The Cardinals are going to red-and-red this weekend against the Lions.
For the first time this season, the uniform combo will be red uniform, red pants, which I’m sure will thrill some of you out there. Last year, the Cardinals were red-on-red for their final three home games of the season, going 2-1. Maybe with the second part of this season beginning Sunday — the Drew Stanton chapter — it’s fitting the Cards go with a different look. Plus, Christmas is coming too, so red. Right?
– Heads up: The latest edition of the Cardinals Underground podcast is up. Click here.
Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »
Bruce Arians was asked why specifically he had no interest in putting guard Jonathan Cooper in the starting lineup. His answer, as always, was blunt.
“If he was one of the best players, it’d be different,” Arians said. “He hasn’t shown he is one of the best players. He’s gotten a lot better than he was and I think he has a great future as long as he continues to do what he’s doing.”
Why isn’t the 2013 No. 1 draft pick one of the best, Arians was asked.
“The consistency in everything, staying off the ground, everything that goes into playing,” Arians said. “He gets his hands full with Calais (Campbell) every day on the scout team so I see improvement there. But there is nothing glaring where you’d say, ‘Take him out, put him in.’ That would be easy.”
Starting guards Ted Larsen and Paul Fanaika have not always been consistent, Arians and GM Steve Keim have said in the past. The line has to be better in the run game, Arians said. But the line isn’t going to include Cooper. Not now (which Arians has steadfastly said all season.)
“If I thought (playing Cooper) would fix it, hell yeah, I’d make the move,” Arians said. “I ain’t an idiot.”
– Defensive lineman Ed Stinson (groin, toe) and linebacker Desmond Bishop (hamstring) aren’t practiced today. DT Dan Williams, RB Stepfan Taylor, RB Andre Ellington, LB Lorenzo Alexander and S Deone Bucannon all are limited in practice today, Arians said.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Jonathan Cooper
Posted in Blog | 58 Comments »
It’s been all over social media today, but the Cardinals have made it back on to a Sports Illustrated (regional) cover this week by highlighting Smokey Brown’s fantastic touchdown catch against the Rams in a story titled — fittingly, “Next Man Up.”
But the Cardinals have been there before in recent times. Larry Fitzgerald was the poster boy for SI as the NFL players were set to come back from the lockout in 2011, with a shot of him sitting in a locker room all serious-like. And then there were the back-to-back-to-back covers during the 2008 season playoff run, with Fitz and Kurt Warner. (Yes, technically, DBs DRC, Aaron Francisco and Ralph Brown had a cameo on the SI cover the next week, but surprisingly I don’t have a picture of the Santonio Holmes cover).
And please, no one talk about jinxes to me. I don’t buy into them. Never have. Just enjoy the picture.
Tags: John Brown, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Sports Illustrated
Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »
Carson Palmer was officially put on injured reserve today, ending his season. In his place comes Ryan Lindley, signed back from the Chargers’ practice squad, where he’s been since the Cardinals cut him near the end of the preseason. It makes all the sense in the world. Bruce Arians has talked about the advances Lindley made in his game all last season and into camp, and if it wasn’t for Logan Thomas’ upside, Lindley might’ve stuck around as a third QB.
It makes all the sense in the world. At this point, the Cards want someone that knows the system. Lindley knows it, having played in it for more than a year. He knows the quarterbacks in the room. He’s a smart guy.
Earlier this season, the Cardinals signed Dennis Dixon to the practice squad for a few days before the Washington game, when the statuses of Palmer and Drew Stanton were up in the air. I think the Cards might’ve have grabbed Lindley at the time — except, because he was on the San Diego practice squad, they would’ve had to put him on the active roster and kept him there for at least three weeks. Knowing Palmer and Stanton wouldn’t be down that long, that didn’t make sense. Now that Palmer is out for the season, it does.
What would be interesting will be if something happens to Stanton long-term. I think Thomas is the backup for now. But if the Cards need to go to the bench for a start, would Lindley jump to the head of the line? He’s at least started in this league, and it’s hard to see Thomas being ready for that yet.
– In a related note, Stanton’s pregnant wife gave birth to his daughter, so Stanton has had this week work out nicely — baby on the off day, practice as starter set for Wednesday.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Logan Thomas, Ryan Lindley
Posted in Blog | 72 Comments »
Much more to come on azcardinals.com, but the worst fears of the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer were comfirmed: Palmer indeed tore the ACL in his left knee against the Rams, ending his season. Drew Stanton is now the quarterback going forward, backed up by Logan Thomas and a likely third-stringer. Bruce Arians said the Cards are looking at candidates, but it figures to be someone that knows the system, like a Dennis Dixon or a Ryan Lindley.
It’s a gut-punch to a team having a wonderful season and one to Palmer, who talked about how much fun he is having and how much this hurts him emotionally. He also said, despite just signing a contract extension Friday, he hopes to still be around next year. I’m pretty sure that’s the plan, but Palmer is no dummy. He knows how the NFL works, and how teams do what is best for the franchise. Still, Arians has been talking about Palmer in 2015, so there’s a good reason to think Palmer isn’t going anywhere.
The good news is that the ACL tear is only an ACL tear. It’s not the complete explosion in the left knee that Palmer suffered when he was hurt back in January, 2006. Palmer said doctors have told him the surgery for his current injury has become routine, like setting a bone. Both he and Arians talked about Palmer returning possibly for OTAs next summer. Wouldn’t that be something.
“I’m going to play football again,” Palmer said. “I hope it’s here.”
I’ll have the full story up on the site as soon as possible (and click here for the story). The full Carson Palmer press conference will be posted later this afternoon as well.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer
Posted in Blog | 69 Comments »
General Manager Steve Keim didn’t have much of an update on quarterback Carson Palmer this morning during his weekly appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7. Keim said Palmer will undergo “a number of tests” Monday and the Cardinals should have an update with Palmer’s knee injury later Monday. That Keim didn’t have much to say isn’t surprising, but as I mentioned last night, you hope for the best but plan for the worst.
After a win in which the Cardinals only rushed for 28 yards, though, Keim did have some thoughts on the offensive line. He was blunt: Keim said he thinks one of the “primary reasons” the Cardinals were 8-1 is the play of offensive tackles Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie. As for the interior — guards Paul Fanaika and Ted Larsen and center Lyle Sendlein — Keim said he has concerns about their consistency.
Bruce Arians was asked after the game, following his talk about how the Cardinals got their “asses whipped” up front leading to a lack of a run game, whether there was a chance guard Jonathan Cooper could get a start against Detroit. Arians answered without hesitation: “None.”
Keim has suggested in recent comments that he thought Cooper could end up playing some, although that belief isn’t held by the coaching staff. And Keim said it’s up to the coaches.
“Anytime you are 8-1 there is a certain chemistry, and a lot of times coaches don’t want to mess with chemistry, which I certainly can’t argue with,” Keim said. “The other thing is, I’m the General Manager. It’s my job to add players to the roster, help pick the players. But I am always going to defer to the coaches when it comes to playing the players. It’s not my job to tell Bruce Arians or Harold Goodwin who to play from a personnel standpoint. That’s a decision those guys have to make, and if those guys think it’s in our best interests to play the two guards we currently have out there right now, that’s what I’m going to go with.”
– As for Drew Stanton, who will step in at QB assuming Palmer is out, Keim talked about the confidence the team has in Stanton. He made the point that, if the Cardinals didn’t think he would be able to step in after seeing him since the beginning of 2013 after Stanton signed, the Cards would have made a move to replace him.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Jared Veldheer, Jonathan Cooper, Lyle Sendlein, offensive line, Paul Fanaika, Steve Keim, Ted Larsen
Posted in Blog | 45 Comments »
I remember, when Calais Campbell got hurt in Denver – at the same time Matt Shaughnessy got hurt – and Campbell said something along the lines that he’d eventually be back, Shaughnessy would eventually be back, Carson Palmer (who still wasn’t back) would eventually be back, and it would all be part of this amazing story of the 2014 Cardinals when they made their playoff run.
The Cards can stop adding hurdles they need to overcome.
Carson Palmer will have an MRI Monday on his left knee. We’ll see what happens, but while you hope for the best, you prepare for the worst, and the worst would be losing Palmer for the season. When your team is 8-1 and talking – legitimately – about a possible playoff run, losing a starting quarterback is vicious.
The positive is that Drew Stanton has played well when he’s had to play. He did it again Sunday. But the last time, it was as a placeholder until Palmer came back. What happens if there is no coming back for Palmer?
Lost in it all was the fact Palmer just signed his contract extension Friday, which obviously is seen in a much different light with an injury. That said, all those wondering if the Cardinals re-signed Palmer too quickly? No. Not in my opinion, not unless you are now predicting serious injuries.
The Cardinals made the right move. They were just hit with bad, bad luck.
– Arians had this to say about Palmer’s new contract: “He’s the leader of our franchise right now and it will stay that way.”
– On a short-term note, it’s too bad Palmer got hurt because it overshadowed the job the defense did against the Rams. I keep going back to the thought the Rams had 40 yards rushing on their first-quarter touchdown drive – and just 70 rushing yards total for the game. The defense simply clamped down, and since the Rams had a rookie QB, St. Louis had no chance.
– Yes, Patrick Peterson has figured it out. That pick-6 was unreal – watch carefully how he tipped it to himself, an amazingly athletic play. “For the first time in a long time I felt 100 percent,” Peterson said. “I just got tired of hearing all the criticism, people not knowing the situation.”
– Calais Campbell was a monster Sunday. As well as Peterson played, Campbell was the best guy on defense.
– Campbell had two sacks of the Cardinals’ six in the game. The Cards had just eight sacks in the first eight games.
– The Rams have not had a very good run defense. So it’s a concern the Cardinals could not run against the Rams. At all. The Cardinals had only 28 yards on the ground, and Andre Ellington got a mere 23 yards on 18 carries. That won’t work for many wins going forward, especially if the Cards have to turn to Stanton.
– Larry Fitzgerald was the backbone of the receiving corps, Yes, Smokey Brown made a beautiful TD catch, but it was Fitz making multiple crucial catches through the first part of the game, and he’s on a solid path for 1,000 yards now.
– Brown probably shouldn’t have been able to catch that TD. A fantastic individual effort. That kid catches key touchdowns, whether it was the game-winner against the Chargers, 49ers, Eagles and now Rams.
– Michael Floyd got off to a good start this season. But man, he has become MIA. He made a nice catch Sunday for a first down and took a hellacious hit. After that, though, he wasn’t involved.
– Ed Stinson is dinged up, with a groin issue and a toe issue, but he dropped an interception with three minutes left that was right in his hands.
– As I wrap this up, I’m watching Tom Jackson and Cris Carter on ESPN talk about the Cardinals. They are talking about the team under the assumption Palmer is lost and Stanton will be the starter from here on. And both said they can still see this team with the ability to make a playoff run.
It says a lot about this team and the impression it has left nine games into the season.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Ed Stinson, John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Rams
Posted in Blog | 46 Comments »
Despite hurting his groin at the tail end of Friday’s practice, rookie defensive lineman Ed Stinson is active today and will remain part of the Cardinals’ defensive line rotation. As a result, the Cardinals’ inactive list became pretty predictable with the way Bruce Arians has culled his recent 46-man game day players of late. The full inactive list:
– QB Logan Thomas
– RB Stepfan Taylor (calf)
– LB Desmond Bishop (hamstring)
– LB Thomas Keiser
– LB Glenn Carson
– DT Alameda Ta’amu
– TE Darren Fells
Tags: Ed Stinson, inactives, Rams
Posted in Blog | 10 Comments »
And just when it felt like this week was going to be one of the least newsy in a long time, the Cardinals cap it off by signing quarterback Carson Palmer to a three-year extension – a move that isn’t unexpected, but one that is crucial for the team going forward.
Let’s face it, Palmer has provided the stability this team has needed at the position for a long time. He’s playing some of the best football of his career. Intelligent football. He has also become a rock-solid leader inside that locker room. That cannot be dismissed. As good as Palmer has been on the field, his leadership has been very, very important.
He’ll turn 35 next month. Reportedly, the deal guarantees $20.5 million up front between bonus and 2015 salary and nothing guaranteed after that. It gives the Cards flexibility going forward, yet makes sure they have a QB.
Another good move in a season of them for GM Steve Keim.
— Calais Campbell (@Campbell93) November 7, 2014
– The big deal Sunday will be keeping Palmer upright against the Rams. Last season when the Rams visited, Palmer hadn’t practiced all week but completed 27 of 34 passes and the Cards got a comfortable win. And that was without the currently upgraded offensive line.
– Everyone is going to want to knock off the Cardinals now. That’s part of the gig when you’ve fashioned the best record in the league.
“Every single week we’ll walk out there with a bulls-eye on our back,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “There is a big difference between being a hunter and being hunted. You have to have a much higher sense of urgency and focus to be able to deal with the pressure that comes with it.”
– The Cardinals used four-down linemen last week. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles hasn’t been shy about mixing and matching his lineups either. But Bowles said that isn’t him getting creative as much as making moves out of necessity.
“Last year we had three-down linebackers at both spots and we had (Darnell) Dockett who was on the field all the time,” Bowles said. “We didn’t have to change as much. We had (John) Abraham as a pass rusher. They were interchangeable because you let them do what they do best. This year with all the injuries, we have a bunch of moving part with different guys who do different things.”
– Bowles said safety Tyrann Mathieu (the one and only(?) Honey Badger) isn’t quite all the way back. Mathieu thinks he is. In fact, Mathieu really, really wants the decision-makers to let him take off his knee brace. I don’t think it’s going to happen — everyone wants to be smart here — but it let’s you know how Mathieu is feeling.
– Center Lyle Sendlein has had a good week. For one, he was not fined for the chop block he was flagged for in Dallas. Usually, that’s interpreted as a penalty that shouldn’t have been called (the Cardinals lost a 12-yard Andre Ellington run because of the flag, killing off a promising drive.) Regardless, the Cards won and no one dipped into his wallet.
– But the better part was the arrival of Sendlein’s first kid, a son that was born early in the week so Sendlein didn’t even have to miss practice.
“My wife is awesome, a great wife and mother,” Sendlein said. “She might let me sleep in the guest room until the season is over.”
She has to be better than that, though, after letting Sendein go with the name Crew Jack Sendlein for his newborn. Crew? Sendlein was asked where that came from.
“Well, I like the movie ‘Rad,’ ” Sendlein said, referring to a BMX racing bike movie from 1986. The main character was named Cru Jones. “It’s spelled a little different.”
– Bruce Arians was asked this week if he had ever this year drawn up any plays for cornerback Patrick Peterson on offense. The answer was no.
“(Expletive),” Arians said, “I can’t even get Jaron Brown in the game.”
True enough. After a big preseason, Brown has been a pick-and-choose guy, although he got his first touchdown catch against the Cowboys. “I wasn’t dropping that one,” Brown said, not after he was wide open for touchdown bombs twice this season, only to have the QB miss him.
Brown, however, only got so many opportunities in college at Clemson with a loaded roster. This isn’t new.
“I’ve been patient before, dealt with the same thing,” Brown said. “We were winning too, which always helps. I know my role. Hopefully it sets me up for down the road.”
At least he knows who is quarterback is going to be.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Jaron Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Rams, Steve Keim, Todd Bowles, Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Blog | 44 Comments »
The tweet came across my timeline yesterday, saying that the “Honey Badger being quizzed on Welsh culture is fantastic.” And my immediate thought was, why in the heck would someone want to quiz Tyrann Mathieu on Welsh culture? I know Mathieu is popular, but that’s just odd. Of course, it turned out that it was an athlete and he was quizzed about the Welsh, but it was a different Honey Badger athlete. Apparently there is an Australian rugby player named Nick Cummins who is also named Honey Badger, and who knew?
Well, not Mathieu.
“I saw a bunch of people tagging me on Twitter (about Cummins) but I didn’t really pay too much attention,” Mathieu said.
Mathieu is going to be the Honey Badger to the NFL, to American sports fans and to himself. The thought once upon a time that he would ditch the name in the effort to pull away from his troubled college years has been gone, once Mathieu a) understood he could figure out his life regardless of what his nickname was and b) liked the nickname in the first place.
Mathieu is even working to make “Honey Badger” a little more permanent.
“I’m in the process of getting it trademarked,” Mathieu said. “They’re giving me a tough time, because they are telling me it’s an animal.”
That doesn’t make sense. When is a real honey badger going to sell a T-shirt?
Tags: Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Blog | 17 Comments »