Friday before the Falcons, in a new stadium

Posted by Darren Urban on August 25, 2017 – 2:44 pm

So the Cardinals get to open a stadium Saturday. It just isn’t their own. They’ve done that before, and I remember that day – even though it was in my previous life with the East Valley Tribune. It was just the preseason opener, but the Steelers were in town and a fanbase thirsty for an indoor stadium finally had one. The atmosphere was excellent.

In the Georgia Dome the Falcons didn’t have as bad of a situation as the Cardinals did in Sun Devil Stadium. The Falcons reached the Super Bowl last season in that building. But the first game in a new palace means something, preseason or not. Honestly, the Cardinals couldn’t really get a better final test before the regular season. (No starters are going to play in Denver.)

A lot has been said about the length of camp, but realistically, the Cardinals are always going to have long camps because they need to be inside. As Bruce Arians said, putting 90 players (plus, including interns, some 30 coaches) inside the practice bubble in Tempe doesn’t make sense. But part of camp next year sounds likely to include a week against another team, so that certainly would break up the monotony.

— Without a lot of David Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, it’s hard to really get a sense of what the Cardinals are going to have offensively no matter what happens in Atlanta. But no matter what Arians says, I do think that unit needs to have a couple of good drives early. Arians noted he’d like to see the pass protection be solid because the Cards struggled in that area in Atlanta last year.

— Speaking of the offensive line, here’s what offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said his message was to the unit about their responsibility for Carson Palmer: “Either you protect him or I’m not going to protect you.”

Added Goodwin, “We have to do a better job, because we know he makes us go. Without him, it’s an uphill battle.”

— Defensively, you want to see better linebacker play than last week. Hopefully, the cornerbacks not named Patrick Peterson face some tests as well.

— It was good to hear Arians say he doesn’t think defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche will miss a regular-season game. The key will be that first day of practice following the Broncos preseason finale. You want Nkemdiche in the lineup, but, like Deone Bucannon, if he misses the opener to make sure he’s around the rest of the season, you want to be smart.

— In my opinion, some of the battles still going on up and down the depth chart: Backup running back, although I think Chris Johnson has the edge on Kerwynn Williams; Backup inside linebacker between Josh Bynes and Philip Wheeler; and the sixth wide receiver between Brittan Golden and Jeremy Ross, and with an outside shot to Aaron Dobson (because of his speed).

— Another battle still wide open is punter. Arians said neither Matt Wile nor Richie Leone has separated themselves, and Arians didn’t rule out looking elsewhere. One plus is the 90-man roster through the last preseason game. The Cards can evaluate both punters two more games.

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11 Responses to “Friday before the Falcons, in a new stadium”

  1. By Scott H on Aug 25, 2017 | Reply

    Regarding Nkemdiche….yes, very good to hear he is not expected to miss the opener. But too bad he will miss the rest of the pre-season. He looked like he was really coming on. Not that missing a few weeks will send him back to square one, but….you hate to see a young player have that momentum disrupted.

    Dansby? Are we going to see any of him against Atlanta? That would be nice….if not, I guess we don’t see him until the opener. We hope. And at that point, what are we really expecting from him??

    And, damn, isn’t it just friggin wonderful to hear that neither of these under-performing punters has managed to separate himself from the other? You gotta be kidding me, man. REALLY??? An entire off-season has ( mostly ) played out and THIS is where we are with our punters??? Just when we thought we were done with Drew Butler…..are we ANY better with either of these guys???

    I swear, I CANNOT stand to watch the games on Sunday’s and see so many teams who have punters that are actually a WEAPON for them. Guys who can boom it – consistently – and change field position, while we have to just be happy when our punts aren’t blocked or if we can get a lousy 34 yards net out of a punt. Because that is pretty much where we have been since the day we lost Zastudil. And that was entirely too long ago at this point.

    Again, I ask – how can it be THIS hard to find a better punter??????? What are we waiting for? Get some more guys in here now that we can start looking at. Because if neither of these two guys has separated from the other by now……what miracle are we expecting? We’ve seen what they can do. And it ain’t good enough. Do we have to let our ST’s lose a few more games for us before we make changes?

    Good lord……

  2. By Steve88 on Aug 25, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H

    Try to calm down . One of these guys booted a 65 yarder in the last game. Both of these guys are a heck of a lot better than Drew Butler. Besides Keim will probably sign a veteran punter when teams cut down to 53.

  3. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Aug 25, 2017 | Reply

    Heard some stats on radio about passing rating of CP when releases in 2.5 seconds vs 2.7 and 3 seconds. If CP takes those results to heart (certainly he’s aware) he could really shut down the growing group of naysayers, locally, and nationally. The way he embraced less is more philosophy on throwing, maybe he will. Second half of year 2016 he unloaded a lot faster (true?).

    Maybe I’ve got rose colored glasses, but I’m looking for all pro season from him. Only caveat, worried about Iupati, Veldheer and not quite ready backups…solution: sign a vet stud as insurance, even if you have to pay up for one year…gotta be somebody out there…

    JTDG, you know free agency as well as draft?

  4. By clssylssy on Aug 25, 2017 | Reply

    I watched a presser after our last practice and he was asked how missing this game was going to effect Nkemdiche and he said, “not that much” and that he wouldn’t be playing next week anyway b/c none of the starters would, so I guess that would include Dansby.
    I’ve watched nearly all of the games rerun on NFL .com and I am pretty disappointed at the Cards ability to identify talent. I mean, it’s like even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally and we’ve become the blind squirrel! Watching the Kc/Seattle game tonight was just plain scary how tough both teams
    are! Tomorrows game in Atlanta should be an excellent barometer for determining if we are any better than we’ve been advertised.

  5. By Marlin on Aug 25, 2017 | Reply

    I just don’t understand why we continually fail to properly value the importance of the punter position.

  6. By Don Short on Aug 26, 2017 | Reply

    As for the punters having two more games, while true, one is in the light air of Denver. I know it’s the same for both, but does the light air affect one more than the other? Garth Short

  7. By clssylssy on Aug 26, 2017 | Reply

    The “he” I was referring to was BA, incase there was any doubt. My bad, sorry.

    The league has hired full-time officials this year but so far (and I realize it’s just preseason) they haven’t been any better than the people they had before. Where do they get these guys, do they receive on-going training, what does it take to be a referee in the National Football League,is there any kind of accreditation or licensing process? Perhaps when you have some down time and are at a loss of topics to write about, this subject would make a worthwhile post? So far what I’ve seen from these refs is pretty pathetic and I’ve chalked it up to being preseason jitteres?

  8. By Darren Urban on Aug 26, 2017 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Full-time officials

    1) They have not yet hired full-time officials. They approved that they want to. Then they have to identify who of the current officials wants to be full-time and they would go from there.

    2) All officials, even currently, not only go through training but also come up through the ranks. All have worked college football before getting to the NFL.

  9. By shannon robinson on Aug 26, 2017 | Reply

    I accept that we’re all backseat drivers – that’s what fans do. The twist I want to add is to watch the long track for decisions on personnel to come to fruition. Robert Massie was a good example of a player like Dorian Johnson and Will Holden who were available to draft long after predicted. They didn’t use Massie right away but they also got the maximum value from his play after he was trained extensively. It was a four year transition from acquisition to full use and then done. We’ve seen the redshirt years the Cards used with Humphries, Nkemdiche, and Pierre. Jeffereson was undrafted and didn’t play alot and then starred. Brandon Williams is the latest project and seems to draw the wrath of some folks. You either see his talent or you don’t. Justin Bethel just got named to the 2nd CB position after 6 years out of Presbyterian (after nobody thought he deserved the draft choice the Cards spent). Arians always said ‘if Bethel can do it we’ll be alright’. I say he does succeed and it will start with health and result from coaching. This is what coaches and GM’s do – the definition of fanatic doesn’t include patience.

  10. By Scott H on Aug 27, 2017 | Reply

    Steve88 –

    RE: Calm down

    Thanks, but I think I’ll keep my angst over a position that continues to be a problem until the problem has been solved. In case ya missed the 2016 season, we lost games because of our ST’s / missed FG’s. How calm were you then??

    A punter who is bad ( at worst ) or inconsistent ( at best ) can hurt a team during a game. And when that happens often enough,, it can cost you games. If it even costs ya TWO games over a 16 game season, it can be the difference between 7-9 and 9-7. And that can be the difference between making the playoffs or not.

    I’m not making it up – it happened to us last year! Sorry, but I’m not gonna be calm with certain things.

  11. By clssylssy on Aug 28, 2017 | Reply

    You make some very insightful comments and you are spot on about this one. The problem is that many fans expect our draftees (or anybody we sign) to be turnkey ready to step on the professional stage and immediately be an impact player. When this doesn’t happen, the player gets labeled a loser or a bust, and unfortunately, this seems to be exactly the kind of project player that BA/Keim love. I guess, in a perfect work, when there was all the time in the world to mold and develop talent this would be OK, as you could “mold” young players to fit your particular brand of football. However, in this day and age, with all the limitations on practices and training camps, etc., you don’t see the fruits of your labor for a couple of years, about the time for these players to hit FA or get their next big contract and b/c our GM is”thrifty”, we have to start the process all over again, same comments, different day, year. When I look at our new players, I have lowered my expectations considerably, b/c I see them as projects (it’s still frustration to see everyone around us signing players that could get us to the promised land now).
    i know, i come off as being pessimistic however, I would like to see us be successful and at least get to another SB in my lifetime! I suggest watching our competition for a realistic idea of how we match up and what are chances are this year!

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