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Keim: Cards didn’t play well, but were resilient

Posted by Darren Urban on January 18, 2016 – 8:18 am

There are going to be close games in the playoffs, Cardinals GM Steve Keim acknowledged. He also said during his appearance Monday during the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7 that “I didn’t think we played particularly well” Saturday night against the Packers. (Which you could kind of see as Keim walked off the sideline following Fitz’s touchdown. Among the sea of celebration, Keim wasn’t smiling. He didn’t look mad, but he looked like someone who knows the Cards have to play better to reach the Super Bowl.)

Keim’s greatest praise came for the University of Phoenix Stadium crowd, saying the atmosphere was great that that “it gives me chills” to think about the white towels waving.” The Cardinals won’t get that in the NFC Championship, since the game will be in Carolina. Maybe that’s why Keim noted the improvements that have to be made.

— Keim noted that, aside from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “I don’t think a ton of guys played great.” But the Cardinals were resilient, Keim added, which has been a hallmark of the team all season.

— On the 75-yard Fitzgerald catch in overtime, “what was the better play, Larry or Carson?” (As great as Fitz was on the run, Palmer made that thing happen.)

— Keim said he does not believe Palmer’s injured finger was a factor in Palmer’s game — which featured a few near-interceptions, aside from the two he threw. In the first half, Palmer had too much pressure in his face, Keim said. In the second half, Palmer just missed on some throws.

— The offensive line “played hard,” he said, but made mistakes, especially with second-level blocks. The run game has to produce more.

— On defense, pressure was sporadic (Keim wouldn’t touch the notion the Packers weren’t called enough for holding) and there were some mixups in the secondary and in gap discipline. Keim said he hadn’t yet talked to coaches about the last Packers drive, particularly the fourth-and-20 the Packers converted on a 60-yard pass when Jeff Janis got behind cornerback Justin Bethel. That can’t happen, Keim said, and he also said he thought a safety should have been over the top. “That’s Football 101, to be in the right place at the right time.”

— Finally, asked about Bruce Arians’ decision to throw the ball on second-and-8 with some 2:25 left in the game and the Cardinals up four points, Keim pointed out that the Cards threw up five with 1:44 left on second-and-8 in the season opener against the Saints. Running back David Johnson took that pass and scooted for a 55-yard touchdown.

“You know our style, you know our aggressiveness,” Keim said. “We play to win.” But was he nervous on that play? “Not at all. I trust our coach and I trust our players.”


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64 Responses to “Keim: Cards didn’t play well, but were resilient”

  1. By Jon on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Any way you can retweet or tweet a link of the breakdown as to why fitz was so wide open. Thanks

  2. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Jon —

    RE: Fitz 75-yard play

    Kyle is working on a Film Room article of that play for Tuesday.

  3. By PeterinCanada on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    We certainly do have to improve. Carolina looked awesome in the first half yesterday. That said, if anyone can do it, we can.

  4. By Robert on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    The panthers will kick our butt if we play like we did against Green Bay. Heck I already bought my plane tickets for the SB..NON REFUNDABLE..so i am 100% with the Cards But just telling everyone that we need to do better. Our OL is the PROBLEM yet again –our LT and LG both ALL PROS??!! are not playing well, nor is our RG Funny, i think Massey is playing the best..That is the problem and we better get it fixed…

  5. By Black on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    The Cards definitely will play better this Sunday.

    You can thank Seattle for laying the groundwork the way they attacked Carolina in the second half.

  6. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Keim is just stating the truth and I give him credit for recognizing all that was not done particularly well on Sat night. That the Cardinals have to play better to beat the Panthers next week ( never mind the Super Bowl for the moment )….well, nothing anyone can say could be more true than that. Whether he says it or not, Keim knows that. I think BA knows that. And I believe these are the kind of guys who will let the players know what they think, in their own way. They will take care of that and that is why I have as much regard for them as I do.

    As someone stated on the previous blog, I think you can see how the losses of Matthieu, Okafor, and Redding have had affected this defense. They are not getting pressure on the QB as effectively as they were and the secondary is definitely not playing as well. I really am not expecting them to stop the Panthers. Because no one has really stopped the Panthers all season. What I want from them on Sat night is a solid game and a couple of big plays. A turnover either returned for a score or to flip field position would be huge. If they can just give us that….they have done their job.

    Carolina is the top scoring offense in the league. I don’t see our defense shutting them down. You pretty much have to plan on them scoring 30-31 points. Because that is what they do every week. If we can’t stop that from happening, then we have to counter with scores of our own. Period. It’s that simple. Good news is, the Cardinals can trade punches with anyone. They CAN match the Panthers, score for score. The offense has to win the game by landing more punches than Carolina can. We have to out-score them. it really isn’t any more complicated than that. That means we need the Carson Palmer we have seen for most of the season – NOT the one we’ve seen for the last two games. I think it will all come down to that.

    I think of the games we played against Seattle ( on the road, in a place much nastier than Charlotte ) and and Cincy and how our offense just out-gunned both of those teams to win those games. Didn’t matter what happened in those games. We needed another score? Our offense was gonna go get us one. And they did. I really think that is the kind of game it is going to take to beat Carolina.

  7. By joe holst on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    I couldn’t even watch the whole game i was too nervous. Thank God they won

  8. By Daniel on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Frankly, it does not matter what Steve Kiem says if he does not have positive things to say that unite the team instead of divide. The comment about was it Fitz or was it Carson? Really? It wasn’t both of them??
    GO CARDS! You have it in you to win! This is your year!! SB50

  9. By Mike G on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is good! Crazy game on Sat Night. Glad the Cards won that one. Packers certainly played them tough and could have won it. Card’s lost the turnover battle, not much production in the running game & gave up a 4th and 20 & a Hail Mary yet won—Wild–it shows the character of the team and the resiliency. Your leaders must come through and Palmer and Fitz certainly did. I thought Tony Jefferson played well yesterday. Glad Arians got his first playoff win–much deserved with 3 good years of work here. I think what makes Keim a really good GM — he doesn’t necessarily get blinded of the teams shortcomings following a win. He knows they have to play significantly better in Carolina to move on to the Bowl. This to me is the type of game the Cards have to bring their big boy pads –Carolina might have the most physical OL & DL in the league. They pushed around Seattle –which you don’t see too often. Cards have to hold up to them especially in the first quarter. Campbell, Rucker, Minter & Buc must hold up against their run game. Looking forward to it–should be a good one! Hey Darren–How much of an advantage is it for Keim being an OL in college really help him as a GM?????? Not many OL-GM’S in league!!!

  10. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Fitz being so open on his amazing play reminded me of Doug Baldwin being so open in the ‘hawks /Vikings game when the snap went past Wilson’s ear.
    As Yogi might say- Football is 90% mental, the other half is physical.

  11. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    I watched the ‘hawks/Panthers game not knowing who to root for. Towards the end of the game, I found myself rooting for the Panthers.
    While both teams are exceptional, the Panthers are a better matchup for the Cards passing game. Just have to give CP some time. On defense, we can hope that Cam has an off day.

  12. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Defensively, it looked like Markus was severely hampered by the knee brace. It looked like Markus was the old guy and Freeney was the young guy.
    Aside from getting Palmer and drafting David Johnson, Freeney has been the best move made by SK.

  13. By Dr H on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Larry’s 75 yard run dodging those greens was great but IF Palmer hadn’t gotten away with a spin move (probably need to pay royalties to Freeney), it never would have happened. Carson hasn’t been getting near the credit for pulling this team to a victory many times during the season. Sat night was just another example of a rock solid leader who quietly does whatever it takes to win the game!

    He will lead us to a victory in NC!

  14. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Just thinking out loud.
    When you look at all the time an effort put into their NFL lives by Larry, CP and BA.- should the Cards win the SB, what a great time for each of these guys to walk away on top.
    I appreciate all that each has done especially the tough times and the feelings of hopelessness and disappointment.
    What a wonderful way to put a bow on three very interesting football careers. NOT.

  15. By hammerdon on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    any win in the playoffs is a good win . you have to love the effort , attitude . but the game plan was horrid , weak
    in the first match up . DJ had over 200 all purpose yards in the first half .. you have to know going in that Dom Capers is going to make sure that doesn’t happen again .. did it really take a half of football to start using him as a decoy ?
    that’s just arrogance , disrespecting your opponent . this isn’t the redskins with the hogs , riggins . that can line up , run the ball effectively with 8 men in the box .
    obviously BA wanted to run the ball . and i know we could’ve done a much better job of it , if we’d have gotten the defense afraid of our air attack in the first quarter . so for me . this team overcame a GB team that played their best game of the season . and a crappy game plan . that’s not going to get it done in Carolina . and i think the Seattle game showed how vulnerable our team is to a very good game plan . our defense was on their heels the entire game . I just despise the seahawks , pete carrol . so it is particularly embarrassing to be so thoroughly out coached by those bastards . when will BA realize we have TE’s on this team ? weapons are only effective . if you use them once in awhile .. love this coaching staff . but how about a bit more creativity to start the game ??
    GO CARDS ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  16. By joe holst on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    It looks like Carson Palmer is pushing his throws, I wonder if his finger is bothering him.

  17. By JohnnyBluenose on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    georgiebird….getting Palmer for almost nothing probably was Keim’s best move but I think his next best move was drafting Tyrann Mathieu. If we do not win the Super Bowl this year it is because we do not have the Honey Badger out there. Freeney has played well but he is not an every down player. I think signing Larry Foote last year and then keeping him on the coaching staff was a better move. As for David Johnson, he has made some excellent runs and catches this year but on Saturday he did not do much running the ball. That may have more to do with the fact that first round picks Cooper and Humphries are not good enough to play than it does with Johnson. Only time will tell whether these two picks work out or not but it seems to me that we are paying Cooper a lot of money to sit on the bench and Humphries has not suited up all year despite being healthy. It’s early but right now those two picks are not looking like Keim’s finest moments.

  18. By Tradersbrain on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    The playoffs version of Carson Palmer is worrisome. Accuracy issues, questionable decision making. With all this talk of his extensive preparation, it appears that when a team “mixes up” their tendencies, he reverts back to Palmer of 2013. If he continues to play like he did on Saturday, we are done in Carolina. He needs to perform at an MVP caliber from here on out.

  19. By CreditCard on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    The only questionable coaching was preparing for 3 different teams the 1st week. My opinion, the 1st week the Cards should have practiced on what they do well and what they do poorly. The 2nd week then hone in on your next opponent — which was the Packers.

    My opinion, the Cards match up well against Carolina. I also think the Cards played tight against the Packers. Credit s/b given to the Packers on how they game planned.

  20. By Bob Yeager on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    I literally hold my breath every snap. Palmer is just as likely to throw a 60 yard bomb as he is a pick 6. When he is on, he is a competent QB, when he is off………..you’ve seen it. If he shows up in Carolina we will be competitive, if not, look for a BLOOD BATH! Good luck Cardinals ( I’m afraid that you’re going to need a lot of it)

  21. By DTL on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Urb’s best line of year, Rodgers’ Hail Mary became footnote after Palmer to Fitz 2x in OT. Cards won and did not play well, what a good team does.

    Question: Think GB vs. AZ is now a playoff rivalry? Me too. I’m pretty sure if Cards ever lose again this run, Palmer, Fitz et al wont be whiners like Matthews and Rodgers in their press conferences.

    Pack stacked the box and blitzed, we stumbled but regrouped at half. That will be crux of Carolina game, their strength is DL and LB. Also, Pack O played small ball keep away, Carolina run game might try that too?. On D, we miss Mathieu the most. Bethel exposed b/c gets all the action per PP avoidance, plays hard and huge upside, oftne out of position, yet clsoe, hope he gets baptized soon. Carolina’s O strength is TE, RB, QB, Bethel won’t be as at risk.

    Noticed David’s Johnson comment Pack doubled teamed him a lot out of backfield, might be part of why Larry got free, on single coverage?

    Never got panicked, again this game (and mean me, not Cards! lol). Maturing as a fan, felt Carson Palmer had it under control.

    Cards rding Larry’s Legendary Trail to #SB50… with assist from C. Palmer. Larry’s catch and run TD in SB and 75 yd OT reminiscent of Pony Express hightailing it along the Legendary Trail through Arizona… it doesn’t get any better’n this my friends. Savoring it all…

    PS: nobody’s saying it, but Carson’s finger maybe making this harder

  22. By Robert on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    i don’t know how we are going to stop carolinas run game..we are not physical enough. Trying not to be negative since I AM THE ONE WITH the airplane tickets to SB 50..NONREFUNDABLE!!! but the game is won in the trenches and unless we play better, more physical then it ain’t going to happen. I can see a 16 play 8 min drive or a few of them from carolina. Plus we need touchdowns not field goals AND keep in mind we are an indoor team. ANy idea of the weather? it aint’s going to be any climate control in that stadium…Wind? with Palmers finger?

  23. By cakesw on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    I’ve got my tickets in Carolina !!!

    Who is with me !!

  24. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Jon,

    Fitz being wide open ;

    Obviously, film would show this better, but what I saw on the play is this,

    Palmer had a deep drop and was looking down field. the cards had either Floyd or Brown (can’t remember) going deep and Fitz ran a crossing route underneath at about 10-12 yards.
    The play broke down when Palmer was pressured and began to scramble. As Palmer began to move to his right avoiding the rush (and his own blocker), Fitz continued across the field to the left. Meanwhile, the pack defense reacted to Palmer moving and looking right and slid to the right.
    When Palmer thought “where is Fitz” he glanced and saw fitz all by himself to the far left. Once he let the ball go, Fitz did his magic.

  25. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    The case for Larry being the Greatest of All Time;

    Man, was that fun watching Larry do his thing Saturday night.

    But could he be put in the argument of GOAT? Sure Jerry Rice is considered the GOAT receiver. Rice deserves this with the stats he put up in 21 years. But I think there is a case for Larry Fitzgerald if he continues to play. I think if you compare the two and take all into account, at this point in his career, Larry is the best.

    At age 32,

    Rice turned 32 in Oct of 1994. He finished that year with a total of 820 catches, a little more than 13300 yds and 131 TDs.
    Those stats are amazing.

    Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald at age 32;
    has 1018 catches, almost the same 13300 yards as Rice, and 98 TDs

    Of course, Fitz has played 2 more seasons at 32 than Rice. But I think you can argue that stats wise, they are in the same ball park. Fitz has same yards, more catches , less TDs.

    But here is why I believe Fitz is superior.

    Jerry Rice had the great HOFer Joe Montana till 1990 throwing him the ball in this new offense that took the NFL by storm from the genius of Bill Walsh. He played the next 4 years with HOFer Steve Young.

    Meanwhile, Fitz has played with these QBs
    Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Brian Hoyer, Derek Anderson, Max Hall, Matt Leinart, Josh McCown, Kurt Warner, Shawn King , John Navarre.

    So while Rice was putting up these stats with this explosive offense headlined by a HOF coach, and two HOF QBs, Fitz has been catching passes by guys most people would say, “Who”.

    So, while Rice went on to play 21 seasons and set every record, does anyone believe after this year that Larry is slowing down? With BA and Palmer, Larry produced his best year. I for one , believe he has many great years ahead.

    So, Cardinal Fans, appreciate the magic of Larry. Enjoy every second you get to watch this amazing talent. You may never see another cardinal this good in your lifetime. Heck, I believe you may never see a better wr in your lifetime.

  26. By Dr. G. on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    hammerdon – – What is a TE? Sincerely, Coach Arians… Oh, another blocker, right?

    Some of us have been wishing that we would use the same offensive weapons that are used against us ((since2013)). Fells and Gresham can be valuable factors…some shorter cross pattern passing will help Palmer/Fitz/Fells/Etc. to hold-move the ball and control clock time from the get-go…agreed.

    Keim is astute in his observations…I wonder how often he gets into BA’s gambling ear?

    Another week for Palmer’s injured finger that doesn’t bother him to heal!!

    Tradersbrain – – Yes, Palmer needs to play like the MVP he could be….yep…

    Credit Card – – Prep for 3 teams?? I agree on the offensive half of that, but the defense must look at what the other teams do differently…generalizing..

    Wishful planning – – Win the coin flip; sustain a steady 6minute drive and score to open up the game…mud in the black cat’s eye to start. USE your TEs some to help on short yardage, BA!! Special teams?…stay in your zones and pay friggin’ attention…

    Go Cardinals…you can do it. You will hears us all the way from AZ…!

  27. By Richard S on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Thank you Dennis Green for giving us Larry Fitzgerald. He is who you thought he was. Good luck with trying to get the rest of your money for coaching that Sacramento team.

  28. By kenny beal jr on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Play prevent on plays with 5 seconds left or 4th and 20…

  29. By James Campbell on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    It takes health/preparation/strategy, and execution to win the Superbowl. Bruce Arians needs to stop gambling with the future of the Cardinals. There are situations in games where common sense dictates how the game should be managed. Running out the clock, so that your opponent doesn’t have the time to beat you is one of those situations. What is the value of having a brilliant coach, if that coach isn’t disciplined enough to manage the game correctly?

  30. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    James —

    RE: Arians

    I could argue that what makes Arians a brilliant coach is exactly how he’s been managing the game. Statistics show most coaches are actually too conservative. And as my cohort Kyle Odegard points out, Arians is 24-5 in one-score games since coming to the Cardinals. Sounds like what he does is working.

    One more thing: There is no rule book on managing the game “correctly.” It’s just as easy to argue that they were tied not because he threw on second down but because his secondary failed him not once but twice.

  31. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    joe hoist –

    Man, you REALLY couldn’t watch the whole game??? Wow!!! Dude, I was biting my nails the whole time, so I get the nervousness part. But a playoff game?? Wow…I could never stop watching a playoff game. What part did you NOT see?? The end?? Holy cow, if you missed the show that Fitz put on…..you missed something special.

    But I’m with ya. That game damn near killed me.

  32. By David on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    According to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com and numerous other “experts” the Cardinals should not even go to Charlotte. I cannot stomach the thought of Scam Newton and the arrogant Panthers in the Super Bowl.

    I’ve been a Cardinals fan since the St. Louis days. Don’t let me down!

  33. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Daniel –

    RE: Frankly it does not matter what Steve Keim says….

    Um, dude? He’s the GM. Think again. What he says matters a WHOLE lot, trust me.

    Just me, but I don’t want my GM to just think of positive things to say. I want a GM who will see it for what it is and will tell it like it is. Do you really think he is saying anything the players don’t already know??? Trust me, they know. And I think they appreciate their GM being straight with them.

    Same with BA. You think he hasn’t let them know there is a lot they need to do better going forward??? If not, I don’t think you know who our coach is. Coach ’em hard, hug them later. The hugs are on hold right now. They are getting a big dose of the “coach ’em hard” part this week. And that is exactly what this team needs.

  34. By The Gman on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Hi Darren,
    Do you think Bruce will use the flea-flicker this week? It worked great in Chicago this season.With our speedy receivers it should work great.

  35. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Gman —

    RE: Flea-flicker

    If he does, he’s not going to say.

  36. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    @Johnny Bluenose-
    Agree with you on HB- was thinking of the guys on the team right now.
    Don’t agree with your assessment of David Johnson in Saturdays game. I remember Johnson getting 4 or 5 big time 1st downs that enabled the Cards to continue drives.
    And agree completely with Humphries and Cooper. These two picks will continue to drag down SK’s overall GM accomplishments that have otherwise been stellar.

  37. By Cactus jeff on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG
    regarding Fitz and GOAT
    The numbers get you to who qualifies to be the greatest, but in the end it comes down to the “eye test”. For me, my eyes tell me Fitz and Randy Moss are the best. Career wise Rice was amazing but not at the same level as those 2 wide outs.

    Ignore the ESPN drumbeat. Go by what you see not what you hear.

    Go Cards! Fitz is amazing

  38. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    @JTDG
    Your assessment of GOAT receivers has to go to Rice for sheer yardage and a long career filled with big games.
    If you want to strip away teams and HOF QB teammates, then the GOAT is Roy Green.
    I’ve seen all the receivers since the mid 50’s and no one put more fear in a defense than Roy Green. His 1555 yards in 1984 was a record by NFL receivers. Roy Green had a relatively short career. He played for a struggling Cardinals’ franchise in the ’80s and hardly ever played in big games..
    The day I saw Roy Green run away from Daryl Green of the Redskins (considered by many to be the fastest db of all time) was the day Roy became #1 in my eyes.
    Ask Stump Mitchell how good Roy was- or maybe Bill Parcells !

  39. By Texascard on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Darren. Is there any chance nfl network will replay the game?

  40. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Texascard —

    RE: Replay

    You’d have to ask them. I’m sure there’s a chance.

  41. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    To add to my previous post about what I see being necessary on Sat, there was one more thing I thought would be pretty helpful – a score on ST’s. It has been a LOOOOONG time since we saw one of these, so we are long over-due. A big kick-off return or a punt return ( maybe after we scored and then forced a 3 and out? ) would be sweet. And I can’t think of a better time for it than THIS game.

    Some other things I would like to see that have kinda disappeared as of late –

    Jermaine Gresham. Where has he been???

    A blocked FG. We used to be able to do that….

    Andre Ellington. Too much dynamic potential to be a non-factor.

    Trick plays are always nice! The shovel pass to Fitz was a BRILLIANT call ( and BRILLIANTLY executed ), but is that a trick play??

  42. By Dr. G. on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    Just FYI, CARDS FANS… The shovel pass to Fitz to win the game was used by Aaron Rodgers earlier in the game. Weird, huh?

    The refs missed a couple calls, but it evened out in the end…just re-watched the game again…later

  43. By JohnnyBluenose on Jan 18, 2016 | Reply

    georgiebird….it’s okay to disagree with me. Many do. But what I wrote was that Johnson did not do much RUNNING the ball on Saturday. And he did not. He had 15 carries for 35 yards. I believe he had two runs of eight yards each and the rest were not much. He did make three or four key RECEPTIONS that got us some valuable first downs. Those are the plays I believe you are referring to..Maybe we need to take a page out of the Patriots’ book and throw the ball 50 times on Sunday rather than try to run the ball. Both Johnson and Ellington can catch the ball and we already know what our receivers can do. If we can protect Palmer and if Palmer can overcome the jitters he has displayed lately we should be able to gain a lot of yards and put enough points on the board to win. I just hope the weather is decent on Sunday so that our passing game is not adversely affected.

  44. By CARDS62 on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Carolina game plan

    I am with you guys on TEs involvement, but would like to see them block some especially early in the game and then release into the pattern late. Panthers pass rush has me a little worried especially early in the game. I consider Russell Wilson a strong QB and Seattle O line good and Carolina destroyed them early.

    I want my Honey Badger on the sideline and talking with the dbs not in the owner box with Mike, Sorry big guy, but I think you will have no problem getting a date.

    Who do we put Patrick Peterson on this game? If its me I put him on Olson and this will also get him some prep work for Gronk. This year is Peterson’s best year defensively by far and covering these two guys will be a great test for Peterson plus most of the time should leave him and his ball skills in the middle of the field.

    Peterson actually looked aggressive on punt returns last game so hopefully this will continue, and I agree with you Scott that it is time for a FG block.

    Defensively we have to stack to stop the run and keep Cam in the pocket. I think Cam will have time to throw the ball and can beat us with his arm, but if we can keep the lead I think Cam will feel the pressure and his arm is still not as deadly as his legs.I think I will activate all healthy defensive lineman this game so that we can rotate fresh bodies in all game. Very surprise Red B. was not active last game and worried he might be injured.

    Offense has to at least get us a couple of first downs every drive and Butler not punting from our end zone to 15 yard line, and please Butler have a great game. It was all Fitz last game, but we will need most of our offensive weapons to shine this game.

    I am thinking this will be another intense game as my wife and boys had to leave the room during the Packers game. 75 yards of total offense in the first half kind of made me kranky and don’t even get me started on those 2 hail marys.

    I have heard analyst picking us for the game and also Carolina, but it will not bother me if they would all pick Carolina. I think we play better as an underdog. Sunday can not get here soon enough.

    Go Cards beat Carolina and in the words of Ryan Lindley, Avenge me!!!

  45. By Daniel Thompson on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Bethel needs to look for the ball sooner.

  46. By joe holst on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    I checked the score on my phone- the hail mary made me sick

  47. By hminus on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Everyone keeps saying that CP’s finger isnt a factor,but since the Philly game,his game has changed noticeably,(accuracy,turnovers,)so while everyone is saying its a “non-factor”,i”m going to pray for a dramatic recovery so he can be himself again…he;s getting the job done,but seems 85-90%…

  48. By Sackman on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    We can’t make it to Carolina game.

    Darren are the Cardinals planning on anything at the Stadium Sunday for the NFC Championship game to be watched their?

    Or is that just for the Super bowl?

  49. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Sackman —

    RE: Plans

    If the team plans any get-togethers, I will pass them on. As of now, I have not heard anything.

  50. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    At times like this experience matters which could account,in part, for the meltdown by our defense and flatness of our game. Fitz,Freeney,& some of the other veterans came to play but we will need everyone RAZOR SHARP & with fire in their bellies in Charlotte. We need more out of the offense blocking and protecting Carson and we need Chris Johnson back. That guys is fearless with the heart of a Pitbull! Having Johnson & Johnson would be an unexpected nightmare for Riverbboat Ron & Co. CJ went on IR 12/1 so should be eligible I think (can practice after 42 days & rerun in 8 weeks. We need all the weapons at our disposal if we expect to even get in the door of the dance!
    Sure hope the D is having some of their special meetings this week, will leave their egos at home and be channeling some of the HB! Any chance HB will be able to be on the sideline helping his boys?

  51. By JohnnyBluenose on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    @clssylssy….ever since CJ2K was placed on injured reserve with the opportunity to return it has been reported many,many times that the earliest he could return to the line-up is Super Bowl Sunday. You are on this blog constantly so you would know this. Why are you talking about him possibly playing in Carolina?

  52. By Cardinal's Chick on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Chris Johnson is eligible to practice now, which he is doing. He is not eligible to play until the Super Bowl if we make it that far.

  53. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    @ Johnny…yes, BA said we would have Chris back for SB. My observation was that we need every possible weapon or else we might not need to worry about the SB and CJ is a big reason we are where we are now. The Panthers are tough and gritty and we need guys who are not going to be bullied and are not afraid to put there face in the fire protecting Carson and opening up lanes.
    If you check the rule book, guys on IR designated to return are eligible to practice 42 calendar days and play eight weeks after going on IR which may make him eligible …just a thought.
    From what I saw in the Packer game we need some way to help our offense beef up the run game and a double dose of the Johnsons could be what’s needed to get us back to our previous form. Whatever…this ain’t BA’s first rodeo & I’m sure he’s thought about this moment all season . This IS for the pot..no risk it, no biscuit!

  54. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: CJ2K

    Eight weeks after CJ went on IR is Jan. 26.

  55. By clssylssy on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Thanks Darren, it was just a thought, perhaps a lot of wishful thinking and no, I didn’t go to the trouble of counting. I do however stand by my observations that we are going to find a way to help our offense block better to help Carson and open up our running game.

  56. By georgiebird on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    @Johnny Bluenose
    re: David Johnson
    I think David Johnson played a clutch game against the Packers. His catch for one of the 1st downs was exceptional.
    However, DJ has some problems built in to running style as of late and I think it has hurt his performance:
    1) DJ has of a habit of hesitating as he takes the hand-off
    2) DJ has started juking in the hole
    3) DJ’s running style has always been a bit high.

    But the kid is a gamer- big, fast and clutch.

  57. By Adam on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Darren-
    It seemed like there was a lot less blitzing and a lot of 4-man rushes in the first half. It seemed like Bettcher tried to play a lot of coverage instead of attacking, which we all know has been the MO of this team all year. In looking at the tape, have you noticed that? Do you know what % of the time we blitzed, compared to the seasonal averages?

  58. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Adam —

    RE: Blitzing

    I did not get any numbers like that. It didn’t seem like the Cards blitzed a lot less. The Packers definitely threw shorter passes much of the time.

  59. By TucsonTim on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Keim noted that, aside from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “I don’t think a ton of guys played great.”

    As I previously posted, this highly talented Cardinals team is LAZY minus one hall of fame player name Fitzgerald

    So before all of you thumbs down fans get carried away, I ask you this, are you going to Carolina??? I am. I believe this team can pull it together. I think they are going to stun the football world….but like your highly intelligent gifted son or daughter who never feels the need to study because they know just how much effort they have to put forth to get an A, this team is LAZY…minus Fitz

    BTW I have already made my San Jose flight and hotel reservations…have you???

  60. By Darren Urban on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    Tucson —

    RE: Lazy

    I’m glad you are going to the game(s) and that you are a fan, but saying this team is lazy is simply wrong.

    No way a team wins 14 games with a bunch of lazy players.

    They are not perfect and there are times they have mental lapses they shouldn’t. But to call them lazy is laughable.

  61. By Keith on Jan 19, 2016 | Reply

    I can’t help thinking that Arizona has to play the Rams, Seahawks and 49ers defense twice a year. While Carolina plays Tampa Bay, Atlanta and New Orleans defense twice a year. Switch those games and I can’t help thinking Arizona has the number one offense in the league. That being said with Mathieu I think the Cards are the favorites, without anyone’s game.
    My thoughts are throw to Johnson and Ellington coming out of the backfield and mistake free football…

  62. By clssylssy on Jan 20, 2016 | Reply

    Tucson…
    Happy for you dude and I think you are confusing comfortable with lazy. Our road record this year says this team plays best with their back against the wall (guess we can blame the Greenbrier for the Steeler game) and they have something to play for (BA’s words).
    The Panthers haven’t lost a home game in over a year but that shouldn’t matter if we can regain our senses and find the inner strength to play up to our abilities. We have a handful of players who have postseason experience (let alone SB) but now I’m hopeful the other younger guys have experienced something special and have the fire in their belly & thirst for victory that will prevent them from settling for seconds.
    While it’s great to have the Birdgang in full voice at home, I sometimes wonder if we create a distraction and false sense of security. Man-for -man, matchup wise we are the better team, just need to keep our focus and come out fast & hard for 60plus minutes & Finish STRONG!

  63. By Scott H on Jan 20, 2016 | Reply

    Tuscon Tim –

    Glad you are going to the game and I hope you enjoy a great trip, a good game, a Cards win. But….relax, man. Geez, you come off like because YOU are going to the game, YOU have the right to criticize. But anyone who is NOT going to the game has no right to say anything. That’s not really how it works.

    I came from NJ to see the Seattle game. Did that give me the right to be critical of how they played while telling everyone else to zip it if they weren’t there? No. You are a fan, no matter where you are. Buying some plane tickets doesn’t make anyone a better or more invested fan than anyone else.

  64. By Kevin S Mesa on Jan 20, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H —

    Sorry that you came all the way here to see that game. What a letdown.

    Tucson Tim (and others) —

    One of my least favorite narratives in sports is when people declare after every win that the team worked exceptionally hard, and after every loss (or after a narrow victory, but one against a team that everyone thought they should beat easily) that the team was “unfocused” or “lazy.”

    These are professional athletes. They all work hard. Do guys take plays off sometimes, especially, say, a receiver when he knows it’s just going to be a run on the other side of the field? Sure, that happens.

    Can you actually tell me that by watching the games, you can tell when a player is exerting maximum effort, and when he isn’t? Or is it simply from the RESULT of the play that you conclude these things?

    Was Patrick Peterson “lazy” when Janis hauled down that Hail Mary, or did the guy just make a better play than Peterson? Is Justin Bethel lazy, or just not as experienced at this point in his career?

    This team is 13-3 and I hear more people talk about them “losing focus” or “not playing a full 60 minutes” than I used to hear when we were 5-11.

    One of the downsides of a winning culture is that people start to assume winning is a given, or that it’s easy, and that if we don’t win, it’s because the guys aren’t just putting in the effort. That’s not fair to the team.

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