Panthers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on November 1, 2009 – 10:14 pm

Well, I suppose I’m not sure exactly what to say in this edition of the Aftermath. I’ll admit I’m stunned after today. I’d never discount a chance at winning or losing but to have it go down the way it did, no, I wouldn’t have guessed that. Then again, I suppose there could have been many who cover the Panthers writing the same thing after the Cards whipped the Panthers last January.

In the end, Sunday boiled down to three main points: The inability to slow the Carolina run game, the turnovers and this odd part of this team’s DNA that seems to keep it on a roller coaster.

— There were a couple things that killed about the Carolina running game, beyond the 270 yards the Panthers got. One, the Cardinals knew it was coming and how could you not? With all the problems Jake Delhomme had had coming in, you had to know the Panthers would do anything possible to not allow Delhomme to self-inflict wounds. He completed only 7-of-14 passes for a mere 90 yards.

As much as the running game hurt, though, think of this: The Cards probably could have survived it. How? Well, one touchdown for Carolina came on that 50-yard freeze-and-go pass to Steve Smith, when the Panthers used Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s gambling nature against him. DRC has to learn that, when on an island like that play, he has to be conservative. Then the Panthers got another touchdown on the next play when Kurt Warner threw the interception (on what really was an amazingly athletic play by Julius Peppers to overcome the cut block and make the pick for six). Without those scores, which had nothing to do with the run game, the Cardinals gave up 20.

That’s not apologizing for anything, or even saying a team can afford to give up that many rushing yards. But …

— That’s where six turnovers can’t be overcome. Warner has had bad games before, and there were a couple of tipped balls Sunday. But he equaled his career-high for picks (five, which he also threw in Seattle in 2007) and the passing game – especially with the receivers – just felt out of sync, even early, before the turnovers started. Can that change in Chicago next week? Hopefully the Windy City will be anything but.

— The ankle injury to Anquan Boldin already is a concern, but maybe it’s moreso now. Boldin is the warrior coach Ken Whisenhunt says he is, but depending how limited he could end up being on this new tweak, maybe the Cards decide to rest Q a week and let a healthy Early Doucet have a shot.

— Then again, if teams keep playing these back-off-and-give-up-underneath coverage, the receivers may not matter as much. Running back Tim Hightower had another eight catches Sunday and it’s become clear that defenses will do whatever they can not to get beat deep by anyone – and by Larry Fitzgerald in particular.

That’s enough for tonight. The silver lining now? You figure the Cards will almost certainly be the road underdog in Chicago next week, a role in which they play very well.



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34 Responses to “Panthers aftermath”

  1. By JAMES on Nov 1, 2009 | Reply

    We have more talent than any team in the NFL. I think this team thrives on the underdog as if they have to prove to themselves they can beat good teams. Cards you are among the elite, no need to prove anything, just play your hearts out, and the rest will come. Good luck in Chicago we will be rooting for you for sure..

  2. By Ippy on Nov 1, 2009 | Reply

    How long are we going to have to endure the passing game failure as “out of sync” rather than simple failure? The two most disappointing moments in today’s bend-over came after the game: Whiz and Warner’s post conference apathy.

  3. By shannon robinson on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Once the wheels come off for Kurt, it’s a downhill run into the ditch. That 20 yard TD to Julius Peppers was abysmal – and checking with radio on occasion I heard “what interceptions were Kurt’s fault?”. Everyone in the stadium knew Kurt was going to fumble and he coughed it up on demand. And we’re worried about Beannie fumbling? The problem we have is it’s clear how teams will play us – now the question is are we going to be the predictable dink and dunk 15 yard pass team we saw Sunday. That’s a trap as long as we stay one dimentional.

  4. By Rugbymuffin on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    “This odd part of this team’s DNA that seems to keep it on a roller coaster.”

    I am officially questioning the Cardinals’ leadership. It is up to the captains and leaders on this team to make sure there squad is ready to go.

    That was a debacle. It started with the offsides on the first drive, and ended with Warner’s “less than intelligent” decision not to throw the ball away in the last quarter.

    This team is doing a very good job in making that “FLUKE” label fit nicely on there chests. Causes until you show you can do it consistantly, the situation is what it is.

  5. By Jeff Gollin on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    I wasn’t surprised at the outcome.

    The MO of this team for as long as I can remember has been its inconsistency (and I’d add, immaturity).

    You’re right about giving away 20 points on big plays. But at the root of those big plays was a failure to play sound, fundamental football. (a) Check the gap-presence on Williams’ long opening gallop – there was none. (b) Nothing more needs be said about DRC’s biting on the double-pump – mental breakdown. (c) When Kurt Warner embarks on a rollout to his right, the odds are 3 plays in 3 that he will turn over the ball – via fumble or pick. (d) He who blindly throws backside screens without checking first has a 33 – 50% likelihood of being picked off for 6. And finally (e) although the other guys made a half-dozen big plays, how many did we make? Few if any.

    It’s all about faulty technique, lack of focus and little if any mental toughness.
    When mature teams sleepwalk through games, they at least have sound techniques – drilled into them during the week – to fall back on. The Cardinals sleep walked through yesterday’s game, but had nothing to fall back on except the sloppy techniques of their past.

    Welcome to the roller-coaster, Darren. Right now, the Niners are playing better football than we are – and they’re only a game behind us. I’d peg our chances of making the playoffs at 50 – 50.

    Going into this season, I said the the key challenge for the Cardinals was to play to a consistently high level. I believe in “Gollin’s Rule of 3” (i.e. once is an event; twice is an indicator; three is a pattern). Until we play three strong regular season games in a row, the Cardinals will – at least in my mind – be an inconsistent football team.

  6. By darrenurban on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Jeff —

    All good points. I can’t argue with any of them, save one — I wouldn’t necessarily say the Niners are playing better football. Did they yesterday? Sure. But I would guess the majority of NFL teams played better than the Cardinals yesterday. Losing to the Panthers hurts on a couple of levels, but this team is still in first and it did just win three in a row. We can’t all rip the team for getting too high after the Giants win and at the same time bury them for one bad loss.

  7. By Chris on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    What is your opinion about a couple of things:
    1) is the offense trying too hard? It seems they have been so tense and trying so hard for the “big plays” that they don’t make anything happen and stall more often than not.
    2) it seems luck is not on our side. Balls aren’t falling our way, calls are going against us, etc. I know its a small part of the game but it is a part of it. Tipped balls have scored points/ caused turnovers the last 2 games for example.
    3) Beanie ran very well today. Big plays come off of PA passes and right now, teams arent buying our PA. Are we headed the right way for better PA passes with Beanie runnning as well as he has the last 2 games?

  8. By darrenurban on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Chris —

    1) I don’t know about “trying too hard.” Something doesn’t seem right. Supposedly they were past putting too much pressure on themselves, although sometimes I wonder if Kurt does that to himself. That’s how plays like the fumble happen — he refuses to think he can’t still make a play, until it’s too late.

    2) Luck maybe hasn’t been on their side. But to start, I’m a believer in you make your own luck. And second, luck had nothing to do with the Panthers running the ball so well. You slow that down, maybe there aren’t as many chances to have the luck go against you. Luck didn’t make DRC bite on the play-fake. Luck had nothing to do with Peppers bouncing up on the block and grabbing the interception.

    3) You’d think the play-action will come around. But you can’t get down 21-7 and 28-7 and have any chance of that happening.

  9. By Mike"Pay Q" on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Chris, How can we POSSIBLY do more play action, when that ,means Kurt is in a 7 step drop, and our line can not protect that long. People are dropping a deep safety over Fitz on every play, so that is why we need Q for the intermediate routes. The ONLY time our offense has flourished this year was when Q was a maint focal point.

    Is anyone else wondering where the Fitz from last year’s playoffs is? He has dropped more balls this year than his whole career combined. He is not getting YAC anymore, and puts the ball on the ground(although it was called incomplete). With Q hurt it is time for Fitz to step up and he hasn’t.

  10. By Matt on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    So I was watching the Cards game and the Packers-Vikings game side by side yesterday, which made for some fascinating and troubling observations about Kurt Warner. Primarily, it appeared that Aaron Rodgers was much better at being patient and then finding open receivers — like Kurt used to be. While Rodgers would wait for the play to develop and find an open man downfield, Kurt would quickly drop a pass off to Hightower without allowing his receivers to make space. The Julius Peppers Factor is no excuse here, as Rodgers was going up against equally stiff competition in Jared Allen and the Williams Wall, and Green Bay has been notoriously bad in pass protection.

    So this leads me to ask: what’s up with Kurt? Frankly, our team has lived and died by its defense this year. Kurt has been unable to lead our team to victory without the defense giving him a short field or numerous opportunities. He hasn’t been making plays downfield, he’s been whiffing on wide-open receivers, his passes have often been off target, and he’s making bad decisions (i.e. the fumble he lost). Granted, Gandy and Levi Brown have been awful this year, but Kurt is doing nothing for us. I don’t want to seem like a worry-wart, but what do we do about this?

  11. By aaaaudio on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    When does Levi Brown start to do his job? His false starts twoice a game needs to be addressed coach Whiz. He also seems to get beat by the pass rush alot. When Beanie or Tim H fumble they get benched. How about benching Levi for once?

  12. By ryan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    my guess is that everybody went out to a Halloween party sat night and were all hungover, at least thats what it looked like.

    I think one major thing that we don’t talk about is our field position and special teams. We are constantly starting on our own 20 yrd line because our punt blocking is freak’n awful. Breaston has no time or angles to run with the ball and stephens-howling is in the same boat. And since we can’t throw the ball deep, we just dink and dunk the ball down 5 to 10 yrds at a time to crossing routes or Timmy Hightower. We can’t keep having to go 80 yrds every offensive possesion.

    A message to a few players:

    Jeremy Urban: Catch the ball! Your tipped passes and fumbles are destroying us. Get one of those hand strengthening balls.

    Gandy: Tell coach Whiz that you need a TE or RB to help you block because you stink. I can’t believe you are still a starter in this league.

    Defensive line: Wrap up! you had the RB in the backfield a few times and he bounced outside or cutback for big gains. Yes i’m talking to you Okeafor.

    Wilson: You are a great player but you take some of the worst angles to tackle. That 77 yrd rush by Williams was your bad by not filling the gap.

    Coach Whiz: Give beanie the ball! 20 carries a game!

    Finally Kurt: throw some deep balls in practice this week because it looks like your accuracy for the deep ball is gone. I know you want to make a play but when you are flushed out of the pocket and that beast Peppers is on your butt THROW THE BALL AWAY!

    Its so hard to be a fan of this team. The highs are so high and the lows are so low. You can’t really get excited or bummed about an upcoming game because each game feels like a new season opener. We either get the dominant & confindent cardinals or the crappy cards.

  13. By Kris B. on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    I was just wondering how many people still want to go to a home game? I think I`d would prefer to watch them win on the road on TV, than to pay to watch them lose at home in person. Come on now they lost 3 at home, at home, this is there house, and they are letting everyone in, and bending over for them. How many people do they want to protect the nest when the team isen`t?

  14. By azcardsfan22 on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    When are you Cards fan gonna finally realize that Whiz is not a good coach, I understand we went to super bowl, but this team is so predictable its a joke I promise you I can tell you what play is gonna happen before it happens, I can tell you when Whiz has his team prepared and when he doesn’t , Plus he says the same thing every press conference we gotta clean up the stupid penalties and he does nothing about it, I am sorry guys but Whiz is not a good coach and the sooner we make a change better things will come. I kknow you guys think I am crazy because we have been bad for so long, but before you say that go back the last 2 and half years of Whiz regime we have not improved on anything mentally and remember we have one of the most talented teams in the league

  15. By azcardsfan22 on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    I can go back and show so many things that Whiz has done wrong, and the thing that kills me is he gets no bad press no one calls him out on his bad decisions, he has got to show the run stop giving Kurt the keys to the car and make some touugh decisions on your own. stop being the players friends and be their coach

  16. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    I totally agree about the Whiz/Warner apathy comment above. Frankly, their press conferences after losses have become predictable. The same questions/excuses/explanations/emotions after every loss.

    The same repeated comments that, “we still have the same record as we did last time this year,” “we had a good week of practice” and “we’re a better football team than we showed today,” don’t count for anything, and if such attitudes make this coaching staff feel hopeful and worse yet – comfortable – after yet another loss, then this coaching staff isn’t going to get the most from it’s players or itself.

    The roller-coaster nature of this team really speaks about their maturity level which may be at the root of it all. Unfortunately, maturity isn’t a technique flaw that can be corrected with practice.

    An emotionally even-keeled approach to coaching obviously works for certain coaches (e.g. Tony Dungy) and their particular teams. When you have very talented, hungry, mature players who take full responsibility for their actions, that coaching demeanor can be very successful. I’m not sold that the even-keeled approach Whiz has taken to coach this team is best for this team’s underlying immature mental makeup at this point in time. Playing in the NFL is a privilege and if a player isn’t playing like every snap is his very last, week-after-week, then an attitude adjustment or career adjustment is in order. Unfortunately, most of the players on this team have demonstrated that they cannot make such underlying adjustments for themselves, which means implementing such adjustments is the responsibility of the coaches.

    I know it’s not in Whiz’s demeanor to have a Dennis Green meltdown, but I’d like to see more of a sense of urgency, bluntness, passion, and accountability from Whiz in regards to not only his players after inexcusable losses like this, but also to himself and his staff.

    To be very clear, I commend Whiz about how he has changed the mentality of this team and obviously, the process in still ongoing. Should the roller coaster trend continue for the rest of the season, then I’ll be expecting to see a lot more personnel changes this coming offseason as Whiz continues to evaluate the character of his players and his coaches during just his third season. And hopefully Whiz will demand the very same from himself.

  17. By Chris on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    This is a different Chris, but Darren, can you find out why Calais Campbell was getting IV fluids before the game? He had an IV band-aid on his forearm when he came out, and the team generally played almost hung over. Any possibility that maybe a few of the players had a a few too many the night before the game?

  18. By darrenurban on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Chris —

    In reply to the Campbell question, he said he got an IV but it was after the game, and it was simply routine. The players all stay in a hotel the night before home games and have an 11 p.m. curfew, so I doubt there were any issues with partying.

  19. By nor cal cards fan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Urb- did u ever get the impression during the week that the Cards were taking Carolina lightly? I love Coach Whiz, but the Cardinals inability to be a consistent team week in and week out has to fall on the Head Coach at some point.The talent is there, all up and down the roster.Ever since Whiz took over in ’07 the squad has been inconsistent, which is the one major thing i was hoping he could change from the Denny Green regime.It still hasn’t happened yet, would u agree?

  20. By darrenurban on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Nor Cal —

    No, I didn’t get that impression. They took great pains to tell us over and over how good they were, parroting what Whisenhunt believed. Now, I can’t look into a guy’s heart and know for sure if it is what they truly believed, but they sold it well if they didn’t.

  21. By Adam on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    I really dont know what to say other than the Cards have the most talent oot there,and we will turn this season around for the better!But it was a painfull game to watch.

  22. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    After Sunday’s performance, home sell-outs for the remainder of the season just got that more difficult (sans the games versus teams with fans that travel well – e.g. Green Bay). I think it’s safe to say the NFL will be extending more sellout deadlines to the Cards to prevent a TV blackout for the home fans.

    As if the horrendous economy wasn’t justification enough for fans to cut back on discretionary spending, yesterday’s desert debacle surely was.

    Suddenly, the Cards-Vikings came has become a much less appealing option for NBC to “flex”.

  23. By azcardsfan22 on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Great stuff Ottis Anderson fan you are 100% correct, but I wish the media in AZ makes Whiz more accountable, I cannot take this anymore as much as you want to give Whiz credit for the change in AZ remember this team is loaded with talent and should be a lot better. And you being a long time Cards fan should understand the talent on this team, I am just assuming your a diehard loved OJ never forget his 1st 2 games against Dallas and P:ittsburg what did he have about 190 and 160 or something close to that

  24. By TucsonTim on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    The Eagles proved that any team in football can lose to the worst team in the NFL if they don’t prepare. The Cards were totally unpreparred for the Panthers. The Panthers are very comfortable playing in Arizona. Did you see how loose Delhomme was on the side lines. He’s either a great actor or he scoped out our lack of preparation after the first drive. Short safe passes kept getting deeper and more daring. He sure didn’t look like a guy about to lose his job.

    We left in the 3rd quarter to beat some traffic and listened to the radio on the way back to Tucson. Interesting to hear the utter disappointment with this team.

    Everyone is acting like there is some great mystery about our inconsistency. This team has shown it has the talent. What we lack is leadership and coaching. How many NFL teams play without an offensive coordinator. Sorry Whiz, it’s not a part time job. A blind man could see it with a cane. You have three 1000 yard receivers and you can’t throw a deep pass!?

    When the worst running team in the NFL drafts a running back number one and by week 7 that guy isn’t starting, you have a major problem.

    You know you have some issues at O-tackle and you continue to put them in situations where they can fail.

    When McNabb was benched last year he got the message. Perhaps we should have seen Leinart after the pick 6. Look at the film, we had people open down field several times when the ball was dumped to Hightower.

    If you want to keep fans in the seats, you had better start playing home games like they mean something. Fan support in Az is razor thin.

  25. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    I just listened to this weeks edition of, “In the Red Zone”, and I’ve never heard a coach more relaxed and confident after taking a bludgeoning than Coach Whiz did in that interview. I’m hoping he knows something that we don’t (and I mean a lot more). Actually, I say that every time I listen to Whiz conduct an interview the morning after a loss, but the roller coaster never stops and the same embarrassing efforts keep showing up again.

    It’s hard to invest in a product if you have no guarantee it’s going to work, and I’m sure Michael Bidwell reminded him of that today.

    I actually wish San Francisco would have won yesterday to help turn up the pressure on the coaching staff and players to perform better knowing that their divisional lead would evaporate if the Cards lost and 49ers won. I wonder if the Cards would have played with more of a sense of urgency had the Colts/Niners game (outcome) had not been played (determined) until Monday night.

  26. By tom manoogian on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    —it was hard to watch,they talk about after big win against ny,maybe not fired up for this one,maybe take it for opinion,we do not throw deep balls,no fitz jump balls,no no huddle,if we can’t cover receivers against teams like the panthers,and they had players who did not even make the trip,we got issues.we were out coached ,out played,our defense was in wrong position about every play,and when we were in position we would not have been able to tackle if it was flag football.i work my ass off 56 hours a week just to keep my job,if i performed like this,i would be looking for other work,over 40 years diehard fan,i put myself against any other fan to swap stories about the cards,these guys want more money,but give me something in return.offensive is tenitive,you can’t win in this league that way,at least if we are going to tank a game let’s try going down the far as i am concerned we were outcoached this game,and we are not play calling the same.if all you say is well,they were cover 2,all over fitz,then let’s abandon the things that got us to last year.throw the ball downfield,open it up,trick plays.whatever,2nd and 20 .throw 3 yard pass,same on 3rd and long,just doesn’t make any sense.i am pissed off about this effort,makes me sick to see this.if you think every time you play a game like you will rebound,you are going to get your feelings hurt,because unless you have not seem,oak over philly,cincy over pitt,if you don’t come to play ,you will lose,the clock keeps on running,it doesn’t care who’s winning.look at this easy next few weeks and come playoff time the only thing different when it comes to watching playoff football is you will be watching it in a more expensive house than me,i’ll probably be more disappointed.

  27. By Matt on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    In regard to what Ottis said, I think that our team is at a serious disadvantage any time that San Francisco plays before us. How hard is it to imagine that some players see that San Fran loses before going up against what appeared to be a pushover, and phoned it in?

  28. By William C. on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Did we drop any spots in our rush-defense rank? If so, to what? Thanks.

  29. By darrenurban on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    William —

    Going into tonight’s game, the Cards had gone from first to ninth in the NFL in rushing defense.

  30. By Tyrelle on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    Mr.Urban I just want to know why is the team not prepared to play at home. What is up with the losing at home?

  31. By old cards fan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    if the cards off. have a bad game against da bears they should really think about making a change either at qb or whiz need to give up playcalling. (gandy needs to be replaced)

  32. By truefan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    here’s a thought, maybe it’s time for a change in command. I’ve been a card fan since they were in st louis and it broke my heart when they left. thats business. i love kurt i do but i had the priivledge of watching him alot in st louis too. so when i say maybe its time for him to allow matt to grow into his own is painful at best. but we did spend a number 1 draft pick on the kid 2 yrs ago and it’s time for him the step out of the shadows. yes he will make mistakes but he also will make big plays. i was very impressed with his preseason play. if it wasnt for warner taking them to the superbowl we might have seen a change at the beginning of the season. and for beanie, well , they need to end this switch-a-roe. maybe someone can tell me, which running back havent fumbled. i truely believe if you give him 20 runs a gm at least, it changes everything….well just a thought, what u all think?

  33. By truefan on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    by the way, when i said i watch kurt in st louis, it’s not a surprise to me on how he struggling to make big plays this year.He did it in st louis to after he won the superbowl. dejavu

  34. By bigredmachine75 on Nov 3, 2009 | Reply

    I will not beat a dead horse regarding the miscues and bad plays from Sunday. I just wante to say that everything the media says about our team / organziation might just have some truth to it; no one likes to hear that their child is ugly, even if it is true. Kurt plays good in spurts, the defense has stepped up but I think might have started believing the press clippings about being the No.1 run defense; mental break downs across the board. We will never get the respect we feel we derserve due to games being played like this. Quarterback play is not bad for us, not at all but definately not like the elite teams qb’s. Breeze, Peyton and other first place team quarterbacks are getting it done weekend and week out. I know Kurt is a special player and has done a lot for this team / organization but this is and always will be a “what have you done for me lately” kind of sport. All those who were rewarded this year with better contracts don’t seem to be perfoming at a very high level every game. Your star players are suppose to step up during critical moments during each game not every other game that is played.

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