Karlos Dansby was still trying to make sense of that interception he didn’t get Sunday. That one where Matthew Stafford lasered into Calvin Johnson in between Dansby and Patrick Peterson. Johnson got a 72-yard touchdown and Dansby – who said he knew the pass was coming and jumped the route and did everything right but actually pick off the pass – was left with air.
“I still got a fine to pay,” Dansby said, in a reference to the Cards’ kangaroo court. “I got a big fine to pay. You don’t understand. That’s a fine out of this world. That’s the crazy part about it. Oh man, you don’t understand this fine I gotta pay. You really don’t understand. It’s huge. It’s huge, bro.”
Dansby could smile. Always easier to talk about the bad after a win, and, especially with the way the Cards’ defense stepped up in the second half and shut down the Lions. The Cardinals had to have a win Sunday. Couldn’t go 0-2 heading into two straight road games back East. They got it. So, before I shut down for the night, some notes and thoughts from today’s win:
— Bruce Arians has said it before, and he said it again. “I have no problem with young players,” he said, and it’s not just the high picks. We already know the impact third-round draft pick Tyrann Mathieu has had, and it was Mathieu’s solid tackle of Nate Burleson on fourth-and-4 a yard shy of the line that sealed the win Sunday. Running back Andre Ellington has already proved to be a weapon as both a runner and receiver and a blocker, nice from a sixth-round rookie (who scored his first TD Sunday). And undrafted safety Tony Jefferson had three tackles in his first NFL defensive work as part of a dime package that was used for the first time.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us (young players) and you have to make the best of it,” Jefferson said. “To put a young rookie in and going against an explosive offense like that and they trust in you. You have to perform.”
— As for Ellington, he played more than any of the running backs not named Rashard Mendenhall. Does that mean he made a move up the depth chart? “I’m not sure how that works,” Ellington said. “We don’t really have a set depth chart. Coach just kind of calls you out there when he wants you out there. Whenever my name is called, I want to make the play.”
— After failing to come up with a pair of crucial third-down conversions late in the St. Louis game, the Cards never could get that going Sunday. They had just one third-down conversion in 11 tries (by contrast, they got two first downs on penalties that came on third downs) and it stalled the offense too often.
Asked if he was frustrated by that on the sideline, Arians said “I’m always frustrated. I’m pissed the whole game, nothing satisfies me. … We weren’t three and out, three and out. It was first down, first down, chunk play and manageable (third downs). We just didn’t convert.”
— Wide receiver Kerry Taylor, promoted Saturday from the practice squad, made his first three NFL catches. His first? Seventeen yards, from the arm of none other than Swiss Army knife Patrick Peterson. “It was brought to my attention that it was my first catch in the NFL thrown by a corner,” Taylor said. Taylor was impressive with Fitz down. It’ll be interesting to see if the Cards keep him up on the roster.
— There was better pass protection from the Cardinals. Some of that had to do with the Lions, some had to do with scheme, but for the most part, the offensive line kept Carson Palmer clean enough to throw his passes (although Arians said Palmer was hit too often.)
— The Reggie Bush injury, which basically took him out of the game in the second half, definitely seemed to impact the Lions. They couldn’t run – 49 yards total in the game – and getting Bush in space on pass receptions had been a major threat for Detroit in their Week One win.
— I know it’s early, but it seems Justin Bethel should already be getting attention as a potential Pro Bowl special teams player in the NFC. He’s been excellent in coverage, and then he got the big block of the David Akers field goal in the fourth quarter to keep it a two-point deficit. Bethel got an earlier running-into-the-kicker (which didn’t hurt when Akers missed a second straight try) but it gave him confidence for the fourth-quarter block.
“You’ve got to take the right angle, especially with a kicker who keeps his leg out there,” Bethel said. “(On the penalty) I saw his leg. I jumped and thought, ‘Oh, he’s going to leave his foot out here.’ I was like, ‘Oh, man.’ But I had a good takeoff and I was thinking, ‘OK, I know I can get there.’ And I got another chance.”
— Now, about that Dansby “fine” …
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Kerry Taylor, Lions, Patrick Peterson, Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Blog | 34 Comments »