Friday before the Falcons (and Ryan Williams?)

Posted by Darren Urban on October 25, 2013 – 4:05 pm

What is it about Ryan Williams and his story that is so intriguing? The Cardinals go into an important game against the Falcons Sunday, and even if Williams – because of the toe injury of Rashard Mendenhall – is active, he might not even play much. Yet many are waiting to see if Williams is active and what he would do if he played, and I am one of them.

Williams (smartly) hasn’t said much about his situation, but you can tell he’s frustrated. “I’m probably the freshest guy on the team right now,” Williams said. “I’m ready to play. I’m just waiting.” Practices are closed so it’s impossible to know exactly what Williams has done, and since he is so far down the depth chart, he’s likely getting what work he is getting on scout team and not the regular offense. But Bruce Arians has said a couple of times he has been happy with the work Williams has done. Now Sunday, if the Cards, for instance, are going to have newcomer Teddy Williams active to play special teams, who sits instead? Would that be Ryan Williams’ potential spot?

In a lot of ways, Williams might be in a type of limbo. Clearly he isn’t ahead of the others on the depth chart. But Mendenhall’s injury potential is high enough that the Cards might not want to let him go. If Mendenhall goes down with a major injury, do the Cards really want to lean just on two rookies in Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor? (There is still a chance I suppose he could be dealt before Tuesday’s deadline, but I don’t expect it.)

I guess I’m looking forward to seeing that inactive list at 11:55 a.m. Sunday.

— Lot of talk about Ellington, and people keep trying to send me comparative measurements between the 5-foot-9, 199-pound Ellington and other backs, like Jamaal Charles, etc. Look, I can’t speak to those guys. And I don’t know if Ellington could absorb more. But I think what Bruce Arians is thinking about limited reps is the idea that a lot of punishment would take away the best thing about Ellington — his explosion and ability to get outside. I’m sure he’ll touch the ball plenty Sunday.

— The Falcons were a Super Bowl favorite coming into the season. Now, the defense is much more leaky, the offense doesn’t have Julio Jones and Roddy White has been hurt so much he’s a non-factor. Steven Jackson has barely played. Now, it’s not like Atlanta hasn’t been close – their four losses have been by a total of 19 points – but they aren’t as daunting of an opponent as they once might have been.

— Matt Ryan was miserable in last year’s meeting. Ray Horton’s defense made him look terrible. Horton isn’t here anymore, obviously, but Todd Bowles is, and the Cards got after Russell Wilson pretty good. I wouldn’t expect five interceptions again, but the Cards are going to pressure him. “We got in his face early, rattled him up a little bit,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “This is a new team. With them not necessarily having their top guys … we can’t fall into that they aren’t 100 percent. They still have guys who can get the ball in the end zone. But I believe if we do the same recipe as last year, we will have good success.”

— noted that there have been two receivers targeted a league-high six times when an interception has been thrown. One was Giants wideout Reuben Randle. The other? Larry Fitzgerald. Something to consider when Carson Palmer talks about being leery when forcing the ball to Fitz.

— Speaking of Fitz, he hammered Walter Thurmond on a blind-side block last week against Seattle and did it again later to Richard Sherman. They were blows – but they could have been much harder and destructive. Fitz downplayed them, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll came out and praised Fitzgerald for playing football the “new” way – those Seahawks still got hit pretty good, but it didn’t go over the top. You can say what you want about what that means for football, but I have to admit I agree with Carroll. You can walk that line.

— Be sure to welcome our new writer at when he starts next week: Kyle Odegard. I think you’ll find him a quality addition.

— Arians talks about starting fast and you wonder about the coin flip. Arians has said he will always take the ball if he is given the choice, so the Cards end up with the ball first almost every time. That makes getting off to a quick start even more important in my eyes.

— Arians reiterated what offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said yesterday, that the Cardinals are “hoping” to play Bobby Massie some at right tackle. It will depend on how the game plays out, Arians said, but it would be for a series or two.

— Defensive end Calais Campbell took left tackle Bradley Sowell aside earlier this week to try and give him some advice. “I felt like the offensive linemen, the younger ones, they need to learn what we are trying to do to beat them,” Campbell said on the Big Red Rage radio show. “We just went over how I play the game and what I’m looking for. I gave him my advice. I think he has potential and we need him to win.”

— The Cards do need better play from Sowell at left tackle. And from the offense in general.

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32 Responses to “Friday before the Falcons (and Ryan Williams?)”

  1. By NJAzCardsFan on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    My opinion of the job BA is doing will go down even further if Ryan Williams sits out this game….. He is a talented running back and should be given this opportunity to play…

    BA coaching is starting to remind me alot of “the Buddy Ryan days”…

    Anyone care to guess how many more Int’s Palmer has to throw before there is a QB change…???

  2. By andystandsup on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Everyone has their panties in a bunch about Williams being activated, which sounds like it will probably happen.
    But he’s the same type of runner as Ellington and not the third down guy like Smith so I would assume Taylor, that runs between the tackles like Mendenhall, would get the snaps when the AA batteries of Andre and Alfonso are not inserted. Unless the team if featuring him for a trade, you have to think his plays will be limited.
    Curious Darren, if Colledge AND Watford are out/ limited for Sunday, does that mean Mike Gibson could play? Or would it be Nate Potter? Has Gibson had any snaps this season?

  3. By Darren Urban on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Andystands —

    RE: Gibson

    Gibson has played special teams. I expect Colledge to play.

  4. By cardinal on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    BA …Defer to the 2nd half!!!!When u start on D[ especially at home and can get the crowd into the game ] the offenses are cold and if u force a three and out u get the ball…then u get the ball again to start 2nd half when offense has already played a half . When we start with the ball , Palmer screws up every time [ cept N.O.]

  5. By red bird of death! on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Palmer has to throw 3 more int and he’s benched, that’s it we can’t have this anymore, I’m looking foward to seeing Stanton become a legit qb in the nfl. I have Stanton playing by the end of the 3rd quarter.

  6. By ored on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    ellington,stepfan-1-2 imo,maybe if andre needs a blow,williams subs,they do the same things.
    good to see CC helping offense,just maybe we put it together this sunday.remember reading at the beginning of the season,horton said we should be scoring 30+ s game,that would be nice.

    if larry gets healthy,just 1 or 2 games and he’s right back in his groove,he and palmer get hot we will be smoking.i think we’re getting downtime just when needed.

  7. By Canadian Redbird on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    Lets find out if Ryan Williams can play the way we all thought some 3 years ago before his multiple injuries. If were not going to play the kid, set him free so that he can get a chance to prove to himself that he can play at this level. In doing so,we open another roster spot.

    Now that he is healthy, I think he’ll surprise everyone and earn a spot alongside Ellington. I can’t say enough positives on how he has handled his situation of being a healthy scratch for the first seven games. GO LIL SWEETNESS

  8. By georgiebird on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    The Cardinals are going nowhere this year so there will be no games with playoff implications. Losses to SF and Seattle have confirmed the gap that exists between the Cards and the division leaders.
    That being said, this is the most important game of the year. It will either be 4-4 before the bye or 3-5. The Falcon game is for the mental well being of the Cardinals’ team. The Falcons are a team that has lost it’s All Pro wide receivers and appears on the decline. A win here can establish the Cards as a decent middle of the pack team. A loss will be demoralizing and usher in some major changes during the bye.
    While I always root for the Cards to win- this is a game that makes me wonder if a win or a loss is better for the long term future of the team.

  9. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    I agree that there’s no reason to completely unload on a guy in the situation Fitz was in on those two blocks… any reasonable hit takes the guy out of the play, which is all you need to do. But when I see a guy (e.g., Bell a few weeks ago) get flagged for basically doing his job — hitting a guy hard to break up a pass — that’s totally different. I also am tired of defenders getting “late hit” calls on guys who are barely out of bounds. How does the defender know the runner isn’t going to try to turn upfield and gain more yards? Also, is the defender supposed to be watching the guy’s feet to see if he’s still in bounds?

  10. By John m on Oct 25, 2013 | Reply

    I agree. Bring out our D first and pump up the crowd to rally behind our offense after a 3 n out at home… You know.. Since our Defense is better than our offense right now

  11. By blue pitt on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    @NJAzCardsFan,”My opinion of the job BA is doing will go down even further if Ryan Williams sits out this game….. He is a talented running back and should be given this opportunity to play…”

    I don’t understand where you get the ” talented running back” please show me or tell me about where you have taken a peak at this talent? I must be mistaken I was told I would see a running back that was elusive, quick, a “home run hitter” (if you will) But all I have seen from him is a running back that thinks he is bigger than he is, A back that doesn’t know how to take a hit, that barrels head on in to defenders that out weigh him 2 to 1 causing un do stress on his already frail body. Un like Andre who knows how to take a hit and is elusive and does not think he is bigger than he is! I just want to know where you have seen this body of work that leads you to your conclusion?

    You asked…..
    “What is it about Ryan Williams and his story that is so intriguing?”
    Your answer
    Absolutely nothing!

  12. By Mike G on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is fine! I hope the Card’s can get this game–they need it being at home especially with a bye starring them in the face. I look for the offense to break out somewhat this week against a struggling Falcons defense. As always it comes down to taking care of the football. I also think the Cards’ need to start fast and have the Falcons play catch up. I also think this is a very important game for Palmer – if he has 2-3 turnovers this week you could have some Stanton talk. He has been a disappointment so far leading the team. I hope he can bounce back with a big game. 4-4 at the break would not be bad–maybe re-group a little and prepare to play good ball the 2nd half of the season. Falcons are banged up and this could be a good opportunity against Atlanta. I hope Ellington and Taylor split the carries this week and are productive so the Card’s can go play-action. Darren–Would you double cover Gonzales in this game with Dansby and a safety over the top????? Have to control these TE’S one of these weeks!!!

  13. By clssylssy on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    It sounds like everyone is counting the Falcons out…wow, that REALLY makes me nervous when there are no “gimmes” in football. Kurt Warner ranked Matt Ryan #2 behind Peyton Manning in his top 5 QBs this week, so based on offenses and the job the Falcon backups like Harry Douglas have been doing, I think we better bring our A+ game! Sure hope Ryan Williams turns out to be the “genie in the bottle”, Ellington looks like Adrian Peterson and all the fan experts know what they are talking about with regard to our run game because we are going to need it! Players like Steven Jackson find a way to gut it out when going up old friends like Fitz and Dockett and Dansby, and our entire games is our defense, sure, glad Fitz is able to make those blocks! The Cards HAVE to find a way to win at home and before the Seattle game< i thought we had turned that corner after playing the Panthers like we did. As far as playoffs go, this team is not playing like a playoff team even with games"stolen" and are going to have to eliminate the errors, and become more balanced. When my team goes to the playoffs, I don't want them having to get in through the backdoor, but rather, I want to see them kicking down the front door to cheers. A solid win on Sunday is what everybody needs right now so let's see the RED SEA RISE UP AND DROWN THOSE DIRTY BIRDS!

  14. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    I don’t think anyone is counting the Falcons out. They projected to be a playoff team. A few key injuries, but then that happened to us too (e.g., our #1 draft pick never played a down). But we are (slight) favorites and I think people simply recognize this is a big game for us…

  15. By jasonc on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply


    Is there a way I can block Georgiebird’s comments? He never has anything remotely interesting (and rarely intelligent) to say and I’m growing weary of having to read (or scroll past) his posts.

  16. By Darren Urban on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    JasonC —

    RE: Comments

    I’m afraid this is the village we have created, for better or worse.

  17. By jakeplummersghost on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Ellington looks like Adrian Peterson? Whoa, I mean he’s good, but that’s a little bit of hyperbole…

  18. By georgiebird on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    The Falcons have a bad rush offense and an above average pass offense. The bad rush offense may be the result of the Falcons favoring the pass and downplaying the run game. Now with the receivers banged up the Falcon’s offense has taken a hit.
    Our “vaunted” defense should be able to come out and keep the Falcons to 10 points or less at halftime. The defense has to earn merits on their own play. We know our defense is better than the offense; the question is “Is the defense any good?”

  19. By Chuck 1 on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Some musings:

    1) Why hasn’t Tom Moore been able to improve Palmer’s performance?
    (I haven’t heard anything about him for some time)

    2) Why doesn’t BA sit Fitz until his hammy is 100%

    3) Why do fans continue to write “this team is loaded with talent” when it’s obvious that there are only about ten players (max) that are talented?

    4) In a musing that is related to #3, why don’t fans realize that, as Keim said, it will take until 2015 until the roster is improved enough to be a realistic challenger for the NFC Best championship?

  20. By mark on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    I cannot count the Cardinals out with the defense performing like it is. You still have to take into account we are missing our starting outside linebackers too. We were a fumble away from beating the niners, a slow start away from possibly beating the Seahawks, and just blew the Rams game. But fortunately we get to play them all one more time. Now if we lose to all of them again were done. But these next 4 games are must wins. We have to start putting it together. Football starts to matter in November and December!

    PS: Am I the only one who thinks Cardinals Fans are terrible. Stop booing your QB and offense, and cheer them on. Its not our job to force a change, its Bruce Arians. We only see it from the performance standpoint. The Cardinals are a contender because of their defense. I am not counting us out yet. I love my Cardinals, and even if Palmer is painful to watch, the guy needs more time. If things don’t come together Arians will make a change! Lets actually give the Cardinals a home field advantage.


  21. By Madriffs on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    I completely understand the frustration and fans wanting to replace Palmer but realistically, it hasn’t worked in the past and it more than likely will not work now. Palmer is the QB. The Cards have to establish a run game in order to open up the passing game. Palmer needs to get on the same page as the receivers but first and most important is they need to work on picking up the blitz and protecting the QB. It’s pretty hard to be an accurate QB when you are getting knocked on your behind almost as soon as the ball is snapped.

  22. By Scott H on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    NJAzCardsFan –

    Glad to hear someone else as ready to be DONE with Palmer as I am. Being from Jersey myself, may I say that you represent this state very well. In regard to the RB’s, frankly, I just wish ONE of them would step up and truly claim the job. If Ellington is gonna be the guy, then LET HIM BE THE GUY and stop this half-and-half crap with Mendenhall. Gotta tell ya, I can’t really get excited about Ryan Williams anymore. His history of injury cannot be ignored.

    Looking ahead tomorrow….seeing how TE’s have SCORCHED this team this year, is anyone feeling juuuuust a little concerned about Tony Gonzalez? Hey I want the Cardinals to win but I actually hope Gonzalez has the best day of his career tomorrow. He’s on my fantasy team. And as far as I’m concerned, if the Cardinals are gonna be so generous toward opposing TE’s, then I may as well benefit from it.

  23. By Paul Liccardi on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    I think ryan deserves a chance.

  24. By Hammy on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Atlanta still is one of the most scariest teams in the league, despite not having Julio or Roddy. Actually if we do not win this game, there needs to be a few changes to our football team. The defense is good with the exception of Yerimiah Bell. Dude just looks lost at times and is not fast enough to cover the TE. I would like to see Rashad or Jefferson take his place. As far as the offense goes, Run the ball! And give Palmer more time to throw the ball. The tight ends need to get more involved and act like they belong here. We do that, then we will win this game.

    @Darren, have you seen Andre Roberts lately? Is he healthy or just not producing? Possibility he gets replaced by Brown?

  25. By Darren Urban on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hammy —

    RE: Roberts

    He is healthy. And not going to be replaced.

  26. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    I like fantasy football … but there’s no way I’d root for a guy against the Cardinals, just because he was on my fantasy team. Real football > fantasy football.

  27. By ored on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    been waiting quite awhile for a TE to step to the plate,why is it that redskins hit on a QB,then a Rb,and now all the talk is about their TE,must be the rest of the team is’nt that good then,give us that offensive core and we’d be in the same sentence with 9ers and seahawks.

    1 more game and then the bye,maybe we are just a 2nd half team,we’ll soon see,still lots of football left.even so,can’t help thinking about a young franchise qb,if palmer finds his groove he’s still good to show a rookie the ropes without taking all the lumps.this game should tell us something about our rb situation and whether we go to the well again next year,the wisconsin and u of a kids look good,but i’d prefer a lacy type runner that the packers got and that the steelers are always looking for.if nothing else get a veteran LT and fix our o-line once and for all,get high ceiling TE to grow with a young QB and i think we’re right back in the mix,and keep churning with good surprises,our depth should be great next year when the injured come how we responded losing coop,acho,and okafor,whom i had high hopes for.year 2 of the reload should be exciting.

  28. By HunterSThompson on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    JasonC –

    That’s a clown question, bro.

  29. By clssylssy on Oct 26, 2013 | Reply

    This could be a real stomach churning nail biter with the latest odds now giving us -2.5 against the Falcons (we get -3 for home field advantage so that makes it pretty even). Even though the Falcons are dinged up, Matt Ryan does a good job finding targets so our defense is going to have to keep him tightly covered. There are a lot of veterans on this team who have ice water in their veins, can play through their pain and thrive on the challenge of a battle. If our defense holds and doesn’t get worn down, I think we can win this but, we can’t give away yards in penalties, or win on FGs; our offense is going to have to stay focused. Both teams are banged up and I think it will come down to the team who can play the most consistent and error free game. This could be the best game of the season and I hate that it has to be Ryan William’s debut. That’s a lot of pressure for anybody even if they are in good shape and not the subject of so much negative controversy. COUNTING DOWN TO A VICTORY AND DEFENDING THE NEST!

  30. By NJAzCArdsFan on Oct 27, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H- Thanks! I am the only one in the bar watching the Az Cards game….

    I just saw on ESPN that Fitz maybe have his salary restructured, traded or released next because of his salary cap hit of $18m next year. As much as I think Fitz is a class act and the face of the franchise he deserves a better QB and just deserves better. The rookie WR’s could fill his shoes with this ongoing QB debactle/situation here….. since no one can get him or them the ball….

  31. By clssylssy on Oct 27, 2013 | Reply

    Perhaps if the Cards lose today, the Falcons might want to pick up #11 to strengthen their offense for a SB run…Matty Ice to Fitz, I could see it or Rivers to Fitzgerald would be another possibility. Agree the Cards have been Fitz’s cross to bear and he deserves a ring before he hangs it up.
    Today, two of the NFL’s best will take the field on opposing sides of the field. Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez, two guys who have the disitinction of being great players as well as great men, on and off the field!…respected by their peers and colleagues and loved by fans. GOOD LUCK TO #11 & #88, football won’t be the same without you!

  32. By jasonc on Oct 27, 2013 | Reply

    HunterSThopson & Georgie-

    You’re right. When I wrote that it was meant to be humorous and a slight dig to Georgie. After reading it again it comes off bad, so I’d like to apologize if it caused any offense.

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