Friday before the Bears – not shopping

Posted by Darren Urban on September 18, 2015 – 4:12 pm

Two franchises remain from the original NFL that was created in 1920: The Cardinals and the Bears. The Cardinals, by the way, were named for the color of their original jerseys and not the bird. As long as we were talking history, I thought I’d throw that out. All that, of course, was long before now, long before the Cards moved to Arizona and long before any of the players in Sunday’s game were born. Long before their parents were born.

This is about 2015, of course, and the Cardinals’ first road trip of the season.

“We’re not going to shop on Michigan Avenue,” coach Bruce Arians said. “We’re going to play the Bears.”

— On paper, the Cardinals should win this game. Those odds should get better if the Bears are without wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and linebacker BearsCardsUSEPernell McPhee, who both could miss the game. Yes, the Cardinals are without Andre Ellington, but they are actually fairly well equipped to weather that issue.

— Could they weather the absence of safeties Tony Jefferson and Deone Bucannon? Both those guys are game-day decisions with a bad hamstring and groin, respectively. I think they’ll give it a go, but we’ll see how they feel. The way the Cards’ defense works these days, those top four safeties are crucial.

— Then again, if Bucannon can’t go, maybe that means more work for Sean Weatherspoon, since Bucannon plays so much linebacker. No Jefferson, and that could mean more Justin Bethel or more Chris Clemons.

— That picture to the right is from a Bears-Cardinals game in November of 1959. It’s Soldier Field – you can tell by the columns – but the Cardinals were actually the home team in the photo (which is courtesy of the Chicago History Museum; J. Johnson, Jr., photographer.)

— Cornerback or not for Bethel, he will still play special teams, which he did for 26 snaps in the first game – even if he wasn’t happy enough with his key downed punt late in last week’s game.

“The special teams stuff is something I know I still need to do and make plays on,” Bethel said. “I wish I would’ve made a tackle or two. I hate when I go a game and don’t have a tackle, it makes me feel like I had a bad game.”

— The short pass/screen game didn’t go all that well for the Cards’ defense last week. Now they run into a running back in Matt Forte who is the centerpiece of the Bears’ offense. For defensive coordinator James Bettcher, he was confident in the correctable mistakes the Cards made – one cover was on linebacker Alex Okafor, a miss the linebacker insists won’t happen again –and that should start this week.

“Teams are going to get plays,” Bettcher said. “We understand that. When they do, it’s tackle (them) and go on to the next down.”

Said cornerback Patrick Peterson, “We have to get all 11 hats to whoever has the ball.”

— Bettcher did rave about Okafor’s first game, and not because of his two sacks. “I thought there were a couple snaps where he was so violent setting the edge (against the run),” Bettcher said. “You can see that. That’s the first thing that stood out watching the film.”

— Best quote of the week, at least from the Bears locker room: Cornerback Alan Ball, after watching the Cardinals-Saints game, said in total earnestness that Carson Palmer “is at his best moving.”

Palmer’s playing at a high level. That’s not a debate. But I don’t know if I’d say he’s at his best on the move. Palmer made sure he heard correctly when I brought it up. “Frightening,” he said. Even Carson understands a clean pocket is the way for him to go.

— The Bears have moved to a 3-4 defensive alignment this season. It’s going to be weird to see veteran Jared Allen as an outside linebacker.

— Arians decided to weigh in on the proposed Larry Fitzgerald-Darren Fells one-on-one basketball showdown. “I’ve never seen either one of them play, but I could probably take them both,” Arians said with a smile.

“But I ain’t playing for no checks.”

— The last time the Cards were in Chicago for a regular-season game: It was the 2009 season. Kurt Warner threw for five touchdown passes, including a pair to Fitzgerald (Nine catches for 123 yards that day). The Cards dominated.

We’ll see how it plays out Sunday.


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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Friday before the Bears – not shopping”

  1. By Corgon on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Playing in Chicago means anything special to M. Bidwill? Do you know something about this? Was there any interview about the topic maybe before?

    By the way, I really like these note cards before the games.Thanks for it!

  2. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Corgon —

    RE: Michael Bidwill

    I do not believe so. The team was already in St. Louis by the time Michael was born.

  3. By Scott H on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Wow, I remember that game in 2009. Kurt was white hot and the Cards had such a lead, Whiz took him out and put Leinart in. The Cardinals stalled at that point and the Bears put some points on the board. What to do? Simple – put Warner back in! They did and scored again at will. never saw anything like that. Geez, I think if there were EVER a moment that the disparity between those two QB’s was apparent, THAT was it.

    And I remember something else from 2009 – half the damn team didn’t have hamstring issues. More of these now for more of our players??? REALLY??? This has gone past the point of excessive, hasn’t it?

    Geez, I was pretty psyched about the news about Alshon Jeffrey. Until I saw we may be countering with missing players of our own.

    But all that aside, the Cardinals are the better team. That doesn’t guarantee anything but….a better team with the coaching we have usually wins.

    Some things I wanna see –

    1) 100 yards and a TD for Fitz. He is still too damn capable of days like that for us to not see any.

    2) Another real solid game from Palmer, after which his uniform shall be clean

    3) CJ showing the tank is far from empty

    4) D-Fells showing that last week was not a fluke

    5) A big play from Peterson

    Now, ALL of these things are not necessary as long as we win. I’ll settle for any 3 of these 5. My preferences would be #’s 1, 2, and 3. We’ll save the others for next week!

  4. By georgiebird on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Glad to see both the baseball and football Cardinals will be in Chi town on Sunday.
    It’s a PIP* of a day *Picture in Picture

  5. By georgiebird on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    With Larry reworking his contract, BA along with CP are the probably the two big money guys on the team. That’s why BA’s not playing for checks.

  6. By georgiebird on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    I remember the Bears’ 2009 game you cited. Will Davis had a great game and never to be heard of again.

  7. By georgiebird on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    In the 1959 Bears-Cardinals game- who was the home team?

  8. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Home

    In that one, I believe the Cardinals were.

  9. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Getting on a plane tomorrow to go see this game (I grew up outside Chicago, but converted to a Cards fan when I moved to the Valley 20+ years ago). All my family is still back in Chicagoland. I’m curious how many Cards fans will be in the stands.

  10. By Kevin on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, I assume fitz and fells won’t play out this bet until the offseason right? When they do, you’ll tell us who won?

  11. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin —

    RE: Hoops

  12. By don on Sep 19, 2015 | Reply

    I’d start Larry Legend in my fantasy this week !! ;
    he remembers 2009 ! !
    bears will test our run defense sunday .
    if we can make them 1 dimensional .
    we should be able to limit that offense .
    i expect a good day for our offense ! ! !
    if we finish with more yards rushing
    it should be a blowout ! !!
    GO CARDS ! ! ! ! !

  13. By Big Ken on Sep 19, 2015 | Reply

    Old Soldier Field almost eerie. I remember the Bears played the Eagles, back in the nineties, the field covered in fog.

  14. By dkerry5242 on Sep 19, 2015 | Reply

    If Jefferson and Buchannon are out our secondary is in trouble.

  15. By Richard S on Sep 19, 2015 | Reply

    1959, the year I started rooting for the Chicago Cardinals because I heard they were moving to St. Louis and being a Cardinal baseball fan, it made it easy to root for the Cards in both seasons. Both Card teams now in Chicago. A few weeks ago, the baseball Cards were in San Fran and the football Cards were in Oakland across the bay. I told my son instead of getting engaged that weekend he should have taken me to see both games as the baseball game preceded the football game. Now what does the grooms parents have to pay for?

  16. By jeffcardinalfan on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    as I recall the 09 game turned early when bears de tommy kellly was ejected which meant warner had all day to throw all game n he took advantage of it. llets hope ol hiolds up today!!

  17. By Big Ken on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    They are who we thought they were!

  18. By clssylssy on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    Congrats Scott you did pretty good on your wishes! Would LOVE to repeat next week against the 9ers without the mistakes and blown coverages. Clearly Larry stills has it (as many of us knew and were not buy into to the “declining with age” propoganda) and hopefully this offense can keep em guessing with our numerous weapons through February! Good to see Greshem in there getting a play and kudos to Chris Johnson and David Johnson aka Johnson & Johnson!

  19. By Scott H on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    Hey, how ’bout that?? Well, I’m sure you enjoyed the day Fitz had today as much as I did, given that we have been pretty simpatico about the extent to which he has been down-sized in this offense. Hey, like Fitz himself, I’m just happy about winning first and foremost. But….I’m sure HE was thrilled to be alive again in this game today. NO REASON not to feed this beast a little more going forward. With Palmer making good decisions ( AND good throws ), bad things are NOT going to happen when you get Fitz the ball as much as he should be getting it.

    Tune in next week for my wishes for Week 3!

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