In a rush for 2,000

Posted by Darren Urban on December 30, 2015 – 10:33 am

It’s been a popular question posed to me recently, from fans and when I’m doing radio interviews: What’s the difference between this year’s team and last year’s pre-Palmer knee team? There are a few. But the most obvious — and the most important, in my opinion — is the Cardinals’ ability to run the football.

The Cardinals, with one game left, are sixth in the NFL with 126 yards a game rushing. This is a team that hasn’t ranked higher than 23th in rushing since 2005 and has been in the bottom three in rushing six times in that span — including last season, when they were 31st. Yes, injuries played a big factor in last year’s troubles. Still, the massive improvement isn’t just being healthy. In fact, like last year, Andre Ellington has been banged up much of this season. And the Cardinals lost Chris Johnson. But GM Steve Keim drafted David Johnson and made sure he had three capable runners. He signed very good run blocker Mike Iupati for his offensive line.

This is a team that got 814 yards rushing out of Chris Johnson — which was third in the league after 11 games, when CJ2K got hurt — and looks like they upgraded at the position with David Johnson. Don’t forget too, Ellington was off to a great start running the ball as starter in the season opener before he got hurt (Ellington only has 43 rushing attempts this season, but he has averaged an eye-popping 6.7 yards a carry.) David Johnson has 556 yards on 114 carries, 4.9 yards a tote.

Overall, the Cardinals need 110 yards rushing against the Seahawks to reach 2,000 rushing yards this season. (By comparison, the Cards rushed for 1,308 yards in 2014.) But 2,000? That’s a total this franchise hasn’t reached since 1988 — the first year the Cards were in Arizona. If only Drew Stanton didn’t have his 13 kneeldowns for minus-13 yards, right?


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36 Responses to “In a rush for 2,000”

  1. By Dynosoar on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    We have CJ2K,

    maybe after next week we could name this team AZ2K.

    (With how cheesy I am at times, maybe I should have been a Packers fan… haha! NOT.)

  2. By JBeecham on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Seattle has a top rush defense so it will be a challenge to get to 2000 yards on the season, but we did rush for 117 yards against them in the 1st meeting so it’s not impossible.

    Keim & Co have done an amazing job adding talent & depth to this roster. There will always be weak spots because it’s impossible to have an entire roster of all-pro players with the salary cap. This is the most complete team we’ve ever seen in AZ and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

  3. By jme on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    amazing!! What a awesome season!! With that said, season is over playoffs are here so back to square one. Cards got to get playoff wins etc etc to get any real respect and top oft this season like your suppose to with a ring on it!! GOOO BIG RED!!! I Know this team can do it!!

  4. By Eric G on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Dangit Drew Stanton! Nothing but a liability!!!!!

    JK. Let’s hope we get to 2,000, but more importantly let’s hope Tampa and the Cards get a win and that all players come out of the game healthy.

  5. By krehbieo14 on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    It was the emergence of a running game late season with EdgerInn James that led to the Cards Super Bowl run in 2008/09. David Johnson provides the same kind of balance that is making our Cards Vegas odds to win the Super Bowl in Santa Clara. What a fun team to watch!

  6. By D on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Let’s say it comes down to the Cards going to the Panthers for the NFC Crown. Let’s face it, the Panthers offense consists of Cam and G. Olsen. I would want my best defender on G. Olsen and a spy on Cam.

    I would have Peterson glued to G. Olsen
    D. Bucannon spying Cam

    ( I would have confidence in Powers, Bethel and T. Jefferson covering Ginn Jr, Philly Brown and J. Crotchery)


  7. By Robert on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    under NO circumstances should we risk Palmer getting injured in this last what if we have to play carolina on the least we have a QB who can win anywhere…we have to be real careful. I know its football and injuries happen, but what are going to say if Palmer got hurt in a meaningless game IMO?

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Robert —

    RE: Meaningless game

    Except that right now, it’s not meaningless.

  9. By EDijkstra on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    D, I had the same thought about spying Cam, but maybe use Minter and leave Bucannon free to roam?

  10. By Sir60 on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Those kneel downs are killing us!!!

  11. By DTL on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    D’Urb on the $$ on run factor.
    Dyno always makes me laff.

    Remember we discussed on this board, several of us, about possibility of running the table, the 2nd half sched might not be a stuff as expected? Yep. Or. Maybe it was that Cards are just that good though…

    Anybody seen/bought the Gold Performance line of gear and hats? Hot stuff, mostly sold out. 487 sites were sold out of those New Era hats..Cards en fuego…

  12. By Steve on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Darren: Is there another RB in the NFL, past or present, that David Johnson reminds you of so far? Curious to know since you have covered this team for awhile.

  13. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: David Johnson

    I don’t know if anyone in particular. I’ve heard multiple thoughts, but to be honest, I’m not great at the comparison game.

  14. By Chuck 1 on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Why is it that Ted Ginn was such a Bust when he was with the Cards and now he’s lighting it up?

  15. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Chuck 1 —

    RE: Ginn

    Look at his career, he’s done much better in Carolina than his other stops for whatever reason.

    He still has dropped a ton of balls. He isn’t better than the Cardinals top 4 or 5 receivers, so it doesn’t really matter much.

  16. By Richard S on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    D, Ted Ginn Jr. over the years has had speed but wasn’t that great with the hands. This year, he seems to be holding onto the catches better at least in the few games I’ve watched them play. Hopefully if the Cardinals end up playing them in the playoffs, he’ll go back to the old form.

  17. By Dynosoar on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Joe 67 and DTL,

    I watched Jim Hart and Neil Lomax teams as well. Who do I remember?

    Jim Hart, Neil Lomax, Roy Green, Ottis Anderson, Mel Gray, Stump Mitchel, I think that’s it.

    DTL, I don’t remember Roger Werhli either and I’m glad you got a laugh.

    Let’s continue the journey on Sunday to some rings in February.

  18. By Chuck 1 on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply


    I just hope that, if the Cards play the Panthers, he continues to “drop a ton of (several) balls”.

  19. By Piti on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Ginn jr is not any better than the Cards 4th or 5th receiver but he just happens to be Carolina’s # 1. Our secondary should be able to overwhelme Carolina’s passing game if and when they meet.
    Darren, this is a meaningless game in my opinion. What is there to gain, if Carolina wins their game the Cards game means nothing. It’s too much risk vs the reward. Especially playing a division rival who plays so physical. Not worth risking your QB just to prove a point. Plus who’s to say Stanton can’t beat Seattle.

  20. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Piti —

    RE: Meaningless

    But the Cards won’t know if the Panthers are going to lose their game.

  21. By Richard S on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    I just put on my Steelers Cardinals Superbowl XLIII tee shirt. I was thinking about running the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. No disrespect for Kerwin. I mean he wants to make a positive contribution to the team, e.g. he wins a regular spot next year instead of the practice squad. Last year we were not good at all on kickoff returns. This year other than the David Johnson 109 yard return, really good results haven’t shown up all that often. I wonder if you took the Cardinals starting position following kickoff returns including the David Johnson TD where you could say the starting position would have been the 100 yard line, what the average starting position would be including following penalties assessed. It is now a whole lot harder to get a good return than it used to be. Not only is the kicker 5 yards closer, but the guys coming down field to tackle the returner are also 5 yards closer. The rule change was meant to minimize injuries by discouraging returns. As for me, I’m perfectly happy seeing Palmer with all his weapons starting at the 20 yard line rather than somewhere inside it. That being said the return team has been very good at minimizing the penalties that used to befoul results. It used to seem like every return, the Cards would be penalized. That part is much improved. Go Cards, beat the Seahawks. 14 wins sounds good to me.

  22. By mal on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply


    I kinda hate to bring it up, cuz I dont want to poke and re-awaken the zombie (in case he’s still out there lurking), but there was a guy who trolled on here for at least 3 or 4 years, and I’m just too curious:

    did cardsalltheway finally leave on his own or did you have to moderate him out?

  23. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Trolls

    Since I have to approve all comments, those that have stepped over the line will likely never see the light of day again. And eventually, they get the message.

  24. By georgiebird on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    After many years of trying, the Cardinals ‘have finally learned to deal with the Cover Two defense. The Cardinals offense has finally learned to take what the defense gives them and proceed down the field in a methodical way. In previous years, penalties and turnovers usually put the Cards in a hole.
    With the two safeties out of the box, our running backs can now find room to run-yes, these are excellent backs and a pretty good OL.
    Palmer, in his best season, still does not have the Cardinals’ season record for passing yardage (but he will soon). Back in 1984, Neil Lomax threw for more yardage thanks to Roy Green’s then NFL all time record setting season of 1555 yards (surpassed by only two old AFL receivers Alworth and Hennigan). But that ’84 Cards’ team did not have the patience, balance and confidence of the 2015 offense to methodically score from any point on the field
    against any opponent..

  25. By Scott H on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    RE: Trolls / how you dispose of them

    Damn, man….that’s gangster! You’re a scary dude, Urban. One scary dude….one can only guess how many people you have made, um….go away. Away to a place where they never see the light of day again.

  26. By jwoodaz on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    What a fun ride it’s been this season.The confidence the team is playing with is truly enjoyable to watch, and listen to. Waiting to see if the complete game comes in the Super Bowl. That would be the icing on the cake..
    To you and all your crew for giving depth to following the team, thank you..

  27. By sbrown on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    Richard S – think about this, the Cardinals could be playing in their second Super Bowl in six years, wow !!
    Look back at SB 43, only a couple of plays go different, and the Cards could be going for their second ring…
    ( yes I still think Holmes second foot never came down in bounds, sorry if I opened up an old wound )

  28. By rod on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply


    You should have a talk with the website author. There is no way to get to cards underground other than direct link or in the search box searching for cards underground.

    The cards underground should always show up in the video dropdown box.

    And unrelated to your popcast, you might mention to them also that when you click on the first video it never shows the dropdown box, you have to choose something like cards dalily or whatever to get the dropdown.

    Anyhow, thanks for the link the other day.


  29. By Darren Urban on Dec 31, 2015 | Reply

    Rod —

    RE: Dropdown

    It’s in a dropdown, just under “News” and not “Video” (because it isn’t video.)

  30. By georgiebird on Dec 30, 2015 | Reply

    BA wants Seattle to do a lot of damage in the playoffs. Realizing Carolina will probably beat Tampa, BA wants to put Seattle at the 6 seed and is going for this game.
    As 6th seed, Seattle will have the best chance to beat Green Bay/Minn in wildcard game and then Carolina in the Division series. This scenario would keep the Cards at home throughout the playoffs.
    Downside is the Cards will have to beat Seattle twice (at home) in about a 3 week period of time. It seems BA’s biggest worry is a road game in Carolina in late January.
    BA is a gambler and playing Palmer in this “meaningless”? game is his biggest gamble yet. But who can argue with BA.
    And in the small chance that Tampa wins at Carolina then BA is still in a position to be home for January 2016

  31. By sdcardfan on Dec 31, 2015 | Reply

    RE: Dynosoar

    Dyno, I’m guessing were about the same age. Some additional players from the Hart era that I remember are Terry Metcalf, Dan Dierdorf and Conrad Dobler. It was Dobler being labeled as the dirtiest player in the NFL that endeared me to this team when I was 9. It is great to see the Oline taking care of business as they did in the past. Johnson & Johnson and Ellington are all great backs, no doubt, but put them behind the Chargers (SD or LA) line, they would each be on IR! Go Cardinals.

  32. By D on Dec 31, 2015 | Reply

    Usually this time of the year, we fans are like the 20 other non playoff teams looking at the offseason….so, I’ll do another way too early, pre free agency guess at the Cards Needs this Offseason…

    (Disclaimer: The following is based on Palmer and Arians not retiring after the Cards are Crowned NFL Champs-)

    Free agency-
    Resign—J. Powers, DJ Swearinger, D. Stanton and J. Gresham (would like to keep R. Johnson but he will get money whipped by another team)
    Also sign free agent S. Wisniewski Center

    Round 1– C. Wentz QB (will need 2 years to learn NFL)
    Round 2– S. Oakman DE
    Round 3– W. Jackson CB

    Happy New Year Darren !

  33. By Dr. G. on Dec 31, 2015 | Reply

    It looks like I may get my wish that Seattle must go to Green Bay for the first round….if the odds makers are right. Cards win – Packers win. I want to see how Seattle handles the sub-freezing weather and the historical raucous crowd on the road.

    If Carolina wins, we will get Washington or the Vikings again. Looking good Cards Fans….make some noise for Seattle….later… please recall their arrogance…

  34. By faster on Dec 31, 2015 | Reply

    i wish you
    Ein glückliches neues Jahr
    A happy new year
    Srečno novo leto
    Buon anno
    Feliz año

    and four more wins to enjoy in the next weeks

  35. By truths4all on Jan 1, 2016 | Reply

    Slow day when all you can write about and complain is Stanton’s kneel downs diminishing a stat total the in itself is meaningless when correctly viewed against W-L records and winning the Super Bowl.

    How about focusing on the health of players, their game preps, and staying on the inside track to winning out in the playoffs and then going on to win the Super Bowl.

  36. By Darren Urban on Jan 1, 2016 | Reply

    Truths —

    RE: Slow day

    Slow day when you take a joke and interpret it seriously.

    As for what I focus on, don’t worry about me. I’ve been doing this for 16 years. Pretty sure I know what I’m doing.

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