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Blogs

Niners (and a season) aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on December 29, 2013 – 8:56 pm

This is what happens, even after a 10-6 season and a finale that goes down to the final play of the game and an exciting trading of four scores in the last 3:30 of the fourth quarter. All of it seems so inconsequential, because immediately, your thoughts go to the future.

There will be lots and lots of time to speculate, break down and report on what is going to happen with the Cardinals this offseason. Certainly I won’t cover it all tonight or even tomorrow on the final day for the players. There are a lot of free agents-to-be, a lot of decisions that have to be made, and most guys are going to say they’d love to be back. Because of course they will, as long as the money is right, and I do not blame them. The shelf life is relatively short in this league. You don’t pass up a big contract elsewhere because you like the vibe your feeling in the current locker room. I mean, you can (and sometimes, you might), but you take the guaranteed money where you can get it. That’s the business.

So where does that put the Cardinals now, on Sunday night, after a finale that started terribly and ended almost magically and once again underscored just how far this team has come.

“This is a totally different ballclub (from 2012), not just looking at the wins and losses but with the mindset of the guys in the locker room,” safety Rashad Johnson said. “That starts with coach Arians. You can tell it’s a different feel with this team.”

– In a lot of ways, Sunday encapsulated the season. There was a slow start but ultimately, the Cards rallied. The defense played well against the run and gave up a crucial pass or two. Offensively the Cardinals threw an interception but did enough to keep the team in the game. If nothing else, the Cardinals showed the last two weeks they have nothing to fear from the Seahawks or 49ers. Remember that Arians’ training camp quote about how he didn’t see a dominate team in the division? Well, from the perspective of his team, he was right.

– Yeah, that Saints game went exactly how it looked like it was going to go. And the NaVorro Bowman pick against the Falcons was really the death knell.

– If you are looking for the Cardinals’ full list of 2014 opponents, click right here.

- -And as I mentioned in that post, the Cards will pick 20th in the draft.

– It’s been mentioned before but the Cardinals have got to find a way to stem the turnover tide against the Niners. In the last 10 games – nine losses – the Cards have turned the ball over 30 times and forced just seven.

– Linebacker Karlos Dansby, on his Pro Bowl snub: “(I’ve) got to do more. There’s always room for improvement.”

– Dan Williams played very well at nose tackle Sunday. But that ACL tear for Alameda Ta’amu hurts. The Williams/Ta’amu combo was a big reason the Cardinals finished with the best rush defense in the NFL. Ta’amu, if he does have an ACL tear, is gonna be down for a while.

– Speaking of that run defense, Frank Gore (14 yards on 13 carries) was absolutely stoned. The Niners got cutesy early with some impressive misdirection, running wide receivers Anquan Boldin (11-yard run) and Quinton Patton (26 yards) on the first drive on end arounds. That’s 37 of the 83 rushing yards the Cards gave up (and QB Colin Kaepernick had 24 himself.)

– Fitz finishes with a flourish, 113 yards on six catches. Couldn’t get the 160 he needed for 1,000, but a nice ending.

– Do the Cardinals draft a quarterback? Possibly. As I said before, Steve Keim won’t take a guy he doesn’t love. But I fully expect Carson Palmer to go into the offseason work as starter, and I expect if he plays next season to be more efficient (with fewer picks.)

– Defensive end Calais Campbell with his ninth sack. Here’s hoping, as an alternate, he ends up in that Pro Bowl. Because he really had a Pro Bowl season.

OK, that’s enough for now. More tomorrow as the Cardinals wrap up with exit physicals, and much more over the offseason. No one ask me what I do now that the season is over. There will be plenty to write about.

Fitz9ersBLOGUSE


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Posted in Blog | 54 Comments »


54 Responses to “Niners (and a season) aftermath”

  1. By wather on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    GREAT season! 5-11 to 10-6 that’s incredible at the NFL level. The scary thing is we were just starting to reach our full potential. I’m so glad we found Ellington late in the draft, along with our FA grabs.

    Can’t wait for Bruce Arians next off season, it’s a shame the NFL off season is so long.Because it’s going to be really interesting to see how the contracts work out.

    Well see you next season Red Nation! Time to go buy some Suns tickets!

  2. By Unfinished Business on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for all your hard work this season, Darren. Can’t wait ’til ’14! #AZCards2014 #UnfinishedBusiness

  3. By Steve Weston on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    A tough loss tonight, but a pretty good summary of the Cardinal’s entire season. A slow start, a helluva run for a good long stretch and a disappointing ending.

    Still, I think that the Cards have shown their fans that they are very much alive and a threat in the very competitive NFC West. I have faith in this coach and our GM both next year and in the years to come. Getting into the playoffs is going to take a lot of hard work, but I think this team will be up to the challenge.

    Hope we have a great draft, get our injured players back out on the field and have a great year in 2014. GO CARDS!

  4. By hummer53 on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Since Whiz came in 2007 we are 55-57(59-59 counting playoffs). Before that in 19 seasons in Arizona we only had two seasons at or above .500. 8-8 with Buddy and 9-7 with Tobin. One playoff season. A nice stadium with a good coach and good GM can make all the difference. With BA and Steve steering the ship I am looking forward to consistent above .500 records and several playoff games in our future. Hopefully the years of winning 4-6 games a year are well in our past. I thought it was a pretty darn good season and can’t wait until next seasons training camp and season get under way. #BirdGang

  5. By Andy kw on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Here is whats I think:
    Karlos Dansby, Andre Roberts, Matt Shaughnessy, Eric Winston, and Dave Zastudil are priority resigns that this team needs to address ASAP.

    Bradley Sowell, Paul Fanaika, & Rashard Mendenhall are the second group of guys we should consider bringing back. Hopefully Alameda Ta’amu returns with that exclusive rights contract including Tony Jefferson as well.

    Antoine Cason, Javier Arenas, Frostee Rucker, Yeremiah Bell & Jay Feely are guys that this team needs to think really hard about to bring back. Feely can’t perform like he did against SF b/c it costed us the game. Cason has been decent on his limited reps. Arenas has been okay on KR but our team might want to find a more explosive guy. Rucker has been amazing against the run on limited reps as well. Bell is an aging veteran but has performed to expectations but the question is, how much fuel does he have left in the tank?

  6. By Eric G on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    This loss was 100 percent on Feely. Cards must do much better in their division and NFC next year. Hate to be looking forward to the draft do soon.

    It was a great year and I’d like to thank the entire Cards organization for a great year. Thanks Darren fir your articles and keeping fans up to date with news. Can’t wait for next year.

  7. By georgiebird on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Outstanding season for the Cardinals. Bruce Arians has to be one of the top five HC in the NFL. As the Cards undergo the usual off-season changes in personnel that has become the norm in the NFL, it’s good to know that Arians and Steve Keim will be the decision makers.

  8. By Bay Area Bad Boy on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Ok, Let me start out by saying what a great season it was. BA definitely made a difference. But In the end, it was just like I had been saying all year long. Carson Palmer and Rashad Mendenhall. Both contributing to the loss.. Hopefully neither are back next year. Although I did gain a bit of respect for Palmer as the year went on. What a great effort on both sides of the ball. I was in a sports bar in SF popping off big time about how we will not quit and how we will come back. And we did. Big Ups to Palmer and the Offense for coming back. But even more props to the defense for standing tall in the second half. I am very proud of the Cardinals for the way they represented themselves in 2013. I am even more proud to wear the Cards Jersey in the Bay Area knowing that our beloved Cards represented to the fullest this year. I am so looking forward to next season and what it brings with a new beginning. I am positive we will make the playoffs next year. We were only a play or two from doing it this year. The Philly loss is what killed us if you ask me and we almost won that game. If Palmer is back, I will support him even though I am not crazy about him, but with a better line and more protection, Palmer can chew up a defense. Mendenhall has to go though. Sorry but it time for him to retire. BA, Great Job this season. 10-6. Great year. Next year 11-5 or 12-4. NFC West Champs. We got over the Seattle hump, now its time to get over the 49er hump. 2014 will be the year of the Red Birds….. CO CARDS !!!!!!!!

  9. By Steve on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Super job as always keeping us diehard Cards fans in the loop. Whats your gut feeling on whether Jay Feely is back next season? Seems like Arians has never shown complete confidence in Feely and todays performance could be a tipping point.

  10. By Red Dead Redemption on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    This certainly was a season of redemption, I had the Cardinals going 10-6 this year but I also thought they would make the playoffs with that record.
    I’m thinking the Cardinals should draft a kicker.
    I like Jay and I am thankful for everything he has done for us but he lost two games this year. 12-4, if he makes those kicks.

    Also respect everything Carson has done this year, but if he could just cut the
    INTs in half, which isn’t a lot to ask for, we will be in some prime shape.
    This year alone we could have went 14-2, just with less turn overs.

    I remember the feeling of 58-0 and it was probably my worst one as a Cardinals fan, other than the Superbowl loss but even that one contained some pride for playing so tough and making it to the Superbowl itself.

    It may have been a bittersweet year, but it was a great one, seeing this team go from 58-0, to 10-6 and could have easily went 14-2, was truly special.

    I don’t believe in momentum one season to the next normally but there is a feeling about this team, and I can certainly see a Superbowl win at home next year. I will gladly trade the horrible Snow Bowl this year for that.

  11. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Feely

    Jay is a free agent. I would not be surprised if the Cards try to go in a different direction, but I don’t think it’s a lock right now. Feely has been pretty consistent. Obviously Sunday will not help Jay’s case.

  12. By georgiebird on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    As I see it, BA is definitely the COY. However, this game probably cost BA the award. AT 11-5, BA was a shoe-in. At 10-6 he will probably lose out to Ron Rivera or Andy Reid.

  13. By BluePitt on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    It just blows me away how Anquan is the Best WR in the NFC (seriously look it up he is the best) but gets no respect!! Peterson on Crabtree???? LOL
    Boldin Burnt us!!!

  14. By georgiebird on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Being competitive against the Seahawks and 49ers is the biggest on-field accomplishment of the 2013 season. There are no guarantees in 2014 but we now have a chance.

  15. By georgiebird on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Feely and Mendenhall had their problems as did Palmer. But the biggest disappointment of the game was how easy the 49ers were able to move the ball in the last 28 seconds. It reminded me a little of SB XLIII.

  16. By Paul Liccardi on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    great year to everybody involved with this team the growth of this team really showed today,they fell behind early but never gave up that is a sure sign of good things to come, hopefully we will be able to keep most of the core of this team together and draft the pieces that we need, I think this team could be a contender as early as next year, we just need to learn to cut down the mistakes in which is a part of growing.

  17. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,

    Are you and Dan Bickley Friends?

    What is your take on Bickley calling out Peterson ? He called him a Prima Donna and said he fell far short of what Peterson was saying he was going to do.
    He even made the comment that Peterson will be better next year, since he wasnt great this year. (or something like that) .

    Bruce Cooper basically said Bickley was crazy. Your take?

  18. By BluePitt on Dec 29, 2013 | Reply

    Correction (Best in the NFC West)

  19. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    On Palmer

    Anyone who thinks we should get rid of Palmer is clueless. Palmer brought a toughness to QB the cards havent had since Warner. Palmer was sacked 41 times and hit over 150 times this year. Even with all that pressure, he put up 4200 yards and 24 TDs

    An example, he gets sacked on second down and then hits roberts for the TD on third and 14.

    Sure he had picks. But game after game, he gave this team a chance to win. He hit the game winner against seattle (the number 1 defense ) then not only hit a game tying td against SF, but lead a drive before it that should have given us another 3 pts.

    Palmer ,( behind a questionable line, a less than explosive running game, and wrs who dropped balls, injuries, and learning a new system and new wrs, ) put this team in position to win 10 games. I would be extremely disappointed if the cards somehow didn’t bring him back.

    PS, there is not a QB in this draft that would outplay Palmer.

    I am not overly excited about Bridgewater, Carr or Manziel. (although they all might be gone at 20, I wouldn’t take any of them). I would not be surprised if the cards do not draft a QB this year.

  20. By UK cards fan on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for some great work this season Darren, as always.

    This was an even better turnaround season than Whiz’s head coaching debut in ’07 (8-8), we all know what the following season yielded. This team should have confidence going forward as they have proven they can compete with and beat the best in the league. Some things I will be keeping my eye on: 1) Fitz’s necessary contract restructuring, 2) Dockett’s restructuring/ possible release, 3) Dansby, we need to resign him, 4) QB at some point in the draft?, 5) Peterson’s upcoming contract extension.

    Keim’s first offseason was clearly a success, let’s see if he can have another good one. I’m already looking forward to 2014.

  21. By Eazy E on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Very valiant effort by the Cardinals. I don’t believe in moral victories especially in the pros but they put up a great dog fight with San Fran. The FA I will address at a later date because we have so many on those unfortunate 1 year deals but good job. Overall season was really good and a bunch of those 1 year FA had a lot to do with that.

  22. By Rich on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great Season! Really enjoy this blog. Fun to have a really good football team in town. The fans were great at the game yesterday!!! Loudest since the Eagles NFC conference victory.

  23. By Louisville Card on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Nice wrap up of the season, it was a great one considering where the cards were last year. Lots of decision’s for Keim and BA this off season. With a few tweaks this off season a Super Bowl appearance isn’t a far fetched idea. This will be a mostly positive off season except for the one elephant in the room Fitz’s contract..Let’s hope he takes a drastic pay cut to stay on the team, but don’t be surprised if this was Fitz’s last game as a card…Darren do you think Fitz will be back?

  24. By Dave Chaney on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Just a few thoughts on what I got out of this season. 1) A team brimming with confidence that got better each week. 2) A QB who can actually lead and the more familiar he gets with Coach Arians system, the better he’ll be (don’t forget he is younger than Kurt Warner was when we went to the SB). 3) Main questions to be answered will happen down the road and the biggest one is how many of our current players come back next year, which will influence any FA signings and the draft.
    Other than that, thanks to everybody involved with this team for one of the best seasons this “old” fan has seen in the past 50 years. They have been few and far between, but the future at the moment looks bright. Happy New Year to you all!

  25. By johnnybluenose on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Good effort by everyone, just came up a bit short. Too bad about Ta’amu. He helped us and I hope he can get healthy again. Feely missed a couple but I would not put this loss on him. The niners made the plays necessary to get in position to make the last kick. Arians is a great coach. No doubt about that. But what happened to our 300 pound fullback we saw a few games ago? And why do we never call a screen pass? This was a great season. We should be better next year so look out everybody. One area that does need to be fixed is our return game. Right now, we don’t have one. Hard to believe the season is over.

  26. By joe.holst on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    The special teams need improvement, Hard to believe they had DAN Carpenter in their hands who went on to hit 31 of 34 in windy Bills stadium and now Jay Feely is missing everything in a controlled environment.

  27. By clssylssy on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    @Eric…The loss was NOT on anybody in particular and not on just Feely! Did you miss the entire first half? That was not the same Cards team that came out so hungry in Seattle …OR, as Dockett said, they were COMPLETELY thrown off balance by the schemes the 9ers were throwing at them…they were TOTALLY unprepared. Did you miss the dropped balls by Floyd…he caught one after missing two or three, Palmer didn’t settle down until later in the game and our defense was NOT the same #1 against the run as they allowed Boldin to run up 177 yards on us while singing “How do You Like Me Now” (Mr. Bidwill)? It was a TEAM loss that everyone had a hand in, just like iti was a team win in Seattle! If you remember, Feely was largely responsible for our win against all odds there so, playing the blame game sickens me. The facts is the 9ers are a tough team that is good on the road (better than Seattle), they have some amazing players and a Coaching Savant. Perhaps we were a little too comfortable coming off a big win like last weeks’s and didn’t recognize that this was going to be tougher. Our team played a good game that just fell a little short and I believe we could have won if our guys believed the playoffs were on the line. One of the hardest things I have found about being a Cards fan through the years is not so much the disappointing losses but the attitude of the fans. Go to other places and you don’t have that, fans continue to support their team through thick and thin (WhoDat Nation, Giants, Redskins, Ravens, Falcons, Cowboys, etc.) We had a good season and there are a lot of things to be positive about. Yes, it was a sad day but would have it made any difference in the grand scheme of things? As it is, a win would have dropped the 9ers a seed, but they still would have gone and now we can be proud of the two strongest teams being from the NFC West, the toughest division in the league! As BA said earlier in the season, it’s the W’s that count and after tomorrow our record won’t mean a thing to anybody but us because it will be all about the playoffs and the teams who got in. I am a little miffed that three teams from the AFC West got in (San Diego at 9-7) when we were better but, that is life in the NFL and everybody knows it’s not about merit! We can be proud of the way our guys battled back from what could have been a very ugly defeat. The saddest thing about all of this is that it’s over just when this group of guys were beginning to hit their stride and this team will be chopped up after today. THANK YOU PLAYERS & COACHES…YOU MADE FOOTBALL FUN TO WATCH AND YOU’LL BE MISSED!

  28. By Rugbymuffin on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great Season.

    Way beyond expectations, and one of most entertaining seasons I have ever experienced as a fan.

    Excited for next year, but enjoying the memories of this one 1st.

  29. By David Magee on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Although the Cardinals finished 10-6, I thought they should have been 12-4. They were close to having that record and were capable of doing well in the playoffs. Bruce Arians did quite a job and the Cardinals have a chance to continue their winning ways in the future with this guy at the helm. They have some nice players and hopefully the playoffs are in the picture next year.

  30. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Peterson

    As I mentioned on Twitter, it is mind-boggling to me the Peterson backlash of the last month or so. Listening to some (and I’m not necessarily talking about Dan but the fans I have heard from) you’d think Peterson had turned into the second coming of William Gay.

    Did Peterson have a couple of rough patches? Yes, particularly in Tennessee. But look at the metrics. Look at what Crabtree did (or didn’t do) yesterday. I’m not sure why so many fans are suddenly angry at him. He has not been good returning punts. This is true. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played CB very, very well. One of the reasons the Cardinals’ defense is so good is because Bowles can stick Peterson on the best receiver one-on-one and leave him alone, giving flexibility to the rest of the players.

    Do I think Peterson can improve? Sure. Dan is allowed his opinion. It’s his job. But I’m not sure where prima donna comes from.

  31. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Fitz return

    I don’t see any reason right now to think otherwise.

  32. By 'Zona Fan on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great season for the Cards, I’m so proud to be a fan after the effort they put out this year! Who said we can’t compete in the NFC West? We showed we can compete with the best teams in the league this year! I fully expect an 11-5 or 12-4 season next year (and here’s hoping we don’t get screwed again and miss the playoffs). I believe we can win the division next year if we simply win our division games. 4 of our 6 losses are to teams in our own division! If we can beat them, we can beat anyone. Go Cardinals!

  33. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,

    I was surprised by Bickley’s comments also. It was like they let some random fan in on TV.

    He went on to praise Palmer on his steadying force to the cards and then turned around to say the cards should draft Johnny Football. Again, Cooper disagreed.

    I guess I now know why Jim Mora had his famous post game comments when asked questions about a game.

    “You don’t know what is going on and you never will, you might think you do, but you never will.”

  34. By Tucson Card on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    AWESOME season. We have nothing to be ashamed of. I’m looking forward to see what happens in the off season.

    Great Job Cards!

  35. By Canadian Redbird on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    I loved the compete level of this team. There were numerous times during this game and other games throughout the season where the situation could have seen this team fold however in each case ; they scratched and clawed and made us proud. In yesterday’s game, specifically the last 49’ers drive, keep in mind there is a reason why San Francisco is an elite team and they should be making plays. We seem to forget the 4th and inches stop in the 4th quarter, which changed the complextion of the game. For the most part the defence acquitted themselves very, very well. I particularly enjoyed watching Harbaugh’s gestures on the sidelines during the comeback. Nothing I enjoy more than to see any team lay a beat down on any of the Harbaugh’s, the Ryans or Carroll; unfortunately it hasn’t happened enough.
    Too bad for Alameda, was looking forward to seeing him blowing up one of the SF linebackers from the full back position. All in all, it was a fun season of football. Good job Darren with this forum.

  36. By Eric G on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    @clssylssy

    Feely has one job, to make field goals. That’s it. He missed two in a critical game costing 6 points. The rest of the team did enough to win. Floyd has to make those catches and Palmer did throw a very bad interception, but the team could have won if not for Feely.

  37. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Re: Palmer, see JDTG’s post above. We won 5 more games than last year, and as many as we’ve ever won in Arizona, in large part due to having a better QB. Our D was better than last year (324 points allowed compared to 357) but our offense was much better (379 to 250), and that’s not all Andre Ellington. Yes, Palmer threw too many INT’s, but we’ve gone over ad nauseum the fact that even the coaches acknowledged that a number of the early-season INT’s were the result of receivers not being in the right place. The INT’s were significantly cut down in the 2nd half, and Palmer clearly improved with better knowledge of Arians’ system by the entire offense.

    Re: Feely, I like him, but I’m indifferent to his return. Kickers are always available. Someone said earlier we should draft a kicker. You can’t be serious — a draft pick, even a late one, could turn into another Andre Ellington. Unless it’s someone who can boot 50-yarders consistently and never misses inside 50, forget it. You can always find another kicker on the street (does anyone really think we would’ve been worse off with Dan Carpenter than Feely — Carpenter went 29/30 inside 50, and 4/6 beyond 50). Not saying we could have predicted that or that Carpenter would’ve done that here — kickers are impossible to predict, and when a guy misses, who knows how much of it is his fault vs. the holder, snapper, etc. Dawson pulled a chip shot yesterday. Mason Crosby and David Akers each missed over a dozen FG’s last year; Crosby was one of the best in the NFL this year (including 5/7 beyond 50). But please, let’s not talk as though replacing or not replacing Jay Feely is a key issue for this team.

    Re: 2014 — Should be very interesting. The O-line held up better than I would’ve expected this year (not saying it’s not still a weakness, but I thought they would be worse), and we get Cooper back so even if we don’t go O-line first round, it’s like we have a first rounder already. We’re not going to be able to retain everyone we’d like but hopefully we can retain most guys and go into 2014 knowing we can compete with SF and Seattle, and that we won 7 of our last 9 with the other two being within our grasp.

    Re: defense — Yes, it is the strength of the team, but I do think we’re susceptible to giving up a lot of yards quickly; to Georgiebird’s point, it was disappointing that we allowed SF to get in position for a game-winning FG with so little time on the clock. (However, that also had a lot to do with allowing a KO return out to near the 40 yard line.) See also the Tennessee comeback. It’s a minor gripe in the scheme of things; I lost count of how many times this year the D was put in a tough spot due to a turnover but held the opponent from scoring (or at least forced a FG attempt). But it is one area for improvement.

    Thanks for a great season. We won’t be sneaking up on anyone this coming year. Still, though, I think most outside observers will think we over-performed, and we will be expected to regress. Considering our division, I will predict Vegas puts the O/U on Cards’ wins in 2014 at 8.5, or possibly 9. I would be shocked if it is any higher — and as long as it stays at 9 or lower, I’ll be making my annual trip to bet on the over.

  38. By gbrim on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Gotta bring Palmer back, but we shouldn’t ignore that he has been interception-prone his entire career. It could be argued that many seasons he was on bad teams and throwing when behind, hence more picks. But watching him this year makes me think he ‘is what he is’– a QB with permanent turnover issues. BA needs to run the ball more (as he started to in second half of season) and resist his natural impulse to put too much on the QB’s shoulders. That will help the team transition to a younger QB when appropriate, too.

  39. By clssylssy on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Darren…Can anybody explain why 3 AFC West teams were able to get into the playoffs and only two from the NFC West, with better records. I can accept getting in on a iffy records if the team is the Division winner and then there is the wildcard for that divisionn, but for an extra team to get in from a weaker conference is what….a handicapp…freebee…mercy spot???

  40. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    John The Draft Guy, and Darren:

    If I can chime in…

    Bickley aka prickly is doctor negativity sop. He’s partially right on Peterson, who often touts himself publicly as the best yet has been vulnerable (human) on occasion. PP is asking for it, some let others decide such things. Perhaps a dose of humility will help PP improve, yet there is no doubting PP is a warrior and a dedicated pro, so its snarky to dog PP.

    Also, it seems PP has no more magic as a punt returner, looks like he has lost the attack mode .. yet time after time he has to field a punt at the 5 or 10 and fair catches or lets it bounce.. no bold return attempts. Can’t criticize that, returns on punts inside 10 yard line are high risk fumble territory, and he has has fumbled a few.

    I put it on BA and Special Teams coach who never adjusted; PP should have been off punts (I understand Darren’s comment re who else do they have, I think I heard on air.. but thats what practice is for, to find out) and Javier has been horrible on KOs all year, save one or two returns. In Javier’s defense, no where to run, not great blocking and the short field for kick coverage makes it even harder, but he has no giddyup, burst or instinct like say an Ellington… and KO returns have put us in poor field position inside 20 far too often.

    my bottom line, PP a real pro, I’ll take the hubris because he mostly backs it up.. but would prefer he let the media do that talking…and Javier was decent on D, but he’s no returner..

  41. By Andy Kw on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Carson Palmer is on a 2 year contract and is entering his last year so he will definitely play here next year. I am a Carson Palmer fan all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next year, we will get to the dance and get Palmer and Fitzgerald their Super Bowl Rings.

  42. By William Barry on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Carson did a great service for our ballclub!!! and he’s younger than Warner. Thanks Darren for your posts this year. GO Cards!!!!! Keim had a great Season as GM

  43. By jasonc on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Tough loss. It’s hard to start the way we started and win a game against a tough division opponent. It’s impressive that we stayed in the game and had some opportunities to win. We have an exciting off season and I for one have all the confidence in the world that Keim will make this team better next season.

  44. By jeffgollin on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    For the Cards to become good enough to win the division/make the playoffs, I don’t think it necessarily means targeting specific positions to fill or players to replace (Coach Arians and Steve K have proved resourceful enough to find various ways to skin the proverbial catch and improve different aspects of play.

    Therefore, don’t get frustrated if we don’t fill a particular position-hole or land the player everyone wants us to get.

    BA and SK will find a way.

  45. By georgiebird on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Dan Carpenter was brought in to compete against Feely- Feely won and Carpenter lost-if someone feels there’s a problem, it should be directed at BA not Feely.
    Feely did make the FG with the most pressure-so pressure can’t be the problem. If there is somebody available who is better than Feely- who is he?
    And don’t forget that Phil Dawson missed a very important FG just before the half -that miss of what amounted to a long extra point- gave the Cards a lot of momentum going into the halftime break. And Dawson along with Boldin were the stars for the 49ers.

  46. By clssylssy on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    @ Eric…it was a big game but not “critical” because the Saints were winning and we were out of the playoffs anyway. Six points…not a “critical issues” the way we were able to recover. As I said before, I believe we would have not let this game go at the end if it actually had been critical and the playoffs were on the line. I have a feeling that our players were aware of the bigger picture also and perhaps decided to let their 9er brothers have it and the 5th seed . We now are 20th in the draft and perhaps winning would have dropped us to 21st? We shoulda won the Eagles game, which also could have put us in the playoffs…Woulda, shoulda, coulda…no point in dwelling on the negatives…nobody outside of Cardinal land cares about yesterdays game today. Feely was GREAT in Seattle when it was “critical” and that’s a victory everybody in the NFL will remember. The Cards set themselves apart and achieved the respect and recognition that has alluded us since we made it to the Superbowl in ’08!

  47. By perry matherne on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great job Arizona & thank you Darren.Carson palmer did a excellent job for coach bruce as with the rest of the team,CARDINALS FOREVER,a devoted perry.Love ya,guys!

  48. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Playoffs

    AFC and NFC are different conferences. Four division winners and then two best records get in from each conference. The two don’t mean anything to each other.

  49. By Eric G on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    @ clssylassy
    “I have a feeling that our players were aware of the bigger picture also and perhaps decided to let their 9er brothers have it and the 5th seed . ”

    Really? You think they gave the Niners a win? Um, I doubt that. They are professionals and winning means everything. Why should they care who a rival faces?

    Fact is, the Niners have the Cards number right now and they are a giant gorilla on the Cards back. Cards have to figure out a way to beat them next year. Losing 9 out of 10 against a team stinks.

  50. By nate on Dec 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great job this season Darren.

    As a fan its feels good to be rewarded with a good season and alot of good games to watch after enduring not-so-good years.

    Thanks to the Cards for puttin in work!
    Cheers to ’14 and beyond!

  51. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Eric G,

    I agree the niners have our number. But in the past, they just were more physical than us. It was almost like bullies on the school yard.

    At least we saw the cards play on an even playing field this time. Our defense of line dominated that Oline with 3 number 1 picks. I really think we have turned the corner on that matchup.

    Drops by Housler and Floyd, a pick by Palmer , a fumble by Mendenhal, WRs stopping on their routes, two short missed FGs; These are things the cards can control. these are difference makers that the cards can improve on.

    But watching the cards play the last two weeks, They can match up physically with anyone. This is why I am encouraged going into next year. This defense said we will not be run on and they stopped the run. The offense had a nice second half of the season and will get more physical and athletic with Cooper back and additions to the line.

    I think that bully is in for a surprise in the future.

  52. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Exactly, JDTG. There are games where you win and you know you escaped (this year’s Tampa Bay game comes to mind) and games where you are encouraged despite a loss.

    We outgained SF by over 100 yards. Frank Gore rushed 13 times for 14 yards behind their O-line of stars. We outplayed them; the final result just didn’t show it, due to a combination of the missed FG’s, a couple turnovers and the other things you mentioned.

    If the Saints had lost, this loss would hurt badly, but in the scheme of things, since losing didn’t really make a difference, I’m just glad we played well, no one tore an ACL, and we finished with 7 wins in 9 games with the other two games being losses by a FG. (And like most fans I still feel the Eagles game was stolen from us on that Mathieu call.)

    2014 here we come. I look forward to reading your always-insightful posts on the draft.

  53. By Darren Urban on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Kevin S —

    RE: ACL

    Actually, Ta’amu tore his ACL.

  54. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Darren —

    Of course. As you mentioned in the article… already forgot.

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