It has been a constant subject for the Cardinals (and frankly, many other teams around the league). The effort to run the ball and committing to the run. I’ll preface this by saying I agree with Bruce Arians’ philosophy, which is basically, you need to run well enough to win. Sometimes, that may mean 20 attempts but big yards. Other times, it may mean grinding the ball 40 attempts even if you are only getting 3.5 yards a carry. I do not believe in the “Teams that run it 30-plus times win 70 percent of the games” or whatever the stat is because it isn’t cause and effect. Usually, you can afford to run a ton because you are winning. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to run, but it does mean you are going to run more with a lead.
All that said, the Cardinals — who went 10-6 this season — had 422 rush attempts as a team. (Yes, that includes kneel-downs and it also is some scrambles that were called passes, but let’s not get too deep in the weeds here.) That marked the most rushing attempts by the team in 10 years, since the Cards ran it 475 times in Denny Green’s first season of 2004.
Percentage-wise, it was the third-most rushing attempts over the last decade:
— 2004 45.4 percent rushes
— 2006 41.9
— 2013 40.7
— 2011 39.1
— 2009 37.1
— 2007 35.6
— 2012 34.6
— 2010 34.4
— 2008 34.1
— 2005 33.5
Arians isn’t going to start shying away from throwing the ball (and I would guess if he can get Carson Palmer and the unit clicking a little more, along with a pass protection upgrade, he might throw it a little more.) The Cardinals got the running attempts this season, though, and averaged (without Palmer’s three yards-on-27 “attempts”) an acceptable 3.9 yards a carry.
— The All-NFL team was announced from the Pro Football Writers Association. Cornerback Patrick Peterson and special teamer Justin Bethel got the nod (and were the only Cards on the all-NFC team as well.)
— Finally, to close, we have this old-school NFL Network promo ad featuring current defensive line coach Brentson Buckner. Just because.
Tags: Brentson Buckner, Bruce Arians, Justin Bethel, Patrick Peterson, PFWA
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Cornerback Patrick Peterson did do some work in practice Friday and will be worked out before Sunday’s game to determine if he can play coming off the Achilles injury. He’s said all week he wants to be smart; I think this will truly come down to how Peterson feels Sunday. Quarterback Kevin Kolb is apparently in the same boat, technically, but he remains stuck with concussion symptoms and, other than coach Ken Whisenhunt declining to declare Kolb out officially, conventional wisdom says Kolb won’t be in there.
Safety Kerry Rhodes (ankle) is still sore. His status figures to be a game-day decision too.
— Safety Adrian Wilson was not fined for the play in Cincinnati when officials flagged him for hitting Bengals QB Andy Dalton helmet-to-helmet. No fine generally means there was no foul. That hurts, since Peterson intercepted the pass on the play. It’s really no surprise, though, since from the moment the flag was dropped it seemed like Wilson was the recipient of a bad call.
— Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was fined for a pair of $15,000 no-nos: Hitting Dalton below the knees and a horsecollar tackle.
— Finally, Defensive end Calais Campbell received the Lloyd Herberg Award for team MVP and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took home the Steve Schoenfeld “Good Guy” Award for the player deemed best for the media in annual honors handed out by the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association.
Campbell’s accomplishments have been well-documented. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has come a long, long way in his dealings with the Fourth Estate. If you would have asked me in 2006 if he would ever win this award, I’d have laughed. But Fitz has been great – he was considered for the award last year – in terms of access and he’s really good when you are able to get him one-on-one. He’s always talking about improving year to year, so maybe this is just him getting better.
Herberg was the original Arizona Republic beat writer covering the Cards before he lost his life to cancer. Schoenfeld was the long-time Republic Cards and NFL writer who was working for cbssports.com when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Tempe. (Pictured below, from left, Republic beat writer Kent Somers, Fitzgerald, Campbell, and XTRA 910’s Mike Jurecki).
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, PFWA
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And then it was over.
The Cardinals came off the practice field for the final time Friday. “I’m too cold to have any emotion,” coach Ken Whisenhunt quipped.
“There is disappointment,” Whisenhunt added. “It’s the last one, and I enjoy our guys. One of the best things about being a coach is being able to spend time with the guys on the field. Knowing that is coming to an end is always hard. We didn’t have the greatest of years.”
— It looks like linebacker Joey Porter will not be playing again for the Cards this season. He is doubtful for Sunday with his triceps injury and didn’t practice again (and his long-term status with the team going into next year is probably in doubt too, but that’s discussion for another day). The other three injured players: running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring), tight end Ben Patrick (hamstring) and linebacker Clark Haggans (groin) are all questionable after being limited again.
— The Arizona chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association handed out its awards Friday. There are two: The Lloyd Herberg MVP award, and the Steve Schoenfeld “Good Guy” award, for the player deemed best for the media. Safety Kerry Rhodes received the MVP award, while running back Tim Hightower got the Good Guy honor. The Cards have a bunch of guys who are good with the media, but not only is Hightower thoughtful in his answers and manages to avoid too many cliches, but he also has been there all year no matter what — even through the losing, and even when he had to talk about his fumbling problems (which obviously was more than once).
The awards are sponsored by Oregano’s Pizza Bistros. Herberg was the original Arizona Republic beat writer covering the Cards before he lost his life to cancer. Schoenfeld was the long-time Republic Cards and NFL writer who was working for cbssports.com when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Tempe. (From left to right, XTRA’s Mike Jurecki, Hightower, Rhodes and the Republic’s Kent Somers).
Tags: Ben Patrick, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, LaRod Stephens-Howling, PFWA, Tim Hightower
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