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Fitz, his hamstrings, and getting the ball

Posted by Darren Urban on October 23, 2013 – 9:43 am

Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t like talking about his injuries. He doesn’t like having them in the first place, he doesn’t want to look like he is making excuses and he certainly doesn’t want to dwell on them. Clearly his hamstrings have been an issue although the hope is he will be healthy going forward at this point.

“Larry probably played that (Seattle) game at 80 percent,” coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday night on his weekly Sirius XM NFL radio appearance. “It has bothered him. He reinjured it a couple Fridays ago and he continues to try to gut it out and play. This rest has really helped him and I’m hoping Thursday — we may give him off again (Wednesday) — I want to see this thing healed up 100 percent.”

I’m sure Fitz feels the same. His season has not played out the way he wanted — again — and whether it’s the injuries or the overall play of the offense or Kurt Warner’s theory about using Fitz inside, the bottom line is that the numbers are down. Last year, when Fitz finished with 71 catches for 798 yards, through seven games he had compiled 40 receptions for 459 yards. This year through seven games Fitzgerald has 32 catches for 422 yards (although it should be noted Fitz has already equaled his 2012 touchdown total of four.)

Now, Fitz’s numbers fell off a cliff last year the final seven games of the season, save for his eight-catch, 111-yard game against Chicago late. In theory, the Cardinals are coming into a part of the schedule that shouldn’t be quite as hard on the passing game, although everyone in that regard, with quarterback Carson Palmer and the pass protection in particular, must up their game.

It’s become fashionable to speculate again on Fitzgerald and his future, given the numbers both in the stat book and from his contract. But seven games into the season, much can still happen in many different ways with this team and with how Fitz’s season turns out. Steve Keim has proven to be a more active GM than Rod Graves, but I still think Fitzgerald is part of the solution here.

– And as a quick aside, in that same Sirius interview, Arians was asked straight out if he considered making a change at quarterback. Arians again said no. “I’m not a jump-off-the-horse-type of guy,” Arians said.

FitzBallBlogUSE


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67 Responses to “Fitz, his hamstrings, and getting the ball”

  1. By Coach K on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    This is the reality of the situation. B.A. fails to realize his offensive line cannot provide the pocket for his immobile, outdated statue of a quarterback Palmer. Seattle’s head coach said it best. We move him off his spot, we win! Any good coach would recognize that if you have problems with your offensive line and nobody to replace them, you better have a mobile quarterback behind door number two. Well, it just so happens they do have a mobile QB behind door number two who can make plays with his feet and keep drives alive. His name is Drew Stanton. Drew has the mobility to avoid the pass rush and make plays. Palmer does not. So why is Palmer still the QB behind an o-line that cannot provide the pocket he needs? I feel bad for Larry. Hard to get the ball thrown deep to you when your quarterback is on his back getting sacked on every five and seven step drop he takes.

  2. By Gilbert on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    I have to agree with Arians. Thinking back to last yr,Whiz should have sticked with one qb win or loose an let it play out. If in season end Carson doesn’t work out I’m sure Keim is looking at qbs in the draft or one of the backups however by the way it looked this season is turning out to be a lot better than last and a lot more hopeful

  3. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for this story Darren.

    Fitz hasn’t been the same and the play in the picture above is proof. We all remember when Fitz elevated and caught the ball against the Falcons with 3 defenders around him in the 2008 playoffs. It was a signature catch and became common place for him.

    But the play above, he became human. He was like most WRs and he just stuck out his hands in front of himself hoping the ball dropped in them. The only problem was the defender now was able to bat away the ball and turned it into a INT.

    I thought to my self , when did Fitz start letting the defender make the play on the ball? He always has been aggressive to the ball and if that ball was in the air and around him, it was his ball.

    I heard he was bothered by the hammys but I didn’t know to what degree. 80%? I would say that is about right. I cant wait for his hammys to heal and we can get back to seeing those catches, most fans took for granted.

  4. By HunterSThompson on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Everyone wants to admire the 49ers and Seahawks team talent and depth and yet many forget how that was built in the first place – TRADES.

    Seahawks traded for Marshawn Lynch 3 years ago and have built their entire identity around his talent. The 49ers traded assets a couple of years ago that gave them multiple first round draft picks which they then spent on the (arguably) best O-line in the league.

    Waiting and hoping for the Cardinals to build exclusively through outdrafting other teams with only our allotted picks is misguided. The only way the Cardinals catch up is to get additional picks from trading assets…even if they are “faces of the franchise” like Fitz.

    Trade Fitz to the Patriots for Ryan Mallett and a pick or two. The Patriots have big cap space this year and next to absorb Fitz’s deal, and they are desperate to get someone for Brady to throw to.

    Trade Dockett to a true 4-3 team and get some additional picks as well. His value will never be higher than right now.

    I know these sound like unpopular moves but real fans of this franchise need to calm down and really look at what is best long-term. We have too many holes to fill and not enough talent influx coming in if we do it one pick at a time every round. And just FYI – the 49ers have 10 picks over 7 rounds next season and so do the Rams (including multiple first rounders). We have to GET AHEAD, not simply keep pace.

    Is cheering for Fitz with a bad o-line and bad QB for the next few years really all that? I’ll take progress and winning any day.

  5. By clssylssy on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    If we think back to last season, Skelton was injured in the first game and so Kolb came in not fully healthy, had a few decent games and then was hurt again and the bottom fell out with the multiple QB scenario. So far, Palmer has managed to avoid those injuries and has been able to walk off the field at the end of the game. Sometimes the reality is sticking with one QB, while desireable, isn’t practical or even possible because of health. To “jump off the horse” might not be the magic bullet the fans are wanting as we will be trading a known for an unknown (Stanton has never started in regular season against other starters) and
    the solution might be as simple as being accurate on short passes rather than trying to fire off missles that self destruct. There are no guarantees that Stanton will fare any better than Palmer and then what, we go to Lindley? There’s not a lot of unsigned QB talent out there which is why the Saints just activated their backup before the Rams could take a run at him. Perhaps instead of trying to force a square peg in a round hole BA should design some plays that are within Palmer’s skillset and quit trying to fix things that weren’t broke (Fitz). Palmer has shown that he can be accurate on short passes and can regain his composure to keep going…if only we had some good TEs like the ones we have faced in the last few weeks and will face again in Tony Gonzalez!

  6. By Coach K on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    I like this Mannion kid from Oregon State. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL34po4IGiY

  7. By HunterSThompson on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    And since I’m on the topic of suggesting trades, how about Darnell Dockett and a pick or two to the Denver Broncos for Brock Osweiller? They play a classic 4-3 and are not going to need Brock any time soon.

    Just one more option instead of sitting on our hands for the next 6 months, praying for draft luck one pick at a time.

  8. By D on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Waiver Wire names

    Some names available if AZ want to kick some tires…TE Scheffler from Det, TE Moeki from Chiefs, M. Wilson DE/OLB from the Saints…

  9. By jakeplummersghost on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    I have a feeling this is all going to be a distant memory after the bye week. Fitz healthy, an extra week to work on timing and protection with Palmer and a struggling Texans team coming to the nest. Jags after that.

  10. By SteveG on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Shortly after Fitz’s long TD against SF, they showed a end zone shot looking into Fitz’s face mask..Every other step brought out a grimace..He lacked fluidity and didn’t have the same “pop” that makes him special…

    I advocate missing a game to rest hammies or they just linger and impair ..Hopefully the 3 weeks with just the one game will do the trick..So much more fun when Fitz is tormenting db’s and making my jaw drop.

  11. By Jason on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Warner is absolutly right. What makes Fitz dangerous is his ability to beat the coverage on the outside. The ability to go up and get the ball over everyone. That is hard to do in the slot, and it’s hard to do when you put him in the middle of the field where he can be easily bracketed. I hope they move him outside more and put the ball up so he can do what he does best: go and get it.

  12. By Rich on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    agreed jakep…. in a few weeks, the media and fans will be singing a different song. maybe head into the Indy game at 6 and 4.

  13. By ES on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    At this point I’d rather the Cards lose the remainder of their games and get a decent QB in the first round than watch them barely scrape out wins with a god-awful offense and a great defense that gets overworked. Arians’ job is to always support his players, but he knows that Palmer is not the answer and probably will get rid of him next year. He has enough experience to know that changing QB’s will open up a can of worms that will most likely have a negative impact. A franchise QB and a solid O-Line wins games. Until the Cards have that, they will be stuck in 6-8 win land and never secure what they need.

  14. By CardsChick on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    In all fairness to BA, Keim and the rest of the coaching staff, I was not expecting a magical turnaround this year with all of the coaching and player changes. It takes time for a team to gel. @HunterSThompson points out the trade for Marshawn Lynch and how the Seahawks traded for him 3 years ago….the Hawks were not considered to be a great team until this year. It has taken timefor their team to be built and to gel together. Even last year with their new QB, they were decent, but not the tour de force they are this year. We need TIME, not snappy moves such as dumping one of the best receivers in the league. We do need a long-term strategy at QB, but it seems like Palmer throws to spots and hopes his receivers are there and the defenders aren’t. Hopefully that will improve with time as all get healthy and he isn’t having to keep one eye on the OL. I know we have been patient for a LONG time as Cards fans, but there was just a major upheaval. Let’s let the dust settle a little.

  15. By jeffgollin on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    It is possible for mgt to make all the right moves and still not have everything go right.

    Palmer behind a sound O-line could conceivably have gotten to the playoffs (as possibly could a mobile QB behind a shaky O-line). The problem right now is a matter of poor fit.

  16. By jeffgollin on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    The problem with Palmer has more to do with “fit” than it does with lack of pure talent. Put Palmer behind a solid O-line and you might see Warner-like effectiveness. But with an O-line as shaky as ours, your QB had better be able to escape pressure and throw on the run (which Carson cannot do very well).

    Short-range, Palmer was the wrong pickup because the O-line wasn’t very good. Long-range, I suspect BA visualizes a big pocket thrower behind a good O-line and didn’t want to go the scrambler/weak O-line route because it would impede the development of what he eventually wants his offense to look like.

  17. By jstn on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    ill stick with palmer, the cards are not in bad shape. Cards fans are the fastest to the line to throw stones. Support this new team and lets see what will happen.

  18. By skodly on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Schedule is starting to lighten up a bit after this week(Falcons are still going to be tough).Bears banged up,Lions we beat head to head,Panthers too.Could a wild card still be in our reach?Lets leave Carson alone and get the O-line playing better and I think we see major improvement.Since when is an 11 year veteran an antique?I remember an older guy named Warner who couldn’t move to well either doing pretty well too when everyone was on the same page.I was disgusted after the Seattle game but told myself it’s to early to give up on the season just yet.No trades!!!!!! keep building through draft.Go Cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. By georgiebird on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Larry is getting old-fast. The NFC West is a very tough division and WILL be for a while. Even if the Cards get a little better each year, it won’t result in playoff football. The Cardinals were in the exact same spot in the 60′s and 70′s as the NFC East had the best teams in football.
    My son was in Scottsdale this month for a business meeting. He told me he saw quite a bit of baseball Cardinals’ gear but no AZ Cardinals.
    So this may be a good time to see what the Cards’ can get for Larry. Losing is beginning to overshadow the beautiful, new Stadium.
    Until that franchise QB arrives, baby step improvements will not translate to success in this division. Larry holds the key on how quick that franchise QB gets here.

  20. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Denver would never trade Osweiler, but I agree with HunterSThompson… I saw Osweiler play a couple times preseason, wow did he look good. We need to study every QB coming for next 2 years and get a top one soon, like an Osweiler, a bit off radar. Palmer is our guy now, if Stanton were better, he’d be starting…

    We beat Hotlanta, get to break 4-4 (got some down thumbs when I wrote that b4 48ers, Seahawks),then lets see what a week of healing, rest, fine tuning OL and passing game does… and see if we see 1 or 2 subs crack lineup…

    4-4 = hope. 3-5 = who we gonna draft and how much can we get for our 49er tix…. DTL.

  21. By monzz on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Kurt Warner said it all. BA is an idiot as HC I don’t see him lasting in AZ

  22. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    HunterSThompson, georgiebird and anyone else who is talking about trades.

    I usually never attack anyone on this board but guys, you have to get educated.

    First, trading Fitz would cost the cards 13 million in cap space this year. They dont have 13mil in cap space. Fitz cap hit is 10.5 mil but his dead money is 23 million. So lets end that talk.

    2014 is a different story and it would actually save 5 million if they traded him. Now, I am not for trading Fitz, but at least that would make sense.

    Dockett has a 7.7 mil against the cap and 9 mil, meaning to trade him, it would cost us 1.3 mil. of cap space in 2013. Plus, who in their right mind is taking on a 7.7 mil contract for a 32 year old DT?

    Again, 2014, Dockett’s cap hit is 8.75 mil with dead money at 6 mil. So you would save 2.75 mil next year, which is why I believe the cards will either restructure or cut Dockett after this year.

    Also, both the Broncos and Patriots have QBs who are in their last couple of years. Why on earth would they trade their young QBs away? I mean, that would be like the Packers trading away Rodgers in the last 2 years of Farve. It just makes no sense.

  23. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    HunterSThompson,

    Seahawks and niners built on trades???

    I guess you forgot the Seahawks are good for two reasons; Russel Wilson (draft ’12) and their defense – Red Bryant, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas.

    Sure they traded for Lynch and Harvin, but the draft made them good.

    What about the niners? Kaepernick, that whole OLine -considered the best in NFL, Vernon Davis along with those probowl linebackers Willis, Bowman, and Aldon Smith. They just added another stud on defense this year in Eric Reed.

    Every great team builds through the draft and uses FA and trades to enhance the team.

  24. By Kevin on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    @John the Draft Guy:

    I think what he meant by trades is that they got the draft picks via trade.

  25. By Scott H on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    If I may, a dose of reality…ahem…THIS is Carson Palmer in 2013, folks -

    8TD’s
    13 INT’s
    Comp % 60.5
    QB Rating 69.5

    For perspective, consider that Chad Henne, Mike Glennon, Terrelle Pryor, and anyone who has played QB for the Bills this year all have a higher QB rating than Palmer. Not exactly a list of future Hall of Fame inductees, is it? In that respect, Palmer fits right in.

    So? Is this what we were so excited about? A QB rating of less than 70 and an INT – TD ratio of ALMOST 2 to 1? At his current pace, it WILL be 2 to 1 in a week or two. Face it, this is another swing and a miss for the Cardinals.

    Here’s a quote from this week’s USA Today Sports Weekly, just out today – “The Cardinals got Carson Palmer on the cheap in the off-season, and now everyone can see why.”

    Unfortunately, I think that is an accurate assessment. Except, I’m not so sure we got him on the cheap!

    Time to start looking forward to the coming draft for our salvation. ’cause his name sure as hell ain’t Carson Palmer.

  26. By clssylssy on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Any possibility the Cards would be interested in Fred Davis or Jared Allen?

  27. By HunterSThompson on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    John TDG – Read the post more closely. The trade for Lynch was a mid-season move that was proactive and literally altered the course of the Seahawks franchise trajectory. They THEN built around that directionality with some great drafting.

    The 49ers made a few savvy trades of good assets when they realized they were not competing in order to secure MULTIPLE draft picks that they used to build their O-Line in two seasons….and CONTINUE to hold 10 picks in next years’ draft.

    The Rams traded a top pick (RG3) for MULTIPLE picks (including 2 future first rounders) to build their team when they knew they could not compete. Watch that team blow by the Cardinals next season.

    How are the Cardinals going to EVER catch up to these teams, let alone PASS them in talent if we simply draft 7 players over 7 rounds every year and NEVER make a bold trade to secure a key piece/address an area of need…or get MULTIPLE picks for some of the few assets we do have in yet another lost season?

    I am not a salary cap guy, so thanks for some insight. What I DO know is that treading water and counting on “better scouting” or some such nonsense while every other team in the NFC West is banking on similar scouting talent AND multiple picks is going to lose EVERY time. The Cards are already in last place in this division. Exactly what will take them out of that perma-slot, except for BOLD moves like trading Fitz and Dockett?

    Quality drafting +7 picks <<<< Quality drafting + 10 picks.

    I would love someone here to refute that math with something more than foam-fingered-Fitz fandom….despite what the guy has done for this franchise in the past.

  28. By HunterSThompson on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    And as for why the Patriots would trade Mallett, the answer is so simple it is sad to have to spell it out.

    THEY WANT TO WIN NOW, while Brady IS still there.

    They have absolutely NOBODY at WR. Drop Fitz on that team TOMORROW and just how much better are they? Think they would give up a backup QB with potential for a very serious upgrade in chances at WINNING the Superbowl for the next 2-3 years?

    Gee, I wonder what Brady would say….

  29. By georgiebird on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    What people with the rose colored glasses don’t seem to realize. There are two wild card teams in each Conference. SF or Seattle gets one of them. The other wild card will go to the next best record or a conference record tie-breaker. Since the division is so tough, the Cards will have 5 or six Conference loses to begin with- this probably means we lose any conference record tie breakers.
    The real problem is that this scenario can go on for years.
    So the Cards must get a lot better and the only way to do that is to get a franchise QB.
    Desperate times require desperate measures. Or else we can stay about 8-8 for the next 10 years and keep eeking out our victories. I know that BA at 60 years old does not have a lot of time to work this out- and neither do I.

  30. By erik on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    I’m with Georgie and Hunter S. on this. I don’t like the idea of trading for backups, but every team in the NFC West seemed to have double digit draft picks for the last few years. At that point, you have the option of moving around in the draft to get who you really want. I love Dockett and Fitz, and although it might not make sense financially to trade them this year, eventually something will have to be done with them.

    As far as Palmer, I was so hyped when we got him in the offseason. I really do believe that his play will even out eventually, but to say the O-line is the direct result of his poor play so far, I’m not buying it. Not saying they are by any means good, but arguably the most athletic players in the league are rushing the passer. EVERY QB in this league gets hit. of course, maybe stating this after that Seahawks game is not a good idea. He was hit twenty something times???!! That’s crazy.

  31. By HunterSThompson on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Since I am on a roll – By trying to secure a future QB WITHOUT using a first-round draft pick, the Cardinals can use that pick to secure a QUALITY Left Tackle, Right Tackle, etc. See how that can happen?

    WE have MULTIPLE holes, people! Just when/how do “stand pat” fans imagine they all get filled at the same time???

    I love the Cardinals but am no blind homer. In my mind there are very few untouchables on this team in terms of trades, and Fitz and Dockett are not two of them.

  32. By Tien on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Palmer can be inaccurate sometimes but its also on the oline to give him time and on the receivers to run the correct route. I don’t think we can blame it all on Palmer.

  33. By HunterSThompson on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Fitz Cap Hit

    It may be onerous if we trade him, but we are talking about getting back picks/youth that cost less in salary. So what if we can’t afford a few extra rent-a-veteran 1-year deals in FA for the next couple of years – we are talking about building a team from the foundation up. Quit worrying about the draperies just yet and lets get some concrete under us.

  34. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Georgiebird

    So what is your desperate measure? If trading Fitz this year is it, it isn’t desperate, it is impossible. We can’t take a 23 million dollar hit. Simple as that. If your argument is trade him at the end of the year for draft picks, that is different. I dont agree, but at least it has merit.

    HunterSThompson;

    They traded for Lynch with Hasselback thinking they could win. Problem was, they weren’t very good. As much as I hate him, Pete Carroll drafted so well and brought his defense to Seattle. He landed Wilson and the rest is history.

    But if I get what you are saying, and what Kevin said, you are about trading and getting more draft picks. I have for years said we should trade down and gather more picks.

    Im sure Darren remembers me saying trade down with the falcons and pass on PP. We could have landed two 1′s , a two and a four. With that late one I said we needed a QB. A couple of the guys I liked were gone but Dalton and Kaepernick were there. We also would have had another 2 in 2011.

    That would have given us two 1′s in 2012. Instant fix to a bad OLine.
    This year, I wanted to trade down with the rams giving us two 2′s.

    So yes, trades can gather more picks and get us to catch up.

  35. By Scott H on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Tien -

    Palmer inaccurate SOMETIMES? Look at the numbers again, please. Palmer may not have a great O-line or a great running game around him. So what? HE’S…JUST…NOT …GOOD…ENOUGH.

    HunterSThompson -

    I may not agree with ALL of your views on how the Seahawks & Niners came together but I will agree with your point that the Cardinals have NOT tried – OR at least they haven’t succeeded – in making a “bold” move to make themsleves better, be it through a trade or on draft day or whatever. I agree that THAT may need to change.

    The Falcons did it to get Julio Jones and it’s working out pretty well. The Redskins did it to get RGIII and it appears they got a QB they can build a team around. Perhaps we need to employ some of that kind of thinking because just sitting where we land in the draft and picking that many players might not do it. Especially with the REALLY poor / cheap manner in which this team approaches free agency.

  36. By georgiebird on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Going back even before last year’s nationally televised game when Danny Amendola ripped us on the first drive of the game, the Cards’ Defense has been very undependable. A gambling defense can function against the poorer offenses but good offenses will eventually figure things out.
    When you are ;like the Cards and have a very slow offense, a very immobile QB and then have to play from behind, that’s a tough situation.

  37. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H –

    I like stats as much as the next guy. Let’s look at the numbers you cited for Palmer a little more closely:

    60.5% completion percentage is 19th among all qualifying QB’s, behind 3 guys tied for 16th at 60.7% (one of whom is Andrew Luck). It’s way better than the completion % of guys named Brady, Manning (Eli, not Peyton), Kaepernick. It’s better than A. Smith, the guy you said you wanted the Cards to go after (but whom the 49ers would never have traded in-division).

    8 TD’s — not a lot, but tied for 16th (16th being the top half of all teams) with a bunch of guys, including Brady, Flacco, Kaepernick and RGIII.

    A stat you didn’t cite: yards per game. 249: 15th among qualifiers. Again, not great, but right in the middle.

    The only real problem is the INT’s. It’s not like Palmer is Lindley or Skelton from last year, throwing a bunch of INT’s with a completion percentage below 55% and yards per game well below 200. And assuming you believe the coach — and why wouldn’t you? — quite a few of those INT’s are not on Palmer. If he had 5 or 6 fewer INT’s, his QBR would be higher (too lazy to do the formula, but looking at the stats right now, Joe Flacco looks almost identical to Palmer; slightly lower completion rate (59.5%) and slightly higher YPA (7.13), the same 8 TD’s, but only 8 INT’s to Palmer’s 13 and his rating is high 78.9. Now don’t get me wrong — that’s not a good rating — but it’s not disastrous (and it’s 3 points higher than a guy named Brady). Alex Smith is likewise only at 79.3.

    Yes, we need fewer interceptions out of our offense. But Palmer is not as bad as you keep making him out to be. Especially not if our coaching staff says around half of the INT’s are not his fault.

  38. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Edit to that last comment — I didn’t mean to say Flacco’s rating is “high 78.9″ (’cause that isn’t high). I meant “higher” than Palmer’s at 78.9.

  39. By jasonc on Oct 23, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter S Thompson-

    Please do your own research before you start making false claims.

    The Seahawks were 7-9 both years after the Lynch trade. They didn’t get their Superbowl swagger until after they drafted Russell Wilson and went 11-5.

    The 49er’s haven’t had “magical” draft because of their multitude of picks. 2002-2005 only Frank Gore is still a starter. 2006 only Vernon Davis is still on the team. 2007 was a good draft the got Staley, Willis and Goldson (who left via FA). 2008 not one player they drafted is still on the team or ever made a significant impact. 2009 only Crabtree is still on the team. 2010 they had another good draft with Iupati, Davis and Bowman. 2011 they got Aldon Smith and Kapernick. 2012 no one special, and 2013 only Eric Reid. So your thought that they amassed all of their talent quickly in a couple of drafts is wrong. They got a couple of guys on average every year and built their team through the draft.

    As far as the Rams…you think they’re better off by not drafting RGIII? I guess it is still wait and see but they have an injury prone “franchise” QB who was really in a prove it year.

    It doesn’t matter how many picks you have if you don’t use them wisely.

  40. By driftwood91 on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    Agree with HST.

    Very few untouchables on this team. DWash, Cooper, Peterson and CC. Time to move veterans in 2014 and bring in high draft picks and/or young talent. If Dockett isn’t moved next year his deal should be restructured.

    I don’t see Fitzgerald moving this season. We don’t have the Cap Space to take that hit. But next year, it’s possible neither Fitz or DD are wearing Cardinal Red.

    Hopefull we can bring in a real LT via Free Agency this off-season. That left side of the line would be solid. Hoping Massie and Watford get more reps on the right side soon.

    GO CARDS.

  41. By louis on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    wake up we suck as a team we will lose and lose and lose until we find a coach who knows football and a g.m. who knows how to run a front office.

  42. By clssylssy on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    For nearly twenty years I have been watching this team discard talent both at the middle management level (coaching staff) as well as professional staff (players) only to have our “discards” go on to better their circumstances on teams who make the playoffs as well as win Superbowls. The constant is that upper management hasn’t learned from their mistakes, has consistently recruited players in the twilight of their careers on the cheap or when “splurging” on a name player has failed to do their homework about their health and actual abilities…this is on the GM, as was the Swope debacle in this year’s draft. Kurt Warner was a lucky break and an exception that could have gone another way. Bottom line, it wouldn’t matter how much cap space this team has, there is a much bigger problem beyond the team. Football is a multimillion dollar business and the owner is not “football savy”. He is a lawyer and a humanitarian and grew up around the business but has never played the game. Sometimes the best people run their companies into the ground with good intentions. This is a rough business and to Mr. Bidwill’s credit, I think he is a little too ethical to run a team like the Seahawks, Patriots, Cowboys, etc. Our GM is a product of this environment and his knowledge has been gained within this organization, under the tuleage of the guy who was the senior Bidwill’s right hand man…and who was fired. This organization is like a dysfunctional family and until the root of the problem is fixed, whether it is by bringing in outsiders with fresh eyes and new ideas at the operational level,or consultants, it’s not going to matter if you discard our best players for more picks or to save cap money, because the real problem will remain and we will just be that much weaker without those players who have kept the seats filled, the jerseys sold, and given us a measure of credibility with the national media. These days, fans follow players, especially if the team is constantly in the cellar, and to get rid of the marquis players will be getting rid of a portion of the fan base also because most valley residents aren’t originally from here!

  43. By jasonc on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    We did make a bold trade a few years back. We traded away our second round pick and DRC for Kevin Kolb. Before everyone starts saying how they knew Kolb was terrible and it was a bad trade from the get go, remember that we weren’t the only suitors for Kolb that year. As a matter of fact Seattle was one of the teams pursuing him and Carson Palmer that summer. If we didn’t employ the ‘bold trade’ strategy that everyone here is saying the Cards NEVER do then we would’ve been in the position to draft Osweiler or better yet Russell Wilson with our 2nd round pick and we’d still have DRC on the roster.

    And for the record the 49er had 8 straight losing seasons before breaking out two years ago, and Seattle had 4 straight losing seasons before breaking out last year. We are currently on a 3 years straight…it doesn’t happen overnight.

  44. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    Wow, There is a lot of anger about a 3-4 team in the coaches first year. People, you must give a coach more than 7 games. It is not like we are Tampa or Jacksonville.

    I dont know if Arians is the guy to turn it around but you have to take a moment and understand he has coached for 7 games. It is not fair to hold him to years and years of bad football and worse management.

    I dont agree with everything the front office does. I usually see the draft differently than they do. As a season ticket holder for 20+ years, I am sick of sitting there watching the cards lose. I do get it.

    But you have to let this play out. We have a Falcon team at home that is down. That will be a good measure of where we are. Then a Texan team that also is living below expectations. I truly believe we come out of that with 2 wins and are at 5-4. Then it is on the road to Jacksonville which should be our 2nd road win and a 6-4 record.

    I think many of you will be talking different at that point. So lets calm down and see how Arians first year plays out. Lets see how he addresses the offseason and the draft after now being in the building and learning the team.

  45. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    On the Fitz trade;

    Before this season started I posted several times about how Larry’s contract will come into play in 2014 and 2015. The cap numbers will be out of control and a restructuring or trade would be in order.

    But as I stated before, I said Floyd’s, (who becomes a FA in 2016), play would be a huge factor. You cant look to give a bunch of money to Floyd in 2015 if Larrys cap hit is 20 million.

    This would lead to a restructure or possible trade in 2014.

    But after watching Floyd, he has not risen to the occasion so far. I dont think this team is in position with its wide receivers to trade Larry after this year. Roberts, Housler, and Floyd have been UNDERwelming to say the least. A lack of a running game leaves Larry and his hobbled hammys our best weapon and maybe our only weapon.

    So, before you say trade Larry (which I stated before, there are 23 million reasons you can’t trade him this year), you better have a plan to make up for his absence.

    BTW, all 3 big LTs in this past draft have struggled and rarely does a rookie WR shine.

  46. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    One more thing on the cap numbers for Fitz;

    In order to trade him this year we would have to release this year these players and replace them with no one.

    Winston save -1.8 cap space
    Mendenhal – 2 mil
    Dansby – 1.25
    Roberts – 1.3
    Brinkley – 800k
    Shaughnessy – 850k
    Moch – 600k
    Faniaka – 600k
    Arenes – 600k
    Dray and Bell 1.1 mil combined
    Rucker – 600K
    A Smith and Talley – 1 mil combined
    Potter – 450

    So, cutting a few of our one year deals is not the case. To trade Fitz this year, we would need to cut 15 guys and then play with only 38 guys the rest of the year.

    Yep, not a good plan.

  47. By georgiebird on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    @John the DG-
    If all your salary cap stats are correct, it’s still a good deal to get rid of Larry ASAP. By keeping Larry we’re not going to the playoffs. All the players we have to cut are not top-flite players-most have a hit of less than $1M.
    If the Cards are to ever become a playoff team, getting rid of Larry now is the best choice. Keeping Larry will prolong the agony a few more years but save some money. Pick your poison.

  48. By Darren Urban on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    Georgie –

    RE: Cuts

    You are missing JTDG’s point. If you cut those players to make the space you cannot replace them. You wouldn’t even have 40 guys on the roster.

  49. By Jerry on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    My opinion, instead of giving Palmer a chance to get better in the so called easy games and easy wins, let Stanton get these reps and experience to progress.

  50. By ored on Oct 24, 2013 | Reply

    we could have a fan day,we fill in for the remainder,lol.we really have no choice but to let this year play out,do the things we can and not get desperate.
    we should have a decent draft pick and with the abundance of qbs we should find someone we can embrace as a franchise,personally i like both oregon qbs,but i think the ducks qb goes too early for us,but the beaver kid looks good,as does the young carr kid.i think the big name east school kids go too early for us as well,so either BA uncovers a gem or we probably stay west coast.

    i think we should go after a FA LT if availble,we need help now and seems the rookies are’nt having great results yet,i think the guard positions and rt.tackle will be good next year,leaves lots of leeway for safety,burner reciever,dt,olb,bpa.

    maybe we do a rb by committee this week,see what a 1-2 punch of stepfan and ellington does and possibly williams.if housler fails to impress soon,then add a TE to the draft.

  51. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Jerry –

    The only reason to do that is if you believe Stanton is actually the future long-term QB of this team. This is his SEVENTH year as a backup bouncing around from team to team. The Jets traded him to Indy last year, along with a 7th rounder, for a 6th rounder. If all a guy gets you is an upgrade from a 7th round pick to a 6th round pick, do you think he’s a franchise QB?

  52. By HunterSThompson on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    So…..Darren and JTDG have done an excellent job of pointing out just how truly horrible Rod Graves was at his job. Not sure which is worse, Larry’s last contract with the no-trade clause, or this one that is so back loaded it is incredible.

    So with no restructure, Larry looks to retire a Cardinal. Fantastic. Hope he enjoys losing seasons, no playoffs, and perpetual 4th place in the NFC West. Not doom and gloom, just reading the writing on the wall without a dramatic increase in true talent (ie, First round draft pickS), not just 7 bodies every year.

    John TDG – what Left Tackle prospect do you like in the 6th round next year? Can’t wait…..

  53. By Darren Urban on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter –

    RE: Fitz

    With all due respect to Fitz, no one forced him to sign those contracts.

  54. By HunterSThompson on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    Absolutely right, and I’m not feeling bad for him in the least. BUT, what I see/hear from many Cardinals fans is a dichotomous view of Larry and his role on this team based on emotion…much like the Steve Nash love-fest that hampered the Suns for far too long. My comment was trying to tap into that fan perspective in a way that might allow people to reassess the tradability of Larry.

    All of us love Larry and want to see him succeed in a Cardinal uniform…but most fans fail to realize that his outsized “face of the franchise” status is what lead to his massively hindering contract (worth $113,000,000 through 2019!!!!) that is handcuffing the Cardinals from making improvements to the overall team that can actually lead to the success we desire. Based on my research, restructuring seems to only offer temporary relief and pushes cap problems even further into the future.

    I understood the importance of Larry as an “ambassador” for the Cardinals when they were trying to shed the “same old…” label and solidify the fan base in a new stadium….but that contract is absurdly overpaying for public good will when the team had holes then…and still does now…and will still have in the future (signed through 2019!!!!).

    Kiem has repeatedly said he wants to be proactive, not reactive as GM. My suggestions in this discussion are simply some of the only ones I see possible for a team that needs to get drastically better at several key positions…all at the same time if we are hoping to catch the rest of the NFC West any time soon.

    Anyway, thanks for providing insightful news about our team and for the great blog forum to discuss it all. Cheers!

  55. By jasonc on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter-

    What is you problem with Larry Fitzgerald’s contract? We are under the salary cap right now and that is with over 18 million dollars of dead contract money from other terrible Rod Graves moves. His contract didn’t prevent us from making a move to attempt to fill our QB void by signing Kevin Kolb to a lucrative deal. You seem to be upset that we can’t trade him for extra draft picks and another teams back up QB (which I would think most fans would be leery of after the way the Kolb trade played out). I understand what you’ve said and I agree with your logic….there shouldn’t be one player above the Cardinals winning and more draft picks equal more opportunities for better players. But, you are focused on trading Larry thinking we are light years away from competing. This season hasn’t even finished playing out and you’re ready to trade the face of the franchise, an iconic player, a guy who took us to the super bowl with the greatest run by a WR in NFL history? Let’s finish this season and then evaluate where we are as a franchise.

  56. By clssylssy on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter…What you are seeing is that this franchise will USE players until they have taken everything out of them, loyalty, love of the game, performance, their health, etc. and then give them the boot because the organization doesn’t know how to budget and manage their money. As the oldest franchise in the NFL, one would think that by now the Cards would be at the top of their game, respected throughout the NFL as an a founding father instead of something of a joke because they still haven’t figured out the football business. Good companies do not enter into contracts that they can afford to honor, backloading them to their advantage, only to renege as the time grows near to pay up. The same fans who are screaming about Fitz’s contract would be the ones the most outraged if they were in the same position with their employer…AND, Darren, there is such a thing as entering into a contract in “good faith”, ethical standards, and working within a realistic framework; you don’t buy things you can’t afford to pay for, or, before long, your credibility suffers and you’ll never attract talent. The fact is the Cards wanted Fitz and he has given this organization MORE that he has received back. This is a great bunch of guys, with a wealth of talent, but the fact remains that this team has suffered from the same mismanagement for years and to think that the solutions is as simple as Fitz’s contract is beyond neieve! If I were Fitz I would have a REAL difficult time getting “up” to play for an organization who is trying to stab me in the back. Perhaps part of the “decline” in Fitz’s play can be attributed to the fact that he does so much humanitarian work that makes a significant difference in people’s lives and football is losing it’s allure because of the politics and corruption. It amazes me that outside of Cardinal land, Fitz is regarded by his peers, the media, and the NFL as one of today’s greats, on and off the field…but by his own franchise he is viewed as a liability?

  57. By Darren Urban on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Clssy –

    RE: Business

    Teams use players. Players use teams. Be careful of falling into some fantasy world with this.

    As for “good faith,” that’s a two-way street. The Cards wanted Fitz, yes. He has given them a lot, yes. But over the course of his career he has made more than $100 million, so please do not tell me he has given “more” than he has received back. That’s a non-starter.

  58. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    OK guys, let me say it again.

    If the cards wanted to release Fitz at the end of the year or trade him, they would get 5 million of cap space. Sure they would have dead money, but they will have that anyway.

    As I have said many times before the season started, Fitz in 2014 would need to restructure his contract or face being traded. The cards could trade him, get 5million of cap relief, and draft picks. That holds some merit to that.

    I dont see how he is holding the team hostage or preventing the team from moving forward. The structure of his deal had a cap hit this year of only 10.5 mil, while a 23 mil dead money hit. That allowed the team to sign FAs this year. Then, next year it changes to 18 mil cap hit and 13 mil dead money. In 2015, it goes to 21.5 mill against the cap but only 5 mil dead money. There is no way the cards keep him at 21.5 without a restructure.

    Therefore, the cards are not in a bad place. Either they can say Larry, your numbers have slipped lets renegotiate or trade him. Larry is in a good place by saying I dont want to negotiate and force a trade or release or he renegotiates and gets more up front money.

    Im lost on how this is a bad contract or a team using a player or how it holds a team down.

    All I was pointing out is it is impossible to trade him THIS year.

  59. By jasonc on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    JTDG (&Darren of course)-

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when I read this message board. I like that you are educated about the game and always have logic or facts to support your posts. Fitz’s contract is backloaded like pretty much every superstar’s long term contract…it’s why you sign superstars to long term backloaded contracts. What fans fail to realize is that the signing bonus is the most important number when superstars sign these contracts because that is the guaranteed money. The backloaded numbers are for cap space relief in the early years and so teams can re-negotiate when guaranteed money is more finacially benefical. Larry made his money on his HUGE signing bonuses…he isn’t getting skimped by the Cardinals. It’s one of the reasons people were surprised by the contract Darrell Revis signed in Tampa Bay. It had no signing bonus, so no guaranteed money, but at 16 million a year (after roster and workout bonuses) and the fact Tampa would at least keep him 2 seasons after what they gave up in the trade he is “guaranteed” to see 32 million. I just wish fans would either get educated about the facts or stop commenting on things they don’t understand.

  60. By Scott H on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Kevin S Mesa -

    OK. I hear you. At this point, my head is starting to hurt from talking so much about Carson Palmer. Hate to say it, but it just seems like a continuation of the on-going chatter about the QB that has been non-stop since Warner left.And that’s NOT a good thing.

    As with any stats, you can make them say anything you want them to say. At the end of the day, I come to the conclusion – based on what I SEE – that palmer is just another QB taking us nowhere. Is it his fault? Is it not his fault? How much of it is or is not his fault? At some point, does it matter??? When another season is coming and going and we’re watching the post-season parade go by, does it matter?

    And by the way, you cite several times that even the coaches are saying that the INT’s aren’t his fault. Perhaps you’re familiar with coach-speak??? Well, you are now. This is what coaches do. They support their QB’s, no matter what, until they decide to make a change. Coaches DO NOT criticiize their QB if that QB is going to remain the starter.

    I know, I know…if the coach is going to stick with palmer, then doesn’t that mean that he is the best QB we have? As far as I’m concerned, that is becoming more debatable with each passing week. And until we SEE that Stanton cannot do any better? I’m not sold.

    As always, though, I appreciate and enjoy our dialogues.

  61. By jasonc on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter-

    It wasn’t the Steve Nash “love fest” that hampered the Suns…it was Robert Sarver not spending money on the team and not surrounding Steve Nash with the talent to keep being successful.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/347130-how-robert-sarver-destroyed-the-phoenix-suns

  62. By HunterSThompson on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    JTDG – I never said trade him during the season, before even fully understanding the signing bonus cap hit situation. I was simply bringing up the topic given the current directionality of the team…and the dichotomy of fans wanting to have the Cardinals drastically and immediately improve in several areas…while holding on to one of the very few assets we have that could bring draft picks in a trade. We agree that Larry’s contract is onerous after this season…which is when the Cardinals need to get serious about a rebuild. Kudos to you if you’ve said it before.

    The crazy pills are taken by fans not seeing that this team has: 1) several holes to fill, 2) a narrow window of time to do it in while taking advantage of a very solid defense, 3) not enough top-flight draft picks to make it happen with.

    What drives me nuts is this belief that “if we just draft better and coach them up” the Cardinals will somehow catch up to two (and possibly three) other teams in our division that are ALREADY doing that better than the Cardinals…and have more FUTURE draft picks to continue expanding the gap.

    I’m still waiting for someone (more educated than me, I guess) to propose anything aside from trades to gain more upper-round picks for the Cardinals…cuz we ain’t getting a franchise QB, a starting Left Tackle, a starting Right Tackle, a Left Guard, a decent Tight End, and a durable/big Running Back all at once through 7 draft picks and suspect free agency. And that’s just the offensive side of the ball!

  63. By HunterSThompson on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Jason C –

    We can take the Suns discussion to another blog, but Sarver’s problem was not that he didn’t spend money, it was that he spent it badly, foolishly, and then held on too long to the mistakes in order to justify the poor decision making.

    Gee…maybe that DOES apply to this conversation – thanks!

  64. By jasonc on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter-

    Ok, I’ll give it a shot with my pretend GM hat on. For this exercise I’m going to pretend that we finish 8-8.

    LT-Sign Branden Albert or Eugene Monroe in FA.
    LG-Jonathan Cooper makes a full recovery
    C-Lyle Sendline
    RG-Earl Watford/Bobbie Massie
    RT-Antonio Richardson first round draft pick

    I think these two moves would solve many of our offensive problems by making our oline significatly better.

    QB-Carson Palmer, but I draft a QB in round 2. It is a deep class so there will be some guys available Carr, Mettenberg, Mannion, Murry just to name a few. However, with a solid line and improved running game this incumbent will sit the bench while Carson guides us to the NFC West crown.

    RB-Stefan Taylor/Andre Ellington/Ryan Williams we can draft a guy in the later rounds of the draft as there are always later round gems at this position to be found James Wilder Jr?

    TE-Rob Housler/Xavier Grimble 3rd round pick. I still think Housler has a chance to improve this season if the offense as whole improves, which would make Grimble a luxury pick in round 3. I would probably go safety, but this is me trying to fill your percieved needs so I take Grimble.

    So we filled our LT, RT, LG, RB, TE and future QB through the draft and FA.

  65. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    HunterSThompson,

    Alright. I’ll bite and play GM.

    We spent a first round and forth round pick on two guards. Cooper had an injury but will be a very good guard next year. What I saw out of Watford in practice, this guy is a probowler on one play and a bum on the next. I think he will be ready next year and challenge Faniaka at RG. I think Massie will be a solid RT. Sendlin is a decent center.

    So we need a LT. Jared Veldheer, Eugene Monroe, and Brandon Albert all would be targets for me and one would be signed, rounding out the offensive line.

    Ok, QBs I would be interested in ; Aaron Murrey of Georgia is at the top. He is out of the Russel Wilson/Drew Brees mode. Taking a QB in the first round would make sense to finally nail down someone.

    TE – You ever hear of the late round pick 3 years ago named Julius Thomas. He had 1 catch in his first 2 years. Suddenly, he is a rival to Jimmy Graham. I really liked both Sperry and Jefferson in Preseason but they both were very inconsistent. Dont be surprised if one of them steps up next year. But remember , in a Arians offense, expect a TE to catch 40 balls a year.

    RB – Arians has run the ball in the past at a rate of 38%. Stephan Taylor is a solid short yardage guy and Ellington (see Darren Sproles) can carry the ball 10 times a game. The saints use a group of Runningbacks, I dont think in Arians offense, it is a need.

    WR- look in the 4th or 5th round to get a speedy slot receiver who can spread the field. In the past Arian offenses, he has Wallace and TY Hilton (3rd rounders) and Antonio Brown (6th rounder). He will find a guy. Swope would have been the guy had he remained healthy.

    Defensively,
    We are good at CB and ILB.

    We will let the season play out at OLB. Okerfer, Acho, Moch, might be playmakers. Shaughnessy and Abraham have played well this year. Unless someone falls in our lap like Barr, I would look at a 4th or fifth round pick

    I think two big needs would be DE and Safety. Depending on how the draft plays out, I would look in rounds two and 3 for DE (like Ra’shede Hageman) in round two and round 3 come back and take a guy like Aaron Colvin of Oklahoma. Is is a physical CB with size. I love the idea of moving CBs to Safety.

    There you go Hunter, and it is fixed.

  66. By HunterSThompson on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    John and Jason –

    Thank you to both for taking the time to post those responses. I appreciate the insight…and the optimism. As the college season plays out I’m sure we can discuss in greater detail some of these proposed game-changers you have the Cardinals drafting.

    Without nitpicking some of the weak spots you both leave in place for next season (Carson Palmer again???), just how long are the time horizons you both are working with in realistically seeing the Cardinals compete with the 49ers and Seahawks…let alone the Rams whom have 2 first round picks next season (both possibly higher than the Cardinals single pick) and 10 overall? How about the 49ers, with 4 picks in the first 3 rounds and 10 overall? 2 years? 5 years? Ever?

    The Cardinals efforts at improvement do not happen in a vacuum. As we try to improve, so do the other, already better teams in our division…with more assets (draft picks) to do so with. They also already have the franchise QB in place (Rams will after the draft) that costs automatically at least a first or second round pick that can’t be spent somewhere else. I know I am beating a dead horse and I will let it go after this post, but your faith in the Cardinals being able to outdraft and outcoach Carroll and Harbaugh (and even Fisher) with a simple 7 picks/7 rounds approach is high on optimism, to say the least.

    Anyway, thanks again for the conversation. Enjoy the game on Sunday!

  67. By jasonc on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter-

    The NFL is the best sports league because of the parity of the league. Free agency, the draft and the salary cap are things that ensure that. That’s great that SF, StL and Seattle have 10 picks in the draft. Do you know what happens after they draft those players? They have to take the spot of someone on the roster or get cut. You can only have 53 players on the roster, only 46 can dress on game day and only 11 can be on the field. You say that we can’t compete with the teams in our division and I say we have already shown that we can compete, with an improved line I’m saying that we can win. What I don’t understand is why you are already giving up on the season? We are 7 games into the season and we are 3-4, a couple of plays from being 5-2. If I’m wrong and we finish the season like last year and have another top 10 pick then I’m on board with you, lets talk about trading assets and drafting a franchise QB, but until then I believe that we are going to win every week.

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