2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cardinals look for stretch of 'winnable games'

By BOB BAUM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-18 21:00

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona's offense was very bad last season and not much, if any, better through seven games this year.

A new, offensive-minded coach and a new quarterback have yet to solve the issue that has been at the heart of the franchise's problems since Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season.

Now coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer are looking at a schedule over the next month that holds hope for something better.

Palmer calls it a stretch of ''very winnable games.''

It starts with an Oct. 27 home game against Atlanta. That will be followed by a bye week, then a home game against Houston and a trip to Jacksonville.

That's a bit less daunting than facing San Francisco and Seattle in a five-day span.

Both of those games were 12-point losses, but the Cardinals played much better at the 49ers than in Thursday night's 34-22 home loss to the Seahawks.

Palmer threw two interceptions and was sacked seven times by the Seahawks.

''That's a very good front but we did not play as well as we've been playing,'' Arians said on Monday. ''(Left tackle) Bradley (Sowell) struggled, obviously, with his pressures. (Right tackle) Eric (Winston) struggled with pressure, (right guard) Paul (Fanaica) struggled. The only guy that played really well up front was (center) Lyle (Sendlein).

''Not only in pass protection but in running the ball we struggled,'' Arians said.

That left his trademark downfield passing philosophy in tatters.

''I think this it's the first time in 20 years in the NFL we came out of the game with no explosive plays, runs or passes,'' the coach said.

The Cardinals (3-4) managed just 30 yards rushing in 18 attempts. Rashard Mendenhall gained 22 yards on 13 carries.

Arians would not put the blame on Palmer, who has become a lightning rod for fan criticism after throwing 13 interceptions this season, 11 in the last five games.

Both interceptions by Seattle, Arians said, were not Palmer's fault ''whatsoever.'' He said the same thing about the two interceptions against San Francisco.

Asked to assess Palmer's performance, Arians said, ''I've got to give him credit for standing. You get hit that many times and you still stand in there. Looking back, neither interception was his fault whatsoever. He protected the football like he needed to. We've got to make better plays.''

Palmer ran out of the pocket a few times, but not by design.

''He was running for his life,'' Arians said. ''That's not his style.''

Winston said protecting Palmer was difficult because Seattle continuously rotates fresh players into the defensive front.

''We've got to play better up front,'' Winston said. ''Obviously, the sacks are a concern, anytime you put a big of a number in a game. But most of all we've got to create a more clean pocket, more time for him, where he can step up and really make some throws. We've got to start striving toward that. I think if we're striving toward that the sacks will come down because he'll be able to get his passes off more quickly.'''

The extra time off this weekend is welcome.

''Anytime you play two division games as close as we have, as tough as we have, it's nice to be able to take Saturday and Sunday and just take a deep breath, regroup, see where you're at, then come in with a clear mind to Atlanta and really put all our effort knowing that it's the only game we'll play in the next two weeks,'' Winston said. ''Well really be able to take a wholesale evaluation of the season after the eight-game mark.''

Defense has been carrying the Cardinals, but there were breakdowns early on a pair of drives that put Seattle up 14-0.

''Defensively, we didn't come out with the s peed that we had been playing,'' Arians said. ''We kind of felt our way and uncharacteristically had quite a few mental errors in that (first drive). Once we realized they're just doing what we practiced and what we watched on film we played pretty solid.''

He had praise for outside linebacker John Abraham and defensive end Calais Campbell. Abraham had two sacks. Campbell had a big stop of Russell Wilson on a fourth-and-inches play and recovered a fumble.

''You never think about praising guys in a loss,'' Arians said, '' but those guys were outstanding.''

Arians said there is plenty of time to turn things around.

''Beat Atlanta, get back to .500,'' he said, ''and then I think we can string some together. Our goal is still in sight. That's to make the playoffs.''

Notes: Arizona defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu was fined $10,000 for kicking San Francisco guard Alex Boone in the face Sunday. Boone was called for a personal foul during the exchange and docked $7,875. Ta'amu wasn't penalized on the field for his kick. The Cardinals' Darnell Dockett also was fined $7,875 for a late hit in that game.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Alameda Ta'amuDec 21 07:42p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

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Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

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Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

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San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

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