Friday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on December 6, 2013 – 3:03 pm

It’s hard to get away from what is the main storyline for Sunday: Is Carson Palmer going to be the quarterback?

Coach Bruce Arians sounded pretty confident Friday talking about it and was in a pretty good mood too after practice. If the key starting QB had been hurt in this way under the old regime, playing or not, you could usually tell on the face of former coach Ken Whisenhunt. But Arians is a true believer in next man up – he was the same way with Andre Ellington’s injury on Thanksgiving – and he does have Drew Stanton, a man to whom Arians was prepared to start before the Palmer trade happened.

And again, Palmer may indeed be playing and the limited work all week comes down to making sure the vet was rested. I did think it was interesting that Arians made it clear that he thought the two interceptions Palmer threw had nothing to do with a sore elbow. And Palmer, who was hurt on his first drop-back in Philly, did throw for 302 yards and three touchdowns after that.

The Cards need Palmer. That’s no slight to Stanton but instead the acknowledgement that for whatever issues Palmer has had with turnovers this season, the offense has clicked a lot more of late and that is necessary going into a crucial game with the Rams Sunday.

— The Cardinals will have Andre Ellington back and that’s a huge deal. Pairing him with an improving Rashard Mendenhall means the Cardinals have a formidable tandem with which to run – meaning that whether you have Palmer and an iffy elbow or Stanton playing QB, the Cards have good options on offense upon which to lean.

— It’s been an eternity since the Cards went to St. Louis to play. “It’s funny to watch them on film,” Palmer said. “It seems so long ago.” What doesn’t seem so long ago was the loss incurred that day – because the eventual 27-24 decision in which the Cardinals led by 11 in the fourth quarter is hurting the team big right now in the playoff chase. The swing that would have happened in the overall, conference and division records would have been momentous.

— Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek scored three touchdowns last week against Arizona, and we know all about tight end issues against the Cards’ defense (remember St. Louis’ Jared Cook in Week One, getting it started?) There’s a give-and-take there, though.

“Going into a ballgame, you try to take away (LeSean) McCoy, try to take away (Desean) Jackson, try to take away (Riley) Cooper, and you try to maintain and limit what the tight ends can do,” defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. “You don’t let the big three beat you. We accomplished that. The tight ends got loose for a couple balls inside the red zone. I think we need to play better red zone coverage. The 24-yard touchdown pass there was some technical issues we need to clean up. But going into the game, (tight end) was probably fourth on the totem pole.”

Said linebacker Daryl Washington on the tight end subject, “I think it’s a small adjustment. I don’t think it’s a major issue.”

— I don’t think there is any question that as good as Cook was the first time around, the Cardinals are going to want to make sure Tavon Austin and Chris Givens don’t break off big plays. So we’ll see how that develops when it comes to Cook.

— Speaking of Washington, remember, he didn’t play the first time these teams met. That would seem to be a major factor in the Cards’ favor.

— No one is going out on a limb here, but Eric Winston vs. Chris Long and Robert Quinn vs. Bradley Sowell matchups are probably the key to the game.

— Speaking of the offensive line, the Cardinals used Bobby Massie for 11 offensive snaps last week in Philly as a jumbo tight end in running packages. I don’t think Massie would ever be thrown a pass — “I’m athletic enough to do anything,” Massie said with a smile – but his presence has helped the running game.

“It’s a good thing getting a chance to play,” Massie said. “It’s better than standing on the sideline watching.”

Until Sunday …

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Posted in Blog | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Friday before the Rams”

  1. By Sir60 on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply

    I like the jumbo package. I hope we use it more. It reminds me of the Texans a couple of years ago. They would consistantly line up in a power run formation and you never knew whether they would pass or run. It forced defenses to play run and often left the middle open for running back or tightend.

  2. By Chuck 1 on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply

    As much as I don’t want to think it, Quinn and Long will have another good game against the Cards’ O-line to the tune of at least three sacks, one strip and numerous hurries.
    On long “chunk” throws, BA better have help (and NO empty backfield) for the tackles.

  3. By clssylssy on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply

    I see where the Saints fans are trying to set an indoor record for noise this week against the Panthers. How about the Birdgang getting into the act and putting U of Phoenix on the map as one of those places known throughout the league as a difficult place to play because of the fan support and noise? In watching an ESPN segment last week before the Seahawks game, Ray Lewis talked about the importance of playing at home with all the fan support as a factor in giving the team an edge,so before we start thinking about being ready for the playoffs we need to be able to win our home games (like the Hawks, Saints, etc always seen to do), take care of business within our own division and be able to play outside on the road as the road to the SB will be on the road. In the nearly twenty years I’ve been a Card fan, this fan base has come a long way from the days at Sun Devil when there were more visitors than red jerseys in the stands and while our record for selling out games is impressive, fan support continues to be in it’s infancy in comparison. There aren’t that many Dome teams around so perhaps as our team aspires to get to the next level, the Birdgang needs to let the world know that we are LOUD & PROUD and are evey bit as vocal as a bunch of WhoDats! (or Seachickens, etc). GO CARDS! KEEP THE RED SEA ROLLING AGAINST THE RAMS!

  4. By Dynosoar on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply


    There are few posts that could be as affective and effective as yours above. Let’s get LOUDER! and make other offensive huddles use hand signals only.

    The stadium could sell Cardinals red ear plugs before each game which would subliminally tell each fan to BE LOUD.

    My whole house can hear me when a Cardinals game is broadcast here, but I haven’t moved the rictor scale yet like the Seahawks fans, man I wish I could add my voice to yours in the Red Sea.

    Enjoy this game my friends. While New York in February is still a possibility (although the probability is less), imagine home field advantage in February of 2015 for the 2014 season’s SB. Now that would be loud.

  5. By Rich on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply

    I agree with clssylssy. Why can’t we be louder and prouder !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. By FUNwithTROLLS on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply

    Aug 25
    Louis — its over wait for next year we will finish 2 14 these year again and maybe we will daft a quaterback

    Nov 22
    Louis — the ride stops here on sunday the colts are to good to beat we will finish 6 – 10 this year this will be my last year as a Cardinalsfan.

    Dec 3
    Louis — cards won/t win another game this year like i said 7 -9 dead last.

  7. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply

    Looks like Massie took over Potter’s game day role.

  8. By Eric G on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply

    Pretty much every game is a must win the last four weeks thanks to the tough NFC this year. Man, even if the Cards win all 4, they could still not end up in the playoffs at 11-5. I don’t know that the Cards can do that only because of the road game in Seattle, but I hope they do. A 10-6 record will still be a huge finish given that everyone expected them to be no better than 6-10. Go Cards.

  9. By Andy Kw on Dec 7, 2013 | Reply

    Carson Palmer is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep up the good work man

  10. By Andy Kw on Dec 8, 2013 | Reply

    My only hope right now is for the Panthers to lose to the Saints, the 49ers to lose to the Seahawks, the Eagles to lose to the Lions, and the Cardinals to top the Rams. If all of these come true, the Cardinals playoff chances increase. I don’t care how our team wins as long as we get the W, that is all that matters. If we get 100yds of offense and still win, by all means I will take it any day. Don’t force feed Larry Fitzgerald and don’t risk anything if we are in scoring position. Palmer, if you can’t find any one scramble and slide for yardage. And thank god Andre Ellington is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. By Chuck 1 on Dec 8, 2013 | Reply


    Ken Whisenhunt eyed by Texans
    Updated: December 8, 2013, 11:17 AM ET

    My comment: Maybe if the Texans don’t also hire Rod Graves, Whiz might do OK

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