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Friday before the Eagles – this time, with Andre

Posted by Darren Urban on October 24, 2014 – 3:47 pm

The last time the Cardinals played the Eagles, the game was in Philly a few days after Thanksgiving. And Andre Ellington was not part of it.

A lot has been said about the Cardinals’ near loss to the Eagles last year, about the penalty flags the Cards questioned and the big early deficit and the inability to stop the tight ends. Often lost in the conversation is that Ellington didn’t play. That was right when Ellington was emerging as a key piece of the offense; it was two weeks later when Ellington had what Bruce Arians felt was his best game, in Tennessee.

Ellington missed the Philly game after slipping on the grass during the Cardinals’ Thanksgiving practice. He later said that, at the time, he thought he had torn his ACL. That would have certainly changed the course of the Cards’ recent history. Instead, Ellington is coming off his heaviest workload ever, with 30 touches.

The Cardinals survived losing Carson Palmer for a few games. They would survive a wide receiver missing a couple of games, or one of the linemen. Losing Ellington, though? You’d try not to think about it. Last week, Bruce Arians said he thought Ellington wasn’t going to play the second half with a rib injury. I asked Ellington about it, and he acknowledged he knows how much he is needed on the field.

“There’s a little bit of pressure, I have to admit,” Ellington said. “There is a side of me that wants to be out there for every snap. But at the end of the day, that’s why we have depth on the team. When the starters can’t go, we have guys who can step in.”

— I will be fascinated to see how Chip Kelly’s up-tempo, no-huddle offense operates in an enclosed stadium that tends to get LOUD (underratedly so.) In case you hadn’t heard, there is no NFL home – not Seattle, not New Orleans, not Kansas City – that has generated as many false starts by the opposition since 2006 than the 119 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Getting Calais Campbell would be a massive addition to the defense. That goes without saying. But seeing that Carson Palmer was no longer even listed on the injury report this week also meant something. Palmer getting back to lifting weights with his upper body will help his strength, and while it came from a different direction than last year, it certainly seems the Cardinals are set up for a second-half improvement in the passing game. Again, not ideal. But as long as Palmer is healthy, the arrow should go up.

— On the other hand, the Eagles haven’t gotten the same play from QB Nick Foles they did a year ago. He does have 10 TD passes but he’s completing less than 60 percent of his passes and has thrown seven interceptions (five more than last year already.) First job Sunday is to slow LeSean McCoy. After that, maybe the Cards can force Foles into some bad choices.

— The inactive lists will be crucial Sunday. Campbell is questionable, even if I think he’ll play. For the Eagles, they had three guys I didn’t think would be able to go who suddenly practiced “full” Friday. So maybe they will. Center Jason Kelce, linebacker Mychal Kendricks and running back Darren Sproles, if they can go, change the dynamics of the game.

— B.A. keeps talking about how his team hasn’t accomplished anything yet, and linebacker Larry Foote noted there are still 10 games to go in the season. But the team is 5-1 and feeling pretty good. So, Foote was asked, how do you get the message across?

“It’s impossible for young guys to understand it,” Foote said. “You have to say it and then you have to go out there and show them. Just your effort and the way you carry yourself in practice, they can feel the environment, see how older guys are playing, how serious they are with communication and in meeting rooms.”

Certainly, the Cardinals don’t want this to get away from them. With a two-game edge in the loss column, that’s nice to have in the bank. The Cards aren’t going 15-1. But it wouldn’t be bad to emerge from these next two games with at least a 6-2 record. Might as well get the one at home.

— Larry Fitzgerald was full of great quotes this week – talking about his “champagne problems” – and he had a thoughtful answer of what was more important for a successful team: talent, or confidence?

“I think it’s a healthy combination of both,” Fitzgerald said. “You have to have the confidence in yourself that you can go out and make the play, the guy next to you can make the play, and having that trust level in your teammates. That’s huge. It’s exemplified in our defense. Everyone saw the injuries and suspensions and people wrote us off, ‘There’s no way they can play at the same level’ and all they have done is the same thing.”

It’s a great point. The Cards need talent, and I think it only underscores the job GM Steve Keim has done with the depth that the Cards have been able to deal with their injured personnel. But the confidence means something. It oozes from the head coach, and it permeates the locker room. The Cards are 5-1 in part because they believe they should be, everything else be damned.

See you Sunday.

EllbeforeEaglesUSE


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Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »


26 Responses to “Friday before the Eagles – this time, with Andre”

  1. By jwoodaz on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Yet again Mr. Urban, great job to you and the staff, Is it game time yet?

  2. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Good point about Foles. Last year he could do no wrong. I don’t think he is scaring anyone this year. I am hopeful we can win this game handily and then people will begin to take our guys seriously. Keep going.

  3. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Well, folks, tomorrow morning I get on a plane to head west and come Sunday afternoon, I will sit among you at UoP stadium. Can’t wait to see you all there! Look for me…I’ll be wearing a red Fitz SB jersey…along with about 10,000 other people! I’m bringing an Eagles fan friend, so please be kind. Really, he doesn’t know any better! Poor parenting, I guess.

  4. By superbowlcards on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H
    The short time I have been on this board, and reading your posts, I would have never in a million years have guessed that you didn’t live 50 yards from the U of P stadium!! Never dreamed you were a Cardinal fan living in hostile Eagle territory. I would like to extend my gratitude for your loyalty, only wish there were more “long distance” fanatics like you supporting our team! And I use the word “fanatic ” in the most positive sense of the word, sir! Shouldn’t be to difficult to find you with an Eagles fan walking beside you, don’t imagine we will see much of that! Haha.

  5. By Nick Pepe on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Superbowlcards

    Believe it or not there is a good # of us living in the area of the wretched green bastards that support the Cards. Some for a really long time. There could be less obnoxious fans to live around, but you learn how to laugh about it and not let it get to you.

    Tomorrow is going to be a great day.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member 1970-71

  6. By Nick Pepe on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    According to WIP and all of Philly, we dont even belong on the same schedule. No respect. This game is important, need to punch them in the mouth early and often,
    Its only 1 of 16, But its defending our NEST against what the media thinks is best

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member
    Its Eagles Week!!!!!!

  7. By superbowlcards on Oct 26, 2014 | Reply

    Nick Pepe
    I apologize sir, you are a better man than I, no way I would live in Philly and not at least wear the local sports teams gear, people that ain’t loyal to Philly teams usually end up floating face down in some river, don’t they?? HAHA!! I know I would commute a very long way into the city to work! Don’t think I could bring myself to wear Philadelphia gear though, no matter the situation!
    I lived in D.C. for 8 years as a Cardinals fan, never could get my hands on tickets to a game, which is probably a good thing, not sure I would have made it out safely with Cardinals gear on at Redskins stadium, plus the stadium was in Landover MD, which is one of the worst crime areas in the metro area! No thank you, I much rather sit at home behind locked doors and watch on TV!
    PS…It did seem like there were a large number of fans today wearing Green though! And they were very loud, which doesn’t surprise me, people from the NE all seem to talk very loud!! Even the little old ladies speak with a booming voice, that will make you shat your britches!! HAHAHA!!!

  8. By CreditCard on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Weird shaped ball, refs that see and don’t see things the rest of mankind sees; any game in the NFL can be won or lost. Eagles seem to always play the Cards tough. As always I’m nervous about this game. Philly is good at the run, and have an inventive passing attack. They might be capable of poking holes in the Cards defense. Their defense is sound. Will be a tough, tough game.

  9. By Marlin on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    CARDINALS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. By superbowlcards on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Mr Urban’s paragraph on Andre Ellington’s worth to the team says it all, Cardinals ground game is weak, we have very little depth in the backfield. I think it is time to see what Grice can do, if it ends up being the same song and dance then Mr Kiem and company have a tough decision to make before draft day. Is #1 priority a big time RB? And then address pass rush by luring a big time proven (of course costly!) veteran through free agency? Or is it flipped around with #1 draft priority pass rush, and add veteran RB.
    I push the first option, fresh young legs via draft, plus the Cardinals have tried to upgrade the pass rush via the draft the last few years, and it really hasn’t worked out so well.

  11. By superbowlcards on Oct 26, 2014 | Reply

    With all the thumbs down on my post I fear some have misunderstood what I was saying, and I am not a writer to say the least!! I hope I didn’t come across as Ellington not being an outstanding back, I never meant to come across like that, I love what AE has brought to the Cardinals!! I also think he was the steal of the draft last year, I think a lot of fans from other teams think the same, I know a few non Cardinal fans that have expressed how much they would love to have him on there roster!! My biggest fear is overuse, or injury, plus the fact is we do have a weak run game, granted, some of that is due to BA’s system, but a lot is lack of depth, as well the lack of a runner that can bang between the tackles and make the defense think instead of keying all their resources on Ellington. We need to upgrade our pass rush as well, those are the 2 biggest weaknesses that we have, at least that is my feeling. The pass rush is non-existant, look at the tapes!! We can fix the run game a lot easier than the pass rush, if one of the current RB’s would just step up and prove they can take some of the load off of Ellington, that way he would have fresh legs going into the playoffs. The pass rush is a much bigger problem, at least I think it is, I have seen others on here in the short time I have been here that is also concerned about the lack of pass rush. We still win, we are still a very, very, good football team, but even the beat teams have weaknesses and are looking at ways to improve. Hope this clarifies what I was trying to say, Ellington is the man, but I feel we are going to run him into the ground, and 1 between the tackles runner getting 12-15 carry’s a game I think would go a long way in preventing AE running out of gas, or getting injured prior to the playoffs. By the way, how can somebody hit a thumbs down and not post a response? Why is it a thumbs down? And what is your take on it? That’s like going to your boss a work with a list of what you think is wrong, and not having one single solution or idea on how it may be fixed! Or just sitting back and complaining about a certain policy, but not coming out with an idea to fix it! Just saying….

  12. By Daniel Martín del Campo M/O on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    So this is it, let´s go beloved team!🙂

  13. By Richard S on Oct 24, 2014 | Reply

    Cards Protect the ball. No turnovers = Cardinals win. Fans make the noise and see how many DOG and false starts you can draw.

  14. By Dynosoar on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Dr G.

    I’m willing to have this back and forth be a win-win, so here I go again.

    You asked “Anyone, please explain to me how we expect to beat this Eagle team with the same approach on Offense being used up to now. On paper, they are better in all but 1 of the significant categories.”

    I gave you what I felt was a valid reason. We have the same record and comparing the teams we’ve played, we have a slight edge as the teams they’ve played have records that are worse than the teams we’ve played.

    You wanted strength of schedule instead of win losses.

    I gave you not only a CURRENT strength of schedule based on THIS YEARS results (And Clarified That As My Criteria), but compared it to the current strength of schedule for all opponents of these three teams.

    Based on our opponents, we’ve faced teams with better win loss records. Based on the opponents of opponents, we’re statistically even in our Current strength of Schedule.

    Now you want to clarify that strength of schedule HAS to be based off last years schedule??? That’s certainly one way to look at it, I chose to look at this years current strength of schedule because I think it’s more relevant than last years win-loss records.

    You asked if anyone could help ease your mind, I tried, if you don’t want any easing of your mind from me then just watch the game and wait for the results.

    Based on what I have seen, games, highlights, win-loss, current strength of schedule, etc. We win these next two games and go 4-0 against the NFC East.

    Be well. (Yes, I’m using your tagline because I do read all your posts and am emulating you in this, at least when I engage in conversation with you.)

  15. By Dynosoar on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    To all,

    I should qualify, I just went through intensive training that included a lot of team building and brain psychology/chemistry.

    I’m passionate about our Cardinals. Our chosen team AND so are all of you or we wouldn’t be here together, weighing in on all sorts of topics having to do with our team.

    I do not believe I’ve ever attacked anyone here,
    disagreed with positions – certainly,
    agreed with positions – Most assuredly,
    disagreed with validity of arguments – yes,
    been elated with everyone at our victories – most definitely and surely I don’t feel animosity towards anyone. Ya’ll are my Cardinals friends.

    Scott H. said it best “I’d jump on a grenade for ya.” (Then added, please don’t anyone throw a grenade. Haha).

    The team shirts from off-season read. Loyalty – Respect – Trust.

    We should have that amongst us. There shouldn’t be any name calling, disagreements will happen and they should because a colliding of ideas actually generates and fosters improvement, but calling anyone names should not. I have seen others who disagree called names over the last few years (not a true fan or troll or other). How can someone follow this team for 40+ years and be considered “not a true fan” just because of a differing opinion?

    We are Cardinals Fans. Let’s have loyalty – respect – trust here, not just with the team on the field. Let’s have meaningful discussion that stays respectful and is enjoyable. Disagreeing from time to time without being disagreeable. (I’ve heard a few others call for this from time to time.)

    Thanks. I for one am looking forward to 4-0 against the NFC East and believe this is not only possible, but very probable.

    (Darren, as always, if you feel what I’ve written is too off base, please don’t post it. I understand actual posting DOES NOT imply that Darren agrees with me and certainly Would Never feel his posting a comment is an endorsement. This post is mine and mine alone.)

    Let’s go win!

  16. By Johnny Carroll on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Darren,
    Great job covering our beloved Cards. A thought on the mental part of the game. I do not believe any of our players consider losing for 1 second and while it is true that we focus on the current team we are playing, players can’t help but look forward. To think that there are folks out there thinking you are going to lose a game here and there, is counter productive to me. Every game is winnable and if enough people buy into that mentality then it becomes a positive for us and we go forward believing and it grows and grows. To me it is simple, Home field advantage throughout. Win the West, win the NFC at home, then win the big daddy of them all SUPER BOWL.

  17. By infitzwetrust on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Love Ellington!

    Biggest steal of that draft!!!

  18. By cards62 on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Scott H enjoy your trip and the game. I know you live around the Philly area so also enjoy the weather. Cardinal Fans I know all of you will treat Scott well. Be loud and proud on Sunday. You know I watched the Dallas – Seattle game a couple of weeks ago on television and when Dallas scored the go ahead touchdown it sounded like the game was in Dallas. So much for the 12 man being in Seattle as I believe that bird has flown the coop and now resides in Arizona.

    I watched our Cardinals in Cincinnati, Charlotte, Nashville, and its on bucket list to make it to a home game in Arizona with the rest of you. A Superbowl game would sure be nice this year.

    Go Cards we really need to bring it Sunday

  19. By Boss hawg on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    To many we need to do this or that or maybe next year this….Just win CARDS and I’ll be happy…

  20. By Dobie on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Fans keep quiet when the Cards are on offense that a no brinier

  21. By Dynosoar on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Cards 62,

    Here’s to you being able to crossing an item off your bucket list – in February.

    Superbowlcards,

    that’s a debate that is worth discussing and there will be other takers. Since we can sign veterans before the draft, I’d say see what the veteran market offers and then draft accordingly.

    I believe drafting best player available regardless of position is the best practice, but that only works if we sign veteran free agents according to need and fill holes in the roster using those FAs. SO what free agents will be available both at pass rusher and at running back?

    Personally, I believe BA has worked out an effective running game and we have two effective backs. I’d love to see us put both Ellington and Taylor in the backfield and then defenses wouldn’t know which back to be prepared for until the play unfolds.

  22. By TucsonTim on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    Last year Walt Anderson and his crew let the Cards and 49’s play with little interference from the officials. Lets hope that this happens again tomorrow; however, he has thrown alot of flags for defensive holding this year. That could be bad for our defense since we can not put any pressure on a QB without blitzing.

    Here’s hoping for a game without a lot of ticky tak calls on Peterson and our DB’s. If that happens, we win this game easily. 49’s showed the world how to handle the Eagles. PRESSURE

    And the “up tempo” Eagle hype has now grown old. This isn’t the PAC 12. On the road the Eagles average 60.5 plays per game and at home the Cardinals average 64.7. And the Eagles haven’t experienced the noise that UOP stadium can generate.

    Carson, Smokey, Floyd, and Ellington can show off a little “up tempo” tomorrow. GO CARDS

  23. By jme on Oct 25, 2014 | Reply

    The media is seriously talking down of the cards like the Cards are 1-5, the O-line is offensive, run is horrid, Palmer stinks, secondary cant defend. WOW! im shocked! I dont see any of that. I hope Cardinals mow down the Eagles so all those haters can eat crow!! Go Big RED!!!

  24. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 26, 2014 | Reply

    @Scott H…my wife and I flew to Phoenix yesterday (Saturday) from Halifax. We were supposed to depart at 3pm but were delayed two hours which meant we missed our connecting flight in Chicago. We were put on another flight to Phoenix on a different airline and arrived in Phoenix at 9:40 pm (1:40 am Atlantic Standard time) and checked into our hotel an hour later and got some sleep but have been awake since 5am (9am back home). Like you, we are going to the game today and we are looking forward to it very much. I expect I am going to be tired eventually…but not today. Today is about football and our Cardinals. Hope you have a great day buddy.

  25. By superbowlcards on Oct 26, 2014 | Reply

    Johnnybluenose,
    Now that is true loyalty!! I hope you enjoy your experience, and at least you got to see an awesome football game!! And unlike the Eagles, your long flight back will be great no matter the delays or crap the airlines will put you through, a Cardinals victory, especially the way they pulled it out today should make your flight a very enjoyable one!!

  26. By cards62 on Oct 26, 2014 | Reply

    Johnny Bluenose – Very glad you and your wife were able to see a great game. That is some trip. Sure hope you are staying for a week or longer so you two do not have to be rushed. What a great game this was

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