NFL Nation TV welcomes The Boz

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT, for NFL Nation TV’s Spreecast, as episode No. 28 will have a special guest. Former Oklahoma and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth will join the show to talk about his upcoming 30 for 30 special, "The Boz."

Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-host Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) will also be joined by Mike Triplett (New Orleans Saints reporter), Mike Wright (Chicago Bears reporter), Terry Blount (Seahawks reporter) and Josh Weinfuss (Arizona Cardinals reporter) to give the latest on their respective teams as the season nears its midway point.

Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask Bosworth and the panelists questions.

Flush the Pocket will be your daily morning dose of the Arizona Cardinals. It'll recap the top storyline from the previous day and give you a look at what everyone is saying locally and nationally.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Cardinals weren't the only ones who benefited from their win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather placed $800,000 on Arizona to beat the spread, which was 3.5 points. The Cardinals topped Oakland 24-13 and Mayweather won $1,561,904.76.

And, of course, he posted a picture of the winning ticket on Instagram:


A photo posted by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

In other news...

Kent Somers of writes about other potential free-agent targets the Cards may keep home.

Paola Boivin of writes about Larry Foote's longevity and fatherhood.

Bob McManaman of writes about Chandler Catanzaro's streak and Arizona not getting flexed.

Mark Eckel of gives five reasons why the Cardinals could be the best team in the NFL.

Kyle Odegard of breaks down Carson Palmer's touchdown pass to Michael Floyd.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Foote heard about it from the moment he joined the Cardinals.

Arizona finished 2013 as the top-ranked defense against the run and wanted to continue it into this season.

“They [have] been preaching that since I got there,” Foote said.

But as Week 1 crept closer, more key pieces kept disappearing, making it, in theory, harder to repeat that feat. First, Karlos Dansby left in free agency. Then Daryl Washington was suspended, followed by Darnell Dockett being lost for the year with an ACL injury. That was all before the season began. Once the year started, John Abraham was put on IR, and then Calais Campbell and Matt Shaughnessy were shelved.

For the last two weeks, the Cardinals were playing without six of their front seven from Week 17 of last season.

But through it all, the Cardinals still managed to climb back up to the No. 1 spot, securing the league’s best ranking -- at least for this week -- after holding Oakland to 56 yards – including 4 in the final 23 minutes, 49 seconds of the game.

“It starts at the top,” Foote said. “Our line coach, our coordinator, our linebacker coaches, they always screaming. They demand us to be good against the run. They don’t let up.”

Last season, Arizona finished atop the rankings with an average of 84.4 rushing yards per game. This season, that number is down to 72.5 yards per game.

So, how have the Cardinals done it?
  • The Cardinals have not allowed a team to rush for 100 yards all season: San Diego 52 yards, New York Giants 81, San Francisco 82, Denver 92, Washington 72 and Oakland 56. Dating to last season, Arizona hasn't given up 100 yards in 16 of 22 games under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
  • By not allowing a team to hit triple digits means an individual has yet to top 100 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, there have been 24 rushers against the Cardinals in six games this season. The closest anyone has come to 100 against the Cardinals were Denver’s Ronnie Hillman and New York’s Rashad Jennings, both of whom ran for 64 yards. The Cardinals haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in more than a year – San Francisco’s Frank Gore ran for 101 on Oct. 13, 2013.
  • The Cardinals are allowing 3.15 yards per carry, the lowest average in the league, and their 138 carries surrendered are the second fewest this season. Of those 138, just 34.1 percent have gone for 4 or more yards, the lowest percentage in the league.
  • Arizona has given up only 12 rushes of 10 or more yards, which includes three runs of 15 yards or longer and only one of 20 yards or longer.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- This was the week Larry Foote was supposed to start sitting back and kicking his feet up.

By time the Arizona Cardinals reached their seventh game this season, he was supposed to be more of an assistant coach than an every-down linebacker. But Foote, 34, has been around long enough to know most things in the NFL don’t go as planned.

Foote was signed on May 7 to be the short-term replacement for linebacker Daryl Washington, who the Cardinals were anticipating would face a four-to-six game suspension for pleading guilty in March to assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

“I was going to be in there and hopefully keep us .500 until he gets back,” Foote said.

About three weeks after Foote signed, Washington was suspended for the entire 2014 season.

“He ends up gone for the year, and I’m in there every snap,” Foote said. “But, competitively, I love being out there.

“But, six games I was looking at the money, I said, ‘OK that makes sense.’”

The numbers don't quite work for 16 games. Foote signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals worth $1.020 million, which included a $65,000 signing bonus. His final year in Pittsburgh in 2013 netted $2.5 million.

With Arizona sitting at 5-1 heading into Week 8, Foote’s deal looks like a steal.

The 13-year veteran has played every snap for Arizona this season after missing the final 15 games of 2013 with a biceps injury. He’s tied for second on the team with 35 tackles and has one interception and one sack, which he recorded Sunday in Oakland.

"Larry's kind of the glue over there rihgt now," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "He calls the defense, he sets the defense, he's the cheerleader -- he's everything I knew he would be. He's been that way for a long time. But, he brings a lot of passion to the practice field, too, and the locker room.

"Yeah, he's everything we needed."

Not going through a full season this late in his career has helped Foote.

“After the season I didn’t have to ice no injuries,” he said. “I just started working out and [my] body feels good.”

While he was supposed to already be thinking about postseason vacation destinations, the only place Foote has been visiting this year is the training room.

He doesn’t know if he’ll sign another contract to return in 2015 or hang up his cleats for a life of retirement. That decision could’ve been made starting this week, but he’ll have to put it off until December -- or maybe February, if he’s lucky.

“At this point, I’m week to week,” Foote said. “I’ve never been in the training room as much [in] my whole career. I told them guys, ‘This is the last week,’ and last week was supposed to be the last week. They got on me [Monday] morning and I said, ‘Football week don’t start until Wednesday.’

“But I’m having fun. When you winning, I mean, this is what football is about. Winning, having a run, those memories, that’s worth more than money or anything. A lot of guys haven’t been fortunate enough to have those runs.”
PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly likes to describe his approach as a “one-week operation,” meaning the Philadelphia Eagles are currently focused only on the Arizona Cardinals, their next opponent. That was true last week during the Eagles’ bye.

Well, mostly true. The Eagles also focused a little bit on another team. Themselves.

“We just analyze what we did in certain situations,” Kelly said Tuesday. “We went through goal line, we went through coming out, we went through third-down situations, we went through openers, kind of looked at everything. What we were successful at -- kind of looked at it on film -- what we weren't successful at, why we weren't successful at it. Was it personnel, was it scheme, was it we weren't prepared for this? So, you're kind of looking at everything that you're doing.”

Late last week, the coaches began zeroing in on the Cardinals. It helps that the Eagles played Arizona last season. That gives the coaches a starting point in their preparation.

“We always look at everybody,” Kelly said. “We looked at both Giants games when we played the Giants. If we've played a team before, it's a benefit to us. We'll go back and watch it. When we played the Bears in preseason, we watched the Bears from the year before. We played the Patriots preseason, we watched the Patriots game in preseason from before. Whenever you have a game from a year ago and the coordinators are the same and the coaches are the same, you're going to take a look at it. If it's a whole new coaching staff, then sometimes that doesn't benefit you, but if it's got the same coaching staff, and obviously they do, so we looked at it.”

The Eagles won that game, 24-21. As it happened, they were also coming off their bye week before playing the Cardinals. That game was in Philadelphia. This week’s will be in Glendale, Arizona.

Kelly was asked if it was easier to prepare after a poor effort or a loss than it was after arguably the Eagles’ best overall game of the season, their shutout win against the Giants last week.

“I hope not,” Kelly said. “I wouldn't want it the other way, I'll tell you that. If I had my choice, I would rather have it the way we have it right now. I mean, you always want to continue to play, but we still have a lot of things from the Giants game that we can improve on. We didn't play a complete football game. We turned the ball over a couple times on the offensive side of the ball. We punted six times. You know, we've got to do a better job in a lot of categories, so it's not like we're patting ourselves on the back after that performance. I thought we played well, I thought we played with good energy, I thought we played hard, but there's still a lot of things we can do to be a better football team.”
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Here is the latest look at what could turn out to be a banner crop of rookie receivers.

They are ranked by targets, which is a true measure of how much a receiver is utilized. We’re using the qualifier of having a minimum of four targets per game.

Here’s the list of the top-targeted rookie receivers (28 targets needed to qualify):

Sammy Watkins, Buffalo (62 targets): He had a monster game in the Bills' 17-16 victory over Minnesota. He was targeted 14 times and caught nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He now leads all rookies with 35 catches and has 433 yards and four touchdowns. This is the first time he’s topped this list.

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina (61): He only had three catches for 61 yards on six targets in a 38-17 loss to Green Bay, though one was for a touchdown. He has 34 catches for 477 yards and five touchdowns. The yardage and TDs lead all rookie receivers.

Allen Robinson, Jacksonville (52): He had four receptions for 60 yards in the Jaguars’ 24-6 victory over Cleveland. One was a 31-yard catch-and-run that resulted in his first career touchdown. He has 34 catches for 371 yards.

Brandin Cooks, New Orleans (42): Cooks had just two catches for 23 yards in the Saints’ 24-23 loss to Detroit. He has 34 catches for 278 yards and one touchdown.

Allen Hurns, Jacksonville (40): He had just one catch for 7 yards against the Browns and has 19 receptions for 305 yards and three touchdowns.

Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia (36): The Eagles were idle. He has 23 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (33): The Buccaneers were idle. He has 21 catches for 258 yards and two touchdowns.

John Brown, Arizona (33): He had a light day in the Cardinals’ 24-13 victory over Oakland, catching just two passes for 41 yards. He has 17 catches for 197 yards and three TDs.

Cardinals fifth in Power Rankings

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
TEMPE, Ariz. -- In the minds of the voters, a win over the Oakland Raiders isn’t as valuable as a win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

That much was drawn from this week’s ESPN NFL Power Rankings, in which the Arizona Cardinals moved up one place to No. 5 after topping the Raiders 24-13 to improve to 5-1. It wasn’t quite a shutout, like the Indianapolis Colts pitched against the Bengals, but the Cardinals are off to their best start since 1976.

By conventional thinking, the Cardinals should be in the top four, packing all the one-loss teams together but, then again, they did just beat the winless Raiders while the Colts were impressive over Cincinnati. Arizona showed a resiliency and mental toughness not to look past the Oakland game -- a tendency that will eventually bite one team this season. Sunday’s game also kept exposing a few problems that Arizona needs to minimize quickly if the Cardinals want their 5-1 start to turn into a playoff berth.

While I do think Arizona should have been ranked fourth this week, fifth isn’t a bad place to be sitting considering who they’ve beaten the last two games. With the Eagles, who are ranked third, and the Cowboys, ranked second, coming up in the next two weeks, Arizona has a chance to make some headway and settle in at No. 2 with back-to-back wins.

The Film Don't Lie: Cardinals

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
A weekly look at what the Cardinals must fix:

Sitting very close to the bottom of the league in total sacks with seven -- 12 fewer than at this point last season -- the Arizona Cardinals are still struggling to find a solution to their foundering pass rush. The lack of a presence inside the pocket continued Sunday with just one sack against the Raiders. If nothing changes against Philadelphia this weekend, Arizona may be in for its second loss of the season.

Against the Raiders, the Cardinals didn’t seem to have much of an issue getting off the line of scrimmage and putting some heat on rookie quarterback Derek Carr. It was more that the rush fizzled. According to Pro Football Focus, the Cardinals finished their 24-13 win with 13 hurries but no quarterback hits besides the sack by Larry Foote.

Arizona sent five or more pass-rushers on seven dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

And when the Cardinals did, they either missed Carr or he stepped up in the pocket to avoid any pressure and contact.

A review of the game film showed Carr having room to easily step up. When Arizona sent seven pass-rushers on a third-and-7 in the second quarter, the middle was open for Carr to just move up in the pocket and hit Mychal Rivera for an 18-yard pass.

As they've been all season, the Cardinals seemed to be a half step slow on the pass rush. There were times when Tommy Kelly got through, but Carr released the ball just before he was hit.

Arizona will be able to fix its pass rush by clogging the middle gaps and not allowing quarterbacks to step up and forcing them outside. The also need to be quicker with their hands when offensive linemen are moving them away from the pocket or developing better moves to elude tackles off the edge such as what Sam Acho did when he knocked down a Carr pass in the first quarter when Arizona rushed six.

Cardinals defensive snaps: Week 7

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A look at the Arizona Cardinals' defensive snap counts from Sunday’s 24-13 win over the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum.


Tommy Kelly: 40 of 51
Dan Williams: 36 of 51
Ed Stinson: 32 of 51
Frostee Rucker 22 of 51
Kareem Martin: 12 of 51
Alameda Ta'amu: 4 of 51

Recap: Bruce Arians had wanted Kelly’s snaps to decrease this season -- so did the veteran lineman -- and that happened Sunday with his second-lowest snap total of the season. On the other hand, Williams had a season-high 36. Rookies Martin and Stinson are alternating high snap counts based on the type of defensive scheme played.


Larry Foote: 51 of 51
Kevin Minter: 24 of 51

Recap: Minter played more snaps Sunday than he has since Week 2. Foote continued to be durable and reliable, not missing a snap all season.


Alex Okafor: 50 of 51
Sam Acho: 34 of 51

Recap: Okafor played all but one snap Sunday, as his role continues to increase. Acho’s snaps also keeps on growing.


Patrick Peterson: 51 of 51
Antonio Cromartie: 50 of 51
Jerraud Powers: 27 of 51

Recap: With Arizona not in as much dime and nickel Sunday, Powers’ snaps decreased a bit to his lowest total of the season. Peterson played every down for the third time this year.


Rashad Johnson: 50 of 51
Deone Bucannon: 28 of 51
Tyrann Mathieu: 27 of 51
Tony Jefferson: 23 of 51

Recap: Jefferson’s snaps haven’t rebounded to the amount he was playing before Mathieu was given a a bigger role this season. Mathieu’s and Bucannon’s snaps both dropped since Arizona stayed in base more Sunday.

Cardinals' offensive snaps: Week 7

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A look at the Arizona Cardinals' offense snap counts from Sunday's 24-13 win against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum.


Larry Fitzgerald: 73 of 76

Michael Floyd: 72 of 76

John Brown: 43 of 76

Jaron Brown: 6 of 76

Ted Ginn: 5 of 76

Recap: For the second time in three games, Ginn played single-digit snaps on offense. Sunday was a season-low for him, while John Brown's 43 was a career-high. Jaron Brown's six snaps tied his season high, while Fitzgerald and Floyd continue to take most of the reps.


Andre Ellington: 49 of 76

Stepfan Taylor: 22 of 76

Robert Hughes: 8 of 76

Recap: Taylor had a season high by far against Oakland while Ellington's 49 tied for his second-most snaps this season. He would've had a career high had he not missed most of the opening series in the locker room. Ellington, however, touched the ball on 61.2 percent of his snaps.


John Carlson: 70 of 76

Rob Housler: 29 of 76

Darren Fells: 3 of 76

Recap: Carlson played a season high and also exceeded 60 snaps for the first time since Week 2. Housler is getting more of a role in the offense with Troy Niklas out with a sprained ankle.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Darnell Dockett's mocking of Oakland's winless 0-6 record late in Sunday's game went viral quickly after the Cardinals won, 24-13.

But Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arian wasn't a fan of Dockett's antics.

"It won't happen again," Arians said Monday afternoon.

Dockett told he hasn't been fined by the team for the whiteboard message.

Here's a photo of the sign taken by a Cardinals fan in Oakland:

Recapping the rest of Arians' Monday news conference:
  • Arians said there's no structural damage to Andre Ellington's ribs. The running back is "just sore."
  • There's a possibility defensive end Calais Campbell could return to practice this week. He's been out with a strained MCL since suffering the injury against Denver in Week 5.
  • Arians said safety Rashad Johnson is being evaluated for a patellar tendon but it could be severe tendinitis.
  • Rookie tight end Troy Niklas is doubtful for the Eagles game, Arians said.
  • Second-year running back Stepfan Taylor lost weight to get quicker but lost some power at the same time, Arians said.
  • Arians explained how the Cardinals could be 31st about the pass but No. 1 against the run: "They can't run. They're going to throw." When he was asked if Arizona could win with the second-worst pass defense, Arians said "We have so far."
  • Arians said he won't push Ellington to practice on Wednesdays even though it's hindering the timing in Arizona's pass game: "He can't if he can't hardly walk."
  • Arians on the fake punts the St. Louis Rams pulled off against Seattle: "That was some big cojones as Good (offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin) would say."

Fantasy: Carson Palmer

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20


Christopher Harris analyzes Carson Palmer for Week 8.

Bond lowered for Jonathan Dwyer

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix court has lowered the bond used to release Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer from jail after he was arrested on charges that he assaulted his wife during arguments at their apartment.

Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Jeffrey Rueter on Monday reduced Dwyer's bond from $25,000 to $10,000 and removed a requirement that the player wear an ankle monitoring bracelet. But Rueter declined a request by the player's attorney to secure his release without a bond.

Dwyer has been out of jail since posting bail hours after his Sept. 17 arrest.

Investigators have said Dwyer broke his wife's nose with a head-butt during a July 21 argument, and the next day punched her and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who wasn't injured. Dwyer was initially booked on suspicion of aggravated assault against his son but was not indicted on that allegation.

His wife told authorities the first assault occurred after she learned about Dwyer's recent phone contact with another woman.

Dwyer has pleaded not guilty to felony aggravated assault and eight misdemeanors, including assault.

Robert Feinberg, one of Dwyer's attorneys, argued his client should be released on his own recognizance because Dwyer has no prior criminal history and stands zero chance of fleeing from authorities.

"He wants to prove his innocence," Feinberg said, adding that Dwyer's wife told police on a few occasions that she doesn't want the case prosecuted.

Feinberg read to Rueter a glowing letter written by one of Dwyer's former teachers and pointed out that the player has strong family support.

"Where was that support when he was violently going after this victim?" asked prosecutor Jay Rademacher, arguing that the $25,000 bond was appropriate.

(Read full post)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Arizona Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer woke up Sunday morning, he knew his return to the Coliseum wouldn’t be just another game.

“It was kind of nostalgic -- more than I thought would even hit me being back,” the former Raiders third-round draft pick said. “Coming out pregame and running around back on the field, being back in the Coliseum and all the familiar things coming back from the last four years, it’s a lot of emotion.

“I knew it was going to be a special game.”

Leaving Oakland with a 24-13 win made it even more special.

Veldheer was one of three former Raiders on the field for Arizona. A lot was made last week about quarterback Carson Palmer’s return, but defensive tackle Tommy Kelly played the first nine years of his career with the Raiders.

He said he wanted to get a win for Palmer, who played half of 2011 and all of 2012 with Oakland before a trade landed him in Arizona, but Kelly wanted the win for himself.

“As a football player, I learned a lot,” he said. “I have a lot of love for this city and I wish the team nothing but the best. But on the football field, it’s not anything personal. It’s business. We just wanted to go out there, execute and win.”

While Kelly didn’t talk to any of his former Raiders teammates on the field -- “They kind of leave me alone. They know how I am,” he said -- he discussed playing a former team with his new head coach, Bruce Arians.

“You can see the smiles on their faces all week and [the] energy they brought to practice and meetings,” Arians said. “It was special for them, especially Tommy Kelly.”

Palmer and Kelly left the Raiders in 2013, and Veldheer in 2014. Veldheer, who was drafted by Oakland in 2010, returned with a chip on his shoulder because of how his departure went down.

“It was a big win for both of us,” Veldheer said.

“It meant a ton,” he added.

Palmer, who completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and his first interception of the season, downplayed having a chip on his shoulder. He did, however, make sure to get a box of favorite sandwiches delivered to the locker room after the game. He also talked about seeing his former Oakland teammates still on the roster.

“It was a great environment to play in,” Palmer said. “This place is awesome. It was great to play [here] when you’re wearing silver and black and it’s a fun place to play as an opponent. Great to get a win.”
videoOAKLAND, Calif. -- The way this season has gone for the Arizona Cardinals, coach Bruce Arians didn’t think Andre Ellington was coming back out of that locker room.

Ellington went in early, with a few seconds left in the second quarter to get his bruised ribs examined. It was going to be, in Arians' mind, another injury to add to the Cardinals’ weekly list report that seemingly grows by the day.

Ellington didn’t quell Arians’ concerns when the Cardinals returned to the field for the second half kickoff without him. By then, Arians was rewriting the game plan for Stepfan Taylor and Robert Hughes to carry Ellington’s load in the second half. But several minutes into the third quarter, Ellington jogged back on to the field, around the Raiderettes, around the end zone, and stood next to Arians.

“Then he tapped me on the back and said he was ready to go,” Arians said. “I said, ‘Oh good. I’m glad you made it.’”

Glad may be the understatement of the month.

Ellington was Arizona’s workhorse in Sunday’s 24-13 victory against winless Oakland, extending the Cardinals’ lead in the NFC West another week. Ellington finished with a career-high 30 touches for 160 total yards, which included a career-high 24 rushes for 88 yards while tying a career-high six receptions for 72 yards.

But more importantly, he led the revival of a running game that’s been weeks in the making.

“We want to come out every week and establish a run game,” Ellington said. “Coach challenged us this week, said we have to run the football better. Last week we didn’t run it well.”

After Ellington returned, Arians gave his featured back one play that first drive of the second half -- a pass from Carson Palmer, which Ellington dropped. But when Arizona took over following a field goal by Oakland to make the game 14-13 midway through the third quarter, Arians gave the ball back to Ellington.

And didn’t stop.

Ellington was responsible for 76 of the 80 yards on Arizona’s next drive -- 40 on the ground, 16 in the air and 20 through a defensive pass interference he drew. After doing all that work, he subbed himself out after getting winded and let Taylor get the glory. Taylor, who had 40 yards on 12 carries -- twice as many as his season total before Oakland -- scored on a four-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game.

“He earned it during the week,” Ellington said. “When I’m sitting resting, he’s out there working. My idea was just to get some fresh legs out there and we got the touchdown.”

Since he injured his left foot the week before the opener, Ellington hasn’t been practicing Wednesdays. It’s caused him to struggle with his wind early in games but he eventually catches his breath. The gauntlet of plays that Arians put Ellington through Sunday had been set since OTAs but Ellington hasn’t had many opportunities to practice them.

Arizona hadn’t cracked 100 yards rushing since Week 2 in New York, but if there was a game to do it, it was against the Raiders' 31st-ranked rushing defense. The Cardinals knew they had specific areas to focus on, and Sunday was an example of what happens when their minor corrections aremade.

“It’s something that we always knew we had,” said fullback Robert Hughes. “We were there the few past games but it’s always one block here, one block there. Today, we seemed to be able to get in more of a rhythm in the run game, but we got to definitely continue to work on it some more cause there’s big plays there we need to get out and get those toes big plays.”