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Saturday before the 49ers

Posted by Darren Urban on October 27, 2012 – 3:30 pm

Considering the Cardinals are on a three-game losing streak, the mood was, dare I say, pretty good in the locker room this week. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald – I mean, don’t get me wrong, no one is happy with the slide. I’m not sure if it’s the juice provided when the 49ers come to town, or “Monday Night Football,” or what. Clearly, though, the Cards seem in a good place mentally. Certainly there isn’t a vibe of being overwhelmed against the Niners. Not that there would be – this is a team they face twice a season. Familiarity usually takes worry off the table.

The Cardinals say their minds are in the right place. It feels that way.

“It’s going to be one of those backyard fights where your Mom can’t get in it, no referees,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. “It’ll be blow for blow. Who will break first? If you can bend, you bend to the max. They’re a physical football team. We’re a physical football team. We’ll see where it goes.”

– The 49ers have the top-ranked pass defense in the league. That doesn’t seem to bode well for getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, but then again, the Niners had a great pass defense last year and Fitz blew up against them out at University of Phoenix Stadium (7 catches, 149 yards). Quarterback John Skelton also ended up with a pretty good day, with three TD passes after coming in in relief of a concussed Kevin Kolb. The key, of course, will be keeping Skelton upright under the San Francisco pass rush. That will be a key every week with this team, obviously.

– Speaking of Skelton, he said the ankle he hurt in the opener is “not hindering me in any way.”

– And speaking of Fitz, he knows the questions are coming every time he has a game without many stats – we went through it early last year too – about getting him the ball. Fitzgerald had a pretty good stretch of four straight games of producing before Minnesota, whose defense was all about shutting him down, it seemed. Right now, Fitz is on pace for 91 catches, 1,049 yards and 7 touchdowns.

But this is a different Fitz that 2006 too.

“My pursuit is the same,” Fitzgerald said. “I work hard. I try to improve on my skills daily and be the best I can. But I want to win. Some days it might be one (catch) for four (yards) like it was in New England. I wouldn’t trade 10-for-230 and a touchdown in a loss as opposed to one-for-five in a win. I have changed that way. But I still want to be productive and help my team.”

– Remember former Cardinals guard-turned-tackle-turned-Pro Bowl guard in Dallas, Leonard Davis? Good old “Bigg,” who left as a free agent just as Whisenhunt was coming in, plays for San Francisco these days. He gets work in certain packages and is used as a sixth offensive lineman.

“He’s been fantastic, really one of my personal favorite guys to be around,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s been good on Sundays too.”

– Patrick Peterson will likely get a lot of Michael Crabtree Monday, since Crabtree is the 49ers best receiver. But the Cards’ cornerback is most looking forward to meeting Randy Moss, who plays – although not much – for the Niners.

“I can’t wait,” Peterson said. “I remember being so young, being in high school, watching him make those one-hand catches. I used to run around the neighborhood (saying) I want to ‘Moss’ somebody.”

– Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling will try to follow up his first 100-yard game with another productive outing, something the Cards need. Stephens-Howling, who is playing under a one-year tender offer after restricted free agency, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. General manager Rod Graves said in training camp the Cardinals would like to sign Stephens-Howling to an extension, but thus far talks have been slow.

Stephens-Howling said he’s doing the best he can to forget about it but “you’re human.”

“We just wish something could get done,” the Hyphen said. “I want to stay a Cardinal. But I have to play on Monday, so that’s my focus.”

– Stephens-Howling has enjoyed getting to do a little more at running back with the injuries to Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, and acknowledged his role was “something else we’d have to talk about.”

But “I love playing my role, and whatever they ask me to do I’m going to do,” he said. “But I’m taking it one game at a time, one week at a time. I look at the game plan, see what (packages) I am in for, and go from there. And that’s what I’m going to put my heart into.”

– So far, Peterson’s follow-up to his electrifying rookie season returning punts has been anything but. His long return is 26 yards and he has averaged only 8.8 yards a return as teams have clearly made preventing him from breaking one a priority. Against the Vikings, Chris Kluwe kept kicking high punts short and Peterson had to scramble just to catch them.

“Now teams are scheming, they kind of want to hand pick when they’ll give me the opportunity to return the ball,” Peterson said. “I have to continue being patient.”

– This is a big one. Obviously. If the Cardinals have shown anything over the past couple years, it’s that they are very tough at home. They need to make that matter Monday.


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Posted in Blog | 25 Comments »


25 Responses to “Saturday before the 49ers”

  1. By scubasteve12 on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I predict Sarah is gonna post a link from another website.

  2. By BIG RED on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I have a feeling Sarah wants Darren’s job. But I think Sarah is really a guy.

  3. By dan on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    49ers can run the ball because they draft offensive linemen early in the draft unlike US.

  4. By mike hadzinski C.M.Punk on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    We dont make playoffs some1 need 2 be FIRED

  5. By cardsalltheway on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Leonard Davis: Good old “Bigg, gets work in certain packages and is used as a sixth offensive lineman.

    Hmmm, I wish Ken W. and R. Grimm would do that with our OL but nooooo our guys only play when another is injured or they just sit on the bench because our starters are soooo good.

  6. By Cardiholic on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    They may be tough at home—– but they stink on national TV!

  7. By Chuck 1 on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Is Michael Bidwill asleep?
    If he is not, he has to be aware of the sad state of the OL and the disastrous
    effect that it has had on the ability of the offense to be effective (see sacks and low scoring output) and for the Cards to move to the nest level of being an elite team.
    And, he also must be aware of who is responsible for acquiring OL players through the drafts and FA.
    HINT: IT’S GRAVES AND KEIM (one could ask how much Whiz is involved in those decisions).
    If Michael allows this travesty to continue in 2013, he should be held responsible for “aiding and abetting”.
    He has shown that he is willing (see Docket and Fitz) to open the wallet. At some point soon, he needs to make the tough decision by cutting Graves loose.
    But, as I’ve written before, he won’t.

  8. By Dre on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Go red birds

  9. By blaxabbath on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,

    Saw on their website you were on the 49ers Talk podcast. Can you link to those appearances in the future?

  10. By Grant on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,

    Do you know if the Game will be broadcast on a local channel tomorrow, like how it was with the Thursday night game?

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    blax —

    RE: Links

    I could probably do that. Slipped my mind this week. It doesn’t happen often.

  12. By Darren Urban on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Grant —

    RE: Monday night telecast

    It’s on Ch. 3 as well as ESPN.

  13. By philly cards on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    @chuck
    Wouldnt whiz have more say with the 5 million a yr he makes? Graves might give him several options but I think its whiz who has been in control.
    He got his extention in 2010 look how the roster has changed? Graves wouldn’t do that.whiz was also 8 games over .500 he got that extention and all hell hath broken loose.

    He’s now .500 with two years left after this,yikes!

  14. By georgiebird on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,
    Watching the Saints vs Broncos game. Both OLs are terrible but Brees and P. Manning know had to get rid of the ball and make plays. This OL line stuff is all overrated- a very good QB, like Warner, can make plays behind any line. The Saints and Broncos tackles have a lot better grades because the QBs know how to play the game.

  15. By jason marcus on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Ok, we need his win badly it will give u a huuuuge boost needless to say. I know we can pull it out, I just hope it stays out, I honestly believe we can beat these guys then go sack green bay ,and chill for a week, sound like a plan everyone? yes very good, GO CARDS!!!!!!!

  16. By Cardinal on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    37 yrs a CARDINAL fan… C’mon BIG RED this is our chance tomrw night . We better show up with our A game …no excuses, no stupid mistakes, play like lives are on the line !!!!!!

  17. By Nick Pepe on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    I have a good feeling about this one. I like our chances.

    I sure hope the power stays on, we are right in the middle of Sandys path here in Delaware. i am worried for my mom who is in the beach area, and refuses to leave. Keep all in the NE in your prayers.

    Go Big Red!

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  18. By clssylssy on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Georgiebird:
    There is talk that Tebow might be available…he’s not exactly Warner but a good knockoff of a younger and more fit Warner. Was really encouraged that the Seahags and Rams crashed this weekend, even if we lose to the 9ers we’re still doing better than a lot of teams.We’ve never done well historically on televised games and I’m just hoping that our boys will have the grit and heart to make up for areas we’re lacking in…we’ve seen it before, the Cards finding ways to win when it looks like all is lost and the odds are against us. The 9ers are beatable and the power of the crowd should be a big assist if they are better fans than show up here. I do hope that the man who writes the checks is aware of the talent that is out there and it in the mood to deal. Chris Ivory is not happy with the Saints and would make a good addition as well as Steven Jackson and…..yep Tim Tebow! GOOD LUCK CARDINALS…LET’S SEE SOME OF THAT RIGHTIOUS PASSION UNLEASHED UPON THE STINK’N 9ERS! FLY HIGH AND DOMINATE!

  19. By jason marcus on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Wow its so funny how Seattle talked so much smack after the new england win then get smacked down by detroit with a whimper and the rams got there arses handed to them in London no less, ok the stage has been set, Its amazing if you go on the NFL website you won’t even know the Cards exist, I am sick of hearing about terrible Tony Romo and Tim Teblow a below average back up and Sanchez? cmon, Hey Micheal Lombardi is gonna tell me what he thinks of Tim Tebow oh yay, …..pathetic.RED SEA RISE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUp!!!

  20. By john the draft guy on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Georgiebird,

    As much as I agree that the QBs have as much to do with the sacks as the OLine, dont even think of comparing our line to either of those lines.

    Clady and Franklin, the 2 tackles for the broncos, are as good as any in the league.
    The saints line, with Bushrod and one of the best guards in the league in Evans, held up pretty good against Dumervil and Von Miller.

    You can rip the cards all you want, but at least do it with some elements of fact. Yes, a good QB will make a line better, but Clady is a probowler before Manning got there and Franklin was amazing as a rookie last year helping Tebow get to the playoffs. And Brees doesnt throw for 5000+ yds if he doesnt have some protection. Come on man.

  21. By jason on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    @georgiebird

    You make a good point….Manning, Brees & Warner can overcome protection issues with superior QB play. The problem with your point is that you’ve named 3 elite future hall of fame quarterbacks. How do you suppose we get one of those?

    As far as their lines go I’d argue that Manning has Ryan Clady who is a pro bowl LT and Brees has Jermon Bushrod and Jahari Evans who are both pro bowl O linemaen…how many pro bowlers do we have?

    Protection is not just line play…or QB play, rather a combination of different factors that all work together in order to suceed. We were able to execute well enough with what we have the first three weeks of the season. Due to our talent level at QB and Oline we have a small margin for error and exectuion is at a premium.

  22. By Kevin S on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Tebow is a knockoff of a younger and more fit Warner? Huh? I didn’t realize Warner had an extremely long release, terrible mechanics and footwork, was inaccurate on short routes, and was a better runner than he was a passer. Other than that, though, the comparison seems spot on.

  23. By cardsalltheway on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Nothing on the NFL front page of its website about the game tonight(other than the tiny countdown clock which only sometimes appears on the right halfway down the page), only 3 hours before kickoff.

    Tim Tebow is what’s showing…
    ” Wrong side of the line
    Tim Tebow has sat on the sideline long enough, Mark Kriegel says, it’s time for him to start. Read. Watch: Give Tebow a chance | What’s Tebow’s trade value? | Watch: Every Tebow 2012 play”

  24. By crazybird on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    GO CARDINALS!

  25. By cardsalltheway on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Two hours before kickoff and still nothing on the NFL website about the game, not even in the “Latest Headlines” or “Around the League.”

    At least Tim Tebow isn’t at the top anymore, instead I only see…
    Dallas’ defining moment
    The Cowboys reversal of fortune on Sunday was a microcosm of their season to date. Read
    Jerry Jones: Cowboys running out of time | How good are the Giants? | Watch: Dez Bryant’s near-miracle catch

    II’m across the ocean, is the game canceled?

    Nick Pepe,
    “Delaware”
    Here is a video for all those on the eastern seaboard in the path of Sandy…

    An 80’s hit.

    I have both the Cardinals defense and the 49ers on my fantasy team, which should I start? The 49ers are projected to get 13 points/Cardinals 4 points.

    As for the odds/trends…
    ODDS: According to oddsmakers the 49ers are 7-point favorites over the Cardinals, while the over/under total is currently sitting at 38.5 points. The 49ers enter this game with a straight up record of 5-2 and are 4-3 against the spread, while the Cardinals are 4-3 straight up and 3-3-1.
    TRENDS: The 49ers are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games versus the Cardinals and 5-1 in their last six games in Arizona. The home team, however, is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams, while the over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings in Arizona.

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