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Blogs

Friday before the Bengals

Posted by Darren Urban on December 23, 2011 – 12:02 pm

I won’t have a Christmas poem this year, but I do have a representative from the North Pole.

OK, it’s North Pole, Alaska, birthplace of starting left guard Daryn Colledge, but you know it fits the theme as we head into Christmas weekend, including the Christmas Eve game tomorrow in Cincinnati. Before we get to that, though, a moment with Colledge, who would have to have a heightened sense of the holiday given his roots. Right?

“When you come from a place like North Pole, you obviously are bit by the Christmas bug at a young age,” Colledge said. “I’ve always been a Christmas guy, a winter guy, enjoy the snow and stuff, but I’ll tell you what, now that I am later in my career, I’m not crying about not having snow at the end of my football season.”

A good mindset since he has moved from playing in Green Bay to Arizona, possibly one of the farthest weather leaps you can make in the NFL, especially in December.

“You know what, I might have some people truck down some snow from Flagstaff, just to have in the yard, build a snowman for a day,” Colledge said. “I wouldn’t mind if there was a freak snowstorm around here one day, but that would be tough for everyone else around here, I don’t know if they’d be ready for it.”

Here’s one plus: The weather in Cincy should be mild, with forecasted temperatures in the mid-40s and no precipitation. Then again, as Colledge noted, the weather forecasts in the Midwest this time of year “are good for about 30 minutes.” Enough about the weather – how about the game:

– We will start, yet again, with the quarterback. No official announcement Friday. Kevin Kolb is officially listed as questionable, however, and that alone says to me John Skelton is the starter. I had that feeling as soon as Kolb was listed as limited Wednesday that would be the case – there’s no reason to turn away from Skelton if Kolb isn’t totally ready to go – and let’s face it, when Kolb has been ready to start, we all knew right away. When there has been a question, Skelton has gotten the nod.

– This opponent plays right into the type of game the Cards have been playing, because the Bengals play a similar type of game: Close, while making just enough things happen to win. The Cards have to control running back Cedric Benson, and that would go a long way toward giving them a shot tomorrow. The sexy matchup is A.J. Green versus Patrick Peterson, but it will be Benson’s production that will impact the game more.

– A win tomorrow gives the Cards a 4-0 record in December, and it would be the franchise’s first four-win month since October, 1984.

– The Cardinals lead the NFL in allowing an average of just 2.26 points on drives following their own turnovers, a big reason they have been able to start gathering wins of late.

“It’s good because we have turned it over way too much,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “One of the things you preach to your team is responding and you have to have a mentality to do that. It’s good to see our defense has done that.”

– The Cards have 27 turnovers on the season.

– Peterson needs just 21 punt return yards to set the NFL rookie record. The Steelers’ Louis Lipps holds the current mark with 656 yards.

–Tackle Levi Brown has taken his share of criticism, and it hasn’t been unwarranted, but he  has been performing well of late. Check out this line from profootballfocus.com: “I’m starting to wonder if Brown may have just turned a corner.”

– Wells needs just six yards to reach 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Stop if you’ve heard this one before – Beanie was 84 yards short two games ago and has yet to cross the threshold – but it is coming in Cincinnati. There’s something fitting about that, anyway, since Beanie is from fairly-nearby Akron.

“It means so much for me because every running back in the NFL wants to hit that 1,000-yard milestone because it’s great for a team to have a 1,000-yard rusher,” Wells said. “It would mean a whole lot to me to get that in Ohio where I started playing football.”

– Whisenhunt said the mark would also mean something to the offensive line. “The line has been criticized quite a bit, but when you have a 1,000-yard rusher, especially when you go through a stretch like we did and we didn’t win a lot of games, it says a lot about the offensive squad.”

Tomorrow will be a day of waiting on the edge of the seat, and not just about Santa’s impending arrival. Assuming the Cards win – and remember, any playoff hopes start right there – the games the Cards must have break right all are later kickoffs: Chargers at Lions in the afternoon, Bears at Packers that night, and Falcons at Saints Monday night.

Here we go. And happy holidays.


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Posted in Blog | 31 Comments »


31 Responses to “Friday before the Bengals”

  1. By DontTakeLoses on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Great stats, insights. Go Cards. Merry Christmas.

    “Cardinals lead the NFL in allowing an average of just 2.26 points on drives following their own turnovers” Bravo ADub DD CC Paris Ray H Coach Whiz on this stat. Speaks volumes.

  2. By carlo italy 7000 on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    darren
    we need santa claus gift to reach playoff this year…i reaally curiuos to see how the team performe on the road..i think they play better when they are underdog but now expectations are higher

  3. By James Sancto (English Cardinal) on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for another great year of insight into this organisation. I think I’ve read every article of yours in that period and will continue into the new year (and hopefully the post season).

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family.

    P.s. Great poem from last Christmas.

  4. By eddie krueger on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    bengals are going to win

  5. By Mark Moreno on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, Will The Cardinals Wear The White Jersey on Red Pant’s like They Did Last Year Against The Panther’s In 2010? Thank’s And Merry Early Christmas!!

  6. By Jzoully on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    I know it sounds a little strange, but Vonnie Holiday has been playing like a man on a mission, he has to be back to playing like his football life depended on it. Would you consider putting an article about Vonnies’ struggles?
    Also I have a mock draft I was hoping to email you, you don’t have to reply, but I wanted to get your opinion. Do you have an email?

  7. By CardsFan on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    “I’m starting to wonder if Brown may have just turned a corner.”

    And only 5-6 games before he’s to become a free agent. What fortunate timing for him…

  8. By Winrluz on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve kept the faith and followed this season weekly. I purchased tickets to the Seattle game in the beginning of the year, knowing that it would be a meaningful game. Great job Cardinals and let’s watch this defense start putting points on the board on Saturday!!!!

  9. By SteveG on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Far more fun to read this web site recently!

    I suspect it’s more fun to write for too!

    Merry Xmas to all.

    GO CARDS!

  10. By Gary on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Merry Christmas,Darren! You are doing a great job and I hope you get a generous Christmas bonus!

  11. By D on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Levi has been playing better lately, with his salary next year, I wonder if he would take a pay cut and play on the right side next year…. probably wouldn’t…

  12. By BIG RED 66 on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Ok Darren here is a poem for you,

    Twas the night before the Bengals and all through Ohio the Bengal backers were preparing for crying and sorrow.

    Whiz took his team who most though were done and somehow still made a playoff run.

    With help from the veterans and rookies alike our recent play has been like a new shiny bike.

    No one knows who our QB will be, but with Fitz and Beanie playing thats all that matters to me.

    We haven’t had a blowout win all damn year, but I have a feeling one is near.

    The defense was in tatters early in the year, but in the second half of the season they look like a defense that QB’s fear.

    Hopefully Santa brings what Card fans need and those cheap shot Lions lose out to help our need.

    Then it will come down to the last week of the season. The Cards crush the Seachickens to finish the season. Cardinal go on a playoff run and and they give the fans the best present and end up number 1.

    Merry Christmas Cardinal Fans- No one will want to play the Cards if they make it to the Playoffs.

  13. By brad oneill on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    im sorry but the poem is essential.

    Twas the night before christmas and all through the valley
    not a single cards fan could believe the great rally

    The hopes had been hung on skelton with care, a chance at the playoffs danced in the air.

    The fans were nestled all snuggled in front of tv, WIth visions of post seasons how merry it would be.

    and mamma in her jersey, i in my hat, prepared to take on the orange and black cat.

    When out in Cincinnati arouse such a clatter, I sprang from my couch to see what was the matter.

    away to the flat screen i flew like a flash, switched on the satellite and prepared for a clash.

    The hd on the screen clear as a bell, gave the lustre of being there as i let out a yell!

    When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But an army of red, delivering fear.

    With a middle aged coach, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment he must know the trick.

    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and called them all by name, Dockett! now Fitz! Now Skelton and Kolb! On Peterson and WIlliams! on,Campbell and WIlson!

    After the kick behind a great wall, Larod stephens howling made defenders all fall. Now dash away! Dash Away Dash way all!

    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So take it to the house-behind the blockers he flew! A rock in his arms and a stiff arm too.

    And then in a twinkling, I heard in the crowd, the ohs and the nos of a silence grown loud.

    as i threw up my hands, and was turning around. Just outside the opposite sound!

    my neighbors and friends they raised a cheer, joy could be felt for all those near.

    they were covered in mud, and grass stains abound, 75 minutes of work to expound.

    regulation could not contain, the excitement needed from such a good game.

    15 minutes at sudden death, and then there was a punt we all held our breath.

    Peterson looked right as the ball came in, he dashed to the left as defenders descend.

    a block and a spring a missed tackle and a dodge, Peterson was taking it back to the lodge.

    Happy christmas to all and to all a good night!!!!!

  14. By Procen on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Merry Christmas, Darren! Thanks for putting up with all of our whining!

  15. By Peter in Canada on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Darren – Regarding Beanie getting 1,000 in Cincy. Way to go out on a limb, you shouldn’t tease us with such bold predictions.

  16. By Brian on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! Keep up the great work. Your blogs keep me coming back. From the stories to your interaction with the fans, you do an awesome job!

    To all my fellow Cardinal fans on here, have a safe and Merry Christmas! Here’s to a big win tomorrow! We can only do our part and that is to win. If everything works out in the other games we’ll be in the playoffs. If not, so be it. I see great things for this team in the next couple years!

    GO CARDS!

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

    Mark –

    RE: uniform combo

    I don’t know what uniform they will be wearing.

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Jzoully –

    RE: Holliday/mock

    I can look at a Holliday story.

    I can be reached at askdarren@cardinals.NFL.net.

  19. By Scott H on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    BIG RED –

    “No one will want to play the Cardinals if they make it to the playoffs.”

    Really, dude? Would that include the Packers and Saints, either of whom would play the Cardinals in their houses? Against QB’s like Rodgers and Brees, who are playing on a level of historical greatness this year? Really?

    C’mon, man…what the Cardinals are doing late in this season should be good enough without needing to take it to the point of utterly ridiculous.

  20. By Scott H on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    For what it’s worth, I just saw a scroll on NFL Network a few minutes ago that Skelton IS starting for the Cards tomorrow. Seemed likely.

  21. By Peter in Canada on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe Levi is putting in more effort for a new contract or on the other hand maybe he has just improved. If management thinks he is a keeper, let them make him an offer they consider fair. After all, it’s easier to replace one tackle than both.

  22. By Mark Moreno on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    well since you said the cards have to control Cerdic benson this should be a tight game than for the Cardinals. Go Cardinal’s

  23. By AndyStandsUp on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Oooh….oooh…ooh, I like poems also:

    There once was a Cardinal named Dockett
    Who in the past, had no problem reaching pocket
    But with the 3-4
    Darnell is doubled more
    So will be sacks be on the docket?

  24. By J-BIRD on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    Twas the Night before Game Day, when all through the Nest… Not an opposing team was stirring, the Cardinals were best. The rafters were set, to hang banners with care… In hopes that Kevin Kolb would bring many there. The fans were nestled, in clothes colored red… While visions of Championships danced in their heads. And Big Red in his Jersey, and Coach Whiz in his cap…had just prepped and planned for a shortened training camp. When out on the field, Kolb’s Head and Toe were battered… Fans were trying to figure out if he was what was the matter. Away to the News stands, fans jumped like a frog…Tore open the papers, and read all the blogs. The season in midst of a big turn around…Gave the lustre of Cardinals playoff bound. When what to our wondering eyes should appear, but fellow named Skelton and a better Defense to Cheer. LOL! Hope yall liked my lil Christmas/Cardinal Poem. J Bird Gotta work tomarrow, but should still be able to catch most of the game. GO CARDINALS!

  25. By in fitz we trust on Dec 23, 2011 | Reply

    merry christmas to u and your family Darren, thanks for your work!!

  26. By JohnfromOz on Dec 24, 2011 | Reply

    Merry Christmas from Oz to all Cardinals fans.
    May your New Year be safe, happy and fruitful – although I really do want the Lions to make the playoffs so that Ben Graham has the success he deserves.

  27. By Rowlan on Dec 24, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,

    Happy Holidays! I know this is off the theme right now, but i was thinking how cool it would be to have a Where Are They Now article every once in a while about former cardinal players and maybe catch a brief interview with them.

    Larry Centers, Frank Sanders, David Boston, Kwame Lassister, Aeneas Williams, etc…..Just a thought

  28. By clssylssy on Dec 24, 2011 | Reply

    Darren: You do a great job as the official “scribe” and blogmaster for the Cards and thank you very much for all the hours you put in on behalf of the team and it’s fans. While listening to NFL Live, they were commenting on how John Elway had gotten behind Tebow and planned to work out with him in the off season…Wow! I’ve never been an Elway fan, can’t stand the Donkeys, but have to admit they are committed to success. If our QBs (either or both) had the mentoring and one-on-one from Kurt Warner we would be back in the Bowl for sure, given our new defense and the cohesiveness this team is showing.No matter how this season turns out, I’m proud of everybody for climbing out of a hole, being tenacious and supporting one another. As Larry says, “FFF”…we can do it! (Happy Gilmore reference), GO CARDS, FLY HIGH YOU ANGRY BIRDS! BEAT THE BENGALS!

  29. By Nick Pepe on Dec 24, 2011 | Reply

    @BradO…. I think you missed your calling. good work.

    Beautiful day for a win! lets go Big Red

    Merry Christmas to all. Headed to the Elks to catch the game and start the holiday off with friends and a Cards win!

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member.

  30. By Eric on Dec 24, 2011 | Reply

    It’s hard to stomach the fact that we should be 11-3 right now. I’ve kind of washed this playoff madness away with the fact that those four game we lost this year, with an off season, some key FA work, and the draft, will be wins next year. Im even excited the NFC West can be called the doormat of the league anymore. Those things, along with Whiz realizing that rookies can play, should play, and along with the hiccups, have an incredible energy that screams intensity and is contagious and works should improve this team.

    I’m still concerned about some of Whiz’s stubbornness, and agree we ABSOLUTELY NEED A REAL OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, along with some of the constant questionable personel decisions by Graves and Co ( seriously, the Steelers and Browns cast of players well needs to be capped) I still believe he isn’t the man to take us to the promise land, but I will admit, although caused by desertion, Whiz has done an excellent job considering the start. Ray Horton has got to be coach of the year on this staff, because the D is the ONLY reason we are even discussing playoffs. So, playoffs would be great, but the real success of this year has been taking a 1-6 team to 7-7, and if they go 9-7 that would be incredible and an excellent building block into next year. Oh, by the way, I am also one of the apparent few that still believe Kolb is our future, and Skelton is going to be an excellent QB someday, and what an incredible opportunity he has had to gain valuable experience. Having two awesome QB’s is a problem a lot of teams would love to have.

  31. By joe67 on Dec 24, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, Merry Christmas to you and your family. You don’t know how much your articles mean to me and others, especially those of us not from AZ.
    Also Merry Christmas to Cards fans all over the country, Canada and beyond. BE SAFE AND GOD BLESS.

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