15 thought - Rams game

Gandhi

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1 – Hail Larry Fitzgerald!

2 - I could easily be wrong, but it just seems to me that a lot of members takes it for granted that Steve Wilks will be let go? I don’t think so. I mean, I hope he is, just because I have lost faith in him, but I don’t think it’s a sure thing. That said, I just can’t stop thinking about it when watching a game, you know? It’s not “what a bad play – they need to change that approach.” It’s “what a bad play – these coaches won’t change it to a better approach.”

To be clear, I do not wish anything bad on Steve Wilks or the entire coaching staff, and that is not why I am saying as I am. I am saying it because I want the best for the Arizona Cardinals, and even though the outcome for those two processes is the same (that Wilks are fired), I do believe there is a difference in the thinking.

Also – and I know this happens several places each year, but I still don’t understand it – if it was indeed a foregone conclusion, why is he still employed? If Michael Bidwill was so sure that he would fire Wilks, why haven’t he done it already and got a head start in the search for a new head coach? Or even tried some of the current ones in an interim position just to test it? To me, it seems like Bidwill thinks that Steve Wilks still gives the team the best chance to win, and thus that he still has a chance to save his job.

3 – Speaking of Fitzgerald. I badly want them to target him from the very start of the next game for however many times it takes for him to get a catch, only to make sure that his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch is not broken if it is indeed his last game. It can’t be the last game that ends the streak. It just can’t.

4 – It’s not like I enjoy that the Cards lose, but the last couple of weeks, that’s just how the season has unfolded. The reason is very simple: I think it would be much more fun for me as well as every fan in the Cards’ fanbase to have nearly five months of speculation, debates, reports released, intense media coverage and suspense leading up to the draft than a rather meaningless win over the Seahawks would give.

5 - I know I have been mentioning it ad nauseum, but I think it still causes confusion, so I am just going to say it again, as it seems to affect people’s preferred choices for the next coaching staff.

There is no difference between running a 3-4 base defense and running a 4-3 base defense. There is a difference in execution whether you line up in one formation or another, but no team (as in no NFL team at all) plays out of one formation or the other exclusively. Multiple other formations are being deployed by everyone, whether it is the 2-4-5, the 2-3-6, the 3-3-5 or basically every other imaginable formation. The purpose for every team is to get in their nickel- or dime-packages as soon as possible, and a nickel- or dime-package involves several defensive backs. The reason is that it is an attempt to counter the huge number of pass plays by offenses.

Maybe you saw how it unfolded several times with both teams in this game as well?

Let me quote Steve Wilks shortly after he was introduced as the new head coach and asked if he would change the defense from a 3-4 base defense: “When you really look at what we did here last year, about 70, 75% of what we did was an ‘over front’, which is a 4-3.” Or I can quote an article by Football Outsiders from last year: “Hybrid defensive schemes are the name of the game now, and trying to cram 2018 defensive strategy into a 1980s framework is less than useful.” The article goes into detail to explain this with text, graphs and statistics. I think it’s highly interesting, and you can read it by clicking here. You can also click here to read an article from a couple of months ago on SI.com that highlights the need for hybrid defenders nowadays.

If I had to guess, I would say that this confusion stems from how it is simply easier for the TV stations and other media types to set up the lineups in easily decipherable ways so that it is easy for all the viewers to follow along, while it also makes it an easy and comprehensible method for the broadcast crew, as well as guys like Darren Urban, Mike Jurecki and the likes, to use static approaches (and also, I have a feeling that not all of them realizes it either).

What matters in defensive schemes is things like gap assignments, blitz packages, coverage packages and other functions like those.

6 – There’s really no point in criticizing the offensive line anymore, is there? I feel like it’s getting old. We all know that it’s bad.

7 – I think I have seen suggestions that the Cards should draft a first round quarterback? Not to call anyone specific out, but that has got to be one of the weirdest things I have ever heard.

8 - “Per a league source, at least one team plans to make a run at Jim Harbaugh after the NFL season ends.” Again, why would Bidwill and Keim had begun a search before firing Steve Wilks, but you never know.

9 – Did the Cards wear their throwback uniforms? I thought they were a little bit more “low keyed” red. Almost like just a little bit bleached? No matter I thought they looked great.

10 - Can anyone explain to me why the Pro Bowl matters one single bit, and are being used as a measuring stick as to how good a player is? The announcers mentioned it several times, but I just don’t understand it. Player selections is determined by voters from three categories that each count for one third of the votes. One category is the fans who tends heavily to vote for players from their own team (players from the teams with the biggest fanbases usually get the most votes), while the second voting category is players voting themselves. If you have seen even one episode of the show “the top 100 – as voted by the players” on NFL Network, you will surely know that selecting players that way is a terribly flawed process. The last third is the coaches, and I trust them to make the right call. That’s two thirds of the selection process where you can question the validity of the result to a great extent.

Now, the All-Pro teams are selected by a panel of 50 independent media members who follow the NFL closely. THAT is a fair selection process, and I think it leads to a much, much better view of who is actually the best players in the NFL.

11 – The Ravens has confirmed that John Harbaugh will remain their head coach for next season, and possibly beyond that. So there goes that option.

12 – So, Brandon Williams was beat like a drum at least a couple of times. Who would’ve thought, huh?

13 – It doesn’t make sense to me to judge Josh Rosen on what people want him to be right now instead of what reasonable expectations would be. So, in all fairness, I wanted to compare him to the other rookie quarterbacks as I think that gives by far the most accurate picture of his play.

Josh Rosen has started 12 games with a record of 3-9 and a completion percentage of 55.4.

Josh Allen has started 10 games with the Bills and has gone 4-6 with a completion percentage of 51.7.

Sam Darnold has started 12 games with the Jets with a record of 4-8 and a completion percentage of 57.8.

Lamar Jackson has started six games with the Ravens with a record of 5-1 and a completion percentage of 58.2.

Baker Mayfield has started 12 games for the Browns with a record of 6-6 and a completion percentage of 64.6.

Now, I obviously understand that it is impossible to get a precise comparison when they haven’t played equally many games at equal stadiums against equal opponents and so on, which is the same reason why I can’t simply just add up or down to get the exact same context as Rosen, so we can only judge by the numbers that are available to us.

As you can see, Rosen has been about comparable with three out of four other rookie quarterbacks with only Mayfield clearly distancing himself in a good way, while Lamar Jackson has easily led his team to more success as well than Rosen, Darnold and Allen. I think we can agree that the Cardinals is a worse team with a worse offensive line and worse skill position players on offense than both the Ravens and the Browns, though.

In fact, Rosen has been better and more successful than other rookie quarterbacks (picked in the first- or second round the last three years) such as Jared Goff, Christian Hackenberg, Paxton Lynch and DeShone Kizer, while being comparable to Mitch Trubisky. I would argue that at least Goff and Trubisky are good players now.

I know that nothing can ruin arguments like facts, but in my opinion, it should be taken into account how rookie quarterbacks actually tends to perform.

14 – If the Seahawks win next week, they will play the Cowboys in Dallas in the wildcard weekend. If they lose, they could potentially end up playing the Bears in Chicago instead. Yeah, they’re probably not going to rest any starters.

Having said that, in the last eight meetings between the two teams, Seattle has won four games in Arizona (and tied one) while the Cards have won three straight in Seattle. In other words, in the last eight meetings, the home team has not won one single time.

Also, the Seahawks needed a win against the Niners, who had been eliminated ages ago, yet Seattle lost.

15 – This time I don’t have to refer to different metrics to estimate the likelihood that the Cards would get the #1 draft pick, because now the projection is easy: lose in Seattle and the Cards get the pick. Win in Seattle and the Jets and the Niners can still get it.

If the Cards do win, the Niners would get the top pick if they lose to the Rams. The Niners have half a game edge over the Jets in strength of schedule, but without having the exact calculation I believe the Jets have a small chance at leapfrogging both the Niners and the Cardinals (something like if the Cards win, the Jets and Niners lose, and three of four other games goes the Jets’ way).


Merry Christmas to all of you and your loved ones!
 

b8rtm8nn

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2 - I could easily be wrong, but it just seems to me that a lot of members takes it for granted that Steve Wilks will be let go? I don’t think so.

Besides rumblings from media, there is some anxillary data, namely that Bidwill has been completely silent on support of Wilks (and Keim) when it is traditionally the time that ownership gives a signnof support to their first year coach, like the Deteoit Lions did.

It is speculative, but M Bidwill has been regularly vocal in the past when in support of the coaches or front office. It may mean he is undecided, but it is also rare to fire a first year coach before the end of the season.
 

mwanamatapa

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Thanks Ghandi, always enjoy your write-ups.

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az jam

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If the Cards had shown any improvement MB might consider giving Wilks another year. They haven't and fans are no longer going to the games. MB is not dumb. Living here and being a long time season ticket holder, I can tell you that Wilks has lost support from not just the fans but the also the media. Even the Card beat writers are saying he should be let go. IMO Wilks will be out on Black Monday. However, I think MB may give Keim one chance to turn it around. But I could be even wrong on that.

Firing an NFL Head Coach during the season for a new HC really is rushing and doesn't get a jump on hiring. The good coaches have jobs and you officially can't contact them. MB may have already started his search fo a new HC as he has lost of contacts and good relationship with the other owners. IMO lots of stuff happens behind the closed doors that we never hear.

McCarthy is available and MB may have contacted him or his agent to see if there is any mutual interest. Bottom line I think more is going on than we know.
 
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wa52lz

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Merry Christmas Gandhi. Thanks for your input each week.

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JeffGollin

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Nice, Ghandi.

Missing from all the Wilks discussions is what MB's view is toward coaching. I realize his apparent desire to play things close to the vest, but has anyone asked him what his thinking is?

If I had to guess - Michael comes across as a "check off all the boxes" guy who isn't about to make changes before the regular season runs its entire course.

And I'm still wondering why Michael opened the door so wide when BA decided to leave (Note - If MB liked BA, why did he hire a HC who was 180 degrees different than BA in strategy and coaching style)?
 

PACardsFan

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I’m pretty sure that there has never been a 1st year HC that was fired during the season. It’s bad enough that they’re one & done. To can anyone during their 1st season, unless something egregious happened, would be Scrooge like. Furthermore, there is absolutely no one on the current staff that could conceivably be an interim HC. They would have to name the groundskeeper the HC. And even that dude needs to be fired. I couldn’t fathom that Wilks keeps his job. If MB were to make that choice, I would never watch another Cardinal game for as long as a Bidwill owns the team.
 
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Gandhi

Gandhi

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Nice, Ghandi.

Missing from all the Wilks discussions is what MB's view is toward coaching. I realize his apparent desire to play things close to the vest, but has anyone asked him what his thinking is?

If I had to guess - Michael comes across as a "check off all the boxes" guy who isn't about to make changes before the regular season runs its entire course.

And I'm still wondering why Michael opened the door so wide when BA decided to leave (Note - If MB liked BA, why did he hire a HC who was 180 degrees different than BA in strategy and coaching style)?

That is a great point, Jeff, and one I have thought a lot about as well. My conclusion was a follow up question: “is he really that different?” His attitude and his press conferences (the things we see) are obviously completely different, but by all accounts, he is a charismatic guy who relates great with the players and stands up for them. Some of the changes in practice methods, in both training camp and during the season, could indicate that he coaches by the approach “coach them hard, hug them later” like Arians did.

Some say that Bidwill did in fact not like Arians, and that Arians was re-fired. I personally think that is a wrong theory, first and foremost because any owner likes to win since it’s good business. Arians brought wins, even though the last two seasons of his tenure ended with .500 records, you have to remember that in the last one he played without Carson Palmer for half the season. Further, Steve Keim and Arians had a great working relationship, and I doubt Keim brought in one single player that Arians did not want him to. Sometimes, I have small doubts it's the same with Keim and Wilks.
 
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Gandhi

Gandhi

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I’m pretty sure that there has never been a 1st year HC that was fired during the season. It’s bad enough that they’re one & done. To can anyone during their 1st season, unless something egregious happened, would be Scrooge like. Furthermore, there is absolutely no one on the current staff that could conceivably be an interim HC. They would have to name the groundskeeper the HC. And even that dude needs to be fired. I couldn’t fathom that Wilks keeps his job. If MB were to make that choice, I would never watch another Cardinal game for as long as a Bidwill owns the team.

PA, I wanted to contact you last week, but I simply forgot, and I am sorry.

You mentioned that you might want to go to the draft with your two boys, and I previously read a bit about the ticket procedure.

The tickets are distributed by a waiting list that you have to sign up for. When the tickets become available, the NFL will send you an SMS message that you have 30 minutes to purchase the tickets, or else they will go to another person. Last year they became available at the end of April which makes it a bit of a risk to go to Nashville shortly before. Having said that, tickets are only required for seating in the draft theater, and I remember how it is almost a festival with a lot of fun things outside of those theaters.

The draft is held at various venues in Nashville which I would suppose increases the tickets available.
 

PACardsFan

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PA, I wanted to contact you last week, but I simply forgot, and I am sorry.

You mentioned that you might want to go to the draft with your two boys, and I previously read a bit about the ticket procedure.

The tickets are distributed by a waiting list that you have to sign up for. When the tickets become available, the NFL will send you an SMS message that you have 30 minutes to purchase the tickets, or else they will go to another person. Last year they became available at the end of April which makes it a bit of a risk to go to Nashville shortly before. Having said that, tickets are only required for seating in the draft theater, and I remember how it is almost a festival with a lot of fun things outside of those theaters.

The draft is held at various venues in Nashville which I would suppose increases the tickets available.

Hi Gandhi, thanks for getting back to me with this information. Sounds like there are various options, with a ticking clock attached. I'm sure the outdoor festivities are a blast, but I was always interested in being part of the draft theater. Any ballpark idea as to what the draft theater tickets go for?

Thanks again.
 

WisconsinCard

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Hi Gandhi, thanks for getting back to me with this information. Sounds like there are various options, with a ticking clock attached. I'm sure the outdoor festivities are a blast, but I was always interested in being part of the draft theater. Any ballpark idea as to what the draft theater tickets go for?

Thanks again.
All draft tickets are free.
 

Buckybird

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Hi Gandhi, thanks for getting back to me with this information. Sounds like there are various options, with a ticking clock attached. I'm sure the outdoor festivities are a blast, but I was always interested in being part of the draft theater. Any ballpark idea as to what the draft theater tickets go for?

Thanks again.
It’s a lottery, You have to register on nfl on location website once they become available which is like 3 weeks before the event. Btw you can register numerous times improving your chances.

I went last year in Dallas & it was a blast!
 

PACardsFan

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It’s a lottery, You have to register on nfl on location website once they become available which is like 3 weeks before the event. Btw you can register numerous times improving your chances.

I went last year in Dallas & it was a blast!

Thanks Bucky
 

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