Friday before the 49ers, humble edition

Posted by Darren Urban on September 25, 2015 – 4:30 pm

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin was blunt talking about rookie running back David Johnson.

“He could be special,” Goodwin said. “Very special.”

That’s an easy conclusion to reach after three touchdowns on just nine NFL touches, including a 55-yard touchdown reception and a 108-yard kickoff return. One thing coaches and teammates love about him isn’t his talent – although, yes, they love his talent – but his ability to be humble. Of course, he does have to absorb some grief.

“I don’t believe no one in this locker room is really reading their press clippings,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “Well, maybe David. David is probably reading his.” Mathieu chuckled. “I’d be reading them too.”

Johnson chuckled himself when he heard Mathieu’s comments. “It was a little harder this week,” Johnson said, “but the coaches made sure I stayed grounded, and the players around me reminded me it’s a long season.”

It is going to be a long season. That’s why almost everyone around the Cardinals followed Bruce Arians’ lead this week in brushing off the 2-0 start. Playing the 49ers Sunday is both a step up in opponent and a foray into the NFC West, and the Cards understand both cannot be underestimated.

— No word on the offensive line as of yet. The fact Mike Iupati still has not been able to practice fully any one day has to raise a red flag, but we’ll see if he’s able to go against his former team Sunday. As for right tackle, Arians said Bobby Massie is better at pass protection and Earl Watford is better in run blocking. He’s also noted Watford has given up too many quarterback hits. The Cards like to the throw the ball. We’ll see if that impacts the decision.

— The 49ers are a grind-it-out team. That makes sense because a) they have a talented running back in Carlos Hyde and b) quarterback Colin Kaepernick, while he has made strides as a passer, still isn’t someone you’ll lean on the majority of the time.

Then there is Kaepernick’s ability to run himself, which will force the Cardinals to be on top of things while he scrambles around back there.

“From an awareness standpoint, I think our guys have to know that any down, any distance, he could tuck the ball and run with it,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said.

— Goodwin, talking about the Bears game Thursday: “Last week there were a lot of things I didn’t agree with in terms of hitting the quarterback, a couple of shots he took. (Carson Palmer) is going to get hit. We just have to minimize it.”

Friday, Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee was fined $17,363 for his low hit on Palmer on the flea-flicker touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald. McPhee was flagged for a personal foul on the play.

Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson was also fined $17,363 for his hit to the helmet of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Johnson did not draw a flag on the play.

— Don’t forget Adrian Wilson will be inducted into the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday’s game. What was behind Wilson growing into one of the best players in franchise history? Take a look back at my “Making of A-Dub” piece from 2010.

— Bettcher said the defensive line has a “great rotation” right now, and that includes some snaps for Calais Campbell at nose tackle. In reality, the Cards don’t really use a true nose tackle – Xavier Williams has been inactive, and starter Rodney Gunter (whom Bettcher said is doing well) is more like a Campbell. Again, the Cards were going for versatile on the line this season.

— Campbell makes it on Sports Science.

— Will Larry Fitzgerald go off again this week? Who knows? Arians is always coming up with different things. Even Fitz knows things can change.

“Coach Arians is like a mad scientist,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s always finding ways to get guys involved, to create mismatches for his playmakers.”

— Anquan Boldin gets another chance at his former team. He’s said in the past playing the Cardinals is just another game, but frankly, I don’t believe him. Q is too intense along those lines to have it be otherwise.

“He’s a physical receiver,” Mathieu said. “He’s 100 percent for 4 quarters. I’ll be matched up with him so I have to bring my big boy pads.”


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20 Responses to “Friday before the 49ers, humble edition”

  1. By PFTneedsToBringCommentSystemToThe21stCentury on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply

    Remember everyone was fed up with Boldin in 2008? It’s even worse now that he’s on the opposing team. Posturing and seemingly trying to fight guys after every reception gets old, real fast. He’s a good player but I don’t miss him.

  2. By JohnnyBluenose on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply

    Unless we beat ourselves we will be 3-0 by Sunday evening. That will be a good start but nothing to get excited about. As has been noted or hinted at, we now should beat teams like the Saints, the Bears and the Niners. The real tests will come later against the Steelers, the Packers and the Seahawks and then in the play-offs. There are a lot of good games down the road. This should be a season to remember fondly and, if we can keep the core together and continue to add a few quality players each year, our Cardinals will be a Super Bowl contender for the next several years. Keep going.

  3. By Patrick on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply

    What a historic game this Sunday, of all the players that have had an impact over the last 15 years-ADUB is in a class of his own and he will be rewarded Sunday with the respect this city has for him and his career. Screw the gold watch, put his name up in beg letters to show him our respect..

  4. By Lynn on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply

    Does anyone else think that David Johnson reminds them of a young “Buck” O’Neil, the wonderful baseball ambassador, and former player/manager in the old Negro leagues? At the very least he’d be a great role model for David to look up to.

  5. By Coach K on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply


    David reminds me more of Jim Brown in his early days. Big and fast. I think he is going to be something special. He looks a little like Jim with his helmet on.

  6. By Niner fan on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply

    I think niners are not quite in the position of the Bears in Seattle but this could get still get ugly. Just don’t get too cocky until you get past that infamous 5-0 cliff. And while you’re at it, please put it to the Hawks so that Pete Carol stops chewing on seven sticks of gum at the same time.

  7. By Red Dead Redemption on Sep 25, 2015 | Reply

    I loved Boldin for years but he slowly turned into a Seahawk type personality. It was when the Cardinals won the NFC Championship game. He stormed off like my niece does when I tell her she can’t eat ice cream for dinner.

    That’s when my respect for him changed a great deal. Then the Warner interception in the Superbowl. It was almost just like the Seahawks one. Except the play call made sense since Boldin can fight for the ball. He took a bad angle and it cost us a ring.

    For the Ravens he started fighting every other play. For the 49ers same deal fighting every play. He used to be my favorite player but something happened to him. I respect everything he did for the Cardinals but I do not miss him one bit. He isn’t the class act Larry or Adrian are.

  8. By TucsonTim on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K –

    Said exactly that on Sunday to my son as we watched in Chicago. His stature, running form, and the way he holds and moves the ball from one arm to another… very reminescent of Jim Brown.

  9. By Cards fan in the Northwest on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    The Cardinals are rolling and the Niners won’t stand in the way. Though we have played two weaker teams, posting 48 on the Bears is no small feat. Watch out NFC West.

  10. By jaime on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    i think David looks a lot like Marcus Allen. Patient Smart and fast when its time to be fast.

  11. By dkerry5242 on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    The Cardinals need to assign a backer or a safety to “spy” Kapernick. We don’t need him running wild.

  12. By Scott H on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    Will the black uniforms be making an appearance this year? I’m guessing it won’t be tomorrow since there has been no mention of it….

  13. By Darren Urban on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Black unis

    Not tomorrow, but yes.

  14. By rod on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    I wish I didn’t have to work Sunday’s.

    Go Cardinals! Keep rollin’

  15. By Coach K on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    Tucson Tim

    You Tube Jim Brown and watch closely the feet. Then watch David’s feet and how he stands more upright like Jim and can make that quick burst left or right. The first day I watched him run with the big body, I thought of Jim Brown and how he made players of that era look old and slow.

    I think Jim ran over more people and was a little more physical, but the running style is the same. Quick cuts and a burst. I love it. That kickoff return was a perfect example of the change in gears. He held back then the burst.

  16. By georgiebird on Sep 26, 2015 | Reply

    The season begins today. 49ers, Rams and Seahawks- these are the games that will define our season. Forget the point spread, it means nothing. Playing smart and tough and scoring one more point than the 49ers should be our goal.

  17. By clssylssy on Sep 27, 2015 | Reply

    Boldin will always be one of my favorite Cards. Fans seem to forget that it was the Cards who kicked him to the curb then get all pissy because he got himself a SB ring and hasn’t faded into oblivion. Larry and Kurt both wanted him to stay and would have kicked in money to keep him. I applaud anyone who can turn, what appears at the moment, as adversity, into success. Sometimes having a bit of a chip on the shoulder is a great motivator! No, he isn’t Fitz or Wilson but, nonetheless, a great player, who I continue to cheer for, as I do my other favorite players on other teams (some even with the Seahawks!). It always amuses me that fans can get be so small minded and childish when a players is forced to go to work for another team and then achieve success (it’s a business you know), when the players themselves look at other players as brothers and professional colleagues!
    Georgibird is right, the season begins today and how we play against the 9ers, Rams and Seahawks will define our season. COME OUT STRONG, PLAY SMART AND PROVE HOW GOOD WE ARE BY EMERGING VICTORIOUS. GOOD LUCK BIRDGANG—LET’S PROTECT THE NEST!

  18. By Darren Urban on Sep 27, 2015 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Boldin

    Let’s try not to play fast and loose with the facts here.

    Anquan was mad he wasn’t going to get a new contract. He felt he had been promised a new deal, and when he didn’t get a new one (the Cards were willing to tack on an extension, but he wanted to start new) he was upset. That’s fair. But before 2008 strted he declared he was never going to sign an extension again with the Cards and the relationship was frayed beyond repair. Yet the Cards didn’t deal him for two more seasons. I’d hardly say that was “kicking him to the curb.”

    I don’t know anyone in the organization that is “pissy” Anquan got a ring. Maybe some fans are, but show me one example of someone from the team angry about it. Plenty of people were happy for him.

    And as for guys offering their own money? Yeah, that’s never going to happen. It sounds good, but it’s not going to happen.

  19. By don on Sep 27, 2015 | Reply

    the ONLY reason we let Q go . was because of the disastrous contract we gave Fitz. Q was awesome on the field . he did all the dirty work from day 1 . and even when Fitz was putting up giant numbers . Q was playing at an elite level to match . there was no way we could allocate that much of our salary in our 2 star receivers . so Q had to go .. the way we used him . made him take several injuries . he couldn’t play every game the way Fitz always has . so the decision was pretty simple .. Q has been outstanding . and a leader everywhere he’s been .. as a fan .. i’ve got nothing but love for Q . if not for the amazing play of Fitz . we would probably be looking at Q as the best WR in Card’s history . and he’d still be wearing Cardinal Red
    GO CARDS ! ! ! !

  20. By don on Sep 27, 2015 | Reply

    people forget also . while Fitz was the highest paid WR in the league . production-wise . Q was maybe the lowest . but you couldn’t tell that on the field on sundays 🙂 .
    and what can you say about A-dub .. just a class guy . ultimate competitor . without any negatives around him .. well respected by friend , foe . just a great human being . and exceptional talent

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