Cardinals (1-3) vs 49ers (1-3)

The Arizona Cardinals are plagued by turnovers of late. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton will start Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers (Enter contests). With veteran Carson Palmer ruled out due to concussion, Stanton will be left looking to conjure the magic that saw him pull a 5-3 mark out of his hat during a stint in 2014.

ABOUT THE CARDINALS

Stanton struggled mightily in taking over for the concussed Palmer on Sunday, completing just 4-of-11 passes in a 17-13 setback to Los Angeles and his two interceptions upped Arizona’s turnover total to nine during its two-game skid. Arizona has not scored in the first quarter this season and was blanked over the first 15 minutes of a contest in six straight dating to 2015.

David Johnson (64 carries, 300 yards, three TDs) leads the NFL with 510 yards from scrimmage and has recorded 100 or more total yards in all four contests this season and eight of his last nine games. Johnson amassed 124 from scrimmage (83 rushing, 41 receiving) versus the Rams, but the workload was decidedly different in last year’s season series with San Francisco (15 carries, 46 yards). The 24-year-old is spelled by Andre Ellington, as veteran Chris Johnson (groin) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Tyvon Branch is also placed on injured reserves. Fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu will temporarily move to the slot while D.J. Swearinger plays in nickel packages. Cardinals LBs Chandler Jones and Markus Golden each have recorded a sack in all four contests this season.

ABOUT THE 49ERS

The 49ers had no such issue against the Rams with a 28-0 season-opening shellacking, but the defense of Chip Kelly’s club summarily has been shredded to the tune of 458.3 yards and 35.7 points per contest during its three-game losing streak. To add injury to insult, four-time NFL All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman sustained a torn left Achilles in Sunday’s 24-17 setback to Dallas and will miss the rest of the season.

San Francisco collected eight takeaways in its first three games to provide a helping hand for the NFL’s 28th-ranked offense, which scored a league-best 45 points off the turnovers after mustering an NFL-worst 25 for the entire 2015 season. The 49ers failed to force a turnover versus the Cowboys on Sunday and Blaine Gabbert’s fourth interception of the season ended his team’s bid for an upset. Carlos Hyde (73 carries, 299 yards, NFC-best five TDs) is averaging 4.9 yards per rush over his last two games, but got limited to just 51 yards in a 47-7 loss at Arizona on Sept. 27. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who had six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown last week, leads the team in catches (18) and receiving yards (202).

Posted in NFL

Chandler Jones Trade Review

On March 15 2016, the New England Patriots traded defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals for Jonathan Cooper and the Cardinals’ second-round pick (61).

Jones, who led the Patriots with 30 sacks over the past three years was assumed to be a big piece of the puzzle moving forward in New England. While Cooper, who has been a major bust at guard since being drafted 7th overall in 2013 was slated to move to center for 2016 in hopes of saving his NFL career.

When the trade first broke, everyone freaked out and said “Wow, Chandler Jones to the Cardinals!? Did the Pats get duped in a deal for once!?” That quickly turned into, “well Jones has off-field issues and they lost a top pick due to deflate gate so it’s actually a smart move by the Pats”.

A typical reaction when the subject is a organization with such a tremendous track record of success. It’s hard to ever fault the Pats for any moves they make because even when they don’t look good at first, they often end up turning out quite well. I think we’ve all learned to shut our mouths on that front.

But I must speak up on this trade. I will not be another “yes-man”, one of the fellow “another solid move for the Pats” guys. We subliminally wear rose coloured glasses at anything Belichick or the Pats do, but I had a moment of clarity and managed to shed them for a second and immediately realized…Cards fans must be ecstatic about this move.

Think of the Cardinals defense swarming all around in a sea of red. All they were missing was a pass rush. That’s pretty much all anyone has talked about this off-season regarding the Cardinals. Tyrann Mathieu’s health, and getting a pass-rush. They didn’t land any rushers in free agency, so the draft was all that was left. But, how much could a rookie pass-rusher really help them? Four to eight sacks is a successful year for a rookie. Jones had 12.5 last season, including 4 forced fumbles.

Arizona got as far as they did this season with the late addition of Dwight Freeney as their sack specialist. He did well with 8 sacks of his own in just 11 games, but he is now another year older (36) and cannot anchor a team like he once did. Freeney still remains a free agent.

The Pats signed Chris Long in hopes of replacing some of Jones’ production, and will surely address the position in the draft. The Cardinals signed Evan Mathis. At this point in their careers Long is hoping he can still play in the NFL, while Mathis graded out 2015 as one of the best run-blockers in the league and won a Super Bowl starting for the Denver Broncos.

Arizona wins again.

Posted in NFL