The Cardinals know when they are playing their games and they know people will be watching. The 2014 schedule has been announced and it includes the prime-time games that the Cards have been pining for. Monday night to open the season at home? Bruce Arians couldn’t have drawn it up any better. And while the Dec. 11 Thursday night game in St. Louis is no picnic, at least the Cards are coming off a home game against Kansas City. Plus, it will give the Cards an extra few days before hosting Seattle in “Sunday Night Football” on Dec. 21.
There is little reason to completely analyze a schedule because, frankly, it can mean little when the games are played months from now. Still, there are takeaways to note (and here is a schedule you can print/download):
— Cool to open on Monday night in a home game. Last time the Cards opened on a Monday night, it was Ken Whisenhunt’s debut in 2007 in San Francisco. Could’ve been a win if Eric Green had just fallen on the ball.
— Strange, however, to open with a team you just closed the preseason with. My guess is that the starters might not even play in the preseason finale now, as opposed to their usual one series.
— Season closes with three straight division games. Given this era of the NFC Best, perhaps that’s only fitting.
— Bye week in Week 4. Early. Too early? Well, given that it is after what figures to be a rough-and-tumble 49ers game and gives the Cards two weeks to prep for Peyton Manning, maybe it’s just right.
— No more than two straight weeks either at home or on the road. Can’t complain there.
— It could be chilly in Seattle in late November. Maybe SF in late December too, although Santa Clara will be warmer than the ‘stick. But New York in September is perfect, Denver in early October … weather should not be a factor.
But now that the schedule is out, I guess it’s time for the draft. It’s always something, right?
Tags: 49ers, Eric Green, Ken Whisenhunt, Peyton Manning, schedule
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Patrick Peterson was blunt when asked about wanting to have an NFL “island” as a cornerback, a la Darrelle Revis. “I don’t want an island,” he said. “I want a universe.” Alrighty then. That’s a pretty big area. You have to assume, in such a universe, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would have to be part of the equation.
Just what will the Cardinals have with the DRC/PP combination – not yet forgetting Greg Toler, who won’t have the draft pedigree of the other two but arguably will be the best tackler? (We have yet to see what Peterson brings to the table in terms of tackling, but for now, keep the DRC comments to yourself.)
Because neither has been around, it’s difficult to get a feel for how the duo – or trio, including Toler – will fit together. Here’s what we know: DRC acknowledged last season he didn’t play as well as he could or should have, and he must improve (note I didn’t say “master”) the art of tackling. Toler can play physically, but he remains raw as a cornerback. Peterson has to learn the NFL game period.
The last time the Cards took a cornerback high in the draft, Antrel Rolle certainly entered a different situation. The starting cornerbacks at the time were David Macklin and Robert Tate, and with all due respect to those guys, DRC and Toler are a better duo. The year the Cards took Rolle, they also took Eric Green in the third round, which shows you how much they needed cornerbacks. Rolle was late arriving to camp but was still going to jump into the lineup sooner rather than later; this was Dennis Green as coach. He had no problem thrusting rookies in the lineup. Peterson has Ken Whisenhunt as coach, and if anything, Whisenhunt has shown he’ll slow it down for rookies and playing time if he has a feasible alternative and Toler qualifies.
(Toler, at the least, should be able to be a solid nickel cornerback in a league where three cornerbacks are often needed.)
One thing is guaranteed, and that’s the confidence both DRC and Peterson own. Perfect for their position, and necessary. As has been noted many times, whomever plays cornerback will need a steady pass rush to achieve high-profile status. But if DRC can take his 2009 season and ratchet it up, and Peterson becomes the player everyone keeps saying he should be, high expectations should be the bar the two are able to reach.
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Darrelle Revis, David Macklin, Dennis Green, DRC, Eric Green, Greg Toler, Ken Whisenhunt, Patrick Peterson, Robert Tate
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So Edge is a Seahawk, and in the division. Naturally, coach Ken Whisenhunt commented on the topic. “I really haven’t had a whole lot of thought about that. I’ve said that Edge did a great job for us in the playoffs last year and a big part of the reason for our success was our ability to have a more balanced offense. I wish Edgerrin well. I hope he doesn’t give them any information about us, but I understand he probably will.”
It’s funny (not ha-ha funny but interesting funny). Do the Seahawks turn to Edge, as opposed to say, Warrick Dunn, if Edge hadn’t played in Arizona? Do the 49ers, even with injuries in the secondary, turn to CB Eric Green after he was cut by the Dolphins had Green not been a Card? Does the information those players have about the Cards really help? It probably isn’t a tipping point between wins and losses, but knowing coaches the way I do, I would think they would hoard any and all chances to get any kind of advantage.
Playing-wise, we’ll see. Green is in a different situation than Edge. But I guarantee you Fitz and Q would be, let’s just say, excited to be able to go against Green in a game if such a matchup would happen. I still find it odd Edge ended up in Seattle, where he looks like he will be No. 2 and behind the kind of jerry-rigged offensive line that he always hated to deal with in Arizona early on. Maybe $2 million was what he could max out and it was worth the money. Maybe he wants to show the Cards they blew it. But I would guess the Cards’ defense wants a chance to slow their buddy down as well.
Until then, I suppose we wait for the Rams to sign Travis LaBoy.
Tags: Edgerrin James, Eric Green, Travis LaBoy
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