of the whole team being out of balance. We are minus 8 in turnover rate despite doing pretty well in takeaways on “D”. We are 31st in 3rd down conversion at 29%. We are close to a 2 to 1 pass to run ratio but our QBs are only 50% passers. We are last in number of sacks given up. We run the ball well (4.2 per rush) but last in the league in rush attempts. I think it is these issues that have plagued this team and we see it in a minus 8 and half minute Time of Possession differential.

    Our defense does not have the shoulders to carry this offense. We have a bend but don’t break defense and it’s clear that are defense has been put out too much. But if you insist in talking about responsibility, we are giving up the big play which is what you’re supposed to limit in this style of defense. So, it is safe to say Davis “D” doesn’t work with an ineffective offense and who you think will get the blame for that. Should have bobbed and weaved Davis… bobbed and weaved.

    Does anyone have Mike Noland’s number who can make Schofield into an Elvis Dumervil? Heck he might of even saved Cody Brown. The Cards need a constant and consistent pass rush to straighten this “D” back out.

  38. By MikeG on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren–We need a win in the worst way this week. I think we need to play heavy against the run on this team. Since they got blown out last week –I expect them to come out strong with their run game. We seem to be a little banged up which is not a good sign– so some of our bench players will need to contribute. The team has its back against the wall & I have no idea how they will respond. Do you think we will see more of Adrian Wilson playing along the line of scrimmage in this game??? Might be a good game to do it since KC is a run team!!! We need to do a better job in disguising what he does!!.

  39. By CNelson on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    As where your points are valid, I for one understand when the play calling is executed correctly ( and yes when the d-line and LBs rushing do their job) the defence looks great and is very effective. To say that the execution problems are B.Davis’ falt is like telling me if I punched you in the face it was “your” falt for not moving… Im not even going into detail about the offence because there are to many problems to solve by executing properly (D.A. can execute properly and still over or under throw recivers {or throw a dump off pass 90mph}).Bottem line for me is the fact some people think that being a Defencive Q. is easy, Please go apply your “thoughts” on a pop warner team just to see that 90% wouldt make it past the first practice… And bash me all you wish about not knowing or understand “football”, but im not the moron whos on a message board telling a reporter/writer to change things… All i am doing is simply pointing out that a Redzone defence does hold weight to how the rest of the scheme should be executed, yes i understand the playbook gets smaller for the offence but that also means a defence has less of a margin for error… The open feild tackeling and tech. of the defence does need improvement along with the execution of what paly is being called. Ive seen that when the players actualy do what they are sopose to on that particular play they get a stop with a minimal gain or a loss, but when 1 or more ppl are out of place or not playing with tech then the whole dam house falls in on them.

    Heres hoping for a impressive win tomarrow!

    CNelson of Az ’86

  40. By Scott H on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Oh, man…GREAT quote from Fitz about how this has been like going from caviar to the garbage can! I knew I loved this guy for a reason! No one could have said it better than that. Coming down from the high of the last two seasons to the train wreck that is this season has been horrible. Larry – I feel you, man. We ALL feel you. And it feels like #@&%. Hang in there, big guy. Better days are ahead. Can’t get much friggin’ worse, can it???

  41. By Dre on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    Cnelson–

    You are alright with me but Bill Davis has been here before. The guy does not have enough experience to take the lead and win with defense. I give him credit when the offense is producing but I think that is as high as he can go. It is always the coach’s responsibility when a team doesn’t reach their max potential. The offense is in bad shape and he is the odd man out. It’s not fare…his squads usually make plays like they are now but the team needed more. As much as I want to point to Whisenhunt the defense needed to go above and beyond. I’m sorry Whisenhunt screwed us all but he is the head coach.

  42. By TucsonTim on Nov 21, 2010 | Reply

    drumm –

    How much coaching does it take to beat a rookie QB in his first ever NFL start? Without a goal line strip, LOSS. How much coaching does it take to make Janikowski miss a FG, another LOSS. So 2 of our 3 wins were just LUCK.

    Caviar to garbage..I’m not the only one dissappointed by this organization.

  43. By Ryan on Nov 21, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    Have you seen the story on profootballtalk.com regarding Fitz’s comments above? Do you see Fitz sticking around after his current contract expires? I can’t recall, doesn’t his contract include a no-trade clause? So we wouldn’t be able to deal him in the off season and get something for him rather than seeing him go after 2011 with nothing in return? Thanks.

  44. By Darren Urban on Nov 21, 2010 | Reply

    Ryan —

    RE: Fitz

    Nothing has changed this week except that PFT decided to make a story out of it. I still think the likely outcome is a contract extension. And yes, he has a no-trade clause.

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