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Leaving points, and Friday before the 49ers

Posted by Darren Urban on November 27, 2015 – 3:41 pm

It’s hard not to talk about the points.

The Cardinals lead the NFL in points scored, in case you hadn’t heard. They also have a league-high 176 points on the road – with still three road games left – this season, with their 22 road TDs five more than the rest of the field (Cincinnati is second with 17). They just happen to be visiting San Francisco this weekend, to play a 49ers team that they happened to score a season-high 47 points against earlier this season.

So why is it, when talking to the players or coaches, they always seem to be a bit irritated with how the Cardinals play offense? It’s simple, really. They get ticked when they don’t convert a third down, when they have a red-zone hiccup, when they turn the ball over. Perfecting the “nuances,” as Larry Fitzgerald called them.

“Scary to think if we do, how many points we could score,” Fitzgerald said.

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin was being asked about the running game and it needing to be more consistent. Even though the Cards have run it fine and again, most points in the league.

“It’s something good for me to get pissed off about,” Goodwin said. “Leaving points out there.”

Goodwin, and Bruce Arians, and everyone else, knows what they have (assuming Carson Palmer is healthy): A deep offense capable of scoring with a great many options, and a quarterback who knows how to make it all run.

“As long as the offensive line protects, we can dice anyone up in this league,” Goodwin said. “I stand on solid ground when I say that.”

— The Cardinals had a long injury list when the week began, but realistically, they aren’t going to be as short-handed as thought. Patrick Peterson looks like he’s going to play, receivers Michael Floyd and John Brown (Brown is “probable” for the first time in a while) both should be on the field and while they are down a couple of defensive lineman, the addition of Red Bryant should help.

— The idea of sitting players because it’s “just the 49ers” is never going to fly, by the way. The Cardinals need all these wins. If you are healthy enough to play, you play. If you aren’t, you don’t. Could that change in Week 17 if the Cards are locked into their playoff position? Sure. But not with six games left.

— Fitzgerald needs 74 yards to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a season for the first time since 2011. That’s been a pretty long drought too.

— Markus Golden already had started a couple of games when Alex Okafor was out, but that starting job is his for good now that LaMarr Woodley is out for the season. Golden is turning out to have the greatest impact from the draft class, with all due respect to Rodney Gunter and David Johnson. Profootballfocus.com has him among the top 10 rookies in the league, and he’s on his way to being a key part of this defense the next few years.

“Since the beginning of the season I’m way better,” Golden said. “I’m more focused, and I’m not thinking as much.”

— Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said he loves the outside linebacker rotation, even with the Woodley loss. In a perfect world, he said, those guys would have snap counts in the 20s, although he said he was OK with veteran Dwight Freeney around 30 or 35 snaps.

— S Deone Bucannon was fined $23,152 for his unflagged helmet-to-helmet hit on Bengals receiver A.J. Green last week. It was a surprise the play didn’t draw a penalty. Could that have been the source of the concussion Bucannon suffered?

— One name that could appear now with Woodley out is rookie Shaq Riddick, who has been inactive every game. “We think he’s a guy who is going to be in the mix, could be this weekend, maybe the future,” Bettcher said.

— This will be Mike Iupati’s first game against his former team. If you recall, there was a chance Iupati, coming off training camp knee surgery, would debut against the 49ers, but he wasn’t quite ready that week. He admitted the game will have meaning for him.

“I do care about them,” said Iupati, who spent five seasons in San Francisco. “They are having a tough season. But that’s how it is. It’s football. I don’t know what’s going on over there.”

— The Cards have had a 100-yard receiver in six straight games against the 49ers – either Larry Fitzgerald or Michael Floyd. Floyd in particular has done well in San Francisco. Perhaps he can get there again.

— Both Arians and Goodwin were hoping that the running game will find its way back after a couple of off games versus two good front sevens against the Seahawks and Bengals. The coaches are hoping for more steady plays – four yards every play, rather than getting one looking for a big one. It’s a concept running back Chris Johnson admitted isn’t always easy.

“Being the type of player I am, the type of back I am who is so used to breaking the long runs, getting big gains,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of tough being patient and waiting on it. It’s the sort of thing where you’ve got to understand the gameplan of the week and you’ve got to stick to it.”

— Johnson also said at age 30, the maintenance needed to stay ready at this point (he’s averaging 24 carries the past three games) is crucial.

“You’ve got to put more time in as far as off the field,” Johnson said, referring to massages and the training room. “You put more time in and you’ll be OK when Sunday gets here.”

— Crazy to think the Cards have had more trouble winning in San Francisco than Seattle. But a win this weekend, and the Cardinals are 3-1 in the NFC West. If there is anything Arians has yet to accomplish, it’s a winning record within the division. That’s something they’d like to check off the list.

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16 Responses to “Leaving points, and Friday before the 49ers”

  1. By georgiebird on Nov 27, 2015 | Reply

    Cards have trouble winning in SF and everyone knows it. And now, the Cards have been made 10 point favorites at SF. Some guys in 49er uniforms are not going to take kindly to that type of sleight. Go careful-very careful.

  2. By JohnnyBluenose on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    D….wk 17 is at home vs seattle. I would expect by then that we would have locked up a home play-off game but the game could still be meaningful for seattle in terms of making the play-offs. if so, I cannot see us sitting out anyone who is healthy enough to play. not with an opportunity to eliminate the seahawks.

  3. By faster on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    @johnny, before the season i did believe, the games against the eagles and the packers (aside of the seahawks games) would be the hardest of the season. now it looks, as if booth teams are dissolving.
    that means, if our team can winn in sf, and then one game against either the rams or the vikongs, the team could be at 12-3 before the last game. i don`t believe, the panthers will loose more then two games in their last six, and that would mean, we have the second seed.

    and who would you give more chances to win against the panthers, and give us a home game in the last playoff before the bowl, the seahawks, the falcons or the bears? if this pcture occurs, i would set my priority to get all the players healthy, and not to eliminate the seahawks.

    don`t understand me wrong, no team tries to loose deliberately, especially the cardinals, but to risk core players, who have minor injuries, who could be healthy within a three week time, only to eliminate the team, who can beat the panthers at home, would that be very clever?

  4. By louis Callegari on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    casrds.

  5. By Scott H on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    Yes, still lots to accomplish, not the least of which is a win in a place where we have not fared well recently and a winning records in the division. AND a 1000 yard season for Fitz.

    Should ANYONE even be thinking about taking it easy in San Fran because it’s “only” the 49ers? Hell, NO!!! I’ve said I fear the let-down and I think this game could wrack a few nerves before it’s over. Or, the Cards could win by 30. Who knows? NOTHING that happens tomorrow will be an utter shock ( except maybe the 49ers winning by 30 ). This is a trap game and teams fall prey to them every year.

    Great to hear that Floyd will be back and JB is getting back up to speed.

    Hope this is an enjoyable home-coming for Iupati! Talk about making the right move at the right time! He stayed in San Fran right up to the moment it was better to be there, then he jumped ship to where it’s DEFINITELY better to be now. Nicely played.

    And, yes, we still need every win left on the schedule if we want to stay in the running for the top seed. That was a lousy feeling on Thursday, watching the Panthers cruise to another win because the Cowboys were so friggin inept ( even before Romo went down ). Good to see Chicago deal GB another loss, though!

  6. By DTL on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    Can’t miss D’Urb on Cardinals Cam on SF website:

    http://www.49ers.com/video/videos/Cardinals-Insider-Previews-Week-12-Game-vs-49ers/0172de36-cfb0-4e7c-b280-ef097b0a2536

    PS: D’Urb coined (or at least used) by Wolfley, nice.

  7. By DTL on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    “Paityn Antonique Peterson born 10:05 p.m. Thanksgiving night”. Congrats PP.

    “Gasp” might be the response, but I’m going to write it anyway. SB or nothing at all!!: This may be the early look by Cards at their SB venue, locker room setup, logistics and … the Bermuda Grass installed at Levi’s Field.
    http://www.levisstadium.com/2014/04/stadium-field-feature-west-coast-turfs-bandera-bermuda/

  8. By GMAN on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren,I was at Sam’s Club wearing my Cardinal gear and a worker noticed and said to me his cousin is Rodney Gunter, I told him that is so cool and to say hello for me.I also told him to tell Rodney that I love the Cardinals since 1966 and I hope they play in the Super Bowl.Can you tell Rodney I met his cousin in Henrietta,New York? It is a suburb of Rochester,New York.It is rare to see a Cardinal fan in this area.

  9. By louis Callegari on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    go cards.

  10. By Scott H on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    My lord, how did I forget to mention that it is AWESOME to hear that PP is expected to play!! But I hope he is really all there. Because if he isn’t….do we REALLY need him back this week? I know, I know….I keep saying I fear the let-down. But, geez, if anyone is gonna tell me we NEED PP against the 49ers….the rest is rhetorical.

    And fact is, a let-down could occur even WITH PP in the line-up, so….bottom line, don’t rush PP back for this game if he could use another week to get better to the extent we need him to be for the big picture.

    Really….against the 49ers, what WR do we need PP to lock down???

    Just an after-thought toward last week…..after the way he stepped up to fill in against Seattle after Floyd went out, I was very surprised JARON Brown was not more involved ( or, should I say involved AT ALL??? ) against the Bengals. Lord knows, we are loaded at WR, but it seems a shame the OTHER JB is missing from some of our games altogether. As stated, a very nice problem to have!

    Also, after seeing that catch Fells made for the TD against Cincy…..how are we not giving him a few more of those chances??? That was a BIG-TIME catch, as good as ANY I see being made by ANY OTHER TE making this year – and that includes the guy in New England! Again, I KNOW we have a lot of mouths to feed. But wasn’t that his first TD catch since week ONE?? Again, seems a shame he gets that chance only every….8 weeks or so???

  11. By mal on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    If the Cards win out and Carolina loses 2 games, then the Cards are the #1 seed and have home field thru-out the playoffs.

    I’m not saying its likely, but its sure not crazy impossible either.

    Our schedule doesnt look so tough anymore. And Carolina still has to play the Saints at NO, the Giants at NY, and Atlanta twice.

  12. By Dobie on Nov 28, 2015 | Reply

    49ers/ Rams/ Vikings/ Packers/ Eagles took us out of the plays off one years Seahawks all of this teams are not slouches one game at a time it is not over until it is over

  13. By clssylssy on Nov 29, 2015 | Reply

    Been watching the Panthers games and they are VERY impressive, very physical, who are a little unconventional but manage to win decisively THEIR WAY, kinda like the Cards. I can see the the Panthers going undefeated and so when I watch us each week, try to see the ways we could counter them and be victorious…believe it can be done as long as we keep our wits about us and play smart, we are a much more balanced team and the talent just keeps coming. This team is the most talented in the league on both sides of the ball but our defense is going to need to step things up. Dwight Freeney has been a true gift, but we continue to leave big holes when trying to blitz. I love to see our guys getting to the QB and getting those sacks, FFs and, of course, creating havoc to give us turnovers.
    I have to agree with Scott, this game has my stomach in knots, and, at this point, if we could run our Division, it would be a giant step to winning the conference, and, a victory of firsts. I want to see those new banners flying this year in UofP Stadium. Just need to eat this elephant a bite at a time, one week at a time!
    The Patriots continue to be amazing in figuring out how to rise from ashes but they are getting thinner and thinner …could see the Steelers coming from nowhere, but have a feeling there will be a new NFC Sheriff in Santa Clara when the dust settles!

  14. By Scott H on Nov 29, 2015 | Reply

    mal –

    different ways to look at it……I wonder if we should hope that Carolina keeps rolling, then has their “off” day ( which seems inevitable, doesn’t it? ) in the playoffs. Hey, it happened to them during the 2008 playoffs, didn’t it?? If memory serves, I think the Panthers were 8-0 at home that year and looked great going into that divisional game against Arizona. Then the game started. They looked good for one drive, then it was over. The camera even caught Steve Smith on the bench as that game wound down, saying to a team-mate “We picked a bad day to have a bad day.”

    Just sayin. The way the Panthers are looking NOW and with the schedule they have left….I don’t know that I see them dropping two or more at this point. Heck, they suddenly look more likely than NE to maybe go 16-0. But that could work against them, too. Not that the Panthers haven’t beaten anyone, but it looks like they are getting fat on a bunch of cup-cakes over the 2nd half of their schedule. Will they be ready for a team like Arizona if / when the time comes?

    At this point, I just want the 2 seed in the NFC. That keeps us at home for the playoffs unless we have to go to Carolina. But going into Charlotte doesn’t bother me. No frozen tundra, no 12th Man, not exactly the most rabid fan base in the league….as road games go, I take going there over going to Seattle or Green Bay or even Minnesota.

    But today? San Fran is all that matters.

  15. By CARDS62 on Nov 29, 2015 | Reply

    I like the Red Bryant signing. A run stuffer we have several weeks to get in football shape and someone who can help us against San Fran for some snaps.
    Really like the message our front office is sending. All in for the Super Bowl in 2015. I of course can not guarantee a Super Bowl Victory but we have a very good shot.

    Cards Fans this is the year we have to beat the 49ers in San Fran if we ever are, and as long as we take care of the football – no turnovers, we will win comfortably.

    Mai – the Falcons and Saints and Giants are not very good this year, and I think the rest of our schedule is tougher than Carolina so I think we have to focus on the # 2 seed. Must admit Cam Newton has played great this year and Carolina Defense is good.

    Funny we play the Vikings and Packers late this year and I think we will play one of them in our first playoff game this year and I am fine with that. Send Seattle out to Carolina to play them if Seattle wins their first playoff game.

    I did not think Bucannon had a good game against Seattle and he bounced back to play great verses the Bengals, but he is lucky he was not kicked out of the game for targeting.

    Here is to hoping Powers bounces back from his worse game of the year against the Bengals and will have his best game of the year against the 49ers, Patrick Peterson has just been amazing this year so we know the other side is going to see the action.

    The one thing I will really love to see this game is Golden & Okafor and Frenney get after the QB. Okafor seemed to really be coming on rushing the QB before his injury, but not so much since he has been come back. Golden looks good to me. JTDG if I remember correctly you were not too high on Golden in the draft so I was wondering your thinking on his play now. I know you want to be wrong and for Golden to ve an all pro, but normally your first impressions are correct like on Cooper.

    Go Cards as nothing could be finer than to beat the 49ers and then the Panthers in Carolina for NFC Championship.

  16. By DBS on Nov 29, 2015 | Reply

    I fear injuries and a letdown in somewhat a meaningless game, and it’s happening. Cards don’t seem to have a sweep play for short yardage? They seem to struggle on the dive plays when needed. We’ve seen what happens when they let a team hang around. For whatever reason they lack the killer instinct it appears.

    They won’t beat the good teams with these kind of issues.

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