In his weekly appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports, General Manager Steve Keim noted that while he still has “100 percent faith” in the physical tools of cornerback Patrick Peterson, he still sees Peterson losing focus and/or intensity at times during a game. “I promise you, that’s something (defensive coordinator) Todd Bowles and defensive backs coach Kevin Ross will clean up.”
Peterson got beat by DeSean Jackson for a 64-yard slant-and-run touchdown Sunday, although it looked like Peterson should’ve had safety help from Tyrann Mathieu to at least make it a much shorter gain. It looked like Peterson was on Pierre Garcon on the Redskins’ final TD pass to Garcon late in the game too. It’s impossible to be perfect as a cornerback in today’s NFL — every guy is going to give up scores — but Keim reiterated he thinks Peterson has just scratched the surface of his talent and can be much better.
“I know Pat is a competitor, I know he’s a pro and I know he’ll work at it,” Keim said. “I also have a tremendous amount of faith and respect for our coaching staff. … No one in the league has (Peterson’s) physical tools. Now it is up to Pat from a mental standpoint, and a focus and an intensity standpoint, to become the best. And that’s on him. I think he’s the kind of competitor, at 24 years of age, that he’s going to grow and continue to get better. But there are times when he has plays you’d like to have back.”
Keim also said Peterson isn’t 100 percent healthy either, dealing with a sore ankle. Plus, as Keim acknowledged, the lack of a great edge pass rush by the Cardinals also can leave the secondary out to dry at times. That too does not help Peterson, who is often going against the most talented receiver on the other team.
“If you play 70 snaps and 65 of them are excellent and five you get exposed, you can’t hide,” Keim said. “But we have high expectations out of of Pat and so do the fans. We expect him to play at a high level and I think he’ll get things cleaned up in the next few weeks.”
– Keim was happy with the win, although he said after watching the video, the Cardinals “didn’t play particularly well.”
– He, like most, were thrilled with the play of Carson Palmer considering the circumstances. Keim said he could tell Palmer didn’t have 100 percent velocity, but had a great pocket presence in his first game back.
– Keim was concerned with run defense coming into the game (he wasn’t the only one) but but felt the Cards “stepped up to the challenge.” The Redskins only had 72 rushing yards.
– He praised a few young players, linebacker Alex Okafor in particular, but also defensive lineman Ed Stinson and safety Deone Bucannon.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Carson Palmer, Deone Bucannon, Ed Stinson, Patrick Peterson, Redskins, Steve Keim
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Late in the game Sunday, with the Cardinals trying to run the clock nursing a three-point lead, Carson Palmer thought it would be a good idea to call his own number on a bootleg. And he convinced Bruce Arians of that.
“I let them talk me into keeping that damn ball on third down, and I never should have done that one,” Arians said.
So, Palmer was asked, let’s get this straight: You hurt your shoulder, way back in the season opener, running the ball – and then Sunday, in your first game back, you talked Arians into letting you run the ball?
“That’s one way to put it,” Palmer said, to laughs. “I won’t say that. But you did.”
“I was talking (Bruce) into a lot of stuff,” Palmer said. “I was just excited to be out there.”
– It was easy to joke around after a win. After the debacle that was the Denver trip – a defensive breakdown and injuries galore – Sunday was the ultimate cheerup. Palmer was back as starting QB. The defense, while it had a couple breakdowns, held up decently. And then there was the cheer that reverberated around University of Phoenix Stadium late when the Cowboys’ win in Seattle was announced.
(Suddenly that trip to Dallas looks very, very difficult. But that’s a topic for another day.)
– The Cardinals’ play was far from perfect, with 14 penalties (yikes), an offense that couldn’t put the ball in the end zone even though the Redskins seemed to almost want them to be there, and a defense that had a couple of breakdowns. But these two weeks were about beating teams they should beat, and that’s one down. One trip to Oakland to go.
– Palmer said he “isn’t out of the woods” yet. The Cards will continue to approach this nerve deal cautiously. But he was no worse for wear after Sunday’s game. Call it a positive step.
– The play of the day for Palmer wasn’t the TD pass to Michael Floyd or the laser he completed to Smokey Brown for a first down, but the flip he somehow made to running back Robert Hughes on third-and-2 for seven yards. It kept alive a field-goal drive early in the fourth quarter, and it should have been a sack. Multiple Redskins were hanging all over Palmer, and frankly, I’m shocked they didn’t call it in the grasp.
“I should have gotten the ball out quicker,” Palmer said. “That’s kind of one of those things I’m talking about. I need to practice.”
Instead, he ended up with a I’m-a-warrior-type highlight.
– Great sign to see Alex Okafor with two sacks. If he can end up being a guy who can consistently pressure the passer, it would be a Godsend to this team.
– Tyrann Mathieu admitted he is “not really comfortable” with the knee brace he has to wear. “But I have to be comfortable with it, so I play these mind games with myself and tell myself I’m comfortable with it,” Mathieu said.
– Mathieu picked up the Andre Roberts fumble and starting running around in an old-school Honey Badger kind of way (which included holding the ball awfully loosely around the field …) but eventually decided discretion was the better part of valor. Why wouldn’t he, when he acknowledged he had some flashbacks to the punt return against the Rams – in which he was running around trying to make something happen – before he was caught and his knee was turned into spaghetti.
“No question,” Mathieu said. “Made two people miss and then I said time to get down. Very reminiscent of last year. Very.”
– Patrick Peterson got beat on DeSean Jackson’s 64-yard slant-and-run touchdown. Mathieu looked like he could have been over the top. Mathieu said the Cards “kind of messed up our coverage a little bit.” Plus, Mathieu said he took a “horrible angle” toward Jackson, costing him a chance at the tackle.
– Always nice to see Fitz get to the end zone. I’m guessing Fitz was the most happy about it.
– How many games can this team go without throwing an interception? No turnovers. Again.
– Speaking of turnovers, I was thinking to myself late in the third quarter the defense really needed to force one. Then came the questionable Roberts fumble – I could have sworn he was down, referee Ed Hochuli said after the game there was not conclusive evidence to overturn the fumble call – and then three straight picks. All in the last 13 minutes. All due respect to Rashad Johnson, but Jerraud Powers’ pick was the thing of beauty. He hid as the Redskins tried a wide receiver screen and popped out of nowhere to steal the pass.
– That’s enough for tonight. I can’t say the quarterback won’t be a story this week – Palmer gets to face his former team – but we are done with the QB-or-not-QB drama. Thankfully.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Jerraud Powers, Patrick Peterson, Redskins, Tyrann Mathieu
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General Manager Steve Keim addressed the two biggest issues facing the Cardinals following Sunday’s loss/injuryfest in Denver during his Monday morning appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports. Obviously, both were injury-related.
Defensive end Calais Campbell is getting an MRI this morning, but Keim said the belief is Campbell has a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee. Keim said Campbell’s prognosis is tough to predict because it can range quite a bit. But it felt like a little optimism. Keim didn’t even close the door on Campbell playing against Washington Sunday (although that would be amazing) although multiple games sitting is definitely possible.
Also clear: Keim wasn’t happy about the Julius Thomas low block that hurt Campbell, saying he’s never seen a player go low on what was essentially going to be a chip block before Thomas ran a pass route. “Hopefully, we’ll never see that again,” Keim said.
– As for the quarterback situation, Drew Stanton will go through concussion protocol and Carson Palmer will continue with his shoulder treatment. Because in theory both could be ready for the Redskins, Keim said the Cardinals aren’t going to add another quarterback. Not yet. That will be determined in the next 24 to 48 hours. Keim wouldn’t divulge what quarterbacks the team would be looking at if they would sign one, although he said there are a lot of considerations that go into it and what they need plays into any decision. Keim noted any practice squad addition means keeping that player for three games on the 53-man roster, which might not make sense if Palmer and Stanton are on the verge of returning (and why Ryan Lindley, on San Diego’s practice squad, might not make sense.) Keim also said it’ll depend what the Cards might be looking for — a third-string guy? A backup? I don’t think there is any question Logan Thomas is the starter if Palmer and Stanton aren’t playing.
– Tight end Troy Niklas has a high ankle sprain. He too will get an MRI.
– Cornerback Patrick Peterson (ankle) will probably be day to day, but Keim didn’t sound concerned.
– Keim’s total of drops he counted for his receivers? Nine. More than I had. Obviously, not a good total. Keim definitely didn’t sound pleased. “You can’t play like that and expect to win,” he said.
– He didn’t sound pleased with the offensive line. Keim said they played “below average,” and didn’t play in unison.
– Keim on Logan Thomas’ play: “He’s got to learn to get the ball out quicker,” Keim said, “but that will come in time.”
– Keim was pleased with the play of draft picks Deone Bucannon and Kareem Martin. Martin improvement would be important if Campbell is sidelined.
– The injuries don’t feel good for a GM either. “It’s tough,” Keim said. “But again, no one else in the league is going to feel sorry for us.”
Tags: Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Deone Bucannon, Drew Stanton, Kareem Martin, Logan Thomas, Patrick Peterson, Steve Keim, Troy Niklas
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What a week.
What a month, really, or six weeks, whatever the timeframe upon which you want to make the prism to look through. The Cardinals have encountered turbulence for sure, and it just doesn’t seem like that seat belt light is ever gonna go off so they can walk about the cabin. That bye week after this 49ers game looks so inviting, and maybe the football gods do know what’s what when that schedule comes out.
Bruce Arians thought back Friday to his 2010 season with the Steelers, when QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended to start the season and Byron Leftwich broke his leg in preseason and third-stringer Dennis Dixon got hurt and Charlie Batch still got Pittsburgh off to a 3-1 start. The Steelers made the Super Bowl that year (although they lost to Green Bay.) The Cardinals can take that to heart.
The bumps aren’t over yet, either. “It’s only Week 3,” Arians said. “Something’s coming.”
There just happens to be a pretty important football game Sunday.
– Drew Stanton gets the start (and no, I don’t think Carson Palmer will be healthy enough to be his backup.) It’s a big deal for Stanton. The Giants are, well, the Giants. The 49ers are a different beast, which Arians’ tone hinted toward Friday when he was asked if Stanton should be better this week. Stanton can’t turn the ball over, like he was able to do in New York.
– The fact tight end Vernon Davis, if he plays, will be gimpy at best is huge news for the Cardinals. Davis has done very well against this team. It’s a plus in the Cards’ corner if he’s not 100 percent.
– It’ll be interesting to see how the Cardinals cover the 49ers, and how much Patrick Peterson is on Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has had the upper hand thus far in the matchup, but I just have a gut feeling Peterson is going to have a good game.
– Peterson was not fined for his contact with an official in New York. Giants linebacker Jameel McClain was fined $8,268 for his hit on Stanton after the whistle had been blown for a Cardinals’ delay of game penalty.
– Many have complained about punter Drew Butler on his two blocked punts, even though Arians has reiterated they were on blockers Deone Bucannon and Robert Hughes. Now that Butler is back again with Dave Zastudil hurting, Arians said today Butler has a “real quick two-step release.” Again, noted it was the protection failures that went into the punt blocks.
– Logan Thomas did his best Colin Kaepernick impression this week for the scout team. “He’s not Kap, but he’s close with athletic ability and arm strength,” Arians said. The Cards hope so. Containing Kaepernick will go a long way in determining if the Cards can win.
– With Andre Ellington set to see cousin Bruce Ellington – a Niners receiver – Sunday, here’s a link to Kyle Odegard’s story on the two, from around the combine.
– Newcomer Jalen Parmele “probably” will slide into Jonathan Dwyer’s role as the short-yardage and goal-line back, Arians said. Stepfan Taylor isn’t that guy. Parmele is bigger than Taylor, but with Ellington’s talent, you have to wonder how much more Taylor will ever do here, or if he just will stay in the packages that they use him in now.
– Ellington is probable. The foot has definitely gotten better. And they will need him to play well. You figure the passing game will likely have a ceiling with the backup QB in the game.
– The Cardinals have been spectacular in a pair of rallies, outscoring opponents 27-0 in the fourth quarter. The 49ers have gotten out to fast starts and fizzled down the stretch, and last week’s second half cost them a win. The Cards need to start a little faster, or at least slow San Francisco. Last year’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium was a game in which the Cards had to rally, before losing late.
– Here’s hoping the Cardinals’ fans show up in force and, as Arians has said, kept their tickets. The Cards will need that home-field advantage Sunday and it’d be a shame if too many tickets were in the hands of Niner fans.
– If you are going to the stadium, don’t forget the Cardinals will be wearing black.
On to the game.
Tags: 49ers, Andre Ellington, Bruce Ellington, Carson Palmer, Colin Kaepernick, Drew Stanton, Jalen Parmele, Logan Thomas, Patrick Peterson, Stepfan Taylor, Vernon Davis
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Bruce Arians is usually blunt, and he was again when assessing Patrick Peterson’s game in New York.
“I thought it was probably his poorest game since I’ve been here,” Arians said.
It wasn’t a good day for the Cardinals’ Pro Bowl cornerback. He was beaten on a (pretty and one-handed) seven-yard touchdown fade by big wide receiver Reuben Randle. The Giants got him on some other short stuff, and his physical play was not a good match for what the officials were calling. In total, there were five illegal contacts, five defensive holds and two pass interference calls against defenders trying to cover receivers for both teams. On the Giants’ second touchdown drive, Peterson was called for a defensive hold (teammate Jerraud Powers was called for one on the same play, too), setting off Peterson. In his anger he appeared to bump an official, although he was not flagged. And then a few plays later, he intentionally grabbed Victor Cruz in the end zone to prevent a TD pass, and the 25-yard penalty set up a one-yard TD toss.
Peterson was still fuming when he came to the bench, calmed down by, among others, injured teammate Darnell Dockett.
“He got frustrated and let the referees get to him,” Arians said.
The officials were given an edict from the league to crack down on such penalties. It’s not a surprise. Peterson gathered himself and when talking after the game, said exactly what needed to be said, which was that he needed to play within the rules as they are now being called.
“As a secondary, and as a defensive back, you have to adapt,” Peterson said. “There are no excuses. The way this league is an offensive league, they are trying to make the best way possible to get more points on the board because that’s what draws fans. I just have to be smart, I – we – just have to get our hands off the receivers, and just play smart football.”
That’s one area in which Arians will agree with. Arians said after the game the calls were correct, and he followed it up Monday by saying the officials called “a heck of a game.”
“The players played a bad one,” Arians said. “There was a lot of holding on both sides. We were as guilty as they were. The referees did a heck of a job, I thought, continuing to throw the flags because guys continued to grab. You better learn how to play with the rules.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, officials, Patrick Peterson, penalties
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Carson Palmer couldn’t play. Might not be able to play, at least another game. So that gives you … a Bruce Arians shrug. “Drew’s a starter in this league in my opinion,” Arians said. “Always has been.”
Drew being Drew Stanton, of course, and he was at a starter Sunday. Unlike the recent past, where backup quarterbacks would come in for the Cardinals and it usually meant problems – although at that time, the starters weren’t all that good either – this team is equipped to live through something like the quarterback going down and still coming away, after a cross country flight, with a victory.
The Giants are not the 49ers, of course, and if Stanton is still in the lineup next week, the Cards aregoing to have to up their overall game. The same can be said even if Palmer plays, realistically. But 2-0 is certainly much better than any of the alternatives.
The fact Stanton didn’t turn the ball over was a big deal. Sure, Eli Manning had better stats, but Stanton avoided causing his team trouble. Arians said Stanton played better than his stats would indicate. Perhaps. Stanton does need to capitalize on a couple of red-zone attempts – he wasn’t that close on some throws and another touchdown would have made life a lot easier – but he looks like a guy who knows the offense.
– When Palmer comes back is anyone’s guess. He kept talking about the nerve “waking up.” I would think it will be ready when it’s ready. Arians said he’s looking at this long-term with most of the season to go, so I’d expect Stanton against San Francisco if Palmer isn’t sure. Then again, if Palmer was possible to play Sunday Arians was going to put him in, so it sounds like it’s on Carson.
– What a day for special teams coordinator Amos Jones. Bad kickoff returns from Ted Ginn – Arians said he might be firing Ginn from that part of the game – and another punt block, this time because protector Robert Hughes allowed Rashad Jennings to push him back enough so that Jennings could get a hand on the ball. That’s two blocks in two games because of a poor block. But then Ginn snapped off his 71-yard return – and Ginn most certainly isn’t leaving punt returns – showing off his hellaspeed, and then Kenny Demens knocked loose the ensuing kickoff return for a fumble the Cardinals turned into a field goal.
– It was a rough game for Patrick Peterson. It did not help the physical cornerback was in a game with an officiating crew that was taking the edict on emphasizing illegal contacts/defensive holding very seriously. But Peterson said after he has to adapt, and he’s right. There is no other choice. The TD he gave up on the fade to Reuben Randle was a nice throw and a great one-handed catch from Randle, but in the end, that’s the kind of play Peterson – who now carries the weight and expectations of being the highest-paid cornerback – has to make.
– Andre Ellington was excellent Sunday. He nearly got to 100 yards – 91, actually – on only 15 carries, and this is a guy who isn’t 100 percent. Ellington said he isn’t even sure if he’ll be 100 percent at any point because his foot only gets better with rest and the bye week may not be enough time. Regardless, if he plays like Sunday, he and the Cardinals will make it work. The guy is a threat with his speed to get a first-down running on third-and-14, like he did Sunday.
– Safe to say going with Chandler Catanzaro was a good call? The kid looks good.
– For those scoring at home, that’s Cardinals 27, opponents 0 in the fourth quarter this season. And a pair of fourth-quarter comebacks.
– Fitz was back. Ten targets, six catches (for 51 yards). Almost had a touchdown, and should’ve have another catch for 36 yards had Jared Veldheer not been caught facemasking a pass rusher.
– Big game for Calais Campbell. A team-high 10 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, and would’ve had a another sack (and forced fumble the Cardinals recovered) if not for one of those pesky illegal contacts. He has to play like the great player he is for this defense to survive all its losses.
– Antonio Cromartie made a great play on that third down bomb late in the game to Randle, getting his hand in just enough to mess up a potential catch. That hits, and all kinds of drama. Instead, the Cardinals stopped the Giants the next play, and the game was over.
– Larry Foote on his game-ending interception: “There’s a dirty rumor going around my locker room that I can’t catch,” Foote said. “I told ’em I’d catch it when it counts.” Looked Fitz-like to me.
– Tyrann Mathieu with only a few plays (but his first tackle). It’s going to be a slow process, but he’s back on the field.
– The Seahawks lost. On the road, but it was to a Chargers team the Cardinals just beat. Yes, the NFC West should be interesting all year.
Tags: Amos Jones, Andre Ellington, Antonio Cromartie, Bruce Arians, Calais Campbell, Chandler Catanzaro, Drew Stanton, Giants, Larry Fitzgerald, Larry Foote, Patrick Peterson, Seahawks, Ted Ginn, Tyrann Mathieu
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFL, Patrick Peterson
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Why, Bruce Arians was asked, wasn’t wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald targeted more in the Monday night game against the Chargers?
“You have to ask the quarterback,” Arians said. “(Larry) is going out for a pass every time. I don’t look at that. We don’t design plays for guys to get the ball. That’s interceptions waiting to happen.”
In fact, Arians referred to early last season, when Carson Palmer acknowledged he had been trying to force the ball to Fitz a couple of times, with turnover-laden results. It would seem, however, that Fitzgerald would be in line to be targeted a little bit more. “I learned some lessons last year,” Palmer said. “You want to get him involved, but it can bite you in the butt. We weren’t going to do that tonight.” Arians acknowledged there were a couple of times Fitzgerald was open and Palmer threw the ball elsewhere.
“But I’m not interested in anybody’s numbers other than the ‘Ws,’ ” Arians said. “Those days are long gone.”
Fitzgerald was officially targeted four times, with one catch for 22 yards.
– Running back Andre Ellington will wear a boot on his injured left foot so it can “calm down” after playing on it and he’ll probably not practice Wednesday. Then he will try and go Thursday and Friday to get ready for the Giants game. Playing through a little pain — knowing the injury can’t get worse — is important, Arians believes. Ellington did the same thing last year, skipping the Philadelphia game after hurting his knee and then coming back to play arguably his best game, in Tennessee. “You’re never going to be 100 percent until March as a running back in the National Football League,” Arians said, adding that Ellington wanted to play Monday night.
– LB John Abraham is going through the concussion protocol, so he’ll be day to day this week. Arians said DE Frostee Rucker will not practice Wednesday with his calf injury and looks doubtful to play in New York. Punter Dave Zastudil, with his bad groin, is day to day, although Arians said he was happy with the way Drew Butler punted.
– There are going to be a lot of tense moments this season as the defensive backs — especially Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie — are going to be very much on an island as the Cardinals try to bring extra guys to create a pass rush. “Where we are putting them, they are going to get beat sometimes,” Arians admitted. “The pressure better get there.”
– Guard Jonathan Cooper played one play because Paul Fanaika hurt his knee. Cooper pulled and didn’t do the best job on his block. But there won’t be any extra plays for Cooper barring injuries, Arians said.
– For a second straight press conference, Arians noted that the offensive line had some communication issues because of crowd noise at University of Phoenix Stadium. Asked if that meant the crowd needed to learn to quiet down when the Cardinals are on offense, Arians said “yeah. And keep their tickets.”
– The Cardinals made a pair of practice squad moves Tuesday, adding running back Chris Rainey, who played for the Steelers in 2012 and was with the Colts in the preseason, and bringing back cornerback Teddy Williams. The Cards released receiver Kevin Cone from the practice squad, and put running back Dominique Williams (knee) on the practice squad/injured list.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Antonio Cromartie, Bruce Arians, Chris Rainey, Dave Zastudil, John Abraham, Jonathan Cooper, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Teddy Williams
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Game Rewind, NFL, Patrick Peterson
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