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Friday before the Redskins

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2011 – 4:56 pm

It was hard not to notice back in training camp. Tight end Jeff King had scored a touchdown in a practice, and he leaped afterward and spiked it through his legs. He said it was his trademark – kinda funny, since King is known as a blocker – but he followed through.

There King was, scoring on his 48-yard TD reception last weekend and, boom, a spike between the legs. He even recounted the play this week, saying that on his mind as he sprinted for the end zone “I was just thinking I have to spike it at some point.”

“It’s been a constant throughout my career,” King said. “I think was that number 10, so that was my 10th spike.”

King knows his TDs. That was indeed his 10th career touchdown, and he certainly went between the legs last season when he scored against the Cards when he was playing for the Panthers. The tight ends have been let loose in Arizona.

– Coach Ken Whisenhunt said this week he liked his linebacker play and apparently, so did the website ProFootballFocus.com.  After grading film they put together an all-Pro Football Focus team for the week. Not only did Daryl Washington make the NFL-wide list but so too did veteran outside linebacker Clark Haggans. It would be huge if Haggans is able to keep up that sort of work.

– This will be the week, I think where we see some things from a pair of veterans who didn’t do anything last week: running back Chester Taylor and linebacker Stewart Bradley. Obviously, Taylor was inactive last week, having joined the Cardinals too late for Whisenhunt to want to play him. Bradley was active, but played little other than special teams because he was still getting his feet under him.

I think both would have had a role against the Redskins, but with both Washington (calf) and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand) questionable to play, it would just up the ante of needing Taylor and Bradley. When it comes to Bradley, the Cards have long lauded the flexibility of starter Paris Lenon – who played both inside linebacker roles last year – and Lenon could switch to Washington’s side to allow Bradley to be in his more natural spot.

– As for the ex-Cardinal running back, Tim Hightower said this game is “going to be little extra sentimental and a little more emotional, just because I kind of grew up (with the Cards).

“The incentive there is like when that teacher has been teaching a student, and that student finally gets to a point where he is kind of on his own and you get a chance to come back and see the teacher, you want to put your best foot forward,” Hightower said. “That’s the mindset I’m taking this week.”

– On the other side of that trade, Cardinals defensive end Vonnie Holliday smiled when he thought of playing the Redskins. “I feel like I kind of raised some of those guys up,” Holliday said. “I feel like I know what it takes to beat them, some of their weaknesses and some of their strengths. I can tell my guys about that here.

“Same thing on the offensive side of the ball … if a guy is shaded this way, this is what that means. I know they know that too. Certainly at this point in my career I have to be a student of the game. I take a lot of pride in that. The fast-twitch is not the same, so you have to anticipate. That’s what I do in the game, from the front to the secondary, I pay attention.”

– Speaking of learning and teaching, in some ways, the Redskins did just that with the Cardinals. After Mike Shanahan was fired by the Broncos and before he was hired by the Redskins, he did a training camp tour that included a stop in Flagstaff to look at the Cards — and specifically, how they ran the 3-4 defense.

“When I came back to Washington something I wanted to do is run the 3-4, because if you look over the past 25 years, it’s probably the most successful,” Shanahan said. “I like the indecisions, from an offensive standpoint, of not knowing which linebacker was coming and the overall philosophy of keeping an offense off balance.”

– The last two times the Cardinals have gone to Washington  — 2007 and 2008 – they have stayed in the game and had a chance to win in the fourth quarter, except they were unable to come up with a winning kick. I’d think it’ll come down to whether the defense can come up with a more effective outing. There’s no question Rex Grossman has a history of making mistakes if you pressure him enough.

Offensively, you’d think the Cards will be effective. The hope is Larry Fitzgerald is able to be more involved, but quarterback Kevin Kolb did a good job looking elsewhere when necessary.

Who knows, maybe King will get a chance to spike the ball again.


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Posted in Blog | 35 Comments »


35 Responses to “Friday before the Redskins”

  1. By Scott H on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Wait a minute…is that…is that a CARDINALS TE celebrating a TD??? Nah, can’t be. Must be a doctored picture of Dallas Clark or Owen Daniels in a Cardinals uniform, or something…nice try, Darren, but you can’t fool us!

    Just kidding, and I LOVE that we are seeing this in Arizona!!! ’bout freakin’ time!

    Looking forward to seeing Taylor and Bradley in the game this week. Nice to have a big back who can plow it in from the 2 yd line when we need it.

    Will be sad to see TH on the other sideline. He gave us some great plays during that magical 2008 season ( like the winning TD against Philly to put us in the SB!!! ) and I’ll always remember him for that.

  2. By MIKE G on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–I like the Card’s TE’S this year. They are going to give them another dimension in their offense. One thing I liked last week was the fact we didnt force the ball to Fitz to get him his catches. We went elsewhere for our scores and that bodes well for the team. I’m going to keep an eye on Levi Brown this week–he needs to play well. Enjoy the game!!

  3. By Gilbert on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s do it Cards let beat them big

  4. By Nate on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    I have been hearing/reading that when west coast teams travel to the east they have problems adjusting to the time of day they play. This makes made me wonder how the players get to DC and how long are they to stay in our capital city?

    Nate

  5. By in fitz we trust on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    i love the way our d line is looking, linebackers aswell…. granted both our starting cbs are rookies all horton needs to do is tidy up that 2ndary an our defense will be stout!! beanie so far so good.

    my weekly prediction

    -kolb gets his first pick as a card this week
    -fitz gets first td this week
    -hightower get 100+ yards and one fumble
    -defense gets 2 picks
    cards win 24-17ish
    24-17 cards

  6. By NJAzCardsFan on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Darren- How come the Cards don’t get any respect from the media-ESPN especially. Kolb has a great first game throws for 309 yds including 2 impressive TD’s while reading the Panther’s blitzes correctly, PP had a game winning TD that never makes any of the highlight clips, nor is barely mentioned. All of the talk is about Cam throwing for his 422 yds. against two rookie CB’s while losing to the Cards. We get No Respect….. No one is picking the Cards againt the Redskins on Sunday….

    Cards 35 Redskins 24

  7. By James on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    One other interesting fact from Pro Football Focus was from the page about tidbits from all the teams ( http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/09/16/32-teams-32-observations-3/ ) . Arizona Cardinals: Over one third of the passing yards the Cardinals allowed came from Kerry Rhodes in coverage, with his 153 yards allowed leading all safeties. Lets tighten up Kerry.

  8. By TucsonTim on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    I pray the Brown is good enough to keep Kolb safe. Cards never play well on the east coast early and this game isn’t all that important. Hope every one comes home healthy.

    Think of it as a scrimmage. Lots of learning potential for later in the season.

  9. By georgiebird on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    If Jeff King’s “87” was an “81”, I could swear it was Jackie Smith

  10. By Ottis Andeson Fan on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    I’m just glad Whiz is beyond the, “TEs are for blocking only” philosophy.

  11. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Urban, just checkin, but if LSH cant play is Peterson going to be taking kickoffs as well?

  12. By cryanr on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Speaking of ProFootballFocus, here was an interesting ‘stat’ regarding our secondary versus Carolina:

    Arizona Cardinals: Over one third of the passing yards the Cardinals allowed came from Kerry Rhodes in coverage, with his 153 yards allowed leading all safeties.

    http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/09/16/32-teams-32-observations-3/

    Darren —

    I don’t know if you get this question a lot and it may come off as a more personal one, but how did you get your job covering the Cardinals? I have been writing for a while about all things NFL in my spare time. I think any NFL enthusiast would love to say they would want to cover an NFL team if they had the means or time but it would be interesting to know, at the very least, how you got to where you are. Maybe provide a bit of insight for young writers like myself.

  13. By cards>niners on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    nice article darren, keep up the good work my friend.

  14. By Phoenixraven1 on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s get the away game/east coast bug behind us boys!

  15. By AndyStandsUp on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Kinda “way out there” hypothesis, but hear me out on why the Cards have better chance to win early time slot games this season:
    Everyone has an internal timeclock that tells them basically it’s time to wake, eat, sleep, go to work, etc..
    AZ usually struggles playing back East because a.) they were inferior and/or b.) their “alarm” was set on MST, not CST or EST.
    This year they picked up veterans (Heap, Colledge,Taylor, Holliday, Bradley, King, Marshall, Stuckey, the Z punter)that just 2 months ago (cuz the shortened offseason) were probably on the right coast schedule. It’s sorta like extended jet lag – and I bet those players will perform better because of it.

    And if they don’t win…then it’s all Goodell’s fault. :)

  16. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    In another post you said Fitz had single coverage on the 34 yd 4th qtr pass. I am wondering what is double and what is single? I am sure you saw on the replays the safety almost get there when the ball did on that play. To a layman, that looked like “double” coverage to me. I’ve also heard that described as a “safety over the top”. Is the difference whether a second guy is with him the whole route?

    Thanks, DTL

  17. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    PS: Did you take the WH pic?

  18. By Lars on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Was great to see a TD from TE,RB,WR and special team in the opener.
    I am really hoping we are more balanced on offense this year.
    It was a great start in week 1. Go do it again in Washington.

  19. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Also, do u know when the Cards are rockin the all black

  20. By Brian R. on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Beat the Redskins!!! Lets go Cardinals!!!

  21. By Bob C. on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    *HOOOOOT HOOOOOT* BIRD DAWG!!!! LET’S GET THIS GOING PEOPLE!!!!! SITTING ON YOUR COUCH GRILLIN THEM BRATS AND DRINKIN THEM BREWS!!!! BRING IT BRING IT BRING IT!!!CARDS ARE DANGEROUS AGAIN.YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IT!!! THE DARK-SIDE WILL SHUT EM DOWN. *SHUT EM DOWN SHUT SHUT EM DOWN, shut em down, SHUT EM DOWN*

  22. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Nate —

    RE: East Coast

    It is traditionally a problem for those teams. The Cardinals arrived to DC Friday night.

  23. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Rodgerscro —

    RE: KOR

    I am not sure who will do it if Hyphen can’t. PP makes a lot of sense.

  24. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Cryan —

    RE: My path

    In short, I got a journalism degree and worked for newspapers for 15 years, the last 7 of which were spent covering the Cardinals. They knew my work and I had covered the NFL a long time.

  25. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t Take —

    RE: Fitz

    Many times with Fitz, he isn’t truly doubled as much as bracketed — the safety is much tighter over the top. On the Fitz catch, the safety could have bracketed, but Kolb did a great job freezing him before he could get into position, allowing Fitz to beat Gamble “1-on-1.”.

  26. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t Take —

    RE: White House on Twitter

    I did, on my Blackberry.

  27. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Rodgerscro —

    RE: Black

    I do not know when they will wear them.

  28. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Urban other team writers stink compared to you, you answer more questions than any of my teachers ever did

  29. By Nate on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t think any player will read this but it may help. Eat early, sleep early, Set an alarm in the middle of the night and eat if you have high calorie requirements. Get caffeinated Cards! I remember going to a Cardinals game at Sun Devil stadium in 1990 with my father, it was the first football game i can remember watching. I loved it, to every ones surprise the Phoenix Cardinals won! Bring back the memories!

  30. By Chris on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    “We’re going to win this game,” Hightower said. “I want to win this game. This one means a lot to me.”

    I wonder if the cardinals paid attention to Tim’s quote at all?
    I know as professionals they need no extra motivation to win, but It’s hard for me to believe the locker room has no idea about it.

  31. By JohnBinDC on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, I am a Cards Season Ticket holder but I live in the Washington DC area (my kids go to most of the Cards Games and I get back to AZ for a few a year). I am heading to the game at FexEx Field today and will be rooting loudly for the Cardinals! A few thoughts:

    – I think Ray Horton will have several of the mistakes ironed out for this week and I look for much improved defensive play

    – The work ethic of Kevin Kolb, Beanie Wells, Larry Fitzgerald, and others is spreading and will make this Cardinals team an exciting and enjoyable team to watch, not to mention the fact that many Cardinals Players set a fine example for their fans – the team has class!

    – I like Tim Hightower, so a big game by him in a losing cause is okay by me! :)

    – I look for a few big plays from Fitz, Peterson, and Wells

    – Final score – 28- 17 Arizona!

    I really enjoy your blogs as it helps keep us distance fans in touch with what’s going on with the team. Thanksfor what you do and please keep up the great work!

    John

  32. By LB on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t know how much players pay attention to this sort of thing, but i hope they’ve been paying attention to the way the national media have been treating them this week. Nothing would please me more than to see them respond on the field and make all of them shut up for once. Pipe dream i know but still.

  33. By TucsonTim on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    Brian Orakpo, red skins #98. Hope Brown watched a lot of film and can match what the NYG’s did to neutralize him last week.

    We need a max effort from Haggans and Porter. Rhodes can’t do it by himself, need another cover DB.

    Got to have a fast start and take the crowd out of the game.

    O-line has to give enough time for Kolb to “look-off” that safety who is going to bracket Fitz all day. Doucet has to make the catches to draw the attention of the safeties.
    Beanie can’t drop the ball…there it is, formula for winning.

  34. By CNelson on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    I know espn just did this BUT,

    Any thought on doing a back story on Darnell Dockett the way that one was done for Adrian Wilson? 9-0 is one of my favorite players on the team, he has over come so much in his life and one of the best personalities on our team, i dont wanna think of a Cardinals team without him ( not in the near future).
    Just seasms to me he will retire a Cardinal the way A-dub and Fitz will, only seam right that we take a closer look at his life to Honor his mother and the rest of his famialy that gave us the Docket we know and love with all our heart today.
    I know your busy for the next day or two but i hope you can take some time to respond and realy think about it and pitch the idea of a series of thies on our most valued players. As a huge fan myself (having grown up loving my Cardinals even of we were the “laughing stock” of the NFL) and im sure i can speak for the 90% of us that realy wanna know more about our beloved players and how they over came their own adversity to become the great players we watch every Sunday.

    Thanks for all your hardwork Darren!

    Respect and Love to the Cards,
    CNelson(86) [Breading a New generation of Cardinals fans!]

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