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The Cardinals as firefighters, overcoming bad things

Posted by Darren Urban on October 24, 2017 – 10:39 am

Larry Fitzgerald noted a lack of urgency and intensity from the Cardinals Sunday. Bruce Arians wasn’t sure about that, with the offense driving down the field to open the London game (only to have Phil Dawson miss a 32-yard field goal) and the defense stiffening to hold the Rams to a field goal themselves on the opening drive.

But, Arians said, that didn’t mean there were not issues.

“I think our team right now doesn’t overcome bad things very well,” Arians said. “If there’s one thing I can say about our team is – and I hate to say we’re kind of frontrunners – when things are going good, they’re going really good. Right now, we have to be able to adjust on that sideline emotionally when something doesn’t go our way.”

Arians said a lot could be explained by youth, except that the Cardinals have a ton of veterans who are on the roster specifically for things just like this. There is a snowball effect to be sure. The offense has been uneven all season, and when it sputters, it feels like that is permeating to the defensive side.

“We have to find a way to put the fire out,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “Football is really a game of momentum. There are little plays that may not show up on the stat sheet, all that adds to the energy and momentum of the game. Whoever makes those plays consistently, they’ll always have the momentum.”

The Cardinals have found momentum this season, but too often it is of the negative kind. They will try and reverse that going forward, but without the starting quarterback, the fire just got a little more out of control.


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Posted in Blog | 39 Comments »


39 Responses to “The Cardinals as firefighters, overcoming bad things”

  1. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Quite a fitting photo….because in so many ways, Larry really does stand apart from most of his teammates. He is just on a different level.

  2. By Par5Eagles on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    When will the leadership of the team start admitting this is just a bad team… too many good players let go, bad drafting, and not enough depth to withstand some injuries.

  3. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Thank you, Darren, for shooting down the “youth” explanation. What crap that is. This is a veteran team, no doubt about it.

    I can’t believe BA even tried to get that off. I mean….the GM brings in nothing but guys in their 30’s during the off-season and after 7 games, we have the HC trying to offer youth as a reason for certain things.

    How’s that for a dis-connect?

  4. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Just taking in the last few weeks….we played two teams in the Eagles and Rams who REALLY appear to have their acts together and are SERIOUSLY heading in the right direction. And in our games against both of them, we were pasted by a collective score of ( get ready to cringe ) 67-7.

    Well, if that doesn’t clarify how NOT in the running we are in the NFC, I don’t know what will. That is why a win against San Fran in our next game and a record of 4-4 will be a total mirage. I’m not falling for it but I’m sure some people will. We are NOWHERE among the real contenders in the NFC, not even close.

    But let’s get back to the Eagles and Rams for a minute, take a closer look, and see what they’re doing right.

    1) Both teams drafted VERY good young QB’s and in doing so, got it right with the one position you can’t miss on.

    2) Both teams have established, proven defensive coordinators that have their respective units playing at top-notch levels.

    OK, we can stop there. That may not be all we could point to but….for right now, it’s already enough.

    And I’ll say it yet again, just as I have the last TWO times he was available – hire Wade Phillips the next time you get a chance.

  5. By Coach K on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    BA is one stubborn man. While it’s true that Stanton is the #2 QB, BA fails to understand the situation.

    Gabbert has more starts, more snaps, and better numbers than Stanton.

    Gabbert is younger and has better arm and legs.

    We need to see what he can do now. We know all about Stanton. He can win a few games but does not give us the options that Gabbert brings. Stanton could win maybe three games. Gabbert could win six games with his extra abilities.

    If BA is serious about salvaging the season and at least having an outside shot at a wild card, he needs Gabbert now!

  6. By Moshari Al-Angari on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    My advice is to sign quarterback Christian Ponder to team up with Peterson to salvage the season as they did it with Vikings in 2012. Ponder is a lot better than some Quarterbacks playing in the NFL right now.

  7. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    London Blues: Going to give Cards benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t think we’ve got a bad roster, or a bunch of dogs, or crappy coaches. Listened to Wolfley, Berry, many fans seemingly throw the character, guts or talent of Cards under the bus. Also heard several reports, w/o verification, that Rams got clocked in London after going over on a Monday, and Pats clocked someone after going on a Friday.

    My working theory is our guys tried to dig deep, but after 5 days of time change, simply had no reserve energy to draw upon. They wanted, couldn’t change the momentum in the game as Rams were physically fresher… so…

  8. By Marlin on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    What a bunch of Bull! Put on the pads, strap on the tape…. and go play some hard football. All this philosophy from athletes and coaches who are ill-prepared to give it…… has got to stop. Just play ball.

  9. By Coach K on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Scott

    You have a GM and Head coach that are basically a father-son relationship. The GM will offer no advice to BA. BA is stubborn and will do things his way even if its the wrong way.

    Offensive play calling is out of balance. 15% run, 85% pass.
    Defensive play calling is criminal and worse than high school.
    Special teams- coaching is bad, play is worse.

    On the bright side, next year brings massive changes. Hopefully, BA rides off into the sunset and a smart, young coach is hired who understands balanced offense and designing plays that fit the talent he has on the roster, and not trying to drive a square peg into a round hole.

    I hate being negative because I like BA. I think he is a players coach and just fun to be around. But his offense is old news and blaming the players is not how you lead. You lead by finding solutions. Evaluating your coaching flaws and correct them That’s what leaders do. No excuses.

  10. By Ric Italia on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    The main issue with Stanton is that he has never been an accurate thrower. BA being a so called quarterback guru should know that.

  11. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Coach K-

    Agreed, it is time to take a look at Gabbert. I think most people would agree. There are many reasons to go that way, really none that say don’t.

    And as someone else pointed out, you couldn’t ask for a better spot to do it – the Cardinals are on a bye, which gives you time to get him up and running with the first team offense, and their next game is against a pretty bad team ( albeit one that has been competitive in every game except last Sunday ).

    What more could you ask for????

    Maybe you agree, but beating the 49ers with Stanton at QB does nothing for me. Zero. Zilch. Nada. It’s a road to nowhere.

    But a win with Gabbert at QB – and just MAYBE seeing a shot of life into this offense – would be a different story.

    Sorry to say it but BA is just being stubborn and foolish about this. Stanton would be the right call in a different situation. Stanton was the right guy in 2014 when we were a winning team, a contender, and a solid back-up could keep us competitive. Stanton would be the right guy if we were 8-4 right now and we really DID have something to play for.

    We are NOT any of that right now. We are a team that needs re-building from the ground up after this season. And does ANYONE believe Stanton is going to be part of that?? I really don’t. But Gabbert? You didn’t keep him for 2017 so he could sit on the in-active list every week. You kept him because he might offer something for your future. And that was a good idea. And if you just PLAYED the guy now, you might find out what he can do.

    But in going with Stanton, you’re just going against your own good ideas by making a bad choice.

  12. By Richard S on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Gabbert or Stanton – It won’t make much of a difference the way the line is blocking although Gabbert might be a little more mobile to get away from the pass rush. On the bright side though the way the team looks, the Cards shouldn’t have to trade down to get a good quarterback.

  13. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    9-7.

  14. By Cardinalchris on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    OMG, This is a bad team. Period. Keim and Arians are in denial if they think otherwise.

    Here’s proof:

    Point DIfferential for the season
    San Francisco -63
    Cleveland Browns -66
    Arizona Cardinals -72
    Indianapolis Colts -103

    Between Cle and San Fran, that is 2 WINLESS teams, yes 0-14 combined, with better point differential than this team!!!!

    Lack of intensity? When you are 2nd to last in point differential at this point of the season, you are lacking talent, not just intensity.

    You think Indianapolis or Cleveland or San Fran are doing anything other than looking to 2018?

  15. By TucsonTim on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    There is one known and one unknown:

    Stanton is known. We all know EXACTLY what we will get with Stanton. I don’t mind BA holding the line here. We don’t know the extent of the Palmer injury. Maybe he gets a splint ala Kurt Warner and hands off backwards etc and comes back in 3 weeks.

    Gabbert is unknown. Old people don’t like the unknown. Old people don’t like surprises. Old people don’t want any more stress in their life. BA isn’t going to be comfortable with Gabbert.

    This is probably much easier to see from the outside. Stanton offers no up side. This team isn’t going anywhere with this defense and not-special teams. Gabbert at least offers you a chance to look to the future. Unfortunately, he will be looking at yet another OC and HC next year….what are the odds?

  16. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Adam Smith –

    RE: 9-7

    The Saints? Yeah. The Lions? OK. Vikings? Maybe.

    Oh, you were talking about the Cardinals?? No, don’t see it. We’re already more then halfway to those 7 losses, our defense allows 30-plus every week at this point, and we just lost the starting QB.

    Sorry, you can only play the 49ers and Colts so many times in a season.

  17. By Scott H on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Coach K –

    We couldn’t be any more on the same page right now. I like the way you think!

  18. By NJAzCardsFan on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    With the way the porous O-Line is playing, it is only a matter of a game or two before Stanton is hurt and BA is forced to use Gabbert……

    I think the missed field goals are sucking the life out of this team. They drive down the field and then the offense has nothing to show for it.

    The playing calling this year is just too predictable…..

    Darren- During the Rams game why did BA suddenly start using Golden by throwing to him on consecutive plays….. It makes me wonder if BA is really ok.
    Ever since his health issues started, this has been a different team…..

  19. By creditcard on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    I see we signed the re-incarnation of Maxie Hall to the practice squad. Waste of a practice squad position — looks like we are desperate.

  20. By creditcard on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    This comment goes back to the last exhibition game against Denver, where the Cards 3rd stringers got pasted by the Broncos’ 3rd stringers.

    Comments throughout the game by Ron Zappolo and Dave Logan regarding the Cardinals; Logan and Zappolo kept saying, “you know the Cards are not going to keep Knight — so why is he playing? The lack of effort and lack of anything productive by the Cards, also hurt the Broncos in terms in evaluating their players.

    The Bronco announcers were upset with the Cardinals based on the total lack of competitiveness the Cards were displaying, and not playing certain QBs (Gabbert or Stanton), so that the game interesting can be competitive and that players (on both sides) could be evaluated better.

  21. By ChrisG on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Hey Tyrann, how about stopping the other team on third down? That would be a wonderful example of “little plays” that add to momentum.

  22. By clssylssy on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    WOW! This is bad when it’s being reported (annonymous sources of course) that Fitz is being traded and BA is retiring, FAKE NEWS!!! (according to Mike Jurecki) that has to make one wonder who starts this kind of BS? I totally hate social media and these tactics that seem directed at DIVIDING our fanbase . Has everyone lost their mind?
    Darren, I hope you will address this and put it to rest so that we can regroup and focus on winning the games ahead.
    I may have been critical of the Front Office but I certainly don’t want to see this team become a bunch of quitters. I may not agree with all of the decisions but I’m gonna support my guys to the bitter end, win or lose. It’s called being a fan!

  23. By Rick on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    This defense isn`t the same without our big man Calaias Campbell a true leader that has plenty of fire. I don’t see any fire or passion from this team it seems as if they are all just here to collect a paycheck. I want to see fighting on the sidelines and not just a bunch of underachievers being ok with what is happening on the field. I want some leadership from our top guys but it seems as if they are scared to voice their opinions. Grow a pair and man up and get a stop because this defense is supposed to be the backbone of this team but instead they are getting the bone on every down. This season isn’t lost yet but it starts right here and right now. Just win for crying out loud

  24. By Dr. G. on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    How about an interesting metaphor for a little entertaining diversion?

    An old nursery rhyme…

    London Bridge is falling down, falling down, etc…after 800 years…just like we played there.

    So they brought the entire bridge to Arizona, repaired and reinforced the structure, and placed it over the Colorado River in Arizona. Perfect!

    Now the same thing should happen to the Arizona Cardinals in the same detail!

    A bit of factual history…we need to be able to look at the current lack of team effectiveness as past history. Expectations are high!

  25. By Dr. G. on Oct 24, 2017 | Reply

    Scott, CoachK… You’ve seen me call time and again…GABBERT!

    As you know Gabbert came from the 9ers. Take an educated guess who may have the most intense motivation for that game – Stanton or Gabbert? Does BA even consider this? A splendid time for this change to evaluate. Give him some OLine protection, and he does OK..me thinks…

  26. By Don Short on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    Gabbert = Hope.

  27. By Cactusjeff on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    BA has to go. He calls a game like he is playing chess. Wasting downs to set up a “big play”. The result is a punt.

    Patriots coaching staff call games as if they are boxing. Go for the body when you protect the face. No plays are wasted. All have a chance at a knockout.

  28. By Cody Zarr on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    My my, how quickly the fanalysts turn on Coach. 44-26 apparently means nothing in this “what have you done for me lately” world.

  29. By clssylssy on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    If anyone needs to go it’s Keim. He’s the one who is responsible for this roster, poor draft picks, and not doing anything in the offseason. The addition of Adrian Peterson was a shot in the arm for the offense but too little too late and has done nothing to solve the real problem which is the line (both offense and defense). He could have given Freeney a call but has done NOTHING to give our defense a similar boost as AD game the offense.
    Listening to Keim spout his “words of wisdom” weekly is like fingernails down a blackboard. He and MB are like two nerdie kids playing an old version of Madden with real people’s careers.
    BA is not perfect, has some irritating qualities but at least he’s got real football chops and the players seem to respect him.
    Dr. G…
    Your point about Gabbart being a former 9er is well taken and one I raised the last time we played them. At this point, I have a feeling that BA is trying to settle the lockerroon down and Stanton is someone who has led this team before (and won games) so, it makes sense to trying to go with the guy the players are most comfortable with before moving on to experimentation with Gabbart. Why would Gabbard be a better option at this point, because he’s mobile (and he’ll be running for his life behind this 0-life), because’s he’s an unknown? Hopefully, once all the hysteria calms down, the team will reset, and BA will try some new things. At this point it seems this angry crowd just wants a scapegoat/
    Losing the game in London should come as no big shocker. Numerous fans have stated their doubts that Carson would last to the bye, what seems to be setting in is the realization that Keim has done NOTHING and still doesn’t seem inclined to do anything but watch our guys go to IR.
    And, the FO still has not taken any responsibility for anything but is content to throw players, coaches, anyone under the bus on a weekly basis.

  30. By mitchaz on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    Top Decisions Moving Forward

    1. Activate T.J. Logan asap.

    * Keep Carson Palmer on the roster as long as the Cardinals are still in playoff contention.

    * If the Cardinals are ever going to place value on special teams, this is the move to make. The return game has been woeful.

    2. Getting the Swag Back on Defense.

    * if the Cardinals have learned anything from the first 7 weeks, it’s that they do not have the personnel, nor the proper coaching, to be effective in zone coverages. It’s time to get back to being all-out aggressive in man coverage. At the same time, the Cardinals have to find creative ways to pressure the QB. Getting Haason Reddick to develop a spin move would be big. He has the quicks, but he is getting pinned too high at the top of the pocket arc.

    * Sticky man coverage would allow the Cardinals to cover the misdirection, bootleg passes—as Deone Bucannon did nicely in London. However, it is finally time for James Bettcher to insist on his edge linebackers to play contain. Against SF, rookie C.J. Beathard is going to run an array of bootlegs, waggles and sprint outs. He is good at throwing off the run. This will be an immediate test of how disciplined the Cardinals can be off the edge.

    3. Improving the Offense.

    * Hard counts. Stanton performed those well in pre-season. Get Stanton, Gabbert and all players ready to do whatever it takes to make the defense off-balance.

    * Encouraging Stanton and Gabbert to beat pressure with their legs. This is something BA is loath to do, but is an absolute necessity, otherwise the QBs will remain sitting ducks. Good teams like it when their QBs extend plays. QBs always have the option to slide, which is better than getting hammered on a sack. This should be coached up and insisted on.

    * Run an array of combo blocks, slip blocks (to the second level) and angle drive blocks out of 1 RB 3 WR sets (without motion)…the 2-3 TEs sets have not worked all year, neither has the predictable motion of Fitz or Jaron Brown down to the edge to block (plus, it gives the defense an advantage of knowing when the ball is going to be snapped). Spread the defense out more for AP. Less clutter, more bread and butter.

    * Out of the 1 RB 3 WR spread use J.J. Nelson and John Brown more regularly on reverses.

    4. Improving STs.

    * Get T.J. Logan back.

    * Work with Phil Dawson to focus solely on the kicking spot and his timing. He’s reacting too much to the snaps and the pressure. He’s better off blocking everything else out.

    * Get the most out of Justin Bethel and Budda Baker as gunners, and get Scooby Wright, Rudy Ford, Brandon Williams, Elijaah Penny, Ifeanyi Momah, Brittan Golden and others to make statement tackles on kickoff and punt returns.

    * Have Andy Lee focus more on hang time than distance. Set a goal for starting and keeping a 42 yard net average on punts.

    5. Coaching.

    * Defer the coin toss. This year it is better to try to pin the opposing offense deep on the first drive, put the offense in good field position for its first drive and, better yet, give them the ball back on offense to open the second half.

    * If Stanton is struggling, do not hesitate to insert Gabbert. This could energize the team because Gabbert has a better arm and he is more athletic.

    * Enough of giving the starting QB “all the snaps” during the week. This is just plain stupid. Backup QBs sure seem ready to play versus the Cardinals. Flip this trend. Do it through diligent preparation.

    * Employ a fullback more often. Isolation blocks on inside linebackers and/or taking out first threat of penetration can give an explosive RB like AP that extra second to find the crease and bust through it.

    * Develop some game plans catered for the specific opponent and what they can do to exploit the other team’s weaknesses. Start giving the players a tactical advantage. Enough of this” “we do what we do.” Do what it takes to give the players a competitive edge.

    Let’s “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Come on Cardinals. Get your heads out of your beaks and start spreading your wings. Give us something to be proud of.

  31. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    Darkest before dawn…

  32. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    Cody —

    I, personally, am not on the “Coach needs to go” bandwagon. I mean, as you say, 44-26… the best winning percentage of any Cards’ HC in the Super Bowl era (other than Larry Wilson going 2-1 as interim coach after Bud Wilkinson was fired — that doesn’t count, in my view). And the first guy to even be above .500 since Coryell.

    And it’s funny how, when Arians first got here and then we added Palmer, no one expected the team to do anything because Palmer was viewed as a washed-up has-been. The Vegas over-under on wins in 2013 was 6 1/2; we had 10 wins. 2013 was considered a fluke, because the over-under in 2014 was 7 1/2; we had 11 wins. And then despite double-digit wins those two years, Vegas set the over-under in 2015 at 8 1/2 wins, because they had no confidence in Palmer’s ability to come back from his injury. We won 13 that year.

    Obviously, in 2016, we underperformed (relative to our own expectations, as well as the Vegas expectation, which was set at 10 wins).

    This year, after dropping to 7-8-1 last year and even though we’d have been 9-7 if Cat had simply made two relatively easy FG’s, Vegas was back to giving the Cards no credit for Arians’ previous success, and the line opened at 8 wins. At some books, it ended up moving to 8 1/2 because of money coming in on the over. But, still, generally speaking, expectations — as set by the people who put their money where their mouth is — were that the Cardinals were not that good. And that was BEFORE David Johnson and multiple O-linemen got hurt. So while we’re all here talking about the playoff possibilities, the “objective” stance on the Cardinals was that they were a .500 team going into this season.

    I don’t know where the Cards are going to end up this year, but it’s not likely to be pretty. However, Arians now has the built-in excuse of not only his best player (DJ, who represented a bigger percentage of his team’s offense in terms of yards gained than any other back or receiver in the game) being out for nearly the whole season, but also his QB being out for more than half the season. No one’s going to fire him, so unless he retires, he’s back. Heck, Whiz got to stick around for 3 years of 5-11, 8-8 and 5-11 after having moderate success with Warner. And yes, folks, it was moderate success — I know we went to the SB, but that was just because the team got hot at the right time, and also benefited from some favorable results in the rest of the bracket (mainly, the #6 seeded Eagles knocking off the #1 seeded Giants, allowing AZ to host the NFC Championship despite being the “worst team to ever make the playoffs” per Cris Collinsworth). We were 9-7 that year, only because we went 6-0 in a division that had teams that won 7, 4 and 2 games, respectively; despite all the fondness for Warner and the nostalgic way we look back at those couple of years of success with him as QB, the SB team (9-7, +1 point differential) was nowhere close to as good as, say, the “All or Nothing” team with its 13-3 record and +176 point differential. Except, of course, they were better in the playoffs.

    All of that said, the reality is that, despite the fact that I don’t know that much about football, and despite the fact that I am willing to give Arians a pass for last year when the team was particularly unlucky in close games, even last year some of us were pointing out that “no risk it, no biscuit” was causing us to make some poor decisions that were costing us games. The Cardinals, and Arians in particular, appear to be unwilling to adjust to what the opponent is giving them. Time and again last year, announcers were pointing out that defenses were taking away the long passes that were a staple of Arians’ offense, and yet we continued to throw them anyway, leading to, in the worst case, interceptions, or even in the best case, incompletions where we were then forced into 3rd-and-forever. Opponents had figured the Cardinals out — just like opponents figured out the 49ers with Kaep and the read-option, and just like they figure out everything else (except how to stop Tom Brady). This year, with the porous O-line, fans and analysts alike were crying out for AZ to develop a short passing game to protect Palmer and sustain drives. And I will point again to the Indy game where we got the ball with less than 2 minutes in regulation, and with a first down from our own 40 yard line we threw an incompletion 20 yards downfield well beyond Fitz’s reach up the left sideline, followed by an incompletion 20 yards downfield and 10 feet over Jaron Brown and everyone else’s head up the right sideline. So, no time taken off the clock, 3rd and 10, and then we throw a 5-yard pass over the middle to Golden, which he doesn’t catch, but even if he had, he was about to be tackled by two Colts short of the first down. So in a situation where the #1 thing we should be thinking is, we need to make sure we control the ball and even if we don’t make the game-winning FG, we need to make sure there’s not enough time for Indy to come back, we instead were punting with about 1:30 left after three straight incompletions that took only a few seconds off the clock.

    I don’t really remember, but maybe Arians was pulling the same kind of questionable stuff those first three years, but none of us cared because a team that had won 5, 8, and 5 games the last three years was now posting double-digit wins three years in a row. We were excited. “No risk it, no biscuit” sounded cool, and it was working. It seems now, however, that with the team not performing as well, fans (including myself) are starting to poke holes in his play-calling, the way he manages games, and in particular, his apparent inflexibility and unwillingness to adjust. I think those are legitimate complaints, notwithstanding his success as our HC. I don’t think he should be fired, but I do think he needs to adapt.

  33. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    …have never been panned so badly… and for simply believing in the Cards… lol, love it… Key element of life…. never let negativity control your mindset:

    “A big step … involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them”. Relentless positivity is what leaders do, and the Cards got some good ones, like CP, like AD, PP, Frostee, Bethea. So, win 1, and 4-4 feels better, and 2 weeks closer to having both All Day and DJ…then we see…

    “look, its barely raining”, bring it on, this may be great turn around.

    PS: Carson Palmer will not go out on an injury, he’ll be back…and then go out on his terms…its who he is… GO Cards…

  34. By Scott H on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    Kevin –

    I’m only responding to a little piece of your post ( for now, anyway ) but…..I think it is way too simple to suggest ( as many have in the past year ) that if Cat Man just makes those two kicks last year and we win those two games, we were fine. No, we really were NOT. There was more that was wrong and just plain “off” about that team than just a couple of missed kicks.

    So, he makes those two kicks and we go 9-7…..I can’t even remember, would 9-7 have gotten us into the playoffs? Or would it have simply just been a better record than 7-8-1?

    Look, I can’t say for sure but I WILL say I believe that if 9-7 had gotten us in the playoffs last year, it wasn’t gonna last long. Against Dallas? Seattle? Green Bay? Atlanta? I think we would have been toast, I really do.

    Something about this team started being wrong when we got blasted by Seattle in Week 17 of 2015. And we never got it back. It’s been wrong, off, whatever you want to call it ever since. And it wasn’t gonna be fixed by making two FG’s last year. We’re seeing it now, it goes a lot deeper than that.

    Short on time over here, so I just didn’t have a chance to read your entire post. My bad if you went on to make any of the points I made here.

  35. By clssylssy on Oct 25, 2017 | Reply

    Mitchaz:
    What’s the big rush to get TJ back? I assume to return punts, but you seem especially adament that his return should be a priority.
    With the trade deadline approaching, do you see anyone the Cards might trade for that could either help our 0-line or beef up our defense.
    I’m still stunned that Keim let Freeney slip away, but I don’t know why anything should surprise me anymore, lol! It will be interesting to see if after this latest meltdown, there is any action from the FO or if Keim will continue to do NOTHING and covertly continue to sandbag our season.

  36. By mitchaz on Oct 26, 2017 | Reply

    Clssy—

    I think the Cardinals are in trading deadline limbo….which means they probably won’t do anything. They are probably getting calls to gauge whether they would be willing to trade Fitz, Pat P, Branch.and Veldheer. Possibly John Brown too. But, at 3-4 the Cardinals are still in the thick of the playoff race and what would it say to the team if they traded a key player?

    Ass for players they could be interested in—at this point I would guess that Steve Keim wants to protect all of the remaining 2018 draft picks and that he hopes they can persevere until David Johnson and Carson Palmer return. The Cards might have had some interest in CB Malcolm Butler (Pats) but the Pats have injuries at CB right now and may not be able to trade Butler.

  37. By mitchaz on Oct 26, 2017 | Reply

    Clssy—

    Re: Logan

    Aren’t you tired of seeing the other team flip the field over and over versus the Cardinals?

    T.J. Logan could help change that trend.Punters are kicking 65 yarders and the Cardinals still don’t get decent returns. Lee kick a 60 yarder and the Cardinals give up a 10-20 yard return.

    Feeling a sense of urgency on STs would be a good thing, imo.

  38. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 26, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H —

    I’m not trying to suggest we’d have been a SB contender last year, or that everything was fine, but for Cat Man missing those two kicks. However, if he HAD made them, then who knows — maybe, since we’d still have been in the playoff race, we would have been a little more motivated and wouldn’t have blown back-to-back games against the Dolphins and Saints late in the season, before climbing back to (relative) respectability with a win over Seattle that took them out of contention for a 1st-round bye, and a thrashing of the Rams in the final week.

    A lot of times, people say that what makes a good team is winning close games. And that’s not really true. Good teams blow people out. The close games — the ones that could go either way — you don’t want to have too many of those, because sooner or later, your luck runs out. Records in close games tend to fluctuate wildly from year to year.

    The 2016 Cardinals were better than their record indicates. They were 7-8-1, which was only the 10th-best record in the NFC, but they were 4th in net point differential — and just 6 points behind Seattle even though they finished a full 3 games ahead of us. The difference between Seattle and Arizona? In games decided by 7 points or less, Seattle was 5-3-1, including 3 games (!) won by 2 points. We, meanwhile, were 2-5-1 in those games.

    Meanwhile, now this year, we have the opposite problem — the team is worse than its record indicates. We’re 3-4, but dead last in the conference (and 2nd-worst in the entire NFL) in net points — worse than even the two winless teams. (Interestingly, our record in games decided by 7 points or less this year is 3-0 — because all of our wins fall in this category and none of our losses do, further supporting my theory that a team’s record in close games isn’t a meaningful indicator of anything, other than perhaps luck). And while I’m frustrated with some of what Arians has been doing, it’s difficult for me to imagine a different coach having this team contending, given the loss of David Johnson and the injuries to an O-line that was weak to begin with, and the losses of players on defense who were not replaced by equivalent assets.

    All I’m really saying at the end of the day is that objective observers (and you can’t get any more objective than Vegas when they set those O/U totals, because their whole goal is to set the line so that exactly half of bettors will take each side), throughout Arians’ tenure, have not expected the Cardinals to be nearly as good as they actually have been — with one exception, which was last year. And even last year, Vegas had us at 9.5 or 10 wins (depending on when during the preseason you looked), and with just those couple of FG’s I mentioned, we would have been very close to that expectation. As frustrated as fans might be with Arians, and as much as some of us might think he is often out-coached and/or inflexible and that this is costing us games, you can’t argue with the fact that he has been not only the most successful Cardinals coach in the Super Bowl era, but also that he has done more with the teams he has been given than most NFL observers objectively expected.

  39. By clssylssy on Oct 26, 2017 | Reply

    Mitchaz,,,
    Nice article and congrats on your well thoughout post (I saw it some place else and glad to see you writing posts rather than just comments).
    Yes, I have felt all along that we had many opportunities to run the ball back that were not taken but assumed it was b/c of our inability to protect our runners, But, bringing him back this late in the game when nothing has been done to fix our other problems just seems to be setting him up for a return to IR? But, I do applaud you optomism and I especially admire you stepwise answers to our problems when everyone else seems to have lost sight and are being ruled by emotions.
    It’s unfortunate that you and JTDG don’t work for the Organization as you have not only the knowledge but the problem solving abilities that others do not!

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