Sunday, January 23, 2005

2 New Players.

The Arizona Cardinals announced Tuesday that the team has signed tight end Aaron Golliday and wide receiver/kick returner Luke Powell.

Golliday (6-3, 282) was signed by Kansas City on January 27, 2004. He spent last spring in NFL Europe as a member of the Scottish Claymores playing in 10 games (nine starts) with 14 receptions for 114 yards.

The former Nebraska Cornhusker spent the 2004 season on the Chiefs practice squad. Golliday’s signing in Arizona reunites him with his position coach in Kansas City, Keith Rowen, the Cardinals new offensive coordinator.

Powell (5-8, 175) was signed by San Diego as a rookie free agent in 2004. He spent last summer in the Chargers training camp and was released on September 1.

The Smyrna, Tennessee native and former Stanford Cardinal was the team’s leading punt returner and receiver as a sophomore and senior. He was named as a first team all-America punt returner as a sophomore with a 16.0-yard average. He finished his college career with 128 catches for 2,080 yards and 14 touchdowns while returning 83 punts for 1,073 yards and two touchdowns.
I hope the newly aquired players will be a push in the right direction for us, but only time will tell. Lets keep our fingers crossed for a better season next year. GO CARDINALS!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ending the season with a blow to the bucs

The Arizona Cardinals won their season finale with defense. With Darnell Dockett just a rookie, many similar games could be in sight.

The defensive tackle from Florida State had a sack, interception, fumble recovery and pass deflection in the Cardinals' 12-7 victory over the mistake-plagued Tampa Bay Buccanneers on Sunday.

``I want to give a special shout-out to Dockett,'' said Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice, a former Cardinal, ``because he definitely did his thing. Their D-line got down. You could see they're going in the right direction.''

Arizona coach Dennis Green called Dockett ``an explosive ball of barbed wire. He's very hard to block, very hard to keep out.''

Dockett had his helmet ripped off just as he fumbled his interception, and the turnover was negated by a facemask penalty. But Dockett says he purposely keeps his chin strap unfastened so his helmet comes off easily.

``My helmet comes off every game. That helps for marketing,'' he joked. ``I do that on purpose. The cheerleaders and the fans, they think I'm cute, you know what I'm saying? I try to show the face off a little bit.''

Neil Rackers kicked four field goals and the Cardinals harassed young Chris Simms all afternoon.

``Arizona was coming from everywhere,'' Buccanneers coach Jon Gruden said. ``That's a credit to them. Week 16 and they're going to blitz you every play from different alignments.''

Tampa Bay, plagued by injuries, lost its fourth in a row to finish 5-11, its worst record since going 5-11 under Sam Wyche in 1993.

``We've missed short field goals. We've fumbled snaps. We've fumbled with leads with two minutes left in games,'' Gruden said. ``I hope they all got it out of their system for this year, for the next 100 years, I hope.''

Four turnovers, one on a fumbled snap, loomed large on Sunday.

``It's been a tough season really for the whole team,'' said Michael Pittman, whose fumble set up an Arizona field goal. ``But the effort was always there. It's just us finishing the games, and eliminating turnovers. It's been the same story almost every time we lose the ballgame.''

The Cardinals (6-10) finished 5-3 at home in Green's first season as coach.

``I don't think anybody in the world is more disappointed than me that we're 6-10, but today I'm not disappointed. I feel like our guys played hard and earned the victory,'' Green said.

Simms got his second NFL start in place of Brian Griese, out with hip and foot injuries, and connected with rookie Michael Clayton on a 75-yard touchdown play that briefly gave Tampa Bay a 7-6 lead in the third quarter.

Emmitt Smith, in perhaps his last game for the Cardinals, gained 69 yards on 23 carries. Afterward, he waved and bowed to all four sides of Sun Devil Stadium.

``I tell you, if this is my last year here, it's been a heck of a ride,'' he said. ``If it's been my last year of playing football period, it's been a heck of a ride.''

Arizona looked to pad its 6-0 lead after Simms fumbled a snap and Dockett recovered at the Tampa Bay 19 in the third quarter. But a holding penalty on Anthony Clement pushed the Cardinals back, and Rackers' 35-yard field goal try was wide left.

On the next play, Simms threw short to Clayton, who ran to the end zone on a 75-yard scoring play to give Tampa Bay its first lead, 7-6, late in the third quarter.

The Cardinals then mounted their longest drive, 56 yards in 10 plays. Josh McCown threw 12 yards to Anquan Boldin and 16 to Larry Fitzgerald, and Rackers' 39-yard field goal put Arizona ahead 9-7 with 11:07 to play.

Pittman fumbled and Duane Starks recovered at the Tampa Bay 14 to set up Rackers' 31-yard field goal that boosted the lead to 12-7 with 6:12 to go.

Rackers' second field goal, for a 6-0 lead, followed a bizarre play in the final minute of the first half.

McCown's bad pass under pressure was intercepted by Dwight Smith with 1:46 to go. Simms drove the team to the Arizona 24. But he was hit as he threw by Karlos Dansby, and the ball popped into the air. Dockett intercepted it and rambled downfield. His helmet was ripped off by Kenyatta Walker, then he fumbled the ball some 35 yards downfield, where it was recovered by Pittman at the 16.

However, Walker was called for a facemask penalty, and Arizona was awarded the ball at the Tampa Bay 39 with 43 seconds left in the half.

Our offense hasn't been looking too grand, but with Dockett leading the way, the defense saved the game. Although it was too little, too late, it was good to end the season on a good note and not on a bad. Larry Fitzgerald hasn't lived up to his potential as far as skill goes. I have grown to believe, that although he is good, he wasn't worth the 3rd pick in the draft. Lets hope that next year brings us better luck!