When you’re talking about long-term quarterbacks, Jim Hart is a good example. Hart was basically the Cardinals’ starting quarterback from 1967 to 1981, work that is getting him inducted into the franchise’s Ring of Honor at halftime Sunday when the Cards play the Rams.
On either side of that halftime ceremony will be another guy who is trying to get himself in the discussion about being a long-term quarterback. Blaine Gabbert is back for round three – and from the sound of it, all the rest of the rounds this season. That doesn’t mean he’ll be the QB of the future, or what it might mean in terms of the thought process for Carson Palmer, but it’s a solid test drive.
It’s funny, since the Jaguars have arguably the best defense in the league, but it feels like the Rams present Gabbert’s biggest challenge. Given the questions about the running backs and Adrian Peterson’s health, maybe that’s why. The first time the Cards played the Rams in London, the run game was DOA, and that in no small part played into the 33-0 loss. A big reason why the Cardinals did just fine against that good Jacksonville defense was Peterson and the run game.
Perhaps Peterson can play with whatever problems his neck is giving him. Or Kerwynn Williams can deliver a herculean effort. As solidly as Gabbert has played, you don’t want everything offensively on his shoulders.
— If Peterson does play, he needs just 37 yards to surpass all-time great Jim Brown in career rushing yards. (Of course, Peterson, healthy, had just 21 yards rushing on 11 carries in the first Rams meeting.)
— I keep getting questions, but no, I do not think David Johnson is returning this season. He’s not even practicing yet, and he’s not talking like a guy who is expecting to play this season either.
— How far have the Rams come offensively? They scored on 21.8 percent of their possessions last season, according to profootballreference.com. This year, they are at 48.4 percent, second only to the Patriots.
— There will be a lot of work to do this offseason in terms of roster overhaul/building. Perhaps more than most years, depending on certain situations. But I think the Corey Peters extension was important. Of all their free-agents-to-be, there are only going to be a few I think that the Cards want to try and extend. Peters was one of them.
— Health matters. The Rams have started the same five offensive linemen in every game. The Cardinals, of course, have started six different offensive line combinations in 11 games. “Yeah,” Cardinals offensive coordinator/line coach Harold Goodwin said. “I’m jealous.”
— A focus of the defense Sunday will be Todd Gurley. I know. Duh. But defensive coordinator James Bettcher said the Cardinals focused on the London debacle, when the Rams ran for 197 yards on 40 attempts. The Cards went into that game having not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 19 games, the longest active streak in the NFL. Gurley gained 106 on 22 attempts. Gurley remains the only player to gain 100 yards rushing against the Cards this year.
— Bring your binoculars to see all the players taking part in My Cause, My Cleats Sunday. Or you can check out this photo gallery.
— LB Chandler Jones was fined $18,231 for his roughing the passer penalty last week on Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. Kareem Martin and Frostee Rucker weren’t fined for their roughing the passer penalties. There was also no fine for Jags LB Myles Jack for his horsecollar tackle on Peterson.
— One big reason for the Cardinals’ current 5-6 record is the fact last week’s win against the Jaguars was the first time all season they were a positive in the turnover column for a game. In the seven games they have been even, their record is 4-3.
— It’s been a while since the Cardinals played the Rams at home with the Rams being the favorite. The Cards would like to mess with their playoff push. See you there.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Blaine Gabbert, Chandler Jones, Corey Peters, D.J.Foster, David Johnson, Jim Hart, Kerwynn Williams, offensive line, Rams, Todd Gurley
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This is why — tangibly — you need to keep Carson Palmer healthy.
In his last 16 starts, Palmer is 14-2 with the Cardinals. Sure, that number dates back to 2013, since Palmer missed more than half the season last year with injuries. And admittedly, talking about win-loss record with a starting quarterback is a slippery slope, since so many things go into a win (and it’s used as a crutch for too many poor players, like a certain lefty that’s not in the league but his mass of supporters insist he should be because he’s a “winner.” But I digress.)
What’s more important about the win-loss record on its face is its correlation to how the offense has come along. That 16-game stretch began with Week 8 of the 2013 season — not coincidentally about when the offense began to find itself after a bumpy first half of Bruce Arians’ first season. In those 16 starts, Palmer has completed 361 of 562 passes (64.2%) for 4,466 yards, 30 touchdowns, only 12 interceptions and a 97.6 passer rating.
He’s also the first Cardinal since Jim Hart in 1974 to win seven straight starts.
“It’s hard to find winning quarterbacks,” Arians said. “He’s an elite player. … Drew Stanton is a hell of a player, but he’s not Carson.”
The rapport Palmer has with the receivers has clearly improved. He and Fitz seemed to finally be on the same page offensively last season, messed up only by injuries, and you could see their chemistry against the Saints. The Palmer-Smokey Brown connection has been well-documented. And now the tight end is even in play.
Palmer was the first Cardinal since Kurt Warner in 2008 to throw for 300 yards, three TDs and no interceptions in a game, perhaps more impressive given how quietly such a game came about. Sure, it took the late 55-yard TD swing pass to David Johnson to hit those marks, but that’s just another instance of the comfort in the offense, and executing perfectly a gutsy call given the situation.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Jim Hart
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Football Outsiders has put together a list of the top five quarterbacks all-time for each of the four NFC West teams. Here is their list for the Cardinals:
- 1. Jim Hart
- 2. Kurt Warner
- 3. Neil Lomax
- 4. Charley Johnson
- 5. Jake Plummer
Interesting that Hart would be above Warner, but their reasoning is a longer resume for Hart, and that’s not unfair. Kurt was great in 2008 and 2009. In 2007, he had good stats, but I would tend to agree with FO, it didn’t always seem to totally translate that season, at least not as well as the next two years. And pre-Whiz, Warner’s years under Denny Green were like everything else under Green — all over the map (plus, in 2006, Warner played poorly and was benched most of the season).
Hart was the leader of that mid-70s team that was the only real bar set for the Cardinals in terms of success. His stats were solid given the era. Lomax would have been higher on the list had he not had the hip problem that doomed long-term success before he even reached the NFL. Johnson was the guy in the team record book who kept getting pushed aside by Warner. And Plummer, well, he led the amazing 1998 playoff run but in the end, sputtered before he left.
In all, rankings that seem accurate. Of course, it’s always up for debate. It’d be tough to battle anyone who wanted to swap Warner and Hart.
Tags: Charley Johnson, Jake Plummer, Jim Hart, Kurt Warner, Neil Lomax
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That 39-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Anquan Boldin pushes Warner to fourth (past Charley Johnson) on the list for most passing yards in franchise history. Jim Hart is No. 1, followed by Neil Lomax and Jake Plummer. Warner, in his fifth season as a Card, has 14,936 yards as of right this moment, six minutes left in the second quarter.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Charley Johnson, Jake Plummer, Jim Hart, Kurt Warner, Neil Lomax
Posted in Blog | 3 Comments »