Drew Stanton targets Larry Fitzgerald more than any other receiver when he is quarterbacking.
“Wouldn’t you throw it to Larry?” Stanton asked with a raised eyebrow.
OK, it makes sense. Fitz is kinda good. But Stanton said there are other reasons to look for Fitzgerald, and it can help the Cardinals Thursday night against the Seahawks.
“I’m not dumb,” Stanton said. “I know that we get in this stadium Thursday night, and I throw him a pass and he gets up and goes nuts, that crowd is going to respond. That’s a huge asset for us. The offense goes through him. We feed off of that.”
I can imagine Fitz after a 17-yard pickup in a big moment, jumping off the turf and putting his head back in one of those primal screams as the crowd chants “LAR-RY” over and over. The Cardinals will need some of that. They are 4-4 and a win puts them ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC West and Seattle is likely down one of their best defenders in Earl Thomas. But this is a Cards team that’s still banged up itself, missing its quarterback, and yet to shut down an offense as capable as Seattle’s. It feels like emotions will matter. (Not as much as a solid defense, but you get the point.)
— Fitzgerald, by the way, shrugged off Stanton’s suggestion. “We’ve got to get the ball to Adrian,” Fitz said. “Let him feed and we’ll get him opportunities. He’s the linchpin right now.”
Adrian is Adrian Peterson, of course, the man who had 37 carries Sunday and could get a whole heaping helping of more Thursday night. It won’t be simple, of course. The Seahawks a) know it’s coming and b) are much better up front than the 49ers.
— Peterson knows what’s up too. As he said Wednesday, it can be “famine, famine, feast” when it comes to carries. Stick with the run, he was saying. So the defense just needs to keep it close. As Bruce Arians noted, the formula against the Seahawks is often, run, run, run to make sure that defense can’t make big plays. I don’t know if AD gets 30 carries – he’s only had back-to-back 30-carry games once in his eventual Hall of Fame career – but he’ll be used. A lot.
— Speaking of workloads, a side note: While researching my Peterson story from earlier this week I came across this one, only part of which I knew. Buccaneers running back James Wilder had an incredible 407 carries in 1984, which is one I remembered. What I didn’t know is he had 85 pass receptions that season as well. Mind-boggling.
— The Cardinals battled the Seahawks to a 6-6 tie last season in Arizona and it was a game that belonged to the Cards’ defense. The Seahawks only were able to send it to overtime because of a blocked punt. The defense earned that win against Russell Wilson and company. That’s the kind of performance that side of the ball will need again.
— It came late, but Chandler Jones got another sack Sunday, and with nine in eight games he’s on pace to beat the franchise record. Simeon Rice had 16½ in 1999.
— Fitzgerald is a key, but not just because he can catch the ball. It’s his importance in the run game, and blocking (something Fitz does not get enough credit for, and something that always seems to jump out against the Seahawks.) Fitz calls the Seahawks the toughest matchup of the year because he has to block big strong safety Kam Chancellor so often. He even said he pushes his final bench press of Seattle week to 315 pounds knowing the rugged day he is in for.
“It’s like blocking a refrigerator for 60 minutes,” Fitzgerald said. “Toradol shots and smelling salts, everything else I can muster up to try and deal with this guy.”
— With the returns of David Johnson and Carson Palmer on the back burner at best, Arians did say that the return from IR by running back T.J. Logan has not been ruled out. Logan has been out since dislocating his wrist back in early August in the Hall of Fame game. Arians said Logan, who has already been eligible to return, will finally get on the field next week to see if he can catch punts while wearing a brace.
“To see where he’s at,” Arians said.
— The offensive line finally has some long-term continuity going, and it’s showing up. It goes beyond the tangible 159 yards rushing for Peterson last week.
“They were running some tricky stuff up front and we were passing it off,” center A.Q. Shipley said. “It was cool to watch on film. That helps us moving forward because now Seattle and other teams moving forward they’re like, ‘OK, they can pick things up.’ It’s huge. We all get along very well, communication comes easy in that group. Hopefully we can stay with it.”
— Speaking of the O-line, hope you had a chance to read how D.J. Humphries’ kid kept him in the NFL.
— One of the things that has hurt the Seahawks this season is penalties. Seattle is averaging an astounding 10.2 per game. There is still half a season to go, but only one team in NFL history has averaged 10 penalties a game, the 2011 Oakland Raiders.
— The roof at University of Phoenix Stadium will be open Thursday night. Plan accordingly.
See you there.
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, Adrian Peterson, Chandler Jones, D.J. Humphries, Drew Stanton, Kam Chancellor, Larry Fitzgerald, offensive line, roof, Seahawks, T.J. Logan
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For the final home game of the season and for the second straight time, the roof at University of Phoenix Stadium will be open Sunday (barring something crazy changing with the weather) when the Cardinals host the Saints.
The roof was open a couple of weeks ago when the Cards beat Washington. The Cardinals are now 15-10 all-time with the stadium roof open, including a 4-2 mark when Bruce Arians has been head coach. The weather is supposed to be 62 degrees and sunny at kickoff Sunday.
Tags: roof, Saints, University of Phoenix stadium
Posted in Blog | 10 Comments »
For the first time this season, the University of Phoenix roof is expected to be open for a game when the Cardinals host Washington Sunday. The temperature is supposed to be about 65 degrees outside at kickoff.
The roof has been open 24 times previous since the stadium has opened; the Cardinals have won 14 of those games. It has been open five times previous since Bruce Arians became coach. A list of those outcomes:
— 12/10/15 Minnesota W 23-20
— 11/22/15 Cincinnati W 34-31
— 12/29/13 San Francisco L 23-20
— 12/8/13 St. Louis W 30-10
— 10/17/13 Seattle L 34-22
Tags: Bruce Arians, roof, University of Phoenix stadium
Posted in Blog | 7 Comments »
It seemed pretty obvious with the way Calais was talking all week, but the defensive end, five days after being taken off the Candlestick Park turf on a stretcher, is playing tonight against the Seahawks. That’s a big deal (and not as scary as it once might have seemed since Campbell said he had been ready to walk off the field last week before the medical staff said no way.) Campbell has six sacks in the last eight games he’s played against Seattle and is having a very good season.
The inactive list, actually, is about what you would expect. LB Dontay Moch is inactive today, a mild surprise but against a team that figures to run a lot, not a shock. Aside from Moch, those sitting are:
— QB Ryan Lindley
— WR Brittan Golden (hamstring)
— RB Ryan Williams
— LB Kenny Demens
— G Earl Watford
— TE D.C. Jefferson
The roof will also be open tonight for the first time this season.
Tags: Calais Campbell, Dontay Moch, inactives, roof
Posted in Blog | 28 Comments »
The Cardinals made a roster move Saturday, promoting defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from the practice squad. It probably is helpful since DE Ronald Talley has been gimpy with a bad ankle and NT Dan Williams is hurting with a bad hamstring. but it also is likely a reward for working so hard this season. At this time of year, those things happen. To make room on the roster, the Cards cut offensive lineman Mike Gibson. Here had just signed earlier this week.
The Cardinals also plan to open the roof for Sunday’s game against Detroit, so dress accordingly.
Tags: Mike Gibson, Ricky Lumpkin, roof
Posted in Blog | 25 Comments »
The Cardinals will have a change in the starting offensive line for the first time this season, with right guard Adam Snyder sitting out with his quad injury, sending Rich Orhnberger into the lineup against the 49ers on “Monday Night Football.” Ohrnberger did a decent job in relief of Snyder in Minnesota after Snyder got hurt.
Tight end Todd Heap (knee) also remains sidelined for a sixth straight game.
The rest of the inactive list for the Cardinals is:
— QB Kevin Kolb (ribs)
— CB Greg Toler (hamstring)
— WR LaRon Byrd
— LB Jamaal Westerman
— G Senio Kelemete
And in case you missed it, the roof will be open tonight as well at University of Phoenix Stadium, the first time this season.
Tags: 49ers, Adam Snyder, Greg Toler, inactives, Jamaal Westerman, Kevin Kolb, LaRon Byrd, roof, Senio Kelemete, Todd Heap
Posted in Blog | 43 Comments »
The Cardinals are winners of four of their last five. Of course.
But those four wins test the heart. A 99-yard punt return in overtime by P-Twice. A touchdown drive with less than two minutes left in Philly. Running out the clock with a couple of third-down conversions in St. Louis. And, of course, The Hyphen comes alive in overtime last week.
At least the Cards are coming out ahead. Two teams have had a league-high nine games this season decided by seven points or fewer: The Denver Tebows, and your Arizona Cardinals. Of course, for a while, that just stung. Head back to the six-game losing streak (I know, picking at a scab here). There was a one-point loss in Washington, a three-point loss in Seattle, a four-point loss to the Giants and a three-point loss in Baltimore.
The Cards are 5-4 in those games decided by a touchdown or less. “It’d be nice to blow somebody out,” LaRod Stephens-Howling said this week, and that’s true. But it probably won’t be how these last four games play out.
— Niners linebacker Patrick Willis did not practice again Friday and he has not practiced all week with the bad hamstring. He’s questionable, I think we all know guys who have been listed questionable after sitting out all week and it is very, very difficult to find scenarios when they have played. I expect Willis to sit. The 49ers have greater aspirations than just this game, even if they like beating the Cards.
— The Niners have other defensive talent though. Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike Miller, talking about San Francisco’s “other” linebacker, NaVorro Bowman compared to Willis: “Watch them on film, they almost look like the same player.”
— There has been a lot of talk this season about defensive coordinator Ray Horton and only having a percentage of the defensive playbook in. What about the offensive playbook, especially considering that quarterback Kevin Kolb arrived without an offseason?
“For the most part, our plan is our plan, and the system is what it is,” Miller said. “It takes time. You’d like for anyone, a quarterback or a running back or whoever, to line up and play right away, but it takes time. But we have everything operating. It’s just about whether we want to dial it up in a game or not.”
— This game will be about mistakes. Can the Cards force any? Can they avoiding making them? Ken Whisenhunt was technically right when he said the previous games don’t mean anything Sunday, but the way the Niners have controlled the scoreboard – the Cards haven’t scored double digits the last four games or reached 17 the last five – the Cards need to be smart and take care of the ball. Turnovers always hurt. They seem to inflict more damage when they come against the Niners.
— No, no new updates on the contract status of defensive end Calais Campbell. I don’t know what will happen. He is having a fantastic season though. The defensive turnaround has been Campbell’s hot streak; in those five games he has three sacks, 19 tackles, four tackles for loss, an interception, six QB hits and two blocked field goals. Not bad for a 3-4 DE. Pro Bowl possibility, anyone? “I think that’s everyone’s goal,” Campbell said. “If not, you shouldn’t be playing. It’s something a lot of people value, including myself. I would really like it, but in the end, it’s about winning games.”
— He didn’t get to do anything on punt returns last week, but Patrick Peterson played possibly his best game as a cornerback last week. And while his value as a punt returner is greater than most punt returners because of the scoring chances, the Cards still need him more as an elite cornerback, all things being equal.
— Don’t forget – the roof will be open Sunday.
— Don’t forget – there will be a toy drive at the stadium Sunday, so bring new, unwrapped toys (or donate money) to any stadium entrance.
— Don’t forget – Beanie and Fitz are chasing 1,000.
— If the Cards win, they will clinch at least a .500 home record this season – and Whisenhunt will become the first coach in franchise history with five straight seasons at home of at least a .500 record. Whiz would also tie Don Coryell for most wins by a head coach (42) in franchise history if the Cards win.
I’m interested in seeing if this defense can carry the Cards to another win. I’m sure it’d be close. Of course.
Tags: 49ers, Calais Campbell, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Miller, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Peterson, Patrick Willis, roof
Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »
As expected, linebacker Joey Porter (tricep) and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring) are both inactive tonight with their injuries, while Derek Anderson is set to be the third quarterback. O’Brien Schofield starts in Porter’s place, and it will be interesting to see if the Cards use more 4-3 looks tonight — Gabe Watson is active while Gerald Hayes and Curtis Gatewood join Porter as inactive linebackers. Andre Roberts will return kickoffs with The Hyphen out.
The rest of the inactive list:
- CB A.J. Jefferson
- CB Marshay Green
- C Ben Claxton
As a reminder, the roof is open tonight as well.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Andre Roberts, Ben Claxton, Curtis Gatewood, Derek Anderson, Gabe Watson, Gerald Hayes, Joey Porter, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Marshay Green, O'Brien Schofield, roof
Posted in Blog | 25 Comments »
’Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the complex,
Not a creature was stirring, errr, except for Larry Fitz;
OK, there were others, the whole team in fact,
Prepping to play the Cowboys, win some pride back;
With Porter maybe on the shelf and The Hyphen banged up,
Roberts must kick return, Schofield hoping to erupt;
Skelton the Cowboy-hater gets start No. 3,
A first touchdown pass would provide needed glee;
(Attempting to rhyme lines here isn’t an easy chore,
Not when trying to be newsy and not be a bore)
There will be no Romo, no playoffs on the line,
It’s still about winning plus getting young guys time;
We’re waiting to see what the offense will bring,
Maybe Hightower? More Beanie? Breaston on the wing?
Slowing Felix Jones on the ground a defensive key,
At the same time, can’t allow Witten to run free;
The stadium roof will be open this time,
Closing the season in temperatures just fine;
Frankly, on Christmas Eve, I need to cut this short,
Family is waiting, that’s of more import;
I’ll have more later when NFL Net puts on a show,
A battle between Cardinals and Cowboys to follow;
Hopefully hearing Dockett shout as he finishes the fight,
“Merry Christmas to all, damn it was a good night!”
— I hope everyone has a good holiday (and so do the Cards).
Tags: Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Cowboys, Darnell Dockett, Joey Porter, John Skelton, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, O'Brien Schofield, roof, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower
Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »
The Cardinals have announced the roof of University of Phoenix Stadium will be open for Sunday’s game against the Rams. It will be the first time this season and the 12th time since the Cardinals moved into the building (in the 38th regular-season game) that it will be open. In the previous 11 outings, the Cardinals have won six times, all coming in the last seven times the sky has been visible from within the stadium.
Tags: Rams, roof
Posted in Blog | 28 Comments »