It felt a little like Chinese water torture Sunday. There were no dramatic shifts in the game, no real knockout punch. The Chiefs just kept drip-drip-dripping their way to a win, and it eventually felt there was no way the Cards could wiggle out from beneath the spigot.
Postgame was about as weary as I have seen coach Ken Whisenhunt. He’s still going to say the right things – that’s how he believes it should be done – but the losing obviously is eating at him. What now? Well, barring a shift in the division race, the Cards are in the week-to-week storyline mode. You don’t look big picture. You shrink it, meaning the much-anticipated-once-upon-a-time Monday night home game (with the black uniforms and I believe a better-than-average chance of an open roof) will have to be an event in itself.
You win – and once again, the Cards will be playing a team on the downslide, so at least it feels like even footing – and reevaluate later.
Since I’ll have basically an extra day to sift through this, I’m keeping this short tonight. (And I doubt I will be getting to the comments tonight, so bear with me. I will approve everything in the morning. I’m not censoring. I’m taking a bit of my life back. There’s not a lot new to say anyway).
– Whisenhunt said there wouldn’t be any personnel changes, but rookie tight end Jim Dray was in there extensively Sunday ahead of Ben Patrick. Dray struggled, but as we get deeper in the season, those are the kinds of developmental moves we may see going forward. (No, I don’t think John Skelton is playing next week).
– Derek Anderson has thrown high passes before but he seemed particularly skewing high Sunday. Maybe the wind was playing a major role, but it made for some harrowing catch attempts. And obviously one of them knocked Early Doucet out of the game.
– Wide receiver Steve Breaston was not a happy camper. “You’ve got to find what motivates you inside. You’ve got to push on. Don’t look for others to make plays. Do it yourself.” It’ll be interesting to see if his message gets across.
– Todd Haley wasn’t going to let Larry Fitzgerald beat him. On the Cards’ second field goal, on the third-down pass, the Chiefs not only double-teamed Fitz but did it with bump coverage with both. The pass ended up incomplete to Breaston.
“(The Chiefs) have done that a couple of times, they did it against (Chargers tight end) Antonio Gates, (Broncos receiver) Brandon Lloyd,” Fitzgerald said. “Anytime they are in the red zone they try to take away the guy who is the most targeted usually.”
– At some point, I would think Whisenhunt will consider heavily changing quarterbacks again, to give a rookie some experience. But it’s not going to be now, not when the NFC West is frightening still not out of reach and not against the 49ers on “Monday Night Football.”
– No, I don’t know if the Cardinals have interest in Vince Young if he becomes available.
Tags: Ben Patrick, Chiefs, Derek Anderson, Early Doucet, Jim Dray, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Todd Haley, Vince Young
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Fitz says it’s impossible to understand.
He can’t escape it. Football, that is. A four-game losing streak. “You go home and turn on the TV and ‘Cardinals have lost four in a row,’ ” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “Or I go to dinner and, ‘Hey Fitz, what’s wrong with you guys?’ You guys (in the media) go to dinner and no one ever bothers you. They don’t talk football with you. From that perspective, it’s difficult.”
Wait, I do too have people ask me about the Cards in public … OK, not as much as Fitz, but still …
Anyway, you can see where he is coming from. Fitzgerald is one of the few Cardinals still around from those terrible days pre-Whiz, when losing was practically ordained from training camp. Instead of making this four-game losing streak easier to deal with, it’s made it harder.
“This is way worse than before,” Fitzgerald said. “I had never won on this level before. I have tasted the caviar now, and eating out of the garbage is not where I want to be.”
Not sure you can find caviar in Kansas City. Barbeque, yes. But the Cards want their caviar, and want it fast.
– Fitzgerald, talking about his chemistry with Derek Anderson, said he just hasn’t had the same amount of time with D.A. as hookups like Palmer-Ochocinco or Schaub-Johnson or Manning-Wayne. But he insisted it is getting better (and Fitz’s stats of late bear that out; 20 catches for 270 yards the last three games).
“That’s life in the league,” Fitz said of dealing with a new QB. “I’m going to roll with the punches. Early on in my career I played with a number of different quarterbacks. It’s part of the deal. I am going to play hard and give it everything I have for my teammates and the fans here and that’s my passion.”
So I asked if it was tough to continue to answer such questions. “I don’t understand because I give the same answers every time,” he said. “That’s not going to change.” In other words, if he was ticked (and I don’t think he is, frustrated, but not irrationally so) he isn’t going to pop off anyway.
– More proof that the offense isn’t as ragged as its been? Nine pass plays of 30 or more yards the last three games (five to Steve Breaston) after having only one in the first six games.
– I’m not saying the offense/passing offense is good. Everyone settle down. We all know it is struggling. But there are moments.
– Barring something shocking, Beanie Wells will play this weekend. I don’t think he starts. Until he shows a little something on the field, I’d think Tim Hightower will remain the starter and Beanie getting a chunk of work – you know, like it was the entire back half of 2009. Will Beanie be made the starter again at some point? Perhaps. But I don’t think it’d be a guarantee.
– If LaRod Stephens-Howling can’t go, that’s a major blow to special teams all the way around. There is a reason he’s been considered by many the MVP in the first half of the year, and it’s not just because of his kickoff returns.
– I don’t know if Greg Toler is going to be able to play with his bad foot, but Fitz sure put a shot across his teammate’s bow, good-naturedly, of course. Fitz picked up a Celtics Paul Pierce jersey and hung it on Toler’s locker. Is Toler a Pierce fan? Fitz? No and no. Turns out Fitz was jabbing Toler for his injury this week by comparing it to Pierce’s “miraculous” game in the 2009 NBA Finals (watch the video; it explains it all). I would love for that to mean Toler would be fine for Sunday. We’ll see.
– The Cards could use all hands on deck for this secondary. The Chiefs feature wide receiver Dwayne Bowe a big target (think a more-polished Mike Williams, the Seattle version) who already has nine TD catches.
– The Cards have to find a way to slow the running back tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones first.
– Both Ken Whisenhunt and Todd Haley have tried to downplay it this week. But make no mistake — I think both are burning to be able to beat the other Sunday. It’s not one-on-one basketball. It’s much, much bigger.
– Whisenhunt was asked about the offensive line and its play. The first part of his answer? “It’s hard for me to sit here at 3-6 and say we’re doing anything good.”
That may be a good walk-off quote. If you want to look at the glass half-full (three-quarters full?), you figure that while it was easy to, beforehand, count the Seattle home game as a win, the Kansas City game looked like a loss a couple weeks ago, so if the Cards go in and find that long-lost win, then they are right where they were expected to be and….
Ah, never mind. Talk to you in K.C.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Chiefs, Derek Anderson, Greg Toler, Ken Whisenhunt, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower, Todd Haley
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Eight Cardinals are questionable for Sunday, so I suppose the good news is that no one is doubtful or out — although LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring) did not practice yet again Friday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Hyphen will be checked again tomorrow, and for instance, if he can only return kickoffs, the Cards will consider that.
Seven others (the rest of the questionable list) were officially limited: DT Darnell Dockett (shoulder), LB Clark Haggans (groin), S Kerry Rhodes (hand/back), CB Greg Toler (foot), LB Reggie Walker (just added Friday with a hamstring), RB Beanie Wells (knee) and RB Jason Wright (concussion). Whisenhunt said Wells “looked like his old self” and sounded somewhat optimistic in his tone when talking about Dockett, although Dockett has to be cleared with a strength test on game day to allow him to go.
For the full injury report, look here.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Chiefs, Clark Haggans, Darnell Dockett, Greg Toler, Jason Wright, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Reggie Walker
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter just tweeted this: “Arizona is closing in on a long-anticipated deal to trade Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Leading contender: Baltimore. KC also in.” Again, nothing surprising. Will it be for that suddenly much-talked about third-round pick? I always thought there was a good chance Boldin would be moved this offseason, I just figured it would be closer to the draft. And maybe it doesn’t happen. Profootballtalk.com is reporting the Patriots are in play too. Depending on what the Cards get, at least he’d be in the AFC. UPDATE: The Patriots are reportedly not in it anymore.
If it doesn’t, it’ll be interesting to hear Boldin speak tomorrow at Kurt Warner’s annual charity flag football tournament. Boldin is scheduled to play. If a deal goes down today, I’m guessing Q won’t be there.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Chiefs, Patriots, Ravens, trade
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Veteran linebacker Monty Beisel, whom the Cardinals wanted to bring back as a free agent before he was lured to Kansas City by Todd Haley, has been released by the Chiefs (Ironically, one of the players signed by the Chiefs Tuesday during the roster moves was former Cards tight end Leonard Pope). Would the Cards still be interested in Beisel? Perhaps. Right now, the only backup inside linebackers are the inexperienced Reggie Walker (who would probably clear through to the practice squad if needed) and the undersized Ali Highsmith.
Tags: Ali Highsmith, Chiefs, Monty Beisel, Reggie Walker
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The Cardinals have added defensive lineman Keilen Dykes to the active roster to take the spot of wide receiver Lance Long, who was, in fact, released. Long is gone for good, since Dykes’ practice squad spot will be taken by receiver Onrea Jones, who was recently on Washington’s practice squad for a couple weeks after the Cards’ cut him. Dykes had impressed coaches in the offseason and has a chance to develop, although he’ll have to battle to be active Sundays for now.
As for Long, no surprise to see he ended up on the Chiefs’ practice squad with former Cards OC Todd Haley. He always had an uphill battle behind five guys, and now that Early Doucet looks like he is coming back, Long — who had struggled and dropped a pass against San Francisco — didn’t have a place on the active roster.
Tags: Chiefs, Early Doucet, Keilen Dykes, Lance Long, Onrea Jones, Redskins, Todd Haley
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There’s been a Scout.com report that wide receiver Lance Long has been released, which a) would be a good sign about the injury status of gimpy wideouts Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston and b) would signal somebody else coming on the roster. I would bet it would be someone on the defensive side of the ball, since the Cards are short some people. I’d also guess it’s less likely a veteran than a young guy, perhaps a promotion from the practice squad. We’ll see tomorrow. As for Long, we’ll see if the Cards can keep him on the practice squad or if someone picks him up. He struggled in games of late and seems to need more seasoning.
UPDATE: Long has signed with the Chiefs’ practice squad.
Tags: Chiefs, Lance Long
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