Friday before the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on December 30, 2011 – 4:02 pm

The last week of the season – in a playoff-less year – is always so strange. The grind is the same all week, just like every other week. Then the game happens Sunday, and you can almost hear the squeal of the brakes as everything comes to an abrupt halt.

There’s always some cleanup involved. I’ll be down in the locker room Monday talking to some of the players who are scheduled to be free agents and getting a sense of the offseason to come. It’ll be different. This is the first time in three offseasons quarterback won’t be the major story. After the ’08 season, the team had to re-sign Kurt Warner, which took a little time (and a visit to San Francisco for Warner). After ’09, it was the Warner retirement speculation (which ultimately happened). Last year, everyone knew the starting quarterback wasn’t in the locker room (plus the lockout was going to mess with things).

I’m not 100 percent sure who the starting QB will be in 2012 – if you ask me on Dec. 30, 2011, I’m saying Kevin Kolb – but I feel pretty good in saying he is already on the roster.

But there is a game left, one more weekend to barrel into full speed.

— Skelton will start one last time against the Seahawks with a chance to put the slow start thing in the rear view. One thing I do like about Skelton – he hasn’t sugar-coated his issues. Of the five sacks suffered in Cincy last weekend, “either three or four of them were probably on me, whether it’s not throwing a hot throw or not throwing a safety sight or just holding it too long.”

“Like anything, with experience and time, (quicker starts) will come,” Skelton said. “At the same time, there are mistakes that even a rookie shouldn’t be making that I’m making out there sometimes.”

Why, he is asked. “That’s the million-dollar question,” Skelton said. “I don’t know.”

The Seattle defense is pretty good. It hasn’t allowed more than 19 points in a game in more than a month. It gave up just 10 to the Cards in the first meeting (although kicker Jay Feely missed a couple of field goals that day). Skelton will be tested.

— Honestly, I was a little surprised that Patrick Peterson could do as much as he did today. After the Cincinnati game, I was sure there was no way he’d play against Seattle. Now it seems like a legit game0-day decision.

— Linebacker Sam Acho has six sacks, which is the most for a Cardinals’ rookie since … wait for it … Mark Smith had six in 1997.

— Fitz needs 38 yards to reach 1,300. He needs 138 to reach 1,400. I expect the former, not the latter, but if he ends up with 1,400 yards, I may say, given circumstances, it’s his best season.

— If the Cards beat the Seahawks, that’ll be five straight home wins. The franchise hasn’t done that since 1976.

— If you are looking for some of Ron Wolfley’s annual Cards awards – including some highlights of the team’s coolest plays of the year – watch this piece.

— I have not heard about the roof status for Sunday. It’s supposed to be 75 degrees, which is right at the general cutoff they have for the roof (an outside temp of 75 gets it hotter in certain parts of the stadium). I am expecting a game-day decision.

— Linebacker Joey Porter told Kent Somers he wants to play in 2012. I guess that doesn’t surprise me. I think I might be surprised if he can find a team. He really struggled this year when he did play.

— It’s telling that DC Ray Horton called Richard Marshall “my MVP” because what he allowed Horton to do with the defense. Of course, Calais Campbell and Adrian Wilson and Daryl Washington had very good years. But the guys who are versatile and become key components, those catch the coaches’ eyes and Marshall has done just that.

Marshall is a free agent and is open to returning. He’s also one of those players that, not mincing words, got screwed in free agency because of the lockout and the CBA rules on restricted FA the last couple of years. Word is it bothered him in Carolina. But he’s been a model locker room man. He’s up studying video with DB coach Louie Cioffi all the time (I’ve seen him in there) and he didn’t blink when asked to play safety. You want an under-the-radar guy on this defense, Marshall is it.

— I have had a lot of people ask me if I think 8-8 is a successful season. I answer like this, in context – because you always need context.

Before the season, I thought this team was going to go 9-7 and win the division. I obviously didn’t see the 49ers coming. In the end, 8-8 is pretty close (assuming the Cards win Sunday) to where I thought they would be. A successful season is making the postseason when you think you can, and the Cards rightfully felt they could have before the season. Hard to claim success when you don’t make there.

They lost in Baltimore when they shouldn’t have. I remember being down on the field for the end of the Rams’ game, thinking that it would hurt this team so much if they fell to a bad Rams team, even if the Cards too were bad. Peterson took care of that, and off they went.

Being around here when the Cards ran off the road, walking the halls when the team had lost six straight, to think they’d even sniff .500, I mean, it was hard to think that. On the doorstep now, success might not be the word I’d use. But I’d echo coach Ken Whisenhunt: I do think it’d be significant.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Friday before the Seahawks”

  1. By Eric on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Great writeup, Darren. Hopefully Marshall will be back next year because you can never have enough cornerbacks.

  2. By DavefromNY on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply


    A little early to be talking draft, at this time. What are the chances that the Cardinals look into drafting Donta Hightower, MLB, Alabama Crimson Tide?

    He is a monster and would certainly be a key in stopping the run, since Lenon is getting older!

  3. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    DaveFromNY –

    RE: draft

    Just too early. I don’t know anything about the guy. We will see.

  4. By Chuck 1 on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    What is a “a safety sight”?

    If management changed their mind about the position of the roof and decided to open or close it, how long would it take?

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Chuck 1 –

    RE: questions

    1) I believe a safety sight is basically a safety valve pass.

    2) It takes about 15 minutes to open/close the roof.

  6. By Scott H on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Wow…didn’t know the team has not had 5 straight home wins in over 30 years. Who would have thought it would happen THIS year??? If it happen, that is.

    The Seahawks are a fiesty team with good defense, yes. But I say screw ’em. Let’s give ’em a taste of OUR defense and send them home with bloody noses. We’ve put the 49ers on notice for next year…time for Seattle to get the same message.

    I will readily admit that Marshall has been a pleasant surprise to me. At the time he was signed, I saw him as merely another mediocre-level free agent that and that he would be nothing special. Got that one wrong, I guess. Sounds like a good man to have around.

  7. By Mal on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply


    Just for fun:

    If the whole season of 16 games were condensed into halves, and quarters, just like one big game, then this game Sunday against Seattle would be the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. With our record at 7-8, then we’re behind in the score, but with a chance to tie.

    So, whats that mean? In this analogy, it means its ‘John Skelton time’, and this is the game where JS puts it all together and finally plays really well all the way through.

    We’ll see… makes a nice story-line, anyhow.

  8. By AZLOGAN on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren. Just wanted to say great piece! I’ve never been so excited for a game! Comin down all the way from Canada to hopefully watch the Cards win!
    Comonnn ARIZONAAAA!

  9. By ron werner on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Darren who do u want for our Starting QB nxt year ??

  10. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Ron –

    RE: QB in 2012

    Ask me in August.

  11. By AndHeSansSupper on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Come Sunday another Cards season will be in the books, a sad day indeed.

    The NFL will hold regional predraft combines before the big Indy meat market, just so you know, the National Football League ensures there is NO offseason.
    Darren, are the Cards going to have you at these workouts or will you be reporting on these?
    There is no rest for the wicked.

  12. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Supper –

    RE: combine

    I will be at the combine, like very year.

  13. By Brandon LA on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Beating the hawks would be a perfect end to this season. Go Cards!!!!!!

  14. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    hey darren, who do you expect to be let go this offseason

  15. By Darren Urban on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Rodgerscro –

    RE: roster

    I will go over that early next week.

  16. By Dre 1368 on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    See you at the game will be There with my 11 on rooting for big John to beat the seahawks and see the team finsh with a strong finsh to 2011 and the start to a promising 2012 go cards good work d

  17. By AndHeSansSupper on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I was questioning about the regional workouts for players not selected to go to Indianapolis that start at the end of January.
    I don’t expect the team to pay for you to report on these new practices that will keep the NFL relevant, but was curious if you will be posting stories.
    These are separate of the Indiana combine.

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Supper –

    RE: regional work

    Uh, no.

  19. By in fitz we trust on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    marshall and peterson both should have another interception on the stat sheet, marshall dropped a clean one, and peterson an that bad call on a dub, still was a great season. im glad that we will atleast have an offseason to follow, we need to be agressive in FA, since we are out our 2nd draft pick. just for fun, my mvp this year on our team was sam acho, hes a smart player who took over by storm, and between him and daryl washington and schofield, im most excited about our young LB core. my biggest bust for the year has to be rob housler, maybe it was the school he was drafted out of, but 10 catches all year!!! cmon man, bouce back next year…. we will finish 8-8, 10-15 on the draft board! my wife is from seattle an i was born in phoenix… twice a year ( atleast ) we will be sleeping in seperate beds lol

  20. By WVcardFan on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Assuming the Cards win to go 8-8, THEN we can all play the “what if” game.
    WHAT IF the refs don’t botch the Victor Cruz fumble? 9-7
    WHAT IF Early doesn’t fall down? 10-6
    WHAT IF Adub is where was supposed to be in Washington on 4th and 5 and supplies the over the top help on Moss’s flag route? 11-5
    WHAT IF there is no second half meltdown in Baltimore? 12-4
    WHAT IF Kolb makes the right read in Seattle and hits a wide open Roberts underneath instead of forcing it to Heap and getting picked by Chancellor? 13-3

    Of course, the unfortunate flip side is that we can easily WHAT IF this team to 0-16 as well.

  21. By Nick Pepe on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Why all the questions about next year, when there is still work ahead for ’11?
    We know the playoffs are out of the picture,but a statement can still be made ( I reference Scott H’s post about bloody noses).

    Then when the dust has settled we can talk about FA’s, draft, QB situation..etc….

    But for now, I want a win against the Seahawks and happy, healthy, and safe New Year for all Cardinal fans.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member
    And I swear I am losing weight in 2012 !!!!!

  22. By JohnfromOz on Jan 1, 2012 | Reply

    Still celebrating the possibility of a 50/50 season?
    Still the feeling that to win half your games is somehow a plus?
    Yes, the improved performance in the second half of the year is fine – but the bitter truth is that although the Cardinals won half (assuming they win tomorrow) they will still have lost half.
    As I have stated here so often, winning half a season is mediocre. Keeping a coach who has lost half a season with a not too bad roster is a cop-out. Fans accepting the 50/50 win and loss situation as being “okay because we did better in the second half of the season” are fans who will never demand the very best from this team, and who will always accept second or even third best.
    To be truthful, only a few positives have come out of the season. Generally, performances, team and individual, have been accepted as near enough, thanks. Fitzgerald and Peterson have been the only real pluses to come out of the year, with perhaps Skelton starting to show return for trust shown in him.
    The coaching staff and administration should not have chased Kolb, should not have cut Ben Graham and should take full and sole responsibility for a poor return to fans.
    I know I am only a poor humble ignorant but I have followed, played, coached, umpired and been an administrator in many sports over 45 years. The rules and codes may differ, but the basics of sports administration, coaching, winning and losing remain the same. One basic is that winning half your games just doesn’t cut it. Accepting this is gutless and accepting mediocre performance. And the buck stops squarely at the foot of the coach.

  23. By Eric on Jan 1, 2012 | Reply

    I’m doing my pre game coffee before heading out to UOP and scrolling through the articles and videos on here. Here are the things I am proud of from this year and the things I hope are addressed moving forward.

    I am dam proud of the class of 2011 rookies. PP is our next Arenas, maybe better, Sam Acho is our next Joiner. OS is showing the league why we drafted him hurt, and David Carter is going to push Dumpster Dan into a back up role or new heights as well. I can only imagine, if we ran the ball enough, what Ryan Williams might have done this year.

    We are all very proud of you guys, and very impressed with the way you never quit. I hate to call a 7-8, 8-8, whatever it ends up being, year impressive, but it was. I think Whiz was pushed to the brink and we are finally going to let the young guns get wet sooner now, hopefully a trend that continues.

    Things that still need addressed or replaced? The offensive play calling is HORRIBLE. I’m not sure how much Whis is still involved, but it is pretty bad. 40+ passes vs. Less than 20 carries is not the way you want to go, especially with a struggling QB. I’m not even sure what else to say on that, other than it sucked this year.

    Left and right tackles. I said it earlier in the year and it finally happened, they are going to get Kolb hurt. He took some nasty hit this year, and had little or no time to step into a pocket. Let’s hope he gets over his concusion problems because I really believe he can be an effective QB if given the chance.

    Levi Brownhas had his chance, we the fans have said he sucked since Graves passed on Suggs and Peterson to draft that bum, so could you finally do us all a favor and dump the guy? Kieth isn’t much better.

    Finally, I still have no idea how Rod Graves has kept his job since 1994, but he makes some of the absolute worst personel decisions in the league. We the fans are so tired of seeing Steelers and Browns cast offs, although Eason had a decent year, it usually has not worked out. Although, and maybe unfortunately Ray Horton saved Whiz’s job, I still think we don’t have an effective GM and wish someone had the courage to change things in that department. Chauncey Stuckey. What a freaking waste.

    I think if we get ourselves new LT, RT, bring in an effective #2 WR, and add depth at D line and LB, we have a shot at being VERY GOOD.

    GO CARDS!!!!

  24. By Christo on Jan 1, 2012 | Reply

    Darren any sense, or vibe yet on the teams plans for FA? Will we be aggressive? Bidwill came out and mentioned that he gave Whis everything he asked for last year, will he do it again?

    Dockett mentioned a team meeting and seeing players he knows he won’t see again . . . any insight to the importance of those players? Ie Marshall, Toler, Campbell.

    Also really interested in Grimm’s security? The OL has remained poor. LT is a huge problem for us. Who falls here? Brown? Grimm? Neither?

    Anyhow, hope you stay active well after the game. The NFL truly has no off season anymore.

  25. By KDubADub1324 on Jan 1, 2012 | Reply


    RE: proud of….

    Suggs was drafted in 2003, bro.

    I know Levi Brown isn’t the greatest. Drafting him is one thing, because he was an unknown at the time and high expectiations, but what urks me so much is how he’s kept the starting job and how AZ has not sought to build a solid OL as a whole. I get that fans are gonna beat this dead horse about not drafting Suggs or Adrian Peterson forever, but please try to get over it. Peterson is tearing it up in MIN, but he’s had a good OL there. Whats to say he would have done the same here?

    We might as well say the same about every other elite pick that has been drafted that the Cardinals COULD have had. Are we gonna hate on them for passing on Brady in 2000 too? Or Manning in 98? how about Ray Lewis in 96?

  26. By KDUBADub1324 on Jan 2, 2012 | Reply

    FYI…before anyone throws their hands in the air about my previous comment, i DO realize they did not have chance at Peyton in 98…sarcasm was behind that last paragraph…

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: