AZ 38 TB 33: How? Why? What's Next?

Mitch

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Man, Cardinals coaches, players and fans saw today what a timely trade, the return of the left side of the offensive line and a whole lotta smelling salts on the sideline before the game can do to wake a team up after a 5 game snooze.

After Steve Keim pulled off the Adrian Peterson trade the question I posed was whether BA would try to make Peterson adapt to BA's offense or whether BA would ask Peterson for his input and thus would cater the offense to Peterson's style. That question was answered almost immediately in the game, as Peterson lined up in his customary launching pad perch 7 yards behind the center and looked 100% comfortable and confident in his ability to find the creases and bust through them. Peterson's 26/134/5.2/2 TD performance was inspiring. Credit Steve Keim for the trade at a time when the Cardinals needed a boost, Bruce Arians for getting Peterson comfortable and ready to go and the Cardinals' offensive line (Humphries, Boone, Shipley, Watford and Veldheer) for getting off the ball on the snap and for sustaining their blocks as they are taught to do.

Carson Palmer's play in the first half was also inspiring: 13/13, 210 yards, 2 TDs. Even a hail mary duck of a pass was caught for a TD by an alert John Brown, who came back to snag it and then tippy-toe around the CB into the end zone.

In the second half, the offense became unglued time and time again, thanks to an ill-advised under thrown deep ball interception, a myriad of penalties and a ridiculously stupid play call to throw a quick slant to Larry Fitzgerald on 1st and long following a penalty that put Fitz in harm's way (just like last week when he nearly got his head taken off) and got him stood up and taking a high hit and getting stripped as he tried to cover up to the turf, which led to a scoop and run TD. This was the lone blemish for what was a stellar day for Fitz 10/138/13.8/1 TD.

Fitz and Peterson should continue to live together as Felix and Oscar...for they combined for a whopping 272 yards and 3 TD.

What remains throughly perplexing is BA's and Carson Palmer's insistence of hiking the ball practically every snap on one. It nearly cost them on the goal line when Palmer fumbled the snap...it cost them on several other occasions in the 2nd half, most particularly on the 4th and 2 out pass that Palmer nearly threw for a pick six in the direction of a completely blanketed John Brown.

The Cardinals' defense was good in the 1st half when they weren't playing zone coverage. Patrick Peterson was doing a very good job on Mike Evans as was shutting him out, while Justin Bethel with Antoine Bethea over the top were containing specter DeSean Jackson, in fact, so well that Bethea recorded his third interception in the last three games and dropped another when he couldn't control the catch after hitting the turf.

The problem with the Cardinals zones is that the players aren't looking properly coached in the coverage. Rule number one for the underneath players is to backpedal as deep as they can with the first wave of receivers until they can pass them off to the deep safeties. Then, they are to pick up first man in their zone underneath. The Cardinals' underneath men are standing in cement and once they get passed by the WRs, the deep safeties are too deep in their drops to close the gaps.

Rule number 2 is the hook zone LBers need to pick up a WR or TE crossing through their zone and shadow him to the boundary of their zone. For whatever reason, Karlos Dansby has been crossing the faces of the WRs and TE and losing them, rather than picking them up and running with them. Deone Bucannon was much improved this week in all aspects of his game...he was more decisive and more productive in finishing off plays.and he was the best in the zone at keeping the plays in front of him.

Rule numer 3 is the deep safeties cannot give up too much cushion or it's an easy pitch and catch all day, such as the easy 14 yard out passes they gave up to TE Cameron Brate. But, if the underneath men don't backpedal and a run with the first receivers at least for 5 yards, it makes the safety's job much more difficult.

The Cardinals' lax, passive play versus backup QBs continued in full array this week as Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 22/32/290/3TD/2 INT in his relief of injured stater James Winston, who was lit up by DE Chandler Jones and OLB Haason Reddick when they converged simultaneously on Winston off a scramble.

Jones and Reddick were very active off the edges and very athletic on the perimeter. Reddick needs a spin move and needs to rip his way back to the QB when he rushes a little wide of the pocket. He had one of the better RTs in the NFL (Demar Dotson) on him much of the time, which was quite a chailenge.

The Cardinals are still looking for an inside rusher. Corey Peters is textbook versus the run and Frostee Rucker and John Mauro are solid run stuffers, but they have yet to prove they can be a factor this year as pass rushers. Olsen Pierre showed some flashes the past two games, but he was out injured this week. Not happy to see Xavier Williams get injured as he has been playing his best ball in recent weeks.

With Patrick Peterson sidelined with a quad injury, credit Tramon Williams for making what now could be seen as the deciding play of the game with his nifty interception of Fitzpatrick, jumping Evans' hook route inside the Bucs' 5 yard line. This led to Adrian Peterson's 2nd TD.

As for special teams, they deserve a lot of credit this week. Phil Dawson was a perfect 1/1 on FGs and 5/5 on XPTs. Andy Lee boomed one punt 53 yards (with a net of 43) and his pooch punt, artfully high pointed and corralled on the 1 yard line by gunner Budda Baker set up Tramon Williams' interception and what turned out to be the game winning TD run by Peterson.

In addition, let it be noted that Amos Jones and the staff did (almost) exactly what they were supposed to do on the on-side kicks. The up men are supposed to take out the first threats and let the ball bounce into the all hands players. The first one was hairy because it didn't bounce 10 yards and it hit a Buc on the leg which gave the Cardinals the ball right on that spot (illegal touching). It wasn't until after the ball was touched by a Buc that Ifeanyi Momah tried to hop on the ball. In retrospect, Momah would have been better off letting the ball go. Hopefully that's a lesson learned the happy way.

On the second kick, with most Cardinals' fans now on breathalyzers (following Justin Bethel's poor coverage of the Mike Evans's go route TD), the up men took out the threats and the ball bounced right into the arms of All-Word Hands guy Larry Fitzgerald. Plus, more great coaching, as Fitz didn't take knee right away so as to get the clock under 2:00...which allowed the Cardinals to run out the clock and send the fans home excited, relieved and exhausted.

This week's game in London versus the Rams is an important division game as the Rams are leading the division with a 4-2 record. The Rams' victory at Jacksonville today was the result of 2 STs TDs, One on a 99 yard kickoff return by Pharoh Cooper to start the game and another TD off a blocked punt. The Cardinals are going to need good, strong play in all three phases and a 60 minute effort playing in front of the Queen and Prince Harry. This week's modified theme abroad: "no risk-it, no crumpets." Or---if you prefer the Williams Wallace variation: "no stones, no scones."
 
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Hoodhero

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Good analysis. Really agree with lack of inside pass rush. Also losing Xavier Williams shrinks the DT room considerably especially with Olsen out already.
 

DVontel

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Karlos Dansby is the worst ILB on the team, & that includes when Reddick was playing there. Advanced stats be damned.
 

TJ

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The offense is alive. Very happy with the result even with the conservative defense in the 4th quarter. Crush the Rams in London, whip up on the 49ers in 3 weeks and end the first half of the season 5-3.


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gmabel830

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You are the first person to touch on the last onside kick. When Fitz caught it, I was yelling "Get down!" Then the ref announced the two minute warning, I looked at the clock to see 1:59 and thought it was a genius move. If Amos was the one who pointed that out to the hands team (and it likely was), that is a great coaching move.

We would not have been in a position to kneel out the clock if it had stopped after first down.

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""Even a hail mary duck of a pass was caught for a TD by an alert John Brown, who came back to snag it and then tippy-toe around the CB into the end zone.""

If this is the play I'm thinking of it was a designed play for Brown to stop & come back for the ball.
 
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Mitch

Mitch

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""Even a hail mary duck of a pass was caught for a TD by an alert John Brown, who came back to snag it and then tippy-toe around the CB into the end zone.""

If this is the play I'm thinking of it was a designed play for Brown to stop & come back for the ball.

Are you thinking of John Brown's comeback route on the flea flicker, then yes. On the TD, that was a 50/50 ball thrown under pressure that was way under thrown and Brown came back to it before the CB could adjust.
 
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Mitch

Mitch

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The Cardinals proved 2 things in this game we already know about them: (1) that when they want to play, they can be very good; (2) when they lose interest, they pretty much self-destruct. There's still no telling which Cardinals' team will show up from week to week. But, Peterson has added some electricity and that kind of buzz can push a team over the hump (or should i say "humph"?).

I had goosebumps today when the crowd was chanting AP-AP-AP! God that felt so good!:newcards:
 

Cardiac

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You are the first person to touch on the last onside kick. When Fitz caught it, I was yelling "Get down!" Then the ref announced the two minute warning, I looked at the clock to see 1:59 and thought it was a genius move. If Amos was the one who pointed that out to the hands team (and it likely was), that is a great coaching move.

We would not have been in a position to kneel out the clock if it had stopped after first down.

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Fitz said it was Phil Dawson who told him to get the clock under 2 minutes before going down.

http://blog.azcardinals.com/author/darrenurban/

Fitzgerald said it was kicker Phil Dawson who told him to waste some time on the onside kick recovery at the end, to make sure the clock ticked under the two-minute mark (and stoppage at the two-minute warning) so the Cards could kneel three times and be done. “That was Phil all the way,” Fitz said.



I'm typically not a fire the coach kind of guy but to me this screams how ineffective Amos is as a ST's coach, he should have been the one giving those instructions to Fitz.
 

Finito

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Good write up but I disagree on the Fitzgerald part it was a good play call and it was no ones fault but Fitzgeralds that he fumbled. That's fine even the greats mess up from time to time
 

Jetstream Green

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Fitz said it was Phil Dawson who told him to get the clock under 2 minutes before going down.

http://blog.azcardinals.com/author/darrenurban/

Fitzgerald said it was kicker Phil Dawson who told him to waste some time on the onside kick recovery at the end, to make sure the clock ticked under the two-minute mark (and stoppage at the two-minute warning) so the Cards could kneel three times and be done. “That was Phil all the way,” Fitz said.



I'm typically not a fire the coach kind of guy but to me this screams how ineffective Amos is as a ST's coach, he should have been the one giving those instructions to Fitz.

Correct, was actually Dawson which Fitz stated in the presser to do so if he got the ball on the onside kick... Dawson is a better special teams coach
 

TJ

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Good write up but I disagree on the Fitzgerald part it was a good play call and it was no ones fault but Fitzgeralds that he fumbled. That's fine even the greats mess up from time to time

Agree. Carson and Fitz were dynamic today, and that short slant is very successful most of the time. Seems like every year, Fitz has that one fumble at the worst possible time in a game.
 

Shaggy

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Agree. Carson and Fitz were dynamic today, and that short slant is very successful most of the time. Seems like every year, Fitz has that one fumble at the worst possible time in a game.

So true. He rarely fumbles, but when he does, they are at the worst possible moment in the game.
 

AZ Native

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Obviously, we are going to beat the snot out of the Lambs in England. It is deja vu, karma, whatever, it will happen.
 

Shaggy

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I would really like to see more of Tramon Williams at CB2. He seemed to be all over the WRs when coming in for PP. Yeah, he had a long throw against him, but even on that play, he was all over the WR.
 

pmacLean

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... snip a whole lot ...
......
the up men took out the threats and the ball bounced right into the arms of All-Word Hands guy Larry Fitzgerald. Plus, more great coaching, as Fitz didn't take knee right away so as to get the clock under 2:00...which allowed the Cardinals to run out the clock and send the fans home excited, relieved and exhausted.
..... more snipping ....

before we give Amos a game ball, I hope you noted another thread here that quoted Fitz as saying Phil Dawson told him to waste some time if he caught it, guaranteeing a kneel out

great coaching yes, but, not from our very, very good ST coach
 

NJCardFan

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One thing that really bothered me was the inability to score a TD with 1st and goal from the 1. There was a great opportunity to go up 28-0 going into halftime but a fumble on the first try then bungling the next 2 downs. The only cherry on the sundae we didn't get was a missed FG. That lack of a TD gave the Bucs some hope. Yes, 28-0 is much better psychologically than 24-0. That means the next score at the beginning of the 3rd quarter would have been 35-0 and all the fight would have been gone from Tampa. In short, we need a killer instinct.


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BullheadCardFan

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One thing that really bothered me was the inability to score a TD with 1st and goal from the 1. There was a great opportunity to go up 28-0 going into halftime but a fumble on the first try then bungling the next 2 downs. The only cherry on the sundae we didn't get was a missed FG. That lack of a TD gave the Bucs some hope. Yes, 28-0 is much better psychologically than 24-0. That means the next score at the beginning of the 3rd quarter would have been 35-0 and all the fight would have been gone from Tampa. In short, we need a killer instinct.
+1

Gave them a ray of hope which they used to make their comeback. Cardinals just seem to have a hard time putting teams away. And we can never, ever have enough points on the scoreboard for me to relax with this team
 

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Mitch, while I agree that Momah, once the ball hit a Buc, should have let it alone, I don't think that's possible. We're watching on TV or in the stands, but when you're on the field, your instinct is to drop on the ball. Too much to expect, imo.
 

Cbus cardsfan

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One nit picky thing that bothered me yesterday was when the Cards were up by more than 2 scores in the fourth quarter and had the ball, they would consistently snap the ball with over 20 seconds left on the clock. I know they want to play fast but if they run 7-8 plays, that's another 1-2 minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter.

It's nothing I'm upset about but in those situations I'd run it down to under 10 seconds every time.
 
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Mitch

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Mitch, while I agree that Momah, once the ball hit a Buc, should have let it alone, I don't think that's possible. We're watching on TV or in the stands, but when you're on the field, your instinct is to drop on the ball. Too much to expect, imo.

Remember the NFC Championship game that GB lost in Seattle when all they had to do was recover an on-side kick...but one of their blockers, a TE, saw the ball and tried to catch it inside the 10 yard distance and dropped it and lost it? Every team in the NFL needs to teach their blockers to avoid the ball within the 10 yard zone. But, you are right, there was a lot of confusion on that play and at times instinct takes over.
 

pmacLean

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My vote for best play/turning point in the game, was the 2 play parlay
Baker downing the punt on the 1 and
Williams intercepting the very next pass (leading to Peterson.s TD)

I believe that without those 2 plays, we would have lost that.
 

Russ Smith

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One nit picky thing that bothered me yesterday was when the Cards were up by more than 2 scores in the fourth quarter and had the ball, they would consistently snap the ball with over 20 seconds left on the clock. I know they want to play fast but if they run 7-8 plays, that's another 1-2 minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter.

It's nothing I'm upset about but in those situations I'd run it down to under 10 seconds every time.


Thank you that drove me NUTS. Even the announcer said well the Cards are getting on the ball quickly and going up tempo here with momentum and I was thinking hello, take another 10-15 seconds on each snap and run the damn clock.

That's one thing that has consistently happened with BA he does not work the clock well IMO.

We won so I'll live with it but I also think given they kept telling us the Cards were concerned with the conditioning of the OL, perhaps giving them an extra rest between snaps made sense?
 
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