PatsDraft.Com

2016 Season Blog.

Arizona.

Pats Vs Cards.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

Scouting the Cards.

By TOM

So I had a plan. I knew it was flawed. It was like looking at the face of the Mona Lisa, and not noticing the rest of the brilliant painting surrounding her. But so much of the Pats season is going to hinge on four games to start the season. Two of which were going to be against Arizona and Houston. That is when I noticed that Arizona and Houston were playing each other in the third Preseason game, the "dress rehearsal". So I thought I'd give my dyslexic scout skills a shot at scouting two of the Pats first three opponents.

I learned a lot about these teams, and the frailties of forecasting the Preseason. They aren't really game planning for each other. But they are practicing the basics of their offenses and defenses. You have to master the basics of the scheme before you can move on to the more complicated stuff. They were showing some tendencies. However, both starting QBs left the field in the 1st quarter. Arizona took out their starting RB after the 1st series, and their starting O-line in the 2nd quarter. They didn't play their starters into the 3rd quarter. I think this bodes very well for the Pats Sunday Night. Playing the starters into the 3rd Quarter is as much about conditioning as anything else.

Well yeah. So I didn't watch every Cardinals game over the past year. I am just breaking down a couple of quarters. "Well yeah. Week One is always a tough week to prepare for because just the number of unknowns, the lack of game planning that teams do in the preseason," BB said. "So we can go back and look at last year. That's a lot of volume of stuff. So look, I know that's a lot of games. There's no way they could do everything in our game that they did last year. Plus looking at the preseason, just trying to plug it all in and think what you might get but you know that they worked on some things in preseason that they probably haven't shown in those games." I just saw that the Cards were playing Houston in Week Three of the Preseason, and thought that could give us a nice peek at two of our first three opponents.

Maybe find a few tendencies in their basic offense. "So we'll just have to be ready to attack and defend the way that we want to," BB continued. "Kind of generally want to plan to go into the game with, and then have to be ready to make adjustments during the game as we see how schemes and matchups and so forth unfold. So, after you get past Week 1 at least in Week 2 you can really see what your opponent tried to do in the first game. They didn't hold anything back. They're playing the people and doing the things that they think are the best and you get a much clearer read after that first game, but it's all the same for both teams, but that's part of the challenge of it. I'd say we'll get started on Arizona, really Tuesday will kind of be like a Wednesday for us, so that'll really be our big day in terms of digging into them. We'll get the process started today but like I said, we have a long way to go in terms of really hitting it from Tuesday through Friday this coming week." Okay-okay Bill. So my plan wasn't the best ever, but it's the best I got.

I played the Cards on Madden, and beat them this week. "Oh-kaay," thanks Bill. "We're seeing obviously a lot of the film on the Cardinals. It's a really impressive team. I think they do a lot of things well. They're obviously well coached. They have a good organization. They've done a great job of building the team and [have] a lot of strengths, a lot of things, a lot to deal with. Offensively, it's probably as good a group of skill players that we've seen in a long time. They have great receivers, tight ends, running backs, obviously quarterback, a lot of playmakers, a lot of players that can make big plays and they make a lot of them." I beat them in my first try with Garoppolo.

When I lose the first game against a team, the Pats lose about 90% of the time (well yeah. I know that sounds nuts, but it's true). The amount of bad luck I have to have to lose at Madden often maddeningly translates to the game. "The special teams, Bethel [is] one of the top special team's players in the league," Bill said breaking down the special teams, like he is Madden's special teams coach. "He's about as good as anybody that we'll face. We obviously haven't seen a lot of him but he's an excellent coverage player, kick blocker. The returners are explosive players: [David] Johnson on kickoff returns last year, Peterson [is] very dangerous, Ellington, whoever we get back there. They are all big-play type of players." Also, the Cards returned a kickoff for a TD. So look for a long kickoff from the Cardinals (I know it sound crazy, but I never claimed to be normal).

It is amazing how consistently that first game on Madden is predictive in my wacky world. It actually gives me the creeps sometimes. But I have been doing it for almost 20-years (I found my ancient Madden '99 cartridge for Super Nintendo [or N-64 I can't remember] recently). "And defensively this is a team that turns the ball over very well," Bill said. "They have a good pass rush, a lot of big guys up front. They're hard to block. Bucannon, Mathieu, Peterson are all good ball-disruption players. They cause fumbles, intercept passes, sack the quarterback. They're very fast. The team has good speed. It's hard to outrun these guys. They track everybody down." And no! I didn't play on '99 (I played them on Madden '15).

The good news is that it looks like Solder, hamstring, is going to play (I subbed out Solder and Vollmer and got my ass beat, twice). "They had a great year last year going to the NFC Championship Game," Bill continued to try and scare me. "They're just very consistent in their ability to score points, turn the ball over, and make a lot of productive plays in all three phases of the game. They've had great success playing at home in their stadium. It'll be a big challenge for us down there opening on the road against this quality of a football team and the way they play there. We need to have a really good week and obviously need to go down and play a good football game in all three phases of the game." Unfortunately winning the first game isn't as predictive as losing it (it is a video game, so I should win by at least four TDs every time). So I'm still a little ah-scared.

-------

With all due respect to Madden, here is a break down of the Cardinals Vs. the Texans with more of a look at both teams, for obvious reasons, than normal. This is the third Preseason game for both teams.

The Cardinals came out with the starting offense of: Palmer, Veldheer, Iupati, Shipley, Evan Mathis, and DJ Humphries. That is one hell of an O-line. There are three guys who have been to the Pro Bowl (four if you include Palmer). Javon Brown (who didn't make the team), Michael Floyd, and John Brown were the WRs, and Gresham is the TE. Larry Fitzgerald didn't play.

Dave Johnson is in at RB. "He's a big back kind of like Bolden, maybe a little bigger than Brandon, but a bigger back that has good speed, good passing game skills, good in blitz pickup, he's a strong runner, he can get some tough yards, run inside, run outside," BB said. "[He] had a long kickoff return last year against the Bears. 100 and whatever it was yards. So he has got good long speed. Really he does an excellent job for them on all three downs, all four downs, if they want to use him as a kickoff returner. Again, it's a combination of his size, his playing speed, quickness, has got good run-vision, and is a smart kid. So, he does a great job for them." I think he is going to be a star.

They played all three RBs in the 1st Half. "You can start with David Johnson," Patricia said. "#31: big, strong, fast, very patient runner. A guy that can get downhill into the defense very quickly. He's very elusive, a patient runner, so you think you might have him pinned in the backfield and he just slides into open space and has enough strength and power to break tackles and get vertical. Very dangerous from that standpoint, can get out of the backfield, can catch the ball, can make plays in space. Certainly a guy that can get to the edge, get downhill, kind of, ‘do everything' running back there.

"Chris Johnson we obviously know is very explosive, very fast player, very good space player, but is a guy that will run the ball downhill and take it into open space and try to get positive yards. I think that's one of the things with all their backs that they do [very well]: they try to make sure there are no negative plays. If you look at it: they're falling forward, they're getting yardage, they're always positive with their run plays. 

"Two very productive players, and even Ellington, 38, is another: explosive, fast guy, and really good in space. Does a good job with the ball in his hands, whether it's in the pass or the run game, A guy they're putting out there to try to get the ball to. Three very good backs, all a little bit different, but all still do a lot of the same things." They are going to be a big challenge behind the Cardinal's big O-line.

1st Quarter: Cards Vs Houston.

By TOM

The Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback with the TE on the Strongside. Houston matched up in their big 3-4 with: Clowney and Mercilus at OLB, Covington and Devon Stills at D-end, and Wilfork at NT. Cushing and McKinney lined up inside. They had two good Corners in Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph, with Quentin Demps and Andre Hal at Safety.

1st and 10, Palmer dropped back to pass. They ran a screen, but Houston was all over it. John Simon and Mercilus got out there fast and took him down at the LOS. On 2nd and 10, they lined up in a Trips-Right Singleback. Houston shifted into a 4-2 Nickel. David (Johnson) ran for a cloud of dust.

3rd and 7, the Cards lined up in a 4-Wide Strong-shotgun. Houston matched up in a 2-3 Dime with the two linebackers in front of the center, and an OLB lined up outside the ORT and 5-Tech. Cushing and Clowney got up field and tested the edges nicely. But they get washed past Palmer as he threw. He double clutched, and the ball was tipped by the Mighty Vince. Hal intercepted the ball.

Mr. Jones is in wearing #55. Houston came out with Osweiler at QB. Clark at OLT, Su'A-Filo, Mancz, Jon Allen, and Lamm at ORT. Lamar Miller at RB, with Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Strong at WR, and Fiedorowicz at TE.

1st and 10, Houston lined up in a 3-Wide I-formation. Cardinals milled about in a 3-4, with a linebacker standing up right in front of the 1-gap. They handed the ball off to ex-Dolphin RB Lamar Miller. He ran a smash to the strongside. The Cards gave up nothing. Buchanan, Josh Mauro, and Frostee Rucker made the tackle at the LOS.

2nd and 8, Houston lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Cards matched up in a 4-2 Nickel. The Cards sent four, and all four got penetration. Osweiler threw as he was being hit. He threw it into the feet of Miller, who dropped it.

3rd and 8, Houston lined up in a 4-Wide Weak-shotgun. The Cardinals matched up in a 2-3 Dime. They brought four, and got up field again. These guys can really get up field in the rush. Both DTs got 5 or 6 yards up field and forced Osweiler to throw underneath. He hit Braxton Miller underneath, and three defenders took him down quick.

4th and 3, and Houston went for it. They lined up in a 4-wide Strong-shotgun. The Cards matched up a little more aggressively in a 2-4 Nickel, with six guys who looked like they were blitzing. But they brought four instead. This time the D-ends got up field fast, and forced Osweiler to step up in the pocket. He had to throw on the move. He hit Miller with a bullet and he got hit inside the Five.

1st and goal from the 1 and a half, they both went into Goal line formations. Houston ran off tackle with Lamar Miller. He ran at a 45-degree angled straight into the endzone following his blockers well. Minter caught him at the One, and he powered through him.

1st and 10 Empty, Houston lined up in a 3-3 Nickel with four guys on the line and two ILB. The pocket was perfect for Palmer. He hit Fells the tight end 15-yards down field in a flash. And he turned up field and ran to the Houston 35.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a Singleback with a Bunch on the left. They tried to run David (Johnson) up the gut behind Iupati. Cushing took him down at the line.

2nd and 8, the Cards lined up in a Trips-Right Singleback. They sent one WR to the left. Palmer dropped and the RB picked up a blitzer nicely. It gave Palmer time to throw deep into the Endzone. Houston brought five, and then Cushing came late as he saw the RB stayed in to block. Cushing hit Palmer on a Jamie Collins like Blitz up the gut, which forced Palmer to over throw JJ Nelson (who ran a 4.27 at the combine).

3rd and 8, the Cards lined up in a tight 3-Wide Strong-shotgun with the TE with his hand down outside the OLT. Houston went into a Dime, and brought five guys up to line: three-up two-down, and they all looked like they were going. Houston brought four. Cushing broke free to pressure Palmer up the gut again. He is a guy the Pats are going to have to watch in Week Three. Javon Brown made the catch for the 1st, but didn't make the team. He beat Jackson on a crossing pattern. Houston brought four as both LBs who play the Hightower and Collins roles dropped. Mercilus had a great rush again. He faked outside, and ripped inside the ORT. He got his arm up in Palmers face as he threw.

1st and 10, the Cards  lined up in a Trips left Singleback. Houston matched up in a very Patriots looking 3-3 Nickel with Mercilus standing up at the end of the line in the Chris Long role. David got the ball and danced past Mercilus and John Simon in the backfield. Simon actually grabbed him, and he dived forward for three.

2nd and 8 at the 22, the Cards line up in a 3-Wide Singleback: pass 1 for 1. Houston matched up in a 3-4 with Mercilus standing up like Long again. Mercilus set the edge as they ran to his side. He grabbed and threw the ORT to the ground, as he was lunging at him. David slashed past him inside. He weaved his was down to the Six, where McKinney tackled him out of bounds. Devon Still almost got Chris in the backfield.

1st and 10, and the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback again. They motioned the outside WR inside like an H-back, so is looked like a twin-TE-L Singleback. They ran David on a Dive up the gut. He powered to the Two behind Iupati. Cushing, Clowney, and Jackson made the tackle.

2nd and goal from the Two, and the Cards hurried into a Singleback Bunch-L: run 1 for 1. They hand it to David on a Dive. But Cushing burst up the middle. David made a great stop and go move to his left that made Cushing miss. Then he ran through Clowney for the TD. Cards-7 Houston-7.

1st and 10, Houston lined up in a 3-W Singleback: Pass 1 for 1. Osweiler ran a little, a very little, playaction. He turned around and rusher was right in his face. Kevin inter exploded right up the gut like Collins and sack Osweiler before he had a chance to do anything. The 3-Tech slanted outside, and the OC doubled the other DT and left a gaping hole right in the middle for Minter to run through untouched.

Andrews is going to have to watch that. "I think that playing time helped any rookie player going into the second year. David played really well for us last year," BB said. "He’s really smart and has a good instinct for playing the center position. He’s played it his whole life, since fifth grade or whatever. So he definitely knows how to play in there. But I would say the extra year probably just moves everything along a little bit. [He's] a little bit quicker, a little bit smoother with the identifications. 

"Again, not that any of this I would say was a problem [his rookie year], but it’s just better with more experience, and [he has]: more decisive, quicker recognition, just more experienced inside and on different plays, and protections, and looks, and where to help, and how long to help a guy, and when you have to leave him for an assignment or sometimes you can’t help them at all. Sometimes you can help them a lot depending on what the play is, or the assignment, or the location of the other defensive lineman, or the linebackers as the case may be. It’s a lot of little things like that." He is going to have to watch that ILB/Collins blitz up the gut, before he helps his teammates.

2nd and 18, Houston lined up Empty. The Cards matched up in a 3-2 Dime, with the three D-linemen on the line, and two ILB. The slot guy hopped inside to blitz, and the ILB Minter moved outside to cover the slot. Osweiler threw to the TE in the slot being covered by Minter to pick up almost half.

3rd and 11, Houston lined up in a 4-Wide Strong-shotgun. Cards matched up in a 3-3 Nickel, and sent all six. The O-line and RB blocked it well. Osweiler had time to hit Hopkins dragging over the middle. He made two guys miss, including Mike Jenkins, to reach the marker. Then Swearinger and Mr. Jones brought him down. Mike Jenkins didn't get back up, and was carted off the field (I'm tempted to say that Hopkins literally broke his ankle, but would be in bad taste).

1st and 10, Houston lined up in a Twin-Twins Singleback right out of the Pats playbook again. The Cards matched up in a 3-4. The Cards twisted the two ILB inside right at the OC. Osweiler handed the ball to Miller. One ILB turned to Miller, he bounced it outside to the strongside, and slid down. Minter hit him first, and Peters, Campbell, and Red Bryant helped out. That is a big run defense.  

Andrews is going to have to get the inside guys in position to stop that twisting ILB blitz. "[His job is] kind of tying it together," BB said about Andrews. "That’s an important part of the center position. [It] is helping the other four guys, two on either side of you, all see the same picture of the people that you’re responsible for. A lot of little things. I don’t think there is any [one] big [thing]. But each protection is different, each play is different. Every front that we go up against has a little bit of a nuance that’s a little different than the next one [like doing the ILB Twist]. So, it’s a lot of little things like that." Come on baby, let's stop the Twist.

2nd and 7, Houston lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. The Cards matched up in a 4-2 Nickel. Mr. Jones pushed the OLT back, but got stopped. Osweiler threw deep to the rookie Will Fuller flying down the sideline. He caught it at the 25, and got taken down by BB's favorite special teams guy Justin Bethel.

1st and 10, Houston lined up in an I-formation. Which was really telling the Cards they are going to run. The Cards lined up in their 3-4. Houston ran a sweep to the strongside. Frostee Rucker busted through the line and fell down trying to grab Miller. But the play was blown up. Mr. Jones set the edge outside, and turned Miller inside. Buchannon, Tony Jefferson, and Xavier Williams made the tackle.

2nd and 11, Houston came out Empty. Cards line up in a 2-3 Dime with four guys on the line. Then the two OLB put their hands down and shifted into a 4-1 Dime. The pocket was good. Osweiler hit Anderson underneath. But the tight end was called for a push off.

2nd and 21, Houston lined up in a 4-Wide Weak-shotgun Pass 1 for 1. The Cards matched up in a 3-3 Nickel with four guys on the line, with Mr. Jones standing up outside the OLT. Osweiler had a ton of time. He hit Hopkins again on a deep In. He caught it at the 20 for a First.

1st and 10, Houston lined up in a 4-Wide S-shotgun Pass 2 for 2. The Cards matched up in a 3-3 Nickel with all six guys lined up tightly on the LOS, with Mr. Jones standing up outside the OLT. They brought four, and the two ILB dropped. Mr. Jones sacked Osweiler and did a little dance. He just blasted off and Ripped under the OLT as he turned into Osweiler, who had no chance.

I miss Mr. Jones already. "I called him the next day and said, 'hey, you could’ve traded me to any other team. So thank you for not trading me to a ssshhhh [crappy] team,"' Jones said. "They’re not known for really paying guys over there. There were rumors going around that I might be traded, but you never really read too much into rumors. When it happened, it was just a tad shocking." I was more than a "tad shocked". Houston kicked the FG. Houston-10. Cards-7.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in their odd Bunched up Singleback, where the TE had his hand down, with the WRs lined up right next to him. So far they have run with the Bunch on the left, and passed with the Bunch on the right. Singleback Bunch-L: run 1 for 1. Houston matched up with a big 4-3. They had five guys on the LOS, and brought a Safety up as the Will, like Chung is wont to do. They handed the ball to Chris (Johnson). He had to turn inside and slammed into the line. He got his helmet knocked off by Quintin Demps.

2nd and 7, Empty. Houston matched up in a 3-2 Dime with four guys on the LOS. The Cards O-line was perfect. Palmer had to step up as time ran out. Then he finally had to take off, as no one was open. He ran for about 5-yards and slid down untouched.

3rd and 1, the Cards lined up in that same odd Bunched up Singleback. With the H-back outside the ORT this time, and two WRs standing next to him, one on the line and one off. Houston matched up in a 3-3 Nickel with the D-line shifted to the right. Clowney is lined up with his hand down just outside the OLT's shoulder, and the Safety was playing the Chung role of Nickel linebacker. Two LBs come up to the line, and one lined up a couple yards behind Clowney's inside shoulder. The two ILB and the Chung-Safety all creep up to the line. They brought six, and the Safety stayed with the tight end. They gave the ball to Chris. They ran a smash to the right, and he got the first a little too easily.

Their run game is really looking good. "Bruce [Arians the HC of the AC] has a pretty, I'd say, diversified attack," BB said. "So, they do a lot of things that they do consistently. [Bruce] did them in Pittsburgh and a year in Indianapolis and in Arizona, but every game has its own variations and its own individual matchups and all of that. He's a very creative coach. 

"He has got a foundation that he builds from and then he can also expand that into whatever areas he feels like you're vulnerable at. He does a good job of it. You kind of know what they want to do but there are a lot of changeups, there are a lot of variables that he'll throw at you. I think if you just read the article last year in Sports Illustrated you get a sense of how broad their game plan is, how many options they have. I mean it would be impossible to get ready for all of those just based on the volume of what they do, but I'd say that's reflected in the way they play. 

"There are a lot of things that are consistent and then each week there are things that you haven't seen before that you wouldn't have been able to practice. Whether that's moving players into different positions and doing the same things, or doing new things or doing things that. Something they've done a lot of and then off of that they set up something else that you haven't seen but it's a complimentary type of play." Their O-line gets better every year.

1st and 10, the Card stayed in the Singleback Bunch-R. Houston matched up in a 3-4 with a Safety creeping up into the Box. Houston read run fast and the whole front seven got past the LOS. Chris had to bounce it outside. He was tackled out of bounds by Clowney.

1st and 10, the Cards motioned into a Twin-TE left Singleback. Houston went 3-4. They ran play action. Palmer had a great pocket and threw in rhythm to Floyd at midfield.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. Houston matched up in a 3-3 Nickel. The rush was stuffed again. Palmer had too much time, and finally dumped it off underneath to Fells very short to end the 1st quarter.

2nd and 6, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide I-Shotgun (the RB lined up behind Palmer). Houston matched up in a 2-4 Nickel with four guys on the LOS. Houston has been copying everything the Patriots defense has done the past couple years. They send the TE in motion to the right. This seemed to signal run to the Houston defense.

The whole Front-Six slid over to the strongside. Three defenders meet Chris at the line. He shifted and stopped a little, and all three defenders mostly missed him. Which allowed Chris to get to the second level where Demps took him down. That was a great shifty power run by Chris Johnson.

1st and 10, the Cards went Empty. Houston matched up in a 3-3 Nickel, with all six guys looking like they were going. They sent four and dropped two. The blocking was good. Palmer hit JJ Nelson in the hands by the marker, and he dropped it.

2nd and 10, and the Cards lined up in a 3-W Singleback: Pass 2 for 3. Houston matched up in a Patriots 3-3 Nickel. They brought four. Palmer ran play action. He had time, as they were running a tricky screen. I don't remember ever seeing a screen run off a play action. Wow! Some OLB named John Simon was rushing from the strongside. The tight end let him go, and drifted into the flat to catch the TE-screen. Simon broke free and flew at Palmer. Palmer tried to throw it over Simon to the TE right behind him. But Simon leaped up and tipped the ball, twice, and then caught it for a pick-six. Incredible play. Houston-17. Cards-7

Cardinals Offense 1st Quarter:

3-W S-Shotgun: Pass 1 for 1

4-W S-Shotgun: Pass 2 for 2

3-W I-Shotgun Motion TE-R: run 1 for 1

Motion- twin-TE-L Singleback: 1 for 2 run

3-W Singleback: Pass 3 for 4

3-W Singleback Trips-R: Pass 1 for 1

3-W Singleback Trips-L: Run 1 for 1

Singleback Bunch-L: Run 2 for 2

Singleback Bunch-R: Pass 1 for 3

(1 run 3rd and 1)

Houston Offense 1st Quarter:

I-formation: run 1 for 1

3-W I: Run 1 for 1

3-W Singleback: Pass 2 for 2 (sack)

3-Wide Weak shotgun:

4-Wide W-shotgun Pass 2 for 2

4-Wide S-shotgun Pass 3 for 3 (sack)

Twin-Twins Singleback: Run 1 for 1

2nd Quarter: Cards Vs Houston.

By TOM

The Cardinals came back out to start the 2nd quarter, and bring in the back up QB. Palmer got cheap-shotted with a helmet to helmet hit by a diving Devon Still after he threw the Pick Six, and nearly got decapitated.

Still dive-speared with his helmet aimed right at Palmer's head. "I turned around and I saw him dive for John and I took him out," Still said. "It was simple. I see a lot of people saying it was a cheap shot, but what if he made the tackle." Simons was already gone when he dived, and it was clearly a cheapshot. Palmer helmet went flying off and spun on the turf for while.

Palmer was clearly dazed and confused. "You can't be light on your coverage in the deep part of the field or he'll kill you," BB said. "[He's a] tough guy. [He will] stand in the pocket, take a hit, make a good throw. But he's smart. We'll have to do a good job of not making it easy for him and we've got to do a good job of not giving up big plays." If it wasn't a Preseason game, would he have come out?

Palmer was falling down after Simon ran through his little hand grab on his shirt. That guy has to be suspended. If Still were a Patriot Goodell would suspend him for all eternity. So I'm sure the Ass-Monkey won't do anything, because his number one priority is player safety. I don't know if Palmer was out because of the Still cheapshot that sent his helmet flying, or if BB has created a monster, and now every backup QB is going to sub in during the 2nd quarter of the Third Preseason game. But he was clearly concussed.

1st and 10, Drew Stanton goes under center in a Singleback. Houston matched up in a 3-4 with one ILB creeping up to the line. Then he dropped back into a straight up 3-4. Stanton stepped to the wrong side, turned back, and handed the ball confusingly to Chris (Johnson), and there are four defenders unblocked in front of him. He dived into the dirt.

2nd and 11, they come back out in a Singleback and a basic 3-4, and what little we could glean from this game might be over. Stanton dropped, looked to left, didn't like what he saw, and took off. He did not look ready to play QB in the NFL right now.

That was two straight plays, in the most basic formation, and he looked completely confused and almost disoriented on both. If the Pats can knock Palmer out of the game the Cardinals are cooked. And since he was so obvious concussed (I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'), it might not be that hard.

3rd and 6, 3-wide Strong shotgun. Stanton dropped to pass. The slot WR was wide open on his left. But he threw to the outside WR on his left. #10 (who is not on the team) had Charles Jones in front of him, and was very well covered. The ball hit Jones in the back of the helmet. If he had turned back that ball would have been right in his hands. He didn't turn back and the refs called a little hometown pass interference.

1st and 10, and the offense had completely changed. The Cards lined up in a Strong formation. Which is a running formation. Houston matched up in their 3-4. The Cards ran a dive to Ellington. He just ran in a straight-line downfield until three defenders smashed into him, and this is a waste of time.

Except, the doctor came over to Palmer on the sideline and started asking him questions about his obvious concussion. Palmer just kept shaking his head no. Then after a bit, it appeared he said, "I chipped my tooth." Then he picked something off his lower front teeth, and you could see his lower lip was swollen.

Unfortunately, that isn't going to help us on Sunday night. "Carson is definitely willing to stand in there and deliver the ball under pressure and wait until the last second to get rid of it," BB said. "I mean he is a big, strong guy now. He's big for a quarterback and has a good frame so I'm not saying any quarterback wants to get hit a lot, but there are some guys that can absorb more of those than others. [He's] not as big as Roethlisberger but he's a big quarterback." He is tough old school QB.

The good news it that BB does have some familiarity with him. "We had him out in the Pro Bowl for a year and it was good to get to know him out there," BB said. "He's sharp. He knows when he needs to get rid of the ball and I think he also knows when he might need to hold it just a little bit longer to give the receivers a chance to get into an open space or make a play. And he's strong and tough and able to take those hits [to the tooth]." The Pats need to hit him hard to rattle him.

Because he has seen every trick in the book. "We have a lot of respect for him as a player, as a person, and he has certainly done a great job for the Cardinals in leading them to the success that they've had since he has been there," BB said. "He is playing at a very high level. He's in a great offensive system with Coach Arians' offense and they have a lot of great players on that side of the ball. They have a lot of great players, period, but they have a lot of great players on the offensive side of the ball and they are a hard team to stop. They score a lot of points and they can move the ball up and down the field quickly, so he is one of the many problems we'll have to deal with on Sunday night." The Pats defense has to play at their highest level if the Pats are going to win this game.

The Cards offense brought in the 2nd team O-line, and the 3rd string RB. Along with the back up QB we won't see Sunday Night. We can't glean anything from that. However, it is interesting that the 1st team offense did not get at least a full half of work in the Third Preseason game, which is just as much about conditioning as anything else. I watched the Denver game opening night, and Carolina had a 17 play drive. The Broncos defense was completely gassed. I think this could be a big advantage for the Pats.

If the Cards defense or offense gets gassed for a long drive Sunday Night, and I can't see how the offense could possibly be ready after throwing away the Third Preseason game, the Pats offense and defense will do some real damage. I think the Pats win this game. Their 1st string offense has already hit the showers with just a quarter of work. And if the Broncos were gassed after a full work load in the 3rd Preseason game, than the Cards cannot be as ready as they were.

1st and 10, Houston Empty. Cards matched up in a 3-2 Dime, with four guys up on the line, and no sign of Chandler Jones. The Cards have the subs in on defense as well. Osweiler threw deep down the sideline to a wide open Fuller. Osweiler put the ball just over his head, and hit him right in the hands. He dropped it really with no defensive pressure at all.

He burnt Brandon Williams with his speed. "Of course I know I’m going to be picked on," Williams said. "I’m [playing] opposite a Pro Bowl cornerback. Arguably the best cornerback in the game right now. Of course I know I’m going to get those eight or nine targets. The mindset [has just] got to be, 'I just got to make more [plays] than I give up.'" The Pats will be going after him.

2nd and 10, Houston lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. The Cards matched up in a 2-4 Nickel. They ran Blue on a Dive. The Cards stuffed it.

3rd and 8, Houston lined up Empty. The Cards matched up in a 2-3 Dime, with Mr. Jones standing up outside the OLT. So it appeared the defense was staying in for some necessary game conditioning. Osweiler dumped it off underneath and the WR can't convert the 3rd down.

The Cards came back out in a Singleback, without a concussed Palmer. So why bother…

1st and 10, Houston lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun: 1 for 1 pass. The Card lined up in a 4-2 Nickel with a Safety up in the Box like a Sam. Osweiler hit Fuller outside short of the First.

2nd and 4, 3-Wide Weak shotgun. The Cards stayed with the 3-4 Nickel, with Tyron Branch at the Sam. He picked up the tight end Griffin crossing in front of him late. Griffin caught it for an easy First down. That is one route that the Pats are going to copy early and often.

1st and 10, 3-Wide Weak shotgun: 3 for 3 pass. Cards stayed in the Nickel, but Branch moved up to the line a little. He hopped outside on the slot WR. And Osweiler threw it to him instantly. Branch tackled him quickly. When the Pats play Houston, if Branch is on the team, the Pats will target him in coverage.

2nd and 5, 3-Wide Weak shotgun: 4 for 4 pass. The Cards shifted into a 3-3 Nickel. Osweiler had time and threw it over the top of Bethel to Fuller for a touchdown. Stanton came back out for the Cards and went 3 and out. Then Osweiler went to the bench for Houston.

Cardinals Offense 1st Half:

3-W S-Shotgun: Pass 7 for 7

   (5 passes w/out Palmer)

4-W S-Shotgun: Pass 3 for 3

   (1 pass w/out Palmer)

3-W I-Shotgun Motion TE-R: run 1 for 1

Singleback: 3 for 7 run.

   (3 passes 2 runs w/out Palmer)

Motion- twin-TE-L Singleback: 1 for 2 run

3-W Singleback: Pass 3 for 6

   (2 runs w/out Palmer)

3-W Singleback Trips-R: Pass 1 for 1

3-W Singleback Trips-L: Run 1 for 1

Singleback Bunch-L: Run 2 for 2

Singleback Bunch-R: Pass 1 for 3

   (1 run 3rd and 1)

Strong: Run 1 for 2 1 pass W/out Palmer

2-TE Strong: Run 1 for 1 W/out Palmer

Houston Offense 1st Half:

I-formation: run 1 for 1

3-W I: Run 1 for 1

3-W Singleback: Pass 2 for 2 (sack)

3-Wide Weak shotgun: 6 for 7 pass

4-Wide W-shotgun Pass 2 for 2

4-Wide S-shotgun Pass 3 for 5 (sack)

Twin-Twins Singleback: Run 1 for 1

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The dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.

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