Packers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2013 – 10:38 pm

The way Carson Palmer threw the ball Friday night was good. So was the way backup Drew Stanton did, for that matter. But what may have been the most promising of all for the Cardinals was the way the pass protection held up.

“There were some great pockets to throw in,” Palmer said.

This all has the usual caveats. It was the preseason. The Packers weren’t coming with a complex package. Yet that didn’t help a ton in the preseason last year when the Cards struggled. I thought the first unit (Brown-Cooper-Sendlein-Fanaika-Winston) did very well. The Cards are smart too. On a 17-yard Palmer-to-Fitz pass from their own 1 early in the game, Michael Floyd was in – and then stayed in the backfield to help with protection. Palmer was clean.

Palmer wasn’t touched in his short stint. Stanton was a couple of times (his lone sack was of the coverage variety) but he also Russell-Wilsoned himself out of trouble a couple of times. Everything tonight comes with the “It’s early in the preseason” sticker attached. But a team with consistent pass protection? That’s something to embrace.

— The running game wasn’t as effective. That will be something that needs improvement. But Bruce Arians was just thankful the Cards got through with just two healthy running backs. Rashard Mendenhall didn’t play, and Andre Ellington sat too. Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith was all the Cards had.

— The offense is going to get the spotlight. That’s natural after the season the unit had last year. But the defense, under scrutiny itself with the

Horton-to-Todd Bowles coordinator change, played well. Two turnovers led to two touchdowns, which is how Bowles wants it to go. And preseason or not, the Packers didn’t score, which is the best you can do.

“It’s a good starting point for us,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “I’m sure we didn’t play nearly as good as we could have, I’m sure there was a lot of mistakes on film. That’s football and the preseason. It does show us how good we can be.”

— You don’t want to go overboard on any player in the preseason. And a rookie has a long way to go. But what’s the No. 1 thing you want to see out of a player – especially a rookie? You want to see them , if they were showing you good things in practice, to show those things in a game. Tyrann Mathieu did that.

His stat line was gaudy: Two tackles, one for loss, a sack, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, a pass breakup, two special teams and a 26-yard punt return. He also thought he had a chance at an interception and didn’t look thrilled Packers receiver Myles White grabbed him to mess with that possibility. You don’t want to go overboard, but a very, very impressive debut.

— Patrick Peterson tweeted about his protégé: “Proud of my baby boy @Mathieu_Era doing great things in his first @NFL game. Can’t wait till Sept. 8

— Not to be outdone, though, Peterson made sure to get his own interception in his brief stint, leading to the Cards’ first TD.

— Arians said he gave the receiving corps a C grade. He poked fun at Andre Roberts a little for not catching the first bomb from Palmer (to be fair, it also hit off the DB) but Roberts atoned with his TD. Jaron Brown and Charles Hawkins did well, I thought, although Brown had a drop he can’t make and Hawkins fumbled the ball on a long reception (he got it back but the fumble probably cost him a chance at a bigger play.)

— John Abraham didn’t play much at all, but he managed a strip-sack of Graham Harrell in his brief time in the game. You sign a guy to rush the passer and you get that out of the gate.  “Doing that just helps the team out and helps them see that I have a little something left,” Abraham said.

— The only injury reported by Arians was a hip pointer for rookie tight end D.C. Jefferson, who twice couldn’t hang on to passes he should have – including one in the end zone. Arians isn’t going to let him forget about that. He told the media about the hip pointer, and then added “that’s what happens when you drop big touchdowns.”

— Arians was irritated at the offensive issues in terms of substituting and getting lined up, something that really affected the younger players. That will have to be cleaned up. Timeouts were burned too often.

There’s probably more I could say, but it’s late, there’s a long plane ride ahead and I’ll have time to hit on more over the next few days. As Palmer said, “it’s a small step.”

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25 Responses to “Packers aftermath”

  1. By dieselbomb on Aug 9, 2013 | Reply

    I TOTALLY appreciate BA’s win the game attitude. The previous coaching staff did nothing ( remember? “No game plan”), and we, the fans, GOT nothing. So all thumbs-up for BA and his coaches.

    Realizing the meaning of preseason games – I don’t care – I’m jazzed the team looked as good as they did. I’m also glad they played so many Rookies and lower-level players. Naturally, I’m hoping this starts a trend.

    We need to shore-up the mental errors, polish-up on all fronts, and ABOVE ALL get healthy and stay healthy.

    I’m hoping the bad injury bug that bit the Cardinals last year is finding a home in some other team’s Training Camp this time round.

  2. By red bird of death! on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    We looked like a real team out there, way more refined than anything I’ve seen in 3 years, there was purposes on every play , I am stoked for the reg season.

  3. By Diablo602 on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    All I have to say is that, 60 and sexy is what this team needed! what a differnece in attitude! you seee it in the coaches, players I even see it with Daren Urban the way he has been writting lately! (by the way..always a good job Daren)I have never seen this type of attitude from any Cards team! You can clearly see it in the way BA coaches during the game. all of his coaches constantly talking to players! the fire in BA when we make and don’t make the palys we should! the messages he gives to the players!(I specially love the one where he said “we are on a mission! a mission to win the west!”) even though outsiders are in love with the niners and seahawks he is making everyone in that locker room believe we can and will win the west! I am super excited for the season. and as I have always said…win or loose I will always be a hardcore Cardianls fan!! Rise UP Red Sea!!

  4. By Cactus jeff on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    I had 4 concerns going into the Packer game. Now I am left with only 2. Depth at WR and stopping the run.

  5. By Demond on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    I have to admit that I was not at all happy with most of the changes during the offseason. Letting guys like A-dub go hurt me a lot. However, after seeing this 1st preseason game,I’m excited again. LETS DO BIG THINGS THIS YEAR CARDS!

  6. By credit card on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    1 down and 22 to go

  7. By dan on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    The Milwaukee paper called it “debacle”, and one article was entitled “Cards’ WR’s dish out severe burns.”
    The running game wasn’t flashy, but it served it’s purpose: ball control, and forcing man-on-man coverage. We went deep, because they gave us deep.
    My hat is off to Michael Bidwell, Steve Keim, coaches Arians and Bowles, and all the players.
    It’s a shame so many good players aren’t going to make the team.

  8. By david on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    I dont like wolf’s play by play. We turned the volume to zero cuz he doesnt connect with my family even friends. and he’s inappropriate at times.

    Can u take his spot?

  9. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    Good review Darren. A few takes:

    Tyrann will be a monster, what a stud ball hawk.
    OL was very solid.
    Palmer is the real deal.
    Stanton throws an ugly ball on occasion.
    The Stanford RB is real deal.
    Jefferson looks like bad pick.

    And a couple question marks, still looking for ( yes, still early):
    Mendenhall and RW.

  10. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    My Take;
    Pass protection –
    There was a nice pocket but lets not forget, we have two professional QBs (something we havent had since 2009). Watch how the QBs step up in the pocket when a flash of rush outside. QBs didnt panic and stood tall in the pocket with eyes down field. Yes, Cooper, Fanaika, and Sendlin did a great job not allowing the pocket to be pushed back and Levi and Winston did a good job allowing the rush ends to go wide. Same to be said for the second team oline.

    Cant say enough how great it is to have a QB on the team. Palmer understands what he sees and stands in the pocket and delivers the throws. This is by far our greatest improvement.

    Brown made a strong case for himself and so did Hawkins. Taylor needs to get healthy and the other wideouts need to step up to prevent Brown and Hawkins from running away with this battle.

    Jefferson gets open but cant catch the ball. Before we get to tough on him, I remember seeing the same thing out of Andre Roberts his rookie year.

    Taylor is a guy who you bring in to run out the clock. I just dont see that explosive burst out of him. Hopefully Mendenhal and Ellington get healthy fast.

    Turn overs and a shutout. Cant do much better than that.

    I do agree that I have a concern about stopping the run. I guess I have a different philosophy. I like LBs making plays in a 3-4 and big DEs and NTs eating blocks. If you go to a hybrid and have DTs and DEs playing one gap, they have to make plays. (ie JJ Watt) I need to see more out of Dockett to buy into this front.

    As for defensive fronts, they changed with the personnel. I saw 4 man fronts with 4 down in a traditional 4-3. I saw a 4-3 front with 3 down and one standing up. I saw a 3 man front in a classic 3-4 defense. I dont think we can be called a 3-4 or a 4-3.

    Honey Badger is a playmaker. I am huge in my believe you need a playmaker in the center of the field. I wanted PP to move to safety. I wanted the cards to draft Kenny Vaccaro. But I think we found that guy and I see him becoming a Ed Reed / Troy Palomalo type of playmaker.

    I think we will get to the QB a lot this year, but it is so great to have that one guy who can win his one on one. John Abraham is going to be huge for us.

    It was a good first practice game.

  11. By Dave Chaney on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    It’s only the extreme tip of the iceberg, but this team looks like it wants to make sure they climb out of the basement in the NFL West and prove that they can once again be considered a legitimate contender for the playoffs. There are still plenty of question marks to erase, but on the surface the team looked impressive (after all, the DID shut out the Pack).

    PS: Look out for the 1-2 punch of Peterson and Mathieu.

  12. By just on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    great calling by Wolf, an extra bonus… Funny, knowing, and an added energy to the game.

  13. By Dynosoar on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    John The Draft Guy,

    I was watching Tyler Wilson carefully. Did he do what you expected from him?

    23-0 is still possible. And a shutout, that’s extermely mighty indeed. Defense against the run, Didn’t we force like 6 punts in a row. I’m more pleased with the run defense than I have ever been.

    NFL network, we shut out the Packers. How come all the interviews were Packers? Not a single Cardinals player interviewed, not even at halftime.

    I watched the Raiders-Cowboys game as well, we’ll be 2-0 after next week (unless the Cowboys drastically improve and the Cardinals fall apart.)

  14. By josh on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    I loved the seperation our recievers were getting last night. And i love the fact that ba plays into our strengths which is our recieverrs and pass game. We actually have a qb that can make a pass. Expecting big things this year. Were gonna shock some people this year.. so glad the wiz is long gone.

  15. By Rich on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    looks like a real NFL team.

  16. By ored on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    we got glimpses of what we can do,o-line is improved but needs to do better in running plays,jefferson needs time with the “hands” people,but by and large good showing.clean up a few things and execute cleanly,just think we still have’nt a set roster,or game planned,screen passes and such,much to grow still.
    by the way,oby looked good for seattle,just hope he does’nt come back to impact our game when we meet.

  17. By Cactus jeff on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    What I don’t like is ” Schofield like” OLBs in the 3-4 getting swallowed up by LTs or stoned by TEs leaving CC or DD getting double teamed and exhausted. Have CC, Williams, DD, and Abrams as the front 4 and let them go after it. With those 4 up front the LBs and safeties will make plays!

  18. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    I did not watch the raider game, so I cant comment on Wilson. I guess he went 3 for 6 and they kicked a FG to win the game. Wilson is a gritty type QB and will back up for a few years till he gets his chance.

    I will watch Landry Jones for Pitt though.

    Bottom line, I loved Palmer all along and when we got a chance to get him, I was thrilled. Stanton surprised me, and if BA only keeps 2 QBs, it makes sense he didnt draft one.

    I am just so happy we have a QB. The jokes that Whiz ran out there over the last 3 years made watching card football hard. Thank God that is over and we have a real QB.

    Did I mention I am glad we have a QB?

  19. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    Cactus Jeff,

    First, OB was cut. Because we didn’t draft good OLBs doesnt mean the scheme is bad. If you have 4 guys who can line up in a 4-3 and make plays, then sure, go with that.. But, I think most fans are confused who our playmakers are.

    Dockett is not one anymore. In the last 3 years, he has a total of 10 sacks and 103 tackles. Thats 33 tackles and 3+ sacks per year. That is #78 in the league among defensive lineman. He has never, in any defense had double digit sacks. In 9 years, he has 36 sacks. That is 4 sacks a year.

    Dan Williams has only started 21 games over 3 years. Now I like him as a NT, but turn him loose? He has a total of 0 sacks over his 3 years. He is at his best taking on double teams and letting guys like washington make plays.

    Meanwhile you have guys just last year like Watt (20 sacks and 81 tackles), Geno Atkins (53 tackle and 12.5 sacks) Corey Luiget had 51 tackles and 7 sacks.

    Over that same time (3 years) Suh has 137 tackles and 22 sacks, Antonio Smith had 17.5 sacks, Dwan Edwards had 160 tackles and 9.5 sacks and missed 10 games. All playing inside.

    Point is, these guys play inside and are playmakers. I am not sure Dockett is a dominate player. Sure, blame it on the defense he plays, but on passing downs, he was cut loose and averaged 3 sacks a year.

    Meanwhile, Campbell has thrived in the 3-4 . In the last 3 years, Campbell has 195 tackles and 20.5 sacks doubling Docketts production.
    It also allowed guys like Washington to put up 319 tackles and 15 sacks (9 last year) Acho in two years has 88 tackles and 11 sacks in 26 games started.
    With the addition of Abraham and Minter/Brinkley, those are the stars.

    Get a guy who can keep Dansby/Washington clean and let them make the plays.
    It is just an opinion.

  20. By tyman on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    Love the breakdown from BA after the game.
    That’s the attitude the team needs.

  21. By sbrown on Aug 10, 2013 | Reply

    agree with you JTDG, huge improvement in the QB play last night, so much better than what we have had to sit and watch over the past three seasons. One thing I really liked about the game, the Offense scored TD’s after both turnovers !. Last season the O would have gone “3 and out” with a tired D not getting a chance to catch their wind. For the first game, plenty to like and plenty for BA and staff to work on. They will have a lot of film on the younger players to watch, which is good. On a side note, come on NFL and let BA wear his Kangol style cap on the sidelines, sucks that they told him no…

  22. By joe 67 on Aug 11, 2013 | Reply

    I think those were the Packers announcers and the network just used there feed.Could be wrong. (they were not very good either way imo)
    I am very happy about the win, but learned a long time ago, don’t get too excited about wins, or disappointed about loses, in pre-season

  23. By Eazy E on Aug 12, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah, he better be joking about that first deep ball thrown because Palmer underthrew it allowing the DB to make a play on it without looking. He should have punished him for that because that was a Big play or TD. Andre was faultless on that play, that was all Carson.

  24. By Josh on Aug 12, 2013 | Reply

    Eazy E —

    I agree. Bad pass by palmer on the bomb to roberts. But thats what preseason is for

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