In his last meeting with the media Friday before playing the Broncos, Bruce Arians talked about weathering the storm early. If his team could do that, they’d have a chance to win Sunday. The funny thing is, I think the Cardinals did weather the storm, and until Drew Stanton went out with a concussion, I think they would’ve been in the game.
But Arians apparently didn’t see the tornado coming that turned out to be Peyton Manning’s day, which hit the same time as the hurricane of injuries blowing through. (Yes, I’m mixing my weather metaphors. Work with me.)
There was a reason the Broncos’ game wasn’t an end-all, be-all to the Cards. With a struggling Washington team visiting Arizona next week and then a trip to Oakland, the Cardinals had the opportunity to take on some lesser teams. But now, the equation has changed, hasn’t it? It was bad enough to have lost Darnell Dockett for the season, but to have Calais Campbell sidelined with an MCL sprain/tear/TBD for maybe a month? That is a painful, painful loss to absorb.
And that doesn’t even touch on the quarterback situation, which as of right now could include all three QBs available next weekend or could be just one, and the one is the inexperienced Logan Thomas – who looked appropriately overwhelmed Sunday in his NFL debut.
The Cards were saying all the right things after the game, but this is going to be another major suck-it-up type of the season. Having a QB would help, but as I write this on the flight home, it’s impossible to know where Palmer and Stanton might be Wednesday, much less for kickoff against the Redskins.
— Manning was fantastic. Again. He did throw two interceptions – and the duck Jerraud Powers picked off was a bad, bad pass – but to have a career-best in passing yards after a career like he has had, is just special. Peyton was Peyton. It doesn’t hurt to have all those crossing patterns that border on pick plays, but really, that wasn’t the story. Manning knew where he could exploit the Cardinals, and he commenced exploitation.
— Always impressed when a guy comes out and meets the media no problem after a bad game. Antonio Cromartie stood there and answered the questions. He played poorly and said so. But that’s also the reality of leaving those guys on an island, and Demaryious Thomas – despite a slow start – is one of the league’s better receivers. Painful to note – he would have given up an extra 77-yard TD pass to Thomas, except that was the play tight end Julius Thomas chopped blocked Campbell out of the game.
— Calais, how could you possibly let Peyton cost you a pick-6? “Don’t give me a full tackle for that,” Manning said. “Give me like a half. Barely grazed his leg.”
— I haven’t really looked closely at the Campbell hit. But I’m not sure how you legislate that short of suspending a guy. And I don’t know if that is the answer either.
— USA Today got Julius Thomas to talk about the Cards’ contention of it being a dirty play. “I guarantee you being dirty is not part of my game, and to intentionally hurt somebody is something I would never do,” Thomas said. Thomas said he had a miscommunication with tackle Ryan Clady on who was supposed to block Campbell on the play.
— The protection wasn’t quite as consistent as previous games, but I didn’t think the line played poorly. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller are going to get to the quarterback. They are among the best in the league. There was more pressure after Logan Thomas came in, but that’s expected when the QB is inexperienced. The first sack, when Ware beat Jared Veldheer, it looked to me Thomas dropped a little too far back and never moved up into the pocket until it was too late.
— That was a pretty pass Thomas drilled in there to Andre Ellington for the 81-yard TD. You take whatever highlights you can if you are Thomas. Something to remember. Got to do better than 1-for-8, obviously.
— The craziness of the NFL’s passing rating though: Thomas, because of his long TD, had a passer rating of 108.9 despite going 1-for-8. Manning, 31-of-47 for 479 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs, had a passing rating of 110.2.
— Can’t kick field goals against the Broncos. Can miss wide-open TD passes like Stanton-to-Housler or Stanton-to-Smokey Brown. Can’t drop the ball, repeatedly, when a catch gives you a first down. And it was equal opportunity drops.
We’ll see how easily the Cards can put this in the rear view. And who, exactly, they have to use against the Redskins.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Antonio Cromartie, Broncos, Bruce Arians, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, DeMarcus Ware, Demaryious Thomas, Drew Stanton, Jared Veldheer, Jerraud Powers, Julius Thomas, Logan Thomas, Peyton Manning, Von Miller
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The Cardinals are back at practice this morning at the team’s Tempe facility for the first time since playing Friday night. A few notes and thoughts from coach Bruce Arians in his first media session since the game.
— The running back situation isn’t cleared up right now, starting with the fact running back Ryan Williams (knee), who insisted last week he’d be back for the Cowboys game, might not be back yet. “I don’t know if he’ll play this week,” Arians said. Andre Ellington is still being handled with kid gloves with his neck issue (he is sitting today) and Arians said Rashard Mendenhall is still trying to get the stiffness out of his knee.
— Safety/special teamer Jonathon Amaya suffered a slight MCL sprain in the game. Arians said he’d be out a couple of days,
— Arians liked the job of the offensive line and specifically praised LT Levi Brown for his work on Clay Matthews, although he noted Brown will have to deal with DeMarcus Ware this week. All four tackles played pretty well.
— G Daryn Colledge (leg) is close to coming back, but it’s clear Arians is looking at Paul Fanaika at right guard too. “We’re solidifying (the line) without (Colledge) pretty good right now,” Arians said. “Paul played really well. Hoppefully Daryn can get back out there. There’s competition now.”
— The Cards will practice half outside and half in their new bubble today. Long-term, it’s a big deal to have the bubble, Arians said. “We’ll be able to stay on a normal practice schedule,” he said. “It will show dividends I think throughout September. We’ll have normal teaching routine as opposed to having to bus over to ASU or morning practices or things that are different.”
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bruce Arians, Clay Matthews, Daryn Colledge, DeMarcus Ware, Jonathon Amaya, Levi Brown, Paul Fanaika, practice bubble, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams
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With the toe or foot be a problem for Kevin Kolb Sunday? He doesn’t think so.
“It won’t hold me down too bad,” Kolb said. “I’m sure DeMarcus Ware would probably disagree.” Kolb chuckled. “When you are running from fear, you run faster and you don’t worry about your foot.”
(And it was a joke people. Save the jabs about Kolb and running.)
But here we are, to Kolb’s return after more than a month away from a game, with Ware – the NFL’s sack leader — set to face left tackle Levi Brown, who has played better of late, especially when the Cards have run the ball. How will it all wash out? The Cowboys are playing well, but they aren’t the Packers or even the Saints. And the Cards will be at home. Yes, I expect a good amount of Dallas fans. But not the majority.
Kolb seems like he has regained some confidence with this time away. I think it actually may have helped him, as was speculated by many it could. If the Cards can keep Beanie churning away, I think the offense can be OK.
— On the other side of the ball, there is also intrigue. Kolb hasn’t played with this version of the defense yet. Not with Sam Acho coming along and the scheme under control. The Eagles’ offense was actually playing pretty well at the point the Cards got to it and the Cardinals came out pretty good in that game. You’d hope they could do the same against the Cowboys, and turn the QB into the “bad” Tony Romo he can be sometimes.
— Completely unrealistic to think Beanie Wells will break out for another 200 yards. But I don’t think 100 is an unfair goal. The Cowboys do have a good run defense (10th in the league) but the Cards believe they have found a ground game.
“It was the commitment to the run game (last week),” fullback Anthony Sherman said. “Even if we didn’t get much we kept going to the same style of run plays and it worked.”
— Interesting take on Patrick Peterson’s progress as a cornerback from defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Horton reiterated that he thinks, eventually, Peterson will get respect from the officials despite being physical. He said Peterson is “right on pace” to develop as a corner.
Then he talked about what, in his view, was Peterson’s biggest problem early in the season.
“He assumed, if he had good coverage, they wouldn’t throw the ball at him,” Horton said. “You remember, Carolina, they threw the touchdown pass. He just stopped. Against the Giants, the same thing. Now he understands, ‘Just because I’m Patrick Peterson, they’ll still throw the ball at me.’ ”
— These are the games where Darnell Dockett really seems to pop. He had a very good game last week against the Rams – no sacks, but incredibly disruptive – and said it was simply because the game plan “gave me more opportunities.”
“They put a lot more on the D-line,” Dockett said, although he bristled just a bit at the idea he was playing harder. “Every time I step on the field, I’m going 110 miles an hour.”
— Safety Kerry Rhodes, out since the Vikings game Oct. 9 with his broken foot, got back out on the practice field Friday. I’d think he would still be at least a couple games away, but we will see how he does with his recovery.
— Over the last four games, the Cardinals have forced the opposition to punt 25 times. Only Atlanta (26) has forced more punts.
— Fans voted Beanie the “FedEx Ground player of the week” this week after his 228-yard game.
— There are going to be new security procedures for those coming to the games going forward, with handheld metal detectors instead of a patdown. Not every entry point will use this as of yet, but click here for all the details.
— Fitz needs 112 yards receiving to reach 1,000. For some reason, I think he gets it Sunday.
OK, then. Bring on the Cowboys.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Cowboys, Darnell Dockett, DeMarcus Ware, Kerry Rhodes, Patrick Peterson, Tony Romo
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This year, EA Sports has decided to make a contest out of who will be their cover photo for this year’s version of the Madden football video game. Given the past season, I guess I assumed Aaron Rodgers was a shoo-in for Madden ’12, but no, Rodgers is just one of 32 candidates — one from every team. It’s also set up in bracket form, so we aren’t just talking about the total number of votes.
There are many cover possibilities that make sense — Rodgers, Matt Ryan, DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Willis, Adrian Peterson, Julius Peppers, Andre Johnson — and others that I look at and think, ‘A good player, but a cover?’ — guys like Peyton Hillis, Jake Long, Josh Freeman. There are repeat candidates, guys who have already been on the cover before, like Drew Brees, Michael Vick and, for the Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald.
But just when you find a couple of head-scratchers (The Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap, the Bills’ Steve Johnson, the Patriots’ Danny Woodhead, Tim Tebow?) you end up freezing on the option for Seattle. Apparently, they have no player worthy of the honor, at least none important enough to usurp “The 12th Man” — the name the Seahawks give to their crowd (which yes, can be very loud, but is generally a non-factor if the team is lousy — just like any other crowd).
The 12th Man faces the aforementioned Willis in the first round, so I’d guess Willis will be the one to advance there. But still, the Qwest crowd? Really? Not, oh, maybe Mike Williams? Marshawn Lynch?
Besides, how exactly does the Madden curse affect that group — I’d be afraid of a natural disaster on game day.
Tags: 49ers, Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Danny Woodhead, DeMarcus Ware, Drew Brees, Julius Peppers, Larry Fitzgerald, Madden, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick, Parick Willis, Rams, Seahawks, Steve Johnson, Tim Tebow
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