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Friday before the Gronk-less Patriots

Posted by Darren Urban on September 9, 2016 – 3:41 pm

The last time the Cardinals played the Patriots, the Patriots had Tom Brady, and Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez when that was someone you wanted. The Cardinals had Kevin Kolb at quarterback, Ryan Williams at running back, and Quentin Groves was a key linebacker. The game was in New England. And the Cardinals won.

It was improbable yes, and took a no-way-to-predict Stephen Gostkowski 42-yard field-goal miss to make happen, but it did. (We won’t reminisce about the 2008 New England trip, the time before that the Cards had played the Patriots.)

But if the Cards can knock off a Brady-Gronk Pats team in New England, what about a Brady-less-perhaps Gronk-less Patriots in Arizona, against a much stronger Cardinals’ roster Sunday night? We’ll see. If there is any coach that can make an inexperienced Jimmy Garappolo work at QB, it’s Bill Belichick. The Patriots are still strong, although they are missing some key components.

Still, if you are as good as the Cardinals should be, this is a game you should win, at home. Really no way around that. And there is no question this team is better than that 2012 squad, despite that win in New England en route to a 4-0 start. (Yes, they finished 5-11. We all know how that ended.)

— The Providence Journal reported that Gronkowski was among a couple of questionable injured players — including former Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper — who did not fly with the team to Arizona Friday. It’s been pointed out that the Patriots have in the past and could still fly them to Arizona Saturday. But short of a private plane, you’d think it’d be easier to fly banged-up players on a big charter and let their bodies get used to the new surroundings for a day. Officially questionable, could Gronk miss this game too? It’d be a huge break for the Cardinals, for sure.

UPDATE: Gronkowski, Cooper and tackle Nate Solder have all been downgraded to out for Sunday’s game. That’s huge news.

— The story all through camp is whether newbies D.J. Humphries at right tackle and Brandon Williams at cornerback can hold up as starters. We’ll see. Humphries noted today that vet Evan Mathis is set to give him an adjustment if he messes up. Meanwhile, Kyle Odegard writes about why Williams is driven to make this NFL thing work even when people wonder about his late move to cornerback. (Hint: They are 7 and 2 years old.)

— New Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones said he didn’t have much insight he could deliver to his new team about his old team.

“One thing I do know about the Patriots, they will try to expose certain weaknesses,” Jones said. “That’s what they do. They study our weaknesses or who is the weak link on the team and they will try to expose it. that’s one thing you have to look out for.”

— Jones is going to have to play a big role. Don’t know how much the Patriots will let him get off in the pass rush, but this is the guy the Cards have been yearning for and he’s going to have a heck of a spotlight right out of the blocks.

All those times we talked about Larry Fitzgerald potentially being traded to the Patriots seems silly now, to be honest.

— Great line about starting center A.Q. Shipley from offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin, who emphasized he has a lot of confidence in Shipley: “He knows about being told he’s short, he’s fat, he’s chubby and he’s got short arms, so he’s always trying to prove everybody wrong.”

— In case you missed the first Cardinals Underground podcast of the regular season, here it is.

— What to expect from Tyrann Mathieu? Everyone, from players to coaches, talk about how the Badger is back to being the Badger. But when Mathieu talks, there is definitely a pump-the-brakes aspect to his comments. I know Mathieu was disappointed with how he played the last time he returned from a (much worse) ACL injury. He’s made no secret of that. Maybe he’s just trying to temper expectations, especially his own. But I expect Mathieu to be able to play just fine, thank you.

— The parking lots open at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, for those asking.

— The past is the past, but under Bruce Arians, the Cardinals are 25-5 outside of the NFC West and 10-2 against AFC teams. The AFC East, of which the Patriots are part of and the Cards face this season, is the lone division the Cardinals have not played under Arians.

Here we go. Safe to say this is the most anticipated season for the Cardinals since they arrived in Arizona (2009, when the Cards were coming off the Super Bowl, was close, but no one thought that team was as good as this team.) See you Sunday.

beforepatsblog


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Posted in Blog | 16 Comments »


16 Responses to “Friday before the Gronk-less Patriots”

  1. By Big Ken on Sep 9, 2016 | Reply

    Gronkless

  2. By CARDS62 on Sep 9, 2016 | Reply

    No Brady and hopefully no Gronk will be great.

    We all know Williams is not ready at CB, but he is the best we have right now. CB best friend is the pass rush so lets hope Cardinals can get after the QB while only rushing 4 or 5. The other thing is I have not seen any safety help this preseason so I am hoping we put Peterson on an island and give Williams a lot of safety help.

    My biggest concern/fear right now is turnovers. We have just been turning the ball over so much early in games that we can not get into the flow of a game offensively or defensively.

    Excited to see how well we run the ball when it counts and I am hoping for 55 rushes this game. Excited to watch C. Jones, M. Golden, and CC get after the QB.
    Excited to watch PP, T. Jefferson, and the Honey Badger give the Pats fits.
    Excited to watch the Red Sea go crazy Sunday Night and root us on to victory.

    College football was great last weekend and will be nice on Saturday, but that game last night, Broncos – Panthers was incredible, and there in nothing like the NFL, especially the Cardinals in prime time. 48 hours and counting down to kickoff.

    Go Cards beat those Patriots!

  3. By Scott H on Sep 9, 2016 | Reply

    For what’s worth, consider these trends….the Cardinals are 5-17 straight up and 8-14 against the spread vs the AFC East. Just sayin.

    And for those who thought an NFC powerhouse couldn’t lose to a back-up / rookie QB, did ya see the game last night? Even with Denver having that defense, should the Panthers have lost to a team with a starting QB that had not yet thrown ONE pass in an NFL game as of kickoff?? I would have said no. But they did.

    And now it appears Gronk is not playing either, unless the Pats are trying to play major league head games here. Without Brady AND without Gronk, is there any way the Cardinals should lose this game? No. Barring something very un-forseen, the Pats have no business winning this game.

    But let’s consider the other possibility – can the Cardinals still find a way to lose this game??? The nature of the NFL says yes, they can. The Cardinals can lose this game IF they find a way to play well below their capabilities and truly LOSE the game.

    The Cardinals have no excuse for not winning this game. NONE. This isn’t even a game they SHOULD win – it is now a game they HAVE to win. And ya never know how that kind of pressure will affect a team.

    Last night, the Panthers put themselves into a position to win a game that didn’t seem like it should have been as close as it was. But their kicker misses a kick at the end and they go home 0-1. And that’s the thing – let any team hang around long enough and it just takes that ONE miscue to put you in the loss column. That could be a missed kick, a penalty, a turnover, a dropped pass…..anything. And the Pats ARE good enough to hang around, but they would need help to win the game.

    This game is there for the taking. What I need to see is the Cardinals take control of this game early on and to NOT let the Pats hang around by keeping them in the game. That’s it. If this is not a win, we blew it. Because with no Brady and no Gronk, the Pats are not good enough to win this game by being better than the Cardinals if the Cardinals are playing as they should.

    Don’t give this one away. Bring it home and make it look like you were supposed to win – because you are!

  4. By JohnnyBluenose on Sep 9, 2016 | Reply

    I know it is early but carolina losing could help us in the battle for home field advantage in the play-offs. In much the same way that minnesota finishing ahead of green bay last year means that we play in minnesota this year (indoors) rather than outdoors in green bay. every little bit helps. just win on sunday and keep going.

  5. By Richard L on Sep 9, 2016 | Reply

    Loving the Cooper trade right now.

  6. By texascard on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Scott h

    Those numbers of cards v afc east need to be split into home and away. It is a trend that no team travels across the country well especially to the east coast. This is a home game. Cards win 24 13. Go cards. This team can do this

  7. By cardsbaby on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    I hope the players aren’t reading all the press clippings and come flat like they did quite a bit last year. They need to play to their full potential every snap of the ball.

  8. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H —

    It’s the NFL. “Any Given Sunday.” There’s a reason why double-digit favorites are rare (I think Seattle is the only one this week). Even without Brady, the line was only around 6… I think it’s since moved to 7 with Gronk out as well.

    The reality is, NFL games sometimes turn on just a few plays. A receiver bobbles a ball and it gets popped in the air and taken by a defender for a pick-six. A returner fumbles the ensuing kickoff and the opponent takes over on your 15 yard line and takes it in. Suddenly you’re down 14 points and nervous.

    It doesn’t happen a lot, but sometimes you see those strange games where one team has 450+ yards of offense, the other has less than 300, but the one with fewer yards won the game by two TD’s because they had a huge punt return and forced three turnovers.

    I am very comfortable predicting that the Cardinals finish this game with more total yards than the Patriots. The score? Ya never know.

  9. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin S, Scott H —

    RE: Any given Sunday

    Cardinals 242 yards, Patriots 387
    Cardinals 2 turnovers, Patriots 1
    Cardinals 20, Patriots 18
    Sept. 16, 2012

  10. By TLT fka DTL on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Always have to be leery of the weird bounce from a crooked ball…but betting the ball ain’t that crooked.
    Cards 34
    Pats 16

  11. By clssylssy on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    It almost seems like w/o Brady, BB is treating this like another preseason game, testing his backupS and newly acquired players against a highly ranked team, rather than risking further injury to his stars. Excellent opportunity. I really don’t think that a L at this point of the game would shake him in the slightest or impact their playoff picture. I hope our team will go out and play strong, play smart and not fall into a trap game, thinking they can rest while going up against the J-V squad; hope BA doesn’t get outfoxed by the Master! I read an article quoting BB as saying they do their best when the odds are stacked against them and this would be a great opportunity to see exactly what he has for down the road when he needs to start finding the “next man up”. The Cards have the better roster,the odds in their favor; this will be more a contest between coaches.
    This game has me nervous because it feels like a trap and we really need to get back that winning rhythm. We also are a team that plays best when the underdogs. GO CARDS! START STRONG & PLAY SMART. LET’S PROTECT THE NEST!

  12. By Scott H on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin –

    Hey, man. Sounds like we are basically saying the same things. Loved your post and I think you are right on. The NFL is a place where every week, there are games that just didn’t go as it seemed they should have. I think the only way that happens here is if the Cardinals just plain screw this up by some tragic combination of being flat and making too many mistakes.

    But bottom line, I don’t see it happening. I think the Cardinals win this one somewhere in the area of 27-17.

  13. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H and Kevin,

    We all picked the same, I had a couple days ago 27-13, Kevin 24-13, Scott 27-17.

    But after learning both offensive tackles,Gronk, Nicovich, Brady, and there RB are out, and if Cooper was a starter at guard, how bad is the back up guard?

    If Williams can get help and hold his own, I am amending my score. This defense should throw a shutout against a team missing that much, especially up front, but we will go 31-6. This just should not even be a game. If we are truly out of the shadows of the same ol,cards and a new tradition of being a contender, this needs to be a blow out.

    Garapalo will be doing a lot of quick hitters and I can see the DBs sitting on a route. I am predicting the cards have a least one pick 6. I’m going to say it is either Bucannon sitting under a route or Jefferson on Bennett.

  14. By creditcard on Sep 10, 2016 | Reply

    Every game makes me nervous. I think the Cards are a good team, and should win. However, players play on emotions (too high or too low), the ball is goofy shaped, and referees see things that the rest of humanity does not see.

    Basically anything can happen.

    I am of course wanting the Cards to win and dominate. I would love to see a powerful run game, and a defense that literally dominates everything. A powerful run game, then opens the passing game to another level for future games.

    A dominating defense, especially interior D-linemen, allows the Cards to have more inventive ways of disguising coverages.

    Il agree with the Cards coaching and management in keeping several D-linemen and O-linemen. The Cards have enough talented ball-handlers — there is only one ball on the field at a time. Deep lines, allow for better rotations, keeping players fresh during the game and season.

    I like the fact the Cards are preparing for a brief look at the future starting D-linemen with Gunter and Nkemdickie. An once of planning is worth more than a pound of cure.

    As an avid fan, I can see the Cards are using player strategies and planning appropriately for both the present and future needs. Love the fact that the Cards are employing a well-though out plan.

  15. By Scott H on Sep 11, 2016 | Reply

    creditcard –

    Every game makes me nervous, too! But I find that comes with every game actually meaning something, ya know? When your team is a real contender…..you start to think in terms of top seed in the NFC and you know that to get that, you probably have to get to 14 wins or so, 13 at the minimum.

    We sure have come a long way from those miserable 5-11 seasons when even if the games DID matter to us, they still didn’t really matter.

    I like what we have right now SOOOO much better.

  16. By Scott H on Sep 11, 2016 | Reply

    Friggin Dolphins! Seahawks just scored with 30 seconds left to steal this one. A real shame that Seattle played as bad as they did and they are going to escape with a win. One more time – friggin Dolphins.

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