So the Cardinals head to Seattle tomorrow, and we turn to locker room sage Larry Fitzgerald – man, if you would have asked me in 2006 if I’d ever write that descriptor for Fitz, I’d have thought you were crazy – to put these last four games, the playoffs realistically if not officially out of reach, into perspective.
“It’s never to the point where you can’t improve and get better,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s top to bottom, I don’t care about your position on the team. It teaches all of us how to deal with adversity. It’s a microcosm of life. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way and you have to continue to battle.”
It doesn’t hurt that the Seahawks have a chance to make the playoffs and the Cards have a chance to crimp that possibility. It’s cliché, but I do believe playing spoiler – especially to a division rival – is motivation and I do think it is real. The Cards would love to sweep the Seahawks, even if both teams are a lot different than the teams that met at UoP Sept. 9.
– I am very interested in seeing how John Skelton reacts to this start. Seattle is not an easy place to play. He struggled against the Seahawks’ defense in the opener this season before getting hurt. But as he noted Wednesday, he gets another opportunity, one that if not for the major problems of Ryan Lindley, he probably would not have gotten.
I don’t know if there is less pressure on Skelton or more. Obviously coach Ken Whisenhunt proved he’d go to Lindley. Then again, after seeing where Lindley is in his development, it’s tough to see the Cards turning to him again. Impossible not to watch that storyline play out.
– Safety Kerry Rhodes said this week, talking about how the defensive players can’t talk bad about the offense, that until the defense holds a team to zero points and zero yards, they have to tend to their own business. Zero yards? Hyperbole. Zero points? Defensive coordinator Ray Horton was asked if that was realistic.
“That’s probably every defensive player’s mantra,” Horton said. “Is it realistic? Sometimes it is. I think it is the mentality they have which I love, that they think that way.”
– I think the Cards should have defensive end Calais Campbell back this week, a good thing because Campbell always plays well against the Seahawks. Then again, I thought Campbell was going to play in New York, so I will wait and see on that one.
– A final capper on the Kerry Rhodes-Darnell Dockett dustup, where Rhodes said it wasn’t a big deal and Dockett said he was sorry but he was never going to quit. The reference was to the unsaid-yet-out-there reason that the Cards’ decision to try and let the Jets score at the end of last week’s game – statistically, the best way (however long of a shot it was) to try and win – was at the root of the problem. So Horton was asked his philosophy about letting a team score.
“The ultimate goal is to win the game, whether you give up the safety, whether you give up a touchdown,” Horton said. “My philosophy is whatever it takes to win the game. If it means doing that I’d do it to give ourselves a chance. I asked Coach (Ken Whisenhunt) to do it for time reasons.”
(We won’t go into the details yet again of the situation. I know some of you disagree with the strategy and agree with Dockett’s take. I covered it here.)
– OK, maybe one more point: Mike Jurecki of XTRA broke the news that Dockett was fined six figures by the team and could have his playing time limited in Seattle for what went down. Whisenhunt has made it plain whatever was happening with the situation was going to be handled internally and not commented upon. Clearly, the Cardinals did not agree with Dockett’s take. (Kent Somers is now also reporting the fine and said it was because of both the fight and not heeding the coach’s call.) We’ll see on Sunday about the playing time issue.
– UPDATE: Dockett tweeted out praise for the NFLPA so the assumption is, not surprisingly, Dockett is appealing the fine.
– That late personal foul call against nose tackle Dan Williams last week, the iffy one on Jets quarterback Greg McElroy on the sidelines? Williams was not fined for it. Still hurt though – it gave free yards on the Jets’ lone touchdown drive of the game in a 7-6 Jets win. Usually, if a player isn’t fined for a roughness call, it means the league disagreed that it should have been a penalty.
– With cornerback Brandon Browner out with a suspension, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman – himself facing a possible four-game suspension – will probably follow Fitz around Sunday. “I would anticipate that, if I were a betting man,” Fitzgerald said. The best on the best makes sense. It just would be nice to get Fitzgerald a handful of catches and maybe sniff 100 yards. It’s been too long. And frankly, the offense needs it.
The good news is that, after nasty forecasts earlier in the week, the rain is supposed to subside after Saturday morning in Seattle and hold off through Sunday. That’d be a plus. But the Cards have a hard game ahead to snap the losing streak. Let the fourth quarter of the season commence.
Tags: Brandon Browner, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, John Skelton, Kerry Rhodes, Larry Fitzgerald, Ray Horton, Richard Sherman, Ryan Lindley, Seahawks
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Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he has not yet made a decision on who his starting quarterback will be in Seattle. He wants to watch the video with his coaches and go from there. Kevin Kolb is an unknown still as he comes back from injury. Asked if he planned on having Kolb return at some point, Whisenhunt said “I sure hope so.” Here is a portion of Whiz’s Q and A with reporters about the quarterback position and how Ryan Lindley played yesterday.
Q: You mentioned yesterday part of the problem was that receivers weren’t making the right reads. Is that a function of practice time with Lindley, or is that something that would be in place regardless of the quarterback?
A: “We didn’t play very well yesterday in the receiving part of it. That means getting off press coverage, running good routes, being in the right spots in routes. Sometimes, when you play a team that pressures like they do, you have to be able to sight adjust or make the correct adjustments to your routes and we didn’t do a very good job with that. We didn’t help Ryan out very much with that.”
Q: With that game, five first downs, oh-for-15 on third downs, yet you cited the best chance to win the game was not change the quarterback. The fan base is pretty upset with that decision.
A: “I understand that. But like I said, we didn’t help Ryan out very much yesterday. There were a lot of areas we had problems. We are looking for the right combination to be effective offensively. We talked about it on the sideline, we talked about what was going on during the game. It was a combination of a number of different things besides the quarterback.”
Q: By your own criteria, a couple of weeks ago, you were going to hold everyone to strict standards and if they weren’t doing their job, you could make a change. So (Lindley) is doing his job?
A: “Like I said, I don’t think anyone did their job well enough yesterday offensively. The quarterback is the focal point of that. But that’s part of what we have to go through today and evaluate that.”
Q: Do you know where you go at quarterback going forward?
A: “We’ve got to look at it with the players today, understand why we had the breakdowns that we did, and then we will decide from that point.”
Q: Is there a realistic chance Kevin Kolb can play this week?
A: “The only way we will know is when he can do it in practice. He has made progress. But until he can get out there and see he can make those throws, then we will know.”
Q: Are you sticking with Ryan?
A: “I said we will watch the tape today and look at with the players where we had the breakdowns. There are a lot of things you don’t know from the perspective of what everyone is looking at why we were not successful.”
Q: Did you lose confidence in John Skelton?
A: “I wouldn’t say I lost confidence in John’s ability.”
Q: To follow up, you said it crossed your mind to play him …
A: “We talked about it in the course of the game. But when you play a team that gives you a multitude of different looks and how it is being communicated, at the point where you have to make that (QB) change, you have to understand, is it because the guy in there is not playing well? Because you are going to lose a lot of what you have gone through in the first parts of the game as far as understanding the protections and where the sights are and where the checks are.”
Q: To follow that up then, you mentioned (after the game) Ryan was doing a good job with the schematics. Does that mean John wasn’t doing a good job?
A: “I never said that.”
Q: Did John not understand?
A: “We were talking (after the game) about Ryan. The decision we made about John, we’ve already talked about. We don’t need to go back and revisit that.”
Tags: John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Ryan Lindley
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I don’t think it’s out of line to think the most interesting question of the week will be who the Cardinals start at quarterback in Seattle next weekend. (Yes, I am aware of the understatement there.) Seattle has never been a particularly easy place to play for any Cardinals QB – I remember some rough games for Kurt Warner – and the last two years, Max Hall and Kevin Kolb have had trouble putting up points.
So after Sunday, when rookie Ryan Lindley had so much difficulty in production, will coach Ken Whisenhunt go back to him again? There’s no way to know if Kolb will be ready this week, but if he isn’t, Lindley is in the middle of six quarters of play he isn’t going to file among his NFL memories.
Whiz noted there were some poor routes/adjustments by receivers – one time, it seemed Michael Floyd just slowed up on a deep pattern, and the ball ended up well over his head – but Lindley knew he struggled. To have 10 three-and-outs as an offense (one ended on an interception), plus a four-and-out when the Cards couldn’t pick up a first on fourth down, was just devastating. When you lose a game by a single point, it’s that much more magnified.
“We just have to play better,” Lindley said. “I have to play better.”
– There is no need to belabor the point. I know there were plenty asking if/when Whiz was going to put in John Skelton. Was I surprised a change wasn’t made? I guess I was. Whisenhunt said he stuck with Lindley because he understood the scheme and what needed to be done. That’s got to translate into the game play, though.
I’m sure the comments below will be dominated by this subject.
– What a day for Kerry Rhodes. He promised on the Big Red Rage “I’m going to make plays, don’t worry about that one” when asked about his return to New York. It was Rhodes’ first chance to go against the Jets and coach Rex Ryan, who ripped Rhodes pretty good after Rhodes was traded away. Had the Cards won,’ Rhodes’ two interceptions and forced fumble would have been the perfect narrative. Losing takes the luster off, for sure, but you have to think Rhodes made his point while continuing to have a good season. Officially, Rhodes had six tackles and three passes defensed too.
– The interception by Patrick Peterson was a heck of an athletic play. It looked like he was definitely beaten, yet he not only made up the ground but grabbed the pick.
– Crazy how Jets kicker Nick Folk hit both the left upright and right upright on a pair of missed field goals. The Jets weren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut out there. Some of that was the Cards’ defense, but some of that is the Jets’ issues too.
– Running back Beanie Wells had only 22 yards on 15 carries. There weren’t a lot of holes for him to hit for sure, but watching him run he just doesn’t look totally right with the knee, which did limit him in practice last week. I know that when his two straight runs on third- and fourth-and-1 early in the game that the Cards couldn’t convert hurt. The Jets have a good defense, but an absence of a run game shows up when the QB struggles. Then again, the Jets could tee off on the run because they weren’t concerned about Lindley beating them.
– Punter Dave Zastudil tied his career-high with 10 punts which makes sense in context.
– It was a weird game because the Jets’ crowd wasn’t happy with their team much of the game and let them know it. To have Greg McElroy come in to play quarterback and get the kind of cheer he did just shows how much the fan base doesn’t have faith in Mark Sanchez. McElroy didn’t do anything special. But he was the lone QB with a TD drive.
– Dan Williams was just talking about taking advantage of more playing time if he got the chance, and Sunday, he got the chance with the Jets playing a lot of run-first offense. The nose tackle responded with a team-high 10 tackles.
I wish I had a lot more to touch on but I do not. The QB thing is going to overshadow everything I’m sure.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Dan Williams, Dave Zastudil, Greg McElroy, Jets, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Mark Sanchez, Michael Floyd, Nick Folk, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Lindley
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The last time the Cardinals played against a Tim Tebow team in the regular season, they probably should have seen him play — but he didn’t.
You remember that game, at the end of the disastrous 2010 season. The Cardinals crushed the Broncos, 43-13, in rookie quarterback John Skelton’s first start. Skelton didn’t play well (15-for-37, 146 yards) but he didn’t turn the ball over, and the game was dominated by kicker Jay Feely (25 points, including a touchdown run on a fake field goal) and running back Tim Hightower’s 148 yards rushing on only 18 carries.
(Looking back on my story, I forgot about then-rookie Daryl Washington pulling a Leon Lett. Oops.)
Anyway, not only did the Broncos get throttled but quarterback Kyle Orton was bad, completing just 19-of-41 passes for 166 yards and three interceptions. The Broncos were going nowhere. Kind of seemed like a natural time to give backup QB Tim Tebow a chance to play. But interim coach Eric Studesville decided against it.
Flash forward to Sunday, when the Cardinals play the Jets, and Tebow again is the backup. Tebow is dealing with bad ribs, bad enough to the point where third-stringer Greg McElroy may be the wiser choice to have as Mark Sanchez’s reserve option. Coach Rex Ryan isn’t committing to anything, although he said he thinks Tebow will be able to be active Sunday. Tebow playing, in some way, would certainly add a storyline to a game that could use an extra boost. Clearly Sanchez isn’t going anywhere as the starter.
The Cardinals aren’t taking chances. “You have to prepare for (Tebow),” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Whether he plays or not, we’ll see. But you’ve got to be prepared for him. When he’s in the game, it’s different.”
Another side note: That win against the struggling Tebow team also snapped a seven-game losing streak. Maybe history has a chance to repeat itself Sunday against another struggling Tebow team.
Tags: Jay Feely, Jets, John Skelton, Tim Tebow
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Larry Fitzgerald was open.
He was open a few times against the Rams, down the field early when rookie Ryan Lindley missed him down the left sideline. He was open when Lindley woefully underthrew a pass near the Cardinals’ sideline that was intercepted. He was open down the field on another interception and again on a play that could have gotten big yards but didn’t because a line mistake led to a sack.
Fitzgerald made three receptions for 31 yards on the Cards’ first drive but couldn’t get a catch after that. It’s been a brutal stretch of late for Fitz in terms of production, and when Fitzgerald is open and can’t get the ball, the frustration is there fore everyone involved.
“It’s hard, because you don’t know how much goes in to trying to work to get these situations, and then when you do get them and they come up and you have it there and we don’t execute on it …,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, leaving the end of the thought to the obvious.
“You have a chance to make a layup, you work hard to get it, and the ball bounces out,” Whisenhunt added. “You’re frustrated that you didn’t get it done, something that you think is, I won’t say simple, but something you put a lot of work into doing and you expect to do it. There are a lot of those things that happen that people don’t see.”
Whisenhunt’s example was the sack, in which Lindley had to slide to his left because of a blocking mistake, costing him a clean look at the open Fitzgerald down the field. “You look at that play, and it’s something that you work to set up and Larry’s behind everybody and that’s where Ryan is going to go with it but we have a breakdown. That’s been happening too much to us.”
Fitzgerald isn’t going to say anything. He talked after the game about not pointing fingers and refusing — even after Lindley took the blame on missing Fitzgerald on a couple of passes — to throw Lindley under the bus. Even generally, when asked about the frustration about getting open but being unable to get the ball, Fitz wouldn’t bite.
“It’s football,” he said. “Things happen. Assignments are missed. When I’m perfect, I can start calling people out on their flaws and mistakes. But I’m not. We have to do a better job offensively executing when we have our opportunities.”
Fitz isn’t perfect. Fitz, according to Stats Pass, has three drops this season. Obviously he couldn’t come up with that one at the end of the Atlanta game, although the Stats people didn’t consider that a drop; they give him one each in each of the two Rams’ games, and one against the 49ers.
Still, what resonates as a Fitzgerald memory up until this point this season is an opening and then a pass too far over his head or too far out of bounds for him to make the play. Mike Sando broke down the targets to Fitz from the Cards’ three QBs; while Kevin Kolb couldn’t get it to Fitz all the time (61.5 percent completions of Fitz targets), the duo of Lindley and John Skelton have missed Fitzgerald on 34 of 57 targets. Lindley in his brief time has throws Fitz’s way 17 times but completed just four passes (with three interceptions.) Lindley had his misses against the Rams and Skelton — who had a few throws to Fitz out of bounds down the sideline over the weeks — had the now infamous miss of the open Fitz in the end zone.
Thus far, Fitz has just 55 catches for 627 yards, a pace for 80 receptions (which would equal last year) but just 912 yards, 499 yards less than last season. If he wants to complain — and goodness knows those of us asking the questions have given him multiple chances to do so — he has shown remarkable restraint in not.
“Larry’s been great,” Whisenhunt said. “He works hard every day. He wants to be successful and it hurts him when he’s not. We are all frustrated, but it hasn’t affected Larry from the standpoint of how he has dealt with his teammates, how he works in practice, the positive things he talks with the quarterbacks.
“Listen, he wants the ball. He comes over and talks about things during the game. (But) he is a true professional.”
Tags: John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Lindley
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The news that came out yesterday that Ryan Lindley is going to start at quarterback this weekend really can’t be a surprise. Kevin Kolb isn’t healthy. John Skelton just was pulled out early in the Atlanta game in favor of Lindley, and I’m not sure anything could have happened over the past few days that would change coach Ken Whisenhunt’s mind to go back. Had he gone back to Skelton, it would have made what happened in Atlanta a real head-scratcher (yes, I am aware there are many of you who already see it that way.)
The interesting scenario will be when and if Kolb can return to play. It will partly depend on how Lindley does, I would think, in the meantime, but let’s say he doesn’t dominate. What then? Do the Cardinals go back to Kolb? Does Lindley play it out? Is it tied to the outcomes over the next few games?
I said before the season if Lindley played this season it probably wouldn’t bode well for where the Cardinals’ season was headed. It was hard to see it happening after the 4-0 start, but obviously, the offense hasn’t produced of late and the Kolb injury — there is no doubt if Kolb was healthy, he’d be playing — threw things into flux.
Since watching Lindley when he came in, particularly in training camp, I do see a guy who can be accurate (an issue with Skelton) and who has the size to stand tall in the pocket. Personally, my expectations aren’t high. That’s nothing against Lindley, but a rookie quarterback has more downs than ups and this is a guy who was drafted in the sixth round. Yes, guys like Andrew Luck and RGIII have had quick success, but they were the first two picks in the draft and the first two picks for a reason.
The Cards have to find more consistency in the passing game. They have to find a way to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball more often. Whether Lindley is the guy who can deliver that, we will have to see. But we are going to see. Quarterback is going to be at the top of the to-do list in the offseason — at least, reevaluating the position will be — and the Cards do need to find out where Lindley fits or doesn’t fit. Whisenhunt could have waited longer to do so, but he clearly didn’t see why he should wait.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Tags: John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley
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Coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t naming a starting quarterback for this week yet. Evaluation is still coming. Kevin Kolb is working to get back, and Whiz said Ryan Lindley did OK. He also said Lindley had impressed him at practice over the weeks. He never considered started Lindley in Atlanta after John Skelton had a good game in Green Bay, but said watching Skelton miss too many opportunities early in Atlanta led him to make the change. Much more on this later in a homepage story.
– Whiz on safety Adrian Wilson dealing with his demotion: “It’s never easy but Adrian is a real pro and he handled it well. But that’s where we are as a team. James (Sanders) and Rashad (Johnson) deserved a chance. We are trying to get better.”
– Running back Beanie Wells will be activated off injured reserve this week, Whiz said, and the Cards expect him to play Sunday.
– Regarding rookie left tackle Nate Potter’s first NFL start: “He fought and I think he’s going to be OK out there.”
– Nothing new on cornerback Patrick Peterson. He left the game briefly with a hamstring problem. Whiz said Peterson told him it was cramps.
– Whiz said that given the Cards’ problems, he’d have to at least consider changes within the duties of the coaching staff. One example suggested to Whiz was play-calling. The coach certainly didn’t commit to doing that, but “that’s something that you look at.”
– Rookie receiver Michael Floyd was benched after lining up wrong, but Whisenhunt said Floyd also had come out of a route wrong earlier, leading to an incompletion. With the Cards’ margin for error slim to none, that wasn’t going to work. “When you are where we are offensively, you have to create a sense of urgency to make plays and be held accountable for that,” Whisenhunt said.
– On dealing with the six-game losing streak: “It’s tough. It’s tough. Don’t think for a second it doesn’t burn a hole in my gut or in the players’ bellies. … We’ve been in the games. I’m not defending it, but in my career, if you have a team that’s in a lot of games, it shows you are making progress. We’ve had some setbacks with injuries and we are trying to fight through that. I know it’s not easy. We’re not happy about it and I appreciate the support of our fans.
“Ultimately our goal is to make our fans proud. I know we’ve done that when we went to the Super Bowl and the playoffs and we haven’t forgotten that, and we have a lot of young players in here that understand that.”
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Beanie Wells, coaching staff, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Michael Floyd, Nate Potter, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Lindley
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Larry Fitzgerald is always going to say the right things. But it’d be interesting to crawl into his head right now and find out his true feelings about where the Cardinals and their offense are right now. Maybe he indeed is absorbing it all rationally. Of course, if he was, I’d start to wonder if he was human. When Fitz was trying to find the right way to explain Sunday’s loss despite the Cards making play after play defensively, you had to feel for him. One catch for 11 yards isn’t what you need from your star, your Pro Bowler. Then again, had he been able to pull down that last pass – and, standing just 20 yards or so away, I thought he was going to make it – he’d have been the hero and I believe the Cards would have punched in the game-winning points.
That didn’t happen.
Where from here? You can’t ask for much more from the defense. Daryl Washington may say the defense has to do more, but I’m not sure that’s possible. If the Cards just get one more touchdown – and the Cards had the ball at the Falcons’ 35 or closer four times without being able to make that happen – they win.
– At this point, I don’t know who will be the quarterback against the Rams next week. As I sit here on the charter flight home, you could see a scenario where it could be any one of the three guys on the roster. Next week will be six weeks since Kevin Kolb got hurt. I still don’t see Kolb, who was throwing some but not practicing last week, coming back yet. John Skelton could start. Ryan Lindley could.
– Was I surprised Lindley went in? Yes and no. The Cardinals were up 13-0 and, at least at that point, what they would get from Skelton was probably a known quantity, especially with his teammates. Then again, Skelton missing Fitzgerald in the end zone, that wasn’t the first time that kind of thing had happened. And I do agree with Whiz when he said if people are going to be held accountable, that has to include the quarterback.
Whisenhunt acknowledged he made the decision after Skelton missed Fitz for that TD.
“We had a play that’s open (and) you’ve got to make that throw,” Whisenhunt said.
– Let me head off a couple of questions I will inevitably get. Yes, I think the Cards will chase someone new at quarterback this offseason. No, I don’t know who, and right now, I just see that as a discussion for another day. It’s Kolb/Skelton/Lindley the rest of this season, regardless.
– Here’s another question I want to head off (and I’m not saying you can’t pontificate on this in the comments, just that I don’t plan on answering it again): No, I don’t think Whiz will be fired now. I don’t think there will be any coaching changes in season. After the season, once all the games are played, yes, there will probably be changes going in this direction. No, I don’t think it will be Whisenhunt. As I have said many times, I expect him to be coaching here in 2013.
– Adrian Wilson didn’t have much to say about being what turned out to be benched, kind of. Wilson still played in the base defense, but since the Cards started in nickel, he didn’t start. I’m sure he’s not happy – the man has played in four straight Pro Bowls, then was asked to take a pay cut and now this – but today, after the defense forced six turnovers, it’s hard to argue with the decision-making on that side of the ball. UPDATE: Wilson still played 41 of 73 total defensive snaps — 56 percent.
– Patrick Peterson did come back in the game after hurting his hamstring, but that will be something to watch this week.
– Apparently, according to ESPN’s research, Matt Ryan was the first QB to throw five interceptions in a game without a touchdown and win a game since the Packers’ Bart Starr did it in 1967.
– Fifth-round pick Senio Kelemete, who was inactive today, was the only player in the seven-man draft class not to play today. Didn’t see that coming during the 4-0 start.
– If there was any déjà vu involved while watching today’s game, there was reason. The Cardinals have been crazy playmaking productive on defense in the recent past and somehow lost before – the Monday Night Meltdown game in 2006. Rex Grossman had four picks and two lost fumbles.
Well, I certainly can’t complain, coming off the bye, of a lack of things to talk about this week. There will be plenty on which to chew before the Rams’ game. Signing off for now.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Daryl Washington, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Ryan, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Lindley, Senio Kelemete
Posted in Blog | 144 Comments »
When Ken Whisenhunt first named John Skelton his starting quarterback to begin the season, he noted that Kevin Kolb would stay ready, because the way the NFL goes, the Cardinals would need both their quarterbacks. That, of course, turned out to be true, with Kolb subbing for an injured Skelton in the very first game and then playing well enough to hold down the starting role until getting hurt himself when his ribs detached from his sternum on a hit against Buffalo.
Kolb had promised himself he was going to try and play through any injury after being sidelined so much last season. This time around he just couldn’t. This weekend, with the Cards coincidentally on a bye, the NFL showed exactly how difficult it can be to stay healthy as a quarterback in this league.
Three starters — the Eagles’ Michael Vick, the Bears’ Jay Cutler and the 49ers’ Alex Smith — had to leave their respective games because of concussions (which, of course, Kolb had to do last season.) The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, the king of playing through any and all injuries it seems, had to leave Monday night’s game after hurting his throwing shoulder. As of this moment, it’s being called a sprain but no one really knows how much time it could cost him. As for the concussed QBs, well, Kolb missed a lot of time because of his and at the very least, it’ll be a little surprising if the trio can return the very next week, given the concussion concern around the league these days.
Bottom line (even as obvious as it is)? That backup QB is always just a play away, and the odds are good he’s going to be forced into some playing time at some point. This isn’t about fragility. It’s about fast, 275-pound bodies colliding with or twisting oddly the guy who has the ball in his hands more than anyone.
As for Kolb, he continues to throw it around at practice (like Monday, below) although his progress keeps his status in a kind of limbo. He still doesn’t sound like his return is around the corner.
Tags: Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick
Posted in Blog | 29 Comments »
Perfection isn’t an option. Everyone knows that. But that means a couple of mistakes, not many. If Adrian Wilson is going to miss on a red-zone tackle that ultimately cost the Cardinals four points – the difference between a touchdown and a field goal – then Early Doucet can’t drop a couple of passes that should have gone for first downs, and John Skelton can’t force a ball into coverage that ends up being intercepted (and turned into a field goal) and the defense can’t get caught allowing a 72-yard touchdown pass, whether it was Paris Lenon or someone else.
Both sides of the ball had slow starts again Sunday. That wasn’t happening early in the year. The defense was punctured too many times in the first half. That wasn’t happening earlier in the year. The Cardinals lost again. That wasn’t happening earlier in the year.
What that means on the other side of the upcoming bye – a road trip to the currently undefeated Atlanta Falcons is up next – is anyone’s guess.
“It don’t get no easier, that’s for sure,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said.
Dockett was talking about the schedule. Hopefully he wasn’t foreshadowing how the Cards will play the rest of the season.
– The “big” story of the game, if you want to call it that, was the insertion of Nate Potter at left tackle. I thought during the game he held up well after coming in to replace D’Anthony Batiste in the second quarter. Potter got a lot of first-team work during practice last week so it wasn’t a surprise to see him. I’m guessing we will see him a lot more, and now he’ll have two weeks to prep for what I would suspect will be his first NFL start.
– No idea what has happened to the defense, especially early in games. They are playing well after some time, but those early hiccups are killing the Cards. Clearly the Cards set up to foil the Packers’ passing game Sunday, so the Packers said “OK, we’ll run.” And they ran for a season-high 176 yards, while Aaron Rodgers still got his four TD passes. If Wilson had just been able to make that first tackle of Randall Cobb on the catch-and-run – it was déjà vu of the Michael Crabtree San Francisco in-close catch-and-run – who knows how that might’ve changed things?
– The drops were not good, especially those of Doucet. According to Mike Sando of ESPN.com fame, Doucet already has six drops this season. “I had a couple of plays that I let get away from me,” Doucet said. “I need to do my job.” The question will be how many chances he’ll get to do that. Given Whiz’s post-game comments, this could easily be the point where Michael Floyd gets more playing time going forward. Floyd did have his best overall game, with five catches for 80 yards.
As for Doucet, Whiz shook his head when asked about what was wrong with Early, although he certainly wasn’t going to scapegoat his receiver. “I do not know. I do not know,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s not just him. We missed tackles. We missed a tackle on the first touchdown. There was a busted play on the 72 yard touchdown pass. That’s the point of what I am saying.”
– So much for the sack fest everyone – including me – was expecting. One sack for the Cards, two for the Packers.
– Whisenhunt was asked, again, about the possibility of rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley playing.
“I don’t know if the way that John (Skelton) played today would warrant that,” Whisenhunt said. “We feel like we’re going to go forward looking for the guys that can help us win. If that comes up in that situation, then we will certainly consider it.”
Personally, I didn’t think it was the quarterback play that got the Cards. There may be a point where the record dictates the Cards should try the rookie behind center. I don’t believe this is that time. Not yet.
– The Cards will have a couple of practices this week. There are multiple days off, something I believe is mandated by the CBA. I don’t know if this team needs a break – “After a loss, the one thing you want to do is get back on the field and play,” Lenon said – but I can’t say that I don’t welcome the mental respite.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, D'Anthony Batiste, Darnell Dockett, Early Doucet, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Nate Potter, Packers, Paris Lenon, Ryan Lindley
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