On Now
Coming Up

Blogs

Wednesday a big day for Palmer

Posted by Darren Urban on September 29, 2014 – 1:07 pm

So the progress Carson Palmer was hoping for in his throwing shoulder didn’t quite materialize the way he or coach Bruce Arians wanted over the weekend. So the quarterback was still pretty limited Monday at practice and it makes Wednesday — probably — the Denver tipping point. If Palmer can go Wednesday, he probably will be fine Sunday. If he cannot, it throws a lot of doubt on a Denver appearance, or at least brings Drew Stanton back front and center.

“Wednesday and Thursday would be huge this week,” Arians said.

Arians was asked if his gut was telling him Palmer would play against the Broncos: “I quit trusting my gut a long time ago,” Arians deadpanned. “It’s been lying to me forever.”

This was a big story before the 49ers game. Now that Stanton has looked so solid in two starts, it isn’t as much. Palmer said he is staying optimistic he can play against the Broncos but there’s really no way to know. “I wish I could predict the future,” he said.

The Cardinals are pretty healthy otherwise. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was back at practice. And while guard Paul Fanaika was off to the side, Arians said he’d be back at practice Wednesday. If Fanaika couldn’t go in a game, Jonathan Cooper would go to left guard and Ted Larsen would slide over from the left side to take Fanaika’s spot.

“I don’t know how many guys would’ve played last Sunday (if there was a game),” Arians said. “I’m sure we would have been out of at least three that would not have played. It’s going to happen sometime down the road here. (With) 13 weeks in a row, there’re going to get beat up and we’re going to be missing some guys. It’ll be next man up.”

CPwedneUSE

 


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog | 18 Comments »

At 3-0, Friday before the bye

Posted by Darren Urban on September 26, 2014 – 2:51 pm

There had to be some doubt, right? If not when Daryl Washington was suspended then when John Abraham didn’t show up to camp on time or Jonathan Cooper’s leg proved not-ready-for-primetime and for sure when Darnell Dockett went down. Maybe that was the day for me, when Dockett crumpled on the University of Phoenix Stadium turf during a run-of-the-mill training camp practice. At some point, it was all going to catch up with them, and maybe that was the day, with a guy who meant so much to the emotional tenor of the team and without whom depth was an issue.

That’s the day that keeps popping back into my head as the Cardinals sit here, going into a bye week, atop the NFC West standings at 3-0. Two wins over playoff teams. Two wins in games when starting quarterback Carson Palmer could not play, a mountain NFL teams these days often cannot climb. Where this goes isn’t easy to predict, but at the same time the belief is embedded by now.

The Cardinals won’t go undefeated. But at this point, there isn’t a game on the schedule – as difficult as it might be – that would cause someone to be surprised if the Cards won on that particular weekend.

– Since 1990, 75.2 percent of NFL teams that started 3-0 have made the postseason (91 of 121). Of course, we all know that one of those 30 teams was the 2012 Cardinals. But as I’ve said, this team is built much differently.

– In my eyes the biggest surprises? Well, beyond the play of Drew Stanton, which I really didn’t see coming, I’d say the defense as a whole. The pass rush, well, it is what it is, and in a vacuum, it’s not really that good. But defensive coordinator Todd Bowles makes it better with his schemes. I heard former offensive lineman/ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth on Arizona Sports’ “Bickley and Marotta” show today saying when watching video, he can’t believe how much the Cardinals actually blitz. Teams normally are burned by such maneuvering. The Cards are not, he said, because everyone is so in sync.

– I am a little surprised Jonathan Cooper is still on the bench. But Harold Goodwin is taking an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach with the O-line. Bruce Arians said once the season started it’d be hard for Coop to get on the field. He wasn’t lying.

– I am surprised rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro has been this steady. He’s 9-for-9 on field goals, tying he-was-a-Cardinal-for-few-days Dan Carpenter – now in Buffalo – for most in the league. He drilled a 51-yarder, a franchise rookie record, and impressively, 14 of his 17 kickoffs have left the opponent at no better than the 20-yard line, including nine touchbacks.

– Deone Bucannon has looked pretty solid in his dollar linebacker role, although he definitely has room to improve in pass coverage. Fellow safety Tony Jefferson has been a revelation. When Tyrann Mathieu is back to full strength, what a secondary this will be.

– Although no more scares like that Cromartie knee injury thing last week. Between the end of last season and Dockett, this team has had its fill of ACL tears.

– Just in case you want to make that story even better when the Cardinals, with just nine players on the field, blocked the 49ers’ field goal last week, how about this: The Niners actually had a fake called on the play, and then changed their mind, and not everyone got the message.

– The 49ers ended up with a trio of fines from last Sunday’s penalty-fest against the Cardinals, although neither hit on Cardinals QB Drew Stanton by linebacker Dan Skuta or Patrick Willis drew a fine (nor did Willis’ penalty flag on his helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.)

San Francisco wide receiver Anquan Boldin was fined $8,263 for his headbutt on Jefferson. Tackle Jonathan Martin was fined $8,263 for clipping Bucannon, and safety Eric Reid fined $8.263 for facemasking wide receiver John Brown.

– Good story from Kyle Odegard on Cardinals’ VP of player personnel Terry McDonough and his brother Ryan, who is GM of the NBA team in town, the Phoenix Suns.

– So this is what it’s like to have an offensive line you’re not stressing about every game?

– I do expect the offense to get better as the season goes along, assuming health. Andre Ellington will be better. And yes, I think Fitz will eventually get the ball more often.

I’m going to go enjoy the bye weekend now. Practice resumes Monday.

ByeBlogUSE


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 42 Comments »

The punter who won’t leave

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2014 – 5:18 pm

The Cardinals cut punter Drew Butler for a second time this week, and then Wednesday re-signed him again. This time it is to the practice squad, with the Cardinals letting defensive tackle Christian Tupou go from the practice squad. Tupou wasn’t needed once the Cardinals brought back/in Bruce Gaston from the Dolphins’ practice squad today to the Cards’ 53-man roster. Gaston, the undrafted rookie whom the Cardinals really liked in training camp before cutting him, replaced running back Jalen Parmele on the 53, who was unnecessary when Marion Grice was signed yesterday — taking Butler’s place on the roster.

Keeping all that straight?

Clearly, there is probably still some concern about Dave Zastudil’s groin injury, but having Butler (wearing No. 2 below) around is insurance (love that new 10-man practice squad to give a team some leeway with a practice-squad punter). I’d still guess Zastudil should be OK, but we’ll see. Bruce Arians said today everyone should be totally healthy come Monday save for a little uncertainty on quarterback Carson Palmer. But Palmer should be ready by Wednesday now that he’s throwing again, so there’s that.

– 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta said today he was not fined for his hit on sliding QB Drew Stanton.

Butler1Use

 


Tags: , ,
Posted in Blog | 32 Comments »

Palmer inactive; Rucker to play

Posted by Darren Urban on September 21, 2014 – 11:28 am

Carson Palmer will not be the backup quarterback today. Not surprisingly, he is inactive for a second straight game. Defensive end Frostee Rucker, coming back from a calf injury, is active so that will help on the defensive line. Actually, there are no surprises on the inactive list today really, taking away some of the 90-minute-before-drama that has been there the last first two games. Tight end Rob Housler (hip) will sit today, so Darren Fells gets into his first NFL game. DT Alameda Ta’amu is sitting but since the Cards are trying to hard to generate a pass rush, I’d guess an extra body is favored there over another run stuffer.

The full inactive list:

– Palmer (shoulder)

– P Dave Zastudil (groin)

–LB Victor Butler

– LB Glenn Carson

– LB Alex Okafor (thigh)

– Ta’amu

– Housler (hip)

TE Vernon Davis (ankle) is inactive for the 49ers, as is starting tackle Anthony Davis (hamstring) and No. 2 tight end Vance McDonald (knee). Given the Cards’ issues with tight ends, avoiding both is a big deal.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »

Friday before the Niners

Posted by Darren Urban on September 19, 2014 – 4:19 pm

What a week.

What a month, really, or six weeks, whatever the timeframe upon which you want to make the prism to look through. The Cardinals have encountered turbulence for sure, and it just doesn’t seem like that seat belt light is ever gonna go off so they can walk about the cabin. That bye week after this 49ers game looks so inviting, and maybe the football gods do know what’s what when that schedule comes out.

Bruce Arians thought back Friday to his 2010 season with the Steelers, when QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended to start the season and Byron Leftwich broke his leg in preseason and third-stringer Dennis Dixon got hurt and Charlie Batch still got Pittsburgh off to a 3-1 start. The Steelers made the Super Bowl that year (although they lost to Green Bay.) The Cardinals can take that to heart.

The bumps aren’t over yet, either. “It’s only Week 3,” Arians said. “Something’s coming.”

Goodness, after Washington and Minter and Cooper and Dockett and Abraham and Palmer and Dwyer and now Abraham again, let’s hope not.

There just happens to be a pretty important football game Sunday.

– Drew Stanton gets the start (and no, I don’t think Carson Palmer will be healthy enough to be his backup.) It’s a big deal for Stanton. The Giants are, well, the Giants. The 49ers are a different beast, which Arians’ tone hinted toward Friday when he was asked if Stanton should be better this week. Stanton can’t turn the ball over, like he was able to do in New York.

– The fact tight end Vernon Davis, if he plays, will be gimpy at best is huge news for the Cardinals. Davis has done very well against this team. It’s a plus in the Cards’ corner if he’s not 100 percent.

– It’ll be interesting to see how the Cardinals cover the 49ers, and how much Patrick Peterson is on Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has had the upper hand thus far in the matchup, but I just have a gut feeling Peterson is going to have a good game.

– Peterson was not fined for his contact with an official in New York. Giants linebacker Jameel McClain was fined $8,268 for his hit on Stanton after the whistle had been blown for a Cardinals’ delay of game penalty.

– Many have complained about punter Drew Butler on his two blocked punts, even though Arians has reiterated they were on blockers Deone Bucannon and Robert Hughes. Now that Butler is back again with Dave Zastudil hurting, Arians said today Butler has a “real quick two-step release.” Again, noted it was the protection failures that went into the punt blocks.

– Logan Thomas did his best Colin Kaepernick impression this week for the scout team. “He’s not Kap, but he’s close with athletic ability and arm strength,” Arians said. The Cards hope so. Containing Kaepernick will go a long way in determining if the Cards can win.

– With Andre Ellington set to see cousin Bruce Ellington – a Niners receiver – Sunday, here’s a link to Kyle Odegard’s story on the two, from around the combine.

– Newcomer Jalen Parmele “probably” will slide into Jonathan Dwyer’s role as the short-yardage and goal-line back, Arians said. Stepfan Taylor isn’t that guy. Parmele is bigger than Taylor, but with Ellington’s talent, you have to wonder how much more Taylor will ever do here, or if he just will stay in the packages that they use him in now.

– Ellington is probable. The foot has definitely gotten better. And they will need him to play well. You figure the passing game will likely have a ceiling with the backup QB in the game.

– The Cardinals have been spectacular in a pair of rallies, outscoring opponents 27-0 in the fourth quarter. The 49ers have gotten out to fast starts and fizzled down the stretch, and last week’s second half cost them a win. The Cards need to start a little faster, or at least slow San Francisco. Last year’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium was a game in which the Cards had to rally, before losing late.

– Here’s hoping the Cardinals’ fans show up in force and, as Arians has said, kept their tickets. The Cards will need that home-field advantage Sunday and it’d be a shame if too many tickets were in the hands of Niner fans.

– If you are going to the stadium, don’t forget the Cardinals will be wearing black.

On to the game.

PPCrabblogUSE


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 28 Comments »

Stanton to start against 49ers

Posted by Darren Urban on September 19, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Bruce Arians made it simple Friday, announcing that Drew Stanton will start at quarterback for the Cardinals Sunday. Carson Palmer still is not throwing passes, and even if he for some reason were ready to play Sunday at this point, he would be active as the backup quarterback with Logan Thomas inactive. Regardless, Stanton will start.

“We’ll put that to bed right now,” Arians said.

It’s not a surprise. Palmer’s right shoulder is getting better, Arians said, but if he can’t even throw — never mind if he has any power behind it — he can’t do the job. Arians said Stanton should be better than last week, but also acknowledged the 49ers have one of the best defenses. This isn’t an ideal situation for the Cardinals, but it is where they are at the moment.

– Arians said doctors told John Abraham after he failed another concussion test Thursday that he needed to sit out at least a year, which led to the IR move. It certainly looks like Abraham’s career is over, and that’s probably a good thing.

– Newcomer Jalen Parmele, not Stepfan Taylor, will take over Jonathan Dwyer’s short-yardage/goal-line back responsibilities.

– Dave Zastudil (groin) is indeed out, so Drew Butler will be punter Sunday. LB Alex Okafor (thigh) won’t play again either.

– Defensive end Frostee Rucker (calf) did do some things in practice and Arians said he could play Sunday. Rucker will be a game-day decision.

Stantonstartbloguse


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 39 Comments »

Abraham didn’t pass concussion test Tuesday

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2014 – 6:10 pm

On his weekly segment on Sirius XM NFL radio, coach Bruce Arians said linebacker John Abraham did not pass his concussion protocol test Tuesday. Until he does, of course, he cannot play. Arians said he will try again Wednesday, but there is a real possibility Abraham will not be back until after the bye. That’s assuming that he will at some point pass the test at all. Regardless, Abraham will go back on to the 53-man roster — you only get a roster exemption for so long — and the Cardinals will continue to mix-and-match the linebackers to make it work. Arians said he has no doubt that Abraham wants to play, if he gets back on the field.

“He’s excited (to play),” Arians said. “When you get that first concussion, and he  had a big one, it shakes you up sometimes. I think the rest and sitting back this weekend at home, he missed it a lot. He’s more than ready to roll for down the stretch.”

Arians also reiterated that the Cardinals are in a day to day situation with quarterback Carson Palmer, and there is no way to know when he’ll return. Arians said Palmer can cock his arm to throw, but then it just won’t come forward. Palmer is getting constant treatment, Arians said, and the hope is still he can play this week. “Could be a day, could be a month,” Arians said.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Blog | 29 Comments »

Keim: Still waiting on Abraham decision UPDATED

Posted by Darren Urban on September 15, 2014 – 8:08 am

The Cardinals do not yet know if linebacker John Abraham will retire or not. General Manager Steve Keim, Monday on his weekly appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show, said the team is still giving the veteran his space and that the team expects Abraham’s decision “in the next 24 hours.” Certainly there remains a chance Abraham could end up playing against the 49ers. “That’s a tough question,” Keim said. We know Bruce Arians (half-)joked yesterday he was hoping someone — someone being Abraham — came out of retirement to help the pass rush. The funny thing is, if Abraham does return, there is no guarantee he’ll produce. But the Cardinals want to be able to find out.

UPDATE: Bruce Arians said Abraham is indeed returning to the team.

– The right shoulder nerve injury with quarterback Carson Palmer leaves him day to day, Keim said. “The timeline is a little bit of an unknown,” Keim said. The injury should only get better, Keim added, but now, it’s day to day. It’s still possible Drew Stanton gets the 49ers start this coming Sunday.

– Keim said he thought S Tyrann Mathieu did fine in his season debut. Mathieu only played five snaps, recording a tackle. Keim said the package that includes Mathieu will increase each week.

– Keim was happy with the rescue job of backup quarterback Drew Stanton, noting that Stanton was one of the first players he signed when he became GM and could have been the starter if the Palmer trade had not happened. Still, you get the sense Keim would prefer, not surprisingly, for Palmer to be able to return sooner rather than later. At least Stanton got off to a positive start. “I’m sure some of those guys on defense didn’t even know who I was,” Stanton joked after the game.

– Keim praised left tackle Jared Veldheer, and good blind-side protection will mean a lot going against the 49ers.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 61 Comments »

Palmer will sit vs. Giants; Mathieu, Ellington play

Posted by Darren Urban on September 14, 2014 – 8:13 am

QB Carson Palmer is not playing today because of his sore right shoulder. It’s a difficult blow for the Cardinals, who have an opportunity against a struggling Giants team on the road. Drew Stanton would get the start, which would be his first regular-season appearance since he played six games for Detroit (starting three) back in 2010. Stanton has five career starts. That’s three full seasons of sitting, although Stanton got the vast majority of work in practice this week while Palmer worked with his sore shoulder. He definitely knows the offense given this is his third straight year with coach Bruce Arians, as a backup in Indianapolis in 2012 and then coming to Arizona last year.

Stanton’s last start was 12/9/10 for the Lions in Tampa Bay. He completed 23 of 37 passes for 252 yards a a touchdown. The Lions won.

Not sure when Palmer got hurt against the Chargers, but he spent a chunk of time with the trainers when the offense wasn’t on the field during the game. Now we see if the Cardinals can overcome his first absence since he arrived.

S Tyrann Mathieu is playing today and get his first game in since tearing his knee up last December. RB Andre Ellington is also playing.

The whole inactive list:

– Palmer

– P Dave Zastudil (groin)

– LB Glenn Carson

– LB Alex Okafor (thigh)

– LB Marcus Benard

– TE Darren Fells

– DE Frostee Rucker (calf)

 


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog | 33 Comments »

Friday before the Giants

Posted by Darren Urban on September 12, 2014 – 2:23 pm

The Cardinals moved up practice this week, starting at 10 a.m. on the field. That way, the players are “used” to playing football at 10 a.m., which is kickoff time for Sunday in New York against the Giants. Anything to be as prepared as possible for the earliest start time of the seasom.

“You do everything you can,” coach Bruce Arians said.

Larry Fitzgerald shrugged off the early-start-is-tough-on-the-Cardinals storyline this week – “That’s in the past, he said – and sometimes, there’s only so much you can do anyway. The Cardinals stayed in Florida all week last year after their road game in New Orleans to be properly adjusted for the game in Tampa Bay, and then they were terrible in the first half.

What the Cardinals didn’t have at that point last year was the confidence this group has these days. That makes a difference.

– There are plenty of injury questions for the Cardinals heading into the game, from Carson Palmer’s shoulder (he should be playing) to Andre Ellington’s foot (he thinks he’ll be playing) but maybe the most interesting thing at this point on the injury report is the fact Tyrann Mathieu is listed as probable. If he wasn’t likely to play, there’s no reason to not list him as questionable again. Food for thought as we wait the couple of days to see who is on the inactive list.

– The Giants’ passing game, under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, has been a mess. Eli Manning is trying to learn a new system after years under Kevin Gilbride, his weapons are questionable and his offensive line struggles. It’s a situation upon which the Cardinals can capitalize, especially if they continue to defend the run as well as they do.

That said, the Giants are already frustrated. Bruce Arians told the New York media this week it takes a half-season for a veteran QB to get comfortable in a new offense – paging 2013 Carson Palmer – but that’s not exactly the timeframe Giants coach Tom Coughlin was hoping for.

“I’m not patient,” Coughlin said. “I’m not one of those. I don’t have a real good handle on that maybe because we haven’t done that around here and I haven’t done that for a long time. I have to bite my tongue sometimes and kind of step back and realize it’s a process.”

– I want to see Chandler Catanzaro kick outside in a place that can have interesting weather. The Cat Man is off to a great start.

– The Giants got some pass rush on Matthew Stafford Monday. Their secondary seemed a little out of sorts (covering Calvin Johnson can do that). But I think the Cards’ offensive line held up well enough in the opener. That must continue.

– Don’t remember a game in which both starting punters might be sidelined with injuries, but Dave Zastudil is questionable with his bad groin and the Giants’ Steve Weatherford is questionable after hurting his ankle. The difference is the Cardinals already have a backup punter on the roster with Drew Butler. The Giants haven’t made such a move yet.

– There is always emotion at play during an NFL game. At the end of the Cardinals’ win – when running back Jonathan Dwyer was about to get a third straight handoff on third-and-5 trying to seal the win – offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said “a couple of choice words for him to keep the ball inside.”

“As big as he is, you saw the last run, he kept it inside and ran full speed, that’s what we’ve got to do,” Goodwin said.

Dwyer slammed up into the line for seven yards and a game-clinching first down.

“He was yelling, he said something, and it kinda pissed me off,” Dwyer said. “But I knew what he was talking about. I wanted to get the first down for my team. That’s what they brought me in to do.”

– If you missed this week’s Cardinals Underground podcast – and it was easy to miss – here’s a link.

– Lost in the will-Fitzgerald-get-more-targets stories of the week was the fantastic start to the season of Michael Floyd. Five catches, 119 yards, proof he’s a dangerous deep threat and the continuing uptick of his growth. He doesn’t get the spotlight, although that’s just how he likes it. That’ll change if he keeps playing this way.

FloydFridayBefore1USE


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 29 Comments »