Friday before the Panthers and the Wild Card

Posted by Darren Urban on January 2, 2015 – 11:58 am

Remember the last time the Cardinals went to Carolina for a playoff game? It turned out pretty well for the Cards. They flipped Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme into a turnover-machine – six in all – as the Cards crushed the 12-4 Panthers on their Super Bowl run.

The Cardinals (and the Panthers, for that matter) are way different than that team. Only three Cardinals who were there in the 2008 season will be on the field Saturday: wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (who destroyed the Panthers that night), center Lyle Sendlein and defensive end Calais Campbell, who was just a rookie.

That game didn’t start well but we knew from playing them earlier in the season we could beat them,” Campbell said this week, choosing “resilience” as the one word to describe that game.

Campbell’s current team is looking for that resilience. The Cardinals are the underdog for their playoff game – as usual, coach Bruce Arians said – but even with a two-game losing streak, they carry with them a confidence they will be fine. Everyone has the same record at this point is the message coming from the team’s locker room. It’s a fresh start.

The Cards were the underdog once upon a time too. “I remember at halftime, Kurt Warner saying, ‘We’ve got them down, we’ve just got to finish them,’ ” Campbell said of that night in January, 2009. “He didn’t talk big too often, so when he said ‘Finish them,’ we all got focused.”

We’ll see where the Cardinals’ focus is Saturday.

— Campbell was named second-team all-pro Friday, underscoring a big season in which Campbell also was named to his first Pro Bowl. Campbell got 11 votes at defensive end, trailing only Houston’s J.J. Watt (unanimous 50 votes) and Buffalo’s Mario Williams (24). (Campbell also got a vote at defensive tackle for some reason.)

Four Cardinals got a single AP vote at their respective positions: tackle Jared Veldheer, linebacker Larry Foote, kicker Chandler Catanzaro and safety Rashad Johnson.

— There isn’t much more to be analyzed about quarterback Ryan Lindley. He can’t turn the ball over, and while he shouldn’t have to throw for 260 yards in a half for the Cardinals to win, he will have to make some plays. In a lot of ways, this game feels like it will come down to the quarterbacks – The Cards need Lindley to hold up, and they need to hold down Cam Newton.

— There was a players-only meeting Monday after the 49ers game. “I think a lot of good things we said in there,” Arians said during his appearance on the “Bickley and Marotta” show on Arizona Sports 98.7, and it was probably some important things. When you are having issues communicating – which especially has happened on defense a few times – and there is a need to refocus on the tackling, such a meeting can help. If nothing else, it was a chance for guys to clear the air and make sure the most important message was heard: It’s not easy to get to the playoffs or win in them. Don’t squander the opportunity with self-inflicted mistakes.

— Arians said he doesn’t want the defense to feel it has to do extra just because Lindley is at quarterback. Interestingly, that’s the opposite of what former Buccaneers coach-turned-ESPN-analyst Jon Gruden said he did once upon a time.

“The year we won the Super Bowl (in the 2002 season), we had to beat Chicago in Week 16 with our backup quarterback, and we had never won a game in below‑freezing temperature,” Gruden said. “So what I did is I went down to Warren Sapp’s locker and Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber and said we’ve got to play some defense tonight.

“That’s what Bruce Arians has to do. You’ve got to go get Calais Campbell, you’ve go get your star players on defense, hopefully Larry Foote is ready to go, get Patrick Peterson and Cromartie and say, ‘Let’s pick it up, let’s play the game of the year on the road.’ Go down to Ted Ginn and say ‘Return a punt just like you did against the Giants.’ Let’s get after them in the kicking game, as well. Let’s run the ball.  Let’s not be afraid to punt the football, and let’s take our shots here and there when we strategically get the one‑on‑one isolations that we want. Don’t turn it over, play great defense, and find a way to win.”

— The chance for rain on game day has shrunk to 50 percent. It’s also warmer in Charlotte than it is in Phoenix.

— The Panthers did finish on a four-game win streak, but they played four sub-.500 teams – the Saints, Bucs, Browns and Falcons. Something to consider.

— Getting Larry Foote back at inside linebacker is more important than most realize, I think.

— The Cards, if they win, won’t know where they are playing until Sunday. A Cowboys win Sunday and the Cardinals would travel to Seattle. A Lions win, and the Cards would travel to Green Bay.

Of course, they’ve got to win first.


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Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Friday before the Panthers and the Wild Card”

  1. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Nice post. Not much else to say.
    Foote’s return can lift us like Fitz’ return did.
    Cards 24 Panthers 17.
    Go Cards.

  2. By Perry Matherne on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Arizona,beat everything & anything that stands in your way,let’s get back in you groove,you know what to do.You all been there,done that,let’s play like your life depends on it.let’s get tour hunger back,you know what to do,offense & defense work together,the SUPER BOWL IS WAITING FOR ALL OF YOU,CARDINAL PRIDE!

  3. By Mike G on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Happy New Year to you—It would be a great start to the year with a win tomorrow in Carolina. The team must play error free ball and must win on the defensive side as well as on special teams. Running game must churn out positive yards on the ground–would like to see rushing attempts above 20 in this game. Peterson, Campbell, Foote and Cromartie must show up big and lead the way. Need to get a couple turnovers in this game. I’m expecting a low scoring game where field position will be key. Hopefully Chandler can kick a couple field goals as well. You make a great point in– saying the Cards D can’t feel they “need to do too much” –I think against Seattle and SF they played that way– trying to shoot incorrect gaps(gambling) and lost focus and as a result were getting frustrated and gave up the big play— that can’t happen this week. Darren–Do you Dan Williams playing full this week with that foot???—Card’s need him!!!

  4. By Darren Urban on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Dan Williams

    I think he will play.

  5. By Buddy on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    we’ll they don’t have to wonder where they will be playing after the panther’s cause they will be home watching what real teams do to win..most will go on vacation and sit around happy that the mean ole season is over and now they can rest and try to forget all the mean faces that were made at them throughout the season..Cards should change their names to Candyass Cards !…Had a Super bowl team with the Superbowl in their home town and threw it away cause the owners are to cheap to bring in a ligit QB…Go Cowboys !!

  6. By Darren Urban on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Buddy —

    RE: Cheap and Tebow

    I sincerely hope you are intentionally trying to sound/write that uninformed. If not, smh.

  7. By Kevin S Mesa on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    If we are 6 1/2 point underdogs going to the 7-8-1 Panthers, I wonder what the line will be when we go to GB or Seattle.

    And yes, I deliberately chose “when.” We will win tomorrow.

  8. By rick on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Lets show these Panthers what a REAL DEFENSE looks like. GO CARDS!!!

  9. By REDSEA on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Think Buddy needs to get off our teams web page funny how tough people get behind a mouse and keyboard. Theres no room for that here BUDDY Panther fan.

  10. By REDSEA on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Correction: Cowboy fan

  11. By CreditCard on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    My opinion, as to whatever it is worth, playoff football puts an even greater emphasis on the lines. The team with the better O-Line and D-Line will prevail.

    My opinion, again, I think the Cards O-Line is moderately better than the Panther’s O-Line. Both D-Lines are good, but with Williams playing, I like the Cards D-Line slightly better than the Panthers.

    I’m a Card fan through and through, so my views might be through rose colored lenses.

    I know others have disagreed, but three weeks ago, I would have played Thomas over Lindley, and see Thomas develop. Too late now, but I don’t think Lindley has the athleticism, experience, nor talent. Thomas is at least an athlete. I still think the Cards would be better off with a scrambling QB in this situation, whereby half of the attempted passes end up being scrambles for positive yardage. The other half he scrambles around an literally stares down the receiver and throws a bullet.

    I don’t think Lindley has the Palmer, Warner, Luck, Manning, Brady abilities to read a defense and make sensible and accurate decisions. When Stanton went down, the staff should have changed their style of offense.

    I would rather lose big with a chance of winning vs lose close, with no chance of winning.

  12. By 11ZFAN on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Hey “Buddy” –

    How did it work out for the Cowboys this season when they played with their ‘high priced’ backup QB? Haha, you’re a joke.

  13. By Dr. G. on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    Yes, it would be way above average to start 2015 with a win..!

    Darren… Agree with the vet choices sans Peterson. His pretense will not be taken seriously by anyone…so much vacuous air.

    My list of energizers could include Alexander, Dockett, perhaps Okafor and Bethel. These men play with hearts of lions to exemplify… win or lose, they make us proud.


  14. By Dr. G. on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    buddy… in lower case. I always say:: my 2 favorite teams are the CARDS and whomever are playing the Cowboys…

    When you introduce vile as such, you only empower your opposition. You did well describing your unsavory keyboard prowess. And, your literary ability could use some work…. Be happy…! Go Lions this weekend.

  15. By Fan in Chi Town on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    I wish I was as optimistic as some of you. I’m tempted to pull a louis and go all doom and gloom, but I am a positive person by nature. So…go Cards…

  16. By Scott H on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    First, here’s little nugget of interest that I ran across yesterday – NFL playoff teams with a better record than their opponent are 11-1 straight up and 6-1 against the spread when coming off a pair of season ending losses.

    All of that is in play for the Cardinals – Panthers game tomorrow. And there’s a trend you want to have in your favor!

    Also – the Cardinals are 4-2 straight up and 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 playoff games. Not a bad trend, either.

    Nice to know there are some significant trends favoring the Cardinals since pretty much everything else seems against them.

  17. By Scott H on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    And, just to play the other side of the fence for a moment, here’s a living nightmare scenario that just occurred to me – anyone thinking about who the Panthers back-up QB is these days? That would be Derek Anderson, who has actually played pretty well at times during the season. Just picture a game that is close going into the late 3rd quarter or so and Cam Newton needing to leave the game. And we watch Derek Anderson – who was about as God-awful as any QB could be when he was HERE – coming in and leading the Panthers to a playoff win. My lord, could it get ANY worse than that????

  18. By grabling on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply


    uniforms color for tomorrow game… please?

  19. By Darren Urban on Jan 3, 2015 | Reply

    grabling —

    RE: Unis


  20. By jwoodaz on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    would love to see a smart offense performance, so the defense can have some fun and play less than 25 minutes.Go Cards!!

  21. By jd on Jan 2, 2015 | Reply

    I can see AZ beating GB. Go cards (and Detroit)

  22. By Eazy E on Jan 3, 2015 | Reply

    I hate to say it, but I feel the same way when we played Seattle in the desert. We’re not playing Seattle but we need to play a near PERFECT game because Lindley is terrible even though he played a good game by his low standards! We just can’t score worth a crap and the Panthers front 4 and 7 are as good as any in the league and their even better with Greg Hardy. We’ve averaged 1 TD scored in the last 6 games and haven’t had a rushing TD in 7 straight games! Defense has to play beyond awesome for a road win against a great QB and a vicious running game. Heart over head I hope we win, but deep down, I just don’t see it with Lindley at QB. We’d actually be ok if we had Carson at QB and I wouldn’t have said that a few months ago! Even Drew Stanton, anybody almost but Lindley!

  23. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Jan 3, 2015 | Reply

    Buddy is using a screen name, real name is Nimrod.

    idiot stupid dork loser dookie nerd)

    or simply: Nimrod… Go Cards

  24. By azdesertrat1953 on Jan 3, 2015 | Reply

    I’m going with Calais on this one.
    “You guys say we can win and be a playoff Team, I got two words for ya, Prove It!!!”

    GO CARDS!!!

  25. By cards62 on Jan 3, 2015 | Reply

    Read something the other day that I could not believe. The Cardinal defense was the very worse in the league for the month of December. I think we all know we will win if our special teams play okay and our Sept., Oct., or Nov. defense shows up, but if our Dec. defense shows up the game is lost. Defense wins games especially with our offense. I really thought our defense would play well in the second Seattle game and we were just destroyed and then San Fran ran all over us so I have to tell you my fellow Cardinal fans i am very worried about this game, but I am predicting a Cardinal victory for the following reasons.
    1) Bruce A. and Todd B. are great coaches and they will have our players ready for this game.

    2) Carolina at 7-8-1 must be thinking we are not that good and will be feeling the pressure as will Cam Newton because it is a home playoff game. I think Seattle and San Francisco know us so well that their QBs just knew hey Cardinal offense is dismal so we just need to relax and eventually we will make a few plays against their defense and this will be all we need to win. Just do not take chances and turn the ball over.

    3) We must score first and stop the run including Cam and I think the turnovers will come if we can just make Carolina think they can lose this game and let pressure work its magic on a 7-8-1 team.

    4)Carolina passing game does not scare me if our secondary comes to play. Our secondary should be our teams #1 strength based upon our personnel.

    So we win this week and its on to Green Bay or Seattle. I am hoping for Green Bay as I do not want to see Russell Wilson or Seattle defense with Lindley, Thomas, or even a healthy Stanton at QB.

    Go Cards and thank you Mr. Bidwill, Mr. Keim, and Mr. Arians for a much more successful and enjoyable year than I was ever expecting based upon our personnel problems this year. (PS – I think our best acquisition this past off season is LT Jared Veldheer )

    Thank you also to Mr. Urban for all his great work this season and for allowing us to communicate and sometimes vent all things Cardinal Football with each other, and a big thank you to all you other posters for your information, sharing of ideas and debates over 2014 and looking forward to 2015.

    Happy New Year to everyone.


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