The Cardinals are fairly healthy, so Bruce Arians had some choices to make with his inactive list for Sunday night’s game against the Patriots. Not surprisingly, cornerback Justin Bethel (foot) is going to give it a go. Running back Stepfan Taylor (knee) will not. The full list of inactives:
— S Marqui Christian
— RB Stepfan Taylor (knee)
— G Cole Toner
— DT Olsen Pierre
— DT Ed Stinson
— NT Xavier Williams
— LB Kareem Martin (knee)
The Patriots’ inactive list wasn’t surprising since so many guys were hurt. One healthy scratch was former Arizona State running back D.J. Foster, who won’t be dressed. Again, no Gronk, no Jonathan Cooper, no Nate Solder.
Tags: inactives, Justin Bethel, Rob Gronkowski, Stepfan Taylor
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The last time the Cardinals played the Patriots, the Patriots had Tom Brady, and Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez when that was someone you wanted. The Cardinals had Kevin Kolb at quarterback, Ryan Williams at running back, and Quentin Groves was a key linebacker. The game was in New England. And the Cardinals won.
It was improbable yes, and took a no-way-to-predict Stephen Gostkowski 42-yard field-goal miss to make happen, but it did. (We won’t reminisce about the 2008 New England trip, the time before that the Cards had played the Patriots.)
But if the Cards can knock off a Brady-Gronk Pats team in New England, what about a Brady-less-perhaps Gronk-less Patriots in Arizona, against a much stronger Cardinals’ roster Sunday night? We’ll see. If there is any coach that can make an inexperienced Jimmy Garappolo work at QB, it’s Bill Belichick. The Patriots are still strong, although they are missing some key components.
Still, if you are as good as the Cardinals should be, this is a game you should win, at home. Really no way around that. And there is no question this team is better than that 2012 squad, despite that win in New England en route to a 4-0 start. (Yes, they finished 5-11. We all know how that ended.)
— The Providence Journal reported that Gronkowski was among a couple of questionable injured players — including former Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper — who did not fly with the team to Arizona Friday. It’s been pointed out that the Patriots have in the past and could still fly them to Arizona Saturday. But short of a private plane, you’d think it’d be easier to fly banged-up players on a big charter and let their bodies get used to the new surroundings for a day. Officially questionable, could Gronk miss this game too? It’d be a huge break for the Cardinals, for sure.
UPDATE: Gronkowski, Cooper and tackle Nate Solder have all been downgraded to out for Sunday’s game. That’s huge news.
— The story all through camp is whether newbies D.J. Humphries at right tackle and Brandon Williams at cornerback can hold up as starters. We’ll see. Humphries noted today that vet Evan Mathis is set to give him an adjustment if he messes up. Meanwhile, Kyle Odegard writes about why Williams is driven to make this NFL thing work even when people wonder about his late move to cornerback. (Hint: They are 7 and 2 years old.)
— New Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones said he didn’t have much insight he could deliver to his new team about his old team.
“One thing I do know about the Patriots, they will try to expose certain weaknesses,” Jones said. “That’s what they do. They study our weaknesses or who is the weak link on the team and they will try to expose it. that’s one thing you have to look out for.”
— Jones is going to have to play a big role. Don’t know how much the Patriots will let him get off in the pass rush, but this is the guy the Cards have been yearning for and he’s going to have a heck of a spotlight right out of the blocks.
— Great line about starting center A.Q. Shipley from offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin, who emphasized he has a lot of confidence in Shipley: “He knows about being told he’s short, he’s fat, he’s chubby and he’s got short arms, so he’s always trying to prove everybody wrong.”
— In case you missed the first Cardinals Underground podcast of the regular season, here it is.
— What to expect from Tyrann Mathieu? Everyone, from players to coaches, talk about how the Badger is back to being the Badger. But when Mathieu talks, there is definitely a pump-the-brakes aspect to his comments. I know Mathieu was disappointed with how he played the last time he returned from a (much worse) ACL injury. He’s made no secret of that. Maybe he’s just trying to temper expectations, especially his own. But I expect Mathieu to be able to play just fine, thank you.
— The parking lots open at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, for those asking.
— The past is the past, but under Bruce Arians, the Cardinals are 25-5 outside of the NFC West and 10-2 against AFC teams. The AFC East, of which the Patriots are part of and the Cards face this season, is the lone division the Cardinals have not played under Arians.
Here we go. Safe to say this is the most anticipated season for the Cardinals since they arrived in Arizona (2009, when the Cards were coming off the Super Bowl, was close, but no one thought that team was as good as this team.) See you Sunday.
Tags: Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Williams, Bruce Arians, Chandler Jones, D.J. Humphries, Jimmy Garappolo, Jonathan Cooper, Larry Fitzgerald, Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski, Tom Brady, Tyrann Mathieu
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Patrick Peterson is one of four finalists for the cover of Madden ’16, and the window for voting is a small one. It’s also not a straight vote; it includes signing on to Madden NFL Mobile (all the details can be found here.) Peterson joins Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown as the four candidates.
The Cardinals have had one Madden cover boy previously — Larry Fitzgerald shared the honor with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu on Madden ’10.
Tags: Antonio Brown, Madden, Odell Beckham, Patrick Peterson, Rob Gronkowski
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As promised, there has been plenty of time to think between the end of the rapid-fire first round and day two, which starts at 3 p.m. Arizona time today (6 p.m. EST). And plenty of possibilities before the Cards end up on the clock with the 26th pick. Could they move up? I guess they could, but like yesterday, when they insisted they had no desire to trade up when Dan Williams starting falling because they had multiple players they would be happy with, I think the same goes for today.
ESPN has a pair of second-round mocks up. Mel Kiper has the Cards taking Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard. I don’t see that, frankly. Not receiver. Not now. A Scouts.Inc mock led by Todd McShay has the Cards taking TE Rob Gronkowski. Maybe. But that same mock has LB Daryl Washington slipping to the end of the round, and I don’t see that. I think the Cards would jump on him if that were the case. In Kiper’s world, Washington and Washington LB Donald Butler both go before the Cards pick. (Kiper has the Patriots, with a slew of second-round picks, taking both Washington and Gronkowski before the Cards pick). If it unfolds the way Kiper sees it, maybe Penn State’s Sean Lee, an ILB, is the choice.
Bottom line, it’s impossible to judge, because of team needs and scouting. The longer you go in the draft, the more varied each team will be on the players remaining. Unless some surprising mega-talent is sitting there on the Cards’ pick, I think they still go defense, and it still seems likely they go inside linebacker. So think Lee. Or Butler. Or maybe Washington, if he lasts.
As for the third round, my only guess is that a quarterback is a possibility. But if the Cards get a linebacker in round two, they will have options for their two third-round picks.
We’ll see later today.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Donald Butler, draft, Mardy Gilyard, Rob Gronkowski, Sean Lee
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