Friday before the Eagles

Posted by Darren Urban on November 11, 2011 – 4:59 pm

As we sit on this flight back to Philly for one final two-day trip of the season, it jogs the memory of the last trip to Philly – which was only one day. That’s because the game was at night. A Thursday night to be exact, Thanksgiving night, when the Cards were knocked around pretty good, 48-20, and everyone wondered just what the Cardinals were going to be able to do in the playoffs a month later.

It was 2008 of course, and while the Cards had trouble keeping it on the road in that stretch run, we all know what they did in the playoffs. And that was the last time the Cardinals played the Eagles as well, hosting them in the NFC Championship game when Tim Hightower worked the perfect screen pass for the go-ahead touchdown. Funny thing was, even though the Eagles dominated the Cards every which way in that regular-season game, I always thought the Cards would win the playoff game.

It was that kind of season.

This season is different. Both the Eagles and Cards are struggling. The best subplot of this game – Kevin Kolb’s return – probably won’t happen. Kolb is officially questionable, but he hasn’t practiced at all since the Friday before the Ravens game. Besides, with all the problems he has had on the field, I don’t know if you would want to put him in this maelstrom of drama if he wasn’t totally healthy.

Instead, the Cards are trying for an upset. No one seems to think the Cards have a chance, although if they do win, even with all their troubles, they’d have the same record as the Eagles. Who would have thought that a few weeks ago?

— No Kolb would leave John Skelton of course, and while he has gone 3-0 in his home starts, his two road starts were not so good last season. He struggled mightily against both the Panthers – who were so bad they had the No. 1 overall pick, even after beating the Cards – and the 49ers.

— Before we even get to Sunday, Cardinals play-by-play man Dave Pasch has a huge assignment – he has to call the Penn State-Nebraska game for ESPN. Pasch knew his assignment last Sunday, just when the Penn State scandal was beginning to come to light.

“It’s just being prepared for anything,” Pasch told the New York Daily News. “Who knows what’s going to happen from now until Saturday, let alone from kickoff until the end of the game?”

A big job, but Pasch is so good he’ll pull it off. One subplot is already off the table – Urban Meyer, normally the third man in the booth with Pasch and Chris Spielman, won’t be there after his father passed away this morning.

— How will the Cards defend Michael Vick? Someone actually asked defensive coordinator Ray Horton if he would change personnel just for Vick, a query that brought a chuckle from Horton. He wasn’t about to reveal state secrets. Besides, containing Vick isn’t easy regardless.

“You can spy him, you can account for him, but he is going to get out because he is so elusive and, unless you have played this guy … you see it on film and you think, ‘I can get there,’ ” Horton said. “And you don’t.”

— Cornerback Michael Adams, who was close with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, said DRC was hurt that the Cards traded him away. DRC seemed to echo such a sentiment talking with Philly reporters this week.

“I’ve got a bit of a chip on my shoulder since the Cardinals were the team that decided to trade me,” DRC said. But, he added, “I’m going to go out there and give it my all, like I do every week. I’m trying to treat this game like any other; I’m not going to let it affect my play. It’ll be nice to see some of my old teammates and friends, but at the end of the day it’s business.”

— If the Cardinals can keep it close, the Eagles can be had late – Philly has been outscored 60-24 in the fourth quarter.

— Of course, that only matters if the Cards keep it close. The first quarter is Arizona’s Achilles heel, getting outscored 48-23.

— A piece on says that Levi Brown is tied with the Rams’ Rodger Saffold for the most sacks allowed this season, with 8½. Obviously there is no true way to measure exactly what happens – the story acknowledges there are times when it is tough to tell, and there are times, for instance, when Kolb has dropped back so far he is out of the pocket. But everyone knows Brown needs to play better.

— The great under-the-radar news for the Cards: How much better running back Beanie Wells feels. Actually practicing full today means a lot, not only to Beanie but to this game. The Eagles can be run on (Matt Forte cracked 130 yards against them Monday) and it’s a crucial part of the Cards’ offense these days.

One last thing: My most memorable moment in Philly. No, it wasn’t Adrian Wilson crushing Donovan McNabb and breaking his ankle on the first series of the game, only to have McNabb play on it and throw four touchdown passes. No, this was the 2001 game, and going down on the field at Veterans’ Stadium and watching Jake Plummer hook up with MarTay Jenkins on an improbable Hail Mary-esque TD pass with 17 seconds left to beat the Eagles.

Man, I’ve never heard such a loud stadium get quiet so fast.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »

24 Responses to “Friday before the Eagles”

  1. By Phoenixraven1 on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    Great blog D! Get’em Card!

  2. By Scott H on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    LOVE the pic of Fitz! I remember that day very well. Probably THE best day of my life as a Cards fan, even more so than the SB.

    At this point, I see NO benefit whatsoever to Kolb playing in this game. He hasn’t practiced for two weeks…obviously, the foot is still sore…the team is saying game time decision but what decision is there to make??? They should let Skelton start, period. If anyone is familiar with Kevin Kolb, it’s the Eagles. The Eagles, however, are NOT familiar with Skelton at all and that might just give the Cardinals something to go to war with this week. I’m sure Kolb is dying to play, but…if he’s hobbled, then he doesn’t give the team its best chance to win. I really do hope the team is just putting up a smoke screen with having Kolb as a GTD. He should NOT be the starter this week.

    And, yes, I really do just want to see more of John Skelton. There. I said it.

  3. By Nick Pepe on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    The Plummer to MarTay game was the last game in Philly that I attended. Remember it well.

    Yes- we cam run on them. I also think hitting backs and TE’s on Sunday is crucial, the Eagles LB’s couldn’t cover me! This could open things up on te outside if successful.

    Namdi is very “handsy” in the defensive
    backfield, seems to get away with a lot. Hopefully, the call it the same way on both sides and give PP the same “benefit of doubt”. DRC’s next tackle would be his first of the year, and he has been exploited working on the inside (nickel) slot.

    Shady McCoy is their best player and must be contained. Vick can be had. If you hit him early and often, his patience wears thin, and his passes become forced. He is tiny, and can’t afford to take many shots. If we get hits on him he will get frustrated.

    Keep an eye on King Dunlap, starting at guard for the Eagles. He’s as close to a turnstile as you can get, and at his height Vick will have to move around to see over him, or hit him in the back of the head with a pass. We should be able to get pressure, O-Line is not a strength
    of the Eagles.

    We can win this game.

    Darren, enjoy your stay in the First State. We
    are not big, but we are proud. Hope something
    comes to fruition this weekend.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  4. By Chris B on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    I love youtube:


  5. By Nick Pepe on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    I was in same end zone, opposite coroner. Thanks for posting

  6. By AndyStandsUp on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    A couple of replies:
    – The Thanksgiving game was a stinker, but most assumed it would be. It wasn’t until after the New England debacle when Whiz made the team practice in the cold rain that changed the team’s attitude IMO.
    – Pasch is good, if not generic, but jeez, I miss Tom Dillion. Remember when he would do a ASU home game Saturday night and then an East Coast Cards game Sunday morning?
    – The way to correctly stop Vick is stay in the gaps, but remember when Schofeld admitted last week that, at least on one play, he ignored the coaches and rushed the passer?
    – DRC is stealing lines from Anquan Boldin about this being just another game. Hopefully, not the same results.
    – Brandon Keith is just as bad as Brown in allowing sacks. The same website had them the lowest ranking tackles earlier in the season.
    – Rams had the highest rushing YPG against last week and Skelton ended up being the leading run gainer.
    – (Darren, who’s the guy in the sweats in the video beating the heck outta Jenkins with a towel? Corey Chavous?)

  7. By Darren Urban on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands –

    RE: Towel-hitter

    Yes, that is Chavous. Interesting on that video to see Vanden Bosch not in uniform either. I want to say he got hurt earlier in the game.

  8. By Eric Y on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    Nick’s comments really got me excited for this game. Winning in Philly would be huge for this team right now. This could be Todd Heap’s coming out party. Go get em’ Cards!

  9. By Peter in Canada on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    I also remember that on our final drive we had a fourth and one. I remember Tim going right and just beating the tackler to the first down marker. I also remember on the screen that he met a DB on the one yard line and crashed over him into the end zone. I really thought we had blown our chance with giving up the big lead. I think it was that drive that punched Warner’s HOF ticket.

  10. By bobf on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    DRC – “I’m trying to treat this game like any other; I’m not going to let it affect my play”

    Let’s hope so. That way whoever he’s covering should have a hundred yard day.

  11. By cheesebeef on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    that 2001 game was freaking ridiculous. I think KVB had a strip, fumble recovery for a TD also. Me, my brother and our friend Jimmy pretty much lost our minds watching that last play in a bar called J.P.’s in Santa Monica, literally running out into the street and all of us falling down laughing hysterically. One of the few games where the Cardinals Cardinal’d another team.

    man, Eagle fans must have HATED Plummer during that period. I remember him beating them at the end of the game in the ’98 playoff run, a big comeback win on opening day throwing a TD to a diving Rob Moore late in the fourth in ’99… another huge comeback against them later that year to bring us to 6-6 when plummer hit Frank Sanders after scrambling out of the pocket and this one… it was like 4 huge comeback, late game heroic games against philly in three years.

    god we suck this year. 🙁

  12. By ross on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Hightower’s best three plays in cards uni came on that final drive. The fourth down around the edge, the third down where he trucked dawkins, and the screen. Great memories.

  13. By clssylssy on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Great article Darren!
    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who remembers the heroics of Jake-the-Snake! Still proudly wear my #16 Plummer jersey…sadly another player who bit the dust at the hands of the “organization”. This game is winable…they aren’t the “dream team” they thought they are so…GO CARDS! PULL OUT ALL YOUR MOVES AND BEAT THE EAGLES…pretend they are Ravens in green shirts!

  14. By Jeff Gollin on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Best explanation of “how to deal with speed” was given by a NJ Devils hockey announcer who said the key to stopping the very talented Washington Caps was “to deny them time and space.” In other words, to stay in their face and not give their skill guys (like Oveshkin) room to “out one-on-one” you.

    Translating this to Sunday’s game – the Cards will have to avoid staying on their heels waiting for bad things to happen or they will be eaten alive.

    (Note – Devils lost to the Caps 3 – 1; though I thought they played their best hockey of the season only to let a couple of mental lapses beat them).

    (Note 2) – Weather in Philly this Sunday is supposed to be perfect for football – crisp, clear fall day; 61 degrees).

  15. By TucsonTim on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Great pic of Fitz. Certainly, the loudest game I’ve ever been to in my life. Warner never got the credit due him for “The Drive” which put the Cards in the SB. TH had a nice way of showing up in playoff games.

    NFL network on Playbook NFC disected a poor play by the Cards and called out Levi “Jones”. Guy is having a tuff year(s). No talk of his contract, I guess.

    Could tomorrow be Bradley’s coming out party?

  16. By Rugbymuffin on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    “Obviously there is no true way to measure exactly what happens”

    Uh, yeah there is, watch the games, and see him play poorly week in and week out.

    Levi “Bust-a” Brown is horrible.

  17. By joez on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    cards offense line stinks but they can get clean and look stunning if that group wants to, players and coaches. Its up to them if they want the big dollar jobs next year cause i feel that if they dont mike bidwel will release the whole lot of them. Jobs are on the line for 2012 with a 2-6 record. As they should be.

  18. By nodavis2000 on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    I just watched on my NFL Mobile the “Cardinals vs Eagles” preview. The first guy dissected two bad offensive plays/reads by “John Skelton”. One was a sack and the other was the first saftey. Guess what??? BOTH OF THEM WERE FROM LEVI BROWN!!!
    On the sack, he blocked the wrong person. It’s when Skelton was pumelled up the middle.
    On the safety, the entire line is close together, but Brown is like 3 feet away from the Guard. AND THE GUY BEATS HIM ON THE INSIDE!!!

    We need help BIG TIME!!!

  19. By nodavis2000 on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    ***And I meant that we need help with better TACKLES***

  20. By Christo on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Why are we making excuses for Brown? Is Whiz directing this? Can’t let go of a mistake.

    Why hold anybody accountable? Whiz, Grimm, Levi . . . just keep doing your thing guys. It’s working, the system works, we just gotta clean it up . . . /sarcasm.

    Team is pathetic and has been for YEARS at this point.

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

    Thank you for the taking the time out to talk to us Darren, it was a pleasure.

    Let’s Go Big Red. No one giving us a chance tomorrow, just like in the NFC title game. Perfect.

    Will be at the hotel in the morning, sending the team off with a two person pep rally, any Cards fans in the area who care to join, hit me up!!!

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

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

    By the way, was that screen pass in 2008 the last successful screen pass that we ran?? Love my Cards, but would to see us execute a screen. Keeps a D honest. ….can’t wait for tomorrow. I had a fellow Elk say to me, “I hope you the guts to watch the game here”. …. My reply ….. “same guts I had in the NFC title game”. They really think we have no chance, like their playing a HS team.

    Game can’t come soon enough/

  23. By BIG RED on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Hey nodavis2000 keep playing your games. Tell us how the season ends, but don’t don’t come back till the season is over. Just hoping Skelton makes us winners on this coming sunday against the Eagles. I can hardly wait to see all those Cardinal jerseys with the Big #19. Coming Soon!!!!!!!!

  24. By BIG RED on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    I told all you fools John would surprise everybody, his our QB of the future. I’ve been saying it all this time. Kolb to dallas where all the trash belongs.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: