The Cardinals used to go to Dallas every year when they shared a division address. But it’s been almost a decade since the Cardinals visited the Cowboys – all the way back to 2005, when only two current Cardinals were on the team: Larry Fitzgerald and the sidelined Darnell Dockett.
“That was a long time ago,” Fitzgerald said.
Indeed. Those were the days of Marcel Shipp and Josh McCown and Leonard Davis, the Arizona version. Those were the Dallas days of Keyshawn Johnson and Drew Bledsoe and Marion Barber. (The Cards, by the way, were drilled, 34-13, that day.)
Much has changed, not the least of which the venue, gaudy AT&T Stadium with its gigantic videoboard and 100,000-plus seats. “You can watch it from the sidelines,” Fitz said. “It’ll be fun to watch our defense flying around out there.”
That figures to be the key, doesn’t it? No, not the videoboard but the Cards’ defense. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is questionable after skipping practice all week and you’d have to think that makes it unlikely he’d play. But whether it’s a less-than-mobile Romo or a been-sitting-around-and-not-as-good Brandon Weeden, the Cardinals should be able to generate some opportunities. It’ll start by how they handle DeMarco Murray, of course. If Murray dominates, Dez Bryant might be able to be the QB and the Cowboys would be OK. But if the Cards can have some kind of Murray control and force it back into the QB’s hands, then the Cards will be in the game they wanted to dictate.
— Fitzgerald, on following up his stellar seven-reception, 160-yard performance against the Eagles: “A repeat performance all around wouldn’t be a bad thing on the road against the Cowboys,” Fitz said. “I know that much.”
I have a feeling the Cardinals know it too. It feels like Fitzgerald could have another nice outing.
— Fitz needs only 95 yards to surpass Cowboys Hall of Famer Michael Irvin in career receiving yards. It’d be kind of sweet to do it in Dallas.
— The Cowboys’ defense isn’t great. It has been good enough. It definitely took a hit with the season-ending biceps injury to linebacker Justin Durant, though. Durant was the Cowboys’ leading tackler.
— The last three times the Cardinals have played the Cowboys, the Cardinals have won on the final play of the game. In 2008, it was Sean Morey’s blocked punt recovered by Monty Beisel in the end zone in OT. In 2010, it was Jay Feely’s 48-yard field goal as the clock ran out. In 2011, it was a 52-yard screen pass to the Hyphen – LaRod Stephens-Howling – from quarterback Kevin Kolb for a touchdown.
— For those asking – for a road game, even! – the Cardinals are wearing red Sunday. The Cowboys almost always wear white at home.
— I’d expect Marion Grice to get at least a carry or two Sunday now that Stepfan Taylor is sidelined. Bruce Arians said Grice was ready, although he said Friday he was happy with Grice “until he dropped that handoff today.”
— Safety Deone Bucannon was not fined for the helmet-to-helmet hit on Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, the one that caused the Patrick Peterson concussion. Cornerback Jerraud Powers was fined, $16,537 for his horse collar tackle in the same game. Eagles defensive lineman Trent Cole was dinged $22,050 for hitting Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer in the helmet.
— Arians said Peterson will cover Dez Bryant some of the time Sunday, but Peterson will not exclusively be on the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
— Punter Drew Butler has played at “JerryWorld” before, having punted for the Steelers in a 2012 overtime loss to the Cowboys. Did he hit the videoboard with any punts?
“Of course you try in pregame,” Butler said. “It’s a little ego boost there. I hit it a few times.”
Butler said hitting it in-game isn’t an issue because it’s inside the hashmarks and kicks are almost always angled outside the hashmarks. A bigger issue, he said, is because it gets dark higher up, sometimes the gunners have a hard time picking up the ball as it drops from the sky.
— Arians had his own description on playing in the Cowboys’ Dallas palace.
“It’s different,” Arians said. “It’s all those fans when you come in, like you’re walking out of a nightclub. It’s got an unbelievable gladiator feeling to it because you’re walking through the fans and they’re throwing (expletive) at you.”
On to Dallas.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Cowboys, Deone Bucannon, Drew Butler, Jerraud Powers, Larry Fitzgerald, Marion Grice, Patrick Peterson
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