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Friday before the Giants

Posted by Darren Urban on September 30, 2011 – 4:06 pm

The term “must-win” always creates a sticky situation, unless, you know, a team must win – think, oh, the Atlanta Braves the other night after the St. Louis Cardinals won. That was a must-win. The Cardinals aren’t playing a must-win Sunday against the Giants, because the bottom line is that worst-case scenario, they would only be two games behind the 49ers in the division with 12 to play, and two games left with San Francisco. Logically, nothing is over with a loss.

Obviously, there is a sense of urgency, however, especially after the Cards came up short – painfully so – in Seattle. That was one I thought was going to be a victory, and I am pretty sure I’m not the only one. The Giants are coming off an impressive win in Philadelphia, and they are going to have defensive end Osi Umenyiora back. The momentum is on their side, especially after the Cards sputtered in the Northwest.

But oftentimes, these are the early-season home games the Cards somehow seem to win — the Steelers in 2007, the undefeated Bills in 2008 (and the Cowboys the next week), the Saints last year.

The ebb and flow of a football season can mess with emotions, especially with a week between games. The grind has a long way to go. Beating the Giants changes the vibe considerably, however, compared to the alternative – which would be a 1-3 record.

– This will be a big test for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb said this week he felt like he took a step back in Seattle. Taking a step forward – against the Giants’ pass rush – isn’t an easy task. I expect, after the second-half issues with Fitz, that the Cards will work very hard to get Larry Fitzgerald consistently involved. Kolb is very aware of what the Giants’ defense is all about, having studied them as a division opponent his first four seasons (although he’s never played against them) and he got a chance to talk to Michael Vick earlier this week. Wonder if Vick was able to give him any pointers.

– Interesting to hear today that O’Brien Schofield will wear a wristband to make sure he knows the defensive plays. If that’s what it takes to get Schofield on the field more often, that’s fine. It’s not about pride, it’s about results no matter how it is accomplished.

– It sure seems Beanie Wells will be back carrying the ball this week. You got the vibe last week Wells wouldn’t be able to go and he didn’t. It’s the other way this week. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off. The Cards need that. A side boost from LaRod Stephens-Howling wouldn’t hurt either.

– It’s been two seasons, but the last time the Cards had a shot at Eli Manning, they made Manning look very ordinary up in New York in 2009 on “Sunday Night Football.” That was a game where the defense and Wells shined, more than being a Kurt Warner production. I would think that would have to be the recipe again. Tom Coughlin is conservative. If the Cards can force a couple of turnovers, I think they will be OK. If not …

– As nasty as the hit by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was on Todd Heap last Sunday, it may not have been illegal. That seems to be the sentiment from the NFL after Chancellor was not fined.

– The game is a sellout, of course. On TV locally, but more importantly, loud for the home team in theory. After two straight on the road, that will make a difference.

Interesting stats from Profootballfocus.com, as they grade out the offensive lines thus far as far as pass protection. They make the point that how quickly the quarterbacks release the ball isn’t factored into the equation yet, but the Cards – by their metrics – are 29th in the league, and every offense lineman except for guard Rex Hadnot is in their bottom rankings.

– The Giants still use running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs so well. Slowing them is the key – defensive coordinator Ray Horton said as much – as long as the Cards don’t let Hakeem Nicks get deep.

– Why does this feel like a game where Darnell Dockett makes the highlights?

Remember, it’s the breast cancer awareness game, as well as alternate uniform game. So be sure to wear your best pink-and-black combo, and we’ll see if the Cardinals can get back to .500 and steady the ship a bit.


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Posted in Blog | 23 Comments »


23 Responses to “Friday before the Giants”

  1. By Gilbert on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Good points Darren u forgot to mention the d backs miraculous come back
    Anything can happen on any given Sunday. Last year everyone thought the Cards would loose against the saints and pulled off a win. If ur a fan or not Darren I choose to believe

  2. By MIKE G on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–An important game for the Card’s. I hope they come out hard and play with plenty of emotion. I think they will. We need Beanie and hopefully he will have a big game. We must do a good job on their running game–that is the key to beating the Giants. Im going Cards 24 Giants 20. It would be nice to get to a 2-2 record & get a win with the Black Jerseys. Hey Darren –do you think the Cards will blitz a lot more this week?????? We must be careful with that!!!

  3. By AZ Fan in WA on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    You somehow made me feel better about this game after reading your article. I will blame you if they loose and I am crestfallen again. Ha!

  4. By Phoenixraven1 on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Go Cards!!!

  5. By Ham on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Welcome to the DIRTY DESSERT GMEN!

  6. By Chuck 1 on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    First, let me say that I appreciate the patience and civility that you show (usually) for fans like me who write comments that criticize Graves, the Scouting Department and the coaching staff for assembling a roster that usually can’t beat the better teams. Also, for fans like me, who live outside the Phoenix area and don’t have access to some of the local media, you provide a daily “fix” of Cards inside info.

    Secondly, if there are to be no significant roster changes this season, as you wrote in a prior blog, I don’t understand how the Cards can win their Division.

    Why the previously mentioned individuals did not draft players and/or sign FAs to fill glaring holes in the OL and pass-rushing LBs, to name just two needs, boggles my (and many other fans) minds.

    I will be very surprised if the Cards win seven games this season.

    As I asked in a previous comment, when will empty seats start to appear in the stadium and calls for management and coaching changes start to increase? (I don’t ask that of you, Darren. It’s something for fans to consider.)

  7. By Rick 12 on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    Interesting to read Kurt Warner’s comment that it takes a year for a new quarterback to begin to really feel comfortable with the offense. I can’t help but feel that this is likely true.

    I know that expections are high for this team to perform well this season, however I continue to that believe we won’t begin to truely see how good this team is until next year, and that much of this year season will about growth, learning the playbooks, etc. and becoming seasoned as a new group of players.

    I would hate to see people become negative about this team due unrealistically high expections for the first year out of the gate so to speak.
    Believe me when I say I want to see them win as much as any ardent fan,
    but at the same time I believe that expectations for this season need to be tempered down a bit.

    Any comments……..

  8. By tom on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    darren it is NOT nearly as important that its a sell out so it will be loud…. us fans need to see the game. the noise in the stadium is nothing to us fans without tickets..

  9. By nkd on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    darren, who is #48 on our roster? just rewatching the seahawks game n he put a big hit on somebody during the opening kick return by seattle

  10. By ross on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Its not a must win, but it would certaintly be a good sign of things to come.

  11. By LB on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    It worries that it took them 3 weeks of having the worst defense in the league to find such a simple solution for Schofield…

  12. By Rowlan on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    3 games in and all i know about this team….they have taken on their head coaches identity….NO PULSE!!! for all who say the free agents who left weren’t worth their pay, i tell you this. Boldin, Dansby, Rolle, even DRC played with a swagger WE HAVE YET TO REPLACE. remember how much fun dockett and a. smith had in big games…I DO, AND I MISS IT.

    P.S. Can we bring in Ron McKinnon to show these linebackers how to play?

  13. By Darren Urban on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Chuck1 —

    RE: roster changes

    The only point I’d make is that significant roster changes never happen in-season, for this or any team. It just doesn’t happen in the NFL.

  14. By Darren Urban on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Nkd –

    RE: No. 48

    There is no No. 48.

  15. By nkd on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Well somebody wore #48 for us in the seahawks game. Watch the opening kickoff n u will see him lay a big hit on somebody n get in the face of a lineman. If u have time n figure it out much appreciative. Oh BTW he looked about 6ft and had long dreads. I’m thinking its that safety we signed to PS released by the seahawks?

  16. By cardsalltheway on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    “Interesting that profootballfocus.com says our offensive line is 29th in the league.”
    I’d say it’s sad! But isn’t that an improvement over last year, so at least our offensive line coach is safe aye?

  17. By Darren Urban on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    nkd —

    RE: 48

    I promise, no one wore 48.

  18. By nodavis2000 on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Darren and nkd,

    nkd, could you be mistaking the number for 49??? I think that Rashad Johnson plays on special teams- kick off. He has dreads. And he played in A. Wilson’s saftey position in pre-season.

  19. By brad oneill on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    it was number 49 you were looking at nkd. it is Rashad Johnson and yes he leveled a dude that was way bigger than he was.

  20. By Peter in Canada on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    I enjoyed your review of the last game against the Giants. The defence played great and we got a terrible break on the DRC knockdown. However we did not let it stop us and along with the Viking game it was one of our two biggest wins of the regular season. The play I remember best was Rolle throwing to a wide open Fitz in the end zone who dropped the ball. It didn’t matter because Patrick was flaggedfor holding. Funnily enough I can’t remember us running the wildcat again that season.

  21. By nkd on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Whoops… #49. It looked like 48 from.the view I kept watching it

  22. By nkd on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    yea it was #49 my mistake, i wish he would do that in coverage! what a dissapointment johnson has been so far

  23. By TucsonTim on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    Respectfully disagree about roster changes. They happen all the time in the NFL, usually due to injury. Packers used about 7 different people at tackle last year. NO was grabbing people off their couches to play DB on their way to the SB the year before. Good teams do it all the time.

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