Saturday before the Ravens

Posted by Darren Urban on October 24, 2015 – 2:46 pm

Run versus pass. It’s always at the forefront of any analyzation of the Cardinals and the game Bruce Arians is calling. After the way the Cardinals had been running the ball, the team tried many fewer runs in Pittsburgh – and the run wasn’t as effective – than passes. What to expect Monday against the Ravens? Well, Baltimore has been susceptible to the pass and their secondary has had all kinds of trouble. So we’ll leave it to everyone’s imagination where this might be headed.

“As an offensive lineman and as an offensive line coach, I’m sure you want to run it,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “But at the end of the day, as long as we have more points than they have, so what. So what. At the end of the year, if we’re holding that trophy in San Jose, do we really care how much we ran the ball?”

It can be argued, of course, that the chance to hoist the Lombardi is impacted by offensive decisions. But Goodwin – who admitted he’d worry about run/pass ratios in the offseason when he was breaking down the previous season’s games – is not wrong.

— Goodwin wasn’t happy with the run blocking overall last week from the line, the tight ends and the wide receivers. That should improve this week with the focus on it during practice.

— There was a ton of talk about focus and finishing this week from the Cardinals after a second loss in which the defense seemed to soften up in the fourth quarter.

“Our confidence is still there,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “It’s just a reality check for us.”

Given the spotlight of “Monday Night Football” and the energy of a home game, I’m not expecting a letdown this week.

— It will be fun to watch Patrick Peterson versus the NFL’s own little ball of hate, Steve Smith Sr. Smith isn definitely a receiver who plays like he craves confrontation and given that he’s the lone standout receiver the Ravens have, he’ll need to be targeted.

“Can’t want to see some of his new antics and the emotion he has after each and every catch,” Peterson said. “Whether it’s a negative play or he felt you said something wrong to him the previous play, he always tries to get his get-back.”

— Peterson was talking about how he’s ended up with fewer penalties this season, and naturally, he talked about his improved technique and how he had to adjust after last season after the league put an emphasis on the contact defensive backs can have on receivers.

Interestingly, Peterson also said he didn’t know – until an official said something a few games ago – that once a defensive back releases his jam on a receiver, he cannot jam the receiver again even if they are still inside the legal five-yard chuck zone.

“I thought you could jam him as much as you wanted within five yards,” Peterson said.

— The Cardinals got 19 snaps out of new pass rusher Dwight Freeney last week. The hope is that the veteran will be a little more productive as the weeks go by and he both gets in football shape and learns the defense.

“I was doing May/July/training camp all in one,” Freeney said of his three practices leading into the Steelers game. “My body was confused.”

“We don’t have the easiest playbook – a lot of exotics – but I just have to cram,” Freeney added.

— A couple of quick reminders: If you are going to Monday’s game, remember the Cards are holding their annual food drive so please bring non-perishable food items (or donate some cash.) If you are watching the game at home, the ESPN telecast can also be seen on ABC-15 for those who don’t have cable.

— If you missed it earlier this week, here’s my story on tight end Troy Niklas and his potential everyone is waiting on. Niklas will have a bigger role this week with Darren Fells sidelined.

— Arians, on what the Cardinals are looking for in practice squad players: “We want somebody who knows football that has an upside. You can find a ton of guys who’ll come in and work their ass off, but you don’t want them playing on Sunday. They make good sons-in-laws.”

— A good sign D.J. Humphries is making progress. He won’t play unless there are injuries, but his target date was always 2016.

— The Cards could withstand a game without Smokey Brown. But they’d rather not.

— A parting “Monday Night Football” memory from Bruce Arians, who grew up in Pennsylvania: “It was late, that was the big thing,” Arians said. “I didn’t get to see the second half most of the time. My brother would always sign us up for altar boys at 6 o’clock mass, so I had to get up early.”

Why would he do that?

“He went away to be a priest in the eighth grade,” Arians said. “ I think the nuns talked him into that stuff.”


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12 Responses to “Saturday before the Ravens”

  1. By Dynosoar on Oct 24, 2015 | Reply


    Haha! Regarding your response that I don’t believe we’ll never… I meant “…ever see him play again.” Oops. I can’t believe I did that.

    I also don’t understand the code of silence. I understand there seems to be a code of silence, I just don’t understand why. But I do trust if anything can ever be said, Darren will say it and no amount of asking will speed that up.

    I also believe Darren’s been telling us, veiled, but he’s been clear without actually coming out and saying anything.

    It would be interesting to know how much money Washington has earned since his last game, does he earn anything while suspended? Do we owe him anything else? Can he be cut? If he came back, would he even be in football shape? Would he understand this defense enough to contribute? (Well, if Freeney can contribute with only a week in the playbook, maybe D-Wash could.)

    But again, I don’t see him ever playing in the NFL again and if I’m wrong, then that could be good. Especially if he repays the organizations loyalty with increased performance.

    Unless he comes back though, my commenting on his status/non-status and questions surrounding him are over.

    Enjoy the Ravens.

  2. By Amir on Oct 24, 2015 | Reply

    Thanks, Darren… Always enjoy your “Friday before…” and “… Aftermath” blogs.

  3. By Steve on Oct 24, 2015 | Reply

    Smokey has had this lingering hamstring problem for a few weeks now and maybe it would make more sense to let it heal and sit this one out versus making it worse the rest of the season. J.J Nelson is now healthy again and while not in Smokey’s class as a WR, could fill that stretch the field receiver role if Brown can’t play.

  4. By LadyBird04 on Oct 24, 2015 | Reply

    RE: Peterson – we all got on D.Johnson’s rookie fumble because he had the ball on the inside. Re-watched the game and Peterson carries the ball on the inside on his punt returns most of the time. Just a little thing, but maybe a coach should put a bug in his ear.

  5. By Dr. G. on Oct 24, 2015 | Reply

    In the vein of Arians speaking of sons-in-law, I can accept him as my too cool uncle, but I hope he doesn’t out coach him self again as in the last game or two closing out the 4th quarter… You have all the correct tools BA; use them please.

    I am always thinking his OJT ((on the job training)) will help him as he gains bits of wisdom..! We don’t want to re-live another senseless loss rolling the dice. Be well Cards Fans…..Go Cards…

  6. By rod on Oct 26, 2015 | Reply



    I know we had to pay him a 7 or 8 million dollar roster bonus last year or whatever. So far that’s down tube 😡

    What a loser that guy is.

  7. By clssylssy on Oct 26, 2015 | Reply

    OMG…the Steelers lost to the CHIEFS???!!! Hope the Ravens are as bad of road team as apparently the Steelers are, because, this could be VERY embarrassing!
    Again, we have the talent but our opponent has the coaching staff. I still believe that our very young and inexperienced DC needs a “consultant” like the offense has in Tom Moore and wonder why Steve Keim isn’t more active in getting Belcher some support (clearly letting the defense run itself has proven problematic when the wheels fall off and nobody knows what to do)…whatever.
    The Ravens are going to be expecting Arians to pass because we can, and that is like his signature, however, if we can get our assignments right, get some righteous blocking from our receivers, TEs and backs, I think we can beat their secondary (Fitz the best blocking receiver in the league, as well as, control the clock better. We can’t afford to give up yards in bush league mistakes just because we are at home and our defense needs to finish the game!
    Go Cards!

  8. By Patrick Hoog aka DTL on Oct 26, 2015 | Reply

    No reason to doubt the Cards tonight. We should expect them to win and they will. If they don’t, then we can worry;) Personally, I expect to celebrate the win by getting my kids home a few minutes early after putting a 50 burger on the board! LOL. Go Cards.

  9. By georgiebird on Oct 26, 2015 | Reply

    don’t get on the young Cards DC. Yesterday Bowles vaunted defense gave up two long 4th qtr TDs to the Pats. And Bowles mismanaged the clock in the last two minutes.

  10. By georgiebird on Oct 26, 2015 | Reply

    it’s on night’s like tonight when playing a rough opponent that I miss Anquan Boldin-the ultimate tough guy.

  11. By clssylssy on Oct 26, 2015 | Reply

    If you can’t see the difference in this defense and last years, we must not be watching the same game! We BARELY squeezed out this win that many thought we would walk away with? Our defense (except for the secondary) is not getting pressure on the QB and if we don’t start kicking it up a few notches, we are going to again be handed our head by the Rams, Seahawks x2, the Browns, Bengals, Packers, and even possibly the 9ers (to name a few). We have the talent but are not playing up to our ability, so, that falls on the coaching; not looking like contenders just yet! Not saying our young DC doesn’t have potential, just a lot to learn that only comes with experience.
    And, what’s up with our kickers this year? I’ve seen high school kickers who are better…can’t believe Keim hasn’t done anything to correct that problem that is a carry over from last season.
    And, I have a lot of friends who are Ravens fans who miss Anquan Boldin too and I’m sure they would also like to have had him tonight!

  12. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 27, 2015 | Reply

    Defense looks pretty similar to me in terms of its effectiveness. 19 points per game through 7 games… last year was 18.675 PPG. We still have trouble getting pressure on the QB unless we bring extra players. Bowles had a tendency to blitz more, which was fine when it worked, but also left the secondary exposed … remember, we were 4th-worst in passing yards allowed last year. This year the numbers are better (so far), but they are skewed by the truly awful SF performance (53 passing yards); take out that game and we’re in the middle of the pack again in yards allowed.

    The concerning part is that in critical situations, the Rams, Ravens and Steelers were all able to move the ball against us with seemingly relative ease. But that was true in some of last year’s games as well. We’d play well for much of a game, but have a drive or two where the D looked like they were taking a vacation. I could be mis-remembering, but it seemed like last year, some of those poor defensive efforts occurred in the early part of games, whereas this year, they seem to be occurring in the 2nd half.

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