Without Smoke, Cardinals have no fire

Posted by Darren Urban on December 1, 2016 – 12:19 pm

John Brown caught a 19-yard pass on the second play of the game Sunday. But his seemingly big day never developed, Smoke later went to the sideline with hamstring issues, and the Cardinals sit here, with five games left in this season, wondering about the long-term abilities of a wide receiver who has already shown he was an important part of the offense.

To see Bruce Arians basically at a loss when asked about where Brown — dealing with a sickle-cell issue — goes from here has to be a concern. The Cardinals and Brown continue to seek a remedy that will get Brown back to where he should be — this is a genetic issue, after all, so you’d think after two solid NFL seasons and one 1,000-yard effort, there is a way to have this work out.

But as quarterback Carson Palmer said, Brown’s 2016 problems — which include the concussion that knocked him out of the preseason and set him back — have been a “big, big loss.” You can see it when Brown does play. He so easily got open much of the season last year. That separation is absent this year, either down the field or on the deeper crossing routes at which he’s been so good. Many pointed out Brown’s inability to chase down Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes on Rhodes’ 100-yard interception return as a red flag. That’s hard to argue.

The inexplicable season of Michael Floyd has hurt, but I would argue that Brown’s absence has been the most painful. It was Brown’s routes that most impactfully opened up spots for Larry Fitzgerald. Whether or not Brown can find his way back to full Smoke status this season, this coming offseason could be crucial in finding out what this problem could mean long-term.

“It’s been a tough year, away from football,” Palmer said of Brown. “Trying to figure out what his workload is in the week and what his workload is on Sundays, how to stop what happened last Sunday from happening again. He’s in the learning process trying to figure it out. You can just pray for him and be there for him and do whatever you can for him.”


Posted in Blog | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Without Smoke, Cardinals have no fire”

  1. By Scott H on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    Notice how we never seem to have “drop off” issues with Larry Fitzgerald? Rock-solid consistent, year in, year out. It never seems to happen with him, so nobody ever needs to try to explain it. That may be what I love about him above all else.

  2. By D on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    This will impact the Cards first round draft pick options.
    Along with a future QB, CB opposite of PP, you can add an explosive WR as an option for AZ in this offseason.

    Fitz, Nelson, Golden, J. Brown, J. Brown= lacking a difference maker at WR 5 years from this year.

    1-Floyd hasn’t demonstrated that he deserve big $, at least not from AZ, maybe another team will overpay. With J. Brown’s health and Larry the Great’s age, AZ will need at least one maybe 2 new WR’s this offseason.

    2- This draft for AZ’s future QB will come down to if the underclassmen QB’s declare for the draft. D. Kizer from Notre Dame would be difficult to pass up if he declares for the 2017 draft.

    3- Cooper and Simon will get plenty of opportunities to nail down the other starting CB spot in the remaining games, hopefully one can take it so Mr. Keim doesn’t have to address this position early in the draft. (Bethel could be an option at Safety if one or both Jefferson/Swearinger are unable to be resigned.)

    4- I didn’t list Pass Rusher as a first round option believing Mr. Keim can resign Jones.

    5-Cards also need a RG, but after Mr. Keim’s last 1st Round draft pick of a G, probably won’t happen this upcoming draft.

    5- I do like the ILB, Foster from ALA, who I believe could be a difference maker in the First Round, but guessing this would be a hard sell if a stud WR is on the board and the possibility of a few young QB’s opting to declare.

  3. By JTDG on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Larry is once in a generation type player. He is rare. Hopefully everyone appreciates what he has done on and off the field for the Cardinals.

    To me, he is the GOAT. Give him Montana and Young his whole career, and he is shattering records. Fans will miss him when he finally hangs them up. Every receiver should shoot to be like Larry, while understanding they will fall short.

    As for John Brown, I hope he is Like Peterson, with his issues in 2014, and is able to get it under control in 2017. This year is over. Not needing anything from him in 2016.

    But, because Brown is an unknown, Floyd needs to walk, and JJ Nelson is not John Brown, You need another big weapon. I am already banging the drum for Either Mike Williams or JuJu Smith-Schuster.

    Give Palmer back the big play

  4. By Dominik on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    Our 2017 players:

    WR1 Larry Fitzgerald J.J. Nelson Brittan Golden
    LT Jared Veldheer
    LG Mike Iupati
    C Evan Boehm
    RG Cole Toner
    RT D.J. Humphries Ulrick John
    TE Hakeem Valles
    TE Troy Niklas Ifeanyi Momah
    WR2 John Brown Jaron Brown
    QB Carson Palmer Drew Stanton
    RB David Johnson Andre Ellington (resign) Kerwynn Williams / Elijhaa Penny

    DE Calais Campbell (resign) Josh Mauro (resign, RFA) Ed Stinson
    NT Corey Peters Xavier Williams
    DT Rodney Gunter Robert Nkemdiche
    SLB Markus Golden Kareem Martin
    ILB Deone Bucannon
    ILB Alani Fua
    WLB Chandler Jones (Franchise Tag)
    LCB Patrick Peterson Brandon Williams Harlan Miller
    RCB Tharold Simon (resign) Justin Bethel Trevon Hartfield
    SS Tony Jefferson (resign) Tyvon Branch
    FS Tyrann Mathieu

    Spezial Team
    Kicker Chandler Catanzaro (resign, RFA)
    LS Aaron Brewer
    KR J.J. Nelson Brittan Golden
    PR J.J. Nelson Brittan Golden

    So, we need some players for next year. We have $29,579,418 Cap room.

    – WR
    – O-Line (especially right guard –> FA: Kevin Zeitler), Center, Tackle
    – Nr. 1 TE
    – QB for the future (First round pick)
    – ILB and OLB (I like FA: John Simon)
    – 2 Safeties
    – new Punter

  5. By NPP on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    Wake Up Call for Cards Fans:

    No doubt absence of Smoke much of year hurts, a lot, but we had DJ to balance it. This is not why we’re 4-6.

    Recall Atlanta, they looked like us last year. Taylor Gabriel, Devante Williams, Trevor Coleman all on top of Julio. Played FAST.

    Our D better than last year, O has missed several beats, and Special Teams missed more than several beats. Easy to see why were not 8-3, but instead 4-6-1. Its just 2 or 3 plays, in 3 or 4 games when guys were in position, had hands on it or them, and didn’t make the play. Spotlight on those few plays bc last year we didnt need them, made enough plays even missing a few here and there. Thinner margin of error. Add on high expectations, toxic formula to press, make mistakes.

    This explains why we look so damn good at times, and still lose…maddening, huh. Our guys not dogging it, just failing, at that slim margin.

    Thats why we cant be haters, cant beat down these guys, they are playing guts out, just making a few too many mistakes as they press.

    Learning lesson for us all, uncharted territory for Cards as a team.

  6. By Dan on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    hubert is more of a playmaker

  7. By clssylssy on Dec 1, 2016 | Reply

    What’s up with Tyrann Mathieu? Looks like he didn’t practice and I was of the impression that he was back and ready to be a contributor going forward. We really need him going into this final stretch and as a Captain, I would think that he would feel some obligation to play.
    I know there are a lot of fans who have already checked out and quit on the season but, at this point, it’s about finishing in a way that will allow us to hold our heads up knowing we fought the good fight.
    If I were SK/BA I would be paying special attention in the remaining games to see who the fighters are, who can embrace adversity and be up for the challenge. Those who aren’t on board and part of the solution, an easy scratch when the season ends. This is the time to make guys play for their job whether it’s here or some place else. Let’s show we are tougher than we have seemed!

  8. By Scott H on Dec 2, 2016 | Reply

    My God, is anyone else TIRED of all the explanations of what happened to Floyd, what happened to Smoky, why is Palmer struggling, etc? I am.

    After awhile, you realize that that is all you’re hearing anymore….on-going attempts to explain why certain players are struggling, why the offense has been so flat, why the big plays aren’t there…..on and on.

    This has been a COLLAPSE of epic proportions. Let’s just acknowledge that.

    Player’s meetings? Really? Now? Sorry, fellas, but perhaps that should have been going on after a month, when we were 1-3. At THAT point, you could have changed the course of this season. You’re not changing the course of anything at 4-6-1 with 5 games left.

    I mean, what are we shooting for here? 7-8-1??? If we can even achieve that?

    Yeah, that will really feel like we turned it around, huh?

  9. By clssylssy on Dec 2, 2016 | Reply

    Without smoke, no fire??? While Brown has had his moments and made a few
    “Ah-ha” catches, he has dropped probably as many or more since we played Detroit. He, like Ellington, has been a BA favorite, and but, for that fact, probably would have been cut on a lot of other teams. I like Brown, and he can be a good situational player, but I have to wonder if the mantle of being the next magic bullet, may be too much for some of these guys, both he and Ellington haven’t held up physically but continue to have BA’s loyalty (like a few others). Clearly, we need some big, physical receivers like Fitz and Floyd and the smurf experiment hasn’t worked out. One of the things that bugs me the most about BA’s coaching, and comes off as stubborn arrogance, is his failure to use all his resources efficiently, preferring to stick with one or two players and ride them into the ground (or until they are on IR), and making our schemes predictable to our competitors. During the time BA’s been here, he has squandered away Fitz’s talent, which any other coach would have seen as a gift.
    We need these final games desperately, and I believe if we play as we did when facing Seattle, we are capable of gutting out the wins. We played good football in that game so, I know we are capable. We may not make the playoffs or retake the Division but, we can still finish with some shred of dignity IF we don’t quit.
    This season has been a gut wrenching disappointment mostly because of the Organization’s over-hyping it, and, along with the other sweeping changes that I hope will come, they need to fire their Marketing Department. Having Peterson arrive in the helicopter was a whole new level of stupid and set him up for the kind of backlash from fans, I’ve never seen. Cards fans are NOT the bandwagoners we are made out to be, as many have go back twenty, thirty, forty + years, and are use to losing; it’s the idea of quitting, I have problems with.

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