Friday before the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on September 23, 2011 – 5:02 pm

Talking to Patrick Peterson earlier this week about special teams – specifically, blocking field goals – and his other specialty of punt returns came up. I was down on the Cardinals’ sideline when Peterson grabbed the Redskins’ punt on the final play of last weekend’s game, and while there was a slew of bodies, it looked like he might have a seam to create a miracle, and I told him that.

Peterson, sitting on a stool, chuckled. “If someone would have blocked the punter,” he said, “I was gone. I was gone.”

Sure enough, when I went to watch the play on DVR, it was Washington punter Sav Rocca – one of the ex-Aussie Rules Football players, like Ben Graham, a big man – who actually tackled Peterson to end the game. It was too hard to tell if Peterson would have been able to go all the way, but …

Ah, time to live in the now. The Cardinals are 1-1. They need to win this game in Seattle. The Seahawks are reeling after just two weeks, and frankly, just don’t have the talent. They have faced two pretty good defenses – the 49ers are still good on that side of the ball – but the Cards’ defense needs to make this a game where it comes out feeling better about itself.

People will talk about the noise up there, but the bottom line is this – if you are the better team, the crowd won’t make the Seahawks win. The Cards have their silent count and their experience. Kevin Kolb doesn’t seem worried about anything but the Seahawks’ defense. Good sign.

— The Seahawks are coming off a game in which they played Pittsburgh, which figures to help both teams. Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said his team can go through the film and glean quite a bit because the Cardinals are basically playing the same defense as the Steelers.

But defensive coordinator Ray Horton also thinks it will help his players see exactly what each position should be doing in certain situations, all while watching video of the upcoming opponent. Already, Horton said, his players “marveled” at how fast the Steelers played on defense. That’s what happens when everyone already knows what they are doing.

— Tight end Jeff King was fined $7,500 for his nasty-but-touchdown-saving facemask on Washington punt returner Brandon Banks. Safety Kerry Rhodes was not fined for his accidental hit on an official; Rhodes said his hand was actually slapped away by a Redskin and that’s how it ended up touching the official.

— It will be interesting to see how the injuries play out Sunday. The biggest question of course will be Beanie Wells and his hamstring. Someone asked me if he’d be limited in his carries if he plays. My thought is, if Beanie has to be limited to play, he probably shouldn’t play at all. If he doesn’t, I am curious to see what Alfonso Smith can bring to the table, and how Chester Taylor looks.

— Of course, LaRod Stephens-Howling could also carry the ball. He’s also a game-day decision, as is linebacker Daryl Washington. I’m feeling much more confident those guys are ready to give you something Sunday. Getting Washington, even if it is in spot duty, is important for this defense.

— A quick side note. A big-time Cardinals fan from back East who works as an animal cruelty investigator just lost a close friend who was a police officer. Nick mentioned how all police officers need to be appreciated – his friend Joe Szczerba was killed on a routine disturbing the peace call – and, as I was thinking, so too do firefighters. I know there was a lot of that a couple weeks ago for the 9/11 ceremonies – so many police and firefighters had their lives touched by the tragedy – but also on a daily basis simply because it is the job they have chosen. To all of them, thank you.

— Former Card Alan Branch is playing well as a starter in Seattle. Does this offensive line — which is doing better than most think — know enough of him to neutralize Branch? That will make for an interesting subplot.

— From the there-are-no-sure-things-in-the-draft department: The Seahawks took linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth pick of the 2009 draft and many at the time believed he was the surest thing in that draft. Here we are, a couple of years later, and Curry has been demoted to second-string.

— The Seahawks have a 6-foot-4 cornerback named Brandon Browner. He was a four-year star in the Canadian Football League. Now they are asking him to do it in the NFL. It isn’t working – not yet, anyway. According to, the Steelers threw 10 passes Browner’s way last week – and completed every single one (for 194 yards). He also had a 39-yard pass interference call against him. And that’s the guy they keep saying is going to cover the 6-foot-3 Larry Fitzgerald? Fitz said all the right things this week about Browner, but I would guess he’s got to be jacked up over the possibility of such a matchup.

I always like the trip to Seattle. I like the city, like hanging out there. It’s always a better visit after a win, though.

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Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »

24 Responses to “Friday before the Seahawks”

  1. By AndyStandsUp on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Wouldn’t it makes sense to start Taylor and Bradley, if Wells and Washington is unable to go? (Just because of the crowd noise?)
    What is the Cards record in Seattle in the Whiz era, cuz I think this game is going to be tougher than people think.

    Condolences to Mr. Pepe and the family of the fallen officer. Things like that (and the death today of former Brown OL Orlando Brown (the guy who was hit in the eye by a ref’s flag), makes me question my own mortality.

  2. By Darren Urban on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Starters

    I would think Bradley would start if Washington cannot. Same with Taylor/Wells.

    As for Whiz in Seattle, he is 2-2. Wins in 2008 and 2009, losses in 2007 and 2010.

  3. By dylan on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Thx for the updates! Did all you other Card fans see that Mike Sando picked Seattle to beat the Cards!!??

  4. By Nick Pepe on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Darren, and while this may not be the proper forum, I pray St. Michael look after all first responders.

    That being said, DWash being back would be huge. That almost went unmentioned last week. The D stood up enough at the right times to Leo us in the game. Somehow I think those big bursts would have been limited if he were playing. I liked the hustle of Scho, and Bradley got his feet wet.

    But good things need to happen Sunday. We need to step on someones throat, and not be biting nails in the 4th Qtr. This is the perfect week for it. Of course a healthy Beanie and DWash helps.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetimember Member
    Always Remember

  5. By georgiebird on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Good article on Cards noticing the speed at which Pittsburgh plays defense after reviewing Pitt-Seahawk game.
    The only problem I have with this is Horton seems to be a reactive type guy and not a proactive type. Horton should have been preaching the importance of recognition and speed to the defense from day #1 (it should not have been a revelation).
    We need coaches who can figure out the game while it’s in progress. Anyone of us can figure out the game after it’s over.
    The players come from the same colleges and all go about the same size for their positions. Coaching has got to be a big, big part of team success in the NFL. Let’s hope that this year our coaches can be a cut above.

  6. By Darren Urban on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Horton

    Not that I want to take away from your drumbeat of what’s wrong, because you clearly enjoy it, but what if he was preaching that all along and they just didn’t get it? You aren’t in the meeting rooms, you don’t know how it’s gone down.

  7. By Scott H on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Really, this should be a game we should look forward to the Cardinals dominating simply because of how awflu the Seahawks have been. But…I just can’t give in to that. Gotta see it happen before I can really believe it can happen.

    On a personal note, I went to the game in Seattle last year ( wearing Cardinals colors, of course ) and got verbally abused after the Seahawks won easily against the pathetic effort we put on the field that day. Well, I’ve been pissed off ever since and I want my honor defended! I want to see a major league beat-down in the great northwest on Sunday. Go get ’em, boys! Make me proud to wear the colors again!

  8. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    “if you are the better team, the crowd won’t make the Seahawks win”
    Go Cards.

  9. By footballdad79 on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    As a military firefighter, I really appreciate your comments above……Thank you

  10. By daniel on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    nine-o needs to dominate !!!!!! GO CARDINALS !!!!!!!!!

  11. By BIG RED on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Just win for your fans, CARDS !!!!!!!!!

  12. By Gary on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    My Dad,who passed away last October,was a policeman in the town I grew up in. He did it for 21 years and loved it.He was even shot on my 20th birthday during a jewelry store robbery.When I saw him in the ER he said Happy Birthday to me,not worried about himself.He was very generous,caring,loving man.I’m sure he is grateful that you appreciate what policemen and firemen do for humanity.

  13. By Nick Pepe on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    C Berman just gave fair warning, picking Hawks 24-21…..dont overlook this team or take this one for granted.

  14. By Ryan on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    I will be there Sunday. GO CARDS!!!

  15. By cdacardsfan on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    My son and I went to the game last year. Drove 360miles. Being the only red shirts in a sea of blue was tough. The seahawk fans spit and tormented me and my eleven year old son whos a dihard Fitz fan. They ruined my sons first NFL experience. Although we wont be there this time. I would love to see the Cards. dominate and put these hippie Seattle fans in their place. Good luck guys.

  16. By EDijkstra on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    I saw the Cardinals in Seattle a few years ago (probably 2008) and it was the worst experience I’ve had at a football game. It was uncomfortably cold and damp (big surprise), the fans in my section stood for the whole game so I had to also, and the cheering was almost deafening. Finally, the Cards lost and it wasn’t close.

    I don’t like the Seahawks or their fans. Go Cardinals!

  17. By MIKE G on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Looking for Dockett to have a nice game this week. The defense better be ready–Seahawks are desperate. We need to see more pressure from the D this week on Jackson. Must try to get a fast start and make this team play uphill. No Gallery this week for Hawks–hopefully we can get some edge pressure. What is the maximum # of carries do you see Chester Taylor getting from Whiz this week if Beanie cant go???? Is 12-15 unrealistic???

  18. By Darren Urban on Sep 25, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Carries for Taylor

    Impossible to know. All depends on how the game plays out. Unrealistic, however? No.

  19. By Nick Pepe on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Scott H! Love the post. Hope we all are happy at 715 est tomorrow!!

  20. By Nick Pepe on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Footballdad: as a citizen, thank you!

  21. By clssylssy on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t know what the weather is suppose to be but, sometimes Seattle can be brutal with all the rain and bone chilling cold which our team isn’t use to, not to mention the down drafts at Qwest Field (or whatever it’s called now). I think this factored into our loss last year more than Max Hall. Just because the “experts” say Seattle is ranked 31st by the NFL and is suppose to be a slam dunk, don’t believe it for a minute. They may not be good but what they lack in skill they make up for in passion. We’ve been the underdog on numerous occasions and it has only served to drive us on to victory. This is only the 3rd game, things are coming together but I don’t believe in “sure things”. GO CARDS! STAY FOCUSED ON WINNING THEM ONE GAME AT A TIME!

  22. By georgiebird on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    You are correct- just about everything we get for consumption should be taken with a grain of salt. The coaches know what they’re doing.
    And it would be foolish for the players and coaches to be saying, publicly, that they will be simplifying the defensive playbook so they can understand their assignments better.
    Here’s what I enjoy- Cardinals winning and Cardinals winning some more. I would love to be proved wrong by the Cardinals. Until then let’s say I’m negative but accurate.

  23. By Code on Sep 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren —

    Do you think the Cards would be better suited playing the 4-3? It seems like they have the right personnel to do it whereas with the 3-4 they are without the LB’s needed to effectively run the scheme. David Carter and Dan Williams could play the inside with Dockett and Campbell at both of the end spots; Schofield on the outside along with Washington and Bradley in the middle.

    I mean, speed kills and it’s time for the Cardinals to knuckle up and get younger. I applaud Whizs’ and Horton’s ‘theory’ of not playing younger players but that really only works when you have the depth to do so. The Cardinals really don’t have the depth and the younger guys could probably play well — if not better — than the older vets who have lost a step.

  24. By Darren Urban on Sep 25, 2011 | Reply

    Code —

    RE: Scheme

    I don’t know if they have the middle linebacker to do that. Ultimately, it’s about players making plays to me, more than a scheme.

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