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Friday before the Chiefs

Posted by Darren Urban on December 5, 2014 – 3:48 pm

It’s been a while since the Chiefs have come to Arizona. The last visit was in 2006, in the first season of University of Phoenix Stadium. It, like this Sunday’s visit, comes a week after the Cardinals made a trip to Atlanta and lost. Back then, the Chiefs’ game was the first NFL start of a first-round draft pick – quarterback Matt Leinart. This week it’s the first NFL start of first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper.

It’s an interesting parallel even if it doesn’t relate directly to Sunday’s game. Leinart actually played well that day with a couple of touchdown passes (even though Larry Fitzgerald left with a hamstring injury that would ultimately keep him out three games, the longest down-time of his career) and should have had a third if Bryant Johnson didn’t let a throw go right between his arms.

But that was then, this is now. Game-day decision Fitzgerald should play against the Chiefs after missing the last two games – keeping that three-game stretch back in 2006 as his career-high (or low?). And Cooper’s play, while important, won’t be as important as the play of quarterback Drew Stanton, who needs to bounce back. The QB is in the crosshairs, especially with the Cardinals without running back Andre Ellington and his problem hip.

— If the Cardinals win, they remain the NFC’s top team, regardless of any other game, with three games to go. If they lose, they will no longer be the NFC’s top team regardless, because Philadelphia and Seattle play each other and a win with a Cards’ loss puts either ahead in the standings. The Cardinals don’t want that.

— One running back the Cards won’t have is Michael Bush, who was released Friday. That could be a short-term thing, but for now, the non-Ellington backfield will feature Stepfan Taylor—who will get the start in a running-back-by-committee scenario — and Marion Grice. Arians had some praise for Grice Friday. And all season, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said he saw Grice as a player who could fill the Ellington role. Now he has to.

“We have a lot of trust in him,” Goodwin said.

— This is interesting: Cardinals punter Drew Butler was fined $8,268 for facemasking Falcons punt returner Devin Hester on Hester’s 70-yard punt return for a touchdown that was called back. It was called back because Hester was flagged for facemasking Butler. Except … Hester wasn’t fined for the penalty.

— So to recap, the man who was penalized was essentially exonerated with no flag, and the man who should have been flagged wasn’t. Throw in the fine-but-no-penalty for William Moore on Cards’ wide receiver Jaron Brown, and it doesn’t seem like the officials had the best game.

— For those who want to know, the Cardinals will again wear their red pants Sunday (with the normal red home jersey.)

— The Cardinals are holding their annual toy drive Sunday at the game. Partnering with The RoomStore, volunteers will join cheerleaders to collect unwrapped toys and donations for underprivileged children outside each entrance at University of Phoenix Stadium.

— If the Cardinals win, they will have seven home victories. That would be the most for the franchise since 1925, when the Cards had 11. Eleven home wins. It helps that the Cards that year played 13 of 14 games at home (which was in Chicago at the time.)

— In 59 career games before he infamously lost the tip of his finger trying to make a tackle in New Orleans, safety Rashad Johnson had three interceptions. In 22 games since, he has seven interceptions. To be fair, Johnson didn’t start really playing a lot until the second half of the 2012 season, but still.

— Larry Fitzgerald, asked if he takes pride in his run blocking in the offense: “I take a lot more pride in catching passes.”

Fitz laughed as he said it, and he did say he does want to help with his blocking. But let’s not confuse this. Later, Fitz said “I have nothing to do with the run game. I’m a wide receiver.”

— Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said the game in Atlanta was a “bad day at the office” for his unit. Bowles said they forgot it quickly, and have to move on. The defense needs to. They will be crucial down the stretch, especially as offensive injuries mount.

— Bowles was on the staff of Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid in Reid’s final year as Eagles’ head coach. It didn’t go well – the Eagles were bad, and Bowles, who eventually took over as interim defensive coordinator, was hammered by fans and media as the defense struggled – but Reid said now Bowles was the best interview he’s ever had. Bowles returned the compliment.

“It was great working for him,” Bowles said. “I probably learned more from him in one year than I have from a lot of people over a long time.”

— Hopefully for the Cardinals, it also means Bowles learned Reid’s tendencies. The Cards need every advantage.

See you Sunday.

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32 Responses to “Friday before the Chiefs”

  1. By D on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    I say open the roof Sunday and bring back Jessie McGuire for National Anthem…and add a flyover for this game…got to go large for the Game of the Year…

  2. By shannon robinson on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    I have a big heart for Jonathon Cooper. The Cards’ fans deserve to relish in his success. A Dobler kind of guy (Heck I used to love watching Robbins knock people around in Sun Devil) – wouldn’t that be sweet? The left tackle, left guard, center combination is where you begin to build an offense. That’s where you can get those big holes that open fast so Stepfan can get in amongst the Chiefs’ second level and bang past some linebackers. Stepfan does hit the hole, which can be said for Marion Grice as well. It’s fascinating to watch personnel decisions being made like letting Bush and Mulligan go and bringing Williams back to the roster. They must like Kerwyn’s quickness and speed, but it also tells us they like Marcus Bernard and Glenn Carson, two guys that might have been cut. There’s been a pattern in the NFL lately where teams step up and others collapse and it’s usually unexpected. We might just surprise everyone with a run game this week and a zero tolerance defense again.

  3. By TucsonTim on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    Because Hester didn’t commit a penalty. Butler was held on the play. Butler’s face mask was obvious and worthy of the fine.

  4. By georgiebird on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    Darren,
    There are two games played recently that hold the key to the Chiefs game. Those games were the Lions’ game and the Falcons’ game. Both those teams have a pretty good QB and a great wide receiver. The Cards beat the Lions and lost to the Falcons.
    The Cards had a great 5 minutes to start the Lions’ game (14-0) and a horrible 12 minutes to start the Falcons game (0-17).
    All the match-ups and metrics of the Chiefs’ game don’t mean anything if the Cards don’t start the game well.

  5. By Nick Pepe on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    Next man up. Again, and again.

    Coop needs to play with confidence and not on his heels. The RB’s need to make forward progress, and who knows maybe bust a couple here and there. The Chiefs do give up yards. If the O-Line can get a push and if the backs run with attitude, grind some yards out…..that could be all the difference. Keep getting manageable 3rd downs (which will be even more manageable with Fitz). Keep pushing. Want it more than the next guy. The RB’s have fresh legs not doubt about that, they need to protect the ball.

    And so does Drew. He needs to settle down, first and foremost. Maybe it’s me but a little more touch on a couple deep balls, or a little less zip on some short routes (a dropped TD comes to mind), but that comes with being comfortable in the pocket. And you can’t be comfortable in the pocket if you are running for your life. The PA passes aren’t really effective if a) you aren’t running the ball well or b) you are faking right and the rb is headed further left (at least twice in last two weeks) than Tiger’s opening tee shot yesterday.

    Everyone needs to be clicking on all cylinders on Sunday, Offense. Defense. Special teams….but most especially the 65,000 fans !!!! This one is on you!! You need to own it. Take it personally! If you don’t think for one minute you can’t make a difference in Sundays game than leave me your ticket at will call and book me a flight. Let Drew run his show, let Coop get comfy and then ….Be loud, be proud. We have a home field advantage, and YOU need to show everyone why (no violence towards any Chief fan who may show, but stealing his date is ok).
    The team will feed off you, and you have to be in it for all 60 minutes. I have half a mind to stay home and listen to it on the radio and hear the crowd as opposed to going to my local pub and see it but not have audio.

    Good things will happen. I believe.

    It was tough to take the last two weeks. If we took care of business I wouldn’t have to roo…. roo…….. root for the friggin Eagles this week. Can’t believe I brought myself to say that (Like Fonzi saying he was wrong).

    We will right the ship Sunday because 64,000 BirdGang members will be at the helm!

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member ’70-’71

    And if you do leave that ticket and book me a flight let me know asap so I can ask the wife for permission !

  6. By Scott H on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    Hate to say it but….what are we actually missing without Ellington this week? He’s been averaging 1.9 yds per carry recently. Am I wrong to think that hasn’t really been helping??? We CANNOT be any worse than that.

    Again, I’m not down on Ellington. It’s not his fault he’s not bigger and it’s not his fault the workload he was given wore him out. But….

    ….1.9 yds per carry. Yeah. And people want to blame Stanton….

    Yes, see you Sunday. They don’t get much bigger than this.

  7. By sbrown on Dec 5, 2014 | Reply

    If I remember the Chiefs game in 2006, was a last minute, come from behind win for KC over the Cardinals. Then the next week was the famous game vs the Bears where HC Denny Green made his famous “and we let them off the hook” post game statement after the Bears came from behind to beat the Cards in that game… hoping for a better outcome vs the Chiefs on Sunday..Go Cards !

  8. By Red Dead Redemption on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Makes you wonder why the cut Michael Bush so fast. I would say it is because he did not impress but I never got that impression from Arians comments.
    Maybe it’s more the fact they were more impressed with Grice, and has more potential being younger.

    I’m not an expert, but I do bet on football and have made a lot of money the past five years. However Stanton looked to have more than a few bad throws to me.
    Most of his throws go to the right side of the field and he is the least accurate QB starting in the NFL.

    Drew needs a solid game. Arians says what is on his mind, but that has to be coach speak. Another poor performance and any future Drew Stanton support will start to sound like Arians saying how Levi Brown was elite.
    Logan has not impressed but another bad game, and you have to wonder if you make a change, having nothing to lose performance wise.

    Where on earth is Drew San Francisco? I really liked Drew better.

    I honestly shudder at Patrick Peterson’s next good game. I expect him to run his mouth how great he is, and the bad game was no big deal. Then go on to say how he is the best CB in football – again. It’s one thing to focus on being your best, compared to saying you are the best. Aaron Rodgers does not proclaim he is the best QB in football, but he could and we all would just nod.
    Stats Patrick, stats.

  9. By louis on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    If we lose Sunday and don’t make the playoffs, I hope the front office makes a crucial change in the coaching. Cards fans, you have to wake up and smell the coffee and stop being in denial.

  10. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    If everyone does his job and if Stanton plays well then we should win on Sunday. We need to keep Stanton upright and we need to make plays. I read (at least I think I did) that Cooper recently had a few snaps at tight end. I wonder if any thought has been given to allowing Bradley Sowell to do the same thing. He is a big body and he has fresh legs and he should be able to help our o-line protect our quarterback. Radical thought, I know but I am not suggesting it be done on a regular basis, only in certain situations..Expecting a close game on Sunday and we need some success early. Keep going.

  11. By NickPepe on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    @ louis – let me get this straight: our current coaching staff is 19-9 and on the verge of having the best start in for any coaching staff in Cards history and you want to make changes? What exactly are you putting in that pipe of yours?

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member ’70-’71

  12. By erik on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    I am just as disappointed as anyone with the recent play of this team.

    But to suggest it’s time to make a coaching change is idiotic.

  13. By Richard L on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Darren-Any chance the League fines Jeron Brown for his vicious hit on William Moore?

  14. By clssylssy on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Glad to see the red unies back for this game as we need to remind the Chiefs from the get-go they are facing a tsunami and red means a dangerous red sea! EVERYONE from players to fans need to get their heads right for this one, as the Chiefs will bring their A game and believe us vulnerable. They will also bring a large group of their faithful to best the birdgang with volume in the stands. Last season the Rams/Eagles games kept us out of the playoffs and this year it could be the Falcons/Chiefs (believed to be completely winnable)…wow, so much for stats! Now is not the time for the fans to begin turning on our players, but instead need to get behind them with positive momentum!
    louis–what are you…12? I say that because you seem to expect immediate gratification and change to happen overnight. Part of the Cards problem through the years has been a lack of consistency and the changing of coaches when things got a little stormy…guess desert dwellers don’t know how to deal with the weather like others! I have a great deal of respect for BA and what he’s done here in the last few years (don’t always agree) and believe a good coach can only be judged by the players, as their performance is the grade card that reflect management skill, knowledge and teaching skill, as well as, strategic genius. Like a good teacher, a good coach inspires a hunger to win, and greatness, sometimes beyond the measurable stats that define the individual but becomes attainable through the combined efforts of the team. In that regard, who can argue with the achievements of Coaches Whisenhunt and Arians?
    This game is winnable but will take a group effort beyond the field, and, the Birdgang needs to be suited up and ready to be LOUD AND PROUD as we PROTECT THE NEST! We can rise up and taste victory once again in our home. This is the time of year the going gets rough and the tough get going toward the Lombardi with renewed passion and resolve! GO CARDS, BACK TO WORK!

  15. By rod on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Rooting for my Cardinals!

  16. By Mr Robles on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    I hate fake fans only love your team when there winning. Ride or Die #birdgang for life! Real fans have noticed next man up since the beginning of the season & REAL fans have great FAITH in this concept. So many players lost to injury & we reached 9 wins that’s a great accomplishment.

  17. By louis on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    WE have to wait and see what happens then we see the hole truth .

  18. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Great line heard on radio:

    “no longer next man up, its now ‘next group up’ “.

    No matter, these Birds are game;) Cards get to 10-3 while Seahawks fall to the Eagles, and 8-5. So Cards back to 2 game lead with the round robin left to play.

    ( and later, Stanton further redeems himself and leads us into home playoff game win… and so it goes… Ho Ho Ho😉

  19. By Steve on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Darren: Speaking of Leinart do you think he will get another shot in NFL?

  20. By Darren Urban on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Leinart

    No.

  21. By Rick on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Everyone going to the game tomorrow I got 3 words and that is to “BRING THE NOISE”. I’ll be there too… Go cards !!!

  22. By William Barry on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    I believe the “Christmas God” will look over us and grant us a win this week, and a loss for Seattle and a loss for SF. There is no way Philly loses to Seattle, especially since Dallas won earlier this week.

  23. By Scott H on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Louis –

    You’re killin’ me, man. You’re REEEEEALLY killin’ me. Regardless, of the outcome to this season, are you really foolish enough to think there is gonna be a coaching change here??? My God, man, you are beyond help.

    Please…TRY to enjoy the game on Sunday. Try to enjoy SOMETHING, for cryin’ out loud…..

  24. By Dynosoar on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    The Lombardi trophy or nothing at all!

    Let’s win against the Chiefs (and I’m rooting for the Eagles this week as well.) Home filed advantage is ours and I believe we can keep it. I don’t know if we will, but the last two weeks we played desperate teams fighting for their playoff lives, this game features both teams fighting for their playoff lives.

    This game is important and I feel strangely calm. This team is built to win this game, looking forward to it, too bad it wasn’t flexed.

  25. By Bryan on Dec 7, 2014 | Reply

    Not sure where you live but the game will be on CBS in Virginia at 4pm. I honestly can not remember a time when I was able to watch so many regular season games at home being on the east coast, I think today’s game puts it at six and there is still the monday night game. Its been great not having to go out for every game this year.

  26. By Chuck 1 on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    It the Cards lose the game because of meager running yards, causing Stanton to win the game through the air, it is on Keim’s shoulders i.e. he has built an excellent defense while ignoring the offense (O-Line and a bruising RB).
    He has one more FA period and draft to correct his mistake.

  27. By red bird of death! on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, I’m just going to cut right to the chase what are the chances we make a play for Adriane Peterson he’s a pretty good back, he could bolster our run game a bit no? He supposedly wants to go out a Cowboy but cmon, we need him they have Murray.B.A. Told me through the television and his body language that’s his plan so I’m going to go ahead and say it’s a done deal and we will have AP for training camp thanks , Merry Christmas!

  28. By Red Dead Redemption on Dec 6, 2014 | Reply

    Louis, I can’t tell if you are trolling or not for sure. But my gut says you are being serious about Arians.

    In any case, I think you deserve the most idiotic comment award in 2014, without using insults or profanity. For me, it has to be the most idiotic comment I have ever read on here.

    The only one in denial is you. Maybe you don’t like bald guys or something.

  29. By Big Ken on Dec 7, 2014 | Reply

    Cooper needs to step up, his specialty is run blocking. It’s get to have him back. Go Cardinals!

  30. By louis on Dec 7, 2014 | Reply

    Red Dead Redemption

    WE wiil see today .

  31. By louis on Dec 7, 2014 | Reply

    I am a proud union member and I don’t like coaches that throw players under the bus like Arians does.

  32. By Dr. G. on Dec 7, 2014 | Reply

    CARDS FANS – – et al….

    Today is the anniversary of the day that caused the declaration of war with Japan, who unfortunately was an ally of Nazi Germany. We remember all those men and women who have served so valiantly since the Declaration of Independence for this wonderful Country. Those who have gone before us, and those who serve currently deserve honor and respect for their service.

    FREEDOM IS NOT FREE! This country gives us the freedom not seen or experienced in any other country in the history of the world to date. That is why we have such an immigration issue…everyone wants to be here to experience “”The Great Experiment.””

    It gives freedom rights to critique our representative leaders…
    ….and the right to say GO CARDINALS…!!!

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