The Cards’ decade of note — and other notes

Posted by Darren Urban on December 9, 2009 – 2:13 pm

Just a few tidbits here on the Cards’ extra day off:

— Sports Illustrated is putting together best-of-the-decade lists, and the Cardinals are all over them. To begin with, the Cardinals were in the decade’s best game (the most recent Super Bowl — I know, ouch), they were part of one of the magazine’s best NFL covers (Pat Tillman), and had one of the decade’s best players (Sean Morey). They also had one of the decade’s top 20 individual performances in Larry Fitzgerald’s 2009 playoff run (although they have ties with not one but two others).

— The Cardinals, given their recent success, have done big TV numbers this season locally. But with the Vikings coming in and the Cards getting another appearance on “Sunday Night Football,” their TV numbers were huge last weekend. In the Valley, the Cards got a 31.9 rating and 46 share, reaching 598,000 homes. Those stats set a local market record for a Cards’ regular-season game. The game was also the most-watched TV show in the nation last week. It averaged 20.9 million viewers, six million more than the No. 2 show, ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”

— The Big Red Rage is set for Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Majerle’s Sports Grill. Bertrand Berry’s guest this week is Karlos Dansby. As usual, if you can’t make it, it will air on Sports 620 KTAR.

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Hayes comes back

Posted by Darren Urban on November 18, 2009 – 2:08 pm

Linebacker Gerald Hayes (back) returned to the practice field today on a limited basis, as the Cards had a laundry list of guys sitting at least part of the time. LB Chike Okeafor (back), CB Bryant McFadden (ankle) and CB Michael Adams (hamstring) all sat out, while G Deuce Lutui did not practice for a non-injury reason. Besides Hayes, a ton of guys were limited: LB Karlos Dansby (shoulder), S Adrian Wilson (groin), T Mike Gandy (pelvis), WR Sean Morey (concussion), DE Kenny Iwebema (knee), TE Ben Patrick (knee) and WR Steve Breaston (knee).

I am guessing this is a “this time of year” day. By the end of the week, my thoughts would be most will be OK enough to play in St. Louis.

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Inactives, the roof, and red UPDATED

Posted by Darren Urban on November 15, 2009 – 12:51 pm

For anyone wondering, the roof will remain closed today, which really isn’t a huge surprise. The crowd noise is that much more intense when it is closed. The Cardinals have also busted out their all red uniforms for today.

As for the inactives, injuries have taken a bite out of the lineup. LBs Chike Okeafor and Geraldn Hayes (both with back problems) will sit, as will the concussed special teamer Sean Morey. So to will TE Ben Patrick (knee), meaning Stephen Spach will be back in the lineup. Special teams, with Morey out and Ali Highsmith starting on defense for Hayes, will be something to watch.

The other inactives:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • OL Brandon Keith
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • TE Dominique Byrd


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Harris fined, Gandy practices, Warner wins

Posted by Darren Urban on November 13, 2009 – 12:29 pm

So many tibdits after practice today, starting with the fact the NFL has fined Bears DT Tommie Harris $7,500 for his punch of Cards G Deuce Lutui. I thought it might be more, to be honest. Bears QB Jay Cutler got dinged with a $20,000 for abusive conduct toward an official in the Cards’ game.

T Mike Gandy (pelvis) returned to practice on a limited basis today and I am guessing he finds his way into the lineup Sunday, although he is officially questionable. The Cards may be short at linebacker though, since LBs Gerald Hayes and Chike Okeafor — both of whom have back issues — sat for a third straight day and are listed as doubtful. Ali Highsmith would start for Hayes, and we’ll see if it is Will Davis or Bertrand Berry in Okeafor’s place. Special-teamer Sean Morey (concussion) was limited. He has yet to be cleared for contact, but coach Ken Whisenhunt said Morey should be by tomorrow and be a game-day decision. He, Gandy, DE Kenny Iwebema (knee) and tight end Ben Patrick (knee) are questionable.

Finally, it turns out that on the heels of Kurt Warner winning NFC offensive player of the week award, voters also saw fit to give Warner the FedEx Air player of the week award after his five TD passes this past week.

I know people want to know about the blackout, but that announcement is an hour or two off. I still think the sellout happens.

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Concussion advocate Morey has concussion

Posted by Darren Urban on November 12, 2009 – 2:08 pm

The topic of concussions in athletes, especially football players, is dear to Sean Morey’s heart. He has thrown himself completely into the cause, trying to raise awareness and help athletes with potential brain injuries.

So it’s a tough situation when Morey suffers a concussion. And admittedly sticky when he actually plays with one, which he did after getting a concussion against the Panthers and then playing against the Bears.

“This is the nature of our game and the profession we have chosen,” Morey said.

Morey came down with the flu right after the Carolina game, and he thinks either his symptoms were masked a bit or “maybe it was just wishful thinking.” But he downplayed what he was feeling and didn’t communicate with the Cards’ training staff, which is one of the biggest things he advocates for players. He played in Chicago.

“No player wants to take a day off,” Morey said. “They want to play because there is a deep loyalty to their teammates and their coaches and their team and the owners that pay their salaries.”

He said he was retested Thursday and he will be able to practice Friday and hopefully be cleared to play. As for his situation as a spokesman, Morey said he understood why someone would wonder how he could play with a concussion given what he has advocated.

“All I can do is as a professional athlete is communicate with my trainers and be honest with my medical staff and let them do their job,” Morey said. “That’s the only message players need to hear. Whether it’s college or high school, you can’t lie about symptoms.

“It’s a double-edged sword and that’s what makes this issue so complicated. Owners pay (pro) players expecting performance, coaches develop relationships with players and your teammates, for all intents and purposes, are like your family and that’s who you want to play for. There is a lot of incentive to play through injuries.”

Morey said he didn’t think it was a mistake to play in Chicago. He said he thought he could play in such a way to minimize getting hit the wrong way, admitting that may have been “wishful thinking or maybe foolish pride on my part.”

“I don’t want to over-dramatize this,” Morey said. “But it’s the way players think.”


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Q sits and a bulging injury report

Posted by Darren Urban on November 4, 2009 – 2:00 pm

WR Anquan Boldin didn’t practice today and coach Ken Whisenhunt said he’ll be day-to-day, but Boldin wasn’t the only one on a lengthy injury report. LB Gerald Hayes (back) and DE Darnell Dockett (ankle) also sat, although Dockett insisted he will play Sunday. In the limited category were S Antrel Rolle (foot), WR Steve Breaston (knee), K Neil Rackers (hamstring), WR Sean Morey (illness) and DE Kenny Iwebema (knee).

In terms of Boldin’s status this weekend, Whisenhunt was clear: “We’ll do what it is the best interest of the team.”

Five players listed all practiced full: T Herman Johnson (back), TE Stephen Spach (ankle), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle), G Reggie Wells (thumb) and RB Jason Wright (thumb).

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Friday before the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on October 16, 2009 – 4:44 pm

Let the road trips begin.

It’s been nice mostly hanging around home since the regular season started, but now comes the flip side – three roadies in four weeks, five in seven, and seven in 10. But it’s a little goofy of me jumping that far ahead. Like coach Ken Whisenhunt said, his team operates better when they are just looking at the one game in front of them, and that’s the Seahawks in Seattle this week. So I’ll take that advice.

— We’ll start with Cardinals fullback Dan Kreider, who has spent a decade in the NFL, compared to his crazy rookie counterpart on the Seahawks, Owen Schmitt. Schmitt made all the highlights this past week for bashing his head with his own helmet before the game and cutting himself pretty good. Seahawks coach Jim Mora told Schmitt no more, admitting to us on a conference call “I didn’t know he really had that in his arsenal still” after seeing Schmitt do it in college.

Kreider saw it too. And he could only chuckle.

“We’re already meatheads enough playing this position,” Kreider said. “Then when you are cracking yourself in the head with your own helmet, I don’t know. That’s certifiable. Flat-out crazy. I don’t even know what to say, except that I hope it doesn’t link all of us (fullbacks) together.”

I’m guessing those who are concerned about concussions in NFL players – guys like Sean Morey – aren’t thrilled with the practice either. Kreider said he’s never really had to go crazy to get ready for a game, much less whack himself with his helmet.

“If anything, I’m one of those guys who needed to calm my nerves down, because I’d be throwing up in the bathroom or something,” Kreider said. “I can get amped up … doing that, I’m not sure what that proves.”

— Anquan Boldin had 13 catches in Seattle last season. If he gets 11 this week, he’ll surpass Larry Centers as the franchise’s all-time leader in catches with 536. I don’t expect the Seahawks to let Q and Fitz (who went 10 for 151 in Seattle last season) erupt again, but that can always leave room for someone else (Breaston? Beanie?)

— At some point, the Cards’ offense wants to be satisfied with a performance. I think they were definitely there against Jacksonville, but right now, that seems so long ago. “I’m not happy yet,” quarterback Kurt Warner said. “Until we start performing like we did in the first half last week (against the Texans) every time out, I’m not going to be happy.”

— is calling for a 40 percent chance of rain Sunday, with a high of 59 degrees. Not terrible.

— Curious to see if tight end Ben Patrick can impact the game in any way. Whisenhunt said his status for Sunday will be a game-time decision, but my gut tells me they use him. To be isolated from a team that’s constantly working for five weeks and then come back to play after a few days of practice is fascinating to watch. But that’s what Patrick has to do.

— Key things to watch for: When the Cards are on offense, can they handle rookie Aaron Curry? Is he everything they said he was? And can the Cards protect Warner well enough? Because if Warner has time, I have little doubt he can have another great game. Defensively, the Cards must exploit the Seahawks’ inexperienced offensive line. They have to, both to possibly force turnovers and to get Matt Hasselbeck off his game.

— Key thing that’s tough to watch: Warner split wide (pictured below), like he did when Beanie Wells took the direct snap last week on one play. Just don’t get hurt, Kurt. Then again, I don’t think Dunta Robinson could have been less interested in what Warner did.


OK, that’s all folks. See you on the other side in Seattle, where it’s definitely supposed to be raining all Saturday.

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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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Morey’s brain and concussions

Posted by Darren Urban on September 14, 2009 – 2:15 pm

Sean Morey, the Cardinals’ Pro Bowl special teamer, is one of three active players — along with Baltimore center Matt Birk and Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu — who have agreed to donate their brains to science, in part to help research toward brain injuries and concussions and in part to raise awareness with the problem while all three are still playing. I’ll have a lot more tomorrow after a bunch of us talked to Morey about it today, but safe to say it is an important issue for Morey, who has been working with the NFL Players Association to try and improve everyone’s knowledge on the subject. Already 40 retired NFL players have agreed to allow their brains to be studied. Morey is a smart guy — an Ivy Leaguer who went to Brown, while Birk attended Harvard and Tatupu USC — who has been working hard on this subject since the offseason began. He acknowledges he probably has had more concussions than he’d care to admit.



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Cardinals name their captains

Posted by Darren Urban on September 10, 2009 – 10:06 am

The Cardinals named their captains today and those chosen come as no surprise. On offense, it’s quarterback Kurt Warner and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Defensively, it’s a trio: safety Adrian Wilson, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and linebacker Karlos Dansby. On special teams, it’s Pro Bowler Sean Morey. What it does is drive home the star power the Cards have these days; the Cards obviously also have Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin, who has served as a captain in the past.


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