Business trip (n., ˈbɪznɪs trɪp) – A journey taken for the sole purpose of taking care of business
Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams fulfilled the definition. The entire team — particularly the defense — came to make a statement then go home. The Rams defense is more physical than the Cardinals offense, and the Rams offense has a size advantage over the Arizona defense, but none of that mattered on this business trip.
There remains a concern that this team cannot manufacture pressure with a four-man rush or the blitz. It doesn’t matter much against the dregs of the NFL like Nick Foles, but it could matter much more on a short week against Teddy Bridgewater and definitely matter against better QBs in the playoffs. On offense, slow starts aren’t a consistent problem, but the pressures when the offense can’t score early and often against an overmatched opponent creates an unnecessary burden.
The Cards play three of their next four games at home against playoff-caliber opponents. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Mike Iupati, LG
It’s tradition for one offensive lineman to represent the group: this week, Big Mike gets the nod. All three active running backs had big runs last night, and even the St. Louis B-team is a strong unit. Iupati drew Aaron Donald much of the day and contained him exceptionally well.
Justin Bethel, CB
Congrats to Bethel on the contract extension. His reward was getting repeatedly targeted. Bethel benefited from a weak opponent and quarterback, but it’s a good start for a promising finish to the season. Bethel needs to improve his technique as a cornerback; the fourth-year veteran looks like a rookie out there.
Jermaine Gresham, TE
Gresham only had one catch for 13 yards, but when you re-watch the game, you’ll find that he’s involved in a ton of the big plays the Cards ended up making. He was a very good blocker — even able to block the Rams defensive ends one-on-one at times.
Alex Okafor, OLB
It seems very long ago indeed that the Cards were promoting Okafor as the team’s next top pass rusher. Okafor is nearly invisible as a rush specialist, and yesterday he played against a struggling group of offensive linemen and did nothing.
Calais Campbell, DT
The defensive end is making $9M in salary alone this year and is scheduled to make $9.5M next year – the final year of his contract. At 29 years old, Campbell is on pace to get the fewest sacks of his career by a large margin. It’s past time for the big man to begin coming through in a big way in some big moments.
Michael Floyd, WR
It’s immensely frustrating being a fan of Michael Floyd. He stacks positive performances to make you believe that he’s capable of separating himself from John Brown and J.J. Nelson. Then he has a game like Sunday’s. Floyd (7/104) was productive as a receiver, but he also dropped three passes that top receivers catch.