Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked at the end of his Monday presser about the Buccaneers going hard at the Cards’ two kneel-downs at the end of the game as they tried to run out the clock. Arians turned very serious. “That’s their style,” Arians said. “I have no comment on it.”
It wasn’t hard to see how Arians felt about it when watching a video of the end of the game. The Cards had two kneel-downs and QB Carson Palmer was knocked on his backside on the first (screenshot below) as the Bucs crashed in. The second was also a jumble of bodies, and Arians delivered a noticeably quick handshake to Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano — if it was a handshake — and just as the camera was about to leave him, and what looked like a Tampa assistant Arians knew tried to say good game, Arians looked like he was going to give that coach a piece of his mind too.
This, of course, isn’t the first time this has been an issue. Flash back to Schiano’s first season last year and the same thing happened with the Giants. Reaction was mixed. Schiano said Monday afternoon on his radio show (via joebucsfan.com), after a Tampa fan said he had a problem with such a play, that his players are ultimately the ones who decide to do it.
“I can say it’s misunderstood. Maybe I’m misunderstood. Who knows? But there’s a couple of things that I can tell you. No. 1, it’s an organized play. It isn’t just a mayhem of diving,” Schiano said. “Has it worked here yet in the NFL? No. Has it worked before? Sure. It’s worked or I wouldn’t do it. You know, we’ve caused several balls to be put on the ground in the past in doing this. And there’s a technique, a series of techniques that are involved.
“But most importantly, you know, I want everybody to know, our players, I ask our players, ‘if we don’t want to do this, we don’t do it.’ I mean, that’s where I am. I’m not going to force guys. Because is there’s always a risk involved? Sure. I mean there’s always a risk involved when you’re hitting other people. And I’m talking about a risk for our players.”
Schiano went on to say in a one-score game and the Bucs need just a field goal, it’s part of his team’s belief system to go after the ball. He also said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was warning the Cardinals the rush was coming.
“I’d like people to quit complaining, and that’s what we’re going to do, and get ready for it,” Schiano added.
I’m not sure I buy that Schiano’s players have the latitude to say they won’t do it, especially if Schiano is saying it’s part of the team’s belief system. The question is, what will come first: The Bucs actually creating a turnover out of it, or some player getting hurt?
Tags: Bruce Arians, Buccaneers, Carson Palmer, Greg Schiano
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Bruce Arians used the hot read on his first postgame comment Sunday.
“I wouldn’t have any other ending at Raymond James Stadium,” he said. “I’m kind of used to that.”
Of course, Arians was referencing both Sunday’s 13-10 come-from-behind win for the Cards over the Bucs and the Super Bowl he won with the Steelers back in early 2009, and yes, that picked at the scab of the Cards’ fans that remembered that painful ending all too well. Then again, it was nice for the Cards to avoid another painful trip to Tampa Bay. And goodness knows it certainly looked like it was going to be just that.
For a while it echoed the Cards’ last regular-season trip here, a seven-point loss in which the offense could do nothing. The Cards saw exactly what they expected this time out of rookie Mike Glennon. He completed some passes on them but for the most part, the Bucs’ offense did little. Not that they needed to.
But finally, the offense came around. Sure, Patrick Peterson had to play the set-up man – what in the world were the Bucs thinking letting a struggling rookie throw that deep in his own territory when the Cards had been doing next to nothing offensively? – and it’s always nice when your stars shine. Peterson two picks? Check. Fitz clutch TD? Check.
There will be frustration and concern, all rightfully so. Yet there is a world of difference between 1-3 and 2-2, and the Cards made sure they didn’t mess it up. Most, if presented with the possibility of 2-2 after four games – three being on the road – would take it. The Cards will.
– Peterson said the game changed as field position began to change in the second half. The offense didn’t score but at least it was getting yards. Meanwhile, the Bucs stopped moving as the Cards honed in on rookie QB Mike Glennon.
“(Being a rookie) definitely played into the thought process,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “They threw a little more early than I thought they would. He is a young quarterback and he made some young mistakes.”
– That included that game-turning pass thrown to Peterson. Glennon said he made the right read but just a bad throw. Peterson said he knew exactly what the route was and jumped the pass. Regardless, it changed the game.
– And yes, Peterson admitted that as a rookie, or even last year, he probably would have tried for a longer return on his final pick. But he got down because he just wanted to end the thing and get the Cards on their flight back to Arizona. A wise man.
– It was good to see Fitz get involved. Cause/effect? Sure seemed that way.
– The Cardinals will officially get Daryl Washington back. I’m pretty sure it’s as early as tomorrow. Peterson talked about how much more aggressive the Cardinals will be able to get with him in the lineup. I really think he will have a huge impact on the defense.
– The last time the Cards came back to win a road game where they trailed by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter? It was in Philadelphia, Sept. 12, 1999. The Cards were down 12 before coming back to win, 25-24. That’s the year before I started covering the team. The last time they won in regulation down at least 10 in the fourth quarter? That was 2003, with the infamous McCown-to-Poole Hail Mary pass to beat the Vikings, 18-17. That was 17-6 in the fourth.
– Rookie wideout Jaron Brown hadn’t looked sharp in his few chances this season, but he showed a lot by making that 19-yard sideline catch while being blasted by Bucs safety Dashon Goldson. Goldson was flagged (and could be suspended) and the Cards got the easy field goal attempt.
– Tyrann Mathieu got a couple of punt return attempts, but the Bucs kicked it away from him like they did Peterson. The first Mathieu return came after Peterson’s right arm went numb briefly, and he didn’t want to take a chance at fumbling a punt out there.
– The defensive linemen were huddled around after the game wanting to know how many yards the Bucs rushed for, and were disappointed when they heard 80 (on 31 carries). Of course, that was skewed by Goldson’s 22-yard fake punt. Doug Martin gained just 45 yards on 27 carries – 1.7 yards a tote – and that’s a good day’s work for the D.
– By the way, confirmed by Elias, there has only been eight times when a player had 25 or more carries and gained 45 or less yards since 1935. Only the second time it’s happened in a team’s loss. So again, a good day’s work for the D. Martin was a key Sunday.
– Arians wasn’t sounding overly concerned about Carson Palmer’s play. He did say he thought getting sacked on the first play didn’t help Palmer’s confidence. But “it’s not just him,” Arians said. “It’s 11 guys on offense. We have about eight of them playing in the first quarter the last two games.”
– I did think the pass protection was generally better in the game after a rough start. Palmer was sacked on that first play and then wasn’t sacked again.
– In their two wins, the Cards are a combined 2-for-21 on third-down conversions. Mind-boggling.
That’s enough from 35,000 feet. It’s been a long week.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Buccaneers, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Daryl Washington, Doug Martin, Jaron Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Glennon, offensive line, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu
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Safety Rashad Johnson was not cleared by doctors to play with his severed fingertip so he will not be active today against the Bucs. As expected, Tyrann Mathieu will start in his place.
No Johnson is a blow especially to a special teams unit that was already missing Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho. Special teams was a spot where the Cardinals had been consistent. We will have to see how the unit can respond. You figure rookie Tony Jefferson will also take a bigger role all the way around. The fact the Buccaneers probably will run the ball more with a rookie quarterback lends itself to the play of vet safety Yeremiah Bell, too (although the Cards must tackle better than they have.)
The rest of the inactive list comes as no surprise. Nose tackle Dan Williams (father’s death) and linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) were already out. The others sitting:
– QB Ryan Lindley
– RB Ryan Williams
– T Bobby Massie
– G Earl Watford
For the Buccaneers, QB Josh Freeman, benched this week, is inactive. Wide receivers Mike Williams (ankle) and Vincent Jackson (ribs) are active.
Tags: Buccaneers, inactives, Rashad Johnson, Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu, Yeremiah Bell
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The Cardinals have played the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay just once in the past 16 years, a forgettable 2007 17-10 loss in which, among other things, the Cards began to start leaving for East Coast trips on Fridays (after looking sluggish following a Saturday arrival in Tampa) and Larry Fitzgerald inexplicably stepped out of bounds on a long catch-and-run that seemed like it should have gone for a touchdown.
That, of course, doesn’t even include the last time the Cards played in Raymond James Stadium, which didn’t include the Buccaneers but did include Bruce Arians on the other sideline.
“I don’t have any good memories from this stadium at all,” Fitzgerald said.
The Cardinals desperately need to change that up this time around. It couldn’t be lined up any better. The team stayed in Florida for the week, to prep for the early start/humidity/weather. The Buccaneers decided to start a rookie quarterback – a third-round pick, no less – and will probably inactivate the only QB on the roster who has ever had any success in the NFL (and who played well against the Cards in 2010 in Arizona.) Fitzgerald is back healthy. The Bucs are 0-3 in the first place.
There seems like a giant chasm between a 2-2 record and a 1-3 record.
– Fitzgerald was talking – again, like he has the past couple of years – about what the problems were of the offense. Fitz obliged the best he could, and then was asked if he ever tired of saying the same things. Fitz smiled.
“I can give you clichés all day,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve got them in my back pocket. I’m not going to give you any bulletin board material. I’m going to keep it classy.”
– Some of the issues aren’t new. Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin reiterated the need to protect Carson Palmer better, and if that happens, the offense flow from there. Once again, Goodwin was asked about extra blocking help on the edge, especially for left tackle Levi Brown.
“There’s only so many things you can do in a game based on what we do,” Goodwin said. “We are going to go empty. We are going to do play-action pass. Obviously he’s got to get the job done. Otherwise I’ll be in there.”
– The reality is that most teams have protection issues these days. Look around the league. That doesn’t excuse problems Brown or anyone else have, but few teams are satisfied. It can change week to week too. As for sacks, the goal is “get the number down,” Goodwin said. “You are going to give up sacks, it’s the nature of the beast. We just have to do a better job getting in front of those guys, try and slow them down.”
– If the equation is a) the Bucs’ top two receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson are questionable with injuries and b) the Bucs are starting rookie Mike Glennon at quarterback and c) the Bucs have a solid run game with Doug Martin in the backfield, well, that all should equal some obvious offensive tendencies. That run defense we saw through the first two-and-three-quarter games – before the Saints game went sideways – is what the Cards need in Tampa.
– Looking back at that 2007 game, the seven-point loss – the Bucs had the ball for more than 43 minutes. How is that even possible in a 17-10 game? I’m sure the Bucs want to possess the ball again like that. The best thing the Cards could do is have another opening drive like the one in New Orleans. With Glennon and not Drew Brees, the affect would be much greater.
– Martin, whose nickname in college was the “Muscle Hamster” – a nickname Martin clearly hated – played at Boise State. His tackle was current Cardinal Nate Potter, and at one point, there was a story going around that Potter gave him the nickname. Martin said that wasn’t the case.
“He actually didn’t call me the nickname, and that’s why I like him,” Martin said.
– How the Cards deal with the loss of their starting linebackers is going to be a major storyline. It isn’t as if Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho were dominant, but they were starters for a reason. And they clearly will be missed on special teams, which has been the one spot that’s been pretty consistent up until this point. What you have to wonder about is the coverage skills of the outside guys on the roster. Shaughnessy, Abraham and Moch are all pass rushers first.
– It’s been a crazy week with the finger issue of Rashad Johnson, all the way to the very real possibility he will play Sunday. That just is unreal to me.
– The team will bus from Sarasota to Tampa tomorrow afternoon. Two-game road trips in the NFL – true road trips, not road games on back-to-back weekends – are rare. We’ll see if the Cards can come up with a split.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Buccaneers, Dontay Moch, Doug Martin, Harold Goodwin, John Abraham, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Matt Shaughnessy, Rashad Johnson
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The Cardinals finished their final full practice of the week today. After that rocky start to the week, with a practice that could have been poor Wednesday because of the rain and the near-flooded field (pictures here) but went, by all accounts, pretty well. The sun came out Thursday (with the IMG fields remarkably dry 24 hours later) and the Cards got in all their necessary work for Sunday’s game against the Bucs.
“The adversity kind of helped make it more focused,” coach Bruce Arians said. “It was something we needed this week.”
We’ll have a “Friday Before” post in a bit, but here are a couple of quick notes:
– S Rashad Johnson was limited in practice today and will be questionable for the game. Arians sure made it sound like he would play, although Johnson said he and the team will still check it out Saturday. He tried to work a cast that would give a couple fingers freedom, but it was determined it wasn’t going to work, so if he does play, he will do so with a big ball cast on his left hand. Arians said he’d be a backup and play special teams.
– Are the Cards ready for the humidity? Sure, Arians said, deadpanning, “I think we had seven IVs yesterday. It was about what we needed.”
– Arians said Wednesday the linebackers would be Matt Shaughnessy and John Abraham and the young guys would fill in behind them. But Arians was a little less detailed Friday talking about who would start at outside linebacker, with heat and weather conditions playing factors as well.
“Depend on the packages,” Arians said. “Todd has a number of different packages. There could be any number of mix and match scenarios.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Buccaneers, linebackers, Rashad Johnson
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The last time — the only time — Larry Fitzgerald went to Revis Island, it wasn’t even an island yet. It was still just young, promising cornerback Darrelle Revis, like Fitzgerald a University of Pittsburgh product and No. 1 pick of the New York Jets. Fitz had eight catches for 122 yards that day in New York, but Revis had two interceptions of Kurt Warner — returning one for a touchdown — and two pass deflections. The Jets took a 34-0 lead at halftime and ended up with a 56-35 win. Revis’ first pick was intended for tight end Ben Patrick. His second was on the final play of the game, a pass thrown to Fitz that had little meaning behind it since just a few moments before, Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin had had his jaw shattered.
Fitz and Revis hadn’t had a chance to see each other since. Last year in New York, Revis had long been down with his torn knee ligament, and it’s not like the Jets’ defense needed help on Fitz given the Cards’ bad quarterback situation. The Cards scored just six points that day.
So now Fitzgerald gets a real chance at Revis Island when the Cards visit Tampa Bay, Revis’ new home, Sunday.
“This is the best defense in general we have faced all season,” Fitzgerald said. “Darelle is playing at an elite level as always. I don’t see any difference in his play.”
Revis has played since the opener coming off his knee surgery. He plays a Fitzgerald who is practicing fully this week after suffering his hamstring pull. Fitz had a team-best five catches and 64 yards in New Orleans, but certainly, it wouldn’t hurt if the Cards could use him more and surely, Fitz would like that himself.
“I know Larry very well,” Revis said. “I know him personally and it’s cool, it’s competition, I’ve played him before, a couple years ago. I’m excited he’s healthy and I’m excited he’s back (from injury), so it’s going to be fun. Whoever I line up on — You never know, I might not line up on Larry — but whatever the game plan is and what we’re doing is for us to execute a winning game.”
One interesting coincidence: The last time Fitzgerald and Revis played against each other? It came at the end of the Cardinals spending a week away from Arizona between games on the East coast — just like this week.
Tags: Buccaneers, Darrelle Revis, Jets, Larry Fitzgerald
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The Cardinals are heading out to their first day of practice for the week and it is going to be a very wet one. The rain has not let up.
“Anybody got a boat we can borrow,” coach Bruce Arians said to open his press conference.
In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be raining. Not like this. But Arians said the Cards will make the best of it. In the meantime, here are some notes before I head out myself and try to take a few pictures:
– The Cardinals officially put LB Alex Okafor on season-ending IR with his torn biceps tendon. LB Kenny Demens has been promoted from the practice squad. The Cards also added WR Devon Wylie to the practice squad.
– Okafor said he possibly could’ve played with the injury but decided he has too much football left in his career to risk something like that, so he decided to get it taken care of.
– NT Dan Williams will not play Sunday. His father’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
– Arians said he doesn’t plan on using any inside linebackers on the outside. We’ll see if that can hold up given the circumstances.
– The Cardinals will face a rookie QB Sunday. The Buccaneers benched starter Josh Freeman today for draft pick Mike Glennon. That should benefit this injury-ravaged defense.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Bruce Arians, Buccaneers, Dan Williams, Kenny Demens
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The Cardinals’ next two games are on the road, and the Cards will take that to the extreme. After the team plays in New Orleans this coming weekend, the team will head straight to Florida and spend the week before their game at Tampa Bay in Sarasota and practice in Bradenton.
It’s obviously not the first time the Cards have done this. In 2008, the Cards spent their week between road games at Washington and at the New York Jets in beautiful Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. It didn’t help on the scoreboard – the Cards lost both ends – but then-coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the time it could be a dress rehearsal for the team if they went to the Super Bowl and had to spend a week of prep in the Super Bowl city. Lo and behold, the Cardinals found themselves spending a week in Tampa the following January prepping for the Super Bowl.
No one is saying there will be a parallel here. But the powers-that-be determined that avoiding multiple plane trips is the best course in maneuvering this early-season schedule. It will mean the Cardinals should be well-adjusted to the 10 a.m. Arizona kickoff time by the time they get to the Tampa game. (The Cards will be facing a 10 a.m. Arizona kickoff time for the Saints game too and there will be an adjustment there.) Weather in the Sarasota area is supposed to be in the upper 80s that week.
Tags: Buccaneers, practice, Saints
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With the Andy Reid discussion officially over (and it was over last night), the Cardinals’ search for a coach remains with multiple candidates. The Mike McCoy interview will happen this weekend. We’re still waiting for word of a talk with Todd Haley (although Haley reportedly isn’t sure he’d want to leave Pittsburgh.) The Ray Horton talks are done, and I think there is still a chance for another candidate or two to emerge.
(After everything that happened with Reid, I’m not sure the Cards are going to be quite as transparent with announcing potential names at this point. Leaks are going to happen, though.)
I know I mentioned this before but the key phrase in Michael Bidwill’s Monday presser: “It’s not going to move at lightning speed. You don’t want it to, because you learn a lot during your due diligence period.” Bidwill wants to make sure he talks to all the candidates he wants to before making any decisions. That makes sense. This is a huge decision that will impact the next three or four seasons at least.
UPDATE: The interview with GM candidate Morocco Brown of the Redskins took place in Washington D.C. Friday. The McCoy interview comes Saturday in Denver.
– Interesting that Mike Sullivan, the Buccaneers offensive coordinator, reportedly had a good interview with the Bears for their head coaching job and that Bucs QB coach Ron Turner is leaving to coach in college, former Cardinals QB coach John McNulty may not only have a landing spot with friend and Bucs head coach Greg Schiano but could even end up right where he tried to go last year. McNulty, who coached with Schiano at Rutgers, was Schiano’s original choice as OC but the Cardinals wouldn’t release him from his contract to leave, seeking continuity on their staff. The Bucs turned to Sullivan. Now, you’d think McNulty will likely end up on the Tampa staff one way or the other.
Tags: Andy Reid, Buccaneers, John McNulty, Michael Bidwill, Mike McCoy, Ray Horton, Todd Haley
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Yes, yes, I know I am early. Way early. But as long as the info is out there — and while we still have a little bit before we get to training camp — here is a look at who the Cardinals’ opponents will be for the 2013 season.
– Indianapolis (Andrew Luck!)
– Carolina (Cam Newton!)
– Houston (Arian Foster.)
– Atlanta (Roddy White?)
– NFC North team that matches Cards’ spot in 2012 standings
– and of course, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco.
– New Orleans
– Tampa Bay
– NFC East team that matches Cards’ spot in 2012 standings
– and, of course, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco.
I was going to do a little analysis, but then I realized how foolish that was this far out.
Tags: 49ers, Andrew Luck, Arian Foster, Buccaneers, Cam Newton, Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, Panthers, Rams, Roddy White, Saints, schedule, Seahawks, Texans, Titans
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