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Saints — and playoff-hope — aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on December 18, 2016 – 8:22 pm

OK, so the Cardinals already knew their playoff chances were basically done after the loss in Miami, but they were officially killed off Sunday. Drew Brees hadn’t done anything for two games, and then he erupted to tear apart the Cards. All the while, it was the last home game of the year and one of those games where many players understood what that meant — Calais Campbell had already been talking about it, and Tony Jefferson tweeted about it pre-game — as contracts are ending and there is so much up in the air for 2017.

Carson Palmer is under contract for 2017. He was asked about next year, and he said he expects to be playing. Larry Fitzgerald is under contract for 2017. He said he will play the final two games “as hard as I can” and then see how the offseason plays out. If Fitz is gonna stick around, he’s going to want to know he’s got a chance to make the postseason and win.

Nobody coming into this season — even if you expected the Cardinals to take a step back from 13-3 — thought the Cardinals would be a pedestrian 4-3-1 at University of Phoenix Stadium. But here they were again, in a one-score game late, unable to win it like they had so many times the past two seasons at home. That’s what stuck with Bruce Arians, and that’s one of the (many) things to undo the 2016 season.

— It wasn’t his best game statistically but it was a very good game for David Johnson, tying the franchise record for touchdowns in a season and playing more regular wide receiver than normal because of a thin receiving corps. The Saints were also attuned to Johnson as a receiver, bracketing him often on passing plays — which is new for him.

“I was joking with one of their DBs and he was telling me when they were scouting us, (they said) don’t think of me as a running back, think of me as a receiver,” Johnson said. “That was cool to hear.”

— But Johnson now needs 200 receiving yards the final two games to reach 1,000, against two good defenses. So that will be tough.

— Palmer was good, and that was with an inability to hook up with John Brown on one wide-open deep pass (Brown did haul in a 30-yard TD bomb later) and with J.J. Nelson dropping what would have been a 56-yard TD bomb. It helped that the offensive line — from left tackle to right, Wetzel, Iupati, Shipley, Boggs and Watford — held up perhaps better than expected.

“I was happy with the way we played up front,” Shipley said. “There were obviously a couple things we would like back. But for a guy like Boggs who really hasn’t played and going against a top 10 pick (Nick Fairley), I thought he did admirable. There was one play early but other than that, he did a pretty good job. And Earl being in a position he hasn’t played in a long time, and Wetz, I don’t know what number combination of offensive line this is (for us) … I was happy with how the guys responded.”

— Another rough night for special teams. Chandler Catanzaro missed a long field goal and another extra point, although the latter ended up not mattering. Justin Bethel’s offsides on the field goal was painful though, as was the fact Bethel was offsides on three different kicks — the field goal and a pair of extra points, yards added on the kickoffs.

— Linebacker Sio Moore, on the questionable blow-to-Brees’-head penalty that killed the chance for the Cardinals to hold the Saints late in a seven-point game: “I didn’t even know the flag was on me until late,” Moore said quietly. “It was unfortunate timing for a call like that. I can’t argue with the refs. I’ve just got to figure what I’ve got to do so that situation doesn’t come up on my bill.”

— If you missed it, team president Michael Bidwill before the game addressed — strongly — the Michael Floyd situation.

— Campbell, in his ninth NFL season, scored on a 53-yard fumble return and that was the first time Campbell had been in the end zone since his senior year in high school when he had a four-touchdown game as a tight end. That was 2003.

— Tim Hightower is famous around these parts for scoring the game-winning touchdown in the NFC Championship game back in the 2008 season. He was traded away before the 2011 season, suffered a terrible knee injury and didn’t play in an NFL game from 2012-14, but has resurrected his career in New Orleans. Sunday, he scored two touchdowns in the same end zone where he beat the Eagles in 2008.

“I’m just thankful,” Hightower said. “This process has been one that has tested me in every way. … Just thinking of the last (Saints) loss here a year ago (in the 2015 opener). I wasn’t even on the roster. I was released the day before the game. It kind of had everything come back full circle. It was special.”

— Hightower was in the same Cardinals draft class as Campbell. It wasn’t surprising to see the two friends swap jerseys after the game. Campbell said he knew Hightower was behind him on his touchdown run, as Hightower tried to Beebe Campbell from behind. “I felt it,” Campbell said. “I pulled the ball up when I felt him coming for it. I told him, ‘If you had knocked the ball from my hands, we wouldn’t have been friends any longer.’ ”

aftersaints


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37 Responses to “Saints — and playoff-hope — aftermath”

  1. By creditcard on Dec 18, 2016 | Reply

    Pass defense was awful. I’m guessing T. Mathieu is not healed. he was always a couple of steps behind the receiver. Being he smallest and slowest player on the field is not good combo.

    Banged up O-line did much better than expected.

    No shows on defense: Chandler Jones, Gunter, Knemdiche, Swearinger, Cooper.

    WR drops, Bethel lining offside several times… problems are mounting.

  2. By georgiebird on Dec 18, 2016 | Reply

    The Cards can talk about all the missed passes and FGs and XPs but so can the other team. So that has become a wasted argument that we hear game after game.

  3. By georgiebird on Dec 18, 2016 | Reply

    If someone was objectively analyzing today’s game here would be the takeaway that the Cardinals should be most concerned.
    “The Saints and Drew Brees who were struggling on offense for a couple of games came into U of P Stadium and totally demolished the Cards’ defense in this 14th game of the year. Further, the Cards’ defense is basically the 1st team defense from the beginning of the year. There should be no excuses about injuries or communication problems. The pass completions were usually easy and uncontested. And to be fair, the Saints’ offense was very healthy, also.”
    Bad pass defense has been a hallmark of the Cardinals for the past 50 years give or take a very few bright spot years mostly aided by blitzing. This is no wonder because over the past 50 years very few Cardinals front 7 defensive players have made the pro bowl on any type of a consistent basis-especially drafted Cardinals.

  4. By Dan on Dec 18, 2016 | Reply

    Looks like Palmer isn’t even the best QB on our team….LOL! Anywho, nice to know Calais Campbell only has 2 more games in a Cardinals uniform……always shows up against mediocre competition but gets erased against average or above average competition. He was a good run stopper, would say above average but way below average at rushing the QB and getting rid of his opponent, or getting around his opponent.

  5. By Dan on Dec 18, 2016 | Reply

    Would like to see DJ get 1000 yards receiving but think he’s going to just come up short…..heck of a player. Imagine how good he can be with a real offensive line.

  6. By Dan on Dec 18, 2016 | Reply

    One more thing, these officials week in and week out are friggin stupid. Unbelievable…….I have no kind words to say. Just flat out ignorant.

  7. By Steve on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Sorry guys but these last two games are absolutely meaningless which is why I would like to see the Cards get a better draft slot by losing to both Seattle and Los Angeles. Right now I believe the Cards have the 10th pick in the 2017 draft and potentially could have a top 7 pick if the season ends the way I think it will.

  8. By Eazy E on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Offense exploded

    Defense looked like the 49ers Defense

    Special Teams Terrible Again

    =

    Loss to New Orleans and out of Playoffs. This wasn’t close to a Playoff Performance!!!

  9. By Amir on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    This game was clearly lost by the defense. Except for the sack-fumble-TD, the defense did not do much. Any game offense scores 35 points should result in a win. We could not stop either the run or pass. The passing defense was terrible. No pressure and several coverage breakdowns resulting in big plays.

    Special teams were as usual terrible and will continue to be until Amos Jones is fired. Why do all punters start to suck when they play for us. Wile boomed 50 yarders against us when he punted for Atlanta and yesterday he punted 36 yarder and gave the ball to the Saints explosive offense on their 40 yard line. Good thing the offense moved the ball on several drives and we did not have to punt as often. One bright spot on special teams was kickoff returns by Golden. Makes you wonder again about coaching… why the hell he was not put on KO returns earlier in the reason when a blind man could see Andre Ellington could not do that job???

    I will be really pissed if Andre Ellington is brought back next year and Kerwyn Williams is released again. Williams always makes plays when on field. What has Ellington done this and even last year??? He plays scared now and goes down on the first sign of contact.

    I love Honey Badger but I have started to really wonder if that huge contract extension is a big mistake… He has yet to play a full season and two out of the four years has been completely ineffective. In fact, his slow and ineffective play might even be hurting the defense. We should not be making “emotional” business decisions and this has started to feel like one… I might be wrong and I hope I am, but for some reason I have this feeling this was just a wrong decision. That is why franchises like Patriots are perennial contenders and Cardinals are pretenders.

    Chandler Jones has started to be invisible too often especially as the season has progressed both statistically and impact on the game. Even if he is not getting sacks, he is expected to be in the QB face more often than not. I just do not see that happening and he gets blocked out quite often. Is this our scheme? Coaching? Players around not doing their jobs?

  10. By Amir on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Another point…

    Choice of James Bettcher as a defensive coordinator for a super bowl aspiring team was really head scratching. The guy may become a good coordinator one day but to promote him as a DC with no prior DC experience really hurt this team, I believe. We should have gone for an experienced DC. The talent on this team is unreal, yet that talent is not fully realized and too often the players are in wrong positions and making similar mistakes. He is clearly getting outcoached on several occasions including yesterday.

  11. By mitchaz on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Man, this game was like watching the Pro Bowl—easy offense, QBs having time to throw to WRs who are being covered by DBs going half speed—or at times no DB anywhere in sight.

    Offense:

    * One of Carson Palmer’s best games—didn’t force any balls into coverage—found the open man—too bad he missed Smoke open for deep TD
    * David Johnson–14 straight 100+ yard (combined) performance—awesome—gotta love the “Humble Rumble”!
    * Kerwynn Williams—why he wasn’t used ahead of Ellington all this time is mind-boggling—great TD scoot off Wildcat.
    * J.J. Nelson (save the dropped go route) and Smoke Brown had good games—very encouraging for both of them.
    * Fitz fumbled—which is so rare—but this was a tough week for Fitz. Then Fitz was his awesome self down the stretch.
    * Gresham and Fells—good catches and tough, hard fought RACs
    * Makeshift o-line was cohesive and solid both in running game and in pass pro (save Boggs’ whiff on Fairley)
    * Good play calling by BA except the strange slip screen to Brittan Golden on 3rd and 10 in a must score scenario. Weird that with all the options—that play was called. Weird too that David Johnson wasn’t featured late in the game.

    Defense:

    * Horribly conceived (zoning Brees? with no pass rush?—heck zoning Jimmy Garrapollo was a mistake)
    * Other than the great play by Markus Golden and Calais’ TD and sack—and the phantom roughing the QB call on Minter’s sack—the pass rush was awful—especially from Chandler Jones, who, by the 4th quarter was being asked to drop back in zone coverage three times in a row. What does that say about the scheme and the trust that he could put pressure on Brees?
    * Brutally poor coverage, even from Pat P.
    * Unacceptable half speed running by DBs…
    * Another game of poor communication—confusion just getting lined up—been a problem all year
    * Even FOX studio guys at half-time said 1st ranked defense in yards, but “they give up big plays left and right.”
    * Sio Moore played hard, so did Minter, but they were not instinctive and ended up being a step or two slow reacting versus run and pass. Both were ineffective and tentative in the goal-line.
    * Swearinger is good at forcing the run and hitting over the middle, but he is too slow and easily faked to play deep coverage.
    * Brandon Williams actually had the stickiest coverage—the fade to Thomas was picture perfect, but Williams was close enough to make a play if he could have gotten an arm up in time. They should start him the last two games—he’s a better athlete than Cooper, who is giving up too much cushion.

    Special Teams:

    * Saints deliberately kicked off short to tackle Golden short of the 20, until Golden broke one up to the 40.
    * Wile hit a Drew Butler type punt to start his Cardinals’ tenure—but he had a good pooch punt down to the 10 and was flawless holding for Catanzaro.
    * Catanzaro’s shank was ugly, but good for Carson Palmer for showing the leadership to settle Catanzaro down…which he did. Curious and ironic that the leadership came from Palmer and not Amos Jones.
    * Bethel’s off-side—like CC’s a couple games ago—brutal. Then he jumps off-side the next time. Maybe he’s a guy who doesn’t respond well to being called a “failure in progress” on defense?
    * Pat P. was clearly hooked on kick block..

    Refs:

    * I thought the Snead TD was legit—Cardinals caught a break there—even Mike Perreira said had it been called a TD it would have stuck.
    * BA should have won his challenge of Cook’s reception—his left foot never touched the turf and from one angle it was clearly obvious.
    * The roughing call on Moore was bang-bang and it’s too bad those plays can’t be reviewed because it would have been overturned. But that cost the team any decent chance of rallying back to win.

    Brandin Cooks:

    * He’s the guy the Saints drafted up with the Cardinals to take in 2014—and the Cardinals got Deone Bucannon and John Brown in return. Cooks looked great today—but if Deone and Smoke come back strong next year, the Cardinals got the better of that deal.

    Tim Hightower:

    * Happy to see him playing and playing well. Wouldn’t mind seeing him in Cardinals’ red again.

    Home Record 2017:

    * 4-3-1
    * 1-1-1 vs. NFC West

    Hard to believe.

  12. By NJAzCardsFan on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Darren- With Ellington a FA at the end of the year, do you see K WiIliams staying on the 53 man roster next year??? Or do you see Ellington coming back?

    The Cards need a different place kicker……..

  13. By Darren Urban on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    NJAZ —

    RE: RB

    They have decisions to make at RB. STaylor is also a free agent. Kerwynn has always been able to run. The problem has always been he’s not a standout ST players and he struggles as blocker or receiver.

  14. By joe holst on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    As bad as it feels 3 out of the 4 from last year, Denver, Carolina and Arizona won’t make the playoffs, only New England makes it so it shows how difficult it is. Out of these 3 Arizona is closest to returning, look for a major roster turnover,

  15. By clssylssy on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    This is a game we could have and should have won. It was obvious that most of our players didn’t have their hearts in the game and were going through the motions.
    I was really happy for Calais having a good game and will miss him, but, as we have seen with so many other former players, sometimes leaving this franchise opens new doors to succeed in ways that would not be possible here. So often we do not value what we have and where others see greatness, we don’t even know what we’re looking for.
    It’s always great to have former players come back and shine, and I am thrilled that Tim Hightower is having such a great year.
    I have said from the beginning that our defense needed a consultant/adviser for Bettcher, that he was over his head, and our play on the field, particularly in the secondary where all of our money is, proved we have been running on hype.
    How we could be ranked as a number one overall defense is beyond absurd and only proves that numbers on a paper mean nothing if they aren’t reflected in actual wins.
    I blame the stubborn arrogance of our front office for this disastrous season and implosion of our team…going from 1st to worst is something you don’t see that often, and may be some kind of different NFL record.

  16. By Marlin on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Zone Defense in the secondary? They always talk about picking guys who are cover guys, man to man guys, guys who thrive playing man on man. Then they go to a zone defense?

  17. By Marlin on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Everybody is picking on Chandler Jones. But FYI, Boetcher is scheming him into coverage alot more lately. Why would a coach take our best pass rusher and drop him into coverage? Makes no sense. We were in a zone defense most of the day. I don’t think Swearinger was in a position to hit anybody! Not his fault, he was coached to drop into zone coverage.

  18. By D on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    C Campbell is going to get a nice contract in free agency, having a solid year. This team has many holes to fill. Need more speed at Safety, need another starting CB, need to figure out what to do at MLB, DLine has young players not playing well. Also holes to fill at WR and Oline, appears the team is in need of a complete over haul. Palmer still playing well at times, yesterday he was good, but this organization needs to get lucky finding a QB for the future. The problem for Keim will be can he fix this enough in order to keep his franchise WR one more year and compete for the playoffs next year in one off season.

  19. By rod on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Seems like the defense was confused a lot, does that mean that Buchanan usually yells out what’s what? But he wasn’t there so they didn’t have that guy?

    I though the offense played pretty well all things considered.

    Maybe there is a guy in the draft named Chuck and these last two games we can “suck for Chuck”.

    Go Cardinals 2017 !!

  20. By Scott H on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Amir / Marlin –

    Well, Gus Bradley ( former Seahawks D coordinator ) just became available…..any interest? Or, should we not even bother thinking about it if no coaching changes will be made after this season?

  21. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    clssylssy —

    I’m as disappointed as you in this season, but what’s with the “1st to worst” talk? Are you talking about in the division? Because we’re still 2nd place there. We’re hardly the worst team in football. We’re still positive in net points, nothing like teams like Cleveland or SF that are losing by double-digits every week. As of this writing, we’re still ahead of Carolina (barely), who’s fallen even more.

    Teams rise and fall quickly in the NFL from year to year. Heck, sometimes they rise and fall quickly WITHIN a season. After a 3-0 start, people in Philly were talking about Wentz as the Messiah and making plans for the playoffs; now, they’re 5-9. After a 5-0 start, people were talking about Minnesota as a SB contender; now, they’re 7-7 and it’ll be a miracle if they even make the playoffs.

    The Cardinals have lost a bunch of close games, games that they won last year. They’re not a horrible team.

  22. By mitchaz on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Marlin—

    Chandler Jones isn’t playing like a guy who wants to be in AZ next year. After a good start to the season, he has slowed down considerably the last few weeks. Sacks and QB pressures have dwindled to practically nothing.

    Ironically, when Bettcher had Jones drop into flat coverage 3 times in a row, Brees passes to his side and Jones made two big stops to force a FG—which was then nullified by Bethel’s off-side penalty.

    But, i gave you a thumb’s up on your post because you asked the key question as to why Jones was asked to rush on three consecutive plays with the game on the line.

    Every team needs a big sack guy late in the game to seal the victory. The Cardinals had that guy last year in Dwight Freeney. This year, Markus Golden has come the closest to being that guy. Jones has been invisible with games on the line. And now the Cardinals are going to have to f-tag him, at $17.5M? Or he walks. I say f-tag him, sign Melvin Ingram and then try to get back at least the 2nd rounder they gave up for him in a trade.

  23. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Amir —

    Re: Bettcher:

    Please spare me about how Bettcher is being outcoached and isn’t capable of being an NFL DC.

    The Cardinals’ offense has been as suspect as the defense this year, despite having a running back that people are saying is, if not the best, then one of the top 2-3 in football; despite having one of last year’s MVP candidates returning at QB along with every other player who contributed by catching, throwing or carrying the ball. And yeah, there were some injuries, but there were also injuries on the defensive side too. But the defense lost players going into the season; the offense returned basically everyone, or if it didn’t return them, the replacements were generally better (e.g., Mathis).

    So unless you’re also going to say Arians is being outcoached and needs some “experienced help,” looking at the results of the games and saying that it proves Bettcher can’t coach is silly. Bettcher isn’t the one who thought Brandon Williams could play corner.

  24. By Scott H on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin –

    I agree with your point that for most of the season, it was the offense that was not holding up its end of the bargain. The last two games have been bad showings for the defense, but for the most part, I think the defense has held up.

    The special teams have been lousy since Week One. Sounds pretty much like a recipe for a losing season, huh?

    I’m not necessarily down on Bettcher but I would not be opposed to other options, if what clearly seemed like a better one were available. Next time Wade Phillips is available, they need to go get HIM.

    But if anyone clearly needs to go, it is Amos. I don’t disagree with Arians when he says that players need to perform, the coaches can’t do that for them. But that has its limits. NO aspect of their special teams was good this year. And when that happens, you HAVE to look at the coaches that are responsible for having that unit ready.

    Again, accountability.

    And it bothers me a little when I hear Arians saying that no changes will be made to the coaching staff. I don’t think any coach can ever take that approach into an off-season. If the goal is to get better, than EVERYONE needs to be evaluated. And after an implosion like this 2016 season??? How can anyone’s job be un-touchable??

  25. By Scott H on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    I gotta agree with you on Jones. He may be a great player but he he was not a difference maker here. And as such, why are we gonna break the bank on this guy?? That just doesn’t make sense to me. Sometimes, a player like Jones can be that ONE piece that puts a defense over the top. Jones looked like he COULD have been that guy here. But he wasn’t. I look forward and I see a lot of needs for this team. And I feel like we will be better able to address them if we don’t invest a fortune in this ONE player who does not appear to be that ONE piece we need.

    QB of the future and O-line are where it needs to start. And unfortunately, drafting for those positions has not been a strong point of this organization.

    And maybe my priorities are a little out of whack on this but…..can’t help it. Coming into this season, the Cardinals were clearly a win-now / go for it all now team. But as we are limping toward the end of this season….I am much less convinced that this group of players can do that. Palmer is saying he is playing next year. That is probably good news, but….not if he is going to be same player in 2017 he was this year.

    So, for me? It all comes down to Fitz. And maybe that’s where my priorities go out of whack. Can’t help it. I just wanted to see them win a SB SOOOOOO badly with Fitz. So, if Fitz is back for next year, damn the torpedoes and make another run at it. Go all in. Go all out. But if Fitz is going to walk away? Start the re-building process.

    Just do it right, for God’s sake.

    Either way, they need to be thinking QB of the future. If we’re gonna have Palmer for another year or two, get the kid in here now and let him have the benefit of learning from a guy he could learn a lot from.

    And time to move on from Stanton. Maybe I should have been thinking that last off-season when so many others were saying it. What can I tell ya? I was wrong. BUT I was also caught up in win-now mode and I thought Stanton served that purpose better.

  26. By clssylssy on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin….
    24th and dropping? Impressive fall and I’m guessing that is what’s referred to by BA as the “Penthouse to the Outhouse”…and, our defense is being described in the national media as a “sieve” (that’s the NFL’s No.1 overall total defense?)…what a bad joke!! If Bettcher isn’t at fault then who is? Fans blame the Special Teams coach for the failures on his unit, how is Bettcher not being held accountable? Can we say, “management dysfunction”?
    The thing with the offense is, that while it’s been bad at times, it has improved mostly due to the efforts of a few guys and Palmer’s toughness. Not the same with the defense which has gone from bad to worse to done and left the building before the end of the season, much like previous seasons.
    I can’t believe our fans are so willing to accept another cycle of such unimaginably horrific performance…same song, different verse! Simply mind blowing! Last time we did this bad, they cleaned house (but at least we had a NFC Championship and a Divisions Championship to console ourselves with)!

  27. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    This is unrelated to yesterday’s game or about the Cardinals but it may be of interest to some of you but, if not, it would not be the first time. I live in Nova Scotia and we had our first real snow storm about a week ago and it has snowed a couple of times since then. Sunday morning I was shovelling snow from my driveway when one of my neighbours walked by and stopped to talk. His name is Terry Baker and only a few of you would ever have heard of him. Canadian Redbird, who has contributed a few comments in recent weeks, would recognize him as a 15 year veteran of the Canadian Football League (1987-2002) as a place kicker and sometimes too as a punter. Terry knows I am a Cardinals fan and we talked a bit about the disappointing season the Cardinals fans have endured. For some reason I was wearing a Dallas Cowboys stocking cap and he made a joke about that and then said that Jason Garrett had been his holder for a short time when they both played for the Ottawa RoughRiders (Canadian Redbird has already pointed out that it is normally the back-up quarterback who is the holder in the CFL). I was stunned to hear this. I had no idea that Garrett had ever played in the CFL and I am sure this is news to all of you. Terry explained that Garrett was actually the third string quarterback but filled in for a few weeks when the back-up was injured. As it turns out the back-up was John Congemi who played from 1987-1993 and who has been a college football analyst since 2005. Some of you may know of him. I looked up Garrett’s CFL stats. He was on the team for three months in 1991 and he completed two passes in three attempts for 28 yards and he began his NFL career in 1992 with the Dallas Cowboys. The first string quarterback of the Ottawa RoughRiders in 1991 was a guy named Damon Allen, another name most of you are unfamiliar with. Allen was an undrafted quarterback out of Cal State Fullerton who was 16th in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1984. He played in the Canadian Football League from 1985 – 2007 and was part of four Grey Cup winning teams. In his career he threw 394 touchdown passes and for 72381 yards. He also rushed for 11920 yards for a combined passing/rushing total of 84,301 yards. Think of the Original Russell Wilson. He retired at the age of 44. Pretty impressive. As I said, you will not have heard of Damon Allen. But you all will have heard of his older brother….Marcus Allen. Sorry to have been so long-winded CardsFans but I hope a few of you did not mind.

  28. By BChimp0 on Dec 19, 2016 | Reply

    Gotta admit: my favorite AZ Cardinal (Keim) has warts.  Keim went cheap and it cost us.  Went cheap on long snapper.  It only took a week to fix.  We were sold on the rookie DBS all throughput camp.  What the H#ll we’re they looking at?  We should’ve paid Powers & Rashad Johnson.  Their departure made a long term strength an immediate liability. 

    The curious affinity to Butler after the DREADFUL Carolina game.  And then bringing him back after injury? It’s a good sign he’s finally gone. Also curious about Amos Jones. My kick-coverage DREAD started in 2013 when the Cards gave up a late 65yd return to allow 49ers to kick GW FG and lose lead in wildcard race. To my eyes, special teams has been a liability since then.

    Looking forward to high draft picks! Hope the great skill in middle rounds translates to skill in early picks. Go Steve! Go Cards!

  29. By JTDG on Dec 20, 2016 | Reply

    johnnybluenose,

    I can’t get passed, “For some reason I was wearing a Dallas Cowboys stocking cap ”

    Why?????? 🙂

  30. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 20, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG….it’s a long story and it’s a bit weird. i like bargains so i buy all my clothes at a place called Frenchy’s. You can look them up. They started in Nova Scotia about 30 years ago with one store. They brought in tons of used clothes from the New England area and sold them cheap. Soon there were two stores, then five, then ten and now, years later there are probably 50 or 60 throughout the Maritimes. They also sell books, dishes, jewelry, pieces of art, sunglasses, you name it. One day I even saw a kitchen sink for sale. Not all the stuff is used, often the original price tag is still there and you can buy a $300 suit for $12. One day a few years ago I came across a very good quality #16 San Francisco 49ers jersey. I looked closer and it was autographed by Joe Montana. I paid $3.50 for it and sold it on Ebay for $100. So one day I bought a Cowboys stocking cap because it was cold out and it probably only cost 60 cents. I also bought a brand new high quality Eli Manning jersey a few years ago. It’s red which is a bit different and the price tag was $149. I paid $3.50, could not resist. There is a lot of sports clothing, all kinds of ball hats, hoodies, uniform tops, professional and college. Because all of the stuff comes from New England there is a lot of Patriots, Celtics, RedSox and Bruins stuff. I have never seen any Cardinals stuff but a friend of mine who lives an hour away came across a red Pat Tillman jersey a few years ago in the store in his area and bought it for me. So, JTDG you asked and I answered. A question for you. Did you ever find that blog from six or seven years that I quoted a couple of months ago and do you now know which one of our regular posters wrote it?

  31. By Amir on Dec 20, 2016 | Reply

    Scott,

    What part of 48 points trouncing did you not understand? The Saints offense exploited Cardinals coverages and schemes to put up such numbers. Bettcher was not able to come up with anything to even slow them down, let alone stop them. That is called “getting out-coached”.

    The offense struggles had to do with OL injuries and for some unknown reasons Cardinals WR forgetting how to catch this season. It has nothing to do with offensive coaching.

    Take care.

  32. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 20, 2016 | Reply

    clssylssy —

    I agree with you, the defense looked bad this past week against New Orleans. And the offense looked pretty good.

    Guess what? It was New Orleans. Drew Brees’ offense makes a LOT of teams look bad. They’re #1 in YPG and #2 in PPG. And guess what? They’re also 3rd-worst in defense in both YPG and PPG, so it stands to reason that our offense would look good against them. EVERYONE’S offense looks good against the Saints.

    The previous game was the Miami rain-soaked game; we held Miami to only 15 first downs, but gave up some big plays. You can’t hang that game on the D, though. We had 4 turnovers while on offense; kinda hard to say the offense was clicking there. Miami scored 3 touchdowns that game; on one, they started on their own 48 after a Palmer INT; the next, they started on OUR 38 because our offense went nowhere and we had Drew Butler punting from the 3 yard line.

    The game before that was Washington, another offensive powerhouse, 3rd in the league in YPG with 406. Our D held them to 333, so I’d say they were OK that game. And the game before that was Atlanta, the top offense in scoring and the #2 offense in YPG. I don’t think we played particularly well on either side of the ball that game; our offense put up only 19 points against a team that allows 25.6, and our D gave up 38 to a team that averages 33.5. So I’d say there were issues on both sides of the ball.

    In the last 4 games, we’ve faced the three top offenses in the league in YPG, so it stands to reason that the D was going to give up some yards. I’m not saying we have a great defense — far from it. I’m just saying that people calling for Bettcher’s head based on the defense’s performance and his alleged “inexperience” should then be calling for Arians’ and Goodwin’s head based on the offense’s dismal performance in several games as well.

  33. By Amir on Dec 20, 2016 | Reply

    Sorry, my response was for Kevin…

  34. By Scott H on Dec 21, 2016 | Reply

    Amir –

    Hey, you see it your way, I see it mine. We may disagree.

    Maybe you’re giving too much weight to ONE game during which they gave up 48 points. OK. Yeah, that was a piss poor game by the defense, I’m not defending that. But it was also against a team that is pretty damn good on offense. You’ve heard of Drew Brees, perhaps? Well, he’s pretty damn good. And we’re not the first defense he’s shredded during his time. Won’t be the last, either.

    And IMHO, the offense was struggling from Week One. I don’t think that is even up for debate. And our O-line was pretty intact at that point. The offense didn’t just start to struggle when injuries started to occur. Hell, they even looked “off” during the pre-season.

    Over the course of the WHOLE season, I say the defense has been better than the offense. And the sad fact is that NEITHER unit has been good enough.

  35. By clssylssy on Dec 21, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin…
    Yes, you are correct, it was Drew Brees…and we’ve beaten him before handily. HB, I believe, intercepted him in the end zone the last time we met. They went into this game with about the same record as us.. even odds in some LasVegas sportsbook. My problem with our defense (who has showed they were capable when they choose in games like the Seahawks and Redskins) is that they don’t appear prepared either mentally, skill wise, or tactically; it seems they have never watched the opponents play and don’t know who their threats are or what their tendencies are for moving the ball down the field. This “they are what their records says” is so trite and, as we have seen, really, really dangerous (e.g. the Bills, the Saints, the Rams). If you look at the teams who make the playoffs year-after-year, they are defensive minded teams with either a HC or DC who has years of experience in the NFL in a variety of settings and sometimes different capacities. Bettcher is young with zero experience other than being an assistant for a few years. I’m not saying he couldn’t be a good DC one day, but he’s not now and has gotten by on the Horton/Bowles defense helped out by a strong veteran core (until this year) of on-field coaches and mentors.
    I believe if we were strong enough to hold the Seahawks to 0-0 at the half and only a single digit score, then we were capable of beating Brees with the proper preparation and coaching. Bettcher just hasn’t been able to get his unit up for games with any kind of consistency. And, when I hear PP and HB talk, it is with an air of complacency (something that would get them the hook in Seattle or New England). This defense, while appearing good on paper, has not shown up when needed most and could have changed our season if they had lived up to their big talk., It’s the coaches job to hold his men’s feet to the fire and lead, Bettcher lacks the age and experience to do that.

  36. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 21, 2016 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    Again, you say that the defense “hasn’t shown up when needed most,” and you’re saying this is because Bettcher lacks age and experience.

    But you haven’t really responded to my point. The offense hasn’t shown up either when needed most… and yet they’ve got Arians, an offensive-minded head coach who’s 64, and they’ve got Tom Moore who is, I think, in his late 70’s.

    Yes, we were outscored by the Saints in a game where we let up 48. That’s bad defense. On the other hand, our offense didn’t help by turning the ball over on Palmer’s and Golden’s fumbles both around our own 30, setting up two of the scores. Also, the D scored 7 of our 41 points on a fumble return.

    You’re right, a team that can hold the Seahawks to 3 points in regulation, you’d think could do better against the Saints. But why don’t you apply the same logic in reverse to the offense? You could say “a team that is capable of putting up 40 points (against the Saints or Bucs) ought to be able to score more than 3 points in regulation against the Seahawks.” Or more than 13 points against the Rams. Or should be able to run with abandon against the 49ers. And yet our offense did none of those things.

    Again, why are we assuming that the problems on D have to do with inexperience and Bettcher being overmatched? As Scott H says, our problems this year in general have been more on the offensive side, and we’ve got some of the most experienced coaches in the biz there. So what does that say about your argument about experience?

  37. By clssylssy on Dec 21, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin…
    Well, you have some very good points. The offense has been pretty sad most of the time, but I blame the weak 0-line for that and Steve Keim who hasn’t fixed it early on. Had it not been for Larry and David and more recently our TEs, our offense may have not showed up either. I do think Palmer is a good leader and is a lot tougher than given credit for and can still bring it, like he did with the Saints. I guess I can’t help think about last years defense, that probably won us some games we should have lost, the turn overs, pcik 6”s, and, in general ,the electrified play of our secondary that made football fun to watch (being a fan of big defenses). I think Bettcher got a lot of help last year from veterans like Freeney, Redding, Rashard Johnson, Jerraud Powers not only keeping the guys motivated and on point, but also with holding guys accountable. I remember Ty saying more than once that they fed off one another to keep the competition level high. Not long ago PP commented that the chemistry just wasn’t there like before. so, while again I blame Keim, I think a more seasoned DC would have been able to perhaps had more influence in getting Keim to keep the bodies coming as they churned the roster to find something that worked in getting that chemistry going.
    Looking around the league at other defenses, it’s hard not to believe our DC was over matched as he is the only one moving into the position with no previous DC experience? But, you are correct, I haven’t been equal in my criticism of the offense and perhaps that is because I am use to watching defenses that take up the slack?

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