It’s possible J.J. Nelson wouldn’t have even been on the field with 2:03 left Sunday, but as fate — and perhaps some virus, or bad food, would have it — Michael Floyd “was throwing up at that time,” Nelson said. So the Cardinals went with a play that could get Nelson open deep. Carson Palmer took a shot, and Nelson held on — something he hasn’t been able to do a lot of late.
“Them dropped passes I’ve had, I was like, ‘I’ve got to catch this,’ ” the wide receiver said.
He did, of course, and then the defense finished it off, and voila! The Cardinals had their win. There was so much talk about accountability and team meetings coming into this game, and maybe there was more attention to detail, but mostly, as Tony Jefferson said, it was Five Stars (as in five-star players) being Five Stars. Guys made plays. Nelson. Palmer. Patrick Peterson — who said he really didn’t think the players-only meeting impacted much tonight — with the pick. Heavy pressure on Kirk Cousins. Guys were making plays. David Johnson, at the forefront (more on him in a minute.)
They’ll see if they can keep it going in Miami.
— We knew it was coming, but props to Larry Fitzgerald for becoming No. 3 in the NFL all-time in receptions. The only two ahead of him? Jerry Rice and long-time tight end Tony Gonzalez.
— Going 10-of-16 on third downs and not turning the ball over usually is a recipe for a win.
— Calais Campbell played an excellent game. It was highlighted by his strip-sack when he collapsed the pocket, but he played so well all around.
— Lost on the last TD drive was a third-down holding call on Josh Norman on Fitz. From my vantage point on the sideline, it looked like he held. Norman said he felt he was within five yards of the line of scrimmage and thought he was in good position, but he also said he wasn’t going to blame the loss on a call.
— Why, exactly, the Redskins called a fade route to DeSean Jackson, with Peterson covering him, on the 1-yard line on third down I will never understand.
— Hey, remember when I was saying the Cardinals didn’t yet have a Victory Monday? They’ve got one now.
“There is nothing better than coming into this locker room and Coach giving us a Victory Monday in December,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s is the first Victory Monday. That is pretty bad, man.”
— Finally, there is David Johnson. What else can you say? Fitz is calling him the NFL’s MVP, Palmer is calling him the best player in the game. He’s got 15 touchdowns now, two shy of the franchise record set by John David Crow in 1962 (That’s the last time someone had at least 15.) He’s had more than 100 yards from scrimmage every game this season.
He’s got 1,005 yards rushing this season. He’s up to 704 yards receiving on 64 catches, and it does not seem far-fetched any longer to see him get another 296 yards receiving in the last four games. That’s an average of 74 a game. Definitely do-able, and it would bring him with Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only ones to do it in NFL history.
When you have Johnson, why wouldn’t you try fourth-and-1 (although Arians was right; big props to the left side of the line and those two tight ends because we have seen Johnson stuffed before.)
On a night when Fitzgerald made more NFL history, it sure feels like Johnson is rapidly becoming a player that — with health and good teammates — could end up having a chance to be a historical player himself.
Tags: Calais Campbell, David Johnson, DeSean Jackson, J.J. Nelson, Josh Norman, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Redskins
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Now that the NFL deadline has passed for teams to use the franchise tag, the list was a lengthy one, which was what everyone was predicting.
A total of 21 players got the tag this year, although that number has already been reduced by one because Colts defensive end Robert Mathis got the tag today and then soon after, agreed to a new contract. That of course is supposed to be the point of the franchise tag in the first place, buying teams time to work out a long-term contract. That’s what the Cards are trying to do with defensive end Calais Campbell. What teams are not supposed to do is tag a guy just so they can trade him. That’s not a rule, but it’s the spirit of the rule. It’s one of the reasons the Packers really didn’t want to tag backup QB Matt Flynn; it’s one of the reasons the Cards didn’t tag either Jake Plummer or David Boston back in 2002 (although part of the reason with Boston too was they didn’t want him getting his guaranteed tender when he was, for lack of a better phrase, unable to be counted upon. That turned out to be pretty smart on their part.)
Although the specific franchise dollar amounts aren’t known yet, they are lower than years past because of the CBA’s new way of figuring them, which helps in the increased use. There are also more free agents, after so many guys either signed one-year deals or didn’t get extensions last offseason because of the labor problems.
Other than Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, for whom Philly would reportedly would listen to trade offers, the rest of the guys on the list are expected to work toward long-term deals with current clubs, like Campbell. There are actually six kickers/punters that were tagged, amazingly. Certainly those aren’t trade candidates. The question will be how many of these tagged men can get a new deal done before Tuesday, when free agency starts and when the tag contract number begins taking a chunk out of salary cap space (Teams have to be compliant with the salary cap when free agency starts, 2 p.m. Arizona time.)
Tags: Calais Campbell, David Boston, DeSean Jackson, franchise tag, Jake Plummer, Robert Mathis
Posted in Blog | 52 Comments »
Quarterback Kevin Kolb is inactive today with his turf toe, certainly not a surprise. More of a surprise is that tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) is back to being inactive after trying to play last week. The only healthy tight ends are Jim Dray and Jeff King, since Rob Housler (groin) is also out.
The other inactives are WR Stephen Williams, S Kerry Rhodes (foot), LB Joey Porter (knee) and T D’Anthony Batiste.
It means fullback Anthony Sherman is back and playing after hurting his ankle a couple weeks ago.
For the Eagles, wide receiver DeSean Jackson is inactive as punishment for missing a special teams meeting yesterday, taking away a key speedy starter. The Eagles were already going to be without starting guard Evan Mathis, who like Kolb has turf toe.
Tags: Anthony Sherman, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Kolb, Todd Heap
Posted in Blog | 14 Comments »