Coop hes practiced on the firstteam all year

first_img“Coop, he’s practiced on the first-team all year, so it’s not that bad,” he said. “And having a game under our belt, it’s not like we’re starting three different guys.”Elsewhere along the line, left tackle Jared Veldheer is likely to play through a sprained ankle, though Arians said, “he’ll be pretty solid.” Find a running game?To say the Arizona Cardinals have struggled to run the ball lately would be an understatement, as their backs have averaged just 2.5 yards on 48 carries over the last three games. Without Andre Ellington, who will miss Sunday’s game due to injury, the bulk of the work load figures to fall on Stepfan Taylor and Marion Grice. Are they up to the challenge against Kansas City’s 30th-ranked run defense? Welcome back Fitz?Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has missed the last two games due to a sprained MCL in his knee, but practiced every day this week and feels like he’ll be ready to go Sunday. Listed as “questionable” on the official injury report, he will be a game-time decision. Charles in charge… would be a bad thingThe Cardinals have done a good job containing some of the NFL’s best backs this season, though they are coming off their worst performance of the season just in time to face one of the league’s best runners in Jamaal Charles. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “So this week, we definitely look to pick things back up where we left it off the week before.”And that’s just it. Okafor pointed to the defense’s energy level not being where it needed to be in Atlanta, which is a sentiment that was echoed throughout the locker room during the week. “I mean, we know it was very disappointing how we came out; we came out flat and Atlanta came out hot,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “We knew everything that they were going to run, but the intensity wasn’t there, the excitement and hype wasn’t there as it has been the past few weeks. “So we’ve got to go out there, we’ve got to change something, we’ve got to go out there and play how we’ve been playing.”If there is a silver lining to be found, it’s that what happened in Atlanta is likely the exception more than the rule. Sure, injuries have been an issue for the team, but they’ve consistently found a way to produce even with some of their best players on the sideline.Furthermore, that game — and effort — is in the rear-view mirror.“I don’t really read yesterday’s newspaper,” linebacker Larry Foote said. “This week, we want to play our best game. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Comments Share Miscellany Home is where the wins areArians has often talked about the importance of winning at home, and his team has done just that over the last two years. The Cardinals are 6-0 at University of Phoenix Stadium this season, in large part because of a defense that is allowing just 15.2 points per game in the building. With a win this week, the Cardinals would have the most home wins in a single season since 1925, when the franchise won 11 of its 13 home games.Hello, Mr. CooperDue to Paul Fanaika’s injury, Jonathan Cooper is set to make his first career start. It was supposed to happen sooner for the left guard, who was taken with the seventh overall pick in last year’s draft, but injuries helped to stunt his learning curve. However, he had been seeing more time in the lineup recently in different packages, and now will get a chance to do what he was drafted for. It will be the first time this season the Cardinals have started a game with a different offensive line, with Ted Larsen moving from left guard to Fanaika’s spot on the right side. A lack of continuity should not be an issue, according to Arians, especially since the group that will start Sunday finished last Sunday’s game in Atlanta. Charles enters the game ninth in the NFL in rushing yards with 807, though he is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. What separates him from some of the other top backs, however, is his ability to catch the ball, as he has 30 receptions for 214 yards and four touchdowns this season. What the Cardinals are hoping Ellington becomes, Charles already is. “He’s got speed, he’s tough, and he’s got great feet and he blocks,” Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. “He has outstanding feet. He can make you miss, just subtly; where most guys have to jump and juke, he can just sidestep and keep on going. He’s arguably one of the top one or two in the league.”Pretty crazy streakThe Chiefs do not exactly have a dynamic passing attack, but it is pretty amazing that not one of their wide receivers has caught a touchdown pass through their first 12 games. Home cooking helps Stanton?Drew Stanton has not lost a start at University of Phoenix Stadium, where he is 2-0. He has, however, lost three of his four starts on the road. Arians has been adamant that the offense’s recent struggles are not solely because of the quarterback, though no one is arguing that the veteran cannot play better. If nothing else, he will need to cut back on the turnovers, as he’s been picked off five times over the last three games. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact But last Sunday in Atlanta, Arizona’s defense wilted, allowing 500 yards of total offense to the Falcons. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Steven Jackson ran for 101 yards, becoming the first player to top the century mark on the ground against Arizona not only this season, but since Week 6 in 2013. The Cardinals’ streak, which spanned 21 games, was snapped by a running back whose previous season-high was 81 yards. Oh, and Jackson had not reached 100 yards rushing since Nov. 25 — of 2012. Besides Rashad Johnson’s pick-six in the second quarter, it was a pretty terrible effort all the way around in the 29-18 loss. “Yeah, any time you give up 500 yards and that number of points, you better have your tail between your legs a little bit,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. Granted, the defense’s “off day” would not be as big of an issue if the team’s offense wasn’t also struggling. But the reality is the Cardinals cannot really afford a bad performance from the defense and expect to win football games.“The way we played last week was embarrassing,” linebacker Alex Okafor said. “We didn’t come to play, obviously, and we have more pride than that. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Foote noted that he doesn’t remember Atlanta; defensive lineman Calais Campbell was suffering from the same kind of amnesia. “I forgot about that game already; I don’t even remember that game,” he said. “But it wasn’t pretty, whatever it was. That’s why I forgot about it.”The trick is being able to learn from it while also moving on, which is what the Cardinals are hoping to do. Even still, it stands to reason that the defense will be better in the coming weeks than it was in Atlanta. It has to be, especially if the offense continues to have its own issues.“We didn’t play up to our standard and it’s not acceptable,” defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said. “No matter what they do on the other side of the ball, we hold our head high on how we play and how we get to the ball and how we make plays. We didn’t get them done — not enough plays — and that’s why we lost, so we’re going to regroup and have a lot of energy come this week.“We’ve got a home game, I’m sure the fans will be excited, we’ll be excited to play in front of them, and we’ll be ready to go.” TEMPE, Ariz. — If there’s one thing we’ve grown to expect from the Arizona Cardinals, it is excellent defense.Over the last few seasons — and especially the last two — Arizona has been among the best in the league at stopping opposing teams. Even on days when the offense wasn’t particularly explosive, you could always count on the defense to stand tall and keep the game within reach. last_img read more