The (loss of) Markus Golden effect

Posted by Darren Urban on October 5, 2017 – 4:27 pm

Earlier in the week, Bruce Arians noted that the loss of Markus Golden went beyond the field, that losing him “takes a lot of the spirit out of the defense.” That’s understandable. There are always certain guys every year that are the emotional bellweather of a team or a side of the ball. Tyrann Mathieu was that guy in 2015, which is one reason why things got sideways after his ACL injury.

Golden radiates that energy. It’s cliche to talk about a “motor” but that’s just a tangible name to give to what emanates from some players. Players like Golden. I always found it interesting to talk to Markus in terms of motivation, like in camp when I asked him about the idea of getting into a season that could be the last for guys like Fitz and Palmer. He said that’d be good, but he was looking to win a title not for those guys but for himself and the team. There aren’t many sidestreets for Golden when it comes to football. There’s one highway to race down, and that’s about going 100 percent all the time and hopefully having it mean a win.

That’s the spirit that Arians spoke about. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said he wasn’t concerned about it. “But certainly aware,” Bettcher added.

“It’s something that, when you have guys like that who run around, who chase balls from the backside, or jump on pile guys, guys that play with such a high energy or high motor, when you lose a guy like that, you are aware of that,” Bettcher said. “The challenge is for other guys to assume that identity, for other guys, whether it be Kareem (Martin) or Haason (Reddick) on the field, they need to play with their hair on fire.”

Having the next guy play hard is one thing. But to be driven like Golden is, to me that’s a personality trait and not something that can be learned. You are or are not, to paraphrase Yoda. So we will see what the defense is or is not now that Golden isn’t around.

Posted in Blog | 32 Comments »

32 Responses to “The (loss of) Markus Golden effect”

  1. By Scott H on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    The spirit of Markus Golden that we lose with his absence just heightens the realization of the total nothingness we are getting from Robert Nkemdiche. This kid is killing us this year.

  2. By Jo Ball on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply


    Re: Nkemdiche

    The good news: he has already matched his output from last year.

    The bad news: he had 1 tackle and 0 sacks last year.


  3. By Joe Cardea on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    Darren, I always thought He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken would have been a good outside linebacker. I always thought of OLB’s as being lighter and faster than ILB’s. Am I wrong in that? I raise HWNMNBS because I think Reddick could be a great OLB. Not that they need him there.

  4. By Darren Urban on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    Joe —


    I get it but what made DW special was his sideline-to-sideline speed, which in this defense is so important as the DL tries to keep the LBs clean to make plays. That’s the idea with Reddick playing inside.

  5. By DZ on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    Golden will certainly be missed but with that comes an opportunity for Martin.
    I think, he will embrace and make an impact given the amount of games in front of him this year to settle in and find his game.
    More importantly, I am excited to see Buchannon back on the field and he is the one we truly missed. Did you notice the few plays he was in there last week, he changed the tempo of the defense. That will help Martin too.
    Let Riddick marinate a little more here and there giving Buchannon a chance to gain his legs back throughout the game and he will give you years of payback.
    The concern should and always be the O Line.

  6. By georgiebird on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    Agree 100% with your assessment of Markus as a spirited player. Markus is probably the “toughest” player we have had since Boldin and Dockett -his spirit will be missed.
    However, as I have mentioned before Markus has no natural position in the 3-4. Markus is to small for the DL and too slow for OLB and probably too slow for ILB coverages.
    But no one can question his “motor”.
    Hopefully, someone will emerge to play the speed oriented OLB position.

  7. By Darren Urban on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Golden

    By your assessment he wouldn’t have a position in the 4-3 either, so you’re basically saying a guy who had 12.5 sacks in the NFL is too something-or-other to be any good in the NFL. I don’t get it. At what point does production matter?

  8. By Creditcard on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    I nominate Robert Nkemdiche for all OTA player of the universe. He is the greatest OTA player to ever wear a pair o shorts and tee shirt. The kid is absolutely amazing during OTAs.

  9. By Tucson Card on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    I was bummed to see Golden go down. I always root for 44. It’s hard not to when a guy takes his job seriously, goes balls to the wall, and produces.

  10. By Dr. G. on Oct 5, 2017 | Reply

    Darren- Adrian Peterson to Arizona…stop gap for 2017? He’s disgruntled, and could help us do some grinding the remainder of this season. . Your thoughts?

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Adrian Peterson

    I don’t see, at this point, how Peterson is much different than Chris Johnson.

  12. By mitchaz on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Cardinals vs. Eagles Preview

    Team Stats: Offense

    PTS: AZ (18.5–22nd); PHI (25.8–7th)
    YDS: AZ (349.2–11th); PHI (392.5–3rd)
    PASS: AZ (292.2–2nd); PHI (249.5–11th)
    RUSH: AZ (57.0–32nd); PHI: (143.0–3rd)

    Team Stats: Defense

    PTS: AZ (22.8-20th); PHI: 23.0–21st)
    YDS: AZ 302.8–7th); PHI (355.8–24th)
    PASS: AZ (214.8–12th); PHI (285.0–30th)
    RUSH: AZ (88.0–10th); PHI (70.8–2nd)


    * Eagles are more balanced on offense. 11th in passing and 3rd in rushing (Blount and Wentz).
    * Cardinals’ passing game (2nd) could feast on Eagles’ pass defense (30th).

    PFF Player Grades Comparisons (through 4 games):

    QB: AZ Palmer (74.1); PHI Wentz (77.7)
    RB: AZ Ellington (62.4); PHI Blount (82.2)
    WR: AZ Fitzgerald (78.9); PHI Jeffery (68.4)
    WR: AZ Jaron Brown (75.3); PHI T. Smith (42.1)
    WR: AZ John Brown (74.4); PHI Agholor (77.4)
    TE: AZ Gresham (36.0); PHI Ertz (77.5)
    TE: AZ Niklas (44.2); PHI B. Celek (44.9)
    LT: AZ Wetzel (38.9); PHI Peters (86.4)
    LG: AZ Boone (54.2); PHI: Seumalo (34.1)
    C: AZ Shipley (50.3); PHI Kelce (92.0)
    RG: AZ Boehm (44.9): PHI Brooks (82.3)
    RT: AZ Veldheer (41.1); PHI Johnson (85.4)

    DT: AZ Peters (81.4); PHI Jernigan (86.3)
    DT: AZ Rucker (45.8); PHI Allen (77.5)
    DE: AZ Jones (80.1); PHI Graham (87.4)
    DE: AZ Mauro (49.7); PHI Barnett (63.4)
    LB: AZ Dansby (42.1); PHI Hicks (35.2)
    LB: AZ Bucannon (38.2); PHI Kendricks (83.0)
    LB: AZ Reddick (56.7); PHI Bradham (40.4)
    CB: AZ Peterson (77.3); PHI Mills (44.1)
    CB: AZ Bethel (61.2); PHI: Robinson (87.0)
    S: AZ: Mathieu (41.7); PHI McCloud (37.1)
    S: AZ: Branch (91.8); PHI Jenkins (61.7)


    * Eagles: both lines are considerably stronger.
    * Cardinals: have a considerably stronger secondary,

    Special Teams:

    K AZ Dawson (9/12 FG, 5/5 XPT); PHI Elliott (8/10 FG, 7/7 XPT)
    P AZ Lee (46.7 ave., 39.3 net); PHI Jones (44.0 ave., 40.1 net)
    KR AZ Williams (20.2 ave.); PHI Smallwood (23.3 ave.)
    PR AZ Williams (2.8 ave.); PHI Barner (5.0 ave.)


    * Eagles have a very slight edge. Elliott kicked GW 61 yard FG versus Giants.
    * Cardinals need boost in return game and field position. Must win the net punt average.

    What the Cardinals Need To Do:

    * Slow down Blount and Wentz (good scrambler) in the running game. Disengage blocks, swarm and finish tackles.
    * Win coverage matches: Peterson on Jeffery; Bethel on Smith; Badger on Agholor; Branch on Ertz (key matchup).
    * Spy or blitz A gaps on Wentz. Get hands up in the passing lanes.
    * Protect Palmer long enough for him to exploit Eagles’ secondary. Chip on Brandon Graham. Impede inside rushers Jernigan and Allen to allow Palmer room to step into his throws. Handle rookie DE Derek Barnett.
    * Keep Eagles’ pass rush off-balance with hard counts.
    * Might be tough to run the ball, but draws, screens and flares could be very effective.
    * Prevail on special teams. It’s very close this week.

  13. By Scott H on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Man, I wish this game against Philly was in our house. East coast trips are hard enough for west coast teams. But with all of our injuries and the way we are trying to make adjustments on the fly… early east coast game in a hostile place like Philly just seems about as difficult a spot for the Cardinals right now as they could possibly be dealt.

    But it’s the NFL, and the NFL has no pity, so….all we can do is put the big-boy pants on and go play.

    On the Philly side, it looks like they could be without Fletcher Cox again this week and I hear a lot of concern among their fans / media for how their secondary is playing. Those things could help.

    But THEIR Carson, Carson Wentz, has been a VERY impressive kid at QB for them. He is smart, has good mobility, makes way more plays than mistakes. Fans in Cleveland must be feeling out-raged on a weekly basis that the Browns passed on him, left him for the Eagles.

    And looking around the league, we are definitely not the only ones having kicking woes. Missed kicks killed the Buccs last night ( the Buccs have definitely been cursed at the kicker position ) and I see where the Chargers just cut their young kicker.

  14. By Robert on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    totally depressed–look at the last 3 first round draft picks..they all suck! and they don’t play..i’m not sold on Riddick.i don’t see him making many tackles this year so far. Keim needs to be called out! if this was a big media market, they would have run him out of town..his top three draft picks the last 3-4 years aren’t collectively doing much. You can’t win by just filling out the roster with other teams rejects. We could have had Watson, instead we got riddick especially when we need a since ’88 and i remember going to the super bowl in Tampa and telling myself to enjoy this moment since we will never get back here again…when you draft poorly, it sets the franchise back 5 years. Plus, where the heck are the tight ends? Year after year i ask the same question. All this combines with the crap regarding the national anthem statements want to make me throw up. You don’t like the flag, then leave the country. Have issues about violance, then get your sorry asses into your community and do something about IT!!!

  15. By TucsonTim on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    When you can’t run, can’t execute a screen, can’t block a 3 man rush, the hurry up no huddle is the only way I see the Cards scoring. But it is going to put the defense on the field more. Can the defense play 60, esp in light of losing their motor?

  16. By JTDG on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,

    The Browns;

    Not only Wentz, but the Browns then could have taken DeShawn Watson this year.

    But don’t feel bad, they did take Johnny Football.

  17. By JTDG on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    The good news about the game is the Eagles only have 10 sacks and Fletcher Cox, their best DLineman will be out for Sunday.

    The bad news, Darren tweeted ‘ In open portion of #AZCardinals practice, did not see G Alex Boone, T D.J. Humphries or DL Robert Nkemdiche’

  18. By Timothy Torzala on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    If anything, the Philly matchup favors the Cards. This weird year already, will just get weird. Players will play, someone has to play. Those players and their chaos could yield some crazy results.

  19. By DZ on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    If the hurry up creates more than 5 snaps, the defence is getting more rest.

  20. By D on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Too early in the season to talk about blame?

    For the season to be successful, multiple things/factors had to occur.

    Keeping Palmer healthy.
    The coaches and GM thought by moving JV to Right Tackle and Keeping Boehm at RG, over the summer, they would learn the positions even better and the Oline would be fine. Now, players get paid a lot of $ to perform, so I am not saying the players don’t have accountability, because they do, but was it smart for them to be put out there knowing Palmer has to stay clean?
    At this rate of hits against Palmer, he will not finish the season.
    (17 sacks and 43 hits in 4 games!)

    We were also told that losing C. Campbell on Defense would be replaced by a rotation of guys, namely R. Nkemdiche. A player who proved to be unreliable in his rookie season and continues this year to disappoint.

    Keim and staff went out and spent very good $ on a new/old kicker thinking they will get better results. So far, Mr. Dawson has missed 3 field goals in 4 games with perfect weather, a rate worse than Catman.

    Injuries are unavoidable, any NFL team who loses a talent as D. Johnson will have a major step back going forward.

    The season could trend in a more positive way going forward, but ownership/coaches shouldn’t be surprised if fans are upset.

  21. By mal on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply


    Is the team flying east today Friday?

  22. By Darren Urban on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Flying


  23. By georgiebird on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Markus could be a MLB in a 4-3

  24. By Darren Urban on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: MLB

    If you think he’s too slow to be outside, he’s definitely too slow to be an MLB. This isn’t 1983. And again, he seems fast enough to be pretty good at what he does.

  25. By Coach K on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply


    The loss of Golden was terrible news, but I think the loss of Campbell was
    a catastrophe.

    We lost the heart and soul of the defense and that inside push.

    How do you feel losing Campbell has played out so far, and was it worth
    the contract dollars to try and keep him?

  26. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2017 | Reply

    Coach K —

    RE: Campbell

    To be honest, I haven’t seen much of Campbell. The hazards of playing in Jax. I know he had a huge first game, against a backup tackle and against a statue of a QB in Savage. The Cardinals wanted him and were willing to pay $9M a season for him. Jax was willing to pay $15M x 4 years. That wasn’t a price the Cards were willing to pay. Would he help? Of course. They know that. But there is a give and take with all of this.

  27. By CARDS62 on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    MitchAZ – Really appreciate your hard work and posts you share with us.

    This game I will primarily be watching our energy levels and coaching. I did not like our energy level in first two early east coast games especially the Colts game.
    More than anything I really want to see a solid game from our coaching staff from game planning to having our team ready to play. Some fans have mentioned little things like hard counts and different counts and I totally agree. Football players will decide who wins the game, but the Xs and Os sure help.

    As always I am hoping for a win, but honestly I will be happy with a motivated team playing with heart and energy and being competitive.

    Scott and other Cardinal Fans going to the game try to win yourself a free cheese steak by finding an Eagles Fan and beating them before the game that you know the game will start with the Eagles kicking off to the Cardinals.

    Go Cards beat those Eagles!

  28. By CARDS62 on Oct 6, 2017 | Reply

    sorry meant betting an Eagle Fan and not beating, ha ha, no violence okay guys.

  29. By Joe Cardea on Oct 7, 2017 | Reply

    Darren, with all the money the NFL throws around there should be some pool that doesn’t count against the cap that players can get if they stay with a team for a long time. Not to discourage a Jerry Rice or Emmet Smith form moving on when their teams are truly done, but enough to keep a Campbell. $15M vs. $9M is probably too much to overcome, but wouldn’t be nice for the fans to keep these players for 15 years? I totally understand letting them go, but a Campbell past his prime holding down the line with the skill of a Mauro (no offense) or other average type player would be great. A career tag vice franchise tag.

  30. By clssylssy on Oct 7, 2017 | Reply

    Wow…impressive job with the stats but rather demoralizing! I wonder if BA presented the painful reality of the situation as told by the stats if anyone would be motivated to get on the plane lol. On the other hand, I guess if we can prevail on the road ,headed east, and against all odds, we might have reason for hope.
    I only wish that Mr. Bidwill and those in the FO paid as much attention to the stats, our odds, and the other undisputable harsh realities as many of our fans,
    On the other hand there’s always the “Any Given Sunday” phenomenon that keeps us all coming back!
    Nice job as usual!

  31. By carlsonchemist on Oct 7, 2017 | Reply

    I’m totally amazed! I thought Nkemdiche was a great pick at the time of the draft. Unfortunately, he’s been injury riddled for his entire pro career. I’m beside myself to see him on the injury list. I find it incredulous that he could fall out of a two-story building while high and walk away unscathed! I wonder if he should continue smoking pot? Even if he was eliminated from play because of a urine test, at least he’d have some impact on Sunday.

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