Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFC West, NFL, Rams, St Louis Rams
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Tags: NFC West, Carson Palmer, NFL, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFC
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Tags: 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Carson Palmer, Monday Night Football, NFC West, NFL, Percy Harvin, Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, St Louis Rams
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The last four times the Cardinals have gone to San Francisco, it didn’t go particularly well. Even the oldest of those visits, the 2009 Monday night game in a season when the Cards would win 10 and make the playoffs and Kurt Warner was the quarterback, the Cards melted into a mess of turnovers in a disappointing loss.
Yet that game was also the last time weren’t just playing out the string by the time they got to Candlestick. The Cards were in the middle of a division chase back then, and – even though we’re just five games into the season – the same holds for Sunday.
So begins the toughest two-game stretch of the season for the Cardinals, this weekend’s visit to San Fran, with the Seahawks awaiting a Thursday game in Arizona a few days after. Well, I suppose the back-to-back might not be the toughest alone, since the Cards have to play in Seattle and then home against the 49ers the final two games of the season.
(Yikes, oh ye schedule gods.)
But this week will determine the Cards’ spot in the pecking order. A split, and the Cards can still talk NFC West. Two losses, and it’s a lot tougher. (We won’t talk about sweeps yet. Let’s see what happens in Frisco first.) The NFC isn’t top-heavy this year so far. The Cards could be a third-place team and still make the playoffs. But if they can get into Candlestick and topple the opponent for the first time since 2008 – the Super Bowl-bound Cards opened the season with a 23-13 win in SF – well then, it’ll quickly get interesting.
– Andre Roberts said the offense has been simplified heading into the 49ers game, and that seems to fit what is expected to be mostly rock-em-sock-em. Bruce Arians said the Cardinals aren’t changing their offensive goals – “You find reasons why and why not and try to fix them,” Arians said of his offense – but it did sound from QB Carson Palmer that he’s going to do what it takes not to put the Cards in bad positions this weekend.
– Still, the Cards are going to need to score points. This lack of execution the Cards have had, the bugaboo that Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts and Rob Housler all mentioned in some way, shape or form this week, has to change. Quickly. That’s the only way you are beating a team like the Niners.
“We know what to do (offensively) but not why we are doing it and sometimes that lack of continuity shows up,” Arians said.
– Speaking of offense, Candlestick was the site of Michael Floyd’s best NFL game, grabbing a bunch of passes from Brian Hoyer in last year’s finale en route to eight catches for 166 yards and a score. Floyd hasn’t had more than five catches in a game yet this season, but he does have 301 yards and has played well.
– In three wins, the Cardinals’ defense has not allowed a point. The only second-half score against the Cards in those three games was a pick-6 Palmer threw against Detroit.
“I think it’s just about playing hard and guys settling down in the game,” defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. “We just need to start faster than we have been starting.”
– Cardinals tight end Jim Dray knows 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Dray was at Stanford when Harbaugh came in and resuscitated a struggling football program. “It’s just a culture shock when he came to Stanford,” Dray said. “He completely changed the culture and the attitude. It really brings the team together. That’s the biggest thing, he brings the winning culture.”
– In Anquan Boldin’s first game in the NFL, he had 10 catches for 217 yards and exploded on to the NFL scene. A decade later, in his first game for the 49ers to open this season, Boldin had 13 catches for 208 yards, making a pair of impressive NFC West debuts.
“The biggest difference was we got the win this time,” said Boldin, whose muffed punt return helped Detroit beat the Cardinals way back when during Boldin’s first NFL game. “For me that’s all that matters. I’ve been through the whole putting-up-stats, breaking this record, doing this and that. My only goal right now is just to win and win championships.”
– Said Fitzgerald of his friend Boldin, “It’ll be weird to see him over there. This is probably only the second time in my career I’ve rooted against him … but we need this game more than they need it.”
Fitz has only played against Boldin one other time, a 2011 game when the Cards lost in Baltimore. Boldin had seven catches for 145 yards.
– And no, I don’t particularly believe Boldin when he says this is just another game. I don’t think the fire burns in him for this organization the way it once did, not now that he’s won his Super Bowl, but I’d be stunned if this didn’t mean something extra to him.
– Earlier this week, Arians said he’d talk to Colts coach Chuck Pagano, after the Colts handled the 49ers in San Francisco this season. Then again, the Niners shifted their game after that one and started running more. The Cards will have to stop the run, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
– I know Fitz said he loves Candlestick for the history — Jerry Rice played there, and Fitz has a fondest for the greatest receiver of all time, because he’d like to get there some day — but really, I’m not sure how many people are really going to miss it. I know I won’t. One more trip there.
Tags: 49ers, Andre Roberts, Anquan Boldin, Bruce Arians, Chuck Pagano, Jim Dray, Jim Harbaugh, Michael Floyd, NFC West, Seahawks, Todd Bowles
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Tags: 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, NFC West, NFL, Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, St Louis Rams
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Tags: Aeneas Williams, Arizona Cardinals, Cardinals, NFC West, NFL, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
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The roster is churned, veterans are moved out and the program undergoes an overhaul. So, Bruce Arians, some think the Cardinals are rebui….
The word doesn’t even get all the way out.
“Never use that word. Never use that word,” Arians said Wednesday morning. “We are reloading not rebuilding. We refused to use that word last year in Indianapolis and it was 37 new players on the roster. (Veteran defensive end) Robert Mathis said, ‘I ain’t got time to rebuild.’ And we were in the playoffs. There is no rebuilding going on. We are just plugging in new faces and different faces. This team is not very far off.”
The won-loss record is going to determine that, of course. Certainly the Cardinals are headed toward underdog status at the very least, especially in a division with Seattle, San Francisco and a Rams team that — don’t forget — went 4-1-1 within the NFC West. Arians said the division reminds him of the AFC North, where he coached many years with both the Browns and Steelers.
“One year ago, I don’t think anyone had Seattle that high,” Arians said. “(Quarterback) Russell Wilson made all that happen. Pete (Carroll) did a great job with his defense. One guy can change your whole outlook.”
(Which is true — if a team finds the right QB to be the one guy.)
“I like our defense against anyone’s defense in the division,” Arians added. “We’ve got to make our offense up to speed so we can compete in the division. It starts with division dominance. We have beaten these teams in the last two years, so it’s not like they are dominating us. I’ve always said, win your home games and scratch out a few on the road, you’re in the playoffs.”
– During the meetings, the NFL officially set the date of Super Bowl XLIX (49) at University of Phoenix Stadium following the 2014 season. It will be Feb. 1, 2015. So plan your time accordingly.
– Restricted free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer officially signed his $2.02 million one-year tender offer Wednesday. He is now officially a Card for 2013 and can’t shop around. (Although, unlike a franchise tender offer, a restricted free agent contract is not guaranteed if he is released.)
Tags: Brian Hoyer, NFC West, Super Bowl
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Every single team in the NFC West is above .500 five games into the season.
That’s never happened before. At least, it’s never happened since the NFC West was reconfigured to include the Cardinals, so we’re going back a decade-plus, back to when Arizona “moved” west in 2002. In fact, after five games, the division has never had more than two teams above .500 at this point.
But there the standings show today with the Cards and 49ers at 4-1 and the Seahawks and Rams at 3-2. The Niners are coming off an incredibly impressive performance, crushing visiting Buffalo, 45-3, and becoming the first team in NFL history with both 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing in a single game. The Bills now will spend this week here in Arizona, practicing at Arizona State University to prep for their game against the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium, perhaps reeling as they visit.
The ante has certainly been raised for the division, however. It’s clear that each team has a defense that will leave the opponent bruised and beaten up after a game. The Cardinals can attest to that after having seen both the Seahawks and Rams (and everyone knows what the Niners can do.) It’s going to make for an intense season for the division that in recent years, most have loved to pick on. Not anymore.
Tags: 49ers, NFC West, Rams, Seahawks
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Forbes.com has come out with a list of the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world, and the Cardinals rank 30th, with a Forbes-estimated value of $919 million. That’s third in the NFC West, with the Seahawks at No. 25 ($989 million) and the 49ers at No. 29 ($925 million). The Rams are 40th ($779 million). Not shockingly, all 32 NFL teams made it into the top 50.
The top 10 teams in the world? Soccer’s Manchester United is No. 1, valued at $1.86 billion. They are followed by the Dallas Cowboys ($1.81 billion), New York Yankees ($1.7 billion), Washington Redskins ($1.55 billion), soccer’s Real Madrid $1.45 billion), New England Patriots ($1.37 billion), soccer’s Arsenal ($1.19 billion), New York Giants ($1.18 billion), then somewhat surprisingly the Houston Texans ($1.17 billion), and, rounding out the top 10, the New York Jets ($1.14 billion).
Tags: 49ers, Cowboys, Forbes, Giants, Jets, NFC West, Patriots, Rams, Redskins, Seahawks, Texans
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The Cardinals were back at practice Monday to start up what will be the stretch run of 11 games. Plus, they are in an NFC West division that looks like it can be very interesting. Because there is no injury report, nothing official was said, although wide receiver Steve Breaston did return to practice and said there was “no doubt” in his mind he will play Sunday. Wide receiver Early Doucet is also hoping to play, although his status may be more wait-and-see. Injuries are always an iffy issue on a Monday like this anyway; because it isn’t a “normal” practice, the Cards usually err on the side of extra rest this early in the week.
Linebackers Gerald Hayes and O’Brien Schofield, because of the rules on their wait lists, can’t practice until Week 6 has concluded and the NFL still has Jacksonville-Tennessee tonight. If there was a 10 p.m. practice tonight, they could go. Instead, they will wait until Wednesday, although both are expecting to give it a try. Once they begin practicing (and technically, the Cards have three weeks to begin that process), the Cards have three weeks to decide whether to activate them to the roster (and release someone else).
Side note of the day: ESPN.com’s in-depth writer, Elizabeth Merrill, was on hand to report for an upcoming Max Hall story.
Tags: Early Doucet, Gerald Hayes, NFC West, O'Brien Schofield, Steve Breaston
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