Friday before the Titans

Posted by Darren Urban on December 13, 2013 – 3:58 pm

The last time the Cardinals were on pace to win 10 games, they went to Tennessee. You remember that one don’t you? Kurt Warner was coming off a concussion and the Cards shut him down that day, putting Matt Leinart under center for what turned out to be his final time as a starter in Arizona.

(It was in Tennessee the following year in the preseason, with a game, joint practice and then benching for Derek Anderson, that essentially ended Leinart’s tenure with the Cards, but that’s a rehash for another day.)

Leinart played well enough to win, but the defense allowed Vince Young and the Titans a 99-yard touchdown drive culminating in a Kenny Britt touchdown catch on the final play of the game. It was a heartbreaker, and stopped the Cards from being 7-0 on the road at that point. They did, however, still win 10 games.

The Cardinals have to win in Tennessee this weekend to reach 10 games, you’d think. Mathematically that isn’t true, but with a road trip to Seattle and a home game against San Francisco left, this is one the Cards should get. Beyond that, they have to get it. We’ve covered the playoff situation, and while it tends to look bleak even if the Cards win all three of their remaining games, they can’t be eliminated this weekend if they win.

— Carson Palmer should play Sunday. If he did last week without throwing a pass in practice, he will this week barring something unforeseen. He was limited again this week – no one is saying if he threw some in practice or just took another week of rest – but Palmer said he didn’t like doing it last week at all.

“Completely different, kind of eerie,” Palmer said. “I didn’t enjoy it. It’s not enjoyable.  When you are practicing you are always looking at the guys that aren’t practicing, and you are jealous. But, then when you are that guy standing on the sidelines, you want to actually be out there. You kind of get stuck in that, ‘Well, I wish I wasn’t, but I wish I was.’”

— Here’s where we find out defensive life without Tyrann Mathieu. I actually think it will be a little less important against the Titans than against the final two NFC West opponents, but don’t forget that Mathieu was arguably the Cardinals’ best tackler. Now that’s gone.

— I know veteran cornerback Antoine Cason has been itching to play more defense. He’s going to get a chance now.

— If the Cards keep getting the same kind of play out of Karlos Dansby and John Abraham, the Mathieu loss can be mitigated.

— Darnell Dockett was fined $7,875 for intentionally stepping on the hand of Rams offensive lineman Chris Williams last week. Defensive end Eugene Sims (who was called for a personal foul for hitting Palmer during the Jim Dray fumble-runback-that-wasn’t), Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (who was flagged for spiking his helmet at the feet of an official) and Dansby (who was called for a personal foul) were not fined.

— With the end of the regular season in sight, it will be interesting to see if a few offensive players can reach yardage milestones. Palmer needs 542 yards passing to throw for 4,000 yards with his third different franchise. That seems doable, even with games coming against Seattle and San Francisco. Michael Floyd, gimpy ankle and all, needs 114 yards receiving to reach 1,000. That too seems reasonable.

More interesting is the case of Larry Fitzgerald, who needs 226 yards to reach 1,000, a not easy number given the Niners and Seahawks. You know Fitz wants to get there.

— Pro Bowl voting ends Dec. 26. Click here if you’d like to have your voice heard.

— The Cardinals have benefited big-time by the return of cornerback Bryan McCann, who was cut at the end of training camp. His special teams work replacing the injured Teddy Williams, especially at gunner opposite Justin Bethel has been impressive.

“You kind of got to,” McCann said. “It’s part of the business. The whole point is that you don’t have a drop off in production when the next man steps in.”

McCann said he wasn’t frustrated with getting cut when he had had a pretty good camp. “It’s the way the business goes. Can’t complain. I’m back here, I’m back working and I’m happy for it.”

— The weather is supposed to be 36 degrees and clear Sunday for the late afternoon start. We’ll see if the Cards can make sure it ends a little differently than last time.

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Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “Friday before the Titans”

  1. By PotAsh on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply


    Any news on TM32’s surgical findings? How bad was the damage to his knee? What is the anticipated timeline for recovery?

  2. By Darren Urban on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply

    PotAsh —

    RE: Mathieu

    Not yet.

  3. By kauaicardsfan on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply

    Good to see the offense finally clicking together! The line is protecting better as well! I remember not too long ago when we could even throw a screen pass!

    Thank goodness we are past that! Keep it up Cards!
    Rooting for you back in the Islands!!!
    Go Cards!!!!

  4. By kauaicardsfan on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply

    Sorry meant Could “not” throw a screen pass

  5. By Cardinal on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply

    Lets go Cardinals!!!As a life long fan growing up in stlouis , went with my dad to a cards skins game in 1970’s that had over 1 foot of snow and ill never forgot how much fun it was . I really wanted to fly [lived in virginia past 33 years ] to az for san fran game but just cant afford it . I go up and watch cards at bar every sunday and except for week 3 vs eagles last year there is never a cardinals fan to be found there . That game, #11 and I enjoyed us against 8 eagle fans as we went to 3-0. If any one is in the hampton roads area , get up to Red Dogs on colley avenue in Norfolk va and help me cheer our team on . Ive been wearing #90 Dockett jersey since 2008, and am easy to find there !!!!!

  6. By Scott H on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply

    Would love to see a win here because it guarantees a winning season AND it keeps us in the playoff picture. It’s hard to imagine San Fran and Carolina not ending up as the wild-cards at this point, but…hey, let’s stay in the picture and make then earn it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like ANYONE in the playoff picture in the NFC has to play a schedule as tough as the Cardinals over the last 3 weeks. But…whatever. Not making any excuses.

    The Cardinals are a better team than the Titans and it is so nice to be able to go into games feeling that way, feeling like they should win because they ARE the better team. Let’s get this win and go into Seattle looking to show them a different team than the one they laid a 58-0 beating on us last year. I can only HOPE they are still feeling the pain from that one and are looking for some pay-back.

    But never mind that. This Sunday, the Titans, a team we should beat. Nothing else matters.

  7. By Steve on Dec 13, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: I know everyone is tight lipped about Palmers “elbow injury.” Would you be surprised if he is playing with ligament damage or something requiring surgery after the season? This reminds me a little when he hurt his elbow with the Bengals and tried to play through torn ligaments before finally shutting it down.

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Palmer

    I have no idea on that.

  9. By clssylssy on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    After losing to Philliy on the road, we need to win this game against the Titans to get a feel for what it takes to win on the road in December. I hope we remember to come out strong and keep the pressure on the whole sixty! Nobody took Foles to be a serious threat and left him uncovered to reek havoc almost the entire first half so lets hope we’ve got better preparation for this under the radar team and think of it as a practice opportunity to perfect our game for the final two big divisional games. The road to the Big Dance is going to be on the road so let’s be roadwarriors and prevail! Hoping to see another big game from Fitz, Dansby, Sackmaster John, Carson and the guys! GO CARDS, KEEP ON ROLLING

  10. By cardsalltheway on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    It’s fake because who really knows what the NFL rules are? Don’t hit em high but then when you hit them low the NFL will hide it. If a player steps on another players hand then they’ll hide that “dirty” players actions. How can I teach my young players if I can’t show them dirty player actions???

  11. By joe67 on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Lets face it. Right now this is the biggest game of the year. Pleeeeeze be ready and not just win, but win big and make some teams worry about us.

  12. By georgiebird on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    I look for the Panthers to win only one of the remaining three. The Panthers have been a very lucky team this year. The Jets defense will give the Panthers a good game but the Jets’ offense is problematic.
    The Cardinals last three are tough. Aside from QB, the Titans are better than the Panthers but QBs are the game. If the Cards can win two, they are in the playoffs.
    The Seattle game should mean nothing to the ‘hawks but I am hard pressed to see the Cards getting two of three- hope I’m wrong.

  13. By the way - Dr. G. on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    My team this week is the Jets after our Cards defeat the Titans! That will put us in a dead heat with the Panthers… But we have the breaker on them. this is nerve-racking, huh? Can the Bucs step up and play a &$^^*##$^^ game and beat Frisco. (They hate that moniker)

    And as for the QB discussion, I have a good feeling that the Cards may be able to pick up A. J. MCCARRON. Many of the QB’s that are rated higher are just a dice roll as usual. This kid is more mature, makes good personal decisions as in helping his brother come to school to play, so he stayed to be with him. He has sensational stats and a natural knack for leadership. No need to mention that he has been tutored by the best coach in College Football. And he is 6’4″ and only a few steaks from 230 lbs. Palmer is a decent stop-gap meanwhile. AJ will step up and learn quickly. Mr. Keim, this is your opportunity.

    Roger Goodell speaks: “In the 2nd Round of the 2014 draft, the Arizona Cardinals select A.J.McCarron, quarterback – Alabama.”

    Go Cards!

  14. By Dynosoar on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Win one this week in Tennessee. Win again in Seattle. Then clinch it with a win at home against the 49ers.

    In the NBA and Major League Soccer (MLS) the teams with the best records go to the playoffs, so many from each conference. There is no best of division. Just the teams with the best records.

    That’s not the way it is in the NFL and I’m not saying it should be, but it would be interesting if it was. This has been a great season. Looking forward to making the playoffs, we can do this.

    Go Cardinals!

  15. By Scott H on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Man, I remember that game in Tennessee in 2009 VERY well. Ugh. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. It just seemed so…inevitable. And when they scored the TD on the last play…..just un-friggin-believable. No repeat performances, please. That 2009 Titans team had no business beating the Cardinals, so….knowing that THIS Titans team has no business beating THIS Cardinals team is no source of comfort.

    I agree with Darren, this game is the most get-able of the remaining 3, so…let’s get it,

  16. By the way - Dr. G. on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Did we hear Dansby say “I’m makin’ pro bowl plays in that video?” Umm…. When he made that last touchdown, he could have (should have) run back to Calais Campbell and handed him the ball because he created the havoc that caused the fumble, that got the TD, that made Dansby look so good. I hope I remember that correctly… And these coaches are “making” him become a better player.

    Off to Tennessee to douse the Titans…. Go Cards!

  17. By red bird of death! on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Give a thumbs up people if you hate Kolb, Leinart and Andersen.

  18. By red bird of death! on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    We will kick there ass tomorrow and the NFL for one week will give this team the time of day, and then we will see how good we really are. I believe, always have always will, GO CARDS!

  19. By the way - Dr. G. on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Dyno – You have a point regarding the playoff structure. But it makes better sense to play within a division twice…travel expenses… better rivalries… etc… You will remember when the Cards were NFC East, I guess being from St. Louis and Chicago. That made no sense. I would agree with you that a playoff team should have at least a 500 record.

    Divisions vs Conferences give mediocre teams a chance to cheer their non-deserving teams on to the dance and lose in an early round…. like when Seattle won the division in 2010 with 7-9 record. Our Div was awful… (No Warner)

    In politics, the top two run for President; the winner is the President, and the loser is the Vice President. That still goes on in some places… dumb huh?

  20. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 14, 2013 | Reply

    Weirdest thing about the playoffs is that if Georgiebird is right and the Panthers are going to lose 2 of 3, then we actually may need to root for SF not to lose either of their other games… we don’t want the three-way tie at 10-6 just like we don’t want it at 11-5.

  21. By Canadian Redbird on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply


    It seems as though our coaching staff is more engaged in the development of our players this year vs. the past. The number of support staff also appears more than last year, with specialists in each of the areas. I was a tad concerned going into the season with some of the assistant coaching appointments based on their ages however the results speak for themselves. Having Harold Goodwin & co. vs Russ Grimm & co. has been refreshing to say the least. Hope the trend continues for the remainder of the season. Go cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. By Scott H on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply

    Joe67 –

    Hey, I have no problem with us staying off other teams’ radars and having them NOT worry about us! Nothing wrong with that. Let other teams NOT worry about us, and then be sorry later that they didn’t. As long as you’re winning, it doesn’t matter what other teams think about you, right?

  23. By Andy Kw on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply

    Cardinals nation will surprise people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. By Andy Kw on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Is it possible for OLB Alex Okafor to be the future replacement for DT Darnell Dockett?

  25. By Darren Urban on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Dockett/Okafor


  26. By shannon robinson on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply gives us financial data that can allow us a small look at the game as Steve Keim plans it. Of the 29 healthy players on the Cards offense we’re paying out $49.9Million in cap dollars salary. The Cards pay Carson Palmer $4M and Drew Stanton $1.67M in 2013 Salary Cap Dollars. Fitz is the Cards top salaried player at 10.25 million. This shows the necessity of drafting Michael Floyd to release Fitz from double coverage. If a defense can take Fitzgerald out of the game our value as an offense plummets to $37.9 M in salary cap on the field. Tennessee’s top 25 Defensive players are paid $41 Million in 2013 dollars. Explanation of our expenditures on Offense includes retiring dead money for 2013 as Kolb, $6M; Levi Brown $3.5M; and Adam Snyder $1M. The Cards defense has 32 Defensive players receiving $47M without the HoneyBadger and retiring dead cap money of $3M to Stewart Bradley; $1.9 M to our man Adrian Wilson; and $250T to William Gay. The Titans offense has $68.8M in 2013 Cap space allocated to 31 players. Chris Johnson is getting paid 12 Million dollars so Todd Bowles knows that stopping him reduces the value of their offense to $56.8 M. This is a money only evaluation of Cards/Titans game. Market football, data by Over the Cap.

  27. By johnnybluenose on Dec 15, 2013 | Reply

    @Cardinal….our cardinals play the giants in new york next year. that’s an easy drive for you.

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