In London, Friday before the Rams

Posted by Darren Urban on October 20, 2017 – 1:16 pm

The week in London is nearing its end. The Cardinals are hoping it means something. The Rams didn’t pull in until early Friday morning from Florida, while the Cards got here Tuesday morning. The players have adjusted for the time, but that doesn’t mean it’d be any easier for Carson Palmer to throw the ball if it turns out to be rainy and windy Sunday night at Twickenham Stadium.

It’s been a work week. Some players have gotten out – there were many who hit the city even Tuesday night, and I’ve just wrapped up a central London tour with rookies Haason Reddick and Rudy Ford, photos and video to come – but it’s been work.

(An interesting sidebar: Before leaving Jacksonville, Rams running back Todd Gurley told ESPN “they need to stop this, all this stuff. This London, this Mexico City stuff, it needs to stop.” He did say the the games are cool and he praised the fans, but it simply messed with the people’s schedule too much.)

Certainly an experience. But as kicker Phil Dawson said Friday, if the Cards play well Sunday, spending a week here makes sense. If the Cards play poorly, everyone will say they were there too long. It is all about results, just like every week.

— The trip to London probably muted what would have been a second straight week of Adrian Peterson buzz, but it’s still floating around. Peterson was blunt when he was asked if he thought those weeks with the Saints might’ve just been the end of his career.

“Oh, no,” Peterson said. “I definitely wasn’t going to let the devil do that to me. No, not at all. I knew things were going to change. I didn’t know when, but I knew. I refused to let that come into my mind. Like, ‘This is not the way it’s going to end. God has way more for me. My latter is going to be better than my beginning.’ That’s what’s in my mind, and this is just the start of it.”

There have been many players over the years who don’t think their career is over but they are the only ones who cannot see it. Turns out Peterson was right. The Cards will benefit from that.

— Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said last week’s offensive performance was what the Cards were looking for all year (and likely what they had envisioned if David Johnson had stayed healthy.)

“We just hadn’t got it,” Goodwin said. “The plays didn’t change, it’s just the attitude changed when Adrian got here. … Even when he got tackled he’s slapping guys in the back of the helmet. He’s setting the tone and that’s spreading throughout the offense.”

— Dawson has played in London before, and he played many seasons in the wind-whipped conditions of Cleveland. “The grass here reminds me a lot of Cleveland, Ohio,” Dawson said. “The wind, the misty rain, the longer grass. Hopefully those years will prove me well, but one thing I’ve learned after all these years is just because you’ve played in conditions one time doesn’t mean you’ll be prepared for the next.”

The weather forecast for Sunday night is the upper 60s and only a small chance of rain.

— Bruce Arians reiterated cornerback Tramon Williams will have a bigger role in multiple packages. He did not say he was starting (although to be fair, he didn’t say he wasn’t either). Whatever happens, we will see how he does and how Justin Bethel reacts.

— I’ve been lucky enough to meet some European Cardinals fans the last few days, and I expect that I’ll meet a few more. Always good to know the team has a following around the world. Those here – and the U.S. fans who have flown in for the game – will see an important matchup Sunday. Being here, it is easy to lose sight of the magnitude of Sunday’s result.

Until then, cheerio.

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18 Responses to “In London, Friday before the Rams”

  1. By CARDS62 on Oct 20, 2017 | Reply

    Win or lose I think it is a good idea to get to London early and let the players adapt to the new time zone. It is up to the players to prepare and play well.

    Just hope we use our TEs again and run AP 20+ times and a few catches out of the backfield.

    I think it is up to our offense to win this game for us, and if they do I think our offense can get on a role for us as long as play calling is solid.

    I do not trust our defense or of course our special teams so just have to hope they at least show up and hopefully hold their own. Our third down defense is embarrassing.

    Go Cards beat Rams

  2. By Scott H on Oct 20, 2017 | Reply

    Yeah….who coulda’ guessed that Justin Bethel wasn’t really going to work out very well as a starring CB? As for seeing how he reacts…..well, if another player gets more playing time over there because they are earning it, then I guess it doesn’t matter how he reacts. That is how it goes, or how it should go, in the NFL.

  3. By Coach K on Oct 20, 2017 | Reply


    I hope Nkimdichi is able to play and provide some push up the middle.

    I’m afraid he might be one of those players that is always hurt but will not
    play hurt even if he’s at 90%

    Sure could use his explosion up the 2 gap.

  4. By CARDS62 on Oct 20, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H
    Confidence of course is important and I hope Bethel still has confidence in his abilities as a cornerback, but I have to believe he is also feeling down about himself like we are, and he must be thinking how do the other defensive players feel about having me out there on defense.
    Now Bethel was a total stud on special teams coverage so I hope we start Williams at CB, thats the cornerback Williams and not the running back Williams, and bring in Bethel to cover the 3rd or 4th WR.
    Start Bethel on special teams and have him cover 4th WR and hope he can get his mojo back. I think Bethel who was doing a great job for us and he was just over promoted like a lot of us has seen happen in the real world to people.

    We need Bethel to get his mojo back as I do not think we will receive reinforcements this year. Unlike a certain coach I do not think Bethel will ever become like Patrick Peterson, but hopefully he can get his mojo back and cover other teams 3rd or 4th receiver. Bethel is a good guy who has helped our team in the past and I hope he can help us again if used in the correct role and that he can accept his role.

    Go Cards beat Rams!

  5. By JTDG on Oct 20, 2017 | Reply

    This team had no chance to win this game before AP arrived. Now, there is a chance.

    Everyone is high on the oline, and point out that they are now healthy. As I pointed out before the Tampa game, Tampa had no pass rush. None. 4 sacks on the year coming in and they got 2 sacks on only 24 drop backs.

    This is a scary stat, because the Rams can bring it. 2nd in the NFL in sacks, they don’t just have one guy like the cards do. Their sacks are spread out. Therefore, everyone has to protect. With the cards leading in hits on QB and sacks given up, this seems like a bad combination.

    But again, on the bright side, the Rams let Fornette run over them last week. They are 29th in the run. The Skins had a great day running the ball, the cowboys and niners had pretty good days also.

    AP gives the cards that edge, to run the ball on the rams. Will BA stick with it?

    But here is an interesting stat. Although the rams are giving up 139 yards per game on the ground, allowing the Skins, Niners, Jags, Cowboys all to run on them, they won all those games. Seattle was shut down running but won. Strange.

    On Offense, who would have thought the Rams would be the number one team for points scored. Not Tom Brady and the Pats, Rodgers and the Pack or Drew Brees and the Saints, it is Jared Goff and the Rams. Who would have guessed that?

    They are very balanced on offense. Gurley is having a great start of the year. Even if the cards can slow him in the run, he has been outstanding catching the ball out of the backfield.

    The passing game uses Watkins, Woods, Kupp, Austin, and Cooper along with two good TEs in Higbee and Everett.
    You would have to believe Watkins will be taken away by Pat P. , but Woods can beat you and Kupp is a very good rookie. While the rams like to use Austin in jet sweeps and option plays and screens. They throw so much at you, it is very difficult to slow them down.

    Can the cards run the ball and score often this week? They will need to to win.

  6. By Fmr USAF Pilot on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    Unfortunately, I think that the Cards don’t have a defense that can control the Rams and the O-Line won’t be able to give Palmer enough time. Hence, even though the Cards might be able to run the ball, they will probably lose the game.

  7. By steve on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    Darren: On your last chat, a fan mentioned reading a story on Deshaun Watson telling how the Cards told him they would draft him if he was available at #13. Did you have an inkling that Watson was their guy all along and kept it private so as to not ‘let the cat out of the bag”?

  8. By Darren Urban on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Watson

    I don’t know if they would’ve or not. I don’t necessarily think if they say they’d draft a guy they still will; the NFL has a long list of players who were told something and it didn’t happen.

  9. By steve on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    Darren: Also I was interested to know what you like the most about London and on the flip side, what you like the least if you can share that with us! I have been to London once and loved it albeit the cold weather.

  10. By Darren Urban on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: London

    I haven’t been here very long. I’ve enjoyed the weather, even with the intermittent rain, because I am quite tired of 100 degrees. The history is great. I don’t love being so far outside the city on this trip, and it’s been a grind. I know, as Fitz would say, first-world problems.

  11. By Richard S on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    He was the only St. Louis pro athlete to protest during the national anthem.

    He was white.

    He was alone out there, back in 1968.

    He was Dave Meggyesy, a linebacker for the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals.

    From 10/21/17

    Interesting perspective.

  12. By TucsonTim on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    Ran into several Cardinals today away from the official venues. What a thrill for me and my son. Every one of them friendly and appreciative of the fan support from the USA.

    Having lived in Europe and traveled back and forth several times, it was the right thing to do to fly here early. Jet lag is real. Frankly, if the NFL really studied it (there is plenty of military and aviation data out there), I think they would give the teams the bye week before London. Going East to West is a lot easier.

    It was encouraging to hear Gunter say that tomorrow is a very important win for the Cardinals. Very cool to hear him say this can totally turn around the season. Of course he was preaching to the choir.

    Good luck Cards

  13. By aschatte on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    We have to treat this game like a wild card playoff…we lose this and it would sum up the Cardinals – poor and garbage! Every player should play as if the season is on the line, unless that mentality grows – We may as throw in the towel. Rams look a formidable team this season thanks to the coaching and management changes which have been very poor from the Cards. Offense has to win the game as defense needs to play much much better than the garbage we saw in the 4th quarter against the Bucs…Feeling says Rams might win this one unless the defense steps up. Good Luck Cards!

  14. By Darren Urban on Oct 21, 2017 | Reply

    aschatte —

    RE: Game

    Wait — the Rams are a formidable team, yet if the Cards lose they are garbage?

  15. By Dan Nicholson on Oct 22, 2017 | Reply

    Time for some fun today. Ready for Big Red to bring it and hush the negativity garbage comments . Go get the win boys however, whatever it takes. GO BIG RED

  16. By Scott H on Oct 22, 2017 | Reply

    I have to wonder if the Rams not arriving in London until Friday ( yes ? ) will impact them adversely. Wouldn’t mind if it did! I would think that could be a time-zone adjustment issue, not being there until Friday.

    I’m glad the Cards went much earlier. I mean, if nothing else, wouldn’t you want to spend some time there?? No, they’re not on a fun trip to London, but….certainly, being there all week, there would be chances for SOME enjoyment, yes?

    They should be adequately adjusted. Let’s just hope they are now adequately prepared ( = being prepared to ANY further degree than they were in Philly two weeks ago ).

    We know west coast teams don’t fare well in early games in the eastern time-zone in this country…..let’s see how they fare in Europe! I’m already pre-disposed to NOT accepting the whole London-trip thing as an excuse for not playing well specifically BECAUSE of how they played in Philly two weeks ago.

  17. By Scott H on Oct 22, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    If Goff = Wentz and the Rams offense = Eagles offense, this could be trouble. Because we saw the one-sided track meet that turned into.

    Will be interesting to see if our defense is any better prepared, any more able to be more effective.

    And, yeah, the offense will actually have to show up, too! But I’m less concerned about that side of the ball right now.

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