Friday before the Panthers

Posted by Darren Urban on October 4, 2013 – 3:50 pm

The Panthers, for a while, seemed to be on the Cardinals’ schedule every season.

But there is something about this game that makes it hard to think about any Carolina-Arizona matchup other than the one two years ago – the last time the teams met, which, like Sunday, also happened to be at University of Phoenix Stadium. It was the lockout season, football had ramped up to 100 miles an hour in no time, and the Cardinals had a massive player overhaul that hadn’t really started until the lockout ended. That meant a roster upheaval that had been a month in the making.

But mostly, there were three players that stood out that day, three guys who should once again play a big role Sunday. On Carolina’s side, there is quarterback Cam Newton, who threw for 422 yards (although it was against a defense that didn’t really know what it was doing under new DC Ray Horton after the lockout, and it showed) and proved quickly he was worthy of the No. 1 overall pick.

On the Cards’ side, linebacker Daryl Washington had a huge game. It was the first time Washington really flashed his star potential. It’s fitting that it’s the Panthers against whom he will return this season after his four-game suspension. The Cards need that star once again.

And then there was Patrick Peterson, who won the game with an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown and, like Newton, showed right away that a star was born. It’s been a while since Peterson has made any waves as a punt returner, but as he showed last week, two interceptions that basically won the game for the Cards.

If the Cards can have the same equation of players stand out again Sunday, they should end up above .500 for the first time this season.

— I would expect Larry Fitzgerald to be targeted a few times in the first half Sunday. I don’t see the Cards getting locked into another situation where the halftime adjustments include making sure you start throwing to the top offensive weapon.

— Because practice is closed, and because Bradley Sowell didn’t join the team until after training camp – and thusly, after practices were closed – I have zero idea how he might hold up at left tackle. Obviously Steve Keim and Bruce Arians don’t make the move on Levi Brown unless they had someone they felt they could turn to. It’s not like last year when Brown got hurt and the Cards were forced to make a change. My guess is they took a month to not only assess Brown but also Sowell.

— All that said, like Keim noted Wednesday, Sowell is going to give up some plays. But the offensive line has to pick it up as does the offense. Whatever the unit’s issues are, the current level of play is not going to have a chance against all the playoff teams coming up on the schedule.

— Don’t forget about the bag policy. It should be in everyone’s head by now, but just in case …

— The Cardinals will be wearing their black uniforms. That’s good, because it’s also the breast cancer awareness game and frankly, the pink goes much better with black than red.

— I think Daryn Colledge finds a way to start at left guard with his shin injury. But Earl Watford is now working as Colledge’s backup now that Brown is gone, Sowell was promoted and Nate Potter was moved back to work more at left tackle as backup.

— With as much as the Cardinals have struggled on third downs, does that ever become a mental hurdle for the unit, a “here we go again” issue? Fitzgerald couldn’t say no fast enough.

“You can’t ever allow doubt to slip into your mind,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s how you have to be wired to play this game.”

— The Panthers have the third-ranked rushing offense. The Cards have the second-ranked rush defense. Something is going to give. I know that the Cards’ defenders take great pride in that ranking.

— If something happened to Newton – not that anyone wishes such – the Panthers would turn to backup Derek Anderson. That would be interesting. You know he takes this, um, stuff serious.

Then again, who doesn’t? See you Sunday.

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Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “Friday before the Panthers”

  1. By ored on Oct 4, 2013 | Reply

    got to stay true to the run defense and give our pass defense a chance to shine.if we take away their strength we should win the turn over battle.

  2. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 4, 2013 | Reply

    “Confusion on Offense”. I recall Whiz had the same issues … he had to dumb down the play book after a few weeks, was surprised to find his players unable to process it. Here we are again, with both Arians and Goodwin shaking their heads at the mental mistakes. Both saying they’ve never seen a team struggle to get up to speed on the playbook. Does this say something about the players? Andrew Luck was a rook but also was Standford smart. Lots of turnover on the roster, but Larry remains. I and Palmer have not been on same page much. Dunno, but Arians and Goodwin pulled no punches in their comments, watch the videos. It suggest doubt of mental capacity or diligence in studying the book.

  3. By UK cards fan on Oct 4, 2013 | Reply

    “that’s fine, that’s fine, that’s fine” – Derek Anderson

    “that’s a fine, that’s a fine, that’s a fine” – Roger Goodell

    Nice work Darren, as always

  4. By J.T. on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    You are quite the fashionista Darren.

  5. By clssylssy on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    It seems that this organization is good at ignoring the elephant in the room (or at least not talking about it), i.e. the Cards offense hasn’t changed that much since last season and once again we are relying on our defense/special teams to get points on the board. It’s great to be getting Washington back this week because the only way we can win this game is to keep their offense off the field and hope that our “special” special teams guys can pull some hat tricks for the home crowd that get us on the board. Cam Newton against Palmer isn’t even a contest, he is young, physical, big, tough, fast, mobile, and an accurate passer. Their defense is tough and gave the Seahawks a fight–they are young and have stamina on their side. While I don’t have much use for Greg Williams, I do not underestimate him as a DC. You can bet he is going to have a special plan for Peterson, Mathieu, Fitz and Ellington! Having to “dumb down” the offensive playbook in a week we have a virgin lineman causes me grave doubt. The biggest thing the Cards have going will be the crowd and home field advantage…the enthusiasm and affection they feel from the crowd, and, of course the noise…GOTTA MAKE IT LOUD! While the commentators are busy jawing about the other “big” games, this game at UofP stadium could be one of the best and most exciting on Sunday, and while neither of these teams have a shot at winning their divisions (against the Saints & Seahawks?), a win could help keep the Cards out of the basement of our division.

  6. By ored on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    seems to me they been talking about the offense every week,just because we’re not there yet,does’nt mean we’re not trying.elephants in the room have been qb protection,3rd down success,and red zone scoring,been talking about each one every week and trying to improve.

    areas of improvement…some semblance of running game,ellington as a versatile option,and patrick as a wild card.we just need to execute,cut down on penalties,and qb and recievers get on the same page…pick up your blocks and run the correct routes,no turnovers and don’t take sacks.

  7. By Billy_Idle on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    Omg – Those god-awful black uniforms!

    Would someone please enlighten me as to why?

    Is this like a Gothic thing? Or a perhaps Darth Vader thing? Or just a successful attempt at being as dull as possible?

    Oh, I know, it’s because “well, everyone else does it”?

    Perhaps an intimidation thing? Yeah, right. It sure hasn’t helped teams records while wearing them (including the Cardinals).

    Last time I checked, Cardinals were Red.

    So instead of watching the ‘Red’ Cardinals at ‘Cardinals Stadium’, we get ‘Men
    In Black’ at ‘University of Phoenix Stadium’?


  8. By Darren Urban on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    Billy_Idle —

    RE: Black

    Part of the reason is because the players lobbied for it.

  9. By Hammy on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    As far as our offense goes, I do think there need to be at least one more change. I thin we need to start Ellington at Running back. He has been more productive than Mendenhall. What about Ryan Williams? If he is healthy, put him in the game a few plays. Point is we need more production from a few players on the O. Roberts where ya been lately? We need to pound the rock more and set up the play action.

  10. By Billy_Idle on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks Darren

    Appreciate the reply. I guess this just proves the saying about letting the inmates run the asylum…

    Done venting now, but could I ask you a question please?

    Being kind of a trivia and logistics person, I do know the league rules regarding home teams selecting uniform colors (and how they declare that before the season starts), but I’ve never been able to find this data before the games. It would be interesting to know before-hand (for the entire league too).

    Can you enlighten me as to where I can find this info? And in my case, to know when NOT to go to the games?

    Keep up the good work, Cardinal fan really appreciate it!

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    Billy —

    RE: Uniforms

    I don’t think you have to do it way before the season. I think as long as the visiting team knows what to pack, you are good. I could be wrong. We’ve been saying since Tuesday we were wearing black this week. I know for a fact we wouldn’t be announcing the uniforms all at once before the season, even if we knew. I have asked.

    Seriously though, you would use uniform color to decide whether to go to a game or not? That seems like a goofy reason.

    I like the black uniforms. Would I want them all the time? No. But the vast majority of feedback I have gotten say you are in the minority.

  12. By Billy_Idle on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    P.S – I tried asking you (finding this info in advance for the season) through email about a week ago, but the only email address I cud find here apparently didn’t forward it to you.

    Thanks again and Go Cardinals! (from an avid, rabid Cardinals fan of 50 years).

  13. By Billy_Idle on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    That’s a shame but it is what it is i guess.

    But the issue of my dislike of them aside, it would be interesting for logistics and trivia people to know is kind of info in general (across the league). Obviously, the entire league makes these declarations to the league office before the season starts, so somewhere (hopefully besides just the league office and the teams offices) this info might be found?

    Thanks again! Go Men In Black!

  14. By Billy_Idle on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    League rules specify all teams must make their uniform choices for all home games before the end of July, so I will keep on looking (it must be somewhere out there).

    I really didn’t mean to take up this much space, sorry. (Feel free to delete these comments).

    Once again, thanks, keep up the good work, and GO CARDINALS!!!

  15. By ored on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    don’t let the color of the unis keep you from the game,just wear rose colored glasses.seriously,it’s not like the military,even there i think they have casual fatigues and dress uniforms.the nfl is strict enough on the dress code,leave the players a little choice in what they wear.

  16. By Billy_Idle on Oct 6, 2013 | Reply

    Not as goofy as ‘Cardinals’ wearing black.

  17. By clssylssy on Oct 6, 2013 | Reply

    Hope the 0-line can protect Carson Palmer better than Oakland did last season when Panther DE Greg Hardy caused a season ending injury to Palmer and drew a $25,000 fine…also hope Carson has gotten better at getting rid of the ball faster(loos to be something he still needs to work on). My biggest concern in this game is the number of serious injuries we sustain as we can’t afford more starters out for the season and game 5 is where it all fell apart for us last year! GOOD LUCK CARDS!

  18. By johnnybluenose on Oct 6, 2013 | Reply

    Hammy. I agree with you. It would be nice to see Ryan Williams get a chance to play. Having said that, I will be surprised (happy but surprised) if we get much out of our running game today. 16-13 Cardinals. Keep going.

  19. By Big Ken on Oct 6, 2013 | Reply

    Glad to see Earl Watford working in as Colledge’s backup. Go Cards!!

  20. By Andy Kw on Oct 6, 2013 | Reply

    C. Palmer throws a deep pass to L. Fitzgerald TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. By Peter in Canada on Oct 6, 2013 | Reply

    I think at this point in the season statistics are not too reliable. The Panther stats are obviously skewed because of the 38-0 manhandling of the 0-4 Giants. I feel that we are the better team playing at home and will go 3-2.

    @Darren You are right on about Brown. Since we are not getting much in return regarding players or cap relief there was no real hurry to trade him. Therefore it is obvious the coaches feel that Sowell is not going to play worse than Brown at the moment and will in future play better.

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