Cleat Geeks

No Excuses Game vs. San Francisco Today

Two offensive players for the Arizona Cardinals brought their hard hat and lunch pail to work Monday evening in Glendale, Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. That’s never going to cut it in a sixty minute game when there’s nine other guys who are not able to make any consistent, positive impact plays.

Even though he was sacked six times and has been one of the main targets early on by fans and national media, Carson Palmer proved there is still some game in that right arm of his on Monday. Palmer went 29 for 48 for 325 yards to go along with two touchdowns and zero turnovers. Nearly 50% of Palmer’s completions, 13, went to the GOAT. With 13 catches on 15 passes thrown in his direction, Larry Fitzgerald showed he’s still aging like a fine wine. The 13 catches were the most Larry’s had since 2009.

Let’s watch Larry’s acrobatic catch from Monday Night. What goes unnoticed by many, watch how he helps up the rookie defensive back from Dallas who he just embarrassed on National Television. Would be tough to name two players who would do that instead of celebrating:

In the entire 2016 season, Cardinals Quartberback Carson Palmer was sacked 40 times in 15 games. Through the first three weeks this season, Palmer is on pace to be sacked a whopping 59 times. At this rate it’ll be a miracle if he reaches 15 games played in 2017.

The Cardinals offensive line – Mostly Right Guard Evan Boehm & Right Tackle Jared Veldheer – allowed Dallas Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence to pressure Palmer an embarrassing 12 times on National Television last Monday. Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham led all of the NFL in QB hurries last season with 40. Lawrence amazingly achieved 33% of that total in one game against the 1-2 Cardinals.

Through the first three weeks of the season, Veldheer has graded out as the third worst pass blocking Tackle, to go along with being ranked as the seventh worst overall offensive Tackle (not just RT). Whether it be the personal day that he took in the middle of training camp to contemplate retirement or if he let the demotion to Right Tackle get to his head, one thing is for certain, Veldheer is not a Right Tackle. One might say he’s been a “failure in progress.”

How is Jared Veldheer performing at right tackle this season compared to left tackle last season

                    2016 at LT: 1 sack, 3 hits, 17 hurries. (13th lowest of 74 OTs) 2017 at RT (through 3 games): 2 sacks, 2 hits and 15 hurries (4th most of 70 OTs) Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus                                                                                              – Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer

Another issue for the offensive line is it’s depth since they’re dropping like flies. This week alone, it was announced LG Mike Iupati (presumably done for season) and LG Alex Boone (3-4 weeks) will miss extended time. Left Tackle John Wetzel also suffered a pectoral injury during Mondays loss, but is considered to be day-to-day.

Left Tackle D.J. Humphries, who has played 9 snaps all year, is questionable to return to his starting role Sunday against the 49ers. Wetzel could move over to LG if both are active.

That’s not to say the Offensive line is the only issue for the Cardinals in 2017.

While Tyvon Branch, Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones are playing some of the better football in all of the NFL, it’s time for some others to start following suit on the defense.

Another week, another quiet game from Markus Golden as he accumulated 3 tackles versus Dallas, including his third straight game without a sack. Golden did have a stretch of not recording a sack in five straight games and seven of eight last season, yet still recorded 12.5 sacks. Here’s to hoping a break game is on the Horizon for Markus against San Fran.

The Cardinals led the way with 48 sacks in 2016. As a team, the Cardinals have sacked the quarterback six times so far this season. Chandler Jones has four of those sacks, which puts him in a tie with the Chiefs Justin Houston for fourth place in the NFL.

Branch’s 87.2 rating, making him the fourth highest graded out Safety in Week 3, is actually lower than his 87.5 season overall PFF grade. Equating to a “High Quality” overall rating.

Peterson, who devised his own game plan vs. the Cowboys Dez Bryant, held Bryant to 0 catches in Week 3.

2016 1st Round pick Robert Nkemdiche, who missed the first game due to injury and hasn’t played more than 19 snaps any game one this season, has only a singular assisted tackle to his name this year and will be watching week 4 from the sidelines as he’s been ruled out for today. So much for stepping up in an attempt to fill Calais Campbell’s shoes. Where’s that dumb crying Jordan meme when needed.

While it was reported before last weeks game that Linebacker Deone Bucannon would play against the Cowboys, he ended up sitting out Monday night. That extra week of rest should mean he will be even closer to 100% today. Adding D-Buc certainly can’t hurt a defense that’s yielded 37 of their 76 total points scored against in the fourth quarter of games so far.

Image result for bruce arians 2017

In the two losses this season, their were glaring coaching errors in both game. In the season opener vs. Detroit, Head Coach Bruce Arians inserted Running Back David Johnson into the game after he dislocated his wrist. He promptly fumbled that first play in Detroit territory, shifting momentum into the Lions favor.

After choosing to go for it on fourth down in a 11 point game while in field goal range, Arians said they didn’t choose to kick the field goal because “We were down too many points.” Where in the world is the follow up question, “It would’ve made it a one possession game with the opportunity at an onside kick?” In the position that the Cardinals were in, all your asking is for a chance at recovering an onside kick. His answer “we were down too many points” is inexcusable as a lifelong Cardinal fan.

Oh and his decision sure as Hell irritated some in the gambling world. A verified Twitter sports account went on a profanity-laced tirade. As a Cardinal fan I can’t buy into this theory, but feel free to soak it up yourself:


While things are looking bleak in Cardinal land heading into Week four, take solace in the fact that the winless 49ers are in town. If the Cardinals can’t take care of business this afternoon before heading to the East Coast to face the Eagles next Sunday, the 2017 season might get away from us faster than any of us anticipated.


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