Patrick Peterson's Star Rises In Cardinals Win Over Rams, 19-13

It was a boring four quarters, but I guess that's why they have overtime. Losing streak over, happiness in the Valley for at least a week.

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Patrick Peterson: The Skills Of A Great Return Man

When Patrick Peterson came to the post-game press conference, he was still out of breath. And why should't he be? In one play, he ran 99-yards into Cardinal history and he ran the Cardinals out of a six-game losing streak.

He instantly became Ken Whisenhunt's new favorite player. "He's my new son, I just adopted him," said Whisenhunt about the rookie cornerback. Peterson said that Whisenhunt had some kind words to say to him after the thrilling OT victory. "He told me he loved me!" Said Peterson. "I told him that I loved him too!"

Most average NFL fans do not know what goes into a punt return touchdown. Peterson does not just simply take the ball and run around till he is in the endzone. "I always try to locate the ball and get a glimpse of both gunners," said Peterson. In overtime against the Rams, this was no different.

"I always look at the gunners first, and they were wide, and I knew the guys in the middle have to wait for the ball to be punted, and they are the slowest guys on the field, then I saw I had a chance."

Ken Whisenhunt knows when the ball is in Peterson's hands good things can happen. "He's just done too many things special," said Whisenhunt. The head coach knows that Peterson is a gifted return man. "He's got such great hand-eye coordination," said Whisenhunt. "He's got such a great feel, and he is definitely a force."

Whisenhunt still will not give Peterson the green light to field all punts at the one-yard line. "I want to be clear, we still got rules," said Whisenhunt. "It's not just Patrick go back there and field whatever you want to catch."

"It was gutsy," said Peterson about his choice to field a punt at his 1 in overtime. Peterson made a big play for a team that was desperately looking for something good to go its way. "Once I get the ball in my hands, I'm just trying to make a play for this team."


Calais Campbell Comes Up Huge In Cardinals Win

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell is a big, big man. Of course, most NFL linemen are big but standing six-feet-eight, Campbell towers above them all. What sets Campbell apart is more than his height, it's his ability to move well in the trenches and use his arm length to tip passes and make tackles.

Campbell had a fantastic game in the Cardinals 19-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. The biggest play of the day came at the end of regulation when Campbell recorded his fourth-career blocked field goal on a 42-yard attempt that would have won the game for the Rams.

"My mindset was like, find a way to get a block," Campbell explained. "I told Darnell Dockett, 'If you give me a good push I might get a block.' He gave me the best push I've ever seen ever. In four years of playing with him, that's the best push he ever gave me."

There wasn't any extra trickery or stunts run on the block. Just Dockett clearing space Campbell getting a big paw high in the air. (Here's the video.)

The blocked field goal was obviously huge, but Campbell also recorded 1.5 sacks in the game, three QB hits and had five tackles, the most of any lineman.

The Cardinals defense as a whole was the difference in the game. They kept the Rams out of the red zone and forced them into three field goals which was their only offensive points of the day. 

"The defense all day, they bailed us out time and time again," Larry Fitzgerald said.

It wasn't a pretty win with John Skelton looking shaky in his first start of the season (20-25, 222 yards) and Beanie Wells completely shut down (20 yards, 10 carries). The offensive line was responsible for one safety and Skelton took the blame for the second which gave the Rams four extra points.

Despite all that, the Cardinals got huge stops when they needed to and found a way to pull out a much needed win. Patrick Peterson will get a lot of recognition for his walk-off punt return TD, but the defense led by Calais Campbell were also heroes in the game.


Cardinals Vs. Rams Safety Update: One Is Bad, Two Is Very Bad (VIDEO)

The Arizona Cardinals have problems on all sides of the ball but their inability to avoid getting tackled in the end zone and giving up safeties was not one we focused on before the game. But there you have it, twice on two straight possessions the St. Louis Rams defense sacked John Skelton in the end zone and scored four points. At the end of the third quarter the total score in this 13-6 game is five field goals and two safeties. 

In other words, this is an ugly football game.

The Arizona Cardinals have a total of 150 yards offense with just 14 yards on the ground as the Rams defense is loading up in the box. Defensively, the Cardinals are giving up long drives but somehow finding a way to keep Sam Bradford and the Rams out of the end zone thanks in part to timely sacks. Calais Campbell has two sacks in the game himself.

Here's video of the first safety allowed by the Cardinals offensive line. Note how both Daryn Colledge and Levi Brown get beat by a guy they are double teaming. Well done, boys!

And here's safety number two. This time the pressure comes from the right side of the line.


Cardinals Vs. Rams Injury Report: Kevin Kolb Inactive, Sam Bradford Starting

The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams wasn't ever going to be a marquis match up for NFL Week 9. The two teams have a combined two wins on the season and will be fighting for last place in the NFC West. Making matters worse (or perhaps better), the Cardinals will be without their starting quarterback as Kevin Kolb (toe) is inactive for this game. Sam Bradford will return after missing the last two games due to an ankle injury.

The Kolb injury will give John Skelton his first start since he finished out last season going 2-2 in four starts but completing just 48 percent of his throws. Skelton is confident, however, that he will do much better this season and said his comfort level is "night and day" compared to his rookie year.

For the Cardinals, RB Beanie Wells (knee) and TE (Todd Heap) are active and expected to play. No surprises there. OLB Joey Porter (knee) is not active along with TE Rob Housler (groin), FB Anthony Sherman (ankle), S Kerry Rhodes (foot), and WR Stephen Williams. The biggest surprise on the inactive list of the Cardinals (pun intended) is RG Deuce Lutui

The Rams inactive list includes CB Rod Hood, RB Jerious Norwood, LB Bryan Kehl, starting RT Jason Smith, TE Stephen Spach, starting WR Danario Alexander and DT Darell Scott.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.


John Skelton Ready And Willing To Start For Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals haven't announced anything about Kevin Kolb's status for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams and they likely won't until the last possible minute. All signs, however, point to backup John Skelton getting the fifth start of his career.

"As far as I heard, Kevin's still a possibility," Skelton said on Friday. "(Kolb) hasn't practiced at all because of his toe but he's in there getting treatment. We'll see what happens Saturday night or even Sunday morning."

If Skelton does get the start, he certainly thinks he's ready to perform and at a much higher level than last season when he closed out the year going 2-2 in the final four games. In those four starts and in part of a fifth game, Skelton went 60-126 (48 percent) for 662 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 62.3.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Skelton has looked good in practice this week and had looked good in training camp and preseason prior to suffering a high ankle sprain in the game against Green Bay.

"There's no question he's more comfortable now with the offense and hopefully that will allow him to play faster or see things better in the game Sunday," Whisenhunt said.

Skelton agrees. He admits that last year even with a watered down "vanilla" offensive game plan, he was having to think too much about the play in between calling it and executing it. Now he's able to "read and react" faster and is excited about the opportunity to "show what I got". He's have the full playbook at his disposal against the Rams.

Skelton obviously doesn't wish injury on anyone and is rooting for Kolb to get healthy but at the same time he understand that it's part of the game. "All you can do is make the most of it," he said about the position he's found himself in.

Whisenhunt said that Kolb, who was not in a walking boot again on Friday but was sporting a much shorter haircut, is making "really good progress" with the injury. The decision about him playing will be based on the amount of swelling in his right foot and his ability to push off the foot and make throws.


  • Ken Whisenhunt was surprisingly blunt when asked about second-year nose tackle Dan Williams
  • "I wish that he (Williams) hadn't been in such poor shape when we started camp because that set him back. It seems like now he's just catching up to where we hoped he would be. It's obvious he's in better shape (now). His weight's down. He's making some of those plays that we got to see a little bit at the end of the year last year and got so excited about. Disappointing that it didn't start earlier for him but I'm glad that he has gotten better."
  • Defensive coordinator is impressed with rookie OLB Sam Acho:
  • "Fresh legs, enthusiasm, some youth, some speed. He's a very a very smart player and he came up with a big play in the game last week. His role will keep expanding and we'll try and give him as much as he can handle which seems to be a lot right now."
  • Horton thinks the next step for the defense is learning how to finish games and realize that opponents aren't going to quit.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.


Cardinals Vs. Rams Injury Update: Kolb And Bradford Both DNP, Wells Limited

The Arizona Cardinals might have been hoping for more progress on Kevin Kolb's toe and foot injury but he didn't make enough progress to allow him to practice on Thursday. Kolb was out of the walking boot, which he didn't have on Wednesday either, but was observed limping on Thursday which calls into question his availability for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

The official line from the team was (and likely will remain) that a decision won't be made until Sunday. The injury, while sounding benign with the name "turf toe", is a fairly serious sprain to the toe and foot that limits Kolb's ability to generate power on this throws.

Beanie Wells was upgrade from not practicing on Wednesday due to his on-going knee issue to "limited" status on Thursday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated on Wednesday that this would be a normal process for Wells who he called a "tough sucker" for playing through the injury.

Other injury holdouts from practice on Thursday include Rob Housler (groin), Anthony Sherman (ankle), and Kerry Rhodes (foot). It's unlikely any of those guys will play on Sunday. Joey Porter (knee) was also limited.

For the Rams, QB Sam Bradford (ankle) was technically a non-participant in practice on Thursday but according to local report, he did throw the ball in individual drills but didn't participate in any team work.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.


Patrick Peterson Prepares For Two Big Games This Weekend

Patrick Peterson is going to be a busy man this weekend. On Sunday, Peterson will try to help the Cardinals end their six-game losing streak against the St. Louis Rams. Peterson will most likely draw a matchup against Rams number one receiver Brandon Lloyd.

However Peterson will have his his eye on another match up this weekend, as his alma-mater LSU takes on Alabama Saturday night in a match up of undefeated SEC rivals. "it's an LSU week," Peterson told reporters yesterday. "I'm all LSU all this week." 

Peterson started for the Tigers from 2008-2010 and was a consensus first team All-American in 2010. He finished is career with 135 tackles, 22 pass breakups and seven interceptions and took home the Jim Thorpe (Top Defensive Back) and Chuck Bendarik (Top Defender) awards his junior season at LSU. 

There has been a rivalry all week between Peterson and safety Rashad Johnson, who played three seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Johnson got Peterson's attention earlier this week when he made the bold statement that Alabama women are better looking than Louisiana women.

"I don't know many women in Alabama, so I believe LSU and the state of Louisiana has the best looking women, and the best food as well," Peterson said. Peterson told reporters he may go over and watch the game at Johnson's house on Saturday night. Cardinals fans are hoping that tensions won't be as high at the Johnson house as they will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where the No. 1 vs No. 2 showdown takes place.


Cardinals Vs. Rams: Kolb And Bradford Both Miss Practice, Questionable For Sunday

The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams were two teams picked to compete for the NFC West title this season. Instead, it's the San Francisco 49ers (6-1) who are running away with the division while the Cardinals and Rams each are struggling with a 1-6 record going into their first of two meetings. Unfortunately for both teams who desperately need a Week 9 win, each could be without their starting quarterback due to injury.

Sam Bradford (ankle) didn't practice on Wednesday and is questionable for Sunday. According to Rams running back Steven Jackson, the team won't change its game plan even if backup A.J. Feeley gets his third-straight start. Feeley led the Rams to a 31-21 win over the New Orleans Saints last week so the team is feeling confident either way.

Kevin Kolb reported on Wednesday that he's making progress with his toe injury suffered early in last Sunday's game in Baltimore. Kolb didn't practice on Wednesday either but is no long wearing a walking boot to protect the toe that he and teammates reported was very swollen and discolored after the game.

If Kolb can't go, look for John Skelton to get the start.

"Those four games I got to play last year really help towards this year," Skelton said.

He reported that he is preparing as if he's going to get the start but that's no different than any other week. The only change is getting the reps in practice on Wednesday while Kolb rehabs the toe.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said they would continue to evaluate Kolb throughout the week and likely wouldn't make a final determination until Sunday. His ability to play is a combination of pain tolerance and how much he's able to push off the right foot while making throws.

"You just don't want to get out there and the ball starts sailing and doing things that it normally hasn't done," Kolb explained.

Other Cardinals injuries include TE Rob Housler (groin) who said this was a new injury and not a re-aggravation of his injury from training camp. Housler is unlikely to play Sunday but the Cardinals should have TE Todd Heap (hamstring) back although Whisenhunt indicated he could be used in a limited role Sunday. TE Jim Dray (pectoral) is back as well and played well last Sunday.

Whisenhunt reported that Beanie Wells is OK but will have soreness and have to work himself back each week for the next few weeks as his knee slowly recovers. It certainly sounds as if Wells will play against the Rams but could be limited in the number of snaps he's available as was the case last Sunday.


Kevin Kolb, Beanie Wells And Other Cardinals Injury News

The Arizona Cardinals are 1-6 and the season has officially (not actually official) turned towards the future. The goal (unofficially) isn't getting into the playoffs as much as it is getting better and building for next season. A big part of that -- really the biggest part -- is Kevin Kolb.

The Cardinals invested a lot in Kolb and so far he's not delivering. They are far from giving up on him but with nine games left in the season it sure would be nice to see some improvement. Unfortunately, an injury to his big toe might limit that.

Kolb suffered "turf toe" on the first play off Sunday's game in Baltimore. Turf toe is just another name for a sprain to the big toe that often happens to athletes when they are tackled and their shoe catches in the turf and the toe is bent backwards too far. 

Like most ligament sprains, it comes with swelling and pain and reduced mobility. Kolb played through it and according to coach Ken Whisenhunt likely felt pain when trying to push off and throw. Kolb isn't sure about his status for next Sunday's game against the Rams.

"Just day by day...Right now just try and get the swelling out and the pain a little bit. As the week goes on get more and more movement and see what my body allows me to do," Kolb said Monday.

In addition to Kolb's big toe, running back Beanie Wells is dealing with a knee injury that neither he, nor the team are willing to put a name to. Wells had 22 caries for 83 yards against the very good Ravens defense on Sunday. He said after the game his knee would likely be an issue for the rest of the season which makes us wonder if he will end up needing surgery once the season is over.

Other injuries coming out of Sunday's game were to rookies FB Anthony Sherman (ankle) and TE Rob Housler (groin).

The lack of Housler's speed on offense was missed and his status for next week is unknown. Whisenhunt was confident that TE Todd Heap (hamstring) would be back and called him "close" and indicated that he almost was able to play this past Sunday in Baltimore.

With so much defensive attention paid to Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals need Heap back in for the offense.

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