Score one — or 418 — for the Cardinals

Posted by Darren Urban on January 10, 2017 – 1:37 pm

The Cardinals’ offense was inconsistent much of the season, certainly compared to the previous season. And in light of 2015 — when the Cardinals smashed the franchise record for points in a season with 489 — most seasons were going to suffer in comparison. But as I look through the aftermath of this season (and look at some of the notes stat guru Mike Helm puts together), one of the stats that sticks out is the 418 points the Cardinals finished with for the season.


No, it’s not 489, but it’s not far off the 427 the 2008 Super Bowl-reaching team collected, a 427 that had been the franchise record before the 2015 squad came along. In fact, the 418 points the Cards scored this season was fourth all-time in team history. And it was mostly the offense that drove it — special teams did not score this season, and the defense accounted for 22 points (three return TDs, two safeties.)

The total was aided by a flourish of a finish, with 41, 34 and 44 points in the final three games. But even with all their troubles, the Cardinals were held to 20 points or less only five times (and appropriately went 0-4-1 in those games.) That was with what seemed like a rotating door on the offensive line, especially late when the scoring jumped, and with an underachieving wide receiving corps.

As Ron Wolfley likes to say, the ability to score provides hope. The Cardinals have had many years where that hope didn’t exist. The current version still allows for that hope.


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31 Responses to “Score one — or 418 — for the Cardinals”

  1. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    418 largely owed to C. Palmer. Although he had a “down” year, was good enough to get in the tournament. And he finished strongly. He represents the “hope” in my mind, optimism going to 2017.

    Radio talking heads often say Cards brass want Glennon here. Any insight?
    Believe Stanton a lock to return? Cap hit if cut for Dysert or a Glennon?
    Fwiw, imo, Drew gutty, laudable backup, not premium starter…or he’d be starting.

    Thx. Go Cards, 2017

  2. By Darren Urban on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: Questions

    1) I’m sure they wouldn’t mind Glennon, but if Palmer is here why would he come? A) He wants a chance to play now and b) Cardinals won’t pay him what someone else might.
    2) I don’t see Stanton going anywhere.

  3. By Jacob Hewitt on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    You said u were on sidelines at all the cardinals games will u be at pro bowl with cardinal players

  4. By Darren Urban on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Jacob —

    RE: Pro Bowl

    I will not be attending the Pro Bowl.

  5. By Andy M on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    I am reminded of the comment made by a prominent mid-century economist, that there are lies and “statistical lies”. Professional football has gotten geekier than even baseball with meaningless statistics. We can thank fantasy football and “metrics” for this. While I would grant Ron Wolfley the point that the ability to score provides hope, the concept of the game is fairly simple: the team with the most points in a game wins and the more wins, the more likely a season will be memorable. The rest of the stuff is background noise. Especially with a strong defense, it is the efficiency and WHEN a team scores that is at least as important as how many total points are racked up in a year. I know most fans are looking for silver linings for a squandered season; I guess this statistic qualifies.

  6. By clssylssy on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Sorry…stats don’t mean squat if you don’t even break .500, much less make the playoffs.
    But, nice try at putting lipstick on a pig!

  7. By georgiebird on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Statistics can say many things if we tinker with them enough. But when looking at points scored by the 2008 team and the 2016 team, here is a statistic that separates the two seasons::
    The 2016 team scored 119 points in the last three meaningless games- the 2008 team scored 118 points in four playoff games.

  8. By dkerry5242 on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    What’s with all the hype for Mike Glennon? C’mon this guy hasn’t done anything to be a Franchise QB in the NFL. I don’t think he’s as good as Stanton.

  9. By shannon robinson on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Jeremy Ross reminds me of Early Doucet. He seems to have quicker hands and a more sure catch away from his body. He may be one of those guys who always gets open. I’m pleased with the lower end of the 53 man roster. Counting the Exclusive Rights and Restricted Free Agents as well as the guys under contract, this Roster looks remarkably like our Roster last year before the draft. This team is built to score points – 418, and stop our opponents. Cory Peters is a good example of how free agency sometimes works : Peters was signed for 2015 but tore his achilles and was out for the year. He comes back in 2016 (after I’d completely forgotten about him) and was a dominant difference maker in the middle. Tyvonne Branch was a huge disappointment this year – can he come back and give us what we bargained for in 2017? Prediction: Mr. Keim will find the money to sign Tony Jefferson and DJ Swearinger! OK, John the Draft Guy this is your time to deliver! Give us the Dope! Let’s build this Roster again.

  10. By Scott H on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Numbers are always interesting for however you choose to arrange them. What the Cardinals did NOT do very well in 2016 was distribute the points they scored evenly enough. Consider….

    They scored 102 points in 3 games in which their respective opponents ( Buccs / Jets / Rams ) scored a total of 16. Again, beating up on bad teams. And that 102 points accounted for approx 25% of their season total of 418. Too many eggs in too few baskets.

    At the same time, they lost 4 games by a combined total of 15 points ( Pats / Rams / Vikings / Dolphins ). Ah, how nice would some of those 102 points referenced above been in those games…..

    So, that’s basically half their schedule during which they either won by AT LEAST 25 or lost by AT MOST, 6.

    Hate to state the obvious, but that is wildly in-consistent. And teams that are wildly in-consistent rarely make – or have any success during – the playoffs.

    This season’s 418 may not have been far off the 427 they scored in 2008, but…..the proximity of those numbers could not be any more meaningless. The team that scored 427 went 9-7, found itself at just the right time, played its BEST football in the playoffs, and went further than any Cardinals team during the SB era. The team that scored 418 went 7-8-1 and never found itself at all.

  11. By Aaron Yang on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Don’t blame this year on BA. Don’t blame this year on Keim. Don’t blame this year on James Bettcher. Don’t blame this year on Carson Palmer. Don’t blame this year on offense or defense. All of them did a tremendous job. We finished strong and that’s a good sign for next year if we can keep most of our players. A RG is needed like Dan Feeney in the draft. A WR is needed like Mike Williams or Corey Davis in the draft. A good CB is needed if we are able to develop Marcus Cooper, Brandon Williams, or Justin Bethel. Next year is our year, the year that we finally accomplish the everlasting goal for the fans, the players, and the coaches– Super Bowl.

  12. By Christian on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Andy M,

    Re: Statistics

    While I understand your point about what matters, advanced statistics are more valuable than you could imagine. They can’t tell you the entire story, but no statistic can do this. What they do allow is for us to make valuable inferences about the team.

    Without getting too into the numbers, our offense outplayed our defense and special teams. Our offense played to playoff potential. Our defense played good enough, but especially struggled against big plays (according to stats), especially the pass. Special teams was just bad. The statistics can also show which area was bad within those, giving the team direction on where improvements are needed the most. Check out Pro-Football Reference or Pro-Football Focus for more.

  13. By Wild Blue Yonder on Jan 10, 2017 | Reply

    Here are some “stats”.
    The Cards only beat three teams with winning records; the ‘Hawks, Bucs and the Redskins.
    The other four teams they beat had a total record of: 11-37.
    Not impressive.
    They lost to four teams with losing records: the Bills, Panthers, Saints and of course, the Rams.
    I think that 8-8 or, optimistically, 9-7 next season will happen because Keim doesn’t have a history of knocking the ball out of the park in FA and, especially the draft.

  14. By LadyBird04 on Jan 11, 2017 | Reply

    Darren –

    Do I remember correctly…last year it seemed the defense intercepted more balls and scored many more points than they did in 2016? Curious to see if that number would have accounted for some of the deficit. I don’t recall the number of interceptions being anywhere close to 2015…Honey Badger was missed on the field.

  15. By Darren Urban on Jan 11, 2017 | Reply

    LadyBird —

    RE: Interceptions/Defensive points

    2015: 19/40

    2016: 14/22

  16. By JTDG on Jan 11, 2017 | Reply


    Rebuilding the roster;

    What I think and Keim / BA think may be two different things. So I can only answer for myself. But here is what I think Keim does and what I would do.

    The safeties – Since Badger is paid so much, he has to be on the field. When we go to nickle, it is easy, because he can move to slot, but when we play base, that would mean either Swearinger or Jefferson are on the bench.

    Because of that, it will be hard to justify signing them both. Jefferson is better around the Line of scrimmage , but so is Badger. Swearinger has flexibility to play both.

    So, it would make the most sense to have Badger as SS and Swearinger at FS, then, when we go to the slot, you would have an option. you could move Badger to the slot, swearinger in the box and bring in a FS (maybe Miller, maybe a draft pick) , OR if Bethel could play the slot, you could leave everyone in their spots.

    Personally, I would look to sign them both (Swearinger and Jefferson) and have Badger as a slot CB only. If Badger is injury riddled again, I would release him at the end of 2017. I just do not know if you can ever count on Badger and if he went down, you have better options at CB with Bethel or possibly Cooper than at Safety if you let one or both go. I also would release Branch. He is not good in the slot and really has been an average player over his career. Saving 3-4 million in cap space would be smart.

    As for the CBs, lots of directions to go. But one of them cant be Williams. He is terrible. No way around it. I really would forget CB and start looking at him for FS down the line. But CB, either that will be a FA or first round pick. Then, if you can resign Cooper, you have someone who can compete with a rookie or be a solid backup and possible nickle. I would keep Bethel another year, just because of his last two games, where for the first time, I saw him compete as a CB.

  17. By CardsNation on Jan 11, 2017 | Reply

    Wild Blue Yonder–

    Keim is extremely good at FA. He did well in the draft too. You’re salty, but at the same time, you have no clue what you are talking about…

    You clearly don’t understand, your argument is the fallacy of composition. Just in case you don’t go to school: Mistakenly thinking that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole.

    Keim knows what’s wrong and he knows how to fix it. We have QB issue before he becomes the GM, we changed the QB so many times just like the Browns this year. He fixed the issue in the first year by signing Carson Palmer and we went 10-6. Our pass rush ranked 20 last year and 9 of the sacks came from the packers game. He fixed the issue and this year we ranked first in sacks (48). The special team is a huge issue for the Cardinals this year. But our special team performs really well at the end of the season and we finally have a punter and Chandler Catanzaro is good as any kicker in the final two games. He also fixed the offensive line, our offensive line was decent before multiple injuries, you can’t blame Keim for that. He also signed Marcus Cooper during the season. Our offensive line also did surprisingly well in the final few games after injured starters and one injured backup. Two of the games are against two of the most dominate defensive line: Seahawks and the Rams.

    2016 NFL draft was not that great, but you can’t judge Keim’s ability based on one draft and yet it’s only their rookies year, only 4 players went to the pro bowl, one from the first round, one from the 4th round, and two from the 5th round. If pro bowl is the definition of a good draft pick, then you’re wrong.

    2015 NFL draft was a great draft for Keim. DJ Humpries showed him value, Markus Golden is great as any OLB. David Johnson is a beast. Evan Boehm could eventually be our center. JJ Nelson is a playmaker.

    He also selected Honey Badger, John Brown, Deone Bucannon, Andre Ellington.


  18. By Old Guy in Scottsdale on Jan 12, 2017 | Reply

    I’ve been around so long that I recall Al Davis’ retort to all the statistics/questions about details that were missing the mission of his teams. “Just win, baby”, was his message. It was written on their locker room walls, equipment bags and repeated endlessly in the conversations with reporters.

    I think the no shout outs to stats versus today are the 2 edges of the universe. From my perch, the stats and commentary using stats has gotten out of hand and has taken away the beauty of the game. The emphasis needs to be less. You can score 400 points in a season and be 0-16. Or you can score 225 points and darn near win every game. Too many sports commentators study stats and not the game itself.

    The game is both offense and defense. Which is a very silly comment, yet, after all is said and done this off-season, will the Cards win 11 games or more in 2017? The beauty of football is the on-the-field cohesiveness. Can the 11 guys play well together? And that was where the team last year got beat in several games. They couldn’t execute Arians’ game plan and left too many gaps in the defense at times. All the stats in the world wouldn’t tell you that.

  19. By Wiil Blue Yonder on Jan 12, 2017 | Reply


    SO………Apparently you’re pleased with the drafting/acquisition of Logan Thomas, Butler, (Guard) Cooper, Niklas, Nkemdiche, Williams, Humphries, Ellington, Martin, Branch and Boehm and believe that they’ve been difference-makers.

    To cite one more example, as JTDG and others have pointed out, last year’s most obvious need was a SHUTDOWN CB to play opposite PP. Did Keim do that??? NO!!!

  20. By Kevin S Mesa on Jan 12, 2017 | Reply

    Yes, numbers sometimes lie. But one of the more telling stats this year is that the Cardinals, for all their flaws, finished fourth in the conference in net points.

    Now, yes, as Scott H mentions, this is in part because they beat up on some bad teams. But that’s what a good team is SUPPOSED to do. What the Cards didn’t do this year was win many close ones. The losses to NE, Rams, Vikes, Dolphins and Saints were all by 7 points or less; the Cards won only two such games.

    But luck tends to even out, and the +56 net point differential suggests a team that’s better than their record.

    As far as the talk above about Glennon, I don’t buy it. The same year Winston was drafted with the #1 OA pick, Philly supposedly offered two #1’s, a #3, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Boykin, Mychal Kendricks AND Sam Bradford for the #2 pick that would’ve been Mariota. So presumably Philly would’ve offered at least as much for the #1 OA pick. If Glennon was a potential franchise QB, wouldn’t you have taken that huge haul of players and picks (and potentially traded Bradford again), and built around Glennon? Instead, TB went with Winston.

    Glennon strikes me as Kevin Kolb 2.0. A guy you might go grab if you literally had no other options, but let’s not kid ourselves and think he’s The Man.

  21. By JTDG on Jan 12, 2017 | Reply

    Kevin in Mesa,

    Eagles trade;

    I heard they were offering a package to move up but never heard that.
    Hard to argue with the Titans but dang, that would have been hard to turn down.
    two #1s and Fletcher Cox would have been a good package, but Bradford, who could have netted another first rounder, the Titans could have had 2 number 1s in 2016 and 2017, and a first in 2015 along with a great dlineman.

    I think, even knowing how good Marriota is, I would have taken that.

  22. By CardsNation on Jan 13, 2017 | Reply

    Wiil Blue Yonder–

    LMAO, list me one GM that each of his picks and each of his acquistions turned out to be successful every single time. And again, it’s hard to talk someone like u. u cannot judge a player based on his rookie season. I’m pleased with Robert because he is a steal in my mind and in everybody’s mind before the draft. Again, we’re not gonna draft a CB unless we trade down and CB is not a major issue. Cooper is a beast in his first two years but injuries limited him to become a star. Ellington was picked in the 6th round and he is a great player. Humpries was tremendous at LT and I believe he has the talent as a RT. Boehem could be the starting center eventually. Again, u can’t find a perfect GM, Keim is a great one.

  23. By Wild Blue Yonder on Jan 14, 2017 | Reply


    GREAT is a much overused word.
    Ellington is not a GREAT player. Jim Brown and several other RBs are GREAT.
    Keim is NOT a GREAT GM. Belichick is a GREAT GM.

  24. By hminus on Jan 14, 2017 | Reply

    The offense was hamstrung all year & STILL scored 418…this same unit in a normal year would probably have scored 460 or more & then would be talking about the 11-5 Cardinals instead of the 7-8-1 cardinals…

  25. By hminus on Jan 14, 2017 | Reply

    The O-line issues were 80% of the pie chart…fix that going forward & we wont have another losing season for quite awhile…

  26. By JTDG on Jan 15, 2017 | Reply

    Wild, Cards, hminus, and all.

    Issues or in my eyes , mistakes Keim made in offseason 2016.

    1. I posted here many times to trade Mike Floyd. By keeping him, it cost 7 million in cap space along with countless mistakes on the field. When Billechek knows he isn’t resigning a player, he trades and gets value like chandler jones (2nd rounder) and Jamie Collins (3rd rounder). Getting a player or pick could have helped this team.

    2. Not restructuring and extending Campbell. How do you allow your team to have a 15 million dollar hit and now in danger to lose Campbell? Huge mistake. Either extend or trade him. Now, he walks and you get nothing.

    3. With Alex Mack on FA, how do you not get the pro bowl center? You never even tried. Alex Mack makes a huge difference on this OLine. As the Falcons put it, he was their missing piece on offense.

    4. How do you enter the year with no CB. I posted several times that Casey Hayward (off to the pro bowl) would be a great pick up. I also posted several times that you may get Stephon Gilmore in a trade for Floyd. Instead, you started a very bad rookie, who cost us two of the first 3 games before being replaced. Just unacceptable to enter the year with unknowns and failures at the other CB.

    5. His draft. It was a disaster. Nkemdichi has shown nothing. I mean nothing in the games he played. He routinely gets blown off the line. He has no quickness or explosion to him. Terrible pick. Williams can not find the ball once he turns and runs with a receiver. He is so easily beat, it is almost like just leaving guys wide open.

    Now, honestly, would you feel better if the cards would have signed Casey Hayward at CB extended Campbell, trade Floyd for a second rounder, signed Alex Mack, and drafted a receiver and guard in rounds one and two?
    Honestly, wouldn’t that put us in the playoffs if those moves were made?
    Why can me, a guy on the computer, see all these moves during 2016 FA and draft and Steve can’t?

    That is the difference between a great GM and Steve Keim.

  27. By CardsNation on Jan 15, 2017 | Reply

    Wiil Blue Yonder–

    You’re mad, bro… LMAO. Feel like you know nothing…

  28. By Wild Blue Yonder on Jan 15, 2017 | Reply


    Ellington was the THIRD STRING RB when CJ was healthy. GREAT RBs are NOT third stringers.

    Belichick’s Patriots are going to play in their SIXTH CONSECUTIVE AFC Championship game. That’s the sign of a GREAT GM (and Coach).

    How many NFC Championship games have the Cards played in while Keim has been the GM??? ONE in FOUR years (and, the Panthers kicked their ass)!!! That is NOT the resume of a GREAT GM.

    Stick to the facts instead of insulting other posters.

  29. By CardsNation on Jan 16, 2017 | Reply


    It’s all about the cap space

  30. By JTDG on Jan 16, 2017 | Reply


    Cap Space;


    Darren says you need a 3 year plan. So, this will be long.

    Alex Mack cost the Falcons 4 million in cap space in 2016. Casey Hayward cost the Chargers 5 million in cap space. That is 9 million right?

    Floyd would have freed up 7.7 million in cap space. Trading him for a draft pick would have freed up that money.
    Campbell cost us 15 million in cap space. If you redid his contract to , say 3 years 30 million, you would have saved 5 million more.
    So, without even getting into the roster, we have 12.7 million more space. You could have covered the 9 million above easily.

    Now, lets say you drafted Sterling Shepard, Mike Thomas or Tyler Boyd in round one (the next 3 receivers picked) and then, with the Floyd trade, grabbed Cody Whitehair to play guard. Forget the rest of the draft, just those two moves along with the two signings makes the cards a much, much better team.

    You would go into 2016 with a strong oline, a pro bowl CB opposite PP, Campbell signed, and you could have brought in another player with the other 3.7 million left over, or let it rollover.

    Then coming into 2017, you have around 40 million plus the 3.7 million carry over from 2016, minus the contracts of Mack, Campbell and Hayward. They would take up 20 million of the 40 million leaving around 20 million to work with this year.
    Releasing Branch frees up another 4 million giving them 24 million.

    You could sign Chandler Jones to a 5 year 75 million dollar deal with bonuses and guarantees that lower his cap number in 2017 to around 8 million and then sign the safeties again with bonuses and guarantees to have a cap number of 7 million in 2017, now giving the cards around 9 million. They need to sign Gresham and rookies and maybe some reserves.

    Two more ways to free up money. 1. restructure Veldheer, lowering his 10 million cap number or release Bethel, freeing up another 4 million. Either way, 2017 is a strong team and you haven’t even drafted.
    If you look at QB, LBs and another receiver and guard in the 2017 draft, then going into 2018, you will be solid.

    2018, you will have no Fitz and Palmer, freeing up about 30 million in cap space. Iupati would be released, freeing up another 6 million. That would give you a cap number of 95 million minus the two sfaeties (14 million) Jones (22 million) Mack (8 million) , Campbell (10 million) and maybe 5 million for a rookie class of 2017. The cap number in 2018 would be 36 million with a new DJ contract and possibly a new bucannon contract (i would let him walk at that point)

    If you have a plan and pick in the draft well, and sign the right players, it isn’t that hard.

    Think about this, for the price of Branch, Mathis and Ellington, you could have had Pro Bowlers Casey Hayward and Alex Mack. How can you justify that? Seriously? An average safety who started 6 games in the last 3 years before 2016, a RB you don’t plan on using, and a 35 yr old guard OR, you could get a CB who is off to the pro bowl and one of the best centers in the game? It is not cap space , it is how you use it.

  31. By Wild Blue Yoder on Jan 16, 2017 | Reply


    A GREAT answer to the specious comment that “it’s all about the cap space”.

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