It probably shouldn’t be a surprise, both with his play and most importantly, his fan base, that Tyrann Mathieu is rising up in the Pro Bowl balloting at free safety. Mathieu, who wasn’t even on the ballot the first few weeks voting was open, is now sixth at his position with 42,359 votes. Seattle’s Earl Thomas leads with 277,482 votes; no other free safety has reached 88,000. Mathieu remains one of five Cardinals among the top 10 at his position in this new year of “unconferenced” teams in the Pro Bowl. Fan balloting remains one-third of the final voting, with coaches and players counting for the other two-thirds. Once players make it, the teams will be “drafted” by former players who are serving as captains.
The other four Cardinals showing up on the voting list:
– DT Darnell Dockett is ninth (99,561 votes, trails first-place Dontari Poe of the Chiefs, who has 233,212.)
– ILB Karlos Dansby is ninth (79,050, Buffalo’s Kiko Alonso, 265,232)
– CB Patrick Peterson is third (253,688, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, 367,076)
– Special teamer Justin Bethel is eighth (35,775, Denver’s David Bruton, 95,841)
Voting concludes Dec. 26. If you want to vote, click here.
Tags: Darnell Dockett, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl, Tyrann Mathieu
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Bruce Arians stuck with them. That’s what popped to mind Sunday. There were many calls to dump Rashard Mendenhall to the bench and Carson Palmer too. The Cardinals’ coach didn’t. Sunday that paid off.
This isn’t to reignite the Mendenhall-Ellington debate. I still think Ellington is the better back (and oh my he showed some of his shifty goodness against the Colts, especially with that 17-yard run along the sideline) but Mendenhall had a burst against Indy we hadn’t seen. And if he can play like that, he’s worth having on the field and worth being the yin to Ellington’s yang. As for Palmer, the cacophony surrounding him when he was throwing way too many interceptions was hard to ignore. Arians stood by him. Now? Palmer looks like a QB of a playoff team.
“The biggest difference really is trust,” Palmer said, before admitting, “It took a little longer than you’d like.”
There are many things going well for the Cardinals right now. But offensively, they are clicking, and those two vets are in the middle of it.
– It does feel like sometimes, the defense gets a short shrift. They just do what they do, they control the game, and the Cards are winning (or at least have a chance to win). Palmer said it best: “Identity-wise, we’re a defensive football team,” the quarterback said.
– After all the talk all week of Arians and his Colts memories, that was more or less put aside Sunday. Lots of pre-game hugs (and a few postgame) but basically it’s been the B.A. the Cards have known all year. “It’s crazy, he’s been even keel all week,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said.
– If there was a question about which better second-half unit would win the second half – the Colts’ offense or the Cardinals’ defense – it came out on the Cardinals’ favor. Arizona took the second half, 13-8, and honestly, I’m not sure how safety Yeremiah Bell didn’t get a hand on the lone touchdown pass to tight end Coby Fleener.
– Then again, if you would have said Luck would give up as many touchdowns throwing the ball as scoring, the Cards would have taken it.
– Good to see you hold on to one, Karlos Dansby.
– Good to see Darnell Dockett not get a sack on that play, too. “I don’t care,” Dockett said. “They say, ‘You had the sack.’ I don’t care, Karlos had the touchdown, and I’ll take the interception touchdown over a sack any day. I’m glad I didn’t hit his arm and knock the ball out.”
– Arians with his quote of the day, talking about his second half defense against the explosive Colts: “We didn’t want any bullets left in the gun. I know I’m not supposed to say bullets anymore. It’s not the politically correct thing. But here in Arizona it’s OK.”
– It was kind of amazing that the Cardinals, on their first two TD drives, did not face a third down. That’s one way to avoid the third-down conversion problem.
– Speaking of that, 7-for-14 on third downs works. And Dave Zastudil only punted twice. He had never had fewer than four in a game since joining the Cardinals in 2011.
– Palmer’s touchdown of 26 yards to Larry Fitzgerald was a thing of beauty. Palmer hung in the pocket a long time and absorbed a crushing hit by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard while delivering the perfect pass – with Fitz being chased by two defenders.
– According to media relations VP Mark Dalton, that makes the Cards 13-3 overall wearing the red-red uniforms and seven in a row. And here I am feeding into the frenzy. I disappoint myself.
– Fitz looked like Fitz on those touchdown catches. He now has eight this season, double his 2012 total. His other numbers don’t match up to what he’d like, but heck. All he does is catch touchdowns. The Cards could live with that.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Colts, Darnell Dockett, Dave Zastudil, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Dalton, Rashard Mendenhall, uniforms, Yeremiah Bell
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Filed under the random things that pop up on the internet on a Friday night, this video — via MaxPreps — hit a viral level in the Cardinals universe. It’s apparently a version of Wired, not sure done by whom, of Darnell Dockett while he was playing for Paint Branch High School in Maryland. I could write more about it, but really, just enjoy this very entertaining couple of minutes.
I’m not sure Darnell is much different. And he clearly looks like a man among boys.
Tags: Darnell Dockett
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Darnell Dockett was speaking very matter-of-factly Monday. There was little emotion in his voice, although there might have been, since the topic was longtime nemesis Richie Incognito and Incognito’s suspension after his alleged bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin in Miami. Long before now, back when Incognito was playing for the Rams, he would get under the skin of Dockett and then-Cardinal defensive end Antonio Smith, and the two would often talk about having to face him before the twice-a-year Cards-Rams games. Safe to say there was no love lost there. Dockett has had his fun in the past with a war of words with guys like Vernon Davis — and considering they are friends, it was fun. The Incognito stuff was not that. They weren’t alone. Former Cardinal defensive lineman Nick Eason once said Incognito spit on him during a game.
“Nothing that guy does surprises me at all,” Dockett said Monday. “I’ve had a few incidents with that guy, I’ve seen other players have incidents with that guy, I’ve seen everything he has tried to do to hurt guys. It’s unfortunate you try to mentally hurt guys you need to win football games, actually a guy on the same side as you. That’s very unfortunate.”
Smith, who left after the 2008 season to sign with the Texans (who visit University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday), had one very public run-in with Incognito after both left the NFC West. Last year in the preseason, Smith got so fed up with Incognito that he ripped the offensive lineman’s helmet off and swung it at Incognito. That got him a suspension. Like Dockett, Smith told reporters Monday he wasn’t surprised Incognito was involved in the latest news.
“You are what you are I guess,” Smith said. “That doesn’t surprise me one bit.”
Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby played with Incognito in Miami and was in the awkward position to talk about the situation. He called Incognito a good teammate from what he had been around. Safe to say Dockett isn’t going to come around to that line of thinking. Someone asked Dockett if he could be specific with his run-ins with Incognito.
“I don’t have to get into the details,” Dockett said. “Everything I’ve seen I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it too. Anybody that’s been around sports has seen this guy. It ain’t hard, Just Google it. I’m not going to get into details because I honestly don’t care about the guy at all. I’m just glad the NFL and the Miami Dolphins are taking action. I don’t have any respect for the guy.”
Tags: Antonio Smith, Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby, Richie Incognito
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This isn’t going to be lengthy, not with the bye weekend here and time off embraced. But here at the halfway point, I was trying to consider team MVP candidates from either side of the ball. Defensively, there are choices. Linebacker Daryl Washington may have only played four games, but he’s quickly shown why he is so important and he’s in the mix. Defensive end Calais Campbell has been outstanding, and I think given the matchups he is faced with each week, cornerback Patrick Peterson has been pretty good too. Veterans Karlos Dansby and Darnell Dockett have been solid as well.
Offensively, though, um, I’m not sure there is one. I guess you’d go with Andre Ellington at this point, even though he hasn’t gotten the ball a ton. Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t made enough of an impact in that regard, it doesn’t seem. Neither has Michael Floyd. I will say, I am very, very interested to see if this offense can make some steps forward in the second half of the season (especially with the schedule upcoming) or if they just are who they are.
– Congrats to Ellington, by the way, for winning the NFL’s Fed Ex Ground player of the week award, voted on by the fans.
– Tyrann Mathieu has been outstanding, and we don’t need national awards to prove it. Yes, I think the safety has a chance to win defensive rookie of the year. He already is making the move to displace Rashad Johnson as a starter. I’ll be curious to know if that stays the same against Houston. Another thing the first half has shown me: Mathieu is a great tackler. Not good, great. He’s the best tackler on the team (and no, Tyrann, I’m not just talking pound-for-pound). That’s been the most impressive part of his game for me.
– Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin can quip with the best of them, and the de facto offensive line coach was talking about that unit when he mentioned left tackle Bradley Sowell. “He didn’t give up a sack, thank God.” There was a little sarcasm there for all the Sowell questions he gets, and some truth too. But Profootballfocus.com not only graded Sowell with having his best game against Atlanta last week in not giving up a sack, PFF said Sowell didn’t even allow a QB pressure.
– Both Fitzgerald and Floyd rank high on PFF’s drop-rate list, so that’s good. They just have to see more catchable passes.
– Amazing. A future opponent loses another good player, with the news today Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon is suspended indefinitely for violating the substance-abuse policy. Blackmon had already been suspended the first four games of the season. What a waste.
– OK, that’s enough. Back to the regular season next week. And in the meantime, here’s a very cool slow-motion capture of that rumblin’, stumblin’ run of Stepfan Taylor against the Falcons. The play gained 15 yards, and he earned every one of them.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bradley Sowell, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Harold Goodwin, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Stepfan Taylor, Tyrann Mathieu
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2014 Pro Bowl balloting is now open! For the first time, the Pro Bowl will be unconferenced. You vote for the best players regardless of conference. Then, the stars will be realigned through a fantasy draft format with Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders serving as alumni captains. Vote now for your favorite Cardinals at AZCardinals.com/probowl
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl 2014, Pro Bowl voting, Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Since1898 | No Comments »
Bruce Arians met with the media to talk, post-video-watching, about the Seahawks game. The players are in meetings now but will have the weekend off before going through a full padded practice Monday. Some of the Arians highlights:
– The pressure was too much for QB Carson Palmer and the pass protection must improve, Arians said. “Looking back, neither interception was (Palmer’s) fault whatsoever,” Arians said. “He protected the football like he needed to.”
Someone said to Arians if he felt that even Peyton Manning would have the same problems behind the protection right now.
“Tom Brady or Peyton Manning,” Arians said.
– Arians said he’d like to get Bobby Massie — who was active for the game Thursday — some game action soon. That will be interesting to see. Guard Earl Watford is a little further off at this point.
– The coach remained disappointed with his offensive production. He said it was the first time in 20 years he didn’t have a team get an explosive play.
– Arians said he had no plans to change the running back personnel.
– The only injury of note was G Daryn Colledge, who hurt his back. Arians said he was hopeful Colledge would return for practice Wednesday. Arians said Patrick Peterson had some issues with jammed fingers, but was fine. Wide receiver Brittan Golden (hamstring) also could return next week.
– Arians did say safety Yeremiah Bell made a bad play on the long touchdown pass, but generally he was happy with Bell’s play this season.
– Leftover from the San Francisco game: Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was fined $7,875 for his late hit on running back Frank Gore. Safety Tyrann Mathieu was fined $7,875 for for grabbing running back Kendall Hunter after Hunter scored a touchdown and unnecessarily throwing him to the ground. Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu was fined $10,000 for kicking Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone, although Boone was fined $7,875 for unnecessarily striking Ta’amu.
Tags: Alameda Ta'amu, Bobby Massie, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Darnell Dockett, Daryn Colledge, Earl Watford, Tyrann Mathieu, Yeremiah Bell
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby, NFL
Posted in Since1898 | 9 Comments »
The Cardinals are just past the quarter-pole point in the season and the most difficult stretch of the season is about to begin with Sunday’s game in San Francisco. But at this point, whatever concerns there might have been in the switch of defensive coordinators from Ray Horton to Todd Bowles seem to be meaningless.
Heading into the 49ers game, the Cardinals are ranked 15th in total defense in the NFL and are allowing about 19 points a game. Last season, the Cards finished 12th in total defense but allowed more than 22 points a game. The big difference is in how the Cards are doing it. Horton’s D was fifth in the league against the pass, but only 28th against the run. Bowles has flipped that equation, with the Cardinals third against the run this season and 19th against the pass. You can argue a lot of ways with the statistics, including the fact the Cards were often playing from behind last season. But there is little question Bowles — quiet and subdued, in direct contrast to the brash Horton — has convinced his players he has the right plan.
“He’s very aggressive, a good dude, very humble, a players coach, understands the game, played the game for a long time,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said of Bowles. “He doesn’t have a ego, and he tries to do (plans) to make our team do the best.”
“(The defense) is not just about one or two guys making plays,” Dockett added. “That’s good when other teams are preparing for you. We have a defense full of talent. Biggest thing, everyone is making their play, and that’s what he tells us every week.”
That was one of the things that struck me when Bowles arrived. He knew, given what the defense did and the attention around Horton’s coaching candidacy with the Cardinals, that comparisons were inevitable. Bowles never got defensive about such questions, never seemed to let it faze him. He was going to do what he did, let the defense play, and let the performance speak for itself. So far, that’s worked out pretty well.
“I don’t know who would question (Bowles’ hiring),” head coach Bruce Arians said this week. “He was an interim head coach (in Miami) and went 3-1 down there and had a good defense. I know Bill Parcells doesn’t question that, and I certainly didn’t question it, so if you’re talking about replacing Ray Horton, that was never a doubt in my mind.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Darnell Dockett, Todd Bowles
Posted in Blog | 33 Comments »