Packers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on January 3, 2010 – 10:56 pm

On Friday, with the Cardinals options still wide open, veteran defensive back Ralph Brown was talking about going into the regular-season finale against the Packers and the idea, should the Vikings win early, the game wouldn’t mean much.

“I wish it wouldn’t have been brought up,” Brown said, “so we could just go out and play football and coaches could have just pulled guys during the game. But now, you have guys calculating stuff, talking in the locker room. I know guys will play hard but now we are thinking about different scenarios when we should just be thinking about playing the game.”

Brown’s thoughts proved prophetic. The Vikings won and the Cards simply couldn’t muster the drive to get up for what was next. It didn’t help them Sunday. The question is this: Does it really matter?

“If this happens next week, bring me the same question and I will try and dissect it for you,” defensive tackle Bryan Robinson said.

— Obviously the big story – maybe the only story – was injuries. If the air wasn’t already out of the Cards following the Vikings result, it disappeared after cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie went off. It turned out that DRC’s knee injury wasn’t as bad as it first looked, but that doesn’t mean (despite what he says) he’ll definitely be back.

— Same with Anquan Boldin’s knee/ankle and Calais Campbell’s thumb. It’s premature to guess one way or the other. At least the Cards will have an extra day – with the playoff game Sunday – to recover. It’s an important detail.

— I suppose the argument will rage, at least for a couple days, which players should have been in or not. I don’t see how anyone can quibble with DRC’s wrong-place-wrong-time. It was the third play of the game. DRC wasn’t going to sit altogether; no one but Bertrand Berry (who was out because he doesn’t play special teams) got to do that. Certainly you’re not going to sit your young legs.

Campbell was in and out, but with Robinson and Darnell Dockett not playing, Campbell couldn’t leave the game for good.

— I was a little surprised to see Boldin still in the game, but Larry Fitzgerald played even longer than that. I feel OK with Boldin’s situation after though. Normally, Boldin is pretty taciturn after games, dressing facing into his locker and often answering questions that way. Given the situation, the media group – about 15 people – quietly waited for Boldin to be ready, until he half-turned and chuckled, asking the group, “Why is everyone so quiet?” It was too light-hearted a moment for a guy who would have been ticked off about his injury (which he normally is with a bad injury).

— Speaking of Fitz, that 13th TD and getting to 100 catches mean something to him, and I am sure that played a large role in him playing the full game.

— Not a good game for Matt Leinart. He obviously knew it. His body language was demonstrative after his mistakes and even on his incompletions, he was too often off-target. It probably won’t matter in the short-term in the playoffs, and it was interesting that coach Ken Whisenhunt made sure to say the showing didn’t change his confidence in Leinart.

— Mostly, though, it was so hard to take much of anything out of Sunday. Backups played and game-plans were limited. And the Cards will be lumped in with the Bengals (and to a lesser extent, the Colts) in the playoffs. If those teams, which stumbled late by gearing back before the playoffs, win in the postseason, no one will care. If not, everyone will wonder why they geared back.

Maybe it’s part of a master plan to get back to last postseason’s us-against-the-world status. “You know, just between you and me, Coach talked about that this week, ‘Let’s go out there and let’s let all the TV pundits and everybody bury us,” cracked receiver Jerheme Urban. “That way we can be the underdog again.” (Just in case anyone wasn’t sure, Urban was joking).

Do the Cards need to be the underdog again? Who knows. Until next Sunday, when we see the Cards really try against the Packers for the first time in three attempts this season, no one does.

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28 Responses to “Packers aftermath”

  1. By nor cal cards fan on Jan 3, 2010 | Reply

    Q still in the game when it’s 26-0 and he already went over the 1000 yard mark? I don’t get it. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense whe you consider the fact he’s been injury prone over the years and everybody knows we need him for the playoff run. It’s borderline insubordination on Whiz’s part.

  2. By Eazy E on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Cardinals are ok cardinal nation quit trippin!!! Kurt didnt play but a quarter but Matt didnt look so good, I like Matt but I can’t keep defending him if he’s gonna put up performances like that. He had 2 picks the slant to fitz was bad it was late and off target. To his credit charles woodson was a little early and bumped fitz knocking him off his route, could’ve been pass interference. You have to question though is he our future franchise qb? Something to nibble on. Offense when Matt played since he played most of the game was either to’s or stalled drives. Not good enough and Anquan, Fitz, Breaston, Beanie, Hightower, Starting O-Line, were all in. Not acceptable Matt. Defense was too tired and our defensive starters already didnt play long for the most part. I don’t mind Coach Whiz playing the starters, I hate when coaches get conservative and pull back, let the chips fall where they may, I know DRC, Anquan, and Calais got injured but you can’t coach with fear and scared and pull an indy. I hope and pray all them will be healthy and ready to go sunday afternoon. I don’t really care about the score of this game, I care about the score of next sunday’s rematch game!!!

  3. By John on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Darren 1st let me say that I love reading your blogs. My question is this? Why I do keep hearing after this game this is a advantage to the packers? Unless my eyes decieved me the cards folded up after the 1st quarter? The packers shouldve been ashamed IMO for playing starters that long. Well let’s wish the pack the worst next sunday and idk bout you but the packers uniforms are the 2nd worst uniforms in the league behind the browns.

  4. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    John —

    It can be argued both ways, I suppose. The Packers can say, after having big advantages in both the preseason and yesterday that there is no fear coming to University of Phoenix Stadium, and sometimes, that’s a big advantage for the home team. Of course, the Cards can say they haven’t really tried in either game. Ultimately, it’ll be answered Sunday.

  5. By scott on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    please try to keep us updated on the injury front. drc’s injury did not look bad – although getting spiked on a knee is painful. i am more worried after seeing how q landed. his knee buckled a bit.

    i’ll be checking your blog for updates!

    thanks, darren

  6. By Ditship on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    The DRC injury worries me a lot. Rogers likes to go deep with that ball and from what I’ve seen that’s when DRC is at his best. If he is missing We’ll either have an absolute shootout or blowout… That will depend on Wanrer and our ability to keep him standing up.

    Also.. PLEASE give Bridges some help with Mathews.. Holy Crap! And don’t let that help be Beanie! Holy Crap X 2!

  7. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    If the only motivation this team can find for winning games is disrespect by the media and upset fans, then this team is playing for the wrong reasons. You play to win the game because you and the team find winning to be fulfilling — you don’t play the game to prove other people wrong. When naysayers are your source of motivation, then they control your destiny and you don’t. Using the anger you have at others as motivation in life is an unhealthy and disturbing way to live.

    That Coach Whiz would say, “Let’s go out there and let’s let all the TV pundits and everybody bury us…That way we can be the underdog again” is disturbing whether Whiz was serious about it or not. This team should be beyond such childish motivation.

    If I were Bill Bidwell, I’d have Whiz in my office this week and ask him if the underdog/disrespect approach is his blueprint for winning next year and beyond. The only way you get to be an underdog is to underachieve and loose games. I surely wouldn’t want to be writing checks to any coaches or players that subscribe to such a strategy for success.

  8. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Ottis —

    First of all, Jerheme Urban was joking that Whiz said that. Whiz never said that. Do the Cards play better as the underdog? It seems yes.

    I know you are a die-hard, but honestly, if winning isn’t enough — if now the Cards not only have to win but do it the “right” way — I think that’s going overboard. It shouldn’t matter how they get there, as long as they get there.

  9. By joe67 on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    I think coach handled everything pretty well for the most part. I would have like to have seen a little better showing, especially from some of the young players. The running game was really not good, considering the o-line was pretty much in tact. Have to do better next week.

  10. By Basebald on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Darren I think Coach W does not want Leinart as his QB. If Warner comes back next year can you see Leinart leaving and the Cardinals signing a journeyman QB and also drafting one? If Warner retires do you think Coach W keeps him? I think he still will be a good QB he just needs more reps.

  11. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Basebald —

    Right now, I can only go by what I have seen and heard from Whisenhunt. And right now, that indicates he is still thinking Leinart can work. Leinart remains under contract (for a reasonable amount) next season, so I doubt he goes anywhere. But they may think about drafting someone.

  12. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    So, if the Cardinals are underdogs this coming Sunday, and they use the disrespect theme again for motivation — but end up loosing as underdogs in their biggest game of the season to date — then will they finally be forced to throw that feeble motivational tool in the trash and start winning for purely for the joy of winning and not the joy of proving someone else wrong?

  13. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Ottis —

    I don’t know if they will ditch the motivational tools one way or the other. Again, I don’t know why it matters so much how they get there. I could reverse the question: If they win Sunday, will you suddenly embrace the idea of using it as motivation?

    Personally, it’d be great for them to get all Belichickian and have a steely resolve every week. But seriously, take a look around the league and tell me who doesn’t use the “disrespect” thing on some level. Maybe the Colts don’t. Most other teams do. You don’t think the Cowboys did when everyone talked about their December record? You don’t thjnk the Eagles will this week, having to go back to Dallas after getting their doors blown off there?

    Even if it’s not “disrespect,” the idea guys win “purely for the joy of winning” simply doesn’t happen. NFL players want to win to win, for sure. But they want to win to get paid, to get respect, to cement their spot in history.

  14. By Nick on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    I was just wondering if you think coach whiz will be helping out bridges a little more because clay matthews tore us up yestrday. Bridges had no answer and in the viking game against jared allen he did great but he also had a lot of help. i think bridges willl be key to how far we go this year in the playoffs

  15. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Nick —

    I am not going to say Bridges doesn’t need help. But remember, the Cards did nothing yesterday to tip their hand. There were no fancy blocking schemes, no complicated plays. It was all about one-on-one, beat-your-guy, just so the Packers won’t know exactly how, for example, the Cards plan to pass protect next week.

  16. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    Thanks for the clarification about Jerheme’s bogus Whiz comments being part of a joke that Jerheme was trying to crack. The joke fell flat with me.

    Whiz has gained a lot of respect with me, especially with the gains in maturity the team has made this year, so I’m glad to hear Joker Jerheme made it all up. He’s the one who should have gotten his leg injured, not Anquan.

  17. By Steve on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    And the Packers have game planned twice this year vs. the Cards when Whiz showned them nothing both tims. (pre-seaosn and last Sunday)

    Darren, How many times has a team beat another team three times in a season?

  18. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Steve —

    I would have to look that up, although preseason never counts in such things. I know the year the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the Cowboys beat the Giants twice in the regular season and then the Giants beat them in the playoff game.

  19. By kauaicardsfan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    I wish they would have sat Boldin out earlier, didnt make any sense at that point, Even Fitz was scary having him out there even though he didnt want to go out. DRC was a fluke but if he didnt play at all that may have been better especially knowing we already had nothing to gain.

    Funny how when you think about injuries, it happens??? I think we had more crucial injuries this game than we had all season???

    You could tell the team was flat, I mean even silly mistakes like Breaston fielding the punt at the 2 yard line? I hope all the injuries will be minor cause we need all of our weapons.

    Now lets take the Conference!!!

  20. By cards fan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    What happened to Ali Highsmith? How come he is on the practice squad?

  21. By darrenurban on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Cards fan —

    Highsmith was released a couple weeks ago in favor of LB Pago Togafau.

  22. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply


    I simply believe that the teams who are playing their best football at the end of the season have more confidence in themselves, their teammates, and their gameplan, and that those items are huge intangibles heading into the playoffs. Therefore I do not agree that lurching into the playoffs is enough if this team aspires to take their game to the next level which is to win a Super Bowl.

    The Cardinals inconsistent play this year doesn’t lead me to believe that the Cardinals can just turn it on now that the playoffs are here. On the other hand, that is just what they did last year. So the question is, is such attitude and play long-term recipe for success? I don’t believe NFL history has proven that it is. We’ll find out next Sunday who’s approach to the end of the season was the better choice – Whiz’s or McCarthy’s. Obviously I support the McCarthy approach, but will be rooting hard for the Cards to shock the world again.

    Look, I’m thrilled that the Cardinals are in the playoffs again after decades of dearth. The Cardinals have awesome talent, but it’s not going to be around forever. And the Cardinals have had a relatively injury free year. One never knows what tomorrow holds, which is why as a fan, it’s been maddening to watch this team inexplicably implode upon themselves at points during a season in which talent and health (kudos to John Lott) have aligned themselves.

  23. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Good points Darren. I can’t begin to comprehend what the physical beat-down of a full NFL season can do to even the most spirited player after Week 16.

    And just like any job, there are guys in the NFL who really don’t enjoy the job, but can’t justify giving up the big paycheck or don’t have another career to fall back on. Those are just cold facts that fans like me have to keep in mind. Playing in the NFL is a dream for most of us, but for many players, it’s simply just a job that must be done to support their desired lifestyle.

  24. By Ctownbeatdown on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Eazy E

    i Am in the same boat with Matty. I have got to the point where i hope we consider drafting a QB in the upcoming draft, if one slips.
    On another note. I was pretty miffed to see Larry and Q in so late. Why stop at Warner. Can’t wait for this Sunday. Good luck Cards. And Cards fans going to the game, they wont give up on you, if you don’t give up on them.

  25. By Clayton on Jan 5, 2010 | Reply

    The Packers beat up the cards twice this season no matter what people want to say about the situation. It seems people want to use excuses for why they lost like a true fan would but lets be realistic the Cards dont play hard all the time and that is why they wont win the Super Bowl. Whise doesnt know how to prepare the team during the week. GO PACK !!!!!!

  26. By TucsonTim on Jan 5, 2010 | Reply

    Why would a Packers fan be on this blog?

  27. By Boomtown on Jan 6, 2010 | Reply

    Reading this blog has been entertaining. I do not understand why everyone has so much hope for the Cardinals, they got man handled by the Packers twice, regardless of it being the last week of the season or not. That approach makes the Cardinals look weak, unlike the Packers who played their guys and dominated. I am actually a Vikings fan so take this to heart, I hope the Cards win because I do not want to face the Packers again. I wish the Cards the best of luck…they are going to need it.

  28. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 10, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    You were so right and I was so wrong. As you said, “It shouldn’t matter how they get there, as long as they get there.” I don’t know if I’ve even be so happy to be so wrong!

    The Cardinals continue to defy conventional wisdom. With the Wizard of Whiz at the controls, anything and everything is possible. The Vikings and Packer’s game this year have given me confidence in this team that I’ve never had in my 33 years following this team. Whiz has found the way to have his players overcome adversity within games and between games. The Packers playoff game is the latest and biggest example that the Cards are here to stay for a long time with Whiz at the helm (and I can rest easier when things don’t go so well during the marathon of a season).

    In Whiz I can now trust 110%!!!

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