Confidently, Friday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on October 2, 2015 – 4:23 pm

Carson Palmer was asked why the Cardinals are so confident right now.

“We are confident because we are good,” the quarterback said. “And we know it.”

It was a matter-of-fact statement. Palmer followed up by saying he didn’t think it was being cocky, or a false confidence. In this case, the Cardinals are simply a good football team. They’ve been building to this point for a couple of years, GM Steve Keim has filled in some of the weak spots, and this is the year to really push.

The Cards are only three games in, but they know that. They are playing the best defense they’ve seen to date on Sunday when the Rams visit, but they know that and are prepared. After Sunday, they have six of their next eight games on the road, so a 4-0 start would be, while not necessary, at least important. They know that too.

— If one of the big storylines for Sunday is how the Cardinals protect Palmer, it doesn’t sound like max protection – keeping everyone in to block save for a couple of receivers down the field – is a legit option.

“It’s not a lot of who we are,” Palmer said. “We get into big personnel groups to run the ball, not to try and fake you out and take shots with one or two receivers. We will take shots with five receivers in the game.”

— This is one of those games that feels like, as long as the Cardinals don’t hurt themselves with bad turnovers or bad blocking, they will be fine. Even last year, when the Rams had a great defense and Palmer was knocked from the game, the Cardinals still won because of defensive pressure and timely offense. Since Bruce Arians arrived, it’s hard to beat the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Mike Iupati is back. He’ll start Sunday, and Arians finally has the offensive line – although it’s funny, it wasn’t the original projected line. Remember, by the time Iupati signed, center Lyle Sendlein had been released. Still, it’ll be good to get the team’s premier free agent on the field, in a game you know the Cards want to run.

— The Cardinals’ five- and six-defensive back packages would seem to come in handy against an offense that struggles to run the ball yet whose passing game seems to rely more of short passes and runs.

— Through three games: Larry Fitzgerald, five touchdowns. St. Louis Rams offense, four touchdowns.

— This is the best three-game start of Fitzgerald’s distinguished career, by the way: 23 catches, 333 yards and those five scores. In all three categories.

— Left tackle Jared Veldheer committed three early penalties last week, including a hold that wiped out a 44-yard bomb to Michael Floyd.

“We can’t have penalties, especially Jared, that’s unlike him,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin admitted. “It’s just refreshing as a coach to be able to yell at him because other times you don’t get opportunities.”

— Anyone worried about punter Drew Butler? (That’s rhetorical, because I hear from plenty of you.) Guess who isn’t: Arians.

“He’s been kicking well,” Arians said. “Had the one bad kick but he’s been doing a good job kicking inside the 20, which is what we want him to do.”

— The lack of Rams’ offense would seem to bode well for the Cards in this regard: Under Arians, the Cardinals are 20-2 when the opponent scores 20 or fewer points.

— Although the Cardinals don’t officially announce sellouts anymore (no need, since the NFL no longer blacks out games locally), this will be 97-for-97 in terms of sellouts of Cardinals games at University of Phoenix Stadium.

— This will be a great test for the Cards’ huge red-zone start. So far, the Cards are 11-for-12 in the red zone, and the only “miss” was a field goal at the end of the first half last week in which the Cards had a first down at the San Francisco 4-yard line.

— The Cardinals will wear their black jerseys Sunday. And it’s their Breast Cancer Awareness game too, so black-and-white with pink accents. In case you need to color coordinate.

See you Sunday.


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Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “Confidently, Friday before the Rams”

  1. By Tyler on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    Arians’ obliviousness to Butler’s flagrantly bad punting effort is staggering. I acknowledge that he has been SOLID in terms of downing it in the 20, but apart from that…he’s been about as bad as they get…

  2. By Amir on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    But Butler’s “one bad kick” resulted in the only score for the 49ers who otherwise probably would have been shut out. For a blowout win you can probably push it under the rug and ignore, but in a close game it can be disastrous. I would still stay Drew Butler sucks.

  3. By Tucsontim on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    Black jerseys…booo

    Butler… BA BS. At some point the opposing special teams coaches will go all out to block his slow punting style. If all you want are punts inside the 20, bring back Ben Graham

    Mythical sell outs. Those of us who actually go to games know that there are thousands of empty seats. Since it doesn’t matter any more for TV, just figure out how to put more real Cardinals fans in the seats.

    This should be another blow out if we keep CP healthy.

  4. By Scott H on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, that may be the single greatest blog you’ve ever posted. What can one do but just stand in awe?? These are OUR Arizona Cardinals and they are the greatest football team on the planet right now!

    Great to know Mike Iupati will be in the house on Sunday. And ne better not screw up how great this O-line has been playing!

    As for Ellington…hey, no rush to rush him back. And the fact that I need CJ to have a big week for my fantasy team has absolutely NOTHING to do with my saying that. Nothing at all….

    And who would have believed that instead of opposing defenses, it would be Larry Fitzgerald himself and his best start ever that has managed to shut down the rest of our WR corps??? Not bad for an old man, eh?

    The Cardinals will win this game because they are good. And they know it!

  5. By Don on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    I’m hyped about this game. I think it’s a great opportunity for the Cards. They get to face a great defense in a game they should win with no problem, great practice for later in the season.
    Wondering if anyone saw Lupati match up against Donald last year and if so how he did.

  6. By Nick Pepe on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    This is the litmus test. I will be the first to admit that this the best start I have seen since I have been a fan. They look good. Fairy tale good. An offense a thing of beauty and a defense opportunistic and nasty. Playing the part of Goldilocks and the Big Bad Wolf if you will.

    Nothing against the Saints, Bears and Whiners…….but this is the week where the rubber meets the road. NFC West showdown against a stout D. There are demons to be conquered and a statement to be made.

    Seen enough of Foles in Philly, as have the Cards, you can rattle his scrawny ass and make it a long day. He has the mobility of a sloth. He doesn’t turn it over much, but I have a feeling that will change Sunday.

    Can’t wait to see the offensive line, finally intact. So many weapons. Keep Carson clean and take care of business.

    This is as good as its been. But not as good as its gonna get.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  7. By fozzybear on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    Rams are a good team with one of the best defensive fronts in all of football. . . until the Cardinals dismantle them.Then, its just another sorry team the Cards beat. Rams now 1-3, what pathetic teams we play. Its funny, they werent bad until Cards beat them. Teams look bad against this team because we MAKE you look bad. Great defense, great special teams, and now a powerful offense with all kinds of speed and weapons. Pick your poison.

  8. By Jon Elder on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    “Levi Brown is an elite lineman” is Arian’s most ridiculous soundbite.

    “He’s kicking well” is a close second

  9. By erik on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    Butler has ” just one bad punt” every single game. He sucks and hopefully he doesn’t have that one bad one in a crucial spot in a close game.

  10. By Big Ken on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    ok ok Lets put the Ram’s on the endangered species list.

  11. By clssylssy on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    Am loving your “Cardinal Note Cards” feature. Great idea for highlighting important points to have in mind as we go into a game!

  12. By jaime on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    i like Butler I think he’s done pretty good. I think its just a hangover from his performance in the playoffs people are being over critical to down right wrong about him. I believe in BA and Kiem, if their was a problem they would handle it, if he wasnt reliable no way BA would have him out there; wins are too important to him and the rest of the team.

  13. By Danpants78 on Oct 2, 2015 | Reply

    This is the best Cardinals team there ever has been
    Even better than the team that went to the Superbowl. I just hope and pray that Palmer stays healthy and finishes the season. IF that happens, watch out everyone, Cardinals will be the team to beat. Kiem has done an awesome job putting this team together and Arians is an elite coach. May even win Coach of the Year yet again. My opinion, Arian is way way better than that cheating Belitchek (?). The one thing I will say though, even though LF has come back to life, I think the Cards still need a superstar WR. The other WRs I think are complimentary and not superstar material.

  14. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 3, 2015 | Reply

    @Scott H…..I read your posts and I know how passionate you are about the Cardinals. I am too and I look forward to every game and I am very hopeful that we will do very well this year. But there is a lot of football still to be played and we have not faced any good teams yet. Their combined records are 1-8. Maybe the Cardinals are the best team in the league but they have yet to prove it. The real measuring sticks are still to come. But we are good, very good. Everyone knows it. If we can secure home field advantage throughout the play-offs we can go all the way. The game vs the Packers should determine that. Are you going to the game in Philly?

  15. By TucsonTim on Oct 3, 2015 | Reply

    Wow! A lot of people like those black jerseys. Well, you know a black cardinal isn’t really a cardinal…just sayin, look it up on the internet. However, since it is uniquely a southern Arizona bird; maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just make a wholesale move to the black cardinal.

    You won’t see black cardinals in Missouri or Illinois or Phoenix for that matter. But it is a desert bird and it would be in keeping with a unique Arizonan identity that other sports teams adopted.

    Then I would jump on that band wagon and not just see black jerseys as another way the NFL can take $$$ from fans

  16. By Darren Urban on Oct 4, 2015 | Reply

    TucsonTim —

    RE: Black jerseys

    One of the reasons the Cards went with black jerseys back in 2010 was because the players had been asking for them.

  17. By Scott H on Oct 3, 2015 | Reply

    JohnnyBluenose –

    OK. I can get carried away. Hey, you can only play the teams the schedule puts in front of you. When the Pats or Packers waste a weaker team and make it look easy, I tend to not hear much being made of the fact that they are not beating good teams. So, for me, this door swings both ways. I hear what you are saying. But I am looking more at HOW this team has played so far, not WHO they have played.

    Funny you should ask about the game out here in Philly….no plans as yet to be there but ya never know! Something could work out. However….

    ….I am coming out to Glendale for the season finale against the Seahawks! I turn 50 this month and this is what I wanted for the big occasion. My wife and I just got the tickets and booked the trip today. We arrive on Dec 31st and will ring in the new year at a resort in Phoenix. Then, come Week 16, I will sit among you once again!

    Kinda torn as to what to hope for come Week 16. Would love to see a game that means something for both teams. But should the Cardinals already have the division ( and maybe more ) locked up by then….then, I’ll just have to be OK with that. Psyched no matter what!

  18. By rod on Oct 3, 2015 | Reply

    #1 most important thing to do in this game is to run the ball early, often and well. If that doesn’t happen the Rams defense will pin their ears back and Carson will get blasted at some point and we all know that will not end well.

    Go Cardinals !! This should be a doozy.

  19. By midnightcochise on Oct 3, 2015 | Reply

    I think since the playing surface in St Louis is so bad, and we have a little cushion, Barkley should start and save Palmer for later in the season. Think about it. If we used Lindley last year in a early game at that dump in St Louis maybe Palmer would have been around for the playoffs.

  20. By Dr. G. on Oct 3, 2015 | Reply

    Happy Birthday BA..!! 36 or 63?

    Darren, is it possible for you to post the downloadable BA emogi character? It would be fun to have….thx

    Let’s send the Rams out to pasture…GO CARDS..!!

  21. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 4, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H…..good for you!! schedule and other plans do not allow me to get to a regular season game this year but if we host any playoff games I’m all in.

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