Friday before the Buccaneers

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2016 – 4:06 pm

Practice over for the week and the players going off to leave for the day, Bruce Arians said during his Friday media meeting he hoped the Cardinals would do a better job of mental preparation between then and kickoff Sunday against the Buccaneers. Asked what he could do in that regard, Arians didn’t hesitate.

“That’s their job, not mine,” he said. “I’ve already prepared them. That’s their homework.”

A little while later, linebacker Kevin Minter chuckled when that message was relayed. “He told you exactly what he told us,” Minter said. “Almost verbatim.”

“He has a point though,” Minter said. The linebacker said the practices last week — like this week — were excellent. Something got lost before kickoff in Week 1. Maybe it had to do with the emotions of the moment, with a Sunday night game, and the Patriots, and 9/11, and the season starting. “Not making excuses, but we had to calm it back down,” Minter said.

Did they?

“You get hit in the mouth like that, you better calm down,” Minter said.

Guess we’ll find out Sunday.

— So much is on the defense this week. They know they didn’t play as the should’ve last week (I’ve got the “10-for-16” burned in my brain at this point.) They face a much more dangerous passing offense in terms of explosion. They still have to find a way to go with work-in-progress Brandon Williams at cornerback. Can’t let Doug Martin get outside, but I think the Cards can handle the run game. Can they slow down Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson down the field? A couple of those TDs last week in Atlanta weren’t about bad coverage — it was Jameis Winston throwing to a tall receiver and that receiver making an incredible catch.

— The GMs in this game, Steve Keim and Jason Licht, are close friends. Wonder if there has been any trash-talking this week.

— It’ll probably be a week or two before new cornerback Tharold Simon is active for a game, but Arians said Marcus Cooper, the corner acquired in a trade a couple weeks ago, will “get action” this week. I assume that means on defense. Cooper played five special teams snaps against New England.

— The last time the Cardinals played the Bucs, it was in Tampa in 2013, the back end of a week away from Arizona. The Cardinals pulled out a late win against an inferior team because Patrick Peterson made two interceptions in the last four minutes of the game. (Why rookie QB Mike Glennon, in his first start, was throwing at that point no one knows.)

Peterson said he had forgotten about the circumstances until assistant athletic trainer Chad Cook brought it up. “Didn’t know that was in the last four minutes of the game,” Peterson said. “So that was pretty clutch.”

— Larry Fitzgerald now has 100 career touchdowns after his last one against the Pats. Fitz was asked where that TD ranks for him.

“Ranks 97 behind Jerry Rice,” Fitzgerald said. “So that puts it in perspective for me to keep working.”

As good as Fitz is, I don’t think he’s catching Rice.

— I think John Brown will be better this week than last. Not sure if he just needed a game to get the rust off, but I think you’ll see some Smoke this time. And I think the Cardinals need him.

— Peterson said the Cardinals will “definitely” bounce back after last week. “I’m not guaranteeing a win, but there is a different energy,” Peterson said. “I can feel the sense of urgency. … Good teams don’t lose twice (in a row).”

Bring on the Bucs.


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14 Responses to “Friday before the Buccaneers”

  1. By hummer53 on Sep 16, 2016 | Reply

    Here’s my theory on why the team sometimes comes out flat in home games especially. I think a lot of the guys get a little perturbed when there is a large amount of opposing fans in the stadium. I think that effects their play, at least in the first half. They have to understand that the valley is home to thousands of transplants and local front runners. These folks grab the single game tickets as soon as they come up for sale and a lot buy from brokers because they are willing to pay the highest price. Some teams(NE) only play here every 4 or 8 years so their fans jump on those tickets. California and Florida teams have similar issues. The players are just going to have to accept that as the way it is around here and use it for motivation to send those opposing fans home pissed off and unhappy.

  2. By Scott H on Sep 16, 2016 | Reply

    Just sharing these because I find them interesting….trends…..The Buccs are 0-7 straight up ( SU ) and 1-6 against the spread ( ATS ) coming off an away game, including 0-3 with Winston as QB.

    Catson Palmer is 9-26-1 for his career as a non-division home favorite. Those trends seem to oppose each other. So, let’s pick a side here…

    Bruce Arians is 12-0 SU and 11-1 ATS at home coming off a loss and facing an opponent coming off a SU and ATS win ( as the Buccs did last week ). OK! Let’s take that one!

    All that said…..who cares? Just win the damn game this week. Don’t care how, just get it done. Might just take one win to get us up and running. And I take nothing away from the Buccs – they are a solid team with a damn good young QB and a loaded offense. But if we can’t beat them in our house with a little authority, then… seriously should anyone take the Cardinals right now?

    Makes me more than a little nervous to hear that everyone thought the practices were so good LAST week before they went out and played like they did on Sunday night. But I’m tired of hearing about practice. This team took people APART last year on a regular basis during the REGULAR season. Let’s get back to being who we are supposed to be.

    1-1 by Sunday night.

  3. By georgiebird on Sep 16, 2016 | Reply

    My prayers are with the Cards this week. I don’t know the players who are going to step up on the defense and keep Winston from going long against us. But I do hope that David has at least 30 touches on Sunday.

  4. By creditcard on Sep 16, 2016 | Reply

    I am in hopes the Cards win, but I’m questioning whether the Cards are anything different than the last 3-games from last year, this year’s preseason, and the first game of the 2016 season. The Cards obviously have to prove they’ve changed their most recent trend.

    A strong offensive run game + being able to stop the run + an effective interior pass rush will generate a good result. If anyone of those three ares is average, then I’m afraid the result will be similar to last week.

    I don’t think the opposite CB of PP is the difference maker in winning or losing. The ability to run, stop the run, and have a very effective interior pass rush (moving the pocket backward) determines the game’s outcome.

  5. By texascard on Sep 16, 2016 | Reply

    I was pretty excited when i heard that cards kept nine d linemen. I thiught that indicated quality and depth at that position. Key to this defense. They looked bad. That poor play really exposed our linebackers. And if your secondary is having trouble tackling running backs, well, there is a larger problem. Minter has to have quality play in front of him. $lb had his worst game as a cardinal. 55 contributed nothing but an ill-timed dance routine. 44 played the jet motion better than in nfc championship but still looks very raw. The d line has to improve drastically for this d to be successful. Robert nkimdiche needs to be shelved until next year. These linebackers cannot succeed without a dline that plays at a higher level. And palmer quit taking sacks because your scared to throw a pick. That will snowball into a worse problem than you already had. Shut your brain off and let go of the damn ball. And for the love of God would somebody let john do the drafting next year because these draft picks look like another year of future cuts

  6. By faster on Sep 17, 2016 | Reply

    with rucker out, i`m concerned. imo he is the most undervalued player at defense.
    i hope, the others are up to stand in for him.
    especially it will be interesting how pp plays against evans.

  7. By TucsonTim on Sep 17, 2016 | Reply

    hahaha K Minter, “Almost verbatim” I’m sure BA told it to the players with a few added expletives.

  8. By JohnnyBluenose on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    hummer53…i doubt the players allow the fans to influence their play.

  9. By mitchaz on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    Last year the Cardinals, once they added DE Dwight Freeney, went on a 9-0 roll.

    Sometimes the subtraction of a couple of key role players can mean the difference in winning close games.

    This past week the Patriots’ game could have followed last year’s script if Freeney, on one of his patented spin moves, versus the Pats’ 2nd string LT, had sacked or pressured Jimmy Garapollo on that key 3rd and 15 play with the Cardinals up 21-20.

    Tough luck too in that long-time ace long snapper Mike Leach decided to retire this past spring.

    It has been hard to fathom why Steve Keim was intent all along to go with an undrafted rookie at such a key spot. In all fairness, up until Kam Canaday’s low and wide snap, he’d been nearly perfect to that point throughout the pre-season and the first 59 minutes of the first real game. But, snapping with the game on the line in front of a packed, raucous house and a national TV audience is a little different than snapping in a game at Portland St. No knock on Portland St. It is what it is.

    Thus, what the Cardinals need is playmakers who can make up for the ones who were clutch in close games last year.

    In game one, Chandler Jones was getting routinely blocked and was not a factor when the game was on the line. That has to change. Dwight Freeney is now playing for the Falcons.

    In game one, the Cardinals’ coaches panicked on defense and reverted to sloppy, poorly communicated zone coverage…which, after the game, caused Tyrann Mathieu to lament that the Patriots didn’t give the Cardinals’ playmakers on defense any chance to make plays.

    Playing zone defense, combined with not getting pressure on the QB is a recipe for failure in the NFL.

    As the Cardinals saw, they couldn’t get the defense off the field. And they couldn’t use their strengths to their advantage.

    It is time too for the Cardinals to finally see playmakers emerge on special teams.

    The sorry play of the Cardinals’ special teams is completely unacceptable given the talent on the roster.

    Other teams emphasize special teams—the Cardinals’ ST approach seems thoroughly perfunctory—and, at times, poorly conceived and just plain gutless.

    Why, for example, did the Patriots have every reason in the world to believe they could pooch kick the kickoffs and pin the Cardinals deep in their own territory? In doing their homework they saw poor blocking and scared running. It was a safe bet and it is little victories like that that makes a team confident they will win.

    So many NFL games come down to one team gaining a slight competitive edge over the other.

    That’s why playmakers and shrewd schemes by coaches are what makes the difference between game balls being handed out in joy in one locker room and arse chewings being handed out in the other.

    Will the Cardinals’ playmakers make the difference today? Which playmakers will emerge? Any surprises?

    Will the coaches put the playmakers in best possible position to make the difference?

  10. By TucsonTim on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    I think the big question today is can the Cards put up the 35+ it’s going to take to win this game. Better start fast, score early and score often. Winston would definitely be my fantasy QB today.

  11. By georgiebird on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    The Dolphins- Pats game:
    The Dolphins will definitely cover the 6.5 spread and will have a darn good chance of beating the Pats outright. Tannehill is a lightweight but he will do well here. Cards played horrible against the Pats- and made the Pats look so good as to fool most people going into this week’s games.

  12. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Pats-Dolphins

    Halftime, but thus far, prediction not so hot.

  13. By DaN on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    Our whole team should run onto the field with USA flags……….people boycotting NFL.

  14. By georgiebird on Sep 18, 2016 | Reply

    I was totally wrong on the Pats’ game- even though it ended up at the point spread with the Dolphins throwing in the end zone for the tie.
    Early, the Pats were more surgical against the Dolphins than the Cards. After seeing the 1st quarter, it made the Cards’ game look a little better.

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