The annual spring owners meetings are next week, and as always, there will be a handful of new rules proposals to consider for the teams. One interesting one was noted by SI’s Albert Breer: “No team will be scheduled to play more than three away games with a scheduled kickoff time prior to 1:00 p.m. in the time zone of their home stadium (without consent).”
The proposal was created by three teams, all of which are (obviously) in the West: The Cardinals, Chargers and 49ers.
This has long been a point of contention for teams on this side of the country. It’s always a 10 a.m. kickoff for California teams (or the Seahawks) when they play a 1 p.m. game in the Eastern time zone. The Cards catch a minor break after daylight savings kicks in, since later in the season those kickoffs would mean 11 a.m. Arizona time as opposed to the 10 a.m. they face earlier in the year.
Regardless, it’s never been something that’s ideal. Last season, the Cardinals had four games kick off at 10 a.m. Arizona time (although to be fair, one was a London game that was 6 p.m. local time after the Cards were there a week), and two more that kicked off at 11 a.m. The rule would have been a big deal if three of those games would have had to have made their kickoffs later. The Cardinals started the first two games of the season last year at 10 a.m. Arizona time, in Detroit and Indianapolis.
This year, the Cards’ away games are the three in-division, and then games at Kansas City, L.A. Chargers, Green Bay, Minnesota and Atlanta. While K.C., Green Bay and Minnesota are in the Central time zone, they would still fall under this situation given that a noon start would be in the early window. The Cards have done that more than once, especially when the Rams were in St. Louis. If the rule passed, at least one of those games would have to be a late kickoff. Whether the proposal will pass or not is another thing entirely.
Tags: 49ers, Chargers, East coast, owners meetings, schedule
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The so-called “windows” all stay open for only so long in the NFL. That doesn’t mean a team can’t sustain competitiveness, or that any success must be followed with a significant down period. But rosters turn, great players get older, and the equation always changes. The Cardinals have gone through a ton of change this offseason, transitioning from Bruce Arians to Steve Wilks as coach and seeking out a quarterback now that Carson Palmer has retired. It demands the focus locally, but clearly, it’s not the only transition going on in the NFC West.
The Seahawks have traded away star defensive end Michael Bennett. Star cornerback Richard Sherman, coming off a major Achilles injury, looks like he very soon will become an ex-Seahawk. Safety Earl Thomas is reportedly on the trading block, and the future of defensive cogs defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor is very much in doubt. And that doesn’t even include the fact coach Pete Carroll blew out the majority of his coaching staff and brought in new guys.
The Rams were on the upswing last season and it looks like — although not guaranteed — that the 49ers are trending the same. Everyone is waiting to see what the new versions of both the Cardinals and Seahawks will look like. It’s one thing to have Avril or Bennett not around. It’s quite another to think that Sherman might not be a Seahawk, especially when it comes to playing Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals.
The division definitely has a different feel to it.
Tags: 49ers, Larry Fitzgerald, NFC West, Rams, Richard Sherman, Seahawks
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The news broke Thursday that the 49ers were signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year extension worth around $137 million with hefty guarantees (I’ve seen one report of $74M, and another for $90M, so …) It isn’t a surprise that the Niners would pay up for Jimmy G, because that was inevitable once he played well down the stretch. San Francisco has lots of cap room and it would make sense to front-load a big deal, because they can absorb it (we will have to wait and see on the structure), and besides, it became clear he was definitely going to be the Niners’ long-term QB.
Jimmy G! Show me the money!!!! Holy moly donut shop!!!
— ♛Chandler Jones (@chanjones55) February 8, 2018
Now, of course, we’ll see the trickle down effect on more accomplished quarterbacks, like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees and even Kirk Cousins as they all wait for their next contracts. But bigger picture, it illustrates the potential impact of being able to find that young (i.e. drafted) quarterback that can hopefully help you sooner rather than later, as opposed to getting one established but much more expensive. The Niners, with a ton of cap room, are likely fine for now. But it’s why the Seahawks ascended to where they were for a few years when Russell Wilson was on a rookie deal, why the Cowboys can (should?) contend with Dak Prescott on a cheaper deal and why even the Rams and Eagles are in good spots even with highly drafted QBs. Jimmy G, because his “bargain” years were used up on the bench behind Tom Brady, will never provide such a lift in roster-building.
It’s also why teams needing QBs — like the Cardinals, for instance — benefit from finding someone in the draft. Do that, and the money can be spent elsewhere in trying to create a true contender.
Tags: 49ers, Aaron Rodgers, contracts, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson
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The Saints acknowledged that they will indeed get that conditional draft pick from the Cardinals — expected to be a sixth-rounder — in the trade for Adrian Peterson. With the draft in April and the announcements of this year’s compensatory picks (based on 2017 free agency) coming in late March, here is an early look at what draft picks the Cards could hold this season.
Already gone are the Cardinals’ original fourth-round pick (dealt in the Bears trade that allowed them to move up for Budda Baker in the second round last season), original sixth-rounder (for Peterson) and seventh-rounder (in the 2016 trade with Chiefs for cornerback Marcus Cooper.) The Cardinals also acquired a conditional seventh-round pick from the Ravens for offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom at the end of training camp, but given that Bergstrom was released about six weeks later, it’s unclear whether that pick conveys.
On the plus side, the Cards are in line for three comp picks, according to overthecap.com, which always has a pretty good handle on the byzantine equation the NFL uses to determine comp picks. It’s based on free agents lost versus free agents gained, using contract numbers and snaps. According to OTC, the loss of Calais Campbell would earn the Cards the top comp pick in the third round (all comp picks are slotted after the regular round ends), the loss of Tony Jefferson would earn the Cards the top comp pick in the fourth round, and the loss of Alex Okafor would earn them an additional seventh-round pick.
The FA losses of D.J. Swearinger, Cooper and Kevin Minter are offset by the signings of Phil Dawson, Peterson and Karlos Dansby.
Peterson wasn’t a free agent signing, you say? He was with the Saints. The trade for Peterson looks like it could actually ding the Cards in two ways — not only costing the sixth-rounder in trade, but also a potential sixth-round comp pick because he was acquired in the season in which he was signed as a free agent. (This is one of the reasons it’s been reported that the 49ers released QB Brian Hoyer as they traded for Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. The Patriots wanted Hoyer, but to get him back in a trade after he signed as a free agent with the 49ers would have hurt the Pats in the comp pick equation. With the 49ers cutting him, there was no such issue.)
So, if the projections are right, the Cards picks are:
— First round
— Second round
— 2 Third rounds (comp)
— Fourth round (comp)
— Fifth round
— Seventh round (comp, and maybe a regular seventh-round if Bergstrom trade comes through)
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Peterson, Alex Okafor, Bears, Brian Hoyer, Calais Campbell, Chiefs, compensatory picks, draft, Patriots, Ravens, Tony Bergstrom, Tony Jefferson
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It turned out not to matter, but it could have, so after Phil Dawson’s missed field goal Sunday — his sixth in eight games — General Manager Steve Keim said the issues with the whole unit have to be fixed. Quickly.
“The hard part is, the preseason and everything we saw out of Phil moving forward, felt like he was going to be a huge addition to this team and bring consistency to that spot,” Keim said Monday on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7. “For whatever reason, things aren’t clicking right now. We just have to go back to the basics and really dig in and see what’s going wrong and make sure we fix it, because it cannot happen again.”
Coach Bruce Arians blamed a bad snap from long snapper Justin Drescher, and Keim acknowledged the snap was low. Keim also said holder Andy Lee did manage to salvage it. Keim also said he was disappointed in the field-goal unit not only from the kicking standpoint but also in the blocking and the technical aspects.
“(Phil) has got to be held accountable,” Keim said. “In my opinion, when you’re getting paid, you’ve got to make those kicks. I don’t think that’s any secret.”
It does not sound like the Cardinals would consider looking at any kickers at least this week. A short week and a game Thursday plays into that, Keim said.
— There was praise for quarterback Drew Stanton in the win, but Keim also underscored the reality that the Cardinals benefit from the run game — in this case, Adrian Peterson’s career-high/franchise-record 37 carries for 159 yards.
“There’s no doubt we knew we had to run the ball effectively and I don’t think that’s a secret going forward the rest of the season,” Keim said.
— The offensive line did pretty well, particularly left guard Alex Boone and left tackle D.J. Humphries, Keim said. That’s what happens when the team stays committed to the run and balanced offensively. “Give those guys a chance,” Keim said, before acknowledging that it’ll be a tougher task Thursday against the Seahawks.
— Peterson had a second great game in three appearances for the Cardinals “The guy continues to impress me at his age,” Keim said. “Thirty-seven carries is unheard of. As (offensive coordinator) Harold Goodwin said, the more you feed him, the better he gets.”
— Keim did want to see better consistency from the defense, and is still concerned about the red-zone offense and converting touchdowns.
— Keim agreed with the idea Humphries is developing into a potential cornerstone left tackle, reiterating again that Humphries has matured a lot to match mentally his excellent physical talent. “He’s ultra-competitive and he likes to play the game,” Keim said.
— The short week is hard, but there is excitement over playing at home on national TV, he said, and the Cardinals will benefit from the mini-bye after the game.
— There was congratulations for veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby in joining the exclusive 40-sack/20-interception club. But Keim, who has know Dansby his whole career and has a great relationship with him, couldn’t let the moment pass. Keim noted Dansby was given a chance to make a speech post-game in the locker room. “He may be one of the worst speech-givers I’ve ever heard,” Keim deadpanned.
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Peterson, Alex Boone, Andy Lee, D.J. Humphries, Drew Stanton, Justin Drescher, Karlos Dansby, Phil Dawson, Steve Keim
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It was hard to imagine Sunday happening with Bruce Arians as playcaller. Not so much that the Cardinals ran it so many times compared to passing it, but that they did it with only one running back. The Cards are, after all, on a short week, facing the physical Seahawks Thursday night.
But Adrian Peterson got the rock Sunday. A lot. The most he’s had in his career, a crazy notion given the fact he is both 32 and needed Thursday against those Seahawks. The Cardinals needed a win. As offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said last week, feeding Peterson is like throwing wood into the old stove, getting it hotter as the night goes on. Peterson really is a marvel, and he was crucial Sunday.
Now comes the Seahawks, who lost themselves at home. The Cards would pull even in the standings by beating Seattle. This is the formula, like the Cards had been saying (and interestingly, even with Palmer, is often the formula against the Seahawks anyway.) Run a lot, lean on the defense. Ask Drew Stanton to do some things but not a lot of things.
— Even with all the running, one guy who wasn’t about to declare the Cardinals now a running team was Larry Fitzgerald, who quietly had a solid game (five catches, 70 yards, a couple of key first downs).
“To say we have a whole new identity, I don’t know about that,” Fitzgerald said.
— The 37 Peterson carries set a franchise record. I hate to do this, but he broke the record of — wait for it – Edgerrin James, who had 36 in the Monday Night Meltdown game against the Bears. Edge was slightly less productive, gaining just 55 yards that game.
On the all-time lists, Fitzgerald surpassed Tim Brown for sixth place in NFL history for receiving yards. Peterson, who went past the 12,000-rushing yard mark, passed Thurman Thomas and Franco Harris and is now 14th all-time.
— Budda Baker was great in punt coverage, making an impact especially in the first half.
— It was a chippy day across the NFL – google Mike Evans and A.J. Green – so it kind of fit into things when it got heated late in the Cards’ game. Safety Antoine Bethea hit 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard as Beathard slid and the 49ers deemed it late. They had something to say. When it was over, Haason Reddick and Frostee Rucker were ejected, as was 49ers running back Carlos Hyde. We’ll see what the punishments and/or fines might be later this week. The sliding thing has been in the forefront ever since last week’s Kiko Alonso hit on Joe Flacco.
— Congrats to Karlos Dansby for getting his 20th career interception, as he became the fifth player in NFL history with 20 picks and at least 40 sacks. Dansby also had a sack in the game, so it will be a memorable one for him. So will the fact the ball bounced off the helmet of an offensive lineman, but they can’t all be gorgeous.
Dansby said Adrian Wilson had been giving him grief the other day in the team cafeteria about getting the pick. “Stop floating in the zone,” Dansby said Wilson told him. “It’ll come right to you.”
— It came late, but Chandler Jones got sack No. 9 in his eighth game, one of five sacks in the game. It was necessary to pressure Beathard all game given his beat-up offensive line, and for the most part, the Cards did.
— It was a nice day for the offensive line. Peterson ran for 159, and Pro Football Focus said the line allowed just two hurries, and Stanton wasn’t sacked.
— Finally, a few words about Stanton. He was solid Sunday. I understand there will still be those calling for Blaine Gabbert. I don’t expect that to change. But I don’t expect Stanton to go anywhere anytime soon. He took the blame for his interception in the end zone, although Arians interestingly took the blame for the same play. Stanton made a nice play to scramble around and find Jaron Brown on the first TD. He made a nice run on a planned play on third-and-1 to get a big first down.
He did enough to get a win. Yes, the Seahawks’ defense is another animal altogether, but Stanton did his job. The Cardinals are back at practice tomorrow. It’s just a walkthrough, but the week has already started. Not much time to enjoy a win.
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Peterson, Adrian Wilson, Bruce Arians, Budda Baker, Chandler Jones, Drew Stanton, Edgerrin James, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald
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The Cardinals will have running back Andre Ellington back in the lineup today after he missed a game with a quad injury, as well as linebacker Karlos Dansby (finger/hamstring) and wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin). The latter helps make sure the receiving corps won’t be thin — and also helps on special teams. The full inactive list:
— WR Chad Williams (back)
— RB D.J. Foster
— LB Scooby Wright
— C Daniel Munyer (toe)
— T Will Holden
— TE Ricky Seals-Jones
— DT Xavier Williams
Tags: 49ers, Andre Ellington, inactives, Karlos Dansby
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Jimmy Garoppolo is not playing against the Cardinals this week. Right?
“I’m expecting to see him, honestly,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “I think he’ll start. That’s just my opinion. What do they have to lose?”
(Other than maybe Garoppolo’s head, behind a struggling offensive line that now won’t have left tackle Joe Staley.)
Peterson isn’t the only one. Karlos Dansby said on the “Big Red Rage” Thursday night Garoppolo will play and many of the Cardinals defensive players have said similar things. It makes little sense to me, given how beat up the Niners are and how little time Garoppolo has had to get ready. Jacoby Brissett did start against the Cards for the Colts earlier this year, but that was Brissett’s second week with the Colts, not the first. Dropping in a quarterback that soon is just too complicated on the NFL level, not when you want good results. To be fair, Garoppolo will be active Sunday – as the backup, coach Kyle Shanahan insists – so the door is cracked. No, the Cardinals defense has not played consistently well. But I don’t see Jimmy G happening against the Cards this year. Beginning in 2018, yes.
— Speaking of that defense, which is around the bottom of the league in third downs and scoring, this is a chance to get better. The Cardinals played very well defensively against the 49ers the first time around. The last two road games, however, the Cardinals have surrendered a total of 67 points.
“You have a week off to have a chance to look at yourself in the mirror and be truthful with yourself,” Peterson said. “That’s where we were last week.”
— It’s stunning to believe that these teams met just about a month ago, and neither starting quarterback is on their team’s active roster.
— For all the struggles on the road of late – and there have been some ugly ones – if the Cardinals win Sunday it will be the 20th road win for coach Bruce Arians, which would be a franchise record.
— The Cardinals, especially with Drew Stanton, won’t make the mistake of underusing Adrian Peterson. He’ll get his carries. It’ll be up to the blocking up front, but Peterson will be getting more than 11 carries this week. If you go back to Stanton’s lone start/win in 2016, when he won in San Francisco, he threw a couple of TD passes to Larry Fitzgerald although he only had 11 completions. The Cards still scored 33, in large part because David Johnson had a season-high 157 yards rushing. That’s the formula.
— Peterson has 11,983 yards rushing in his career, so he’ll surpass 12,000 in this game. He needs 92 yards to pass Thurman Thomas for 15th all-time, and 138 to pass Franco Harris for 14th place.
— Arians was asked if he’s had any talks with veteran kicker Phil Dawson, who has surprisingly missed five field goals in seven games.
“Phil’s had talks with me,” Arians said. “I haven’t said a word to him. He got a chance to go watch his son and come back fresh and reloaded. I really anticipate him to have a great finish to the season.”
— Adrian Peterson and his wife will be featured on the Animal Planet show “Tanked” tonight at 9 p.m. pacific. The show is about people getting custom-made fish tanks. Peterson’s is a doozy.
— Without Staley, the 49ers could have a hard time handling Chandler Jones on the pass rush. Jones is already on fire with his eight sacks in seven games.
— The Cardinals could be thin at wide receiver. Brittan Golden (groin) and Chad Williams (back) weren’t practicing at the end of the week, although both are game-day decisions. Williams is usually inactive anyway, but if both can’t go, the other wideouts need to stay upright. Arians also said tight end Ifeanyi Momah, formerly a receiver, can play there.
— It’s a short week. The Cards have to turn around and host the Seahawks on a Thursday night, and regardless of what happens in the Bay Area, they will be much more short-handed than last year when they forged the heartbreaking 6-6 tie at home against Seattle. More heartbreaking would be an inability to get to .500 going into that game. As was being said the last time the Cards were playing the 49ers, this is kinda important.
“We cannot fall any further behind in our division,” Arians said. “I don’t think there is ever a must-game, but this is pretty close.”
See you Sunday.
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Peterson, Bruce Arians, Chandler Jones, Drew Stanton, Franco Harris, Ifeanyi Momah, Jimmy Garoppolo, Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Phil Dawson, Seahawks, Thurman Thomas
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The trade deadline is only a few hours away in the NFL. Cardinals GM Steve Keim said the team has been “active” in trade talks, but noted there are multiple moving parts for a trade to come to fruition, which is a willing partner, compensation and then how the contract situation of the player(s) involved impact the deal.
“There have to be so many things that have to make sense,” Keim said during his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7. “We’ll continue to work the phones.”
Keim did say he thinks the key injuries around the league have increased the action around the trade deadline, which is shaping up to be one of the most active in recent memory.
— Since it was Keim’s first interview since the London trip, he said there wouldn’t be one thing he’d want the Cardinals do do differently other than play better in the game. The logistics and trip itself went well. “I was hesitant with the thought of playing overseas, but what an experience it was,” Keim said. “The one thing that opened up my eyes, and I had no clue, was the international excitement that the fans had.”
— Obviously there were not as many good things to say about the game itself. Keim lamented the inability to run the football, which was a death sentence against such a good Rams defensive line in terms of being able to pass protect. Defensively, Keim said the Cardinals didn’t play with energy and didn’t tackle well.
“The way we played in Europe was flat out unacceptable,” he added.
— Injury updates: Keim said running back David Johnson (wrist) was doing well but the rehab is time-consuming. “We will continue to monitor that to see if he can come back this season,” Keim said.
As for Carson Palmer, Keim said there were a lot of “moving parts” for his potential return as well. He also acknowledged Palmer’s return will be influenced at least some on how the Cards are playing.
(Just judging by Keim’s tone, there was less optimism for returns of those star players than I had figured previously.)
— Keim noted the 49ers have a lot of cap room, which helps them make a trade for QB Jimmy Garoppolo despite a “small sample size.” Keim also said that in a perfect world, he would prefer to draft and develop a quarterback rather than trade for someone like Jimmy G.
“Because you can grow with them,” Keim said. “It not only helps you as a team, from a salary cap structure you can pay minimal money and build a team around him.”
Tags: 49ers, Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Jimmy Garoppolo, London, Steve Keim, trade
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The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Monday night though delivered a pair of NFC West trades — neither involving the Cardinals — that will impact the division for a while. The first was Texans veteran tackle Duane Brown going to the Seahawks for veteran CB Jeremy Lane, a fifth-round pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019. The other was Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo going to the 49ers for a 2018 second-round pick (which, as bad as the Niners have been, would be near a late first-round pick.)
The Brown deal makes sense for a Seattle team going for it. Their offensive line has been bad for a long time. Russell Wilson is so good, if they can get him a modicum of blocking, that offense — which was awesome against the Texans Sunday throwing the ball — will be that much better. But it’s the Jimmy G trade that gets everyone’s attention. So many teams are looking for long-term answers at QB. The Cardinals are one. Now, the Niners could offer a much better second-round pick. Garoppolo is going to be an unrestricted free agent, so he’s going to be due a lot of money. And frankly, he hasn’t played that much. No one is really sure what he will be. It’s not like Bill Belichick has ever flipped backup QBs where people have had high hopes only to have them be, um, less than expected (Ryan Mallett, Matt Cassel.)
So this will be Kyle Shanahan’s QB choice going forward (no QB in the first round for San Francisco, so that helps the Cards a bit.) He likely won’t play against the Cards this season — it’s hard to see him jumping in the lineup Sunday, especially since the Niners are 0-8 and are going nowhere.
The Cardinals made a trade too, don’t forget. They got Adrian Peterson, he just happened to come a couple weeks ago. As for their future QB, there are still options. Kirk Cousins may be a free agent (although the 49ers were believed to be a possible destination, so he may just stay in Washington.) There is the draft. At some point very soon, the Cards will have to address that. I don’t see how it can’t be this spring at the latest.
Tags: 49ers, Duane Brown, Jimmy Garoppolo, NFC West, quarterback, Seahawks
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