Friday before the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on September 7, 2012 – 5:25 pm

It rained all morning at the Cardinals’ Tempe facility Friday, all the way through practice. Yes, the Cardinals open up at home Sunday, but since a team from Seattle is the opponent, maybe the precipitation was fitting. I know that personally, it felt odd to have a steady downpour in early September. It seemed to dovetail a little bit with the uncertainty around the Cards going into the season.

Even coach Ken Whisenhunt noted “there is a lot more unknown with our team,” between how the new offensive line will hold up to John Skelton as cemented starter for the first time (remember last year, when Kevin Kolb was healthy, he was put back in the lineup). But Whiz did say “I think everyone is always optimistic going into the first game,” and I think that’s true. There is going to be a sense of us-against-the-world right now in the locker room. A lot of teams go down that road (even good teams that aren’t criticized much) but the Cards can definitely find bulletin-board material if they so choose.

— Beanie Wells ended up on the injury report today with a hamstring issue. He told Kent Somers he’d play, but he is listed as questionable. Interestingly, Wells has just missed three games in the last 30 the Cardinals have played – and each one has been against Seattle. He sat out the meaningless finale last year in UoP, but the game he missed in Seattle – because of a hamstring – ended up being crucial when the Cards lost by three and could have used their star back.

“It was frustrating for me in that particular game having to sit back and watch, not be able to help the team,” Wells said.

Veteran Chester Taylor was Wells’ replacement and couldn’t do anything. (LaRod Stephens-Howling, who had 93 yards rushing in the second Seattle game, was injured too.) Alfonso Smith did a decent job in relief, but the Cards certainly could have used Ryan Williams. If Beanie is limited or out Sunday, Williams will be there this time.

— Talking to Wells before the hamstring problem, I asked him how his recovery from his knee was. “I am getting there,” Beanie said. “I’m not going to say I am there yet, but it is definitely coming.”

— Williams, talking about his own recovery from his patella tendon issue: “I feel like I am a couple weeks away. With this injury, you are still going to feel some lingering pinching, things of that sort, I say since the Oakland game, maybe a week before, I have been really feeling like myself. I have made some moves in practice I have just been waiting to make. I feel like I used to, making cuts, and getting my football awareness, my football sense up under me.”

— Sam Rosen is doing the play by play for Fox for this game. Why does that matter? Rosen was doing the work in each of the four games Patrick Peterson returned a punt for a touchdown – and he was in the booth the last game of the year when Seattle visited, the game in which Peterson should have had a fifth TD if Seahawks punter Jon Ryan hadn’t somehow tripped him up with a fingernail or two.

— Lot of questions about this, but don’t forget: the NFL moved a handful of kickoff times this season on late games, and this is one of them. Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m., not 1:15 p.m. Make sure you check the homepage if there are ever any kickoff time questions.

— Whisenhunt said he had addressed his team before the Hall of Fame game about awareness of the replacement officials. There has not been and won’t be a follow-up. “It’s not something you talk about,” Whisenhunt said. “You don’t want to get too wrapped up in that.”

— We’ll see how rookie right tackle Bobby Massie and new left tackle D’Anthony Batiste hold up Sunday. Batiste, remember, has just four NFL starts, all at guard, all in 2007. Nothing changes in the scheme, offensive coordinator Mike Miller said, only some of the ways the Cards will protect it. The defensive front and the looks the Cards will see more or less dictates if the Cards will give one of their tackles help. “As (offensive line coach) Russ (Grimm) always says, on each play, someone is going to have a tough block,” Miller said.

— Defensive end Calais Campbell has six sacks in six career starts against the Seahawks. Why does he do so well against them? Don’t ask him. “I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know,” Campbell said, chuckling as he struggled to find a reason. “I try my hardest every time I’m out there. I don’t know how to answer that question – but I’m looking forward to seeing if I can do it again

— Campbell also led the league with nine passes batted down at the line of scrimmage last season. Wonder if 5-foot-11 Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson knows that?

— Another guy who has always killed the Seahawks has been Larry Fitzgerald, including last year’s finale when he exploded for 149 yards on nine catches and nearly single-handedly willed the Cards’ offense to a win. Fitz needs seven receptions to reach 700 in his career, and whether he gets it this week or next, he’ll be the youngest player ever to reach that mark. For his career – 16 games total – Fitz has 102 catches for 1,371 yards against Seattle, his top marks against any one franchise.

— Speaking of Wilson, defensive coordinator Ray Horton said he has the same mobility as last year’s Seattle starter, Tarvaris Jackson, but “he gets the ball out faster.” That said, Horton said he believes the Cards’ cornerbacks have more depth than last year. One thing to watch: Who the third cornerback is in the game. William Gay might start as No. 2, but based on the last couple of preseason games, the Cards may use Gay as a nickel and get rookie Jamell Fleming on the outside.

— The Cards need to be stout on the ground, which could be harder with the scrambling ability of Wilson. In the finale last year, Marshawn Lynch had 86 yards on 19 carries, and Leon Washington added 78 on seven carries. Now they have rookie Robert Turbin in the mix. Putting Wilson into uncomfortable, long passing situations starts with slowing the run game. Lynch is questionable with a back issue, but most Seattle writers are guessing he will play Sunday.

The 2012 season is on deck.

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30 Responses to “Friday before the Seahawks”

  1. By hummer53 on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    Good luck to all the guys and coaches. Have a healthy and successful season. The defense has a chance to be really special but it starts Sunday. I feel good about John. There’s something about him that the offense has a certain calm about them. We know the skill guys like Larry,Beanie,Ryan,etc will be ready. The line has a huge chance to quiet the pundits, it’s your time to step up. Come out strong Sunday and let’s protect the nest! Birdgang !

  2. By red c rider on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    I can’t recall a season opener I have been more anxious about than this one. So many uncertainties this season indeed. Still, don’t count Wiz and the Red C out! We proved em wrong before.

  3. By BIG RED on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    Good Luck! Big John Skelton make us proud, Cardinal Nation!!!!!!!!

  4. By georgiebird on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    Cards should win the opener 17-13. With a rookie QB, ‘hawks will not be able to outsmart our defense- and our defense is athletic enough to make plays. My fear is that Matt Flynn gets in the game and begins to dink and dunk passes all over the place and outsmarts our defense. TDs for PP and Floyd.

  5. By Dylan on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    I am very excited about this game and even bet on a Cards victory. However, I thought Russ Grimm has underperformed and was disappointed to see his extenstion. I hope he proves me wrong but what has he done for us?

  6. By wonderingwhy on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    Why Beanie why? I hope you can pull it together we need you to run. Sending positive thoughts your way….

  7. By scubasteve12 on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    That last seattle home game was the first game ive ever went to outside of preseason. That game blew me away.

  8. By vivek on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    There’s tons of bulletin board material out there! and ESPN writers ranked Cards 31st and at the bottom of NFC West. Only time will tell…of course, Go Cards!

  9. By Danny Heksolson on Sep 7, 2012 | Reply

    This is it! the wait is over dear Cardinal nation! We must suppert the team and it starts sunday against a division rival who has improved!

    The better of the luck to all the players and coaches and you will see this year is going to be very special, I can feel it!

    John Skelton will be our QB and he´ll be fine!! GO CARDS, I am always with you sonce 1978 when I was 5!! 🙂

  10. By Derrick Haskan on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply


  11. By rojobird on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    No turnovers and we should be fine… No more excuses.. Skelton is time to step up and give us a convincing WIN… play smart and use all your weapons … =) LOVE MY CARDS =)

  12. By Sarah on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Good article above in the Seattle paper.

  13. By cardsalltheway on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Beanie Wells ain’t in game shape and shouldn’t be relied on to carry the ball much. Ryan Williams is unproven, this will be his first official NFL game after having major knee surgery so he shouldn’t be relied upon for too many carries. LaRod Stephens-Howling hasn’t seen much action in preseason either so he ain’t in game shape and shouldn’t be relied upon to do much.

    If any of the three above get the load of carries would be rolling the dice. I hope we use William Powell and Anthony Sherman the most and take turns with the other 3. That would be the wise thing to do.

  14. By cardsalltheway on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    I hope you got some points because we are the underdog.
    Seattle -2.5 At Arizona 40.5

    Only one other game is expected to score so few points – Vikings and Jaguars at 39 points.

  15. By Nick Pepe on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    I have a good feeling about this one. Skelton needs to start a game like he used to finish them last year. Is a TD on the opening drive of the season asking too much? Wonder when the last time that happened? Well, I’m calling the Hypen to score on our opening drive tomorrow. Heard it here first.

    Wouldn’t mind a series that consists of threee straight runs. Need to show we can run it to slow the rush down a bit.

    On defense, release the hounds. Early and often. Excited to see them after the progress it made during the second half of 2011.

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  16. By John the draft guy on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Got my jersey ? Check
    Got my parking pass? Check
    Got my ticket? Check

    Finally, let’s play some football.

    I know I have been critical of the cards draft and qb situation, but I have to say taking my seat in u of p stadium, watching the big cardinal tunnel be put in place, the team comes running out, fire shoots up, the introductions take place as Fitz comes running out, the noise is deafening, they line up for the kickoff, everyone is on their feet, and boom the ball is kicked.

    Yeah, at that moment, every cardinal fan believes. You believe Skelton can move the ball, you believe Beanie can’t be stopped, you know Fitz will make some big plays, you are as loud as you can be as the defense takes the field. As Campbell or Acho sack russel, the place will be rocking.

    Yeah, there is nothing like opening day!!!!

    Go cards.

  17. By John the draft guy on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply


    This is my 21st season. Just something to know, it never gets old and it still blows me away. Get out to more games and get those season tickets!

  18. By Peter in Canada on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    This is a must win game. With better teams around the corner we can not afford to go 0-1 against a team with a rookie QB.

    georgiebird – I too am more afraid of Flynn than Wilson. I remember that start for the Packers last year. However, we are going to face better QB’s than Flynn this year so it had better not matter whether he gets in or not.

  19. By AzDesertRat1953 on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    I wonder if we will hear that song when Wilson gets sacked for the first time:
    “Who Let The Dogs Out!!!”

    Defense is going to be the X-Factor Sunday afternoon at the Cardinal Nest!

    GO CARDS!!!

  20. By brad oneill on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Dylan- if the line keeps sacks in the lower 50% of the league this year I think Russ Grimm will have finally shown something because that will be an accomplishment with our injuries. But he really hasn’t shown me anything that leads me to believe he should be a line coach or assistant head coach in this league. of course he doesnt have to impress me, I am just an idiot fan but when will we see some fruits from his considerable efforts? anyone?

  21. By buddy the town winner on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Kolb is only better than mcnabb. Vick took his job via injury.and here he is behind skelton aka 66.9 qb rating.I think we must do what we need to and get matt barkley. Peterson will win us 4 or 5 so we might have to trade up to get him.I know we could win going run first and and a young punter with a big leg but whiz has stated he can’t go run first something about the team needs an identity to do that.why do we have two backs? Ryan williams could have been a left tackle!what’s russ grim doing? The evidence is there.he’s the winningest coach but he has all things the others didn’t get money, a stadium, and a second chance.he was 33-38 when the cards were eliminated last year. I really hope he sends one of todd haleys kids to college.

  22. By johnnybluenose on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    buddy the town winner. please organize your thoughts before posting. and, as good as peterson is, he is not going to win four or more games for us this year.

  23. By Changing desert temperature on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Please Cards don’t let this bird gang down. We need a W no matter how we get it. A win is a win is a win! GO CARDS! What u got!??!! Go D!

  24. By Cactus jeff on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    Good job Darren….good job John the Draft Guy….I too have been critical, but I have parking pass, tickets, and jersey reading to go! I for one don’t want to draft a QB next year. Go Skelton! Go CARDS!!!

  25. By Eric Hutchins on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    I am hoping I wake up tomorrow and this whole “skelton starting” thing was just a bad dream, or a ploy by the coaches to make Seattle overconfident. Its not too late. STAT KOLB.

  26. By Evan on Sep 8, 2012 | Reply

    With our tackle situation, it would be wise for the Cards to run shotgun and hurry-up more often than not against the ‘Hawks. It’ll give Massie and Batiste time to adapt while placing Seattle’s defense on their heals, opening up opportunities for us to run and giving Skelton time to operate, too.

    This game seems to carry a lot of importance for some reason, setting the divisional tone while maintaining our dominance at The Nest. Just hope Whiz manages the game to our strengths while minimizing our glaring weaknesses. If so, 20-17 Cards. If not, I predict a long season ahead…

    All I ask is that if we go 1 and 15, the win is a crushing victory against the ‘9ers on MNF by 30 or more.

  27. By card62 on Sep 9, 2012 | Reply

    To all Cardinal Fans heading to the game today my wish for you is a great time and a Cardinal victory. I hope I am wrong, but I have zero faith in our OL so I think our offense will be ugly to watch today, and I think Pete C. is too smart to punt the ball to PP so that puts it on Ray Horton and our defense against a rookie QB, and hopefully M. Lynch will not play. Bring the heat Ray early and often and hopefully R. Wilson never gets comfortable and our defense can set-up our offense with short fields for most of the day.

    Go Cardinals and so glad its football time in America

  28. By buddy the town winner on Sep 9, 2012 | Reply

    Peterson will win two by special teams atleast two more on defense. He is the team.

  29. By johnnybluenose on Sep 9, 2012 | Reply

    hi buddythetownwinner. we won and i’m very glad we did and peterson played well but he was not responsible for the win, at least in my opinion. if any one player won that game it was probably kolb with a lot of help from our defense.

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