After Greenbrier, Friday before the Steelers

Posted by Darren Urban on October 16, 2015 – 2:00 pm

When the game was over in Detroit last Sunday, cornerback Jerraud Powers had taken part in, officially, 104 plays against the Lions. Ten on special teams, and 94 of the 95 snaps the Cardinals’ defense was on the field. He didn’t know the exact number but “I felt it. I feel it.”

“I knew we played a lot,” Powers said. “But when I saw the stat they threw 70 times, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m supposed to feel this way.’ In the secondary, we only have a limited number of guys. We’re each other’s subs, so you can’t really take us all out. It’s one of those things we just accept it. We don’t have much room to complain.”

It made this week in West Virginia even more important in prep for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Seven defenders played at least 72 snaps, four played at least 92.

“Coach did a good job of taking care of us earlier this week,” safety Rashad Johnson said. “We’re going to be fine.”

If there was a tangible reason for staying out at The Greenbrier instead of flying back to Arizona, the snap-happy secondary was it. No one could’ve predicted it when the plans were made, but that’s why you do this kind of thing – to have shorter flights (a little over an hour from Detroit to West Virginia, a little over a half-hour from here to Pittsburgh) so players don’t get dehydrated and swell, which happens on flights. Their bodies have been taken care of.

It doesn’t hurt the weather has been spectacular this week too, in complete contrast to the rainy swamps the Cards had to practice in in Florida in 2013.

It was still a tough week to rally from, but the Cardinals insist they are ready for the Steelers.

“Makes you want to go upstairs and be like, ‘Y’all should pay us more if we’re all going to play this much,’ ” Powers said with a grin. “But it’s something we all accept. We know what it is.”

— Mike Vick will be playing quarterback for the Steelers Sunday. Without Ben Roethlisberger, the Cardinals will put their defensive focus on running back Le’Veon Bell – arguably the best back in the league these days. Bell’s ability to wait for the right time to hit a hole – and then shoot through it – is unparalleled.

“You have Bell, who is the most patient runner we have seen as a defense,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “He creates holes himself by how patient he is and how he jumps out and jumps back in to get guys out of their gap.”

— Larry Fitzgerald is one of the few guys who has been on all three of the Cardinals’ week-long, practice-away-from-home excursions. His power rankings: 1. Greenbrier. (now). 2. Bradenton, Fla. (2013). 3. Tyson’s Corner, Virginia (2008). Of course, Fitz noted that the Cards were 0-2 on the ends of the Virginia trip, and 1-1 on the ends of the Florida trip.

“Hopefully we can get to 2-0 on this trip,” Fitz said. “That’d be nice.”

Of course, the 2008 season ended not too bad, with a trip to the Super Bowl. Not that this will end that way, but you never know.

— Bruce Arians ended the week the way he began – downplaying his return to play the Steelers for the first time in a game that counts since he was let go by the organization. “It’s all about the players on the field,” he said Friday.

Still, he hasn’t convinced his own players he doesn’t want to, in the words of Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, “put on a show.” That’s another piece of motivation for this team this week.

— Todd Haley is the former Cardinals offensive coordinator who is now the Steelers offensive coordinator. James Harrison is the long-time Steelers linebacker who nearly became a Cardinal last August (he visited Tempe even) before declining and going back to Pittsburgh.

So, if you can handle it … there is this.

— Arians, who loves golf, spent Thursday evening talking with golfing greats Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Gary Player. All were here to talk Friday about a new golf course being built at The Greenbrier. Trevino is The Greenbrier’s club pro.

“It was on the bucket list for me to have a cocktail with Arnold Palmer,” Arians said, grinning about being able to talk about the sport with such luminaries.

Did he think about ordering an Arnold Palmer, he was asked? “Not without anything in it,” Arians said.

— The Cardinals are happy guard Mike Iupati will be healthy enough to play after his back tightened up Thursday. Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin also said Iupati is getting better because he lost some weight. You figure Iupati was going to gain some because of his knee surgery and his limited work while he rehabbed. But also …

“Earlier in training camp I was harping on him,” Goodwin said. “He had Oreos hidden in his bag. We took his Oreos, whipped him into shape. Buddy (Morris, the strength coach) has done a good job with him. Lost a ton of weight.”

— Dwight Freeney will play Sunday. We’ll see what kind of impact he can make, but it was interesting to hear Arians when he was asked about Freeney and what the Cardinals got out of another veteran pass rusher, John Abraham.

“It’s very comparable,” Arians said.

If Freeney can come anywhere close to the 11½ sacks Abraham had that year – granted, Freeney already has missed five games – it’d be a big deal. If Freeney can be a five-sack man, I think it turns into a great pickup.

— Time to wrap this up from West Virginia. Almost time to fly to Pittsburgh. The Steelers await.



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Posted in Blog | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “After Greenbrier, Friday before the Steelers”

  1. By Craig on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Go get’em Cardinals. Every Cardinal fan hates the Steelers. Do us proud.

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

    With Vick playing, I look at this game in a similar manner to some of the others we’ve played so far. I think we are playing against a QB ( as we did with Cutler and Kap,) that is not good enough to beat this Cardinals team if he is not getting considerable help from our mistakes. Granted, it’s different teams at different times but don’t forget that the Cardinals played the Eagles with Vick at QB a few years ago and we showed Vick no mercy that day, beat him like he stole something. I think we won that game 27-6? Yes? And that was Michael Vick, a few years younger!

    The concern is the supporting cast. Bell is, as stated, about as good as there is right now and he makes plays catching the ball as well. They are getting Bryant back to go along with Brown ( also about as good as it gets at HIS position as well ), so…the weapons are there. Honestly, though, I think if the Cardinals are playing from ahead ( as they often have ) and can force the game into Vick’s hands, to have to win the game by passing, Vick is not good enough to do that.

    Vick is not the rocket he used to be. Getting pressure on him would help tremendously because he becomes less effective / more mistake-prone the more he is hit. If he is pressured, our secondary will be there to take possession of the errant throws.

    I think the biggest factor here is a 2nd week on the road, having not been home in two weeks, playing an early game on the east coast. Against a team that is no lame duck. This situation is typically very un-kind to west coast teams.

    Do I think Arians wants this game so bad he can taste it? Um…HELL, YEAH, I DO!.. Let’s not kid ourselves. Arians was basically put out to pasture by the Steelers, who I guess didn’t think he had what they needed. To say that it’s been THEIR loss is a gross under-statement. Arians wants this game. BAD. And don’t think his players don’t know that.

    I would expect a lower scoring game than the ones we’ve been having. And that is fine with me. Win the game by 1 or win it by 21. Don’t care. Just win the game, keep control of the division, and come back home for the Ravens.

  3. By bigredcards on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Glad to see Palmer has his knee brace

  4. By hummer53 on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    No way am I watching ‘there is this’. It would just ruin my weekend again.

  5. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Go get ’em Cards.

  6. By Steve on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, little side question but the landscape surrounding the practice fields was so picturesque and beautiful with the mountains in the backdrop, were there hiking trails to use if one wanted to hike around those mountains?

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

    Steve –

    RE: Hiking

    There were plenty of trails to hike, if you had the time.

  8. By Big Ken on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    They took a man’s Oreos away? Come on Goodwin!

  9. By Max on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, have you heard anything on the Daryl Washington front, its been 6 months since his attempt to reinstate into the league.

  10. By Darren Urban on Oct 17, 2015 | Reply

    Max —

    RE: Six months

    Which should tell you something.

  11. By JohnnyBluenose on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H…..I think we should be ok. I don’t think the early game will be a factor. The players have had a week to adjust to the time zone. The weather forecast is not too bad, 49 degrees, overcast, not too windy. All we have to do is focus on Bell, avoid penalties and turnovers and our offence should score more than enough points to win this game handily. Probably 31-13. Keep going.

  12. By Cards4Ever on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    Worried that the DB’s are playing so many snaps and they’re already starting to “mention” it after week 5.

  13. By Coach K on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    The Steelers defensive front 7 is very similar to the Rams. However, their secondary is a liability. If our O-line can keep the pocket clean, there is no way the Steelers secondary can cover our receivers.

    Prediction- Cards 45, Steelers 23

  14. By Jon Elder on Oct 16, 2015 | Reply

    It always amazes me that people who make millions of dollars would sabotage or cut their careers short through poor choices in diet. Its a total lack of self control.

    Good on the coaches for taking that crap away. Iupati better get his act together if he wants to last into his 30’s at this level.

  15. By Red Dead Redemption on Oct 17, 2015 | Reply

    Don’t just beat them Cardinals. Blow them out. With Vick in there? Shouldn’t be a problem. Stay in your gaps contain Bell. If Peterson plays like Peterson this year against Brown? Well we should have at least two turnovers and keep them under 200-250 yards of total offense.

    I mean if you watched that Chargers game? Vick threw two pick sixes. SD CBs dropped them and he didn’t look impressive most of the night.

    Cardinals 31 Stealers (yep did that on purpose) 6

    My prediction is Steelers don’t get an offensive touchdown. If they do? Cardinals starters will be on the bench.

  16. By Eazy E on Oct 17, 2015 | Reply

    Iupati doesn’t need to lose too much weight.

  17. By Cramsey on Oct 17, 2015 | Reply

    Shazier are Will Allen are out for the Steelers too. That softens up the 2nd level of that defense for hopefully another good game on the ground. It’s too bad for Shazier being hurt all the time. He is going to be a superstar if he can ever stay healthy.

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