Mon, 30 Nov 2020

You've Got Mail: Bye Week Has Arrived

Arizona Cardinals
28 Oct 2020, 04:03 GMT+10

Topics include Fitz's future, the 'C' patch and postgame questions Darren Urban

There's nothing like a bye week coming off two straight national TV primetime wins. Also, there's nothing like a bye week to have an entire weekend off, thank goodness. Anyway, you can send questions for future mailbags by going here. On to the Q and the A:

From Zach Maus via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren, biggest Cardinals fan from Ohio here! I just wanted to express how amazing that win was (Sunday). My only problem/concern was Kingsbury's playcalling in certain situations. We had two interceptions in regulation and had 0 points to show for either of them. He literally brought out an extra lineman to play fullback on second down after the Budda return just for Kyler to run away from the strong side and gain no yards. The other example of bad coaching was in overtime bringing Zane out on 2nd down. I understand just trying to get the game over with.. but when he called the timeout to save the delay of game, there no reason Kyler and Edmonds couldn't have trotted back out for a play to give Zane a breather. But that's just a concern going forward, all in all great win and GO CARDS!"

Kliff took full responsibility for the screwup on the field goal. There were a couple of things he'd do differently, but I guess I don't understand ultimately the expectation of perfection. Not going to happen, not with players, not with coaches. That's the first time all season the Cards failed in a goal-to-go situation, and the first time they've failed on fourth down. He's done a pretty good job thus far. That sweep with Kyler has been pretty effective too. The field goal thing can't happen, and I was surprised they shut down the drive when it had been so easy up until then. But they won, and he'll learn

From Robin Baumann via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren, first of all, thank you for this format! I read it every week and am happy to ask my first question today. I was wondering about what happens to all the game balls that Coach Kingsbury gives away after games. I mean, four game balls each after the last two games, and two of the total eight for Kyler. Who pays for them? And do the players keep them? I can imagine Isaiah Simmons to keep his first game ball as a Memento for his first NFL INT, but Larry must have received like 100+ balls during his 17 seasons, does he donate them somehow? Cheers from Germany!"

So there are plenty of football prepared for a game. The team foots the bill -- cost of doing business -- and in fact, the balls are usually given out and then immediately packed back away by the equipment staff, who will send them out to be painted with the game details and the player's name. So yes, the player keeps them. It's not like you take it out to the park and throw it around. What the players do with it, I don't know. Fitz has a ton -- I'm sure they are stored somewhere.

From Cy Frederick via azcardinals.com:

"Wins are good, wins against Seattle are better! Kliff Kingsbury had very similar comments as Dabo Swinney did about negative questions coming from reporters after wins. (I argue that Kingsbury's comments were more warranted, being that us beating Seattle in primetime is a bigger deal than Clemson beating Syracuse.) My question for you is, does Kingsbury need to settle down because the questions being asked were about two key moments in the game in which the game could have been won or lost or do the reporters need to have more awareness and save those questions for Monday or Tuesday?"

Why does it have to be either? I totally understood why Kliff would be a little exasperated, but at the same time, those questions needed to be asked and were warranted. Perhaps they could be asked Monday, but judging by the interactions I had with fans on social media, they were very curious about those instances.

From Tim Tekulve via azcardinals.com:

"Darren, nice seeing you at the fantastic game Sunday. What is the difference on the captain 'C" on the jerseys. Some are white and some are gold?"

The ones that are gold signify that the player has been a captain four or more times in his career (because there are four stars under the C). If it is white, the proper number of stars are filled in based on the number of seasons you have been a captain.

From Kenneth Schroeder via azcardinals.com:

"First off, great win for the Cards. I was sweating bullets the entire game. The game against Seattle was the first time Larry went over 50 yards all season. In my eyes, it does not look like Larry is a different player from his decent success last season. What is the cause of Larry's lack of production? Another receiver question, I do not see much growth in Andy Isabella. I think he is still too inconsistent with his drops and I think they should give Johnson or Sherfield a look. Thoughts on that? Thanks for taking questions from a South Dakota fan!"

With Fitz, he did have 50 yards against Washington, but he was a huge factor against the Seahawks. His lack of production in part is just how this offense works these days. D-Hop is the main target. Christian Kirk is an important player. But Fitz still has a spot, if the Cardinals are successful and throwing a lot. As far as Isabella and others, they see these guys in practice all the time. I think they have a good sense of what all of them are and what they want to do with them.

From John Wilson via azcardinals.com:

"Who is the number 8 on the jerseys for? Thanks."

Again, it's to represent the late Larry Wilson.

From Tom Cowley via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren. Injuries are starting to pile up and backups starting to step up with more playing time required. Does that mean a serious drop-off in the quality of play at some serious positions coming at a bad time in the schedule? Do you see a problem? Thanks."

I mean, injuries never help. It's part of the drill. In two games, the defense seems to have found some answers for losing Chandler Jones. Markus Golden will help. But I will be curious to see what the impact of the Seattle game is right after the bye. Drake and Allen could be sidelined. Then again, there are others coming back from injury that will hopefully be ready post-bye -- Maxx Williams and Jalen Thompson, for two.

From Bill Thompson via azcardinals.com:

"Darren, not a question, but a BIG WELCOME BACK to Markus Golden! Markus, I'm hoping that you can pick up a bunch of sacks for the Cardinals! I'm so happy to see you back in Red!"

Having Golden return is a pleasant boon to a team that has lost Chandler Jones.

From Joey Cammiso via azcardinals.com:

"Darren, I have been a huge Cardinals fan since 2001 and a long time reader of your mailbag. I must ask a terrible question. Do you think there is a point where we don't re-sign Larry. I know he probably still has it as he did last year and more of what his 'struggle' has been this year has been so many mouths to feed on offense. The $11 million deal was great for us 2014-2019 but I wonder if he wants to come back next year if we are willing to fork out that money in a year with a potential cap reduction. Larry is obviously a great locker room presence and he is a great example of how to be a pro for younger guys. I just don't see how we can truly evaluate guys like Andy, KJ if they don't see the field. Do you think that this is his last run? ( I'm cool 😎 with a Super Bowl win and he retires.)"

I think those are all fair points. I don't know what Fitz will want to do after the season. I don't know if he knows. If the rest of the season looks more like the Seattle game, that's different than the days when he gets one catch and three targets. The cap issue and his salary could become a discussion point. But some of that may depend on how the rest of the season plays out.

From Robert Malicki via azcardinals.com:

"This game with Seattle intrigues me over the question concerning perceived advantage of coming off a bye vs. how well a team performs following a short week of preparation. I do not like NFL scheduling around bye week preferring both teams coming off or into a game with the same time to prepare and get healthy."

Well, after the Cardinals won, it was the eighth straight time a team who had played on a Monday night the game previous had beaten a team coming off a bye. I was surprised with that stat, but clearly, the bye/short week thing doesn't tip things out of balance as much as you would think.

From Sebastian Quiros via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren. I have one very simple question. Why do we insist on using screen plays? They clearly don't work for us and most of the times we just lose yards. Why do we keep resorting to a play that doesn't generate anything for us?"

I understand the question. You are not the only one to have it. But it's always been a staple of Kliff Kingsbury's playbook, and the idea is that he can get his playmakers in space to make some things happen. With the athletes on the NFL level, it clearly isn't as effective as it would be in college. But sometimes, the plays need to be executed too -- I saw a couple missed blocks on screens. But at the same time, I understand why it is frustrating to watch sometimes.

From Jason Beckum via azcardinals.com:

"Why can't the Cardinals ask season ticket holders who would like to attend games this season? Let the fans who want to be there come in to the stadium. I understand some have reservations due to the virus, but selling the tickets at price-gouging rates is wrong. As fans we want the Red Sea to flow and when tickets are sold online, opposing fans can buy them. Rise Up Red Sea!"

Tickets technically weren't sold online, not like that. The only way to get them was to be a season-ticket holder, and we sent an email (based on account seniority) asking if they wanted to get the tickets. If they said yes, they could purchase the tickets. I'm not sure there is much more the club can do. Once a fan has the tickets, they have options, just like in a non-pandemic.

From Sammy Finch via azcardinals.com:

"Hi! Bit of out of time question, but in 2018 we signed Josh Bynes to a three-year extension. He was the starting ILB and seemed to play well. Not spectacular, but good enough on a team lacking in talent. In 2019 he was released, and to this day the fans aren't sure why. So what happened?"

It's simple, really. When Bynes was cut, in part so he could find a new team, they expected the starting ILBs to be Reddick and Hicks. Bynes didn't have the range of a Reddick or whomever they were going to play in there. Obviously that position needed an overhaul this past offseason.

From Rick Lord via azcardinals.com:

"Darren, ever since Chandler Jones got hurt, I've noticed Vance Joseph using at times, a 0-6-5 subpackage on 3rd and long. Have you ever seen that before? And was it created partly to carve out a role for Simmons (who has been used in that package as both a Tampa-2 MIKE and in Man-free isolated against the TE both tight and split wide.) I find this highly creative, but is it sustainable?"

They traded for Markus Golden just because they knew they needed some personnel to aid with the OLB position and to help with Jones' absence. No I wouldn't think that is necessarily sustainable, but then again, if you are in an obvious passing situation, I don't think it's that big of a risk either.

From Howard Lynn via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren. I've been a Cardinals fan since the days they were in St. Louis. Love these guys now but where do I find the vintage jerseys and stuff? Like Terry Metcalf, Pat Tilley, Jackie Smith etc.?"

That is a good question Howard. I don't know. Maybe that can be crowd sourced -- if someone has any ideas, put it in the comments below.

From BDUB Wooten via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren. This is just a question not a complaint but I don't really understand why teams leave starters in at the end of blowout games risking injury. I know the players want to be in there but like the end of the Dallas game, 38-10 with two minutes and some change left, why leave Drake and Kyler and a lot of the starters in there? Thanks for the mailbag!"

Makes some sense, but I know with a lot of coaches, it's just a matter of trust. And a lot of the time, I don't think they think of it in those terms.

From Fance Poliea via azcardinals.com:

"Any chance Prince Amukamara gets brought up soon? I'd like to see what he could do at No. 3 CB in place of Dre Kirkpatrick."

I do not know when or even if the plans are for Amukamara to play. It's possible he is just serving a safety net role, like T.J. Ward did at safety. We'll see how that plays out.

From Shawn Bledoak via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren. I saw Kliff's interview when he said Haason was much more comfortable at OLB. That's good that this staff saw the fit problems for him and have found him a home. I hope we re-sign him. My question is actually about Isaiah Simmons. He seems to be in a similar boat. Struggling to learn a new position, and I'm just curious if anyone ever asks what position Simmons is most comfortable? I think if you were to follow up with him today, he would definitely have a specific position of comfort."

Maybe. Unfortunately Simmons hasn't spoken since training camp so we haven't had the chance to ask, but I'm thinking there is a good chance -- as a rookie -- he would say he's comfortable in a lot of places. I think Simmons wants to be that guy who plays a lot of places. Perhaps the interception against the Seahawks will be a jumping off point -- especially if Jordan Hicks has to miss any time.

From Moe Barr via azcardinals.com:

"What do you think is going to happen with the No. 2 QB position next year? The Streveler/Hundley situation took everyone by surprise. With Kyler being the forever No. 1, the No. 2's main job is to help Kyler with game tape and what not. So one would think Hundley would have the edge? Or do you think because Streveler can run it, he is in a better position to make offensive suggestions that fit both he/Kyler's talents?"

I don't know what will happen, because I don't know what they might be dreaming up behind the scenes with Streveler. It's not like they are married to either; there is a chance the backup next season is someone we don't know yet.

From Nathan Palmer via azcardinals.com:

"Not a question, just a congratulations. Fantastic team win (Sunday) and best game I've watched that I can remember. I have to admit after those screen passes and failed pressures by Kliff and VJ, I doubted. But man, Vance Joseph's blitz came in clutch. Makes me proud to be a Cards Fan, Rise Up Red Sea. (Friendly Reminder we won that game because of a certain rookie who hasn't been playing much and I think after that I speak for everyone we wanna see him play a lot more.)"

Noted.

From Artie Bratton via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren, which question do like seeing more? How come Simmons isn't playing? Or, when are the uniforms going to change?"

It probably doesn't matter, Artie, because neither topic is going away.

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