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  • Thu., Aug. 07, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM MST Training camp Training camp practice open to fans.
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Blogs

Glancing at the 2015 opponents

Posted by Darren Urban on July 14, 2014 – 2:46 pm

You know that it’s the dead of the offseason — real dead — when it comes to mind to point out who will be on the Cardinals’ schedule for 2015.

But here we are, inside of two weeks before training camp begins and a week away from the quarterbacks and a handful of other players reporting for a couple of days of “quarterback school” prior to the opening of camp. It’s the last hurrah for time off for both coaches and players. It doesn’t leave a lot to discuss right now. That’s all coming. But as I flipped through the new edition of the NFL Record and Fact Book, I came across the 2015 opponents for the Cardinals. So I thought I’d point them out.

As always, there are the home-and-away games against the NFC West opponents. The teams visiting University of Phoenix Stadium include the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals and then an NFC South team that ends up inhabiting the same position in their division that the Cardinals do in the NFC West by the time the 2014 season is over.

Road trips in 2015 for the Cardinals include the Chicago Bears, the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the corresponding NFC East team.

FitzInChicagoBLOG

 


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Miss the win over Green Bay?

Posted by since1898 on August 10, 2013 – 2:25 pm

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Packers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2013 – 10:38 pm

The way Carson Palmer threw the ball Friday night was good. So was the way backup Drew Stanton did, for that matter. But what may have been the most promising of all for the Cardinals was the way the pass protection held up.

“There were some great pockets to throw in,” Palmer said.

This all has the usual caveats. It was the preseason. The Packers weren’t coming with a complex package. Yet that didn’t help a ton in the preseason last year when the Cards struggled. I thought the first unit (Brown-Cooper-Sendlein-Fanaika-Winston) did very well. The Cards are smart too. On a 17-yard Palmer-to-Fitz pass from their own 1 early in the game, Michael Floyd was in – and then stayed in the backfield to help with protection. Palmer was clean.

Palmer wasn’t touched in his short stint. Stanton was a couple of times (his lone sack was of the coverage variety) but he also Russell-Wilsoned himself out of trouble a couple of times. Everything tonight comes with the “It’s early in the preseason” sticker attached. But a team with consistent pass protection? That’s something to embrace.

– The running game wasn’t as effective. That will be something that needs improvement. But Bruce Arians was just thankful the Cards got through with just two healthy running backs. Rashard Mendenhall didn’t play, and Andre Ellington sat too. Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith was all the Cards had.

– The offense is going to get the spotlight. That’s natural after the season the unit had last year. But the defense, under scrutiny itself with the

Horton-to-Todd Bowles coordinator change, played well. Two turnovers led to two touchdowns, which is how Bowles wants it to go. And preseason or not, the Packers didn’t score, which is the best you can do.

“It’s a good starting point for us,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “I’m sure we didn’t play nearly as good as we could have, I’m sure there was a lot of mistakes on film. That’s football and the preseason. It does show us how good we can be.”

– You don’t want to go overboard on any player in the preseason. And a rookie has a long way to go. But what’s the No. 1 thing you want to see out of a player – especially a rookie? You want to see them , if they were showing you good things in practice, to show those things in a game. Tyrann Mathieu did that.

His stat line was gaudy: Two tackles, one for loss, a sack, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, a pass breakup, two special teams and a 26-yard punt return. He also thought he had a chance at an interception and didn’t look thrilled Packers receiver Myles White grabbed him to mess with that possibility. You don’t want to go overboard, but a very, very impressive debut.

– Patrick Peterson tweeted about his protégé: “Proud of my baby boy @Mathieu_Era doing great things in his first @NFL game. Can’t wait till Sept. 8

– Not to be outdone, though, Peterson made sure to get his own interception in his brief stint, leading to the Cards’ first TD.

– Arians said he gave the receiving corps a C grade. He poked fun at Andre Roberts a little for not catching the first bomb from Palmer (to be fair, it also hit off the DB) but Roberts atoned with his TD. Jaron Brown and Charles Hawkins did well, I thought, although Brown had a drop he can’t make and Hawkins fumbled the ball on a long reception (he got it back but the fumble probably cost him a chance at a bigger play.)

– John Abraham didn’t play much at all, but he managed a strip-sack of Graham Harrell in his brief time in the game. You sign a guy to rush the passer and you get that out of the gate.  “Doing that just helps the team out and helps them see that I have a little something left,” Abraham said.

– The only injury reported by Arians was a hip pointer for rookie tight end D.C. Jefferson, who twice couldn’t hang on to passes he should have – including one in the end zone. Arians isn’t going to let him forget about that. He told the media about the hip pointer, and then added “that’s what happens when you drop big touchdowns.”

– Arians was irritated at the offensive issues in terms of substituting and getting lined up, something that really affected the younger players. That will have to be cleaned up. Timeouts were burned too often.

There’s probably more I could say, but it’s late, there’s a long plane ride ahead and I’ll have time to hit on more over the next few days. As Palmer said, “it’s a small step.”


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GIF of the game

Posted by since1898 on August 9, 2013 – 10:33 pm

Jaron Brown’s 1-yd leaping TD catch gets the GIF of the game honors.

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Cardinals open up 2013 on winning note

Posted by since1898 on August 9, 2013 – 10:18 pm

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Ellington among those not expected to play

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2013 – 3:47 pm

The Cardinals are not going to have rookie running back Andre Ellington (neck) tonight. Again, in the preseason, there are no inactive lists, so an “iffy” guy can still dress and see how it goes.

Besides Ellington, those not expected to play include:

– WR Robert Gill (hamstring)

– WR Kerry Taylor (hamstring)

– CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring)

– RB Ryan Williams (knee)

– LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring)

– LB Alex Okafor (ankle)

– G Daryn Colledge (leg)

– TE Kory Sperry (ankle)

– TE Jeff King (knee)

– DT Dan Williams (ankle)

– DT Ricky Lumpkin (ankle)


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Walk through the tunnel in Green Bay

Posted by since1898 on August 9, 2013 – 3:40 pm

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Game day is here

Posted by since1898 on August 9, 2013 – 11:45 am

gbgameday

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Thursday before the Packers

Posted by Darren Urban on August 8, 2013 – 11:36 am

Finally, football.

This is about that time when players are tired of hitting each other on their own team and yearn for a chance to hit someone else. The Cards get that Friday night in Green Bay. Although I suppose that’s all relative. Carson Palmer was asked if he had been hit less in this camp –and if he would have liked to be banged around a bit more in prep to a game.

Palmer was blunt.

“No,” he said. “I don’t like to get hit in the preseason.”

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been tackled in training camp,” Palmer added. “There is plenty of that that goes on during the season. You don’t need to prepare yourself for that. You prepare yourself in the weight room and your conditioning and your fitness level. I’ve been doing it long enough that I don’t need to be reminded what it feels like to get hit.”

Can’t blame him for that. And with that, some stuff to chew on before the Packers:

– The starters are going to get 15 plays or so. We will get a little taste of what this offense is going to be about. But are we really going to see the full extent of Palmer’s progress? Probably not.

– Curious to see how Bruce Arians works in the offensive linemen, especially the tackles. Do first-stringers Eric Winston and Levi Brown go the 15 plays and come out? Do backups Nate Potter and Bobby Massie get any snaps with Palmer behind center? Certainly, the play of all four will be among the most scrutinized. I know that’s one spot where I will be watching.

– The lights get bright for those receivers too. It’s always interesting to me the play of the younger receivers in the preseason because there is no position that can pop more when watching practice in shorts but that changes more in a game. Think about it: A receiver doesn’t really get hit at all all offseason or in camp. There is no fear in the middle. Now, in a game, you can get drilled pretty good. That can fuzzy up the concentration.

– Seeing the versatility of the defense in action will also be something to watch. How does Matt Shaughnessy do in his new role of sometimes-linebacker? Rookie inside linebacker Kevin Minter? How much does Daryl Washington play? Against the Packers’ first offense, I want to see how the cornerbacks do.

– It’s tough not to get a feeling that Tyrann Mathieu figures into a big play at some point.

– Not sure they’ll break out any of the Patrick Peterson offensive package. I think I’d keep that sidelined for now but we’ll see.

– The rookie hazing went down Wednesday night, some nasty haircuts just in time for the trip. I saw some of the rookies walking around the hotel this morning (ouch). Alex Okafor came out ahead quite frankly (see him here). Mathieu is here.

– This story about Fitz growing up and maturing – including the anecdote where he was fined by the NFL for not talking to the media (oh, I remember those days) – by Jim Trotter is good. Fitz has come a long way. A long way.

– Mostly, it’s just good there are games on tap. A game a week, a regular rhythm, something to analyze besides practice. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks of camp though. Why, you say you want to look back? Here’s a mashup to prep you for the Packers.


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Another Tyrann pick and practice notes

Posted by Darren Urban on August 5, 2013 – 5:23 pm

The Cardinals were running deep red-zone offense — passing situations around and inside the 10 — at one point in Monday’s practice when safety Tyrann Matheiu got a hand up to deflect a pass near the goal line, hitting it straight up in the air and tipping it to himself for an interception. I know this has been said before, but the kid just is always in the mix when the ball is around. Could an opponent burn him for his aggressiveness? Maybe. But if he’s on the field, he’s going to create his share of turnovers. It’s hard to see otherwise.

Other tidbits from the afternoon:

– RB Ryan Williams, dealing with the knee irritation that has been keeping him out of practice, basically ruled himself out of the Green Bay game Friday. It’s disappointing to him on multiple levels, since it was a preseason game in Green Bay in 2011 when he tore his patella tendon and suffered the first of a few NFL injuries. “They started this whole thing, man,” Williams said. “I was really hoping to get over this hump in the sense of playing on that field where it all started, but you know, I’m not able to. So I can’t think too much about it. It is what it is. I’ll be there for the Cowboys, though.”

– Ever since Bruce Arians mentioned that his defense wasn’t getting its collective hands on the ball enough, they have. LB Daryl Washington, CB Justin Bethel and CB Javier Arenas also made picks. (That isn’t to say there weren’t a couple of nice pass hookups too. Charles Hawkins had a couple of downfield plays I recall.)

– G Daryn Colledge isn’t back at practice, but he was able to move around well enough to do the some of the snapping for the 7-on-7 drills. He doesn’t look too far away from returning.

– The tight end group was helped when both Jeff King and Alex Gottlieb returned to work. WR Kerry Taylor is out with some sort of leg/hamstring injury.

– DT Ricky Lumpkin went down after a play and took a few moments to get up. They brought the cart out but Lumpkin later was able to get off the field himself, with a limp, with the aid of head athletic trainer Tom Reed. Lumpkin was trying to walk it off on the sideline. It’s been a tough run for the defensive line and injuries over the past week or so.


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