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Cardinals saved at third-and-20

Posted by Darren Urban on September 18, 2017 – 11:36 am

Part of the story of the game-saving (season saving?) third-down-and-20 completion to Jaron Brown Sunday was how the Cardinals even got there in the first place.

— First came the FUBAR Carson Palmer “sneak” on third-and-1 for four yards, gaining a first down at the Cardinals’ 24-yard line. All was OK, more or less.
— The next play, the right side of the offensive line collapses. Right tackle Jared Veldheer is pushed back, and for some reason, right guard Evan Boehm disengages with the tandem block he has on his man with center A.Q. Shipley to help Veldheer, allowing that rusher to go in a straight line to Palmer, where both pass rushers engulf the QB for a six-yard loss.
— On second-and-16, Palmer tries the fake-screen-left-screen-right to Andre Ellington, who is buried for a four-yard loss.

That’s how the Cards ended up at third-and-20, and why things were so bleak. It wasn’t just that it was third-and-20, but how they got there.

“Not an ideal situation to be in obviously, especially against the way they were playing, sort of sitting back a lot and sitting at sticks, at the first down yard marker a lot,” Palmer said. “That’s, you know, Jaron making a big play.”

Brown needed to hang on, but to be truthful, the Cardinals were given the perfect defense. For whatever reason, not only were the Colts playing back, but Brown had a free run all 20 yards to the first-down line. Palmer did a nice job sliding up in the pocket and got rid of the ball just before Jabaal Sheard hit him as he got past Veldheer one more time. Brown hung on to the ball as he took a hit to gain 22.

The Cardinals then lined up and bombed away, with the J.J. Nelson 45-yard TD catch on the next play.

There were a little more than eight minutes left as this was all playing out. Brown has made his share of plays over the years but I don’t recall many like this. Same with Palmer — it was a third-down conversion that reminded me of a Palmer-scramble-to-hit-Jake-Ballard in Seattle in 2013. That was only needing something like six yards, though. To get 22, and give the Cardinals any hope of winning — and then to have them win — gives this play gravitas.


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32 Responses to “Cardinals saved at third-and-20”

  1. By Coach K on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    Darren,

    Can someone please tell BA that on third and short, when Ellington lines up outside the tackle in the slot, EVERYONE ON THE DEFENSE KNOWS PALMER IS GOING TO THROW HIM A QUICK OUT PASS.

    Palmer is very lucky he did not have two more picks throwing that obvious short out pass to Ellington. At least BA can add an additional route from that same formation so that everyone in the stadium won’t know its a quick five and out pass.

    Darren, the point I’m making is, I think a lot of our problems are bad play calling by BA when he simply does not have the personnel for those plays, or begins to show his hand with obvious tendencies for certain situations.

    Last year, I recall several commentators mentioning how many times BA put the team in third and long situations by making too many high risk calls on first and second down.

    I love BA and think he is a great coach, but I honestly think at times he gets set in his ways and this can be a problem. Perhaps turning play calling over to someone else might be worth trying on his part.

  2. By faster on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    arians: ” ….Palmer played “a whole lot better than I thought he did.”

    maybe, but did i mention, i want stanton to start against the cowboys.

  3. By creditcard on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    Coach K,

    Totally agree. As a previous HS and junior college player from years ago, and now as a fan with very little “current” football knowledge; I even know some of plays based on personnel packages and formations. Good Grief that is Bad. Way too predictable.

    In addition, when Jim Plunkett dropped back in the Raiders’ pocket and threw it deep, he threw it to Cliff Branch (Pro Bowler). In front of Plunket was 5 of the arguably the best offensive line of all time. Bob Brown, Jim Otto, Dave Dalby, Ron Mix, and of course Gene Upshaw and Art Shell. Shell, Upshaw and Otto are considered the best of all time at their respective positions.

    The Cards have Wetzel /Humphrey, Iupati / Boone, Shipley, Boehm, and Veldheer. Our current offensive line is neither athletic enough, or big enough to continually allow a deep ball thrown a dozen times during a game. Our front 5 is NOT in the same breath of the 1970’s Oakland Raider front 5. I’m not sure if some of our O-linemen would even make it on another NFL team’s practice squad. We do not have the equivalents of Brown, Mix, Darby, Upshaw and Shell in front of Palmer., thus we should not play call as if we were the 1970’s Raiders.

  4. By creditcard on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    The Cards are weak in two very vital areas:

    1. Interior pass rush. The combinations of Mauro, Williams Peters, Gunter, Rucker, and Olson is not getting the penetration they should be getting.

    2. Offensive line. Detroit simply bull rushed and out physicalled the Cards O-line. The Colts were quicker than the Cards. Our line is neither quicker or stronger than the two D-lines they have faced. This, above all other things, is extremely worrisome. Based on the number of hits Palmer has already taken — I have doubts if Palmer will make it (be healthy enough to play) to the bye week.

    This has haunted the Cards for a few years, I’m thinking the bottom of the pyramid is the coaching, not the revolving door of players.

  5. By Jacob Hewitt on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    What happend to Palmer he is starting to look like a Mark a Sanchez if he is not careful he will end up with a but fumble! Watching the cardinals last two games make me wonder will they even make the playoffs? Truth me I’m a die hard Cardinals Fan but the way they played was sorry. If the cardinals are not careful they will be beat 58 to 0 against Dallas like that time they lost to the Seahawks . Comment on this is u have another opinion plzzz thanks

  6. By mitchaz on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    Great point, Darren. This win was a miracle of sorts.

    Here’s my take on the game. If these post are too long or if anyone doesn’t like them, please give them a thumb’s down and I will stop.

    Pass Protection
    .
    * Right from the first series it and the immediate struggles RT Jared Veldheer was having, it was looking like the Cardinals were going to have a tough time protecting Palmer.

    * To the question of BA offering pass protection help, the answer remains: little to none. There were occasions in the spread where the TE or the slot WR was in position to chip on the DE, but no, they did not. On one of the sacks Veldheer gave up, Ifeanyi Momah was lined up next to Veldheer and all Momah had to do is pop the DE once to prevent his burst, but instead Momah released and the DE raced past Veldheer off the edge.

    * This stubbornness on BA’s part is a major concern moving forward. The line did settle down more in the second half, otherwise today’s main storyline would have been how a QB with 6 practices managed to outplay and beat a veteran former #1 pick in the draft QB with 5 years in the system.

    RB by Committee:

    * Chris Johnson emerged as the primary RB. he started the second half and ran for 11/44/4.0…which could have been 12/64/5.3 had TE Troy Niklas not held on CJ’s nice bounce out run. Kerwynn Williams ran hard but did not find creases.

    * Ellington had one good 8 yard run up the left B gap. Penny’s one big play, a crisscross pass play in the red zone was nullified when RG Evan Boehm jumped off-sides.

    Defensive Matchups:

    * Markus Golden had tackling issues, otherwise he could have had at least 2 sacks.

    * Chandler Jones took charge and recorded 5 tackles and 2 sacks.

    * Brissett was able to break the pocket pretty easily whenever he tried to. His bootlegs were easy completions to the TE. The OLB (Golden) did not keep contain and for whatever reason the TE on those plays seems always open versus the Cardinals. The only defender I saw cover this play in pre-season was Cap Capi.

    * Patrick Peterson did a good job covering T.Y. Hilton, but needs to not give up so much cushion in the zone defense, as Kamar Aiken caught an easy pass in Peterson’s zone. Peterson should drool at his chances in zones, ones he otherwise rarely gets.

    * Justin Bethel did a good job on Donte Moncrief.

    * Tryann Mathieu got closer and stronger in underneath coverage as the game went on. You could see him getting closer to picking one off on Brissett’s last possession of regulation. Brissett threw that pass into the turf near HB’s feet. Then, HB made the game winning pick on a similar crossing route to Moncrief. So smart it was of Badger to get what he could out of the return and then fall down.

    * Tyvon Branch and Antoine Bethea took turns again at FS and this week neither was burned by a deep pass. Tyron Mathieu was used exclusively underneath, which is where he plays best. As was Budda Baker who made a superb chase down tackle of Moncrief on a key 3rd and 8 late in the game. Baker drives through the man on his tackles, something this defense needs more of.

    * I thought James Bettcher would put Branch on TE Jack Doyle, but I only saw that one time, as Mathieu, Dansby and Reddick tried to stick with Doyle. Covering the TEs was a real issue for the Cardinals. At one point Brissett was 7/7 throwing to the TEs.

    * As for the Colts’ FS Malik Hooker, yes he had the big interception of Palmer’s ill-advised floater, which pretty much any FS should have made. Otherwise, Hooker was not a major factor in the game. With the versatility that Haason Reddick offers as a chaser, cover man and cat-quick rusher, imo, Reddick was a stronger choice at #13 than Hooker. But, the Cardinals still need to find a true centerfielder.

    Special Teams:

    * The first STs gaffe came quickly when DT Rodney Gunter got called for illegal leverage on the FG attempt, which then led to the Colts’ TD and their 7-0 lead.
    * The Colts’ punter Rigoberto Sanchez was never pressured and continued to flip the field on the Cardinals. The Cardinals always seem to give the opposing punter a total and complete comfort zone.

    * Andy Lee was good…but the punt coverage was spotty until ST’s star of the game Budda Baker took care of things. The Cardinals dodged a major bullet late in the game at 13-13 when the Colts has what looked to be a sure and easy punt block up the left side, where for some reason the Cardinals’ punt team always seems vulnerable, yet the blocker mysteriously pulled up and whiffed.

    * The last STs gaffe came after BA kept taking -1 yard kneel downs and then sent the FG team in on 4th down. Sending them in on 3rd down is the smartest option, because if there is a bad snap the holder can throw an incomplete pass and they can try the kick again. It first felt like BA was freezing his own kicker sand then Chuck Pagano called the TO in the nick of time. And then Phil Dawson, who in this game preferred to kick from the left hash marks, pushed the kick wide right. Dawson said after the game that so much had been said about the Cardinals’ kicking woes of the past that it has just kind of “built up” on him.

    * To Dawson’s credit, he split the uprights on the game winner, which was a thing of beauty to Cardinals’ fans like myself who by that time needed a ventilator and a three shots of Jack Daniels.

    QB Play:

    * More of the same offensive struggles for Carson Palmer for most of the game…which prompted BA at half-time and post-game to summarize the team’s deficiencies on offense as “it’s the QB.”

    * The whole offense was out of sync. Veldheer giving up early pressure set a poor tone. Ellington going in motion when the ball was snapped. Palmer nearly getting picked off throwing the ball late on the out passes to Ellington and Jaron Brown. Ifeanyi Momah with a drop (but made up for it later with a superb corner pass, catch and run). Bohem off-sides in red zone. Nelson not dragging his second foot in the end zone (tough play, but just missed by a fraction of an inch). Palmer getting flushed by a 3 man rush in the red zone and throwing the ball away. The curious fade pass to Fitz on 4th and 1. While a 50/50 ball like that to Fitz is always a good gamble, wasn’t there a play in BA’s bag of tricks that had a better percentage on 4th and 1?

    * Then came the unforced “floater” from Palmer which reminds us that this is a normal occurrence from him…it is what it is. Other teams have said and been so right that Palmer will throw 3-4 passes a game that can be readily picked off. This one was very reminiscent of another game in which the Cardinals lost to a backup QB. In 2015 at Pittsburgh, while losing to Landry Jones the Cardinals were 1st and 10 in the red zone late in the game where a FG would at least tie the game and Palmer on 1st and 10 floated a ball over the middle to Gresham and the Steeler’s FS could have fair caught it, it was such an easy interception.

    * Are the Cardinals good enough on defense and STs to continue to have to compensate for Palmer’s 3-4 bad throws into coverage a game? For the past 18 games, that answer is clearly no.

    * Now let’s be real about this comeback win — the offense was still so out of sorts in the 4th quarter that BA was electing to run the ball up the middle for 4 yards a pop down 13-3, and then IT happened…on 3rd and 2 with all sorts of confusion at the line of scrimmage, Palmer fumbles the snap, and an absolute miracle occurred…it was like the Red Sea parting just in the nick of time and Palmer had the presence of mind to pick the ball up and barrel forward for the first down. BA rightfully called this play a total “FUBAR.”

    * Let’s face it, if Palmer does what QB are always taught to do as in dive on the ball or the Colts hop on the fumble, the game is over.

    * From that point on, Palmer was dang good. I mean dang good. Great passes to J.J. Nelson, what a thing of beauty that perfect TD pass and catch by Nelson was. Palmer waited patiently for that coverage and when he got it he nailed it. The succeeding passes to Golden and especially to Jaron Brown (aided by a roughing the passer penalty) to get the Cardinals in good field position to tie the game, and then to possibly win the game.

    * The good news is that late and forced throws to Jaron Brown (one early and one late in the game) and Andre Ellington that weren’t picked off didn’t wind up ruining the game like those kids of passes did last week versus Detroit.

    * I asked prior to the game whether it would be good to dress Blaine Gabbert and I still feel 100& certain that it would. If the Cardinals are ever going to shake Carson Palmer out of his 3-4 potential “palmovers” a game it will be because there is another QB on the roster the coaches would turn to. That QB is not Drew Stanton, even though BA had Stanton warming up in the 4th quarter. That QB is Blaine Gabbert, who throws a quicker, faster ball than Palmer and who can readily and quickly escape pressure with is feet. if Jacoby Brissett can play good football on 6 days of practice, Blaine Gabbert can play good football on 6 months of practice. But, just Gabbert’s presence might be the only thing to snap Palmer out of his prolonged funk.

    Added Thoughts:

    * And while we are at it—how about opening up the RT competition—could Ulrich John be a better option than Veldheer who clearly is struggling? When D.J. Humphries returns, is John Wetzel the stronger option at RT? Wetzel is one of the best run blockers on the team and he settled down in pass protection yesterday, as he did versus the Falcons’ starters in pre-season.

    *Moreover the Cardinals have to do something about their interior pass rush. Weren’t Robert Nkemdiche, Olsen Pierre and Rodney Gunter supposed to help? Where have they been? Not only did Corey Peters stop moving his feet on his pass rush, passes were going right over his head without him at least raising his hands to try to bat or re-direct the pass. The coaching of the inside pass rush has been glaringly bad. Poor technique, effort and situational awareness. Plus, any scrambling QB can slip easily right pass the DTs because they allow themselves to be stuck in mud and to quit on the plays.

    * This game was a miracle win. It was, for the most part, undeserved. There are games that teams deserve to win, and this one wasn’t one of those games for the Cardinals. The defense gave up a long, time consuming drive that put the Colts up 13-3 several minutes deep into the 4th quarter. A #50 (who is that?) holds on the kickoff and pins the Cardinals’ offense deep. BA was so fed up with the offense at that point that he was running the ball and the clock down with 7 minutes left, down 13-3. Then came FUBAR. Unreal. Will BA and the team be able to capitalize on this gratuity or will they go right back to playing 3+ quarters of listless, disorganized and uninspired football?

  7. By faster on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    QB hits 2017 season without mnf

    18 wentz, glennon

    16 PALMER, wilson

    16 rodgers, kizer

    12 smith, hoyer

    11 brady, siemian, cousins

    dsource belachers report

    did i mention, i want to see stanton start in the first half against the cowboys, and get some of this hits? not all, because he is at the meoment for sure quicker then palmer. and palmer in the second half will play then a not so fresh defense. with long balls ……

  8. By clssylssy on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    Mitchaz…
    Love your posts, always look forward to reading the as try are spot on!

  9. By lonnie peavler on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    I think the adversity and pulling out the win did this team some good. Starting two on the road at noon can not be easy. Go cards let’s kick the cows in the boys.

  10. By faster on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    gabbert as qb?

    stop this nonsense immediately.
    this is win now mode and not loose for the first pick.
    how much time has palmer needed to get arians offense?
    remember the first games how he struggled?
    and now gabbert with a preseason?

    stanton did us win games, and i expect him to do it again.

  11. By D on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    I wonder if J.Strong, WR would be worth taking a look at.

  12. By JTDG on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    The Cards are 1-1. Some fans think it is over and some think this win will propel them to play offs. Either way, here are Some interesting facts about the cards;

    – Nkemdiche got his first chance to play this week against a bad offensive line in the colts. He finished with Zero tackles.

    – The Badger has only 6 tackles on the year. In contrast, Budda Baker, mainly on STs, has the same 6 tackles

    – Marcus Golden has only 5 tackles and no sacks on the year, while Chandler Jones has 10 tackles and 3 sacks.

    – Josh Mauro’s sack was his first since 2015 and his second in his 4 year career.

    – Carson Palmer has 4 ints, which leads the league. He is tied with Deshone Kizer and Andy Dalton (the Bengals and Browns are 0-2).

    – Carson Palmer’s 54.8 % comp % is second lowest in the NFL for QBs who played 2 games. Only Andy Dalton has a lower one. (54.1%). Although Palmer is averaging 300 yards a game

    – the cards are averaging 64 yards a game rushing and 3 yards per carry.

    – Palmer has been hit 16 times and sacked 5 times. At this rate, Palmer will be hit 128 times and sacked 40 times. Ouch.

    – JJ Nelson is on pace to put up 80 catches for 1300 yards and 16 TDs.

    – Cards are 30th in rushing offense, but 7th in passing. Losing DJ has a lot to do with it.

    – Meanwhile, the cards defense is 19th in total defense (yards). 20th in the pass and 10th in the run. Being we played the colts who are 28th in offense, that is not good.

    Looking at stats , it is obvious what we are seeing. The cards have no running game. With no running game, teams are teeing off on Palmer as he is taking shot after shot, which has affected his accuracy. On defense, the cards faced a QB in his 3rd start and was only with the team for 6 practices, yet they are 20th against the pass. The defense is giving up too much through the air, and are needing more out of the 3 down lineman, as it seems only Chandler Jones is providing a pass rush.

    Can it be fixed? Bringing back CJ2K is a huge start. If CJ can give us a running game, it could take pressure off Palmer. A healthy (don’t hold your breath) John Brown, could help in the passing game. The defense is the defense. There are no dlineman coming back. If the 3 inside guys can’t get pressure on the QB, QBs will pick apart the secondary as evidence of the 20th ranking.

  13. By dynosoar on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    I can’t think of two veterans in the league I’d love to see with a ring, that don’t have one than Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Johnson. So glad they’re on our team. And they can’t get it without Carson Palmer.

    I like what Chris is bringing to this team. I want to see highlight reals every week filled with CJ2K Part II, Larry Larry Larry and Palmer throwing to Smoke, JJ, Jaron. And can’t forget some sacks and interceptions along the way.

    This team is talented, more talented than most other teams in the league.If they could get in sink with one another and be on the same page, nobody would stop us.

  14. By Bay Area Bad Boy on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    The true test will be Monday Night. Two road games with early start times to start the season is tough. We are lucky to get out 1-1. We could easily be 0-2 or on the flip side, blowing a lead in Detroit, we could easily be 2-0. But that’s football.

    Dallas, after an unimpressive loss will tell us a lot about what kind of team we have. We will see what kind of team we have. This is the game that will tell us what to expect. We either have a team with grit and moxy, led by a gritty coach or we have a sub-standard bunch of we-wishers lead by a loser QB.

    I have never been a Palmer fan, but I love BA and his ability to coach QB’s. But I have seen Palmer throw into way to many double and triple coverage for my liking. It would help if the O-line could protect him.

    For everyone to praise Palmer for having a short memory is inexcusable. Carson is a better option than any other QB we have, but Palmer simply has to play better. It’s nice to see that BA is starting to hold him more accountable. We need better QB play to make up for all the mistake BA made with David Johnson. Geez.

    How do you hold out our your starting running back from pre-season just to see him get hurt in the opening game. Seems like a pattern with BA.

    I am hoping this team show more effort and enthusiasm now that they are home.

    At this point, I am not impressed with this coaching staffs assessment with the team.

    The GM has is right. BA, I love you, but get a clue, or at least a win on Monday Night.

    Cardinals Fan Forever.

  15. By CARDS62 on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    I was at the game in row 20 behind the Cardinals bench. Team just looked flat. Only energy I noticed was TE Troy N. running up and down the sideline during the first half.

    Mitchaz your article is right on and excellent, and many others have made excellent points about the game. Just wanted to ask a question and make a few points.

    Question – What did Gunter do on the FG to get the penalty and cost us 4 points?

    Glad that coach brought in # 69 Holden to play some te for protection, but 4th down call to Fitz with an inconsistent Palmer just makes no sense as does taking the ball when we win the toss to start the game. Our kickoff return team is very poor and our offense is inconsistent so we put ourselves in a bad position to start the games. If our offense is clicking this is fine, but everyone but BA knows it is not clicking.

    JJ Nelson was the best player on our offense and it was not even close this game. The catch he made off the turf from another poor Palmer throw was incredible. Jaron Brown gets his hands on a lot of balls, but just seems slow in his movements to secure the catch. Love Fitz but he looked slow this game.
    First two series we did nothing on offense, third series we use the TEs and move the ball and never go back to the TEs again. Please explain this to me???? We cannot cover other teams TEs so maybe they can not cover ours. If we are not going to throw to the TEs why can they not block and then release?
    Game level is great for watching line play, and the Colts for the most part controlled both lines. Colts QB normally had a lot of time to throw the ball with a clean pocket.
    Our secondary played well and so nice to see Honey Badger win a game for us again. We must note Colts have worse skill players in NFL and new QB so if we were playing better team we could have been carved up and lost this game by over 20 points.
    I would start Palmer again next game, but just like last year he is off again. Gabbert should be second string and if Palmer struggles replace him during Cowboys game, but maybe go back to Palmer to start 4th game.

    Cardinals team I have watched play these first two games are not making the playoffs even in a weak NFC.

    Go Cards wake-up and beat the Cowboys.

  16. By Dan on Sep 18, 2017 | Reply

    Stop the run and make Dak play QB……D-line needs to dominate this week……stop the run and its game over.

  17. By Scott H on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    Wait…..this win was a miracle of sorts? Against the Colts?

    Oh, my, we ARE in trouble! 🙂

    Love your posts, bro. You’d get an A for effort, anyway, but your content is A-worthy as well.

  18. By D on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    S. Richardson sure would have been a difference maker this Dline needs.

  19. By JTDG on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    D

    Jaelan Strong;

    What a career at ASU he had. The guy was a stud.
    I know early in his career he struggled with drinking or drugs and was suspended but according to reports he was looking good in camp and had an ankle injury.
    Might be worth kicking the tires

  20. By JTDG on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    Watching the Giants play on Monday Night Football, It reminded me of the saying it starts upfront.

    The giants could not run the ball or protect Manning. Even with all of his weapons, Manning couldn’t utilize them because he had no protection

    Sound like anyone we know?

    Same goes for the Bengals. AJ Green and company are great but Dalton is getting killed back there as the bengals let their two best olineman walk in FA. results have not been good as Dalton is lowest rated QB and bengals are 0-2.

    Bottom line, if your offensive line can’t protect your QB, all your weapons won’t matter. The cards (Palmer hit 16 times and sacked 5 times, with a horrible run game) must figure out a way to protect Palmer. Disappointing the oline wasn’t addressed in the offseason.

  21. By Scott H on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    RE: the pass rush…..or lack thereof

    Well, might we have seen this coming with Campbell’s departure? How much attention did the big man command and how much was that contributing to others being able to get to the QB? Answer – he meant everything to our ability to get pressure on the QB last year. He’s gone. He hasn’t been replaced. So…what were we expecting?

    Yeah, Nkemdiche was being counted on to provide that but…..we see how that is going. Another first round triumph.

    As we know, the lack of a pass rush will put more pressure on our secondary and that puts more pressure on Bethel to hold up, and…..how well are we expecting that to go?

    The loss of Campbell is huge.

    I MIGHT have considered countering many of the things you pointed out by offering that so far, after two weeks, a lot of other teams are off to shaky starts and are clearly having their issues, too. But ya know what? I’m not going to. That doesn’t do it for me. I can’t get excited about a team that might be able to hang around in the mix because the rest of the conference is weak.

    I wanted to see this team looking better than this. And it is very disappointing that they don’t. Especially disappointing when you look at the NFC ( so far ) and you see how lacking it is for truly good teams.

  22. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    Dynosoar —

    Re: talent

    More talented than most teams in the league? This is where we depart. I’ve mentioned this before, but fans tend to overrate the players on their favorite team, because we’re familiar with them.

    Yes, we have a few standout players in terms of talent. Peterson at corner, David Johnson (when he was healthy) at RB. Fitz is Fitz — clearly a lot of talent, although at this point in his career, he’s not as good as, say, guys like Julio Jones. But a perfectly fine #1 receiver. Badger has shown he can be a hugely impactful player, when 100% healthy and not tentative. I think a couple years ago, he was being talked about as a potential Defensive POY candidate. But that was a couple years ago. Last year, he was not that player. We have Chandler Jones, who is very good. And there are other talented guys, but are they more talented than the guys other teams run out there?

    At the most important position, we have a guy — Palmer — who is getting up there, who has had one stellar season for us (two years ago), where he was talked about as an MVP candidate and was #3 in QB rating. His other three seasons with the Cards, he’s been 20th, 8th and 20th. So his “average” placement in his 4 years with the Cards has been 13th in the league — which puts him right around the league median. Now, don’t get me wrong — I’d rather have Palmer than the rotation of Anderson, Kolb, Skelton, Hoyer, Max Hall, etc. we went through post-Warner. And I think Palmer will be fine this year. But when I say fine, I mean, I don’t expect greatness from him, the way the fans of the Patriots, Green Bay, etc. expect greatness. At the most important NFL position, we are average in talent.

    Then consider the places where we are below-average in talent, like the receivers after #1. The Cowboys have Dez Bryant at #1, but then Williams and Beasley after that, plus Witten at TE. Our #2 and #3 receivers and TE don’t come anywhere close to that. GB has Cobb and Adams after Nelson. Detroit drafted Golladay a couple spots before we drafted Chad Williams; Golladay had a big impact in the game against us, while Williams didn’t have a catch. Nkemdiche, our supposedly huge talent from last year’s draft, rarely plays and still hasn’t done anything remarkable in a game that counts. And this board has gone off many times on the lack of talent at our #2 CB position which somewhat offsets the greatness of Peterson at the #1 spot.

    O-line… do we have a single position on the O-line where our guy is better than the Cowboys’ guy at the same position? Or where our guy would grade out as a top-10 at the position? I don’t think so. And when the O-line is below average, it makes your average QB below average, or your above-average QB average. We’re seeing this on other teams, too. Russell Wilson and Eli Manning are two QB’s that most people think are better than Carson Palmer. In two games, Seattle has 1 touchdown and 21 points; the Giants have 1 touchdown and 13 points. Two other teams with O-line problems.

    I think our success in the first few years of Arians’ tenure made people think the Cards are more talented than they actually are. Now, we’re the oldest team in the NFL. Don’t get me wrong — I still think this team could, potentially, get it together and make a run. But some pundit said before the season began that the Cards had the biggest differential between their potential upside and downside, and I agree with that. This is a team that, especially after the DJ injury, could be anything from a 5-11 team to a playoff team.

  23. By georgiebird on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    I had predicted a Giants’ slaughter of the Lions last night and it never happened. Some thoughts on a game that makes the Cards’ loss in Detroit a little more palatable.
    1) The Giants’ fans disgusted that the FO didn’t fix the OL problem from 2016
    2) Stafford played a great game running the ball and throwing on the run
    3) like the Cards, the Giants have a statue for a QB
    4) the game was close late until a ST blunder and a PR touchdown.
    5) the Lions played one of their best road games in recent years
    6) two big plays- the Lions’ PR and a big drop by NY’s Brandon Marshall influenced the outcome.
    7) Giants’ fans annoyed that their young HC also calls the offensive plays
    8) OBJ played at 80%
    For as well as the Lions played and as bad a game that the Giants played, this game like our game with the Lions was up for grabs late.
    Maybe the Cards can find solace in the fact that all teams have their warts. Don’t know what to make of the NFL this year except for a couple of top teams.

  24. By dkerry5242 on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    Chad Williams had one reception on the only ball thrown to him. It looked like he was never targeted again. What happened?? Was he injured? Did he even get another opportunity? Is he running the wrong routes?

  25. By Brett Colorado on Sep 19, 2017 | Reply

    I think they need to change the CBA, as far as I am seeing players that played a lot in pre season are on stride where as players that played a series, if that, are sluggish. I know team owners and the players themselves do not want to play much cause they don’t want to get hurt, I get it, but I think they need to play a little bit more to get the rust off, at least in the third game. As far as Arians play calling yeah it is predictable, but these players are get paid big money to execute the plays.

  26. By JTDG on Sep 20, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,

    I would agree with you that things will shake out on most stats.
    For instance, although Golden has no sacks, he has pressured the QB and the sacks will come.

    The two stats that bother me the most are;
    – the cards are averaging 64 yards a game rushing and 3 yards per carry.
    – Palmer has been hit 16 times and sacked 5 times. At this rate, Palmer will be hit 128 times and sacked 40 times. Ouch.

    The second one seems to be a theme that has not been shaken. The first one, has a lot to do with DJ and the lack of running talent behind him. Funny, there was a couple of us on the board that was saying you can’t cut CJ, because he is the only guy who can run the ball if DJ gets hurt. And then, we see DJ get hurt. Terrible decision to cut CJ and we are lucky to have him back.

    But back to the second one. The offensive line has struggled for years and after a horrible 2016 in pass protect, they do nothing to fix it except flip the tackles.
    If people will take the time, here is a good article about the cards OLine.

    https://www.revengeofthebirds.com/2017/9/20/16336684/offensive-line-arizona-cardinals-sacks-pressures-carson-palmer

    It goes through the Levi Brown is “Elite” comments from BA to Cooper being compared to Randall McDaniel and how he has many pro bowls coming, to the decision to let go of Bobbie Massie and draft Humphries only to find Humphries was no where near ready and branded by Harold Goodwin as “Knee Deep” for his lack of football knowledge.

    Let’s not forget the center spot, where in 2015, Keim brought in Shippley, only to discover 3 weeks later that he needed to bring back a broken down Lyle Sendlien to play center. Now Shippley , by default is the center as Keim has tried to draft his successor in Boehm and Toner, neither able to make the move. Then you have Evan Mathis, pondering retirement because of injuries, signed and lasted less than 4 games going out with that same ankle injury he was rehabbing.

    Check it out. it is worth the read.

  27. By JTDG on Sep 20, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Nkemdiche;

    I can’t remember who, but during the 2016 draft, someone (not me), loved Chris Jones as a DE and thought our first round pick should be him.

    Instead, The cards took Nkemdiche to replace Campbell. Looking back;

    Nkemdiche has 1 assist on a tackle. No sacks. Played in 6 games

    Chris Jones has started 12 games for the Chiefs, He has 32 tackles and 5 sacks and a pick, along with 5 balls batted down.

    Not sure which person on this board wanted Jones, but I wish Keim would have listened to him/her.

  28. By faster on Sep 20, 2017 | Reply

    – Palmer has been hit 16 times and sacked 5 times. At this rate, Palmer will be hit 128 times and sacked 40 times. Ouch.

    ouch, and did i mention, i want to see stanton as starter in the first half against the cowboys ……

  29. By JTDG on Sep 20, 2017 | Reply

    faster,

    well if they don’t block for Palmer, you might get your wish sooner than later

  30. By Scott H on Sep 20, 2017 | Reply

    faster –

    So….you basically want to put Stanton out there in the first half, as a sacrificial lamb, so HE can get pounded, then we put Palmer in for the 2nd half after the Cowboys have worn themselves out and won’t be able to put a beating on Palmer. I got that right?

    Interesting…..why don’t we run that by Drew Stanton and see how he feels about that? Palmer, too, for that matter.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one.

  31. By TucsonTim on Sep 20, 2017 | Reply

    Great posts. Time to stop deluding ourselves that this is a “talented” team. Every NFL team is full of talent. Elite talent, we have a little, not much.

    With DJ this was a 500 football team. Maybe this team is 5-11 without him. We will see how much improved the Rams and 49ers are. One thing is for sure, the only thing SK/BA did to make this team better than last year was get 2 new kickers. Hope vs reality.

  32. By clssylssy on Sep 22, 2017 | Reply

    Tucson Tim…
    Hope you watched the Thursday night game…that should answer any questions about the Rams, 9ers and how much they have improved along side the Cards!
    Suddenly even the Seahawks are looking old and tired, and we’re slow to stay up with them!

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