The Cardinals remain undefeated heading into this week's road trip to Cleveland -- the "extra" game the Cards ended up with when the NFL expanded to a 17-game season. Before that, here's this week's mailbag. Go here to send in a question for a future mailbag.
From James Savage:
"Hey Darren! This week feels a little bittersweet. Still undefeated but the injuries are mounting up quickly. I hope Maxx Williams will be alright, his injury looked terrible. What was up with that hit he took? It looked unnecessarily low when he was so close to the sideline that he could've been shoved out of bounds."
There was nothing wrong with the hit. It's football. I hate that it happened (and happens), but when defenders can't hit high, they have to be able to go low. And when a defensive back is trying to take on a 250-pound runaway train, I'm not sure how else he is supposed to get him down. Might he have shoved him? I suppose. But I didn't see anything unethical.
From Richard Sousa:
"Terrible and crushing what happened to Maxx. He was a nice outlet to have for the O and definitely seemed like the team really liked having him on our side. Any chance the Cards go looking outside for help? I hear Delanie Walker wants to play still. Old yes, but if he can get in some limited reps, who knows what could happen. Also, What can you tell us about Demetrius Harris. I know he's been in the league for awhile, but watching him in practice, how does he look to you?"
I'd think the Cardinals -- unless they really like what they have seen from Ross Travis on the practice squad -- will have to at least consider outside help. I wouldn't think it would be Walker. As for Harris, we don't really get to see practice since training camp ended. I don't know what he's looked like. He's not Maxx Williams. What will be interesting to watch is what they do with Darrell Daniels on the Covid list right now. If Daniels can't play this week, they'll have to bring in at least a body.
From Michael Schmorr:
"The loss of Maxx hurts a lot, what will they do at TE now? We've been linked to Ertz forever is it too late to make a trade like that? The Eagles have two good receiving tight ends and might have moved Ertz earlier but now they have all the leverage unfortunately. Are there any other options at TE? Is No. 11 available to maybe change positions? (Let me see your best sarcastic response to that.) One more thing, our defense played amazing without our top two corners either. Such an amazing effort I hope that doesn't get lost. I was surprised SF went for it so much on 4th down in the second half, their front was stifling at that point. A few good punts may have really put us down, they were inches from a safety. Were you surprised also?"
Surprised on going for it? I mean, the percentages say they should have been more successful, and even in hindsight, it didn't hurt them a ton because their defense was pretty good. (You can make the argument that they could have had three more field goals and won, and that's an interesting point.) As for tight end, I am sure they will look. I am sure if they get a new tight end, he will not be named Larry Fitzgerald.
From Haley Gams:
"Hey Darren, how much gamesmanship is allowed with the injury list? The radio was talking about it last week with Jimmy/Trey and how Vance would have to prepare for two QBs. But ultimately we find Trey is starting. From a league perspective, I don't think you're allowed to outright lie when it comes to injuries. I would assume it doesn't go so far where a coach can pretend a guy won't play all week, and then surprise, he's full go on gameday? I'm writing this prior to the SF game but Marco is listed as 'questionable'. I'm curious if that's real or gamesmanship. Secretly is Marco fine and has full intent to play Sunday?"
Well, now we are on the other side and obviously, Wilson didn't play. There is a certain amount of gamesmanship, yes, but sometimes you need to look carefully at the injury list. Wilson, for instance, was on the list all week. But he practiced full Wednesday, went to limited Thursday and then DNP Friday. That tells me he got hurt again some point Thursday. So he was always trending the wrong way (and in my experience, guys who don't practice Fridays are always longshots -- although there are exceptions.) As far as the 49ers QB thing, yeah, I'm pretty sure that was gamesmanship, but also yes, the league would very much draw the line at saying a guy wouldn't play and then he did. If a guy was ever listed as doubtful and played, the league looks into that. And once you are out you are out.
From Jason Beckum:
"Hi Darren, why haven't we put Anquan Boldin into the Ring of Honor? He spent seven years with the Cardinals, won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2003). He was a 3× Pro Bowl (2003, 2006, 2008) all while he was with the Cardinals. He was a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2015). He was also here longer than Carson Palmer who we have already put in the ring of honor. He also helped us go to a Super Bowl (which the ref took from us). He has been an outstanding advocate for justice and the NFL."
All these things are true. He also said some not nice things about the organization once upon a time, so you can understand where people's feelings might be involved. I am hopeful that comes together some day. Boldin said recently he had no hard feelings toward the club. He did once upon a time, so this is a step in the right direction.
From Paulie Papers:
"How come we never see Kingsbury on the bench with Kyler going over plays? We know Green Hat is the QBs coach, but Kliff was brought here to be Kyler's QB development guy. I'm not saying he do it all game, but the fact we rarely (if ever. In fact never) see Kliff sitting with Kyler talking about strategy and QB stuff is weird. Go over there and talk about what's happening. Especially during a terrible game like that. Get his input on play calls and what's not working, etc. Go be a coach."
Yeah, I'm going to disagree, Paulie. It's not like Kingsbury isn't in the loop, but Kingsbury is the head coach, not the QB coach. There are things going on when Kyler is on the bench -- and it seems to me the knock on Kliff was always that he wasn't doing a good enough job managing the entire team, and now you want him to be an in-game QB coach again. I think Cam Turner (that's Mr. Green Hat to you) has a good relationship with Kyler and what needs to be communicated between all three is getting done. You have watched this season, right? The Cards have been pretty good.
From Joe Lesher:
"What happened to Jordan Phillips? Very excited to see him play. He was put on IR Sept. 2 out for at least 3 games. It's been 5 games. Will we ever see him on the field? Thanks in advance."
Ever? I guess we will see. I'd hope so, but all Kingsbury has said is that it is a week-to-week situation. I don't know the injury.
From Conrad Nall:
"Sir, I appreciate your coverage and fan communication. I read the AZ Cardinals site daily and enjoy the mailbag each week. I have previously asked about QB Coach Cam Turner's sideline cap. In last weeks' mailbag Mr. Peter Kacmar inquired as well. Marketing is missing out, lol. I would really like to see that cap for sale. wink wink nudge nudge. Go Cardinals!"
So now *everyone* wants to be Mr. Green Hat. I told Turner, actually, that he's got in-demand head wear. He should make it a side business.
From Matt Walsh:
"Hi Darren. I'm curious if there is an NFL, or Arizona, statistic about a team in consecutive weeks making a goal-line stand and then on the ensuing drive moving the ball down the field to score points (TD last week, FG this week). Is it as rare of a feat as I'm assuming, or does this happen somewhat regularly?"
I would think it's rare, but that information would not be easy to come by. I'll see if I can track it down, although it won't be for this mailbag. I would think it's relatively rare just to get a goal-line stand in consecutive weeks.
From Jeff S:
"Hello, I'm a long-time Cardinals fan from Scranton, PA. I have two questions. At the end of the third quarter of the Rams game there was a pass interference call against the Cardinals. Instead of going into the fourth quarter, I believe that there was an a play without the game clock. I thought that could only happen at the end of the half or the game? Also, I was watching another game that same week before the Cardinals/Rams game. The game was going into overtime and they showed the coin toss. I know that the visiting team gets to make the call. My question is, what Cardinals' captain usually makes the call when the Cardinals are the visiting team?"
I do not know the answer to the coin call, in part because the Cardinals have been rotating their captains per game this season. As for the untimed down, the rule pertains to the end of each quarter. Since the Rams were trailing, it made sense to try and eek out one extra play if given the option.
From Aussie Matt:
"Hi Darren. Can we get Chase Edmonds in some more press conferences? Not only was he was super charismatic and looked like he was having a good time at the post-game presser after the Rams game, but he gave answers I feel like you don't tend to get from other players. Hope to see him back!"
Since the pandemic started and players coming to talk to the media were chosen by the media relations staff, I'd bet Chase is among the leaders (with Christian Kirk and D.J. Humphries.) Edmonds is a great and thoughtful quote.
From Tim Tekulve:
"Darren, love the mailbag and like most of the readers are like a sponge this time of year with getting information on our team.
I really like your segment on Team to Team breakdown and am assuming your weekly guests ask you questions as well. Can you post that portion of the interviews on the website too? I like the Cardinals uniforms just the way they are :)"
Actually, no, the guests don't ask questions, although occasionally I do something similar for the opponent's website. But hey, this mailbag is just like you all asking me questions like Team to Team. So we have that going for us.
From Meir S:
"Where is the world is Andy Isabella and why is he still on the roster?"
Isabella was active Sunday and played special teams, spending time as a gunner (along with Eno Benjamin.) I've said this before, it'll take injuries for Isabella to get time as a receiver this season.
From Jeremy Heathcote:
"Hey Daz. After 30 long months of being barred from leaving the country we're on the way out of those restrictions. What's Arizona like at Christmas time? I've usually gone in Sep/Oct to games so thinking that game or maybe the last of regular season (or both) just be good to see the boys live. It will be great to get over to the States again and hope you didn't cop too much flack for your vaccine push in last mailbag (if they lived in a place like us where last four months you can't even travel three miles from home with lockdowns -- people might be more interested.)"
Christmas time in Arizona is, to me, excellent. I grew up here, but the weather is awesome -- yes, even a little cold at times -- and yet, there is no snow to shovel. It'll be interesting to see what those last few games on the schedule mean, starting with the home against the Colts on Christmas night, the road trip to Dallas and then finally, a regular-season ending road game at home (against the Seahawks.)
From Richard McLeod:
"Hello Darren. I make sure to check out the mailbag every week, keep up the awesome work! My question is would there be or are there any discussions about investing in a main studio for all Cardinals media programs. I see certain teams like the Cowboys, 49ers, Jags etc that have a whole studio setup and think it would be awesome if the Cardinals have one as well. Thank you in advance for your response!"
There have been discussions about building such a studio. We'll see what happens.
From Dhruvraj Parmar:
"Any chance we get a mixed-reality presentation like Carolina and Baltimore have had like this one or this? It would be so cool if we had a Cardinal or Darren Urban snatch the Carolina flag and tear it instead on Nov 14th matchup against Carolina."
I've got enough on my plate than to live in a mixed reality. But I can pass on the suggestion to the powers-that-be.
From Steve W:
"Darren, coach Kliff tells us he is the Ted Lasso of the Arizona Cardinals. Made me wonder who in the extended Cardinal universe are the other Ted Lasso characters. Clearly, Adrian Wilson is Roy F'ing Kent. He is the retired, former great, good looking, working for the team, scares everyone, and is quite good at swearing (just guessing on this part). Clearly, you are Trent Crimm, the Independent, as you are the best reporter covering the team. Steve Keim has got to be Higgins as they are both the GM. I guess that makes Michael Bidwill Rebecca. Clearly, I am one of the fans hanging out in the bar, drinking a bunch and living or dying with the Cardinals (please get me the secret password, so I can run around on the 'pitch' at night when the stadium is empty). But I need your help Darren, which player is Jamie Tart? Sam Obisanya? Which assistant coach is Coach Beard? Brentson Buckner has the beard for it (at least in some pictures), but he seems to talk a lot more than Coach Beard. Who is assistant Coach Nate? Thanks for your help with this important, important question. Yup, we're your reader."
A fascinating query. Those are some hard ones to answer, though. And there is no way I'm touching any Jamie Tart comparisons.