Friday before the Bucs

Posted by Darren Urban on October 29, 2010 – 4:55 pm

At first, John Skelton thought I was joking. He came off the field Friday and I asked him if he had a minute, and he never thought the request was serious. But it was. He’s a popular guy these days with many fans and with the quarterback roller-coaster the Cards have been on.

Still, the fifth-round quarterback with the big arm and Fordham pedigree seems far removed from playing anytime soon, with fellow rookie Max Hall getting his chance and veteran Derek Anderson sitting in the No. 2 spot.

“Before the season started, (QB coach) Chris Miller and (passing game coordinator) Mike Miller each told me to prepare like I was going to be the starter,” Skelton said. “Pay attention like I was going to play, and that’s what I have been doing since the beginning.

“I really don’t listen to what the fans say or the media says. I am just trying to keep my head down and keep working.”

And what if he did have to play this season? I suppose it wouldn’t be a surprise if I said Skelton wouldn’t be worried if he did (and even though coaches have seen him as a long-term project and not 2010-ready).

“I think as far as mentally knowing everything, I think I’d be fine,” Skelton said. “But it’s the same thing Max faced when he first went in, your first go-round with no experience, so … we’ll see what happens if I ever do get that call.”

I don’t think he will. Not this season, barring disaster. No offense to John, but I’m kinda hoping that doesn’t happen.

— So Beanie is the starter. What will it mean? Well, if Beanie gets real hot early, he could be in the 30-carry range assuming the Cards have success. If there is a normal rhythm to the offense/game, Tim Hightower is still going to be a solid part of the game plan.

— By the way, for those complaining that Wells’ stats are skewed because of eight men in the box defensively when he goes in the game, he wasn’t using that as an excuse. “We’re running the ball successfully with the 8-man boxes, so I don’t see it as a big issue,” Beanie said.

— I find it interesting that, given the Cards’ offensive woes, they are tied with the Buccaneers – Sunday’s opponent – for 29th in the NFL with 16.3 points per game. And neither of these teams have a losing record.

— The Bucs don’t have a lot of sacks, so maybe that can bode well for Max Hall this week. Then again, the Bucs are so porous with the run defense, teams aren’t throwing against them much. Can Beanie ball make that work?

— It comes down to turnovers, in all likelihood. The Cards can’t give the ball away. That’s why they lost in Seattle, regardless of how poorly Hall played. Beanie needs to hold on to the ball. This is his moment to shine, I think.

— I have no idea why, especially since a) the passing game is struggling and b) there seems to be this probability the Cards work the run game. But I have this feeling Fitz has his first 100-yard game Sunday (and if it turns out to be Steve Breaston instead, I’m OK with that).

— Darnell Dockett was fined $15,000 for his fourth-quarter late hit in Seattle (the one that extended a late drive and basically nailed the Cards’ coffin). There were no fines levied on the the Seahawks who looked like they might have hit Hall with a helmet-to-helmet shot.

Well, the Cardinals haven’t lost back-to-back games since 2008. They have shifted the running back depth chart. Hall should be in a better place now that he’s at home. The defense is coming around (and playing an offense that isn’t exactly the Greatest Show on Turf, although they are the best team in the NFC). Plus, the Cards have got the black unis for Halloween. Just don’t let things get any more scary than they need to — right Beanie?

Until Sunday …

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60 Responses to “Friday before the Bucs”

  1. By Michael on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    I can’t wait til the day comes that John Skelton gets his first start. John I myself and alot of other fans I know have faith in you. Go Cards!!!

  2. By "Corner-Stone" on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Darren Urban-Please tell me that Coach Whisenhunt has reflected on his playing days as a Tight End and at least gave Ben Patrick “A Mere Simple Thought” it’s gonna cost me sleep if he hasn’t!(All this “Scuttle-Butt” about Max Hall and Chris “Beanie” Wells and Larry Fitzgerald, and not even HONORABLE MENTION IN REGARD TO BEN PATRICK…..,Please at least a Blog, possibly on “Tight End Relevance/Irrelevance”!?!

  3. By Darren Urban on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Cornerstone —

    RE: Patrick

    Not sure what you want me to write. It is what it is, and I don’t think it’s the tipping point to this offense right now.

  4. By brad oneill on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    i predict hall throws for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. (the reason for the two touchdowns is the cards tendency to throw near the goalline when they should just run it in.)

    i see beanie and hightower gaining 185 yards combined.

    I see our defense stepping up for a lights out shut down performance, something like the 85 bears.

    then i wake up sunday morning and have to watch the real game. gasping as special teams drops punts, being impressed with the stoutness of a defense put in far too many holes. and being thankful if we just manage that last drive to hit a 48 yard field goal with the last 3 seconds ticking off the clock.

  5. By Lloyd Rajcoomar on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Love the Cards however time and time again they pass on huge opportunities.They had the opportunity to sign Bulger but went with Anderson.Skelton was better to me than Hall and is a fan favorite but then again who are we right.They could have got Housh for less than a million and failed to resign quality guys although they did pick up some good replacements.They can make the playoffs easily but I don’t think Max is their guy I was so happy to see this writeup on Skelton.I live in NY close to Fordham where Skelton was the quaterback I hope they give him a shot sooner than later.A lucky missed kick by Jan of the Raiders gave us a win, a fumble to the endzone gave us a win against the Saints and a pick in the endzone gave us a win against the Rams all by the Defense.We need offense like asap someone save us.

  6. By ross on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply


    I must say, you are one of the best in the biz.

    Keep it up.

    You always answer my stupid hightower questions, and I really appreciate it.

    You deserve a raise, my friend.

  7. By bobF on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply


  8. By Cardcountry on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Beanie it is on you buddy. TEAR IT UP!!!!! I have a good feeling about this one, so make it real Cards. Send the Buc’s home dissapointed. Defense keep it consistent like you have been and I think the offense is going to be on their game and finally putting some good drives together resulting in scores. I hope we run the ball well especially against a team with the second to worst run defense. This could be a great confidence booster that our team could use, especially with Minnesota next. Coach Whiz I am behind you, get the troops pumped and protect OUR HOUSE!!

  9. By Cardcountry on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Oh, and corner-stone. I do think that we need to integrate our tight end more in our passing game. Being that Mad Max doesn’t have the greatest arm I think we should really start incorporating some more pass plays with Ben in the equation. When you think about the team that uses a tight end a lot and has a lot of succes doing it ( Indianapolis Colts ) are very potent. Granted I know Peyton is the QB, but it seems tight ends seem to sneak out of the pocket very well unnoticed and can be a huge factor. Just an idea that I am sure Whiz has thought about plenty of times, but maybe would help Max settle in especially early in the game?

  10. By micky on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    During the preseason, i saw SKELTON play way better than HALL… I hope he gets a chance or something…

  11. By Jason on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    What preseason were you watching?

  12. By Chuck on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    It is perplexing that Whiz, a former TE, doesn’t call more passes to the TEs.
    Look at what other teams have accomplished with their TEs.
    Adding them as weapons just gives the opponents’ defenses another person to cover.

  13. By Nick Pepe on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Big game. Got to win at home! I think there will be a few chances to exploit downfield via play action. Got to connect on those!

  14. By kyle on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    thats funny that you said that about fitz getting his first 100 yard game of the season cuz I said the same thing just yesterday!.. weird

  15. By Dre on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply


    The first game MAX started in was against the Saints. Beanie only had 35 yards on 20 carries. A lot of Hightower supporters pointed this out including you. What you guys failed to mention was Wells and Hightower’s yards per carry that game was pretty much identical. I just hope Beanie gets the same support that Hightower got. I remember Edge getting bumped after a 1200 plus yard year in ‘08. I don’t know what goes on here…I mean how a rookie takes your spot with a 2.8 yards per carry average.

  16. By Darren Urban on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Dre —

    RE: RBs

    I know, Dre. If we all just listened to you, all would be well.

  17. By tguinn89 on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    This is definitely off topic but is there any way we can get in contact with one another I’ve got a project I wanted run by the team and you seem like the man to talk to. Thanks Darren

  18. By Darren Urban on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    tguinn —

    RE: E-mail

    I can be reached at

  19. By AndyStandsUp on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Exrtemely important game in the Cards season. I think it will foretell the rest of the year.
    This game can’t be the Cards of 2010 so far, it has to be the Cards of 2010 to be.
    These ain’t your Daddy’s Cards, same NEW Cards!!

  20. By cardsalltheway on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Wow, a piece on John Skelton. Good job Darren, but I thought most fans were still clamouring all over Max Hall since he’s a native AZonian.
    “He’s a popular guy these days with many fans and with the quarterback roller-coaster the Cards have been on.”
    John Skelton became popular to me while watcing the first preseason game against the Houston Texans when he…”enjoyed a successful NFL preseason debut, completing five of six passes for 84 yards, leading the Cardinals to two late touchdowns as the Cardinals defeated the Texans, 19-16.”

    After that game Skelton inexplicably got demoted(go figure?). Not good for the confidence of young QB’s Ken, and I don’t care how the other guy practices b/c I prefer gamers. Maybe he Cards coach thinks John Sketons uncle(part Houston Texan owner) fed his nephew Johnny some inside Texan defense information which helped him or negated J. Skelton’s performance?…

    “Skelton completed the cardinal comeback from a 16-0 deficit as Arizona scored 19 unanswered points in the final quarter for the victory. On the game-wining drive he completed four of his five pass attempts, including a short pass to Jason Wright which turned into a 15-yard scoring play with 1:53 remaining to provide the winning margin.”

    I would have all the confidence in the world if J. Skelton got in the game, it’s just to bad the Cards coach has none i.e. Skeltons demotion after his great performance mentioned above. Skelton is bigger(see down the field — less passes blocked at scrimmage line), stronger(arm strength for throwing down field to WR’s — stay in games after being sacked), and just as fast as Max Hall or a mila-second difference.
    Skelton is one play(concussion) away from becoming the 2nd string quarterback and when D.A. plays 3 or 4 consecutive games like he did at the beginning of the season more and more fans will be wanting Skelton to start.

  21. By Darren Urban on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Cardsalltheway —

    RE: Skelton

    Wow. It’s amazing you actually see something in a positive light, since I don’t believe I have ever come across anyone more negative than you.

    I could run down the reasons Skelton is where he is, but a) I have done so repeatedly and b) you don’t seem to care for my reasons anyway.

  22. By Gang6230 on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    cool deal Cards fans this week the Cards turn things around, its not easy being qb in any team in the nfl but the one who is able to bounce back from failure
    are the great ones. i say the Cards win this one. and Seattle losses to Oakland
    which will eventually lead to the showdown in tempe two weeks from now.

    GOOOOOO CARDS the vikes are not playing well and favre is not doing too good
    lets us hope the cards dont do to him what they did to steve young, retire him

  23. By TW VIKE on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    I predict a Tampa Bay Victory.

  24. By jahstone on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    I predict the Vikes will get blown out this week!!!

  25. By cardsalltheway on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, If/when Max Hall continues to look bad/not throw for any TD’s, fumble, get sacked, taken or carried out of games etc…and D. Anderson takes over, does Max Hall deserve to stay in front of J. Skelton on the depth chart?

  26. By Darren Urban on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Cardsall —

    RE: QB depth chart

    That I don’t know. That’s definitely a “let’s cross that bridge when we come to it” issue.

  27. By cardsalltheway on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve always liked Ken W., until this season.

  28. By Khardz on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply


  29. By T Goody on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Derren, do you know of any special teams changes? Or are they planning on running roberts on punts? they should give Nique a shot at the spot

  30. By Darren Urban on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    TGoody —

    RE: PR

    Roberts will remain back there, I believe.

  31. By Dre on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    DA, Max or Skelton…right now it’s Max’s chance and hopefully he does something with it. I know I need a statement game from this team so bad its ridiculous.

    I am getting so sick of people in my fantasy league picking up player and defense each week because they are matched up against the Cardinals. How bad is when everyday people are reacting like they are aganist your team…Lets get good Cardinals.

  32. By shawnsass on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    hey is there anyway we see the newly promted cb on the field this weekend. i know were mixing it up now. i just like to see what the young ones got.

  33. By Nest on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    It’s protect the nest, not protect our house!

  34. By brad oneill on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    I am not ready to give up on max yet. hell i wasn’t ready to give up on matt or da for that matter. I thought skelton looked great against houston as well but then his next few appearances were less than stellar. so lets not crown him the next great hope yet.

    If max falters i think jamarcus russel might be the only hope that is available. yes he had some trouble with the purple drank, but you put a guy in the right setting especially one that has had a come to Jesus moment like jamarcus and he just may turn himself around.

    all indications were he was working hard in oakland before they released him he just had too much baggage.

    but before we go that route i need to give max two more opportunities. That could be shortened to one if he fails miserably sunday.

    success for max in my book would be a 65% completion percentage no interceptions on his first two drives, and some successful scoring drives.

  35. By cahongisto on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply


    Man I know text doesn’t really carry tone or inflection but you seem to be getting fed up with the posts this season… might i suggest vacation? haha let one of these crack pot fans do your blog while you go suck up some sun in hawaii or something man… oh by the way I sadly missed most of sundays game due to work but what little I did see makes me wonder if we made right personnel moves at all during the off season on offense while your right that the defense as their working together is getting better and better just sadly they end up out there so much they get tired and disheartened… anyways were not even half way yet and the back half off our season is soft guys so don’t be downers on darren or the cardinals I know i can be a pesimist but I’d like to think with 3 out of our 4 remaining division games at home and teams like the vikings and cowboys which are just continuing to steam roll down hill we can maybe steal a few and make a run at this and we need to support our team if we want that not rip em like we all like to do… alright thats my peace and again darren go get a massage or something take dockett to the spa and do an interview there if nothing else its comical and youd be less likely to chew out the dumbies on here man haha

  36. By Darren Urban on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Cahongisto —

    RE: Vacation

    Unfortunately, no days off this time of year.

    I should probably refrain from responding to comments at 11 p.m. on a Friday after a long, long week.

  37. By BucFan on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Even though i am a buccaneers fan i also a optimist, so first off allow me to say this Sunday will be a lost for Arizona. Listen and understand my reasoning. The cards are outta whack and the QB situation is HORRIBLE at best. This does not bode well against a secondary that prides themselves on making plays on the ball when given every chance. tampa bay has the 6th ranked pass d and 3rd most picks for a reason, understand that. Larry is a great reciever but aqib talib will handle him. I believe tampa will stack the box and stifle the run because the cards pose no passing threat. Bucs get their gound game going with Blount. This could be ugly..Tampa wins 28-10

  38. By jahstone on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    It’s loss not lost…and Talib? C’MON MAN. You are the one who’s lost!!!

  39. By hebrew on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    To:Darren&The big Red Nation, The teams that make the most mistakes lose. Mistakes and not the personal has hurt us. We have a good team &can win on most Sundays if we curtail mistakes &sieze the moments.

  40. By hebrew on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Please excuse my spelling.

  41. By shannonrobinson on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Lloyd, when the team signed Anderson, Mr. Bulger was not available as he was under contract and on the Rams roster. The Rams were never going to make Bulger available until the Cards signed their veteran for QB. Jaworskey went too far and did a Jaws number on our starting QB – he was very insulting to say Max doesn’t have the ‘skill set’ when he was himself a streaky and sometimes irradict passer. Hope the offensive line can protect Max and they can run the ball.

  42. By carlo7000 on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    so even this hayes wont be activeted??
    we dont have haggans probably so i can see hayes playing and make lb rotation and maybe sometimes using washington as a pass rusher.even if he is not good against block he is really fast and can make some damage

  43. By cardsalltheway on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    I’m sorry if I ever came across as though I didn’t believe you, that’s not it. I’m not unlike a good number of other fans that don’t agree with Ken W. and each week its looking more and more like the Cards coach made a mistake. I just don’t think OTA, summer camp, and practices should be the tell all as it seems Ken W. takes them in selected situations/for certain players, especially toward M. Leinart who had been classified as “OUR GUY.” There are countless NFL players in the past that weren’t the best practice players but certainly showed up on game day. Warren Sapp recently pointed out that not much hitting is done during practices for fear of injury so there is a limit on the info. gathered. I also don’t think that the amount of love a player gets from other players is that important. I don’t care if all players dislike one player for whatever reason(gay?) as long as that player can show up on game day. The Cardinal organization would benefit if the Cards coach were a bit more like Brad Childress of the Vikings.
    And I’m sure there are others as negative as me if not more so, I guess you could consider yourself lucky they don’t post here. Although I am a fan like any other and usually don’t believe in the term “fairweather fan,” I’m not a season ticket holder nor did I buy a Leinart jersey after Leinart became “OUR GUY” after being a 2 year understudy to K. Warner/retirement and then got cut.

  44. By Darren Urban on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Cardsall —

    RE: Coaching

    Hey I get your frustration. But it’s funny you bring up Childress — you do realize there are a lot of people in Minny who believe he is terrible? I don’t know if he is or isn’t — I’m not there — but I guess it comes to perspective.

    And you are right, you are probably not the most negative out there, but you are the most negative on here. I guess I wonder, if it brings you so little joy, why you stick with “cardsalltheway.” Don’t you have an ulcer by now?

  45. By cardsalltheway on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Oops! Referring to Ken W. and his mistake in my previous post, I meant mistake(s) as in plural not singular. Mistakes = wrong decisions.

  46. By Scott H on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    While it’s kinda’ nice that the Cardinals still have the longest current streak in the NFL for not losing consecutive games, it would be even nicer to see them WIN consecutive games at some point this year. They’re not good enough at this point to lay claim to owning the division ( unfortunately ),so…they better start putting some wins together.

    In regard to Dockett’s fine…I hate to say it but until that late hit in the Seattle game, I wasn’t even sure he was playing at all. Hie name wasn’t mentioned for anything else, was it??? At least he hit somebody. I love the guy, but he has been quite invisible this year so far. I’d hate to think that getting his new deal has mellowed him out, but…he’s not doing much to prove that wrong. Darren, in your opinion, is this a situation where the coach may have to “call him out” in some way to get him going?

  47. By jwit on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    I have a good feeling about this game… very pivotal but the Cards will make a statement this Sunday… and I’m ready to see what it is


  48. By cardsalltheway on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Has Fitz ever said who he thinks was/is the better QB on the Cardinal roster? To my knowledge he said he wasn’t involved in the decision making process but if Ken W. asked him who he thinks is better or if Fitz volunteered his opinion at another time wouldn’t you say Fitz wouldn’t be able to claim “no involvement?”

  49. By Darren Urban on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Cardsall —

    RE: Fitz/QB

    If Fitz has said something, he’s been smart to avoid the issue publicly, although he did tell me he likes Hall personally

  50. By cardsalltheway on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    No ulcer yet, Ihowever I’ve been unemployed as of late but start a new gig this week. If I were to get an ulcer I wouldn’t blame you, the Cardinals, or Ken W., are you happy now?

  51. By cardsalltheway on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    About Childress, I only suggested the Cards coach ought to be “a bit like Childress.” Week # 9 at Minnesota.

  52. By Dre on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren Urban –

    RE: RBs

    you know, I can make myself availble as a consultant. Since they are giving jobs to undrafted rookies, you never know what could happen…Pass the word-LOL

  53. By ross on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Whenever someone gets you down, just remember:

    What would Tim do?

    Do you know when his website is ever going to launch? It just says coming soon.

  54. By Darren Urban on Oct 30, 2010 | Reply

    Ross —

    RE: Hightower web site

    Didn’t even know he was launching one.

  55. By Jeff Gollin on Oct 31, 2010 | Reply

    Keys to this game are (1) stopping LeGarrette Blount and (2) Hall completing at least 50% of his passes and the team committing no more than 2 turnovers (preferably fewer or none).

    Blount weighs 246 pounds, and I can’t rid myself of the image of Atlanta and San Diego RB’s blacktopping our run defenders.

  56. By cardsbigredfan on Oct 31, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    The free agency for next year seems pretty big, maybe we could get Chad Pennington, Kyle Orton, mike vick, and Kerry Collins, Do you think the cards, may be able to snag one of them? i can deal with 1 losing season, if they are going to.

  57. By Darren Urban on Oct 31, 2010 | Reply

    Cardsbig —

    RE: QB

    Let’s see who is available when FA actually starts, which won’t be until after there is a new CBA.

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