Friday before the Buccaneers

Posted by Darren Urban on September 27, 2013 – 2:27 pm

The Cardinals have played the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay just once in the past 16 years, a forgettable 2007 17-10 loss in which, among other things, the Cards began to start leaving for East Coast trips on Fridays (after looking sluggish following a Saturday arrival in Tampa) and Larry Fitzgerald inexplicably stepped out of bounds on a long catch-and-run that seemed like it should have gone for a touchdown.

That, of course, doesn’t even include the last time the Cards played in Raymond James Stadium, which didn’t include the Buccaneers but did include Bruce Arians on the other sideline.

“I don’t have any good memories from this stadium at all,” Fitzgerald said.

The Cardinals desperately need to change that up this time around. It couldn’t be lined up any better. The team stayed in Florida for the week, to prep for the early start/humidity/weather. The Buccaneers decided to start a rookie quarterback – a third-round pick, no less – and will probably inactivate the only QB on the roster who has ever had any success in the NFL (and who played well against the Cards in 2010 in Arizona.) Fitzgerald is back healthy. The Bucs are 0-3 in the first place.

There seems like a giant chasm between a 2-2 record and a 1-3 record.

— Fitzgerald was talking – again, like he has the past couple of years – about what the problems were of the offense. Fitz obliged the best he could, and then was asked if he ever tired of saying the same things. Fitz smiled.

“I can give you clichés all day,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve got them in my back pocket. I’m not going to give you any bulletin board material. I’m going to keep it classy.”

— Some of the issues aren’t new. Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin reiterated the need to protect Carson Palmer better, and if that happens, the offense flow from there. Once again, Goodwin was asked about extra blocking help on the edge, especially for left tackle Levi Brown.

“There’s only so many things you can do in a game based on what we do,” Goodwin said. “We are going to go empty. We are going to do play-action pass. Obviously he’s got to get the job done. Otherwise I’ll be in there.”

— The reality is that most teams have protection issues these days. Look around the league. That doesn’t excuse problems Brown or anyone else have, but few teams are satisfied. It can change week to week too. As for sacks, the goal is “get the number down,” Goodwin said. “You are going to give up sacks, it’s the nature of the beast. We just have to do a better job getting in front of those guys, try and slow them down.”

— If the equation is a) the Bucs’ top two receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson are questionable with injuries and b) the Bucs are starting rookie Mike Glennon at quarterback and c) the Bucs have a solid run game with Doug Martin in the backfield, well, that all should equal some obvious offensive tendencies. That run defense we saw through the first two-and-three-quarter games – before the Saints game went sideways – is what the Cards need in Tampa.

— Looking back at that 2007 game, the seven-point loss – the Bucs had the ball for more than 43 minutes. How is that even possible in a 17-10 game? I’m sure the Bucs want to possess the ball again like that. The best thing the Cards could do is have another opening drive like the one in New Orleans. With Glennon and not Drew Brees, the affect would be much greater.

— Martin, whose nickname in college was the “Muscle Hamster” – a nickname Martin clearly hated – played at Boise State. His tackle was current Cardinal Nate Potter, and at one point, there was a story going around that Potter gave him the nickname. Martin said that wasn’t the case.

“He actually didn’t call me the nickname, and that’s why I like him,” Martin said.

— How the Cards deal with the loss of their starting linebackers is going to be a major storyline. It isn’t as if Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho were dominant, but they were starters for a reason. And they clearly will be missed on special teams, which has been the one spot that’s been pretty consistent up until this point. What you have to wonder about is the coverage skills of the outside guys on the roster. Shaughnessy, Abraham and Moch are all pass rushers first.

— It’s been a crazy week with the finger issue of Rashad Johnson, all the way to the very real possibility he will play Sunday. That just is unreal to me.

— The team will bus from Sarasota to Tampa tomorrow afternoon. Two-game road trips in the NFL – true road trips, not road games on back-to-back weekends – are rare. We’ll see if the Cards can come up with a split.

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26 Responses to “Friday before the Buccaneers”

  1. By Red Dead Redemption on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Looking at the Rams losses against the 49ers and the Cowboys, I can’t help but wonder something.
    If it’s a reflection of how poor the Cardinals pass defense is and poor defensive play calling in regards to Bowles or if the Rams just had a good game.
    Against the Falcons, another suspect passing defense. The Rams also seemed to do well.
    Leaning towards, poor play calling and secondary issues personally.

    The story of the game for me, is a rookie QB vs The Cardinals pass defense.
    I understand the linebacker injuries and how the replacements do, should be another story and Johnson.
    However if the Cardinals pass defense struggles Sunday against a rookie, especially due to play calls, over player mistakes.
    Bowles should be questioned, seriously and BA should be questioned why he got the job, with other coaches out there at the time. Rob Ryan for one.

    I think BA, not using a fullback, hurts this offense, due to the offensive line issues and Levi Brown.
    It would be extra help for the line (mainly Levi), and for the RBs.
    I think he should strongly consider, adding a fullback, at least this year.
    I know he won’t.

    In any case, if The Cardinals lose this game, the season is over.

  2. By George on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    I will repeat what I have posted on this blog before. It is not Levi Browns fault that he was drafted #5 overall in 2007. All of us fans, wanna be GM”s and so called draft experts knew he was not the 5th best football player that year. He wasn’t the 10th best or the 20th best player that year. That decision was made by Graves and Whiz who are no longer here. I understand why he was brought back this year. All that being said, I have had enough of watching that guy look like a human turnstyle. Brown is not a NFL quality left tackle. He is going to get Palmer hurt. I would like to see him benched in favor of Potter, Massie, Sowell or any one else. I believe those young players have up side and could possibly prove to be a good tackle that could consistantly protect Palmer. I don’t believe the Cardinals have anything to loose because it has already been established that Brown cannot do the job. I am hopeful that Steve Keim will make this Levi Browns last year in a Cardinal uniform. Seems like a nice guy but he cannot block. He never has and will never be a dominant force that a number 5 overall pick is expected to play like. Again, it is not Browns fault he was drafted a head of Adrian Peterson.

  3. By Jeffrock275 on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Jmho but Goodwin and Arians should have flip flopped Winston and Brown during the off season after Winston was signed. Let’s not forget that Levi was drafted as a Right Tackle to protect Lefty Leinarts’ blindside. Id also love to see Goodwin get blown off the ball filling in for Levi.

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    Jeffrock —

    RE: Winston

    Winston has been a right tackle his whole NFL career.

  5. By LG on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    red dead it was bad defensive play calling and George Levi brown sucks. but i just hope he do good sunday.

  6. By kauaicardsfan on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Aloha Darren,
    Off subject but I was just watch Jonathan Cooper’s Chronicles and noticed he had 2 broken or sprained fingers? Can you tell us what happened with that since he is not even practicing?


    GO CARDS!!!!

  7. By Darren Urban on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    Kauai —

    RE: Cooper

    I have not had a chance to watch the video and I don’t know what the situation is. Did he say that?

  8. By Andy Kw on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    -I would rather see P.Peterson, D. Cromartie, K. Rhodes and A. Wilson right now than P. Peterson, J. Powers, Y. Bell, and R. Johnson.
    FS Kerry Rhodes was a beast for the Arizona Cardinals and was a force to be reckoned with. He can still play and I would love to see him be our starter again as S Rashad Johnson rests.
    SS Adrian Wilson might be an aging veteran but he is much better than Yeremiah Bell. Bell is low and is more of a linebacker than a safety.
    CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is tall, healthy, and a decent cornerback. When he was with the Cardinals, he provided a lot of turnovers. Some people might see him now as a 1st round bust but I would love to see him back here to change the momentum
    CB Patrick Peterson, of course, is amazing. He is still on the team and I am glad. He needs to improve on coverage though. He was bested by WR Calvin Johnson and TE Jimmy Graham.

  9. By ES on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Yes, it is not Levi Brown’s fault he is out there getting beat and making every DE look like Julius Peppers on steroids. He shouldn’t be out there. We can play the blame game but the bottom line is: if he’s out there, we gonna lose. Hope there’s a good left tackle in the 2014 draft.

  10. By ored on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    good points,i don’t see any better line play with a TE over a FB,and either one can be used for blocking,recieving,or running,the TE probably more so as to recieving and the FB more to running,although a really good FB can also be a really good running back.i think since you most often have several TEs,you can specialize,have a good reciever and have a good blocker,but then you show your hand as to a running play or passing play unless you use 2 TEs,really no different than having a FB and a TE together,you still don’t tip your hand.i just remember emmett and other backs praising the FB for paving the way for them,so i would also be for a real good TE and a real good FB.

    as for LT,i wonder how levi would have progressed if we had just left him at RT,where it seemed he was just getting comfortable when we decided to switch him,would we have found our LT by this time by looking for one instead of trying to make levi one?also,if our recievers are sufficient and can step up without having to flood the field with TEs,why not just keep one home as a blocker all the time for left side help,seems we have a good recieving threat at RB now for when we need to spread out more.i’m sure BA will call if he needs another opinion,lol.

  11. By Steve on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: After having spent almost a week there in Florida any particular eateries that you dined at come to mind that you would recommend to the rest of us?

  12. By Darren Urban on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Dining

    To be honest I have been stuck in the hotel most of the week working. We went to a cool little crab shack named Owen’s in Sarasota, but that’s the best I can do.

  13. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Larry’s been with this team 16 years already?! WOW!!! I know time flies, but this is crazy!


  14. By Hammy on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    George I agree with you. Levi is hurting this team and cannot provide the type of protection that Palmer needs in order to make good reads. Another issue I want to point out is in our running game and play calling. We need more of Andre Ellington in the backfield or lined up in the slot, this guy is a game changer! I would also like to see more shotgun 4 wide plays being called. I mean we have a good receiver set and a speed tight end, we should be able to produce good numbers on offense. I think we will turn things around against the Bucs. Hoping that Rob Housler finally proves to be a good tight end like he was hyped up to be.

  15. By louis on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    if we lose sunday we should fire mr. bidwill the g.m. and the whole coaching staff and go after a good young coach who knows football .

  16. By mal on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    Darren- Did you go to the beach, swim in the Gulf?

  17. By Darren Urban on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Beach

    Unfortunately, I ran out of time.

  18. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    My perception of “the problem”:

    From Goodwin, above: “There’s only so many things you can do in a game based on what we do,”

    Isn’t that the point, we look like we need to change “what we do”. Whiz dug in all last season and we got killed game after game after game with poor OL play until he played the rooks a few games. If we need to CHANGE what we do, and don’t, the definition of insanity is demonstrated again … doing over and over what does not work, Albert Einstein. Figure it out Harold, this is not rocket science.

    I give them this week to “fix” the OL issues or then I start a campaign to replace Goodwin. Maybe Levi is rusty, maybe he will get better. But I’m out of time. I want to WIN THIS year. Can’t watch our QB get killed for 10 straight games again this year, our Offense score 10 points, game after game.. Won’t do it. Will write letters to Bidwill, will picket Tempe facility, will post on FB and Twitter, will streak at UOP ! Lol, dang it!

    Get it done, Harold. Levi, a very nice guy, ain’t a Pro Bowler, its not rocket science..

  19. By clssylssy on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    @Andy…Have to agree with most of your points about Wilson, Rhodes, and DRC who is playing for the Broncos (I’d hardly call that a bust! ). Patrick Peterson was probably the best we had to guard Megatron who is huge; Peterson’s speed and agility had to slow him down a fraction but he wasn’t significantly stopped until the second half when we could double team him…should have foreseen this IMO. Once again it seems we are shuffling players to positions they are not accustomed to, rather than going out and getting the best player available who actually plays the position. If ya did this with your electrical wiring you would burn down your house so I don’t see why the Cards continue with these “home improvements” when we clearly have seen they don’t work! Since the Bucs began their implosion and put in Glennon, Vegas now has the Cards winning by a hair:)
    I have to wonder, if this little drama isn’t a ploy (since both QBs have reportedly taken equal reps in practice) for the media’s benefit, because Freeman really isn’t all that bad (and we all have seen bad!),and I have read conflicting reports about Freeman backing up Glennon vs his being benched?

  20. By ored on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    since we really were’nt expected to win this year(i know BAs stand),but keim has a three year plan,it’s gravy if we break out early,but another good draft,free agency,coop coming back,and a year of seasoning make bext year exciting,plus we get to see this team grow and respond and watch a streaker sometime this year,i think think entertainment is the name of the game this year.

  21. By Kevin S on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    Louis — really? We are away. TB should at least be 1-2 (Jets got a gift with the dead ball penalty with time running out) and almost beat the Saints two Sundays ago (lost on last-second FG after the TB kicker missed one just a minute earlier). We are the underdog in the game according to the betting lines. We were 5-11 last year, lost our #1 draft pick, and just lost a bunch of linebackers to injury. Can we beat TB? Of course. But would I be surprised if we don’t? Not at all.

  22. By Peter in Canada on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    In 2009, the last year we made the playoffs we were 1-2. We won three in a row to ultimately finish 10-6. I agree with those who say this is a must win game. If we can not beat a struggling Tampa team with a rookie QB, then I do not see us winning against the superior teams to come. However, I think we will win.

  23. By kauaicardsfan on Sep 28, 2013 | Reply

    No he didnt say anything about the fingers but as you watch it you can see him with 2 finger splints, one on each hand while they show a close up on him writing in his notebook.

  24. By louis on Sep 29, 2013 | Reply

    we will lose today big.

  25. By Kevin S on Sep 29, 2013 | Reply

    AndyKW —

    I haven’t checked salaries but I’m pretty sure DRC, Wilson and Rhodes would cost a lot more than Bell, Powers and Johnson. So sure, in a vacuum it’s easy to just say, we should never let X guy go, but this is the salary-cap-driven NFL. People see what Boldin is doing and wish we still had him, but we’ve all seen over the past several years that having a great receiver and no QB is useless… what would be the point of having 2 great ones and being even less able to afford a quality QB? What position would you sacrifice so that we could’ve afforded to hang onto DRC, WIlson and Rhodes? Certainly not O-line or QB, right? Then where? Even good teams dump great players and fan favorites… heck, look what happened in Baltimore with Boldin and Reed, and they won the Super Bowl.

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