Getting mental with the block

Posted by Darren Urban on September 18, 2012 – 10:41 am

Ken Whisenhunt flashed a knowing smile, because he understood. The question was if there was a part of him — even a small part — that can be a little more calm in these days of near-automatic field goal kickers because he has a special teams unit that is arguably the best in the league in coming up with blocks. For instance, Sunday in Foxborough as the Patriots lined up for their potential game-winner.

“It doesn’t make you feel any better,” Whisenhunt said. “Especially (Sunday), with feeling like we had the game in hand and won it and the way it came down, it tears at you to think that they could have won that game with a kick.

“But, in the back of your mind you do know that you have a chance to block it, and that gives you some small comfort. I have no doubt that contributed, I hope, I think, it contributed to the miss, because they at least had to think about that.”

Whiz called the number of blocked kicks the Cards have had the last few years “staggering.” The Cards have 15 total since 2008, with 13 of them blocked field goals. You think about the games in which a block has turned a probable loss into a win — last year against the Rams, for instance, or the opener against the Seahawks (pictured below) — and you realize what an important part of the game it’s become.

The Cardinals, from Whisenhunt on down, believe that even though Stephen Gostkowski had nailed four field goals already Sunday, the potential block loomed in his head on his final wide-left miss. The late important kicks may not get any easier for Whisenhunt, but maybe they aren’t that easy for the opposition either.

“We thought, ‘That last kick, we’ve been here before, we’ve blocked it before. We know it’s possible, let’s do it again,’ ” kick-blocker extraordinaire Calais Campbell said. “Good thing he shanked it. We didn’t have to do anything spectacular.”

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33 Responses to “Getting mental with the block”

  1. By MIKE G on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! Great win for the team yesterday. They played well in all phases of the game. Was holding my breath after the Williams fumble- so
    glad the Pats missed that kick–that would have been devastating for Williams and the team if they would have lost. Under the Whisenhunt regime they have always done a nice job in blocking kicks–you have to give Kevin Spencer his due. Between Campbell and his wing span and the speed rushers on the edge-it is a nice combo to have when trying to rush the opposing kicker’s kick.Hey Darren- I really think Campbell was the standout player for the team and deserved the game ball yesterday!!!! Who do you think was the Card’s shining player yesterday???

  2. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: “shining player”

    I thought Peterson played an excellent game too, as did Daryl Washington.

  3. By Dynosoar on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Six teams at 2-0.
    Arizona, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco.

    Since we take on Philly and Atlanta and SD will play, there will be between 2 and 4 undefeateds after next week.

    My prediction is 3 for 3-0.
    Arizona, Atlanta and San Francisco.

    I believe we’ll head into our first game with San Fran 7-0 and with that kind of confidence and record, we’ll enter our bye week at 8-0.

    I hope my old age has brought wisdom and not senility.

    Here’s to a game in February this season.

  4. By Dynosoar on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Only 3 teams have produced more sacks than we have and only 2 teams have allowed fewer. San Francisco is not beating us in either category and neither is Philly.

  5. By TUCARDS on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Peterson is getting no love for the gymnastic interception he made.Washington is a beast.Campbell and Docket are a great duo. Hats off to the front 7 and all of the defensive players.

  6. By mrcucu on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    I really liked the Wildcat formation with PP and The Hyphen. It keeps teams guessing who will end up carrying it, and any of these two guys could break out for a TD in any play once in open field. Way to go coach Miller, can’t wait to see more of it! GO CARDS!!!

  7. By rdixon50 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Peterson’s pick made ESPN’s top 10 plays of the weekend – number 7 I think

  8. By Bob-O on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply


    how is the mood of the team on the upcoming Eagle game. Last year it was a physical one and I get a feeling we’re in for a special game this year.

  9. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Bob-O —

    RE: Mood

    Let’s see as practice starts tomorrow.

  10. By cards>niniers on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    who was wired for the game in NE?

  11. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Cards> —

    RE: Wired

    Paris Lenon.

  12. By SteveG on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Some may recall I needed blood pressure meds refilled last week…

    I was wrong….

    I need STRONGER blood pressure meds!!

    The good guys got a break…do to Phili. what the seagulls did to Dallas..POUND THEM!!!!

    Go cards!

  13. By bluepitt on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Probably a stupid question but in that picture, would that be holding on Campbell? how does that work on a FG?

  14. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    bluepitt —

    RE: Question

    I was thinking the same thing. But I was thinking that probably is rarely called.

  15. By Scott H on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    At work today, I had friends / co-workers asking where did that defense come from and who are the players making it happen??? It was fun to enlighten them. Always fun to have a bunch of young talented players that nobody knows about! I suspect they will not remain un-known for long and THAT will be even more fun.

  16. By jocards on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    I want to chime in on the Skelton/Kolb issue. Excuse me if there is a more appropriate location for it….Assuming both are healthy and ready to go to me coach Whisenhunt has to go with whoever gives the team the best chance to win. I know Skelton was awarded the starting job in camp but I’m certain it was no run away. Kolb stepped in against the Seahawks and engineered the winning TD drive. He started in New England and the team won even with Fitz being taken away. Kolb wasn’t great but he wasn’t bad either….He stepped up in the pocket and threw on numerous occasions rather than scrambling which is one of the things we all thought he needed to do more of….I am for whichever QB gives us the best chance to win….But I would NOT say the job is just plain Skelton’s merely because he was awarded it before we’d played a single 2012 game. I like Skelton but it isn’t as though he’s a proven QB that has the job hands down barring injury. It’d be awfully tough for me to sit Kolb right now. The NFL is a results driven league and we’ve won the last two weeks. I know folks will hate this post and I’ll behind whichever QB starts believe me.

  17. By Dave on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply


    With all the attention being paid to the qbs and the defense, (well deserved of course), can you write a storyline about how the offensive line is adapting and some of the coaches thoughts on how the new look line is holding up? I only ask this as the recent preseason changes have changed the outlook.


  18. By JohnM on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    To be honest, I was totally o.k. with the toss sweep that almost cost us the game. I think that is what should have been called and taking a knee (like I’ve heard) shouldn’t have been an option.

    What I want to know however was the OTHER seemingly bad decision, that of LSH NOT to return that kickoff. Was he instructed to take a knee or did he do that on his own ? My reaction almost mirroed Jay Feely’s. I was jumping up and down screaming. That cost the Cardinals about 40 seconds at least, and potential field position.

  19. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    JohnM —

    RE: LSH touchback

    That I noticed too. Whisenhunt said there was a player deep on coverage and it would have been dangerous, worse than time if LSH tackled at 15.

  20. By azfiremagoo on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Thats not holding on CC it’s tackling! Darren if I remember right wasn’t KK instrumental last year in helping Skelly figure out Phillys D with pre snap reads? Just saying I like Skellton a little bit more but him with a gimpy ankle and KK having a rather intimate knowledge of philly D leads me to believe KK gives us a great chance to win. And our D kicks ass! just saying. Loud and Black this weekend! UoP better be crazy and I’ll be right in the middle of it yelling.

  21. By JohnM on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks Darren,

    The sad thing about that LSH KO return (or lack there of) seemed to be that it was kind of a line drive kick, one of the most returnable I’ve seen in the 2 years since they moved the ball back on Kickoffs… I think he could have had a big one..

    And DEFINATELY taken the clock to the 2 minute warning.

  22. By cobra on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply


    RE: LSH not returning the last Pats kickoff:

    I think the Pats were baiting him. They wanted him to return the kick and planned on it. If anything, I think he made a great decision not to. Their kicker can put it out of the endzone any time he wants. LSH sometimes brings the ball out when he shouldn’t. They had great coverge from what I watched and it could have been a disaster if we were backed up to our own endzone to start the series.

    Then again, you know how the rest of the game worked out!

  23. By Boston John on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply


    As a Cardinal season ticket holder living in Boston, Sunday was fantastic, from the local media giving them no chance and talking about the next game etc. in fact the schools here have Patriot Jersey day every Friday , today the crew wore Cardinals Jersey’s. It was also great to see a bunch of cards fans travel from the desert and kodos to the great Sherman section of 325…much better showing than Baltimore last yr. anyway a couple of things, on Patriots weekly Big Bill spent 10 minutes of the show on the cards special teams and it sure held true. I am also convinced that the forearm flex on the fg false start was coached and they were hoping the replacement refs would miss it. Coach B said they had to slow down the rush on fg’s. Now for my question and observation, did you noticed that the stadium cranks up the volume of Rock music during almost every cardinal huddle? Is that legal, and if so, the cards should do the same. It sure does crank up the crowd. Not to go on, but the local fans here were pretty gracious, much better than visiting fans to our stadium that get more loud and obnoxious every yr. we visited for the Seattle game and it was horrific. I know this doesn’t flow well, but last thing….thank the stars that punt came out of the end zone vs going out and being a safety and then having to drive the field after a punt.

    Lastly, keep up the great work, your one of the best in the business…

  24. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Boston John –

    RE: noise rules

    I seem to remember they relaxed the rules on that. I’m not sure.

  25. By BIG RED on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    @azfiremagoo wouldn’t you say, that maybe the Eagles might know what weakness kk has and it might benefit them more. There is a reason they let him go.

  26. By mancosman on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Times are a chang’n. Two years ago our linebacking crew was a question mark and weakness. Now with our depth — m/b one of the strongest in the league. Two years ago, we had no NFL quality QB, Now the Cards have two, albeit no more thn average, but a vast improvement.

    I feel excited for Kolb going against his prior team. As long as he stays w/i the teams’ goal (that is not to ruin he game), the Cards and Kolb will do well. The front 7 have enough athleticism to contain and punish Vick.

    Good reporting Darren — keep up the varying articles and insight.

  27. By Bay Area Bad Boy on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    you guys have to check out the eagles game preview:

    Just make for some interesting reading.

  28. By bluepitt on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Ok after a long deliberation here is what I came up with…Replacment reffs call after a 20min huddle…” There is no rule in the book reguarding bear hug’s, so there is no penelty on the play, the kick is no good”…hahahahahaha!!!!!!!
    I think that is the caption of the year!!!

  29. By j on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    My Gosh, after new england they rank cards 14th!!! undefeated with 5 others and 14th!!! Never any respect at all ever, I hope the players punch every team (Niners most of all) square in the jaw from now on. Flip the census and take the division along with a Lombardi… I see no qb issue that is necessarily bad, cards have 2 qbs that can win (Kolb with the added time is coming around to it, it shows big time, skelton is a beast when he is in mode) Maybe in the future of NFL you will have 2 good QBs that work the same, cards are pionering it. Im not a bad person but i very much dislike Vick, what he did etc. is unforgiveable. Sack him all day, pick off all his passes, 3rd and 24 all day!!! Basicaly destroy the eagles!!!!

  30. By Brian R. on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    I’m grateful for the wins the Cardinals collected this year already. The offense needs to step it up and start scoring points now.

  31. By johnnybluenose on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    BOSTON JOHN. are you going to see the cards in new york vs the jets?

  32. By Jason Marcus on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    The handoff Adubs made to Pp in week one was soooo awesome after he int ……..but the wild cat with Pp and Howling was outstanding, Bellichikens was probably so annoyed we were doing them like that, just great football , this team looks great and all the NFL people and sports commentators can say is how bad the Pats look and not how good our D looked ,keep it up GO CARDS!!!!!

  33. By clssylssy on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    I think the last two weeks have shown us the importance of a TEAM EFFORT. Too much ink has been given to the “QB competition”. Both QBs have their strengths and weaknesses. Currently Kolbs biggest strength is his health and that is no small matter. I remember last year being sickened by the fans who minimized his “turf toe” which is a very serious thing for a QB, is painful, and inhibits the ability to push off . Similarly a sprain is no small deal because it inhibits the ability to move around with any dexterity and put pressure on the foot. I think Coach will play whoever can give us the best chance for winning and that will probably change as the season goes on. Too much emphasis is placed on the “starter” when sometimes the backups are the ones that have to be relied on as the season goes on and injuries occur. We need to remember we are all one team and everybody doing his job is important to our long range success. There is no room for petty jealousies. LET’S GO MEN! FLY HIGH OVER THEOSE EAGLES AND PROTECT THE NEST! WE CAN DO IT:)
    So proud of Calais Campbell being named Defensive Player of the Week!

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