RB criticism and ailing Abraham

Posted by Darren Urban on November 13, 2013 – 2:20 pm

Some notes after Wednesday availability (and as the Cardinals practice):

— Not surprisingly, coach Bruce Arians isn’t about to talk ill of the 1-8 Jaguars. “You better bring your big-boy pants when you play against Jacksonville,” Arians said.

— Arians reiterated — yet again — that his running back situation isn’t going to change. Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington are going to split time. Sometimes, it’s going to be impacted by the flow of the game. Arians lamented again the inability to get the ball to Ellington as a receiver, missed opportunities because of pass protection issues and/or Carson Palmer’s decisions.

— Arians was asked about the criticism Mendenhall is now receiving from the fans, and by extension, the criticism Arians gets for playing Mendenhall. “That’s fine,” Arians said. “Rashard can handle it. I can handle it.”

— Arians did say most “don’t sit in the room” with the running backs to see what Mendenhall is bringing to the team and to his teammates. “Ask (running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell),” Arians said. “Having been a veteran player in that room, he knows what that brings.”

— Linebacker John Abraham, coming off a three-sack game, was padless and on a bike during the open portion of practice. The injury report is out later today, but the way Abraham is playing (six sacks in the last three games), the Cards would be hurt without him. Also sitting out, as expected, were wide receivers Michael Floyd (shoulder sprain) and Brittan Golden (hamstring).

— In case you missed my tweet yesterday, the assault trial of linebacker Daryl Washington, which remains in the pre-trial phase, doesn’t have its next scheduled pretrial conference until January 23. Which means whatever the outcome, it is not going to affect the 2013 season.

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27 Responses to “RB criticism and ailing Abraham”

  1. By LadyBird04 on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    Re Mendenhall: No one is saying to kick him off the team. He’s a good leader in the rb group – great. Put Taylor and Ellington on the field and let Mendenhall show his leadership by helping them grow.

    Re Washington: He is due either a big bonus or some such at the end of the season, right? Okay, do we pay these millions to him before he goes on trial or can they do something to negotiate a way not to give him these millions if he goes to jail and his career is shot?

    Re Fitzgerald: His dad is at it again on twitter. Larry has enough to worry about without having to answer for his father or brother as well.

  2. By John A. on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    The cardinals won’t underestimate an opponent but where do the offense and defense rank in the NFL standings? Top 20 or so?

  3. By Darren Urban on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    John A. —

    RE: Ranks

    Jaguars are 32nd in offense, 28th in defense.

  4. By Vegas Cards Fan on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    Just because he brings something to the RB room doesn’t mean he should be starting. He’s almost cost us a game… TWICE. I’m not one to bash the coach, but his decision making is looking more and more suspect.

  5. By Mike G on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is cool! I hope the Card’s can start fast this week–and jump on the Jags quickly. Concerning the running backs position–Arian’s is handling it just fine. It does not matter who starts as long as everyone is productive. Mendenhall has experience and can certainly teach the young guys. I really like the way Abraham is playing and I think Bowles is using him just right—not giving him too many snaps. I hope in this game the Cards’ improve on 3rd down and can limit their turnovers. These are 2 areas that need to improve during the stretch run. Hey Darren–How do the coaches feel about Sendlein’s play on the line so far this year???? He is a steady guy that gets no attention!!!

  6. By Cardinal on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    Lets go Cardinals…time to make a push . Act like the Jags are the 49ers …practice beating them for next month. Finish Strong 11-5==top wildcard !!!

  7. By Eazy E on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    -Haha Jacksonville. Yeah you gotta play but they’re awful, they won their first game and all but the Cardinals should take care of them if they have a prayer at being a playoff team.

    -Rashard shouldn’t get cut just replaced. Ryan Williams should also be active now and Ellington starting for good right now.

    -2 Bible Names is beasting now, so happy we got him.

  8. By Andy Kw on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    -I am hoping that Justin Bethel will be our #2 starting cornerback next year. He has so much potential. I am pretty sure he is going to make it to the Pro Bowl this season on special teams. But by the end of next season, I hope he becomes a pro bowl cornerback

  9. By Blakew on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    Sure Glad B.A. is the coach and not the fans 🙂 he is doing a great job

  10. By georgiebird on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    Larry’s father is stealing my material- claiming Larry is being used like a TE.

  11. By Credit Card on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    What is the weather forecast in Jacksonville this coming Sunday?

  12. By ored on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    if larry is being used as a te,then he needs graham like peformances.

    agree with how the rbs are used right now,mendy has earned this time and ba knows that at times like this,his players will come thru when counted on,everybody will get their turn,i like stepfan,but he has not done anything extroidinary yet,ellington has,hence his increased role.

    walter football predicts we draft the lsu qb,works for me;lsu connection,big mobile,cannon armed qb with a name similar to bens should bring a smile to coaches face.with returning long time injured players,it will be like 3 extra picks next year,as excited as i was for this season,next year even more so.once we get the lt spot ironed out and the o-line healthy,look out.

    also be interesting to see how the te spot plays out,whether we are good to go,or need to draft one,and we probably draft a burner,no guarantee the guys we got have the hands,speed alone is one thing,but speed and good hands is special.

    holding my breath on washingtons court proceedings,may be the incentive to keep los around,like we need any more reason to,man is playing insane.we need to also start looking for a young dd,and am so hoping we see okafor break out,he was so awesome his last college game,if he can bring that to this level,we will be scary good.hope abraham reaches his goal with the cardinals,what a stud,much props to him.

  13. By clssylssy on Nov 13, 2013 | Reply

    A lot of great TE’s play like Wide Receivers…Tony Gonzalez for one and as long as he is catching balls and scoring TDs he’ll probably make it into the Hall before some receivers.. I don’t think Fitz has much to worry about in that regard with all his records and respect from his colleagues throughout the NFL. It’s shameful that his talents are being wasted by the Cardinals and chances for getting a ring with this organization are probably slim to none. He earns every cent of his contract as a leader and marketing face of the organization even when being used in a supporting role. I don’t think it really matters what his job title is as he is a complete professional and class individual.

  14. By Steve on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    “The fans” thought it was the end of the world last year when: Ray Horton was let go. Result: Todd Bowles has exceeded expectations. While defenses are limiting Mendenhall yards/rush, they are expending energy to stop him. Result: Ellington doesn’t have to sacrifice HIS body to cause the wear and tear. The key phrase is the “flow of the game” that B.A. alluded to: it’s all about pacing (in a particular game and during the long season)! We’re going in the right direction! “The fans” may find that they’re wrong again…

  15. By iain on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Dear Darren

    With Abraham and Shaughnessy playing well, how do you think this will effect Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander? Do you think they will make the team next year?

  16. By Darren Urban on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    iain —

    RE: LBs

    I think we have a long, long way to go before that is determined. Besides everything is year-to-year in the NFL. What if the Cards draft a stud OLB?

  17. By clssylssy on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Those of us who have been around longer than a few seasons, appreciate the fact that at last we have a running game that actually moves the chains down the field in a sustained drive, and gives our offense an opportunity to stay in the game.
    RBs, like WRs come in all sizes and with different skillsets and we are fortunate to have a mix of the big guy, Rashard Mendenhall, to lead the assault and guys like Ellington and Taylor to come in with the cleanup getting the long scoring yards. Having big bodied receives like Fitz and Floyd blocking downfield has given this running offense an edge that wasn’t there before and many fans are taking this for granted. Now that our TEs are becoming more a threat, our offense is going to just get better. Having Fitz and Patrick Peterson in different roles than we are used to seeing them in, has been BA’s call because they are exceptional athletes who are capable of handlling the heavy lifting necessary for other guys like Ellington and Roberts to be successful in gaining yards. This team is EVOLVING into a multidimensional threat that is only possible when skilled players are willing to step out of the spotlight and be the unsung heros. For all the criticism that Carson Palmer takes, he has proven to be a durable QB who is capable of keeping his eye on the objective moving forward; taking shots at him for his interceptions is tunproductive. Even if we don’t make the playoffs, (it’s too early to tell)this team has improved substantially and plays more as a cohesive unit than teams with better records. I’m proud of the leadership among our veteran players who are
    helping to mold our talented rookies in Probowlers of the future. GOOD JOB TEAM & COACHES!

  18. By georgiebird on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Abraham is playing real well and the Cards see to be increasing his # of plays. This is a slippery slope- trying to get more plays out of JA may result in losing him to injury or fatigue.. But wouldn’t it be great if JA was an up and coming 25 year old LB instead of a guy 35 years old.
    Keim deserves a lot of credit for getting a productive vet after so many misses in the past.

  19. By Patrick on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    i hope the cardinals show up on Sunday. Jacksonville is a good upset team. this game scares me… probably more then it should

  20. By Big Ken on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Cracks me up! We talk about John Abraham like he’s an old grandpa. RE:LBs, I was a little disappointed with Lorenzo Alexander, expected more.

  21. By Pete Dowdle on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    I’m about thisclose to skipping your articles on the RB’s, if only because I know at least half of the following commentary below them will be about how Arians is mishandling the position. Mendenhall has done a lot less wrong than people seem to realize, even when being compared to Ellington. His YPC are significantly less, sure–so is nearly every other RB in the league! Ellington benefits from the very situations he’s called upon to carry the ball in, and not as an every down RB. If he was used like Mendenhall, where he’s expected to gain just enough to soften the defenses over the top, then his YPC would be considerably lower. If he was used early on, like Mendenhall is, then he might not be as effective later on. Mendenhall could certainly stand to protect the ball better, and not make thiings so interesting. But I think the mix, in general, thus far has only benefited the Card’s. Their losses to date haven’t been close enough to be attributed to the ineffectiveness of Mendenhall, but rather various points along the offense. (Of course, if Ellington had caught that crucial pass on third down late in the game against St. Louis, then maybe that would’ve made the difference… but I digress!) The Card’s are 5-4, which they never were last year; they’re in the hunt for a playoff spot, and their chances look VERY GOOD, which was never the case last year; and Arians has made some really good, smart calls throughout the games and season, which wasn’t being said much about the past coaching staff last year. My point is: The Card’s are in a good spot, with a lot of good to be had ahead of them, and Arians, and the team, needs time to come into perspective before folks start looking at them retrospectively. At the end of a Sunday, when the Card’s walk away with a “W,” or at the end of the year, when the Card’s walk away with potentially more than just a winning record, is Arians’ use of Mendenhall really going to be considered a bad call? Give the guy(s) a break! This guy was just the Coach of the Year last year, and he’s probably one of a handful of coaches qualifying themselves for as much again this year.

  22. By Dynosoar on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Being the starter does not necessarily translate to a greater number of snaps (although, it probably does more often then not.)

    Mendenhall may be the starter, but Ellington is getting plenty of snaps and they’re both proving effective in their distinct rolls.

    AND Mendenhall has fewer fumbles than Williams has.

    Ryan Williams, 5 games, 2 fumbles, 2 lost. (and if we recall, one of those allowed the Patriots and opportunity to win with a field goal.)

    Rashard Mendenhall, 8 games, 3 fumbles, 2 lost.

    They have different skill sets so benching one for the other doesn’t make sense, different skillsets. Pretty much the same as far as fumbles. Both may be better than who they replaced.

  23. By jasonc on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Pete Dowdle-

    I’d just like to say that I appreciate your post. The majority of people who post on here are extremely negative under the guise that they are the real fans. It is refreshing to hear a positive take.

  24. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    “Daryl Washington, which remains in the pre-trial phase, doesn’t have its next scheduled pretrial conference until January 23. Which means whatever the outcome, it is not going to affect the 2013 season.”

    Priceless for him and Cards. Good setup for him to get this right. God bless his efforts.

  25. By John The Draft Guy on Nov 14, 2013 | Reply

    Darren ” I think we have a long, long way to go before that is determined. Besides everything is year-to-year in the NFL. What if the Cards draft a stud OLB?”

    Yes Like UCLA’s Anthony Barr.

  26. By joe67 on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Houston last week, Indy next week. Can you spell T-R-A-P. Pleeeze don’t let it happen Cards. Good chance to be 6-4.

  27. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    I am a Fitz fan as much as the next guy, but the Arizona Cardinals drafted him high, gave him what I believe at the time was a contract that made him one of the top 5 or so paid players in the NFL, and have allowed him to mature into the leader and face of the franchise he is today (in his first couple years, by his own admission, he was not comfortable with the media and was not a leader).

    I don’t get why fans talk about guys like Fitz as if they are “owed” a ring. #1, the Cards had a very good shot at one in 2009; we lost the Super Bowl in the last minute. In the time that Larry Fitzgerald has been a Cardinal, only 12 teams have made it to the Super Bowl, and the Cardinals are one of those teams… so if you assumed Fitz were randomly assigned to any team, the odds are better that at this point he would not have gone to any SB’s than that he would have gone to one. Lots of great players never get to the Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals have hardly done anything “shameful” to Larry Fitzgerald. Yeah, last year’s QB’ing sucked, but in the previous year, with the same guys (Kolb, Skelton) Larry had over 1400 yards just like he did in the Warner heyday, so it’s not like they should have anticipated a near 50% dropoff in his production. And then this year they went out and got probably the best available free agent QB there was. I’m as surprised as anyone that the Palmer-to-Fitz connection hasn’t materialized all that much, but the team certainly tried to rectify the situation from the previous year by trying to improve the position. Quit acting like the team is persecuting Fitz by making him play here.

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