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Props for Fitz, Feely, Campbell — and Warner’s place

Posted by Darren Urban on February 2, 2011 – 10:38 am

Profootballfocus.com — a site that breaks down statistics (like footballoutsiders.com) to try and get some perspective on players and teams — put together an all-NFC West team. Only three Cardinals were chosen: wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, defensive end Calais Campbell and kicker Jay Feely. (It’s not to be confused with Sando’s all-NFC West team, where he had Fitz and guard Deuce Lutui on offense, safety Adrian Wilson on defense, and  Feely as his kicker). The most interesting part on the PFF article was the note that only 55.38 percent of the passes thrown to Fitzgerald (who had 90 receptions) were even rated as catchable (This is where I insert a *smh*).

The comment on Campbell: “He didn’t hit the heights of 2009, but Campbell was still a handful in pass rushing situations. Remarkable that Darnell Dockett gets that much more recognition than this guy.”

And Feely: “Even taking out his game-winning performance against Denver, Feely was our second ranked kicker. Great year.”

— Speaking of thought-provoking articles, famed baseball writer Tom Verducci used his background for a fascinating piece on how baseball players are often discussed in a context of where they play, but for some reason, quarterbacks in football rarely are. As Verducci points out, baseball players who blow up statistically playing at the high altitude of Coors Field are frequently put in that context, but the fact that — for example — Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are lauded among the best in the NFL even though they play the majority of their games indoors isn’t nearly as apparent in the top QB talk.

Verducci brings up Kurt Warner in this vein, pointing out that, for as great of a postseason career Warner had, he played 11 of his 13 career playoff games indoors. The only two outside? The game at Carolina Saturday night in the 2008 playoffs (the one in which rain was supposed to pour but never did in relatively balmy 45-degree weather at kickoff) and then the Super Bowl in Tampa (66 degrees at kickoff).


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24 Responses to “Props for Fitz, Feely, Campbell — and Warner’s place”

  1. By MikeG on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren– Hope all is well!– Nice point on the QB’S playing indoors.-In your years of watching football –who are the 3 best QB’S you have ever seen????

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: QBs

    Best I have ever seen? I suppose I’d go with the guys most talk about: Montana, Manning, Brady. I’ll also say this: When Kurt was “on,” like he was many times in his last few years, that was something to watch. And I’ve never seen a better game from a QB, period, than Warner’s WC game against Green Bay.

  3. By WarnerFan#13 on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Are they trying to say Warner was only a good QB because he played 11 of 13 of his postseason games indoors? *SMH!*

  4. By WarnerFan#13 on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    That was a great game

  5. By Pheenic Cromartie on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    I would’ve thought that Ben Graham would make it as a punter.

    It would be interesting to see an all-rookie team. But anyways, good read, Darren.

  6. By MikeG on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Nice List — Kurt certainly was on in that game– passing game was operating on all cylinders that’s for sure. He had one of the strangest careers of any QB amongst Hall of Famers–and I think he will get in!!! His first 3 years with the Rams and last 3 with the Cards were something. Something how he burst onto the scene and even better how he finished. My top 3 are Montana, Staubach and Elway. The only aspect I question with today’s QB’S is –“are they tough enough” Today’s QB’S don’t nearly get hit often and hard enough because of today’s rules. They are protected in the pocket and are able to slide when they run–something that was much different in pre 90’s football!! What did you personally think of Jay Cutler bailing out of the NFC Championship Game??? I think he should of played!!! Not showing toughness and leadership that you need from that position. Especially with a Super Bowl on the line!!!

  7. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    The comment on Campbell: “He didn’t hit the heights of 2009, but Campbell was still a handful in pass rushing situations. Remarkable that Darnell Dockett gets that much more recognition than this guy.”

    Apparently ProFootballFocus doesn’t place much emphasis on run defense if they wonder that.

  8. By clssylssy on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Fitz’s 90% rating of catches “deemed catchable,” his stellar performance in the probowl and his popularity with fans are three things that would justify paying whatever it takes to keep him in Arizona. Even Stevie Wonder can see that Fitzgerald is the heart and soul of the Arizona Cardinals and the pride of Phoenix, AZ. I truely believe that the organization royally messed up when they got into their penny pinching with Fitz’s buddy Q, and while at the first of the season I believed Fitz would walk at the end of his contract for a place up north, I could see him wearing the purple and black and reuniting with his bro
    for another run at the SB. Hopefully, Whisenhunt and Grimm will be able to pull
    a rabbit- out-of-a hat drafting wise and convince the Bidwells to shake loose some cash as an investment in the future and keep Fitzgerald with the Cardinals. Without Fiztgerald I don’t foresee season ticket holders renewing their tickets or Phoenix Stadium sold out in future seasons.

  9. By Darren Urban on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    RE: Fitzgerald contract

    If Fitz leaves, it won’t be because they didn’t offer him enough money.

  10. By Scott H on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    On another topic, there is a story by Jason LaCenfora on NFL.com reporting that Butler seems likey to take over as DC in Arizona if he is offered the job. However, the story also reports that Butler would probably be the heir apparent to LeBeau in Pittsburgh IF Le Beau were to retire after the Super Bowl. Assuming this is an accurate report…let’s hope LeBeau isn’t going anywhere! Jason tends to be pretty accurate with his stuff…

    And for anyone who has been concerned about the lack of activity around hiring a DC, tell me if this is EXACTLY what you’ve been afraid of – it was just reported out here in the Philly area about an hour ago that the Eagles are naming their OFFENSIVE LINE COACH ( Juan Castillo ) as their new DEFENSIVE Coordinator!!! Local sports media are already scratching their heads and saying WTF??? This guy has practically NO experience coaching defense at any level and he is being named as their new DC!!! Given that the Eagles are another team that has been hanging out there without a DC and hasn’t been interviewing a lot of people…see where I’m going with this? To answer my own question, something like this happening with the Cardinals is EXACTLY what I’ve been afraid of! The report from Jason LaCenfora is making me feel much better at the moment!

  11. By WarnerFan#13 on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    If he leaves it will be not havin’ someone to get him the ball regularly

  12. By latch on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s just name the team the Fitz Cardinals and fire all the coaches and players and let Fitz line up and play as a one man team. Almost a $million per touchtown he got this year. What’s he making now? About twice as much as Q could get from the Ravens …..

  13. By georgiebird on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    It’s funny how Cardinal fans are hanging on any complimentary comment made by the pundits about Cardinal players. To call Campbell a ‘handful in pass rushing situations’- I wonder how many Cardinal games “profootball focus” saw. Campbell was a bust in 2010.
    When the media said the Cardinals were the ‘worst team ever to make the playoffs’, I thought Cardinal fans became wise to comments by the “experts”.
    And Verducci ought to stick to baseball and one of these years one of his predictions might even be close to being right. Veducci was somewhat acceptable when he wrote for the local New York papers.

  14. By Darren Urban on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: national comments

    I’m sure everyone will take the comments for what they are worth — just as we do with your comments.

  15. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    These things are all subjective and you could as easily find a better player for Wilson and Campbell as Paris Lenon over David Hawthorne ( Lenon had more tackles, INTs, sacks) and Kerry Rhodes over Nate Clements (same categories).
    And the baseball analogy about better players in enclosed stadiums? Brady, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Palmer, McNabb and Favre have suffered from playing most of their games in an open air venue?

  16. By Scott H on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    latch-

    Honestly – do you REALLY think that Fitz’s overall performance this past year was a matter of him being exposed and just not being that great after all…OR do you think it was more likely that he suffered – along with the whole friggin’ offense – because the QB play was so consistently poor? C’mon, dude…if you were watching the games, you have to know that the answer to that is choice B. I get your general point but your exaggeration of the point just goes into the realm of the ridiculous. Fitz is gonna get paid what he’s worth whether it’s here or somewhere else. And he’ll get it because, quite simply, he is one of the two best players in the league at his position. Don’t hate him for it. Since he’s gonna get paid regardless, I want to see the Cards pay him and keep him here. And ya know what? Right after he got his last deal, he had his best year ever ( overall ), raised his game to a whole different level during the postseason, and propelled this team to a SB. Based on that? I’d say the guy is worth the investment.

    You think Andre Johnson or any other receiver you care to name would have had a great season in Arizona last year with the immortal Derek Anderson playing the way he did??? Gimme a break…

    Two more words – Steve Smith. As of very recently, regarded as one of THE best WR’s in the game. Last season, he was virtually non-existent. Well, his skills didn’t just erode overnight and he’s not over the hill age-wise. The problem? A generally horrible QB situation and no one who could get the ball to him often enough to keep him productive. What did he have the whole season…ONE TD catch??? OK. NOW, look back at the season Fitz had with nearly the same dreadful level of play at the QB position…truth is, he still managed to have a decent season despite everything.

  17. By brad oneill on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    georgiebird- yes we just sit here and wait anxiously to wave our little flag if some national pundit graces us with his positive opinion of our team.

    Wave wave wave.

    i just hope someday the pundits label us the most knowledgeable fans because that would be really really really cool.

  18. By cardiac cardinals on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    FFF!

  19. By latch on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    Scott H.

    You are correct. I was only in jest trying to point out the general feeling I get from the opinion that it seems lots of people think paying Fitz more than Peyton Manning will fix whats wrong. I think Whiz is trying to fix what is wrong and I feel sure he knows better than all of us what needs to be done and has to work with lots of things that the fans don’t know about.

    If overpaying players would make championship teams; the Dallas team would have won the last 20 Super Bowls.

    One last point, Warner would have made any WR in the league look better…….

  20. By tylerdurden on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    Thank you for posting this article. It continues a theme that Ken Whis does not know how to truly asses talent and put that talent in the right positions to succeed. We can continue to watch saga’s like Steve Breaston who the Cardinals did not believe was a good receiver turn into one basically on his own through dedication. We watch as Ben Patrick, Beanie Wells, Calais Campbell, Greg Toler, Alan Branch, Gabe Watson, Darryl Washington, Deuce Lituai either be cricitzed or benched in favor of Whis overachieving favorites and for older players past their primes. I don’t want to even talk about the QB situation. I mean Whis picks Derek Anderson and Max Hall over Matt Lienert and John Skelton….brilliant. The Cardinals will not get to the promised land until Whis learns to be a better talent evaluator and stops the internal dramas.

  21. By jocards on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    It seems like a lot of folks believe that last season’s collapse was all due to Whisenhunt’s play calling and/or the poor job that the coaching staff did over all. I really think that is misguided. The team was bad on both sides of the ball and I am not saying that the coaching staff did a great job, they didn’t but the players are the ones on the field, shouldn’t they be held accountable? Certainly scheme plays into things and I think it’s fair to question the team’s scheme/game planning. However at the same time the players are the one’s not making plays over and over again. On defense for instance, the tackling was just horrible…Bill Davis didn’t miss a single tackle but a lot of players certainly did. Often times the team didn’t seem very interested. There was a perception out there that if you got on them early they’d quit (in fact a 49er player said that about them) & that did seem to be the case at times & that is unacceptable. If that happens it can certainly indicate a problem with the coaching staff to a degree but what does it say about the players? As I’ve stated before every coach and every player needs to be a lot better than they were last season but in my opinion to believe that the problems of this team would all be cleared up with different coaches is just kidding oneself.

  22. By Cert 33 on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    The defensive problems have been evident even in the two playoff seasons. Defense definitely choked in the 4th qtr. of the Super Bowl and choked in the second half of the Green Bay playoff game big time. It seems that they play a little better when well rested by an offense that is not commiting a lot of “three and outs” (Haley-Warner offense). Last year, they were left out on the field a lot. Bringing in Jeff Fisher as Head Coach would help in all these areas. I believe that John Skelton would be adequate at QB on a Fisher-led team that would not be as dependant on the QB position.

  23. By Scott H on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    latch –

    Hopefully, the team won’t have to over pay tremendously to get him. Fitz will want to be paid fairly and he absolutely should be. But he isn’t a mercenary like Dansby was, ya know?

    And you are absolutely right about Warner. I would never argue that. Warner didn’t make Fitz great but it sure helps to have a QB as good as he was. Fitz once spoke of feeling spoiled by the accuracy of Warner’s passes….turns out, we were ALL spoiled by them!

  24. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Scott and Latch,

    Agree with your thoughts, but wanted to add that Warner looked much better himself when he had Holt and Bruce and Fitz and Q than he did in-between. Even with their less than impressive defense I think NE might still be playing if Brady had a legit star at any skill position with him and I’m convinced STL would have represented the West in the playoffs if Bradford’s WR’s ability matched his own.

    Really hoping we don’t go the route of an average or over-the-hill veteran over Gabbert if he’s available. I get the win-next-year or else mentality but passing on his potential is just too short-sighted for my liking.

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