Friday before the Vikings

Posted by Darren Urban on October 19, 2012 – 4:58 pm

Trips to Minnesota since I’ve been covering the Cardinals have frequently ended poorly. OK, not frequently. Always. My first trip there was for a 2000 preseason game, where four or five Cardinals suffered serious injuries on the one-time crappy turf, including the ACL tear for wide receiver Rob Moore. There were not very close losses in 2000 and 2006 (although the Cards were a Hail Mary away at the end to get an amazing comeback). There was the 2010 loss, which looked like it was in the bag with a two-touchdown lead with six minutes left (Favred!) and then last year, when the Cards simply melted down in the first quarter.

Year-to-year doesn’t matter – it’s a new team here, the Vikings are a new team, and for the most part, nothing carries over – but that’s at least the backdrop for the Cards this weekend. I don’t need to get into the schedule again (but if you forgot, it’s Niners, Packers, Falcons in the next three games) but this is important. The coaches know it. So do the players.

— This is an early game, kickoff 10 a.m. Arizona time. The Cards had one of those in New England, but that was after flying in on a Friday. The Cards don’t fly to Minnesota until tomorrow. They can’t afford to sleepwalk through the first quarter.

— I watched the video of Vikings defensive end Jared Allen meeting with the Minnesota media. Not surprisingly, he was asked multiple times about the Cards surrendering 22 sacks the past three games and the opportunity he had. Not surprisingly, he dodged bulletin-board material. Who knows? Maybe he actually made a good point:

“I’ve been in this league for so long, I’ve played teams where they’ve given up … I always go back to the Texans, who had given up, like, 50 sacks and we came in there like Week 10 or Week 11 (when he was with the Chiefs),” Allen said. “All we saw were bootlegs. Teams also know that. So you can’t sit there and say, ‘We’re going to lick our chops and get after the quarterback,’ because you’re going to get burned in the run.”

The Allen pass rush – he’s only got four sacks this season, below expectations — will be under the microscope Sunday, whether it is against D’Anthony Batiste or Bobby Massie.

— Linebacker Daryl Washington repeated the same message over and over: We have to stop 12 and 28. That’s Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson, in case you weren’t sure. Obvious, yes. But last year, quarterback Donovan McNabb was god-awful against the Cards (another reason why it confounds me a Cardinals fan would suggest signing McNabb) and yet the Vikings rolled. Peterson was awesome (three first-quarter TDs) and Harvin is a Swiss knife of a playmaker.

— Speaking of Peterson, it is still amazing he has returned from ACL surgery so quickly (he blew out his knee Christmas Eve 2011). He already has 499 yards rushing. “He’s not quite as bombastic in what he used to do,” Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton said, “but he still has our full respect.”

“He just never ever doubted,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “The only time he showed any doubt was when we were flying back from the game when he was injured in Washington. But after that it was full speed ahead from a mental standpoint and he’s never regressed.”

— The Cards are allowing just 16.2 points a game, fourth in the NFL behind the Bears, 49ers and Seahawks. Whatever the rest of the stats say, that works for Horton. “That’s the only stat that should be measured,” Horton said.

— It hurts to be missing safety Kerry Rhodes, down with the bad back. That means the Cards will have gone through a game without Rhodes, Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett so far. It’d be nice to have all the key pieces in place, and Rhodes is having a pretty good year. Horton more or less shrugged it off. “Hopefully we’re not built like a house of cards where one guy gets hurt it is doom and gloom,” he said. “I don’t think we are built that way.”

— In case you missed it, my visit this summer to Minnesota turned into this story about how Larry Fitzgerald loves his home state. (But don’t worry, he loves being in Arizona too.)

— Minnesota native Michael Floyd isn’t getting the kind of work he was hoping – 7 catches, 84 yards – but he’s hanging in there. “The ball doesn’t come that way often, so when it does, you have to make the play,” he said. Floyd made the spectacular catch against the Bills after failing to come down with one a couple of weeks previous. Both Ken Whisenhunt and offensive coordinator Mike Miller say Floyd is doing fine in his steps forward.

“If we were doing better offensively (overall), he’d probably be more involved, have more statistics,” Whisenhunt said.

John Skelton, you’re up.

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39 Responses to “Friday before the Vikings”

  1. By hummer53 on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Will be interesting to see how W. Powell does this week. Thought he he played well last week but he is kind of a small guy too. Jackie Battle in SD is buried on the depth chart. He’s a solid back and I think we ought to take a look at next week.

  2. By Cardinal on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    nxt couple of games will determine if Skelton belongs in this league. Saw him his sr yr of college against my college [ ODU] and he looked like he had potential coming out of Fordam as the only player ever drafted from there. John u only get so many chances in this league ….make it happen sunday !!!

  3. By mal on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply


    I went up to Kerry Rhodes and asked him, “When did you get that weak back?”
    and he said, “Oh, about a week back.”

  4. By georgiebird on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Tell Ray Horton that the defense is not meant to go the season without losing players to injury. Compared to any other NFL team, the Cards defense is very healthy.
    When Horton points to the 16.2 ppg stat he shows his lack of understanding of football- it’s like a QB who has great stats but can’t win games. (Kitna on Lions several years ago)
    It seems not much has been said about the Bill’s lightning TD drive at the end of the 3rd qtr.- it was one of the defining moments of the game.
    And how can Horton think he can stop the run against good teams with the small Daryl Washinton playing behind a NT that doesn’t even have to be double teamed.
    As I’ve said before, unless management begins to identify the REAL problems on this team, it will be a long, long time before there is a winner in AZ- Earth to Cardinals “Warner is not coming back”
    On the other side of the ball, it seems that Jared Allen knows more about offense then our OC.

  5. By Darren Urban on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Georgie –

    RE: understanding football

    Sorry. You lost me. PPG per game is EXACTLY what should be pointed out. The game comes down to out scoring opponents. A low PPG from a defense is what you want.

    I don’t doubt you have been a fan for a long time. But I would bet my house and life savings Horton understands more about defense — and football — than you.

  6. By Chris B on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    When Skelton replaced Kolb in 2011 we went 6-2 (counting SF here).

    When Kolb replaced Skelton in 2012 we went 4-2.

    Maybe we can go another 6-2?

    It’s not all doom and gloom….

  7. By georgiebird on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Kerry gave you a 3 Stooges joke from about 75 years ago.

    @By Cardinal
    Forham used to be a college football powerhouse and many, many years ago had two guys drafted in the 1st round- one a HOFer.

  8. By BIG RED on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Yea, you only get so many chances in this league…. Your right look at all the chances kolb has gotten.

  9. By Dre on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Go red birds ! I hope the o can get in grove early and all day.

  10. By Louisville Card on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    With Roberts dropping key passes the last few weeks do you see Whiz and Miller utilizing Floyd more? Or will they give Roberts another week to see if he can get over whatever is making him drop passes?

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Roberts drops

    Not sure what you are talking about. I think Floyd actually has more drops of late.

  12. By Louisville Card on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry Darren, I might have missed a couple of plays a week that Floyd might have dropped I guess. He has made a couple really nice catches though the last couple of weeks. Roberts on the other hand started the season off nicely, but seems to be dropping crucial catches the last few games.

  13. By AndyStandsUp on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    “Friday before” to me means numbers, so here’s some on the youngsters on the defense: (And these are Cardinals team stats.)
    Sam Acho in a little over a season has 4 career forced fumbles – more than Dan Williams, Patrick Peterson and Kerry Rhodes….combined.
    Daryl Washington needs (but more than likely won’t get this game) 25 tackles to surpass Pat Tillman in career.
    Washington, Acho and Schofeld have 30.5 career sacks, besting Tillman, Wendall Bryant, Antrel Rolle, Aeneas Williams, Tim McDonald, Kyle Van DeBosch, Joey Porter, Eric Hill and Andre Wadsworth…combined.

  14. By Chris B on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    Darren said it; to say Horton doesn’t understand football is like saying you’re a great financial adviser because you clean toilets at a bank.

    And Daryl Washington is the second highest rated ILB in the league behind NaVorro Bowman (according to – but they probably don’t know anything about football either). Yes, this small linebacker is rated higher than Patrick Willis, Sean Lee, Dansby, Ray Lewis, A.J. Hawk, Cushing, Urlacher, etc. And out of all LB in general, he trails only Von Miller, Clay Matthews and Bowman (in that order) in overall scoring. He has the best pass rusher rating of all inside backers and would be top 10 overall (including the OLB/pass rusher- which is amazing since the OLB rush a lot more often than he does).

    Please stop. Reassess your argument and we’ll meet here again next week.

  15. By Chris B on Oct 19, 2012 | Reply

    In run stopping, Washington would be 10th when counting ALL defensive players. That means Washington is the 10th best player at stopping the run in the entire NFL and #9 is .1 point ahead of him.

    Thought I’d let you know about our “small” Linebacker.

  16. By john the draft guy on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Those are the most useless stats I have ever seen. I’m not sure what that even means.

    What do you have against DWash? The guy has been playing at a probowl level.
    He is leading the team in tackles and has 4 sacks. What else do you want?

    As for Williams, I would be surprised if he gets 20 snaps a game. I think it is more about using the quicker 2 down lineman and having them try to split the oline forcing double teams. I think we will see a more traditional 3-4 defense this week.

    you said;
    “As I’ve said before, unless management begins to identify the REAL problems on this team, it will be a long, long time before there is a winner in AZ”

    Id love to hear what the real problems are.

  17. By AzDesertRat1953 on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    RE: Understanding Football
    Could not have said it better Darren.
    Only played one game with the Phoenix North High Mustangs in the mid 60’s, broke an ankle no more football, but I still remember that the Team that scores the least points losses.

    N’uf said.

    GO CARDS!!!

  18. By Corgon on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Hello Darren,

    what was in the AJ Jefferson trade from Minnesota’s side? Is it public already?

  19. By Darren Urban on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Corgon —

    RE: Jefferson trade

    I don’t think it ever came out. I’m guessing we are talking a fifth or sixth round pick, depending on playing time.

  20. By Scott H on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    I look at this game in simple terms. If the Cardinals team that we saw against the Eagles can re-appear, they will win this game because I don’t think the Vikings are good enough to beat THAT team. But if we see the Cardinals that we’ve seen for the past THREE games, they will lose because THAT team is not good enough to overcome the Vikings ( or many other teams, for that matter ). And home / away doesn’t even matter.

    The Cardinals have shown that they are capable of a level of play that is dominant but they have only played to that level 2X in six games so far. That will not get it done. It leaves some doubt ( increasing doubt, really ) as to who this team is. They need to figure that out and they need to do it quick. The D kicked it in about this time last year and the results speak for themselves. Trouble is, we were so bad during the early part of the schedule that even a 7-2 finish couldn’t save the season. Well, right now, we’re 4-2 and in a position to really be in this thing if we can get it rolling NOW.

  21. By Cardinal on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    @ georgiebird . 2 other fordham players have made the nfl …. they were not drafted — They are a baseball powerhouse .

  22. By BIG RED on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Andystandup and georgiebird are twins, don’t you get it.

  23. By Peter in Canada on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Georgie – Who were these two guys from Fordham?

    Alex W. was a great player from the 1930’s who is in the HOF and was a first round pick.

    The other HOF’ers are Vince Lombardi and Wellington Mara neither of whom played in the NFL.
    Who was the second person?

    Scott H – My sentiments exactly. We are a lot better as underdogs than favourites so I hope it is the team that played Philly and N.E. that shows up tomorrow. If we lose this one, the playoffs become a serious longshot.

  24. By sarah on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Great analysis below with McNabb .

  25. By georgiebird on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Funny the way you come to Horton’s defense but you allow posters to run all over Grimm without getting so touchy- I’ve seen this movie before on the political scene.
    One of the points of my post is that a pretty good defense is not going to allow a 2 minute, four play touchdown after the offense just extended the lead with a 6+ minute drive. The end of the 3rd quarter was shutdown time and the defense failed.
    Last week Powell had over 5 yards a carry while Springer had 7 yds a carry-seems our OL did well and our DL did bad if stats rule. And on Washington, he has great pursuit and he’s a good player-BUT- he can’t stop the run until about 7 yards down field. I look at our 3-4 defense and it’s laughable.

    @ Peter in Canada- agree we are a lot better as underdogs because we have a lot of practice at it. Steve Filipowicz-1943.

  26. By sarah on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    I am going to say that this is the Cards biggest test, forget NE I think Minnesota has more weapons on both sides of the ball. Key to victory is containing their dual back running game especially out of the I formation, Skelton not turning it over and us getting some OL blocking and running game. If Skelton can stretch the field that will be the game changer, to date it has been short WC stuff and timing passes, also Skelton needs to take off when the opportunity hits just to keep them honest. He is actually a very good scrambling (bootlegs please ) QB when he is healthy and can zing it down there so let’s utilize that. If the OL stays in Miami and Buffalo ineptness style then we need to shotgun and mix it up. Bootlegs and reverses, play action, screens and draws and then utilize Skelton’s arm. Reality is we seriously need that breakaway receiver which is desperately lacking.

    Fyi, Fitz was not down on his last catch in the Buffalo game ( the 38 yarder ), no one touched/tackled him, he went down on his own, god knows why he did hot get up and run it in. He justs got up and pumped his arms !!!

    In tomorrow’s game you will see allot of tight end passes to start and Doucet stuff, I hope we can expand it and run inside, forget outside with Allen !!

  27. By Darren Urban on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Sarah –

    RE: Fitz/Buffalo

    Fitz was clearly touched as he went down on that play. I’ve seen it on multiple replays.

  28. By Madriffs on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    I gotta be honest, I was secretly hoping Ryan Lindley was gonna take over. In pre-season he seemed to move the ball well and appeared to be a natural leader on the field. I do hope Skelton plays well and I completely understand that it’s hard to complete passes when you are constantly getting hit or laying on the ground…(hint, hint O-line?) IMO Lindley is a more natural QB

  29. By philly cards on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    That minnesota preseason game changed history.(tobin was to buddy as whiz is to dennis green).
    very disappointing and my first real taste of things that happen to cards fans.rob moore and frank sanders what a duo!!

  30. By georgiebird on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    @Chris B
    You could be right- CJ Springer took a beating last week- maybe only 7+ yards per carry. D. Washington was a force against the run. Or is D Washington a star and everyone else stinks. Reality has to set in here, somewhere.

  31. By Sarah on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply


    Cool, maybe i don’t know the full rules, to me it looked like he went down on his own with incidental contact. Let’s hope for a good one tomorrow !

  32. By roko on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    can u guys tell me what substance is georgie inhaling?? i don’t know if he’s a troll or just hi off his own supply….

  33. By AndyStandsUp on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    @ john the daft guy,
    Merely playing with numbers, but basically stating that Acho is a ballhawk, Washington is a tackler depsite being smallish and that the “Young Guns” LB trio is progressing quite nicely.

    Sorry to offend you and I can hardly wait for your draft predictions since they’re almost always correct.

  34. By georgiebird on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    @By Cardinal
    you are wrong on all counts-
    Fordham has had nearly 100 guys play in the NFL of which 30 were drafted.
    Fordham is not a baseball power-they may have the most NCAA victories but that’s because Fordham started playing baseball in 1857.

  35. By georgiebird on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    @ John the Draft Guy,
    I have nothing against D. Wash- he’s a good player but not in a 3-4. Most of our front seven are not a fit for the 3-4. Since our front 3 line up so far apart, D Wash can’t handle the blocking coming right at him. Only Acho coming off the edge fits the 3-4.

    Real Problems (for starters):
    1) all the coaching (HC, DC, OC) is below average
    2) defense is playing a 3-4 that doesn’t fit the personnel
    3) offensive team speed is poor

  36. By cardsalltheway on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    A. Peterson has only run outside the tackles a few times this year, we gotta stack the box. Feed W. Powell a lot and get him going early, don’t wait until the 2nd quarter, just give him the ball he’ll do the rest. P. Harvin is on my fantasy team whom I had benched until(reconsidering?) I heard K. Rhodes is out, we gotta stick P. Peterson on him all day. If he gets a long return early don’t expect much out of him on the receiving end, he poops out easily or thinks he’s done enough/day is done. Hooray for Richard Bartel, expect to see him signed on Monday, that “roster spot” for a QB is essential given our OL.

  37. By Kevin S on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Sarah —

    I don’t take seriously any commentators who say Kolb is out because of our O-line. That just means they aren’t even watching our games, but rather trying to tell a story that fits their predefined story line. He definitely took some licks but his injury was the result of a busted play… that could’ve happened whether our O-line was terrific or terrible.

  38. By Brett on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    Starting to sound like bronco fans on here, no true die hards!

  39. By Cardinal on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    @georgie… im talking about qb position . Skelton too many mistakes again , line gave him good blocking and he just holds ball too long !!

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