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Confidently, Friday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on October 2, 2015 – 4:23 pm

Carson Palmer was asked why the Cardinals are so confident right now.

“We are confident because we are good,” the quarterback said. “And we know it.”

It was a matter-of-fact statement. Palmer followed up by saying he didn’t think it was being cocky, or a false confidence. In this case, the Cardinals are simply a good football team. They’ve been building to this point for a couple of years, GM Steve Keim has filled in some of the weak spots, and this is the year to really push.

The Cards are only three games in, but they know that. They are playing the best defense they’ve seen to date on Sunday when the Rams visit, but they know that and are prepared. After Sunday, they have six of their next eight games on the road, so a 4-0 start would be, while not necessary, at least important. They know that too.

— If one of the big storylines for Sunday is how the Cardinals protect Palmer, it doesn’t sound like max protection – keeping everyone in to block save for a couple of receivers down the field – is a legit option.

“It’s not a lot of who we are,” Palmer said. “We get into big personnel groups to run the ball, not to try and fake you out and take shots with one or two receivers. We will take shots with five receivers in the game.”

— This is one of those games that feels like, as long as the Cardinals don’t hurt themselves with bad turnovers or bad blocking, they will be fine. Even last year, when the Rams had a great defense and Palmer was knocked from the game, the Cardinals still won because of defensive pressure and timely offense. Since Bruce Arians arrived, it’s hard to beat the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Mike Iupati is back. He’ll start Sunday, and Arians finally has the offensive line – although it’s funny, it wasn’t the original projected line. Remember, by the time Iupati signed, center Lyle Sendlein had been released. Still, it’ll be good to get the team’s premier free agent on the field, in a game you know the Cards want to run.

— The Cardinals’ five- and six-defensive back packages would seem to come in handy against an offense that struggles to run the ball yet whose passing game seems to rely more of short passes and runs.

— Through three games: Larry Fitzgerald, five touchdowns. St. Louis Rams offense, four touchdowns.

— This is the best three-game start of Fitzgerald’s distinguished career, by the way: 23 catches, 333 yards and those five scores. In all three categories.

— Left tackle Jared Veldheer committed three early penalties last week, including a hold that wiped out a 44-yard bomb to Michael Floyd.

“We can’t have penalties, especially Jared, that’s unlike him,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin admitted. “It’s just refreshing as a coach to be able to yell at him because other times you don’t get opportunities.”

— Anyone worried about punter Drew Butler? (That’s rhetorical, because I hear from plenty of you.) Guess who isn’t: Arians.

“He’s been kicking well,” Arians said. “Had the one bad kick but he’s been doing a good job kicking inside the 20, which is what we want him to do.”

— The lack of Rams’ offense would seem to bode well for the Cards in this regard: Under Arians, the Cardinals are 20-2 when the opponent scores 20 or fewer points.

— Although the Cardinals don’t officially announce sellouts anymore (no need, since the NFL no longer blacks out games locally), this will be 97-for-97 in terms of sellouts of Cardinals games at University of Phoenix Stadium.

— This will be a great test for the Cards’ huge red-zone start. So far, the Cards are 11-for-12 in the red zone, and the only “miss” was a field goal at the end of the first half last week in which the Cards had a first down at the San Francisco 4-yard line.

— The Cardinals will wear their black jerseys Sunday. And it’s their Breast Cancer Awareness game too, so black-and-white with pink accents. In case you need to color coordinate.

See you Sunday.


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Cards-Cowboys sells out, and the bag policy

Posted by Darren Urban on August 14, 2013 – 1:30 pm

The Cardinals open their 2013 home preseason schedule Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when the Dallas Cowboys come to University of Phoenix Stadium, and for the 74th straight time, the Cardinals have officially sold out a home game.

That makes them 74-for-74 since moving into the building. It also means the game will be aired live locally (on ABC-15). The game will also have a national outlet with NFL Network airing the broadcast. Dave Pasch, Ron Wolfley and Jody Jackson handle the TV duties. Paul Calvisi, Bertrand Berry and Damien Anderson are on the radio side via KTAR 92.3 FM.

(And at 10 a.m., I will be on with Anderson with the opening hour of pre-game analysis on 92.3. You know, if you have a radio handy.)

— And if you are coming to the game, please, please, please remember the NFL’s new bag policy is in effect. You can learn all about the details by clicking here or by going to http://azcardinals.com/bagpolicy.

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Finishing the year with a sellout

Posted by Darren Urban on December 29, 2011 – 2:00 pm

The Cardinals officially have sold out Sunday’s finale against Seattle, meaning it will be televised locally (Fox) and making it 63 straight at University of Phoenix Stadium. There were many wondering about the sellout streak this season, especially with the early-season losses, but the Cards completed a sixth season of sellouts as they head into 2012.

A limited supply of tickets remains available for purchase, including in the lower level south end zone where additional seats have been installed for Monday’s Fiesta Bowl. The extra seats aren’t included when determining a sellout because they are there for a special circumstance.

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Kolb situation echoes Warner’s

Posted by Darren Urban on December 15, 2011 – 2:09 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said quarterback Kevin Kolb did a little more in practice today following his concussion and the expectation is that he will do more again Friday. But there are reasons to think, barring a big jump in Kolb’s recovery, that John Skelton will start against Cleveland Sunday, and one of them is the path Whisenhunt went down with former quarterback Kurt Warner before a game at Tennessee in 2009.

Warner suffered a concussion in St. Louis the week before, but he passed his tests and came back to practice Wednesday that week. A couple of days later, Warner was “probably going to play.” That sounded good — until Sunday morning, when Warner has some blurry vision, and ultimately the decision came late he wouldn’t play.

Part of the problem wasn’t Warner’s absence Sunday, but that he took almost all of the practice reps during the week because he was supposed to start, leaving Matt Leinart hanging when his number was called. That happens — Skelton was stuck in basically the same situation last weekend against the Niners because Kolb was knocked out early — but Whisenhunt said he was prepared.

“John did OK last week with no reps,” Whisenhunt said, laughing. “Maybe that’s the key. Maybe if we give him no reps and tell him it’s the third quarter, we’re in good shape.”

Seriously, though, “the situation with Kurt was different because we thought he was going to play and the procedures are a lot different now,” Whisenhunt added. “You do want to make sure, if you have those concerns, you get the other guy reps. And we have gotten John more reps this week because of that.”

— Sunday’s game against the Browns has officially been declared a sellout — 62 in a row — and will be televised locally on CBS (Ch. 5). There has been no decision made yet on opening the roof and that will likely be a game-day choice because of the chance of rain.

— S Kerry Rhodes has returned to practice fully and should play Sunday, but he will be slowly worked back into the lineup given so much time away. Rhodes hasn’t played since Oct. 9 because of a broken foot and subsequent surgery.

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Cards sell out game against 49ers

Posted by Darren Urban on December 8, 2011 – 3:01 pm

The Cardinals officially have sold out Sunday’s game, meaning it will not be blacked out locally and instead be shown on Fox (Ch. 10) in the Valley. The game is the 61st straight time – out of 61 possibilities – in which the Cards have sold out University of Phoenix Stadium.

That’s an impressive total (46 of those games are from the regular season) but they have a while to go to match the longest streaks. Both the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins have sold out all their regular season games since 1974. The Steelers since 1976. The Jets date back to 1981, the Giants 1981 and the Packers 1989.

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Cards-Rams is a sellout; Kolb about the same

Posted by Darren Urban on November 3, 2011 – 2:00 pm

It’s official: The game Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium when the Rams visit is a sellout, making the Cards 59-for-59 since moving into the building and assuring that the game will be broadcast on local TV. It seemed like it might be a hurdle given the Cards’ struggles, but there wasn’t even an extension needed. (You’d figure the Cards will reach 60 too, since the next home game is against the Dallas Cowboys).

Meanwhile, quarterback Kevin Kolb — who sat out practice again — remains hopeful he could still give playing a shot Sunday, although he acknowledged he will be in the same situation Friday morning, where he will see if he can even practice. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he’s got “a ways to go.” Whisenhunt said he would “consider” playing Kolb even if he didn’t practice Friday, “especially if we needed him in a certain situation.” John Skelton warms up in the bullpen.

RB Beanie Wells was upgraded to limited Thursday, just like last week.

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Posted in Blog | 47 Comments »

On sellouts and the fans’ discontent

Posted by Darren Urban on October 31, 2011 – 4:32 pm

The Cardinals have sold out 58 games in a row at University of Phoenix Stadium — in fact, every game they have ever played there, preseason and postseason included. But with the way the season has gone in 2011 (and the way 2010 went), along with the visit from a fellow 1-6 team in the St. Louis Rams Sunday, the question has built up for a while: Will the streak continue Sunday?

Coach Ken Whisenhunt, not surprisingly, is hoping it does.

“It’s obviously something that’s important to our team,” Whisenhunt said. “We’re working hard to try to make sure we’re taking care of business, and we haven’t done that. It’s been a tough stretch for our fans, I understand that, and we’re working hard to try to get that fixed. Hopefully they’ll continue to support us. We’ve had a number of exciting games (at UoP) and they’ve been a big part of that. All I can tell you is that we’re going to have more (exciting games) there, and we sure would appreciate the support.”

That led to a follow-up question about hearing criticism coming from fans, and Whisenhunt pointed it out it’s delivered by “you guys,” as in the media, because even if he isn’t reading message boards or listening to talk radio, he isn’t unaware of what’s being said.

“I understand that’s part of this business,” Whisenhunt added. “We’re not performing the way we expect to perform and we’re not performing the way our fans expect us to perform. But let me tell you this, it’s not because out guys aren’t working and they’re not trying. When we walked off that field yesterday, our guys were crushed. It’s hard. We want to win and we’re working hard to try to do it. It’s one of those things where we have to stick together.”

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Posted in Blog | 86 Comments »

Steelers game is a sellout

Posted by Darren Urban on October 20, 2011 – 1:00 pm

No surprise, but the game Sunday between the Cards and Steelers at University of Phoenix Stadium is a sellout, making the franchise 58-for-58 — including preseason and postseason games — in sellouts since moving into the building in 2006. Pittsburgh, for now, is the sellout bookends, since the first Cards’ game at UoP was a preseason game against the Steelers.

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Posted in Blog | 32 Comments »

Broncos game — and perhaps season — a sellout

Posted by Darren Urban on December 9, 2010 – 11:57 am

The game Sunday between the Cardinals and Broncos has been officially announced as a sellout, making the Cardinals 52-for-52 at University of Phoenix Stadium on sellouts, assuring that the game won’t  be blacked out on local television and, perhaps most significantly, virtually means the Cards will be blackout-free in 2010. The only home game remaining after Sunday is Christmas with the Dallas Cowboys, and any game with Dallas — regardless of records — is basically a lock to be a sellout.

— A quick reminder, the Cards’ two defensive captains, Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett, will be the stars of tonight’s Big Red Rage at Majerle’s in Chandler at 6 p.m. The show airs live on Sports 620 KTAR, or, if you can’t make it in person, you can watch it streamed live right here.

— If “Marcos Tucson” is reading, please e-mail me ASAP at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net.

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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

Rams game sells out, beer, and the Rage

Posted by Darren Urban on December 2, 2010 – 11:57 am

The game Sunday between the Cards and Rams has been deemed a sellout, so the broadcast will not be blacked out on local television and the Cards now have gone 51-for-51 in selling out games played at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will be aired on Fox.

— On Saturday, the Great Lawn outside the stadium will be the place for the Albertson’s “Big Red Pour” — an international craft beer and music festival. Running from noon to 10 p.m., the musical acts will  be headlined by Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster. There is a discount for advance purchases. The concert lineup includes The Elevens from 3-4:30 p.m., Steve Ansel and the Jackson Street Band from 5-6:30, Sludge’s Build-a-Band from 7-7:40 and then Shepherd at 8:10. A $5 coupon is available at all Albertson’s locations.

— Tonight’s Big Red Rage radio show with Adrian Wilson will feature guest LaRod Stephens-Howling. The show will be aired live in Sports 620 KTAR and if you want to watch it live, it’s where it is always, Majerle’s Sports Grill in Chandler. It can also be seen live right here on azcardinals.com.

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Posted in Blog | 17 Comments »

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