Fitz officially active today

Posted by Darren Urban on December 20, 2009 – 9:30 am

As expected all week, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is active for today’s game in Detroit. There were no surprises on the list, not with the knowledge kicker Neil Rackers (groin) and tackle Mike Gandy (pelvis) were already out. The others inactive:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • LB Will Davis (knee)
  • T Herman Johnson
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • WR Jerheme Urban

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Gandy to start as inactives announced

Posted by Darren Urban on December 14, 2009 – 5:00 pm

The Cardinals have announced their inactives for tonight and there are no surprises. Left tackle Mike Gandy, as coach Ken Whisenhunt promised, will be available and he is expected to start. The full list of inactives:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • CB Greg Toler
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • LB Will Davis (knee)
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • OL Brandon Keith
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • WR Jerheme Urban

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Warner active for game, Gandy out

Posted by Darren Urban on December 6, 2009 – 5:04 pm

The Cardinals just announced their inactives and Kurt Warner is active, so he will start tonight against Minnesota — as expected. T Mike Gandy (pelvis) is out, so Jeremy Bridges will start on the left side.The other inactives tonight for Arizona:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • CB Greg Toler
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • LB Will Davis (knee)
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • TE Stephen Spach (knee)
  • WR Jerheme Urban

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Urban among inactives

Posted by Darren Urban on November 22, 2009 – 12:33 pm

For those wondering if Early Doucet has surpassed Jerheme Urban on the depth chart, Urban is inactive today for the Rams’ game after not playing a snap last week. TE Stephen Spach is the choice to sit at that position (along with Dominique Byrd) as Anthony Becht stays in the lineup and Ben Patrick returns from injury.

The other inactives:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • S Rashad Johnson
  • LB Chike Okeafor (back)
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • OL Brandon Keith

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After Whiz Monday

Posted by Darren Urban on November 16, 2009 – 11:43 am

Coach Ken Whisenhunt just talked for his day-after recap of the Seahawks game, with a few interesting tidbits:

— There is no real injury report. Whisenhunt said he doesn’t want to jump the gun on saying everybody should be OK — the Cards didn’t announce any injuries during the game — but I won’t be surprised if there is a guy or two banged up come Wednesday. He did say he hoped to have linebacker Gerald Hayes (back) back at practice. That would be a big deal, because the Cards missed him.

— It didn’t look good for safety Adrian Wilson when Seahawks tight end John Carlson was wide open on his 31-yard touchdown catch, but Whisenhunt absolved Wilson. The Cards were in a three-deep defense and Wilson was supposed to cover the receiver in the flat (which is where Wilson was headed). Cornerback Bryant McFadden was supposed to take the receiver down the field, except McFadden also headed to the flat.

— Whisenhunt brushed off the idea Beanie Wells will be named a starter anytime soon. Wells is playing well, but so is Tim Hightower. There’s no reason to mess with what is working.

— He is happy with what he has seen from rookie linebacker Will Davis, especially since Davis is going through the transition from college defensive end.

— Whisenhunt doesn’t like seeing Early Doucet drop a third-down pass, but he said he remains high on Doucet’s overall play. He didn’t want anyone reading too much into the fact Jerheme Urban was active but did not see the field. I wasn’t shocked Urban didn’t play wideout, but to have him active and not play special teams did surprise me. Whisenhunt said that was a numbers game — with Rashad Johnson and Greg Toler both active, it made more sense to have defensive players playing special teams rather than Urban.


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Whiz praises Urban

Posted by Darren Urban on November 5, 2009 – 3:25 pm

In what I am sure will come as a disappointment to some fans out there judging by the comments I have seen in various places, coach Ken Whisenhunt defended wide receiver Jerheme Urban today when asked if Urban had followed up what everyone considered a very good training camp with the same level of play during the season.

“It is hard when you’re not getting a tremendous amount of reps or when you have the other receivers we have on this team,” Whisenhunt said. “It is easy to look at Jerheme after that weird play when it bounced up in the air and there was the interception. But he has done some good things for us. He brings us speed as far as stretching the field. I am pleased with the way Jerheme has worked for us.”

Urban did have the play in which the ball was blasted from his hands for an interception and Whisenhunt has acknowledged he hopes Urban can hang on to that ball. But it wasn’t a cut-and-dried play; ESPN’s Trent Dilfer broke down the Cards’ offensive issues and even that play in particular on Mike Sando’s blog:

Take that pass to Urban that was intercepted. It’s a 7-8 combination with the 8 route (post) on the outside with a 7 (post-corner) on the inside. When you freeze that play right when Kurt threw the ball, the outside corner has carried the 8 route. Urban comes out of the 7 and to Jerheme’s eye and Kurt’s eye, the corner has run out of the play. When the ball is 2 or 3 yards downfield, the corner recognizes it late and makes an incredible play. Arizona does everything you ask them to do. Perfect combination, perfect route, perfectly thrown ball and the corner makes the play and the ball comes up and you know what? There was another guy there to catch it. You tell Jerheme to catch the ball, to brace for the hit. You tell Kurt to maybe put less air on it so the corner doesn’t get there. But when you throw the ball that much, those things are going to happen — tipped balls, deflected balls, defensive ends jumping out of cut blocks.”

In the end, the coaches feel like Urban gives something to the team that’s needed, in the locker room, on special teams (like his hit pictured below) and yes, as a receiver.

UrbanBlog


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Friday before the Panthers

Posted by Darren Urban on October 30, 2009 – 5:06 pm

Funny how the week seems to fly by when the team is playing well and the storylines are basically positive. And there’s no plane to climb aboard this week. OK, maybe it’s not funny. Just pleasant.

But enough chit-chat. I have a ton of stuff I haven’t been able to notebook/blog until now. So let’s get to it:

— The last time the Panthers came to Arizona, it was quite the result, if you don’t remember. It was 2007, and WarnerHurtCarolinaBlogMatt Leinart had just broken his collarbone the week before. The Cards wanted to sign Vinny Testaverde to back up Kurt Warner, but the Panthers, looking for a replacement for the injured Jake Delhomme, convinced Testaverde to go there instead – and he started despite being in Carolina all of three practices. The Cards signed Tim Rattay, and when Warner badly hurt his left elbow (pictured) on a Julius Peppers’ sack early in the game, Rattay – who also only had three practices – was forced to play. Eventually, Carolina pulled away late in a 25-10 win, a game the Cards always regretted after finishing 8-8.

— To think, Warner began his current 37-game starting streak that day and kept it up the very next week even though his elbow was scrambled and he had to play with a brace. That told me and a lot of people about Warner’s toughness (And no, before you all send e-mails or comments that I’m jinxing Warner, no I’m not. That’s simply a silly thought).

— Speaking of Warner, keeping him clean is the key, right? If he’s sacked two times or less, the Cards are 4-0 this season. More than twice, 0-2. For his career, those numbers are similar: 46-22 when sacked twice or less, 15-24 when sacked at least three times. His passing stats are also much better in the former than the latter. Yes, I know it’s kind of a “duh” stat. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pointed out.

— Whisenhunt has been leaning toward taking the ball if the Cards win the toss this season rather than deferring. “How many times have we scored on the opening drive?” Whisenhunt said. “We would have had (Sunday) night too.” I agree. If Tim Hightower hadn’t fumbled in New York, I have no doubt the Cards would have gotten at least three points there.

— The last time the Cardinals (4-2 going into the Panthers’ game) started 5-2 in a season was 1976, when they were actually 5-1. They eventually ran their record to 8-2 before finishing the 14-game season with a 10-4 mark.

— One man who doesn’t get mentioned much is backup safety/special teamer Matt Ware, who was in a serious fight in training camp with two others – Aaron Francisco and Keith Lewis – for one roster spot. Whisenhunt specifically talked about him today, noting it was Ware who caused the fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw in the Giants’ game. “The arrow is going up with him,” Whisenhunt said.

— No, the Cardinals aren’t going to wear white-on-white this weekend, because they didn’t request it in the offseason (the last home game was planned because of the pink for breast cancer awareness). Had Whisenhunt been given a choice, knowing the Cards are 4-0 this season wearing white jerseys and knowing how superstitious he is, would he have? Heck yeah. “You know I’m aware of it, that’s for sure,” Whisenhunt said.

— A couple fans have asked me about dropped passes and the Cards. The bottom line, there haven’t been many, not officially. The Cardinals have been charged with only 10 dropped passes out of 175 catchable balls, and their 5.7 percentage is sixth-best in the NFL (The Bears, at 3.5 percent, are first; the Browns, at 17.3 percent drops, are last). Fullback Dan Kreider has two of the drops; running back Tim Hightower three. Fitz has been charged with one drop in 63 passes targeted his way. Anquan Boldin has two in 51 targets, Steve Breaston none in 32 and Jerheme Urban none in 23.

— I do say, in light of the fines announced today by the NFL, I did enjoy Darnell Dockett’s response to the Ahmad Bradshaw fine for hitting Dockett.

— The Cards could make an impact with a sudden score, given that the Panthers have had trouble in that area. Carolina, in six games, has given up five such touchdowns – one kickoff return, one punt return, one fumble return and two interception returns.

— I think Fitz could be due for a big game. Sure, the Panthers lead the league in pass defense, but they are dead last in the NFL in pass attempts against. That tends to help your yardage average. Teams run the ball against Carolina (Beanie?) and don’t need to pass as much. The Cards, with Hightower and Edgerrin James, had 145 yards rushing in the playoff game in Carolina. And something tells me that’s going to free Fitz deep.

— Speaking of Fitz, if you haven’t caught it already, Fox Sports Arizona is airing one more time his story on an episode of VIZIO’s Pro Football PROfiles tonight at 11 p.m.

— Finally, it’ll be interesting to see what the Panthers do to free up Steve Smith, who’s been a non-factor. The Pro Bowl receiver used to always torch the Cards, all the way up until the playoff game. “He’s got that big-guy mentality,” Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “He doesn’t fear anything.”

That’s probably true. But the Cards’ defense is playing so well right now. They handled Smith in the playoffs. Their run defense is prepared for DeAngelo Williams. Here’s hoping for another quick week around the Tempe office come Monday morning.

DRCSteveSmithBlog


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A painful case of mistaken identity

Posted by Darren Urban on October 21, 2009 – 10:32 am

Kids say the darndest things, right?

So the group of Cardinals were out doing the Hometown Huddle thing Tuesday when the players stood up in front of a handful of kids to explain what was going on for the day. Wide receiver Jerheme Urban was the emcee, and at one point he started talking about captains. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is one, so Urban pointed to big No. 58 and asked the kids, “Does anyone know who this is?” The response, which brought laughs from everyone and drove Dansby to double over like he had been socked in the gut: “Reggie Wells.”

Later, Dansby could just shake his head. “He must have meant Beanie Wells. Not Reggie,” Dansby insisted. “They couldn’t be thinking Reggie. I’m not that overweight. I know (strength and conditioning coach John) Lott’s been on me for my weight, but come on, man.”

DansbyWellsBlog


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No Okeafor for game

Posted by Darren Urban on September 20, 2009 – 8:36 am

The inactive list is out and linebacker Chike Okeafor (shoulder) is out for the game today, meaning Bertrand Berry will take his place in the lineup. Also, somewhat surprisingly, wide receiver Early Doucet is inactive, which tells me the Cards are confident that Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston will be able to make it through the game. The Cards also have Larry Fitzgerald, Jerheme Urban and Sean Morey at receiver too.

Also inactive today are: QB Brian St. Pierre, S Matt Ware, T Herman Johnson, G Brandon Keith, TE Dominique Byrd and DE Kenny Iwebema.


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One possible 53

Posted by Darren Urban on September 2, 2009 – 6:44 pm

In a couple of days, the Cards and coach Ken Whisenhunt will make their final decisions on an opening day roster (or close to it), trimming another 22 players from the current squad to 53. So that means I make my annual guesstimate on who is in, who is out, and who is truly on the bubble. This is never a foolproof thing; if there is a guy or two who pops available on the waiver wire the Cards want it changes the dynamics of what can happen, and that initial 22 can grow by a name or two to bring in newbies. That certainly happened on the practice squad last year, when the Cards went shopping for new names who weren’t around during training camp.

Again, this is my opinion, based on what I have seen and heard but still my opinion. And it doesn’t factor in what happens in Denver and if a guy wows a coach or two. Or if a guy gets hurt. It’s also just about the 53; for instance, undrafted rookie LB Reggie Walker doesn’t look like he will make the 53-man roster but he’s a guy who should end up on the practice squad. (Speaking of which, * will designate some PS candidates):

QUARTERBACKS
IN
Kurt Warner
Matt Leinart
Brian St. Pierre
OUT
Tyler Palko

WIDE RECEIVERS
IN

Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin
Steve Breaston
Jerheme Urban
Sean Morey
BUBBLE
Early Doucet
Lance Long*
OUT
Onrea Jones*
Ed Gant
Steve Sanders

RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS
IN

Tim Hightower
Beanie Wells
Jason Wright
Dan Kreider
BUBBLE
LaRod Stephens-Howling*
Tim Castille
OUT
Reagan Maui’a
Chris Vincent

TIGHT ENDS
IN

Stephen Spach
Ben Patrick (doesn’t count against the 53 during 4-game suspension)
BUBBLE
Anthony Becht
Leonard Pope
Dominique Byrd

OFFENSIVE LINE
IN

Lyle Sendlein
Reggie Wells
Mike Gandy
Levi Brown
Deuce Lutui
Brandon Keith
Herman Johnson
Melvin Fowler
BUBBLE
Oliver Ross
OUT
Elton Brown
Ben Claxton
Carlton Medder
Trevor Canfield*

DEFENSIVE LINE
IN
Darnell Dockett
Bryan Robinson
Calais Campbell
Kenny Iwebema
Gabe Watson
BUBBLE
Alan Branch
Keilen Dykes*
Rodney Leisle
OUT
Alex Field

LINEBACKERS
IN
Chike Okeafor
Bertrand Berry
Clark Haggans
Karlos Dansby
Gerald Hayes
Will Davis
Victor Hobson
BUBBLE
Ali Highsmith
OUT
Reggie Walker*
David Holloway*
Chase Bullock

CORNERBACKS/SAFETIES
IN
Adrian Wilson
Antrel Rolle
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Bryant McFadden
Greg Toler
Rashad Johnson
Aaron Francisco
Ralph Brown
BUBBLE
Matt Ware
Michael Adams
OUT
Jameel Dowling
Wilrey Fontenot*

SPECIALISTS
IN
Mike Leach
Neil Rackers
Ben Graham


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