A sellout and Giants’ fine fallout UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on October 30, 2009 – 1:24 pm

The Cardinals’ game Sunday is officially sold out, meaning it will air on local TV (Fox) and not be blacked out. There are still a handful of various tickets available, though, so don’t hesitate to look into it if you want to attend.

But some final news from the Giants’ game. Many were wondering if there would be any fines levied from the game. Yes there were. Safety Antrel Rolle was fined $7,500 for his hit on TE Kevin Boss (which was not flagged) for unnecessarily striking a defenseless receiver. Giants defensive back Michael Johnson was fined $5,000 for striking Cards QB Kurt Warner in the head area (which also didn’t get flagged and left Warner very angry at the time). Two fines were handed out for penalties that were called: $5,000 each to Cardinals tackle Levi Brown for his chop block and to Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw for his punch to the head area of defensive end Darnell Dockett.

UPDATE: For those wanting clarification on the Rolle fine, this from the NFL: “His actions violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(k) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which states that it is unnecessary roughness ‘if the initial force of the contact by a defender’s helmet, forearm or shoulder is to the head or neck area of a defenseless receiver who is catching or attempting to catch a pass.’ ”  

The rule was new player safety rule just approved by teams at the NFL meetings last March. It’s not just helmet-to-helmet that’s illegal. It includes any shoulder- or forearm-to-head hits on defenseless receivers as well.

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McFadden’s huddle

Posted by Darren Urban on October 30, 2009 – 9:43 am

At the end of the Giants’ game, cornerback Bryant McFadden — who, along with hurting safety Antrel Rolle, held the secondary together late through a host of injuries — brought together the defense on the sideline and huddled, holding hands on one knee as the offense ran out the clock.

(It was important the defense was off the field too. Rolle, whose sore foot was bad enough that he admitted he would have come out if teammates Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Adrian Wilson weren’t already out, said his thoughts after his game-clinching interception were: “Get this ball and get this game over with and get to the bus, because it was painful. I was hurting.”)

McFadden said his message for his teammates was simple. “I just felt like we, as a unit, needed to give thanks to the Man above,” McFadden said. “The game we play, it’s a blessing to be able to do it. And to be a part of this unit we have … we don’t want to take it for granted. We played outstanding, and nobody believed we would except the guys in this building.”

That said, when the huddle broke, the Cardinals also made sure they delivered a message to the Giants’ fans who had not held back from their verbal slings and arrows through the game. “That’s one of the best situations,” McFadden said. “They were on us the whole game. We just wanted to be patient. ‘Be patient, wait, wait, wait … finally! Now we can say something!’ That was a great feeling right there, to say something and (the fans) just put their heads down and quietly walked away.”


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Could NBC flex the Cards?

Posted by Darren Urban on October 29, 2009 – 5:44 pm

Here’s one benefit of the Cards’ big win on “Sunday Night Football” in New York: It could earn them another NBC appearance.

Right now, NBC doesn’t have the Vikings on their schedule and are missing out on the Brett Favre gravy train (however irritating that may sound to some). The Vikings come to University of Phoenix Stadium Dec. 6 in what could be a perfect opportunity to flex out of the current Patriots-Dolphins game that night (NBC can’t start flexing games until the week of Nov. 22). Now, the Dolphins could get hot and that AFC game could still be attractive. Or the Vikings — or Cards — could hit a bump and not look as good by then. But it is possible. Fox and CBS can “protect” games from being flexed, but those week-by-week choices have already been made and Fox didn’t touch Cardinals-Vikings.

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Going into the weekend

Posted by Darren Urban on September 25, 2009 – 5:09 pm

It’s a Friday, and I wanted to try to get back to the late afternoon, wrap-up of the week blogs that I had been doing last season. Big weekend for the Cards, especially going into the bye. There is such a huge difference between 2-1 and 1-2, knowing that with the latter it means an 0-2 record at a home field the Cards thought they could turn into a 6-2 or 7-1 massive advantage. With the Texans, Panthers, Vikings and Packers still left on the home schedule, that’d be a rough goal with a loss Sunday.

But I feel good about this one for the Cards, and I’d like to believe it’s not because I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. This is the kind of game in which these Cards tend to thrive, on national TV, at home, against a good team (and one that many are picking to win on the road). I’ll guess we’ll see Sunday night.

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt on getting hyped for “Sunday Night Football”: “It all started many years ago with the Monday Night games when there were no other games and everybody was watching and you knew everyone was watching,” Whisenhunt said. “Now, it’s Sunday night and the emphasis put on it, it’s the same thing. There is so much more coverage with the NFL than there ever has been which is great. But when you are the only game playing and it is on national TV, your juices do get flowing.

“Now, our team gets excited for 1 o’clock games on Sunday. We’re not just going through the motions. But there is a little bit different air. Everyone talks about how the speed and intensity picks up with the playoffs. Well it’s like that when you play a Sunday night game or a Monday night game.”

— The Cardinals catch a break with Colts stud safety Bob Sanders still out. The Colts’ defense is simply better when Sanders plays. I’ve noticed that over the years watching them from afar. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it just changes the complexion, beyond just what Sanders does tangibly. It’s a lot like when Adrian Wilson is missing for the Cards (see: Jets and Favre against the Cards’ D, 2008).

— This will be Kurt Warner’s 34th consecutive start for the Cards. Never thought he’d reach such heights, but with the dings he plays with, it makes his record-setting game last week even more amazing – even if he says he feels he “stole” the record because of how the game played out.

— I am much more worried about what tight end Dallas Clark will do against the Cards than Reggie Wayne. I think the Cardinals can deal with a top receiver. They don’t see good tight ends often.

— This stat has been making the rounds: If you include playoff games, the Cardinals are 17-0 under Whisenhunt when they hold an advantage in the turnover battle. When they are even, they are 3-2. When they have more turnovers than the other guys, they are 1-15. Guess we know what stat to look at to analyze the end. (That one victory when losing the turnover battle? The electrifying overtime win over the Cowboys last season, when the Cards scored twice on special teams – the ultimate equalizer. Thanks for that off-the-top-of-the-head info, Little Whiz).

— Anquan Boldin needs 61 yards receiving to move into fourth place in the franchise’s history. As of today, Boldin is 1,913 yards shy of Roy Green’s top mark of 8,497.

— This is a huge test for this defense. They have had two pretty decent games (although I don’t think they were thrilled with the fourth quarter in either outing). But last year, the D surrendered 13 and 10 points in the first two games, respectively, and that didn’t hold up. They aren’t going to shut out Peyton Manning. But they have to slow him.

That’s it. Time to go spend some time with the family. Going to take in a football game at the high school where my wife teaches, and count on the Cards being ready in that atmosphere Sunday night. I haven’t been on the field pre-game yet this season, but I think we’ll have to give that a go this week. When you go to a Super Bowl, these are the games you’re supposed to be part of the next season.


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