Arizona Cardinals Bird Watching – Week 5
By Erich Becker
What am I looking for as the Arizona Cardinals travel to Detroit Rock City?
Coming off a tough loss, it is sometimes hard to gauge a team, both the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals have different reasons for wanting to win this game. For Detroit, its redemption for the game that got away only a few days ago after a blown call (again in Seattle) cost the Lions a chance to win that game. While the would of had the ball, 1st and Goal at the 1, nothing says they don’t get stuffed three times, kick a field goal and lose in overtime. Still, tough to be a Lions fan on Tuesday morning.
For the Cardinals, coming off a tough, hard fought, but winnable game that slipped away, at home, against a division opponent may be even tougher. Beating a Rams team that is woefully inconsistent should be the norm. The old Cardinals let games like that go, the Bruce Arians Cardinals are suppose to rise up in the fourth quarter and put the other team away.
This Sunday, one team will continue down a dark road, but what should we be looking for?
The defense, how do I say this politely, wasn’t very good last week. Too many big plays and all the credit to Nick Foles, he’s an apt quarterback, but he isn’t Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. The former number one team against the rush was let 146 yards on the ground to a rookie and took them to town. The defense needs to turn back to the ferocity and opportunistic nature that saw them take down San Francisco in the first seven minutes of that game.
The pass protection was decent against the front seven of the Rams, one of the best units in the league and maybe the best the Cardinals will face this season, but Detroit is no slouch either. As seen on Monday Night, the line got penetration over and over again, forcing two turnovers against Russell Wilson, one returned for a touchdown. The Cardinals offensive line has to be ready to give Palmer a clean pocket so he can set up the long ball, something Detroit doesn’t have the secondary to defend against.
What kind of roll will Andre have after missing three games and Chris Johnson’s re-emergence as a running back of note. Both backs being healthy and David Johnson (with velcro hands) thrown into the mix there’s a lot to be happy about in the backfield, but Ellington is bound to be a little rusty, but at the same time, hungry for a game action. He has to show this coaching staff he can stay on the field after years of injury riddled seasons. Here’s hoping he’s able to break off a long run and show everyone in Motor City his motor.
Michael, Larry and John
The passing game felt all out of whack last week with pass protection lacking and time not being able to be devoted to finding these guys like in previous weeks. After two monster weeks Larry Fitzgerald was a non-factor and Michael Floyd’s one big catch was called back on penalty. John Brown, after being so effective early in the season, and drawing penalties because of his speed has largely been eliminated by defenses except for a few bang-bang plays for some first downs. As one of the best wide receiving corps in the game, they need to be more involved this week.