GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Kevin Kolb #7 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass during the NFL season opening game against the Carolina Panthers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Cam Newton Torches Cardinals Defense For 422 Passing Yards, But Arizona Holds On For 28-21 Win

Arizona starts the season 1-0 and looks bad defensively, but Kevin Kolb and the offense is solid and Patrick Peterson electrifies the crowd with a 90-yard punt return TD.

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23 Total Updates since September 5, 2011
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NFL Week 1 Injury Report: MRI For Daryl Washington, LaRod Stephens-Howling Arm Being Evaluated

It is nearly impossible to come out of an NFL football game without an injuries. For the most part the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers avoided anything major. The Panthers probably got the worst of it with Jon Beason being carted off the field with an ankle injury. Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington suffered a calf strain in the second half and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling took a shot to his arm and hand.

Washington is a key defensive player for the Cardinals. He came up big in his Week 1 game with two interceptions (one reversed due to a questionable call). Washington hurt his right calf later in the game and didn't return. He's schedule for an MRI on Monday but the general sense is that it's not a serious injury. More information should be available later in the week.

Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling got hit on his arm and is being evaluated for a bicep and hand injury. More on his status and availability will also have to wait until later in the week.

If Washington can't play in Week 2 against the Redskins, look for both Reggie Walker and Stewart Bradley to fill in well. Walker played against the Panthers after Washington left the field and played well according to coach Ken Whisenhunt. Bradley is still adjusting to the 3-4 defense and just needs more time to get comfortable.

If Stephens-Howling can't play, Patrick Peterson would move up to return kickoffs while Chester Taylor should be ready to take reps at running back. Taylor only had three days practice after being acquired by the Cardinals and wasn't active for Week 1. He thinks he'll be ready for the next game.

For the Panthers, Beason is a big blow. He'd been struggling with Achilles tendon issues and pulled up hurt after trying to chase down Cardinals TE Jeff King from behind. 

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Cardinals Vs Panthers, Monday Morning Quarterback: 10 Big Plays That Won The Game

Big plays and key moments are what make football games. Here's 10 from the Cardinals win over the Panthers that changed the game.

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Kevin Kolb Says Cardinals 'Lucky' To Get Win Over Cam Newton's Carolina Panthers

The NFL is a quarterbacks' league. We saw that on the opening night of the season with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees airing it out in Green Bay. Here in Arizona last season we missed having a quarterback who could get anything done. By all accounts Kevin Kolb has solved that problem. 

Kolb was the first to admit that he needs to improve and said, "We're lucky to win a game like that." By that he means getting deep into the red zone twice in the first half and not coming away with any points. 

After a very impressive 54-yard scoring possession to open the game, the offense twice failed to covert after long drives. Early in the second quarter, Kolb moved the ball down to the Carolina four yard line and had exactly the right play called, a pitch to Beanie Wells who was going to run around the left side and straight into the end zone. 

"It was a bad pitch. I think he'd probably say he took his eyes off of it, I'd tell you it was a bad pitch," Kolb said about the turnover that killed the drive. On the plus side, it was the only Cardinals turnover of the game.

On the very next drive, Kolb moved the team 58 yards in nine plays and was within five yards of scoring before WR Andre Roberts was flagged for an illegal crackback block that cost 15 yards. To make matters worse, the normally reliable Jay Feely missed a 36-yard field that could have proved very painful in this close game.

Overall, Kolb had a very good first game. He went 18-27 for 309 yards through air with no interceptions and two touchdown passes. His passer rating was 130. 

"I like the fact that versus pressure he hit some plays and made some big throws. I think the one there at the end of the game where he threw it to Larry (Fitzgerald) on the fade on the third down, that may have been the best throw I've seen him make and he's made some good throws," Ken Whisenhunt said about his new quarterback.

Both of Kolb's touchdown passes -- a 48-yard pass to TE Jeff King and a 70-yard completion to WR Early Doucet -- both came against blitz pressure. Kolb said he recognized where the blitz was coming from and in both cases was able to find the open man. 

"I'm not sure we would have won that game last year so I was proud of the way our team responded and answered. We've got a lot of things we've got to clean up," Whisenhunt said about the Cardinals performance.

Defensively, there's a lot to question for the Cardinals. Whisenhunt pointed out that this is what can happen to young cornerbacks but at the same time, he (appropriately) gave credit to Cam Newton and the Carolina receivers.

The Panthers put up a lot of numbers (477 total yards) but several of the big plays came against the blitz and can't be blamed entirely on the defensivebacks left on an island. If you are going to bring that kind of pressure, you have to get to the quarterback fast enough to disrupt his throw.

Newton pointed out that there wasn't anything the Cardinals threw at him that he wasn't ready for, "The Cardinals did an excellent job of disguising, but throughout the week, coach (Rob) Chudzinski and coach (Mike) Shula) just simplified everything for me. Everything that we saw on film, they pretty much did."

The Cardinals did sack Newton four times for 19 yards and they held him to just 18 yards running.

The defense looked most effective when they were able to get pressure from the edges while rushing only four guys. Without having seen the film yet, it seems that O'Brien Schofield was effective in that role. 

The Cardinals gave up a lot of yards and let Newton set a record for rookie QB passing, but holding an opponent to 21 points in today's NFL isn't horrible. The Cardinals got a big interception and had three fewer penalties than their opponent and recorded two more sacks. Take away the fumble and missed field goal, and this is a very different game.

The Panthers came extremely close to tying the game late but in the end, Patrick Peterson's punt return for a touchdown was enough to give Arizona the first win of the season.

For more on this game, visit Revenge of the Birds.

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Cardinals Vs. Panthers, Score Update: Cam Newton Notches Two TD Passes, Up 14-7

Both Cam Newton and Kevin Kolb looked impressive at times in their first action of the 2011 NFL season. Newton completed two touchdown passes to Steve Smith to give the Carolina Panthers a 14-7 halftime lead over the Arizona Cardinals.

Newton did a good job moving in the pocket reacting to pressure. On his first scoring play, he reacted to a blitz and found a wide open Steve Smith for a 77-yard touch down. At the end of the half, Newton was once again able get enough time in the pocket to find Smith in the end zone for a 26-yard completion. Rookie Patrick Peterson had good coverage but Smith ripped the ball down to complete the score.

Kolb did a good job finding a variety of receivers to engineer an early scoring drive. The Cardinals put together two other long drives into the red zone but both were ended by mistakes. The first was killed by a Bean Wells fumble at the Panther 10-yard line. On the second, the Cardinals were pushed back by a 15-yard penalty on Andre Roberts and then saw Jay Feely miss a 36-yard field goal attempt.

There were positive signs for the Arizona offense that totaled 206 yards with a good mix of running and passing. Wells had ten carries for 71 yards. Kold spread the ball around finding seven different targets, with Todd Heap leading the way with 40 yards on two completions. Larry Fitzgerald finished the half with 28 yards on two catches.

Kevin Kolb was 12-15 for 139 yards and took two sacks. Cam Newton was 9-13 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and also took two sacks. He ran for 11 yards.

The Cardinals are very much in this game if they can clean up the mistakes and not give up any more big plays. Newton and the Panthers offensive line have shown they can handle the blitz and make the Cardinals pay.

For more on this game, visit Revenge of the Birds.

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Cardinals Vs. Panthers Inactive List: Rich Bartel And Derek Anderson Backing Up Kolb And Newton

The Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers are less an hour away from kicking off the 2011 NFL season. Both the Cardinals and Carolina Panthers have released their inactive lists. The backup quarterback decisions for teams stand out.

The Cardinals have listed Richard Bartel as the backup quarterback to Kevin Kolb. John Skelton was considered the number two QB for most of the preseason but his ankle sprain obviously set him back. Bartel helped make the decision easy by playing so well in the final two preseason games.

Another interesting decision was to pick rookie wide receiver DeMarco Sampson over Stephen Williams. Cornerback Mike Adams was thought to have been making progress on his knee rehab but he's inactive as well. Newly signed running back Chester Taylor also won't play.

Arizona Cardinals inactive list for Week 1 vs. Panthers

  • QB John Skelton
  • WR Stephen Williams
  • CB Mike Adams
  • RB Chester Taylor
  • CB Korey Lindsey
  • G/T D'Anthony Batiste
  • TE Jim Dray
For the Panthers, former Arizona quarterback (no, we can't erase that from history) Derek Anderson got the nod over Jimmy Clausen. Anderson is just one hit to Cam Newton away from taking the field at University of Phoenix Stadium. That would be fun.

Carolina Panthers inactive list for Week 1 vs. Cardinals

  • QB Jimmy Clausen
  • CB Josh Thomas
  • FB Jerome Felton
  • LB Jason Williams
  • T Lee Ziemba
  • WR Kealoha Pilares
For more coverage of the Arizona Cardinals season opener, visit Revenge of the Birds.

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Kevin Kolb And Cam Newton Carrying Their Team's Hopes Into Week 1

The eyes of football fans around the country will be on Arizona on Sunday afternoon to watch two new starting quarterbacks. Number one overall pick Cam Newton will get the ball for the Carolina Panthers while Kevin Kolb takes the hopes and dreams of Cardinals fans on his shoulders.

"It's a big game for us being at home. Look, we just got to get this thing started off right. After last season, after all the new faces around here, we're very excited and focused to make sure we come out on the right foot," Kolb said this week.

Newton will have a tall task starting in Week 1 of his rookie season. This year especially will be difficult given the lockout which eliminated a good portion of the normal offseason preparation time. 

The Cardinals are expecting the Panthers to simplify the offense for Newton but they are still very respectful of his talents and ability to make plays with his feet. According to defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the Cardinals are going to attack Newton, "He's a talented kid we're going to respect but we're going to respect him with pressure."

Kolb understands very well that he needs to get off to a fast start and quickly put away any lingering doubts the fans and even his teammates might have about this quarterback with just seven career starts.

Kevin is saying all the right things and his chemistry with Larry Fitzgerald seems to be developing very fast. Kolb's plan is to prepare for what he expects the Carolina defense to use against him but not to overthink it.

"There's a fine line between still playing the game and being prepared," Kolb said. He likes to talk about going out and just "playing ball".

Newton is expected to struggle early in his NFL career. He'll be forgiven a bad game or games as he learns to make his way as an NFL quarterback. But over time he's expected to grow into a franchise player for the Panthers.

The Cardinals have big hopes for this season. They absolutely think they can win the division and get back to the playoffs and much of that pressure rests on Kolb's shoulders. A poor showing in Week 1 will deflate a lot of dreams.

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Cardinals Vs. Panthers: TV Coverage, Start Time, Parking And 9/11 Ceremony Information

The Arizona Cardinals kick off their 2011 NFL season on Sunday, September 11 at 1:15 p.m. (4:15 p.m. ET) at University of Phoenix Stadium. It's only the third time since the team moved to Phoenix 24 years ago that the Cardinals have opened the season at home. The game also marks the 56th consecutive sell out for the team which dates back to the opening of U o P Stadium in August 2006.

Here's some key information for your Sunday viewing or game attendance pleasure including TV broadcast schedule, parking information, ticket availability and a few other notes about the September 11 ceremony. 

TV and radio broadcast information

Fox will have the television broadcast which, thanks to the sell out, will be available in the local market. Check your listings, but Fox is typically on channel 10 in the Phoenix market. Sam Rosen will have the play-by-play with Chad Pennington as his color analyst. Our own local (and fantastic) Jody Jackson will be on the sideline. 

Cardinals radio will be on 92.3 FM (KTAR) with Dave Pasch and Ron Wolfley as the broadcasters and Paul Calvisi on the sideline. Cardinals Spanish radio is on 710 am (KBMB) and Jose FM 106.9/107.1 with Gabriel Trujillo and Rolando Cantu.

September 11 ceremony information

Prior to kickoff, there will be an in-stadium ceremony that will feature a live video on the scoreboard of the playing of TAPS from Arlington National Cemetery, the unfurling of a field-sized American flag by Military, Police and Firefighter volunteers, a moment of remembrance and silence. The national anthem performed by Grammy nominated platinum recording artist and Arizona native Jordin Sparks.

If you are coming to the stadium, a visit to the Pat Tillman Memorial located at the northwest side of the plaza might be in order.

Parking, tailgate and security information for University of Phoenix Stadium

Parking at U o P is always a tricky proposition if you don't have a pass. For more more parking information and updates, click here

Game day parking lots, Sportsman's Park and the Great Lawn open four hours before kickoff at 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Gates to University of Phoenix Stadium open 90 minutes before kickoff. Fans can enter the stadium starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Fans entering the stadium can expect pat down hand searches. Click here for a list of items prohibited inside University of Phoenix Stadium.  For more information, call the Game Day Phone Hotline: 623-433-7156 or text "Cards" <space> Issue and Location to 57375 during the game.

Ticket information

Even though the game is a sellout, there are a limited number of tickets returned from the visiting team allotment. Those interested should call 602-379-0102 or visit azcardinals.com. There are also tickets available on the secondary market. Our partnership with TiqIQ can help you there, just visit this page for lots of ticket options.

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Cam Newton Better Get Ready For The House, Cardinals Are Bringing It

The Arizona Cardinals did not have a good defense last year. They did not have a good offense either and so they went out and got a new quarterback and altogether are expected to have seven new guys starting on that side of the ball. The defense is another story. They have four new starters and made a few other personnel changes, but the difference this year will be the boss, defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Horton was hired in from his job as the defensive backs coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers and he's promising a new approach. It all starts in Week 1 with Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback, Cam Newton.

"He's a talented kid we're going to respect but we're going to respect him with pressure," Horton said. 

In other words, the Arizona Cardinals defense is bringing the house according to Horton, "We're going to pressure. That's what we do. I don't care if they know it, we're coming after 'em."

The players are happy about that. They want the opportunity to get after it on defense and they love having the support of their coaching staff. 

"We know coach is going to be aggressive and that's the way we like it and that's the way we want to be. Just go out there and win or lose on our own terms," veteran safety Kerry Rhodes said.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt says the key for Newton, or any other QB, isn't so much about the pressure, it's about doing something the team struggled with in 2010.

"You don't have to get after a young quarterback or any quarterback to make it difficult," Whisenhunt said. "If you play your defense the right way and you play it together as a group you can make it difficult on a quarterback. We didn't play it together enough last year to make it difficult on very many guys."

The Cardinals didn't blitz much in the preseason and they certainly didn't show all of their defensive game plan. With the new defensive coordinator and the lockout-shortened offseason, Horton still hasn't put in all his tricks but he promises that there will be enough ready for Week 1 to get numbers moving towards the QB.

And one guy to keep an eye on, Horton says, is veteran linebacker Joey Porter who is three sacks short of 100 for his career, "I expect him to be a crazy man out there."

Aggressive blitzing will put extra pressure on the young starting cornerback tandem of Patrick Peterson and A.J. Jefferson. Fortunately, the first three games of the season won't pit them against quality passers. Rookie Newton in Week 1 will be followed by Rex Grossman in Washington and then Tavaris Jackson in Seattle.

It will be a good test for Horton's new defense and the young corners. If they pass, the defense will have a lot of confidence rolling into a meeting with Eli Manning in Week 4 and then veteran Donovan McNabb in Week 5.

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Arizona Cardinals Vs. Carolina Panthers, Week 1: Wednesday Practice Notes

The Arizona Cardinals have a simple goal for their first game of the 2011 NFL season, execute. Winning would be nice too, but from a strategic stand point, what coach Ken Whisenhunt is looking for on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers is a high-tempo and few mistakes. 

To help that along, he's limited the playbook for this week, "The biggest thing for us in the first game is being able to play fast and execute the plays, no matter what you get," Whisenhunt said. "If you have too many things it dilutes your ability to operate efficiently."

The team understands where it is now and expects to make mistakes. This the first step in the process that will hopefully result in a team that's playing in the postseason according to quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Defensively, there's a lot of respect for what Panther's quarterback Cam Newton can do. Even though this is his first NFL start, they are not taking him for granted. The Cardinals want to be a pressure-oriented defense this year and it will start on Sunday.

The young cornerback duo of A.J. Jefferson and Patrick Peterson is an area of concern for many and Whisenhunt made it clear that Peterson is only starting because of the injury to Greg Toler.

"I think Greg (Toler) got hurt. That's my thoughts on it," Whisenhunt said about Peterson being named a starter. He repeated that it's always need a question of "when" and not "if" with Peterson so now he'll just have to step up sooner.

The bigger test with Newton and the Panters will likely be on the linebackers and safeties. Newton, as we well know, likes to run the ball and is a beast in the open field. He's shown this preseason and in his college career that when he does throw, he often targets that tight ends.

That match-up works well for Arizona as it gives Peterson and Jefferson a bit less pressure in their first NFL start.

Other notes:

  • This is only third time the Cardinals have opened the season at home in the last 24 years in Arizona.
  • The Cardinals have a seven-game regular season losing streak to the Panthers and are 2-8 against them overall. The last time the Cardinals beat Carolina was in the divisional round of the 2008 playoffs
  • "We're by no means there. We've got a lot of work left to do. I'm sure there will be some things in the game we have to learn from...We're not going to show up in Week 1 and be the New England Patriots that won all regular season games." -- Ken Whisenhunt
  • "We've just got to get this thing started off right. After last season, after all the new faces around here, we're very excited and focused to make sure we come out on the right foot." -- Kevin Kolb
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Cardinals vs. Panthers Injury Update: Adrian Wilson Fully Practicing

Adrian Wilson suffered a bicep tear early in camp and didn't play much through the preseason; he spent most of the offseason rehabbing it instead of having to get surgery that would have kept him out of football for a more prolonged period. But it looks like he's back and ready for the season as he was in full practice mode on Wednesday. Seth Pollack relayed this quote from defensive coordinator Ray Horton about what Wilson's status will be for the opening game.

"Is he going to be a little rusty? Yeah, I expect him to. But we'll try and cater the defense to him and make sure he's not asked to something he hasn't done in practice...One thing that kid does is he comes downhill very hard so you can expect him to come downhill very hard."

Pretty amazing recovery to come back from an injury this quickly. You have to wonder if Wilson is fully healthy, but he will play.

Other injury news.

  • Cardinals: TE Jim Dray (pectoral strain) was a DNP in practice. DB Michael Adams (knee), TE Rob Housler (groin), DB Korey Lindsey (ill), QB John Skelton (ankle) were limited. Along with WIlson, WR DeMarco Sampson (hamstring) and RB Alfonso Smith (hamstring) fully practiced.
  • Panthers: WR Kealoha Pilares (ankle) and CB Josh Thomas (thigh), did not practice. LB Jon Beason (Achilles) and G Mackenzy Bernadeau (toe) were limited.
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Cam Newton To Start Season Opener For Panthers vs. Cardinals

Cam Newton will be starting his NFL career for the Carolina Panthers against the Arizona Cardinals on opening weekend.

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