Friday before the Titans

Posted by Darren Urban on November 27, 2009 – 4:40 pm

Thanksgiving came and went and, as usual, the holiday seemed like a blur. There is a lot to like about this job but that’s one of the downsides – the traditional holidays this time of year flash then disappear in the grind of the season.

But it does give us a chance to hear the thoughts of defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who has continued to slide his desire for a new contract out once in a while never in a snit but instead with a little humor. The message is never lost, though. This week, Dockett said his family wasn’t coming out for Thanksgiving in part because the team leaves Saturday morning for Tennessee and he was saving their trip for the following week for Minnesota weekend. He just doesn’t have the cash to afford to fly his family out from Maryland more than once in a while.

“We don’t have no Albert Haynesworth money,” Dockett deadpanned. “If I am able to get off minimum wages I would definitely take my family out to all the home games because I know they’d be happy about that.”

Yeah, I’d guess Darnell would be happy about it too. Haynesworth, the Redskins’ defensive tackle, got some $40-plus million in guarantees from Washington last offseason. Dockett is making $3.5 million this season and is scheduled to make $3.75 M in 2010 and $4 M in 2011. I can only hope his family can handle their time apart.

Nevertheless, there’s a game against the Titans up first:

— Dockett did give big props to Tennessee’s running game and talked about what a huge boost to the confidence it would be for the defense if they could slow the Titans on the ground. And to think, Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, currently the NFL’s leading rusher, could have been a teammate. The Cardinals absolutely loved him going into the 2008 draft. They loved Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie too, and cornerback was perhaps a more crucial position at the time. I think there was hope Johnson may slide all the way to their second-round pick, or at least into the second round where the Cards could trade up (a la Alan Branch in 2007). But the Titans grabbed Johnson in the first round. It seemed a bit premature at the time. Uh, not so much. He’s clearly one of the best already.

— Speaking of running games, the Cardinals are 27th in the NFL. But over the past three weeks, this is how the NFL’s top rushing teams shake out: 1. Carolina (183 yards a game); 2. Tennessee (182.7); 3. Arizona 162.3.

— Say what you want about the guy, but Dockett is productive and playing well. He has a sack in three straight games and is making a strong Pro Bowl push.

— Perfect weather planned for Sunday: 64 degrees and only a slight chance of rain. Could the Cards have had any better weather this season? Heck, even in the postseason, it looks like it will be all domes.

— Kurt Warner is going to play, barring something crazy. Hopefully the Cards can protect him well enough to avoid a replay of his St. Louis hit, but Warner is going to get tagged a couple times. That’s just the game.

— Warner’s 89 straight passes without an interception was the longest active string in the league for starting quarterbacks before Thanksgiving. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers surpassed him Thursday and is at 125 attempts. Two other guys have longer active streaks than Warner but neither plays: Washington’s Todd Collins (222) and Kansas City’s Brodie Croyle (96).

— So that’s where the offense was …  in the first seven games, the most yards the Cards generated was 383. They have surpassed 400 each of the past three games, the first time since 1969 the team has had more than 400 yards in three straight games.

— Getting LB Monty Beisel back was crucial. It didn’t hurt that Beisel wanted to come back all along, but his knowledge of the defense will allow them to drop him in right away. He can play both inside and outside and most importantly, fill Will Davis’ spot on special teams. The Davis injury hurts. He was playing well and earning more and more time on defense. The ability to get him back before the playoffs, I think, is important.

— Watching Vince Young throw, that passing game doesn’t frighten me. He can complete some passes, but he can’t beat you that way. Now, if he starts to scramble, and you defense gets out of position and then he finds a way to throw it, that can beat you. It’ll start on the early downs for the Cards. They can’t let Young or Johnson rip off too many big runs (I don’t think you can realistically say “any big runs.” That’s unfair). And the Cards have to move the ball and score points. The Titans can’t score with the Cards.

— It’s week two of the Does-Adrian-Wilson-get-his-20th-career-sack watch. Not going to be easy with Young running around. Young has only been sacked once this season.

— The Cards need to win at least one of their next two games, both for confidence’s sake and to put the 49ers out of the picture.

That’s about it. We’re off to the Music City tomorrow. Hard to believe we’re about to hit December. As well as the Titans have played, the Cards again are giving off good vibes before this one. Having Warner healthy helps. So does an undefeated road record. Can it pay off into another win? The Titans are hot, but so are the Cardinals. It’s going to be fun to watch it unfold.

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Posted in Blog | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Friday before the Titans”

  1. By spitfire772 on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    I find it amazing that the majority of people are picking against us in this game. Sure the Titans are hot and playing at home… but the reigning NFC champs have won 6 of 7 and are 5-0 on the road. I understand that some people will pick the Titans, but so little respect for the Cards. Many people are talking like we’re making the wrong decision by starting Kurt and that he’ll be out for the year with one hit. Unbelievable to me, but we should win this game if we can slow down Chris Johnson.

  2. By Edward B. on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    So the titans beat


    I am not worried at all…

  3. By Eric on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    Wow, only $10.75 million over three years?

    I wish I was earning “minimum wages”!

    Also, any chance Matt Leinart can get more reps with the 1st team, just in case Warner has to miss some games later?

  4. By darrenurban on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Eric —

    The way the Cards figure it, Leinart isn’t going to get any increased work if Warner is OK and cleared to play. Kurt hates missing practice time and Whisenhunt isn’t going to want to change things up if it isn’t necessary.

  5. By Patrick on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    “Say what you want about…Dockett”?

    I LOVE the guy, he’s a Cardinal.

    PS: Good analysis on what V. Young brings.

  6. By Big Red on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    Good Luck, CARDINALS! Just do it, we’ll be waiting back at the airport with a victory.

  7. By CardsFan08 on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Great update Darren! I’m hoping the Cards can continue the road success and almost as important the running game success! It’s great to see Beisel back in Cardinal red.

    The Titan game is a far bigger game than a lot of people are giving credit. Cheers!

  8. By Jeff Gollin on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    DU – You wrote – “Dockett is making $3.5 million this season and is scheduled to make $3.75 M in 2010 and $4 M in 2011.”

    I’m not very good at math, but I believe the 3-year total exceeds $10-mil.

    Whiile I feel kind of bad that Darnell couldn’t scrape up enough cash to fly his family in for Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think about the millions of folks who are out of work for whom even putting a turkey dinner on thire table is a major challenge.

    Go for the gelt, D-Dock, but I hope you’re keeping things in perspective – $10-million-plus sure can buy a lot of turkeys.

  9. By Dave on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Darren…. I really liked this particular blog story. The tidbit about the Cards being #3 in running O over the past 3 weeks is the kind of info I like to pick up on in here. That is huge. Thanks for a blog with real steak and potatoes in it. Great job.

  10. By Capital Card on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    I’m betting Adrian breaks into the 20-20 club against the Vikes. Hopefully, his sack won’t look as “fishy” against Brett as Strahan’s did to get the single season sack record.

    Go Cards!!!

  11. By Joe on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    This Titans game is huge if you look at the big picture. If the Cards lose the next two games, then we could have to play SF with the division title on the line. We dont want that.
    The Cards beat the Titans if we just execute. Only our own mistakes (turnovers, penelties) can beat us.
    Just execute and take care of business and those titans will be tiny.

  12. By CJownsYou on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    All you guys enjoy your little comments, and tone down your amazement that the cardinals aren’t favored in this one. The Titans were better than the Cards last, this year, pretty much every year. Maybe thats why the oddsmakers favor the Titans. I mean really, your NFC championship doesn’t mean much to most. Who couldn’t win the NFC last year is the question. So take note as you watch an AFC team with a coach who could run circles around Ken Wisenhunt, dismantle your 7-3 record, and send you back on the same bumbleing path towards the playoffw:D

  13. By Dave on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Way to demonstrate the fact that you’re clueless.

  14. By fitz 4 mt rushmore on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    Darren, did Leinart get alot of snaps this week or was it the normal routine? I heard on many pregame shows Kurt was unlikely to start. OH BOY, I hope Wiz took precautions that this could happen.

  15. By darrenurban on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    Fitz 4 —

    Normal routine. We’ll see what happens.

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