Friday — and Christmas — before the Packers

Posted by Darren Urban on December 25, 2015 – 6:53 pm

The last time the Packers visited University of Phoenix Stadium, it ended up being the end of an era. It was a fantastic game, with Kurt Warner finishing with more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four) in what he knew at the time was his final game at home. And, of course, there was the stunning overtime ending, when reserve defensive back Michael Adams came in on a blitz to strip-sack (with the help of a missed facemask/hands to the face call) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with linebacker Karlos Dansby returning it for the touchdown.

“Yeah, I think there might have been something like that,” Rodgers said this week.

The return visit Sunday for the Packers is not a playoff game. Both teams will be in the playoffs regardless of the loser. But it means so much for both sides. For the Cardinals, wrapping up a bye – with an injury list that has grown the last couple of weeks – would be nice.

The players know this. The talk in the locker room has been all about clinching that bye. The focus after clinching the division hasn’t waned, not outwardly (something that didn’t seem to be the case back in 2008 when the Cards clinched.)

— Arians had a big smile Friday afternoon. The Cardinals held practice much later than a normal Friday, in order to allow for Christmas morning home with the family. Arians also allowed for families to attend practice, making for a relatively sizable group watching.

“Largest crowd ever today,” Arians said with a grin.

— Quarterback Carson Palmer was limited all week because of the finger that got dinged in Philly, but he’s fine. Arians said he looked very good in practice Thursday and Friday.

— Palmer, by the way, turns 36 on Sunday. Wouldn’t be a bad birthday present to himself to get a win.

— If the Cards win and sew up a bye – and the Panthers win, which would seal the No. 2 seed – the finale against the Seahawks will mean nothing. So might Arians rest players? “Hopefully, we can have that conversation,” he said.

But Arians did chuckle at the idea of “resting starters,” noting the Cardinals can only dress 46 players total and injuries can play a factor on who is available. “We’re talking maybe three to five possible guys (to rest),” Arians said.

— With two games left, the Cardinals have already surpassed their rushing yards total by more than 400 yards this season. The Cards, sixth in the NFL in rushing, have gained 1,769 yards on the ground. And now Andre Ellington should be back to supplement David Johnson.

— The Cardinals have 52 touchdowns this season and only 51 punts. That’s a crazy stat. The franchise record for TDs in a season is 53, set in 1948. That should be broken Sunday.

— Hope everyone had a good Christmas. On to Sunday – which just happens to be the Cardinals’ first afternoon home game since they lost to the Rams way back on Oct. 4. Lots of road games and primetime games since then.


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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Friday — and Christmas — before the Packers”

  1. By Cardinal on Dec 25, 2015 | Reply

    Merry xmas to u too and thanks for another great year of Cardinal coverage. As a fan for 40 seasons , this has been our best season ever and would love a Super Bowl again . So excited about potential for getting a bye week in playoffs . GO CARDINALS !!!!!!

  2. By Joseph on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    I’ve enjoyed seeing how the AZ Cardinals have empowered the offensive line with special play to continue driving towards the inzone.

  3. By joe holst on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    Having more TD’s that punts is a good thing especially when their punter is Drew Butler who is not very good, Every time they have to punt from there 20yd line and in he never gets a boomer off. The other team always starts at the 50 or inside ARZ territory. Annoying,,

  4. By Big Ken on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, Isn’t Michael Adams still in the league? I can’t remember which team he landed with.

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    Big Ken —

    RE: Adamms

    Money Mike is not currently playing. I believe the Bucs cut him before the 2014 season.

  6. By Black on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    I told everyone to relax, we would kill Phill and GB. No one liked it. Well now it’s time to kill GB!

  7. By DTL on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    Somebody do a fact check on joe holst 😉

  8. By Dr. G. on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    Interesting that Darren Colledge was on this poster and we signed him the next season…

    Back in 2013, some of us were concerned that we needed to reduce the INTs by half. Well, … after Keim has been working his magic on the Offensive line, that number has gone from 22 to 9 so far…Veldheer, Iupati, and others are solid… better than EVER.!!

    It doesn’t hurt that we developed the best receiving corps in the league. And DJohnson is a H-U-G-E acquisition…my favorite of our draft choices. CJohnson was a fantastic deal as well. He deserves credit for some our success on the ground. The stats just go on and on in all phases..!

    Carson shows how he needed those men to boost this team with his efforts. I know he is their biggest cheer leader. A couple others could follow his mature poise and humility. He truly demos his leadership by example.

    i will get one of my gifts tomorrow beginning at 2:PM.

    Thanks, Darren, again for helping to make this season very enjoyable…

    And yes, I should appologize for ragging on PP so much. He would do himself proud by closing his pie-hole at lot more…be well Cards Fans

  9. By Scott H on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    AHH, nice to hear that Ellington is expected back. I probably sound like I am anti-Ellington when I speak of him recently….I’m not. I really do like the kid. Always have. BUT if he weren’t back for this game….I would have been a little more than irked. I would have been a little more than irked because come Week 16, EVERYONE is hurt to some degree, ya know? And most of the players who will be on the field on Sunday will have played more more games / more downs than Andre Ellington has. So…I didn’t want to hear that he was gonna be out again. Ya wonder what players actually think ( vs what they actually SAY ) but I have to wonder….if some of them would have been thinking the same.

    But I am VERY glad he is back. Ellington has always seemed more suited to be a complementary player than a main guy. DJ gives us a great feature guy for Ellington to be a complement to. This offense will be VERY well balanced with both of them going forward. Hope Ellington can stay healthy. Hate to say it but it’s hard to be optimistic.

    And spare me the thumbs-downs, folks. I’m not saying anything that is not less then totally fair. Ellington is as dynamic a play-maker as there is. But he is fragile and that is a fact.

    I have loved the way this team has risen to play up to the better teams they have faced this season ( NOT better than them, but better than San Fran, Baltimore, Cleveland, etc ). I think that bodes well for Sunday. At 10-2, the Packers are right there with anyone they have played this year. The Packers win, they open the door to grab that 2nd seed / first round bye spot that we covet so much. But given what this team has been under BA, it is very hard to imagine them not being anything but totally ready and focused for this one. I expect a hard-fought game. But the Cardinals ARE the better team, top to bottom, and they have consistently won the games they SHOULD win this year. Good, bad, or ugly, they have won. No reason to expect they will drop this one.

    This is a handle-your-business game. And I think they will handle their business.

    Carson has to be careful of that finger, though. Those plays where you see the QB injure his hand when it hits a helmet as he throws….they are suddenly very much on my mind.

  10. By Scott H on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    Wow, I’m just looking at this pic, remembering that game, remembering that play. AND I remember the play RIGHT BEFORE it where Rodgers had a an open WR down the middle and he missed him. THAT should have ended that game.

    Then again….if Rackers makes that kick at the end of regulation, it never gets to over-time.

    Man, what a night that was…..a TERRIBLE night for both defenses, then it is won with a big play on defense. Crazy. But even as I’m saying it was a terrible night for both defenses, it was a GREAT night for two GREAT QB’s. Maybe they just weren’t gonna be stopped by ANY defense that night.

    Hard to believe Warner played one more game after that night, then walked away. Walked away from a lot of money, too. I wish he had stayed for 2010, THEN walked away.

  11. By Steve on Dec 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren: B.A suggested he could only rest 3-5 players, other than perhaps Palmer, who might the other players be in your opinion to be given the last regular season game off if the Cards get a win and bye tomorrow?

  12. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Rest

    You are assuming he rests guys.

  13. By faster on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    @darren, do you expect any influence of the HGH scandal for this game?
    as i understand it, there could some pack palyers be involved?

  14. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    faster —

    RE: “scandal”

    I think I’d like to see all the details flesh out first.

  15. By clssylssy on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    Seems like the Cards have been playing their best when on the road & without all the “comforts” of home so, with so much riding on this game, am a little concerned they will once again be on “cruise control”. GB is definitely a team who could take some of the wind out of our sails, so will need our defense to be hot & back to top form with an unrelenting strangle hold on Aaron Rogers. While this will be a bittersweet game for our secondary without Tyrann, we have so much talent that this realignment of resources could be a “secret weapon” Green Bay is unfamiliar with. We are going to need to have all those “miscommunication” mistakes corrected & play with the toughness and energy of the HB. Our offense hopefully will have their issues with drops behind them and will have the kind of day they are built for . This season has made watching football fun for even those who weren’t Cards fans but a special gift for us old timers! These last two games,while not critical to making the playoffs, certainly HUGE for securing our position of a legit threat and SB contender. GO CARDS…YOU CAN DO IT!

  16. By Scott H on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    I see where CB Sam Shields will not be playing for the Packers….as we may need to win a shoot-out, that could help. Obviously, we are without a key player on defense, so I don’t mind the other team being without one as well.

  17. By Dr. G. on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    ScottH – – Would you be surprised if Ellington was with a different team in 2016?

    Clssy – – Has the Pittsburgh game slipped by you?

    I have nothing on my mind today ‘cept the Cards//GB game. Right now I am watching Atlanta play tough and even with the Genus Felis kittens…

    C’mon Red Birds… Sent Green Bay packin’…. later…Cards Fans…

  18. By Dr. G. on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    ScottH – – I feel you pain if you don’t get all the Cards’ games on TV. I know how it feels, ‘cuz the cable company makes us pay extra for the Thursday night games, and I will not do it. All the Cards’ games are on locally. You should be able to get them on the net if they are not on in your area…. Try Fox or CBS streaming…later

  19. By Dr. G. on Dec 27, 2015 | Reply

    Congrats to Todd Bowles…beat the Pats…!!!

    The Panthers…?? Got beat by the Falcons….

    This sets up some weird things….later time.

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