Wednesday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on December 10, 2014 – 2:02 pm

There are variables that play into the fact Drew Stanton has statistics that are noticeably different at home (a 3-0 starting record, plus one come-off-the-bench-to-lead-Cards-to-a-win-after-trailing-Rams, with six touchdowns and only two interceptions) and on the road (a 1-3 record, one TD, three picks). Bruce Arians says the noise is a factor. The teams the Cards have faced on the road are pretty tough, including the two Super Bowl teams from a season ago. Larry Fitzgerald missed two of the road losses.

Regardless of the whys, the point is Stanton has to have a better game Thursday to win in St. Louis. The Rams are playing incredibly well defensively. Yes, the back-to-back shutouts came against the Raiders and Redskins, but that doesn’t mean they are meaningless (perhaps you noticed Derek Carr just threw three TD passes against the 49ers the week after the Rams destroyed him.) Plus, when you have talent playing with confidence, it’s a scary combo.

Arians says he has to call better plays. Maybe that’s something. Stanton said he doesn’t really feel a big difference playing home or away in terms of how he does things.

“I think that it’s one of those things where communication is obviously a premium on the road,” Stanton said. “You have to be able to identify that and do that. I think that at the end of the day, like I said from the get-go, all I’m trying to do is get a win, and whatever that means, at the end of the day, that’s how you’re evaluated. We have to go on the road, and obviously the last two times we’ve gone on the road we didn’t take care of the football and we weren’t good on third downs.

“We have to go do those two things and be more productive in the red zone and come away with touchdowns instead of field goals and hopefully put ourselves in a good position at the end of the game.”

Simple enough. But as Stanton pointed out in terms of the run game – and the same can be applied here – everyone wants to do certain things, in this case, not turn it over and produce in the red zone. It’s executing that’s the key.

— Speaking of confidence, Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers was told the Rams have back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1945. “1945?” Brockers responded. “We’re about to shut out three! When’s the last time we shut out three?”

Wonder if the Cardinals heard that.

— Antonio Cromartie is a game-day decision. He didn’t blow out his Achilles, but it still seems tough to picture him being able to play after just a few days. The Cards need him, but they really need him for the Seattle showdown in 10 days, and you wonder if that could factor in to the equation.

— Speaking of injuries, the Cardinals have everyone listed as probable except for a couple of guys, but they aren’t as healthy as the Rams. Even Jeff Fisher acknowledged such. “You’re going to have to look far and long to find a team that deactivated seven healthy players last weekend like we did,” the Rams coach said. “I know injuries have been tough on Arizona. From that standpoint, we’re in pretty good shape.”

— The Cardinals haven’t won 11 games since moving to Arizona. So a win is a big accomplishment beyond its playoff implications.

— Considering both these teams got off to terrible starts this season in terms of accumulating sacks, they have both rallied big-time. The Rams have 34 sacks in their past eight games; The Cardinals have 23 in their past five.

— The trip to St. Louis used to be the one road game the Cardinals could ring up as a win. At one point after the Cards joined the NFC West, the Cards won seven of nine in St. Louis. But the Rams have won two straight there – one in 2012 when the Cards played their on Thursday night when it was impossible to protect Kevin Kolb, and then last year when the Cards blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.

— It’s telling that Darren Fells, emerging blocker at tight end, got by far the most tight end snaps last week. I don’t know if it will remain lopsided, but I’m guessing Fells is going to be an important cog going forward.

— These teams are a lot different than they were just four weeks ago when they last played, especially with both starting different quarterbacks. It’s hard to read what that will mean. Plus, it’s a short week. Arians said he isn’t worried about his players being physically ready to handle it. We’ll see if they are mentally ready to go.


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38 Responses to “Wednesday before the Rams”

  1. By Eric G on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Hard to call this one a must win, but with Green Bay on our heels and the possibility of having to play them in the NFC Championship, it kinda is a must win. Plus, it’d be super nice to get that elusive 11th win and all but lock up a playoff spot. Seems fitting that the Cards can be the first team to lock up a playoff berth with a win Thursday. .

  2. By David on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    why not use Robert H. at RB? before we found Williams and when Taylor was out..

  3. By Steve Weston on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Very excited I’ll be able to watch this one at home, as it’s a big game. Must win? Nope, not really, not yet anyway. But if our team wants to hang on to the NFC West throughout the playoffs, they’d better take the field with wild energy and “dark hearts” as Ron Wolfley likes to say. 🙂 Let’s go Cards! Win this game and then sit back and watch the 49’ers and Seahawks beat each other up on Sunday!

  4. By Arthur Martinez on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –

    Can you provide us with an update on how Palmer is doing post surgery? I would really like to know if he is spending time at the team facility and being the great leader he was on the field. No sign of him on the sidelines during games. I just think it would be a great benefit to have him there like Docket is, cheering on the team and possibly giving some words of wisdom to Stanton. Feels like he’s not around anymore.

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Arthur —

    RE: Palmer

    I have not seen him around except for a brief time or two.

  6. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    I don’t know if we can win this game. It sure won’t be easy, especially with Cro and Fitz unable to run well. But if our Cardinals are not mentally ready to go, then there is definitely something wrong. We need home field advantage and the only way to get that is to win out. We have to win this game and the players know it. Keep going…find a way.

  7. By Richard S on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    It looked like on TV that both times Cromartie came out of the game with an injury this year, no one touched him. I wonder if he has some injury he’s playing with and plans to get corrected at the end of the season. He has been effective. Hope he heals quickly from his latest injury.

  8. By Bruce on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Lambs are talkin head. Oooh. I want to beat them sooooo bad. C’mon boys. Let ‘s shock the world!!!!!!

  9. By Richard S on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Palmer might very well be following his doctors advice and standing on the sideline might not be included in the doc’s advice. For my knee replacement surgery, the doc said keep your knee elevated for 45 minutes every hour, I suppose to prevent blood clots and to keep the swelling down. Even so, my right knee is twice the size of my left knee. The trip to the doc for the post surgery inspection 12 days later seemed to increase the swelling.The written material I was given said don’t ride in a car for more than 30 minutes at a time to prevent blood clots. When the nurse tried to kick me out of my room and go sit in the pharmacy for an hour waiting for discharge meds, I told him that didn’t go along with their written material and he said “You’re taking the blood clot possibility too seriously” to which I replied a blood clot killed my godfather when it went to his lungs.

  10. By Bruce on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply


    That is a great question! Where is Carson, we could use another pair of eyes on Drew. Coach may not want to destroy Drew’s confidence, but Carson could tell him man to man “Dude that throw sucked! What were you thinking?”. We need you Carson! Even if it’s on the sideline. It would be a good morale boost too.

  11. By Dynosoar on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    I feel this is a must win. Until GB loses a game, every game we play is a must win. Here are my three reasons for this feeling.

    1. Home Field Advantage throughout the playoffs is ours and winning keeps it ours.
    2. Three wins to put us 5-1 in the NFC West will restore confidence and “swagger” going into the playoffs.
    3. I want to hear the “experts” justify why the Cardinals, being the number one seed in the NFC, tied or holding the best record in the entire NFL and having a 13-3 record are not the favorite to win in each of the next three games we will have.

    It is exciting to see that there probably won’t be a playoff contender in the NFC this year sitting anyone in their final game to “rest them.” (And perhaps not even for the AFC either.)

    Can we win, YES. Will we win, “any given Sunday” comes to mind and the Rams are playing phenomenal right now, but we do keep winning.

    The Lombardi trophy or nothing at all!

  12. By Scott H on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Eric –

    Don’t even kid yourself – this IS a must win. If we / the Cardinals are thinking in terms of winning the division, it IS a must win. The way the Seahawks are coming on, must-wins are all we are going to see from here.

    Winning the division brings the playoffs to our house. We HAVE to have that. So, it IS a must win.

  13. By Dr. G. on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Some CARDS FANS may be OK with just making the 2nd season, but it will not be anything but an ugly welcoming part if we have to go to Green Bay. They will not lose at home this year; Detroit is the only team left to try to beat them in Green Bay… Tampa Bay will be a bye; Buffalo may have a shot, but doubtful… So the Pack looks to be at least 12-4,…..

    Sooooo we need at least 12-4 and hope to beat that weasel coach in Seattle…. I guess I just insulted the weasel family…sorry…. Rams are goin’ down courtesy of Mr. Bowles… well CARDS FANS…. 16-13…

  14. By Dr. G. on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    And we pull for Antonio Cromartie, our #1 Corner to be able to play and feel good on Thursday. Bethel can help too…he is the future #1 corner next year if CRO does not get signed again…. He makes this D work well….

  15. By BigAl on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    By David
    I’m w/u David! I been saying it since pre-season! I honestly just don’t get it! The guy reminds me of Beast Mode, & yet I believe he is quicker, shiftier, fresher, than
    any RB out there! Going back to somewhere around pre-season I remember BA
    saying something about “not knowing how to classify him, as BA does not use the
    FB position…but stated that we had to keep him & find a place for him.” Not an exact quote but something along those lines? Anyhow, I say screw that! Don’t regard him as a FB just because of his stature at all! Just put him in there at RB,
    & put Darren Fells at left side TE & run Robert Hughes up in behind Veldheer & Cooper & lets pound the Damn ball down all their throats!!! I would love to see this guy get 10-15 touches/carries…& lets see what happens! Anyone else see what I see? Imagine trying to tackle this guy down after down…
    Is there any reason Robert Hughes doesn’t get more RB opportunity? I mean does he not get RB position practice reps or know all the RB position plays? I know there are a number of fans on here who have stated/suggested/asked…
    to see more of Robert Hughes! Those of you who feel the same as I do please help me out here??? Please? Imagine us having our own Beast Mode! Any of you out there remember some guy named Otis Anderson??? That’s who I see
    See with me!

  16. By William Barry on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    yes, utilize Robert Hughes more, and get Carson on the sidelines for guidance and wisdom!!!!

  17. By Steve on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Darren: Would you venture to guess that seeing Derek Carr put up pretty good numbers in Oakland has Keim thinking that he might have made a mistake in passing on him in the draft? Carr has a pretty good arm and is putting up stats despite being surrounded by inferior talent, nothing against Deone Buchanon but Keim could have had his future QB in house developing behind Palmer.

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Carr

    I can come up with a dozen players the Cards made a mistake in not drafting. Just like I could with every team. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And yes, I know some people were saying ahead of time they wanted the Cards to take Carr. But there were also those who were mad this team didn’t draft other players who turned out to be duds. That’s the draft.

    As for Carr, he has a nice start. But he’s won two games. Let’s wait to see if he has long term success before we proclaim him a franchise QB.

  19. By clssylssy on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Sounds like the Rams are trying to out swagger the Champs and need to be humbled…third consecutive blowout indeed! We’re going to need to start fast and draw first blood, then keep the pressure on the full sixty. It’s going to take a lot of passion, intensity and pure toughness but this is a must win. Coaches will need to be alert for some dirty hits and blocks as bounty is Greg Williams mantra. It should be fun to school them on how a quality team can play tough with skill without being thugs.

  20. By Dr. G. on Dec 10, 2014 | Reply

    Drew Stanton’s ambition to ever become a starter in the NFL is on the line the next 3 games. He has been standing in the wings for 7 years now preparing for this happening. He can write his own ticket this December. I wish him well…the Team places their year on his shoulders…a big calling, but he can do it.

    He has thrown the ball 220 times in the 8 regular season games he has played this season. Most authoritative opinions will consider this a good measure of any promise. He just turned 30…he knows he must get it done at this very moment…the future is calling perhaps for the last time for any opportunity to start.

    Go for it my man! You can do this…prove the doubters wrong…. There is a T-Shirt with a big “S” on it awaiting you.

  21. By Red Dead Redemption on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    As crazy as this sounds, even winning this and winning in San Fransico (if they lose to Seattle). 12-4 would get the cardinals the 5th overall seed, in which they would play at the Falcons.
    If teams beat who they are supposed to (outside the Seahawks game)

    I hope this doesn’t happen, but remember when the Falcons came to Arizona in 2008? The Cardinals considered the worst team ever to make the Playoffs? Maybe only the 7-9 Seahawks were worse?

    That Cardinals team ended up in the Super Bowl. I think it would be funny (in a universe where the Cardinals did not exist), if The Falcons made the same kind of run. What would they say about the Playoff format then?

  22. By Dave Chaney on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Once again, in fact twice each season, I get to root against the Rams. Having grown up a Big Red fan, I have never changed my team and never will. The Rams went into this season thinking they had the personnel to improve their spot in the NFC West. Unfortunately, injuries took a big toll and for most of the year they have been in a familiar place in the standings, the bottom. They have gotten themselves together the past few weeks and have a huge chip on their shoulder. The Cards are going to have to play solid on both offense and defense to win this game. A win pretty much solidifies a playoff spot so it is a very important game (aren’t they all?). Especially with 2 very difficult games left on the schedule. I’ll be rooting for you guys every step of the way. Let’s kick the Rams butts tonight…GO CARDS!! PS: Please silence Michael Brockers while you are at it.

  23. By rod on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Is that Mauro kid still on team? I kind of thought we would see him again.


  24. By Darren Urban on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Rod —

    RE: Mauro

    He played last game.

  25. By louis on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Like I said we will finish 10-6 and out of the playoff race we need a qb to get to the playoffs .STATON is not the one . sorry but it is the truth seahawks will win divson sorry.

  26. By clssylssy on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Love the Note Cards feature new this season. As someone who has participated in,as well as, coached individual team sports, I have learned that individual honors/achievements also help the overall team win, and would hope that the attainment of the individual objectives identified in your Note Cards might be a focus, as a means to the attainment of a glorious win over the Rams. Having individual goals doesn’t have to come at the expense of a “team first” mentality but can be a big part of pride in the quality of talent composing the team. The fact that the Cards have gotten this far with “the next man up” shows the depth of our talent pool. Getting sacks, tackles, interceptions, catches, TDs will, at the very least, disrupt their rhythm and halt their swagger, at best will give us a W at the end of the game and maybe some individual bests! This will be a golden opportunity for some of the “fresh legs” to make their mark and showcase what they can do under pressure. Drew is not a one man band and has won on the road but will need help to get the job done. We can do this if we want it bad enough!

  27. By Jahstone on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    @Steve –

    Maybe so with Carr, but it was Buchanon that helped secure our win last week and has made quite a few plays this season. WIth CP3 playing so well, didn’t think it was an immediate need. Now I am thinking that a quality, young QB would be great, but at the time, I feel we made the right pick!!

  28. By Dr. G. on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    ReadDeadHead – – 5th…?? There are many other things that can occur with other teams…like the weasel could lose all 3…. You will have to wait to see if your prediction is correct….later…. GO CARDS…!

  29. By Mike G on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is cool! Looking forward to the game tonight with the Rams. The Card’s must start fast and hang in there in the first quarter. I expect a low scoring game. Hopefully Taylor and Williams can churn out some yards on the ground which will help Stanton out . Must not turn it over. Have to watch Special Teams in this game–Rams seem to always do something unusual at home which gives them a spark. Card’s kicker must respond in this game as well!
    Hey Darren–Card’s have to get more out of their return game both in kickoffs and on punts.. Do you think the Card’s would look at changing Ginn in their return game at this point in the season???

  30. By Darren Urban on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Return change

    I highly doubt it.

  31. By NickPepe on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    I can’t wait until kickoff! I truly believe we make a statement this game. I think Uncle Bruce will have them ready to go- and we win, 23-6. Not sure why that score came to mind, but it did at 3:15 am this morning. I woke up “after” we won this game 23-6, that’s all I know. I know it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be that easy, and it probably won’t be- but I wanted the dream score on record.

    One of the great things about this game and being a fan of any team, is that for 3 1/2 hours it takes your mind away from reality. I need that break tonight. Don’t want to make this selfish or personal, but iif any #BirdGang members out there believe in the power of prayer, please keep my mom in your next one. Got devastating news yesterday.

    Let’s Go Cardinals !!! Let’s get # 11 tonight!

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member ’70-’71
    Loves his mom

  32. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Jahstone and Steve,

    Clearly, I would like to have Carr instead of Thomas. And if I am not wrong, Keim said he would have taken him in the second round if he fell to us.

    Hindsight, a 2 and a 3 would have possibly gave us a shot at getting him, but if we thought he was a franchise guy, we would have just taken him in round one.

    I thought we were OK with Palmer and Stanton and I would have left Lindley as 3 and never drafted Thomas either. So it is very hard to fault Keim for not taking Carr.

    But after experiencing this year,we learned Stanton is a back up, Thomas is a project that may never develop, and Palmer won’t last forever.

    Question is, will there be a QB worth taking that falls to us? Is Bryce Petty or Brent Hundley a franchise QB ?
    Or do you go in a different direction and see if you could fix Jake Locker, or Gabbert, Ponder or even Terrelle Pryor.

    There might not be anyone worth bringing in.

    So back to your original question, was it a mistake that Keim did not draft Carr?
    At the time, no. I wouldn’t have drafted him. But if we return to QB hell after Palmer, fair or not, (which I say it is not fair) people will point to that draft and say Keim blew it.

    If you want to go back to Graves, now he blew it a few times.

    In 2005, after drafting Fitz, Boldin and Johnson at WR the previous two drafts and with nothing even being close to a QB on the team, we passed on Aaron Rodgers for a CB turned safety in Antrel Rolle. Maybe one of the biggest mistakes ever by this franchise given the fact we were loaded with weapons and no QB.

    In 2011, the trade with the falcons was available giving us two 1’s and a two. Instead, we took Patrick Peterson. Which many will argue was the right pick. But if we could have dropped to the falcon spot, Andy Dalton was there and we would have had extra picks for the repair of the OLine, including two ones in 2012. I still believe it was a mistake but understand why some feel I am wrong.

    Finally, after two years of QB hell, the cards had an opportunity in 2012 to move up to the ram spot at 6. The cards stayed put passing on Ryan Tannehill, who has improved each year, throwing 21 Tds this year and a 92.6 QB rating, completing 70% of his passes. That was another blunder by Graves that cost him and Whiz their jobs.

    People will want to bring up Foles , Wilson, or Kaep, but they all had issues coming out. I think you could make an argument against them.
    I think Carr falls into this catagory. He had things that questioned him being a franchise guy, enough to fall past everyone. I don’t think you could fault Keim for that.

  33. By Dynosoar on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Nick Pepe,

    I believe in the power of prayer. She’ll be in them.

    I like your dream score.

    The Lombardi trophy or nothing at all!

    Lifetime member ’77
    Loves his mom also

  34. By tyman on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Just a quick thought on here.

    How is Greg Williams still coaching? Out of the whole Bounty gate thing, he came off to be the worst. Players loose a season and Williams is right back a few years after. Dosnt seem right at all.
    Hope the refs call the late hits on Drew tonight. without Drew there will be little hope.

  35. By louis on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    RAMS win big 32-9 cards merry christmas.

  36. By Scott H on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Louis –

    His name is STANTON, bud. I have no idea who STATON is. Dude…you want to be down on the QB, fine. But I can’t take you seriously when you can’t even get the guy’s name right.

    BTW, there are plenty of Seahawks jerseys and stuff available through their team pro shop….since you seem to be leaning that way. I’m sure they have a team blog, too, so you’ll have a place to share all your negative thoughts.

  37. By Scott H on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    Nick Pepe –

    Just wanted to know…how often do your dreams come true?

    PS – the “Loves His Mom” thing made me laugh out loud!

  38. By Dr. G. on Dec 11, 2014 | Reply

    louis – – how do you live with no hope and no future in your life? ….gotta be really sad….. Please consider ScottH’s suggestions…

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