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A tenuous schedule, and the captains

Posted by Darren Urban on September 3, 2014 – 9:34 am

The Wes Welker suspension bomb dropped yesterday, and that’s a great example of why all these game-by-game results guesses never made any sense to me. The Broncos wide receiver is gone for four games, and since the Broncos have a Week 4 bye (as do the Cardinals), the fourth and final game Welker will have to sit out will be the Cardinals’ visit to Denver. Will that impact the outcome? Maybe, maybe not. But you can’t predict because this game doesn’t allow that. Last year, when the schedule game out, the Cardinals were facing two tough playoff teams coming to Arizona in Houston and Atlanta. By the time the Texans and Falcons arrived, injuries had shredded them and they were bad teams. This year, the Broncos won’t have Welker (or kicker Matt Prater, who has also been suspended the first four games), the 49ers won’t have linebacker Aldon Smith in the first meeting with the Cards, and again, you just don’t know how these things will play out.

Random aside: That Oct. 5 game will be only the second time in Payton Manning’s career he will play an entire game against the Cardinals. He did so in a Sunday night game in 2009, but he sat out virtually all off the 2005 season finale. That is, of course, assuming Manning is healthy by that point. Because you just don’t know what will happen.

— The Cardinals picked captains and the results weren’t really surprising when you think of it. The biggest one, noted by many fans, is that Larry Fitzgerald is not a captain. This year’s offensive captain is Carson Palmer. But this should not shock. Palmer has really been the biggest offensive leader since he arrived, although there is something to be said about taking a bit of a backseat in the first year. Palmer did that, and Fitz was a 2013 captain. But Palmer is unquestionably the guy out front. Fitz has always been more of a lead-by-example guy. It was interesting that Calais Campbell is the defensive captain, but then again, maybe that shouldn’t be that surprising either. It’s hard to think of Campbell as a veteran leader — sometimes, it still feels like he just got here, especially since Darnell Dockett’s experience always overshadowed him on the line. But he’s a guy the defense can get behind.

— The Cardinals finished off their 10-man practice squad today by signing cornerback Anthony Gaitor. The 5-foot-10 Gaitor was among the Bucs’ final cuts. He was a seventh-round pick of Tampa in 2011, and missed all of last season with a knee injury. He joins rookie Jimmy Legree as the defensive backs on the practice squad, which gives the Cards some in-house possibilities for help if there are injuries with the eight men on the active roster.


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Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “A tenuous schedule, and the captains”

  1. By Rugbymuffin on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    Darren,

    Did you say hi to A-Dub today ?

    http://www.arizonasportsfans.com/vb/showpost.php?p=3032271&postcount=51
    🙂

  2. By Darren Urban on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    Rugby —

    RE: Wilson

    Yes.

    http://blog.azcardinals.com/2014/09/03/adrian-wilson-visits-practice/

  3. By Marlin on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    wish they had another safety. too bad Curtis got hurt. and still worried about backup OT.
    Go Cards !!!

  4. By James P. Krehbiel on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    Yes, injuries can change the complexion of any given game or a team’s season. Let’s hope the Cards stay healthy!

  5. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    Darren,

    I’m not sure how the bronco injuries and suspensions affect our 16-0 season?🙂

  6. By Scott H on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    Well, truth be told, I don’t know that Wes Welker would be someone the Cardinals were really gonna be overly concerned about. Even when healthy last year, he was catching some TD’s but wasn’t doing much otherwise. The Broncos will STILL have their Thomas twins ( both monsters at their respective positions ) and with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, they probably got BETTER than they were with Eric Decker on the other side. As long as Manning is dealing the passes – and with OR without Welker – the Broncos are gonna be a machine. The ONLY hope anyone will have against them is to keep their offense off the field. Keep the ball for long drives and end those drives with TD’s. Really, what else can ya do?

    And I seem to remember the Cardinals executing that general strategy with some success against Seattle last year…

  7. By Scott H on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    I really do think the losses that the 49ers have had on defense create a legit opportunity for the Cardinals to over-take them in the division. With ALL players on both sides healthy, I think the Cardinals could have done that, anyway. But when the Cardinals started to lose key defensive players…this seemed less realistic. But with the Niners suffering losses of the same magnitude, I say 2nd place in the division is there for the taking.

    And, yes, I believe the Seahawks are still the best team in the NFL until they prove otherwise. We can hope the Super Bowl jinx will bring them down to earth, but…they are still SO damn talented and so much ot that talent is just NOW entering its prime. I hate them, but they are what they are.

    As I have stated all along, THE key to this season for the Cardinals is winning games in the division AND winning every game they SHOULD win. Period. They drop ONE game that they should have won, and that ONE game is likely to be the loss that puts them on the outside looking in. And we can start with Week 1. This SHOULD be a win for the Cardinals. NOT an easy one by any stretch, but playing this one at home, this HAS to be a win. Like the opener against the Rams last year. SHOULD have been a win for the Cardinals but they gave it away. And where were they all the way down the stretch? ONE GAME behind, ONE GAME out of the playoff race. Can’t let it start that way again this year.

  8. By Dr. G. on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    That Palmer has been chosen by the “players” shouldn’t surprise. It is a testament to the players ((even if subconsciously)) looking to a sensible, mature teammate who does not seek out lots of attention, traveling everywhere and posting, “look at me, I am really cool.” They understand what “personal” really means.

    Palmer, Zastudil, and Campbell all fit the mold of mellow, confident, and sensible men who can live life and work without pounding their chest. Their successes speak for themselves. Their celebrations always include their teammates.

    I am there on 9/8 MNF in the stands to see our Cards take down the Sparks! Be well Cards Fans….

  9. By Dr. G. on Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    JTDG – I am in line with your optimism; But I will take 12/4 and play in February.

    ScottH – – Your assessment has an under current. This is why Arians started talking the “Cards don’t beat Cards” thing. Several of the games we lost last year were gifts…we beat ourselves.

    Item – – The replacements for the pieces we lost this Spring are coming together. We have an intensity that will surprise our opponents! I can just feel it…!!!

  10. By Jsoully on Sep 4, 2014 | Reply

    Granted a great season for the Broncos still because A. They have Peyton Manning, and B. They improved there defense, so I say the Wes Welker (and I guess Matt Prater) suspension is something we can use against them, anyone forgetting that they have Demariyus Thomas, Julius Thomas, a versatile Emmanuel Sanders, and countless backfield targets like Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman? We have the 3rd hardest schedule determined by NFL.com, so seriously, get your game faces on because we as fans are about to either shock the world (by the words of Kurt Warner) or flop like we have before. Now my question is how far along is Earl Watford? Is Watford getting closer to beating out maybe Ted Larsen, Paul Fanaika or Jonathan Cooper or is he a valuable backup?

  11. By Patrick Eagan on Sep 4, 2014 | Reply

    i thought there was 2 captains on offense and defense?

  12. By Scott H on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    Dr.G –

    And? Teams ( the good ones, the bad ones, and the in-between ones ) lose games every week in the NFL because they beat themselves. At the end of the day, no one cares. You lose too many games – regardless of HOW you lost them – and you’re out. If we were being honest, might have some of the teams who LOST to the Cardinals last year have beaten themselves? Heck, what about the game against the Buccs??? If they aren’t foolishly throwing the ball late in the game from deep in their own territory ( and turning it over! ), they probably WIN that game. Sure, give the Cards credit for coming up with the INT, but…if wiser decisions are made on the other sideline, it probably doesn’t happen. My point is, it is not hard for any team to make enough mistakes during a game – or just ONE – to beat themselves. It’s not always something that is easily corrected, either. Just knowing that you did it last year or last week doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen again.

    Just like ONE bad tee shot can ruin your score for the day, that ONE mistake can lose a game that you played well enough to win. As a Cardinals fan, I SURELY have seen my share of those!

    For what it is worth, I saw in the current issue of USA Today Sports Weekly that by one source’s measure of the number of wins PROJECTED for a teams opponents in 2014, the Arizona Cardinals have THE toughest schedule this year..

    Man, the hits just keep coming, don’t they???

  13. By Dr. G. on Sep 5, 2014 | Reply

    ScottH – – As I wrote before… You are correct in your undertone, but as you said, the key is really making fewer mistakes than the other team. Cards shouldn’t beat Cards. We are saying the same thing, but usually the fewest errors creates the winner. The Cards/Seattle game last year may be an exception…4 INT”s…!

    Sometimes doing the right thing is just throwing in the towel and look to the next play. But passion can defeat logic here – a winner does not want to give up!?

    Forcing an INT vs throwing the ball away. ((And as BA says, “throwing to the right people.”)) Palmer had 22 INT’s in 2013 if memory serves.

    Taking a sack vs throwing the ball away.

    Running around in the backfield for a loss vs running vertical knowing you are toast.

    Jumping off sides !!!! No excuses…

    Carrying the ball loosely as a RB subjecting yourself to a turnover. I can run faster with the ball out here!

    As CB, not looking back to the ball and getting an interference call.

    Not controlling one’s temper…only trouble here….. spearing!

    Finally..I hate to say this, but most of the players on the field DO NOT understand the rules…they only know what the coaches teach…knowing the field book can be the difference when wacky plays occur…settling for the minimum… Later…

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