Black shirts return Sunday

Posted by Darren Urban on November 2, 2011 – 10:04 am

It’s not a huge surprise, since NFL rules dictate that this is the last opportunity the Cardinals have to wear their alternate third jersey, but the Cardinals will wear their black uniforms for a second and final time Sunday against the Rams. New NFL guidelines say those uniforms can’t be worn after flex scheduling begins, and that starts next week. Since the Cards had only four home games with which to choose the alternate jersey — and one was against the normally-black-clad Steelers, and the other was the season opener, which seems to ask for traditional colors — that left the Giants and the Rams games.


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Black is back Sunday

Posted by Darren Urban on September 26, 2011 – 2:54 pm

For everyone who has been asking — and it seems like I have been asked quite a bit — the Cardinals will be wearing their black jerseys again Sunday against the Giants. The Cards are trying to get into the win column with the third alternate jersey, having fallen while wearing them last year against the Bucs and 49ers.

A quick refresher: Black came on board in part because players for the longest time had wanted to wear the color. The rules for the third alternate jerseys were altered this season. No longer can they be worn in preseason, and they have to be worn (a max of twice) before the flexible scheduling begins in mid-November, so the timeframe to pick them obviously is a lot shorter.

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Back in black

Posted by Darren Urban on October 28, 2010 – 4:55 pm

In case you are living under a rock – or at least, not reading the stuff on this site, in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this either – the Cardinals will be breaking out the black alternate jerseys Sunday for the Halloween game against the Buccaneers.

So, you know, wear black if you are coming (and don’t already have one of the black jerseys.

“Aw, man, it’s going to be blackout crazy,” wide receiver Steve Breaston said. “I can see the fans now, get a little Oakland Raider-type masks in the crowd. I can see it rockin’ — if everything goes as planned.”

“It’s good to see the black jerseys. It’s a cool time to have it, on Halloween.”

The Cards first wore the jerseys for the preseason finale against the Redskins. They can wear them twice in the regular season. The other game has not yet been announced, although it seems like the Monday night home game against the 49ers would be strong possibility.

“You wish you could wear them more than three times,” Breaston said. “I like to switch it up. Like I’ve said, any time you can go to something new, you’re excited about it, right?”

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Where there’s a Will …

Posted by Darren Urban on October 28, 2010 – 2:20 pm

Will Davis was a defensive end in college at Illinois. He’s been a linebacker since the Cards took him in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. His days as a D-end are long over. Kind of.

“I am out of that world,” Davis said, laughing. Then he reconsidered. “It’s kind of a rush end, it’s an end with sugar on top. That’s how I consider it.”

Davis will start if veteran Clark Haggans can’t go. And Haggans, who hurt his groin, doesn’t seem likely, although coach Ken Whisenhunt said Haggans has played in the defense long enough he could go without practicing all week. Not that Whiz has a problem turning to Davis.

“Will played 24 snaps in last week’s game and he played well,” Whisenhunt said. “That gives you confidence. Last year, when he got banged up (with a knee injury) at the end of the year, he was playing well then. So I have seen it twice. I think the light has come on for him.”

Davis said that when he got to the league, “I had never really heard about routes and things like that,. Now, the way game has slowed down for him is “crazy. Like night and day. Coach (Matt) Raich said he sees me evolving.”

“I feel like I am better equipped to start because of Raich getting with me to watch film,” Davis added. “I always practice like I am going to start. I am always trying to push Joey (Porter) and Clark.”

— Whisenhunt said WR Steve Breaston looks good and should play this week. LB Gerald Hayes also has a couple packages put in for him and “he’s pretty close to being ready to go.” Even with the injury to Haggans, Whisenhunt sounded less certain about activating LB O’Brien Schofield, because he is a rookie and hasn’t played yet. If either Hayes or Schofield are activated, however, that also means the Cards must make a corresponding cut on the roster.

— DE Alan Branch was added to the injury report with a sore back, and he was limited Thursday. He still should be available, I’d think. The rest of the Cards’ injury report stayed the same. Haggans was out and four guys besides Branch were limited: Breaston (knee), WR Early Doucet (groin), CB Greg Toler (back) and Porter (groin). I’d think all will be able to go.

— The Buccaneers’ injury report is long. C Jeff Faine (quad) is already out. Fellow offensive linemen Jeremy Trueblood (knee) and Keydrick Vincent (back) sat out again, although CB Aqib Talib (calf) went from sitting out Wednesday to practicing fully Thursday. DE Kyle Moore (shoulder), LB Geno Hayes (knee), WR Preston Parker (knee) and DT Brian Price (pelvis) also sat out.

— The game Sunday is officially a sellout, so the game will be televised on local TV. And don’t forget the Cards will be wearing for the first time in the regular season their alternate black jerseys.

— The Big Red Rage will be tape delayed on Sports 620 KTAR tonight because of the Suns broadcast, but it will be live at Marjerle’s at Chandler mall beginning at 6 p.m. as usual. Adrian Wilson’s guest will be Branch.

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Seahawks aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on October 24, 2010 – 10:47 pm

Another airplane Aftermath, writing this one through the turbulence of the bumpiest charter flight I can remember (and it’s not all that fun, especially that drop we just endured). Heck, given the turbulence of today’s game, it makes sense that’s how we end up the night.

What have we learned after this trip to Seattle? Well, the defense of the last two games is what I expected. Not a second coming of the Steel Curtain, but pretty solid. I’m still not sure why the meltdowns in Atlanta and San Diego occurred, although it doesn’t matter much. Maybe it was just the idea they needed to figure out how to play with each other. Bottom line, they have to keep playing this way.

That’s because of the second major point to come out of Sunday, which is that Max Hall has quite a ways to go. The wet ball did affect him – that first interception, despite it being an admitted “bad decision,” slipped out of Hall’s hand – but that didn’t explain everything.

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt is sticking with Hall as starter, which makes sense. If you want him to learn, pulling the rug out from under him now probably makes it a major setback. Besides, Derek Anderson looks like he can flourish in the no-pressure backup role if needed.

But if this plane ride is bumpy, it’s probably nothing compared to the ride the Cards will go on with Hall as he learns.

— Alan Branch wasn’t patting himself on the back, but he looked excellent Sunday. He is playing like a guy you would trade up in the second round to choose, even if the Cards did so back in 2007 and are just now seeing major results. Branch is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason, however (as soon as a new CBA is in place), so here’s hoping this maturity and not just “Hey, I need to make sure I get a solid new contract.”

— Not sure what’s next for Tim Hightower. He disappeared, not surprisingly, after his latest fumble. He was running so well too. With one fewer carry that Beanie Wells this season (53-52), Hightower has rushed for 115 more yards (298-183). You can’t turn the ball over, though.

— Special teams captain Jason Wright is one of the smartest guys on the team. The entire NFL, I would guess. But he made a mental error Sunday. “I was supposed to let that go back to LaRod (Stephens-Howling),” Wright said of the squibbed kickoff that he tried to field at his shoetops and instead kicked it forward for yet another crucial turnover.

— The Cardinals have fumbled the ball 19 times already this season, losing 11.

— Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was picked on Sunday as Mike Williams ended up with 11 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown (although it may be time to acknowledge the Seahawks got a steal when the 6-foot-5 former 10th overall pick Williams decided to get serious, because his size makes it a bit… uh, makes it very difficult to cover him on short routes). “If they continue to throw at (DRC) I believe he will make plays for us,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s life as a cornerback.”

— DRC has to be smarter too, twice jumping offsides on field-goal tries. One negated a block (although he probably doesn’t block it without jumping) and the other gave Seattle a first down. Whisenhunt didn’t sound overly concerned, saying pressure from the field-goal block team is one of the reasons he thinks opponents have missed some this season.

(Just not Olindo Mare, who, including kicks called back because of penalty Sunday, made seven field goals in seven tries).

— Anderson said he didn’t really have internal bleeding earlier this season, contrary to a newspaper report late last week. He said a comment was “misconstrued.”

— In case you didn’t already know, the Cards will be wearing their black uniforms against Tampa Bay in a week (and seats are still available, FYI). And yes, the black uniforms-for-Tampa is official.

That’s about all for tonight. The plane has settled down as we come in for Phoenix, the depressing day in the rain up in Seattle (and game, perfectly pictured below by cornerback Greg Toler) just about over. So we leave you with some Jason Wright optimism.

“Maybe it is a blind faith thing, but I really have confidence in guys we have,” Wright said. “I really feel things will click soon.”

Let’s hope so. Nobody wants to feel queasy. It’s already been bumpy enough.

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