Friday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on November 4, 2011 – 3:58 pm

Darnell Dockett stood in front of his locker earlier this week and did his best to answer the questions that aren’t easy to answer. The defensive tackle insisted, over and over, his teammates are putting in the work, even if the results aren’t there.

“If we are going to go down losing, I’d rather it be that way than guys just giving up on everything,” Dockett said.

Of course, that doesn’t make reaching the halfway point in the season with, at most, two wins (if they can topple the Rams Sunday) OK. The Cards are beaten up right now, with their quarterback down and their running back gimpy and their safety still sitting, among others. Those are just bumps in the road when you are winning. When you are losing, they are repeated punches to the face.

No one would have predicted Skelton vs. Feeley for this game a few weeks ago, nor how little was on the line. Clearly, the biggest storyline Sunday will be Skelton’s performance. Expectations should be tempered. He is in a much better place than he was. But, like Rich Bartel’s brief playing time in Minnesota after a sparkling preseason, Skelton’s showing in camp was camp. There’s a difference when it counts.

— I am curious to see how Beanie Wells follows up his amazing effort against the Ravens. The Rams are downright wretched against the run – last in the NFL, giving up 166 yards a game – and the Cards, especially with Skelton behind center, will probably want to use the run more. Wells didn’t have a burst to get outside in Baltimore although he was stunningly effective between the tackles. The Cards need him.

— He’s way, way under the radar, but nose tackle Dan Williams is making some plays and coach Ken Whisenhunt is happy about that. Whisenhunt, however, is still disappointed in the path Williams took to get here.

“I wish that he hadn’t been in such poor shape when we started camp,” Whisenhunt said. “It seems like now, he’s just catching up to where we’d hope he’d be. It’s obvious he’s in better shape, his weight’ is down, and he is making some of the plays we got to see at the end of the year (last season). It’s disappointing it didn’t start earlier for him, but I am glad he has gotten better.”

— Speaking of second-year defenders who have gone through rough patches, cornerback A.J. Jefferson was beat up pretty good by Anquan Boldin last week and was benched at the end of the game.

“If you are a rookie corner in this league, they are going to throw the ball at you,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “He did struggle. He’s been working hard. In this league, the only way you get better is by working. There is no magic formula. He’s applied himself. But it’s going to be every week, the rest of the year.”

Jefferson has a ton of confidence still, Horton acknowledged, “but you need to produce big plays somewhere along the line. He has the confidence, now we just need for him to settle down and make plays for us, because he can.”

— The Cardinals and Sagicor Life Insurance Company are teaming up for a holiday food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank. A collection will be taken at five points around the stadium gates and on the Great Lawn for donations of non-perishable food items and money.

— The plan is for the roof to be open Sunday, barring any crazy weather (the rain is supposed to have come and gone Saturday, if there is rain).

— One more time this season with the black jerseys, don’t forget.

— The Cards’ home loss to the Rams last year snapped an eight-game winning streak against St. Louis. The last time the Rams had beaten the Cards? Why, it was the day Kurt Warner was booed as he came off the field in 2006. That was a long, long time ago.

— Historically, Larry Fitzgerald has done very well against the Rams. The Cards could really use a big game from him this week. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since the third game of the season, and is on pace to have only around 70 receptions. On the other hand, he is on pace to have more than 1,300 yards, a ratio that would crush his per-reception average. He had just three catches in Baltimore, and just five targets. Whether it’s Kolb or Skelton at quarterback, or even if Beanie suddenly starting throwing halfback options, Fitz has got to get the ball.

Bring on the Rams.

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45 Responses to “Friday before the Rams”

  1. By justin on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply


  2. By AndyStandsUp on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    As per the exceedingly overused Einstein quote used on this blog site, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and expecting different results.” (And there’s no proof he actually said that and why do Cards fans keep using it?); how about if we we do something sanely different and win?

  3. By Mike Ellingboe on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply


    I remember the battle cry when we drafted Williams was that his work ethic was so much better than those we tried before him (in particular, Alan Branch). I get the lockout couldn’t have helped, but what’s the word around campus? Was the scouting report wrong, or is the level of conditioning at this level so much higher than what he was expecting? Kind of disappointing to think we may have another NT with motivation issues (especially with a guy like Dockett around to model himself after).

  4. By Darren Urban on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Mike –

    RE: Willams

    You are right, that was supposed to be a strength. Not sure why it has been an issue. Clearly, he’s a guy who needs the offseason.

  5. By Gilbert on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Some of u guys need to shut up about the suck for luck. It’s not going to happen. Regardless the Cards will not be last Place. Kolb is the franchise qb deal with it. Support the team or be a bandwagon cowboy fan. See how that goes. Go Cards

  6. By cards>niners on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    flying in tonight from San Diego for the game after deliberately missing the Pittsburgh game… let’s hope it’s two wise decisions in a row.

  7. By nodavis2000 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply


    You don’t think that starting Skelton is different??? Or do you think it’s NOT DIFFERENT enough???

    I know that with Porter sitting and Acho and Schofield playing more is a huge upside. (to me anyway)
    Also, hopefully Bridges starts instead of Keith. I’d LOVE for Brown to be benched for ANYONE else, but oh well…

    We’ll see if the playcalling is any different on Sunday.

    GO CARDS!!!

  8. By carlo7000 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    coach wiz said good things about batiste,why they dont put levi brown back at riight taclke and try him on the left side..who s your thoughts?

  9. By Darren Urban on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Carlo7000 –

    RE: Batiste

    I never got the sense Whiz was ever seriously considering a change at LT.

  10. By Christo on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    You got it Justin !

    Although we should probably trade the Luck pick, pick up our future LT, and a few other players . . for our NEW GM and HC.

    As Andy pointed out Whiz is determined that the system works and is unwilling to change. We’re going nowhere but down with him, just in case some have missed that fact over the past 3 years.

  11. By rio on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply



  12. By Nick Pepe on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    I just want the “groundhog Mondays” to end. As I am sure everyone else does.
    Let the Hyphen throw the option pass after a couple outside tosses.
    I don’t like to single players out, but I don’t want to hear a single reference to #75 this week. Not by the refs or the announcers.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  13. By Scharf on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Justin – Don’t post here ever again if that’s truly in your thoughts. We want this team to WIN! Instead of suck for sucky luck.

  14. By John the Draft Guy on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Interesting about yards per catch with Fitz. I wonder how much the game plans have changed over the last few years?

    Sacks sometimes have a direct relationship to the drop by the QB and how long the play develops. Warner set up and got the ball out quicker with shorter drops. The cards staple was that 15 yd in-route.

    So Darren, do you think the cards pass blocking issues are directly related to teams taking away those in-routes and quicker passes the cards use to do, forcing Kolb to hold the ball longer and get hit more. Billichek always tries to take away one strength and make a team beat you a different way. Are the cards just not adjusting/ or can’t adjust to what other teams are doing to them?
    Or, do you just think the players are playing poorly?

  15. By Darren Urban on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    John the draft guy –

    RE: Why pass protection issues

    I think the blame can be spread around. Teams may be taking away some passes, but the blocking has been inconsistent and Kolb certainly hasn’t gotten rid of the ball fast enough.

  16. By dre 1368 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    short quick passes the rams came out firing last week killing one of the best qbs in the nfl. we need to protect big John so i think there going to load the box and make him beat them. with that said i think quick passes to LSH to the flats and deep pass to keep the d honest on 1 and 10 only to open up slants to the middle by 80 or heap. good luck play tough mean and smart . go big John get us a big W and make them think about you the rest of the season to put you in. other dude to short and not quick to read plays

  17. By I'm Just Saying on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Does anyone really care if we beat the Rams? That is with, John Skelton, Reagan Ma’ui, Jeff King, Andre Roberts, Rex Hadnot, Brandon Keith, Daryn Colledge, Paris Lenon, Nick Eason, Vonnie Holiday, Clark Hagans, Stewart Bradley, THANK GOD not Joey Porter, Rashard Johnson…..Get the Picture? Long ways to go until a win means something again.


  18. By SkeletonistheMAN on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    I predict Skeleton will give a first win to this unfunctional team after 6 weeks. I’m sure Skeleton will challenge Kob. Let’s wait and see. Skeleton is the future of this team. Skeleton is the underdog. I’ve seen people saying lots of bad things about underdog people, but he will prove people wrong like Cam Newton has done. Trust me; Skeleton is the MAN IN TOWN. I feel it.

  19. By horned frog on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply


    Not quite the same situation, Bartel and Skelton. There’s a difference between unexpected garbage time in a game your team is getting smoked in, and having a week to prepare as the starter don’t you think? Actually getting reps in practice is an advantage. I expect Skelton to play as if this is his second year in the system and we’re playing the 2nd worst team in football.

    Any changes on oline?

  20. By Darren Urban on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Horned frog –

    RE: oline

    I do not expect any.

  21. By georgiebird on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    I hope Skelton does well. Some of fans on this site want to discount a good performance by Skelton because it’s against the Rams.
    Last week the Rams:
    1) held Drew Brees to a QB rating of 73.0
    2) intercepted Brees 2X
    3) sacked Brees 6X
    4) had the longest run against of 9 yds
    5) had the longest pass against of 25 yds
    If Sketon plays big in the pocket, it’s going to be an even longer year for Whiz. The days of making excuses for Kolb will be over. The best guy plays. Don’t stand in the way of progress.

  22. By georgiebird on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    The Kolb vs Skelton debate ha a very interesting twist within the Cards organization.
    Whiz was most responsible for getting Kolb-it was his call.
    But there must have been a Cards draft person responsible for selling the draft team on a QB out of Fordham- I’m sure that guy would love to have Skelton become a major story in the NFL- that of course would come at the expense of the Whiz/Kolb connection.

  23. By Chuck 1 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    As many fans complain about the Cards’ defense and Horton’s effectiveness, I found an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that discusses the improved Steelers’ secondary this season under former Steelers’ DB Carnell Lake.

    Extracts from the article follow.

    “In choosing a first-half MVP, I’ll go way off the board, even off the 53-man roster, and take defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.

    Most of us think of Lake as the cerebral four-time Pro Bowl safety for the Steelers from 1989-98. But in his new life as a rookie NFL coach, he has dramatically transformed what was supposed to be the team’s No. 1 weakness into the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense, with an average of 171.6 yards allowed per game.

    “Carnell’s really done a great job,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Thursday on the South Side. “Our secondary has played well. All you have to do is look at our pass numbers. Somebody’s doing something right there.”

    “Coach Lake deserves a lot of credit,” safety Ryan Clark said. “He’s the guy who’s had us prepared physically and mentally, who’s given us the game plans. We have some good men in here, but he’s the one that’s put it together.”

    Seriously, why is no one talking about this guy?

    Ike Taylor was a very good corner, but he’s now one of the NFL’s best, and he’s the Steelers’ best since Lake’s old teammate, Rod Woodson. He’s matching up against the opponents’ top receivers and held Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to three catches each, Wes Welker to four. Overall, Taylor has the league’s best burn rate — how often a defensive back is targeted vs. the number of completions — at 32.1 percent.

    For a comparison, Bryant McFadden’s burn rate last season was 67 percent, the league’s fourth-worst.

    And how about William Gay?

    When it became clear in Latrobe that McFadden’s hamstring would keep him out, all the talk-show and social-media rage was vented at Gay. And not without cause. His play ranged from clumsy to cringe-worthy, even though he took the field only in the nickel package.

    This season, though, Gay has been outstanding after a rough start in Indianapolis upon taking over for McFadden. His breakthrough was the primary reason LeBeau and Lake felt comfortable with switching to man-to-man coverage against Brady and the Patriots.

    This surely represents Lake’s crown jewel to this point.

    Lake worked with Gay, his teammates say, to study his tendencies and preferences. Gay wanted to be up on the line, handling receivers physically. The Steelers’ previous defensive backs coach, Ray Horton, now the defensive coordinator in Arizona, wanted Gay to stay back, as with all his corners. Lake cut him loose.

    “I’m just playin’ my game, man,” Gay said.

    LeBeau and the Steelers’ players praise Horton for his technique teaching, but they sound like they love Lake for adding that physical element. We saw it with Taylor, too, last week in chipping at Welker.

    “Ray Horton was a great coach,” LeBeau said. “The reason we wanted to get Carnell was that I had personal experience with him here and knew he was a man of great character. I also knew he was an aggressive player and that he’d be an aggressive coach. I knew what he’d be asking our guys to do.”

    There are others. Third-year man Keenan Lewis has looked so strong that he’s pushing for more duty. Not far behind is Cortez Allen, the fourth-round draft pick. Only McFadden has fallen off, now relegated to special teams after his injury limited his time with Lake in Latrobe.

    Lake, 44, has been a quick study. He left the private business world in 2010 to join Green Bay as a coaching intern, then accepted the Steelers’ offer in March. He has preferred to lay low, which is why he declined an interview request for this column. He told me during the preseason he wanted the focus on his players, and he’s obviously achieved that for all the right reasons.

    Next challenge for Lake’s secondary, especially Taylor, will be the Ravens’ Anquan Boldin, fresh off a 145-yard gem against Arizona.

    Read more: Kovacevic: Lake is Steelers’ first-half MVP – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
    My comment: Maybe Whiz should have hired Lake as the DC. LOL

  24. By AZCARDKIDINJAX on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t understand why if our QBs are mobile, no roll outs are in the game plan. Strong arms and accuracy are great. But to be stationary with our OL issues, it would buy time and wear down the defense. Just my opinion!!!

  25. By shannon robinson on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    The important goal for the offense is to get the ball to the open guy with accuracy. We’re driving a car cross country in second gear. I’m real excited about how John Skelton does on Sunday. We all know the story of seeing a pro have that breakthrough game. Connecting on third and five helps Beanie run as well. I like Coach Horton’s defense with Acho and Schofield. Let’s play good football and see what happens.

  26. By John S on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    haha that was great justin. I’m really torn on this game. This season is definitely over and winning any more games is only going to hurt them for next year, but I really want to see Skelton do good. Will be an interesting game to watch.. finally.

  27. By dre 1368 on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    press and cover that what you do not sit in zone and get killed with open loops everywhere on the field due to no pass rush nice post chuck i been saying that all year

  28. By Bill L on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I personally believe that most if not all NFL teams have enough talent, although the Cards are pushing it…….so let me assume the Cards still have Matt, DRC and a 2nd rounder……there, they have enough talent. The coaching and the system(s) stink. A good coach and a good system(s) could turn this in a year…….see SF……..but, going forward with incompetent football people and incompetent front office is………..well……..Cardinal.

  29. By Rich on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Go Cards !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. By Javi on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    hey darren well I write to ask your opinion on my so called Dream Coaching Staff for the cardinals. (If indeed the cardinals remain losing)

    HEAD COACH- Nick Saban/ Les Miles
    these two coaches would be an amazing fit for the cardinals and they could easily reach the superbowl with any of them. But ofcourse we would have to see the big game in 6 hours from now to determine that.

    dont get rid of him yet, coach K brought the steelers to the superbowl as their offensive coordinator and he would be an amazing fit for that spot. Mike Miller moves on and he goes to either a lesser spot here or another team.

    well Ray Horton didnt do anything to improve this defense in my opinion, I rather would of prefered Keith Butler. This Mike Singletary is an amazing coach and efensive coordinator as well. Even when he coache the 49ers I believed he was the best hea coach in the National Football League.

    so there it is darren what do you think?

  31. By Old Man Riva on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I know it’s too early to comment on this, but with the Futility Bowl looming ahead on Sunday, I thought it was appropriate. If the Cards or Rams “win” the 1st pick in the draft, there are totally different approaches for them to take. The Rams already have a franchise QB and need OL and WR help big time. A no brainer, you trade the #1 for either 2 or 3 top picks or a top pick and a good vet or two. In the case of the Cards, we DO NOT have a franchise QB so we draft Luck and deal with the Kolb situation someway. Cased closed. The only way to be a consistent winner in this league is to have a great QB at the helm. Get ready for Sunday and it’s almost at the point when we start hoping for losses, just to get a high draft pick. But if that happens, don’t worry, the Bidwill clan will figure out somehow to dump 2 or 3 of our developed players and start all over again. They have spent a long time figuring out the best way to make money in the NFL is to LOSE and they are so good at it.

  32. By Kurt on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    It’s very sad to see all the fair weather fans throwing anybody or everybody under the bus. This was the same group of so called fans that called for Leinart to start over Warner – The team needs to focus on the field and things will get back on track.

  33. By R Robles on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren besides Kolb being at one of Fitz’s camps was Skelton ever apart of them?

  34. By Darren Urban on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    R Robles –

    RE: Skelton at Fitz camp

    Skelton did take part in the ones at ASU.

  35. By cardsalltheway on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Must get rid of the polarizing plague once and for all.

  36. By D on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply


    Since we are almost at midseason, in order for this team to get to the playoffs next year-here is the repair gameplan.

    1- Give Coach Whiz this offseason to work with Kolb and next year. Remember he is the only AZ coach to take this team to SB. Kolb is your QB with the financial commitment made-let him learn the offense, give him better tackles and put more talent around him. R. Williams will help next year. We must not forget-it took Warner over a year to learn this offense.

    2. Extend player contracts before season ends for C. Campbell, G. Toler and The Hyphen.

    3. Top Ten draft pick -franchise Left Tackle.
    Round 3. Best Safety available. (kid from USC or Miami)
    Round 4. Best Right Tackle. Remaining draft -players drafted for Special Teams.

    4. Both Joey and Clark will not be on this team. Who ever plays better between Acho and Schofield remaining of the year can start at 1 OLB spot. Play Bradley more in Lennon’s spot to see if he will be one of the ILB starters for next year.

    5. Free agency: They may have to over pay for a pass rusher, if A. Brooks gets to free agency from SF–go out and sign him as your other starter at OLB.
    Need a 2nd WR with speed–R. Meecham from Saints probably will be available. Bring in role players like they did this year with Holiday, Eason, etc.

  37. By Born n Bred on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Is it safe to read? I guess i would prefer all the rage against the cards now then some years before 06, when people didnt care who the cards played or even what the score was, your buddy would just make fun of you for being a Cardinal fan on the school yard or work place.

    All that being said, if Skelton plays i really would like to see how this offense is ran with Skelton, because i dont see the same offense with him behind it. Will HE be under center as much, will they stick to a power run game and not stick Skelton in the shotgan all the time and just use short passes and lead draws in place of run plays. if they do, ill understand whiz a lil better.

  38. By jake on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    jeez i read these comments and wonder why some of you are fans… whining fans. I feel sorry for Urban. btw see you at the game tomorrow!

  39. By Skelton on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Say if Skelton plays in three or more games due to Kolb’s injury and he exceeds expectations. What do the Cardinals do?

  40. By Mike Ellingboe on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply


    “Easily” reach the Super Bowl with Nick Saban? You mean the Nick Saban who missed the playoffs in his two seasons with the Dolphins, and then ran out on them when the Crimson Tide job opened up?

  41. By R Robles on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks from what he’s done in practice has he gotten better accuracy wise, we know he can bomb it & stretch the field which we need to do more often.

  42. By cardsalltheway on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Because on the accidental roll-outs where Kolb is left with a perfect opportunity to complete a pass he doesn’t 80% – 90% of the time. He is horrible at rolling out even to the right side, and maybe Ken W. hasn’t got a plan for his WR’s to get open at that time. That wouldn’t surprise me a bit. I agree with you though on the concept.

  43. By Chuck 1 on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    D, I HOPE that Graves has the good sense to draft for the positions that you suggested.

    However, with his track record, I wouldn’t be surprised if he drafted:
    First pick: TE
    Second pick: FB
    Third pick: RB
    Fourth pick: Place kicker

    Well, you get the idea.

  44. By DAVID on Nov 6, 2011 | Reply

    From super bowl to the same old cards, Rams r gonna kick our ass, Iam not waiting for a win anymore because there now meaningless

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