Friday before the Falcons

Posted by Darren Urban on November 16, 2012 – 4:49 pm

The bye week is always good – I know I appreciate it, so I can only imagine the players’ delight – but it is tough when you go two weeks between games. The storylines dry up a bit, especially this deep in the season, when there isn’t actual action from which to play off.

At this point, maybe it’s helps to look at it simply. Coach Ken Whisenhunt and the players were asked many times different ways about a midseason/bye assessment the past couple weeks. One Whisenhunt answer summed it up best.

“What is there to say besides it’s not good enough?” he said.

True. The 4-0 start is well in the rear view mirror. I don’t think anyone can argue that the Cardinals winning Sunday in Atlanta would be an upset, but in the NFL, it wouldn’t be some kind of stunning shock either. Everything changes if the Cards were to win. But to have that chance, the Cardinals can’t drop passes, can’t miss tackles, can’t get off to slow starts on offense or defense. They have to be good enough.

— The Cardinals have not, as noted, been tackling very well. It hasn’t been a season-long problem, but it’s been a problem for late. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton wasn’t concerned it will continue to be a problem.

“One of our coaches said today that in practice this week, it reminded us how they practiced for New England,” Horton said. “Very focused, very alert, very sharp. I don’t think tackling will be an issue. They are ready for this game.”

— Whisenhunt was asked if he had even been on a team that started two rookie tackles. “Nope,” Whiz said, allowing himself a chuckle. “I think I would remember that. We have been through some tough situations with the line during my time in the NFL. I don’t think I’ve ever started two rookie tackles.”

Nate Potter and Bobby Massie are a first Sunday.

— Here was quarterback John Skelton’s assessment of Potter’s first playing time in Green Bay. “He had the jitters a little bit, but the first play we asked him to block Clay Matthews and he did a good job,” Skelton said. Skelton just happened to hit Andre Roberts on a 40-yard bomb that play. It’s going to be a learning curve for Potter, but it’s definitely will be interesting to watch.

— I know the Falcons are calling wide receiver Julio Jones a game-day decision, but a sprained ankle is tough for a wide receiver, and from what I have always seen, any guy who doesn’t practice all week tends to be not much of a factor on Sunday even if the player does play.

— Calais Campbell could play Sunday, I suppose, but I don’t expect it. It’s like Darnell Dockett being banged up earlier in the year – you’d rather have a player miss one game rather than risk a longer-term problem. If Campbell sits, it looks like David Carter will get a shot at a lot of playing time. It’s easy to forget how well Carter played at times as a rookie. He’s definitely a player the Cards can develop and if he can play both end and tackle, even better.

— I know a lot of people keep asking. I don’t know what to expect from tight end Todd Heap. He was limited all week and questionable. I’d guess he’s one of the ones that will work out before the game, and the Cards will go from there. I have zero idea if this is the week he plays.

— Ralphie is an Arizona Cardinals’ fan. Who knew?

— This will be the first start for Quentin Groves at linebacker, following the season-ending injury to O’Brien Schofield. That shouldn’t be a huge deal; Groves, after all, has been a starter in Oakland and Jacksonville. But it also means the Cards’ depth behind Groves and Sam Acho falls on a pair of first-year Cards: Jamaal Westerman and undrafted rookie Zack Nash. Westerman has experience, but he was also the one left inactive on game in favor of Nash, which could say something about both of them. If Acho or Groves get nicked, how the backups respond will be important.

“They don’t have much choice.” Whisenhunt said. “This league, you have to play and be successful when you aren’t getting all the (practice) reps.”

— A quick heads-up: “Season In Focus” will air Saturday morning at 7 a.m. on ABC-15. There will be a recap of the first half of the season, a “Wired” segment with linebacker Daryl Washington and a “Zoom” episode featuring a Cardinals cheerleader who happens to be a veteran of the war in Iraq. Then on “Flightplan” – airing Saturday at midnight on NBC Ch. 12 right after “Saturday Night Live,” Whisenhunt and Ron Wolfley break down video of the Roberts’ bomb and Potter’s overall work in his first game.

The second half of the season is upon us.

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30 Responses to “Friday before the Falcons”

  1. By Scott H on Nov 16, 2012 | Reply

    Hey, Calvin Johnson hasn’t been practicing during the week for several weeks at this point and that didn’t stop him from dropping 200 yards and a TD on the Vikings last Sunday…just sayin, don’t count Julio Jones out for Sunday. And Roddy White is a BEAST regardless of who plays or doesn’t play.

    I may have felt the Cardinals had more of a chance this week if the Falcons had not lost LAST week. They are too talented and too well-coached for me to think they will not be quite serious about getting back in the win colum this week at home.

  2. By georgiebird on Nov 16, 2012 | Reply

    After two weeks it’s time to play football. Hope the players/coaches come back and realize that all three units of the team need to improve-and yes, that includes the defense. We can’t afford another Rams’ game where the opposition takes the opening kickoff and goes right down the field for a TD- to me that Rams’ drive was the defining moment of the Cards’ season to date.
    The Falcons are a good team that has two excellent WRs. The Falcons have won four close games at home and they are beatable.
    Key to the game is stopping Michael Turner from steamrolling the defense-he has 3.8 yds per carry. It’s important for the linebackers to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. One of the major shortcomings of the “tackles” statistic is that it doesn’t differentiate between tackles at the line and tackles after the RB has already gained 5 yards.
    We can’t expect Skelton to overcome our bad defensive performance of the past three weeks-especially in the 1st half. Skelton had to go through the three most physically demanding venues on our schedule to date- Vikings, away; SF; and Packers, away- Skelton was back from injury and having to play from behind.
    It’s time for the defense to show up and step up. Hey, Horton, how about keeping the Falcons out of the end zone in the 1st half and giving Skelton a chance to succeed.

  3. By Dre on Nov 16, 2012 | Reply

    Go red birds. Time to pull out the wins and get are mins right.

  4. By AndyStandsUp on Nov 16, 2012 | Reply

    All I want for for Christmas is a Red Bird, play action, 80+ yard range, model air TD pass for a much needed win.

    That and a BB gun.

    Probably shoot my eye out, though.

  5. By Rebekah on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    David Carter was one of UCLA finest! He will get the job done for the Cards! Watch & see then, ask yourselves,”Why didn’t we play him sooner & more.”

    Proud of you David!

  6. By desertspin on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    It’s easy to be 8-1 when out of 9 games you’ve played 8 losing teams. Atlanta has only played ONE winning team so far this season. On the other hand, the Cardinals have played FIVE winning teams out of 9 & have beaten 2 of them. It’s a lot easier for Matt Ryan, Julio Jones & Roddy White to have great stats when you’re playing chump teams. The Cardinals can beat this team. Atlanta’s mad because they lost one? We’re mad because we lost 5!!! The Cardinals could be the better team here. They’ve certainly been tested harder than the Falcons have. Let’s rock their world.
    PS – I hope they keep Heap out. He’s gotta know this probably his last year in the NFL & he’s not going to take any chances in his last season before retirement.

  7. By jason marcus on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    the red birds will upset .

  8. By cfrederi on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    I’m still a believer!! We can win Sunday, I know we can! GO CARDS!!

  9. By rodgerscromartie17 on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Just throw the ball up to Fitzgerald and let him score like Warner did

  10. By clssylssy on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    It’s time to start fresh and leave all the negativity in the past. The Cards have always played their best when the chips were down and their feet were to the fire,, against all odds playing “unbeatable” teams. I really think we could have won the Green Bay game if everybody had shown up on the same page. Our offense, was much improved and I got a feeling the team was getting some of their “fire” back. The Saints showed the Falcons were beatable and exposed their vulnerabilities…hope we were paying attention; that game was a beautiful thing! While the Saints have a stronger offense, we have a better defense and as a fully functioning unit we can prevail. In that game the Falcons showed they can’t stop the run and have difficulty powering up between tackles so hope our killer defense is in the house on Sunday and Coach has been working on our ground game. While we don’t have Ingram, Ivory or Thomas we still have some pretty fast and slippery guys if they are able to find holes or stick to the outside. We beat the Patriots when nobody thought we had a prayer and the Falcons have also suffered injuries and are now proven to be as vulnerable as any other team. GO CARDS! FLY HIGH AND PLUCK THOSE DIRTY BIRDS!

  11. By truths4all on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Whoa Nellie! Two rookie tackles to start! What are the Cards (and Sendlien since he or RB are also responsible for picking up stunts) going to do (again) when the Defenses keep stunting to the inside? Stand there and wave hello as the rushers cruise down the middle to take out Skelton?

    So far this season, Sendlien have not picked up a single standard A-Gap stunt. Hopefully the bye week was productive and Grimm was able to drill it into Massies’ (communication and getting speed rushed) and especially Sendlien’s brains on how to deal with basic A-Gap stunts.

    BTW, unless Massie and the rest of the O-Line show some real improvements, who out there does not believe that there will be a very good chance we will see Lindley being battered around for an injured Skelton? After all, Skelton and Kolb are not indestructible and have been sacked 41 times so far (most in the NFL with 29 next) with 66 QB hits (between Philly’s 77 with Colt’s 60 hits on QB). Sure hope they have enough medical emergency personnel on hand.

    Please Cards Offensive Line, surprise me and protect the QB and run block to dominate the Falcon’s Defensive Line. Make us proud and get us a Win.

  12. By SeeingRed on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren-

    Just now getting a chance to post and I don’t know if its already been asked/answered. Do you know what the Cards’ record has been following the bye week lets say in the last 10 years or at least during Whiz’s tenure??

    I ask because it seems for the last several years we have lost coming out of our bye week and it seems that if it has been a trend for awhile that Whiz should maybe retool what he does during the bye week. I know its the NFL and nothing is a gimme but u would think coming out of a bye week should give u a little bit of an advantage.


  13. By Darren Urban on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Seeing Red –

    RE: Whiz after bye


  14. By sarah on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Line, running game, tackling and not giving up the big play. If the line holds i am confident the offence can click, our running game is anemic post Minnesota, we should shoot LSH out of a canon. The blueprint for the opposing team is cover 2 D and make us move the ball methodically and eat time, we have to get past this ! Floyd has to have a breakout game and every facet of the team has to click. More importantly let’s not get caught blitzing again for an 87 yard run by a fat tight end.
    For some reason I have confidence in this game we just need to score early and get some Atlanta 3 and outs with lots of pressure. I think SF was a better team so that will be a good lesson.

    On another note, Darren if you see Whiz tell him to fully shave and use a facial moisturizer and drink more water, that goatee does not suit him at all ! Makes him look like a guy going into a AA meeting or something. Good looking guy he needs advice, the sun is doing his skin ! Keeping it light here…Go Cards !

  15. By cardsalltheway on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Ken W.’s 1-4 record shows that he hasn’t been coaching up the players very well(too much golf?) and maybe your “retooling” is what he means by “change?” Let’s just hope he wasn’t talking about his golf swing.

  16. By Darren Urban on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Cardsalltheway —

    RE: Whiz

    Your criticism, as usual, is anticipated. Your ignorance — perhaps an attempt, lame as it might be, at humor — shines through on that comment.

    You want to rip, fine. Stick to reality. The coach didn’t play golf last week, doesn’t play much during the season, and your attempt to lay it at that doorstep is simply misleading and childish.

  17. By wnycardfan on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Whiz after bye 1 – 4, Falcons after a loss 18 – 2……………..might be a bit of trouble for us tomorrow. LEts hope the bye week, THIS YEAR, really helped and they have the edge.
    Love to see more screens and some more running with the OTHER 2 backs besides LSH (not that I don’t like him, but I think it could help)

  18. By sarah on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply


    I back Darren on this one you are a jerk! Whiz’s players not blocking and catching let alone tackling is not his doing, he is busting his chops to turn it around !

  19. By Scott H on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    Anyone else feeling like they want to see Lindley play before the season is over? I say why not? After a likely loss tomorrow, they are 4-6 – AFTER A 4-0 START – and let’s be honest – this is NOT a playoff team. And it’s not a playoff team because of the QB position above all else, where we are just not good enough to be competetive.

    The questions about Kolb and Skelton have been answered, as far as I am concerned. Neither one is good enough. Which means the ONLY real question here is who is our NEXT QB going to be? And I say let’s not make the same stubborn, stupid mistake we made a few short years ago by sticking with Derek friggin Anderson while we continued to lose games and John Skelton sat and remained basically un-known. We know Kolb can’t stay healthy and we know Skelton is not a legit starting QB in this league. We’ve got nowhere to go but…well, somewhere other than where we’ve been.

    This is another lost season, time to face facts. We are pathetic on offense and the defense has fallen off dramatically since the first month of the season. I, for one, would much rather start looking toward the future now and that means looking at Lindley NOW.

    And, BTW, does anyone else find themselves REALLY hating the Colts right about now??? Here’s a team that has a great decade-long run with Peyton Manning, has ONE down year, and then has Andrew Luck ( the NFL’s NEXT Peyton Manning ) fall right into their laps to take them through the next decade or so!!! WTF?????? That’s 20 years spanned by 2 GREAT QB’s while the Cardinals have had one stiff after another – interrupted by 2-3 years of Kurt Warner – during the same time!!!! Tell me we aren’t cursed….that is SO friggin wrong!

    WHEN will the Cardinals have a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady or an Aaron Rogers???? Hell, even a broken clock is right 2 times a day…even the blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes…but the Cardinals getting an elite QB right from the start??? HA! Yeah, right.

  20. By georgiebird on Nov 17, 2012 | Reply

    @Scott H.
    To take your QB heartbreak one step further- the Cardinals have drafted a QB who won a SB and made the HOF.. There is only one problem, the Cards were outbid by the Jets for the services of Joe Namath.

  21. By Brett n Co. on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey our defense gave YOUR boy the chance today and over threw Larry WIDE open in the end zone, so now what?

  22. By suspence716 on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey darren, why do you continue to defend this coaching staff and all of its horrible decisions? Is the kool-aid really that tasty? I hardly doubt this team mixed with staff has another win in them……….. week 11 I called it!!!

  23. By Darren Urban on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    suspence —

    RE: “Defending”

    Never said there wasn’t reason to criticize. But be critical for real reasons, not made up ones that are essentially cheap shots.

    By the way, it’s never black and white, certainly not the way some of you prefer to portray everything. I’ll go ahead and stick with how I see things, because of the things I know and am around on a daily basis. You can have your opinion. Has nothing to do with “kool-aid.”

  24. By clssylssy on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    NO Scott…don’t want to see Lindley this year….the Redskins with RGIII have the same record as we do and one QB does not a playoff team make! The continued whining about the QB is getting REAL old. It wouldn’t matter if we had Peyton Manning, he would be on disability by now and Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers would either be injured or looking toward retirement like Warner did. Perhaps it’s time you jumped off the Cardinal bandwagon and hopped onto the Colts wagon. Win or lose, some of us have been and will continue to be fans until the end.
    This is a good and wholesome bunch of men who I’m proud of on and off the field.

  25. By Gary on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    This is a big game for us. The offense showed in the Greenbay game that they are getting better. The O-line is doing a better job. Massie has looked good the last couple of games and Potter will be an improvement over Batiste. Skelton has improved each week. I think we can get 21-points out of our offense this week. If our defense shows up like it did in the first four games we can beat the Falcons. A couple of turnovers and PP doing well in the return game could give us the edge to win. Go Cards! Make us proud.

  26. By cardsalltheway on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    Darren didn’t call me a name, comprehend much? I don’t know where he got “childish” but it certainly is childish to call fellow fans names. Are you feeling low these days with a need to build yourself up?

  27. By cardsalltheway on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll go with Sarah for a moment…I’m a jerk because Darren suggested I’m out of touch with reality, ignorant, lame, and childish, that was a humorless attempt at childishness.

    It’s interesting which question(s) you answer of mine let alone get offended by but I gotta wonder why you haven’t ever answered the one question I’ve asked more than once…”Why hasn’t William Powell ran the ball more than one time in two weeks”? And, as much as you’ve stood by and discussed how the 2 RB system has become the trend in the NFL, then why has the Cardinals only used one RB as of late?

  28. By Darren Urban on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    cardsalltheway —

    RE: Powell

    Because generally, I ignore your questions.

    I don’t know why they haven’t used more Powell.

  29. By clssylssy on Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

    The defense was TOTALLY AWESOME! Proud of my red birds today but wish Coach hadn’t given up on John so soon and let him settle in. It appears Lindley didn’t do any better and at least Skelton is big enough that the dirty birds probably wouldn’t have gotten that first TD the way they did. There were several questionable calls I was surprised that Coach Whisenhunt didn’t challenge even the commentators (proFalcons) questioned. Usually Coach is real buttoned up and can compartmentalize but today he seemed to be more emotional that usual which, I don’t think helped. Horton’s defense was lights out!

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