Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

2010 record: 3-6, fourth place in NFC West. The Cardinals have beaten St. Louis by 4 points, Oakland by 1 and New Orleans by 10. They lost to Atlanta by 34, San Diego by 31, Seattle by 12, Tampa Bay by 3, Minnesota by 3 in OT and 18 by Seattle. Arizona has lost four in a row and five of the last six.

To the left is the Cardinals best player, WR Larry Fitzgerald who ranks among the league’s best pass catchers.

Last year’s record: 10-6, first place in the NFC West. They were 2-2 in the post-season, beating Green Bay 51-45 in OT and losing to New Orleans 45-14.

Record for the last five seasons: 37-43 and 4-2 in the post-season. They won the NFC West in 2008 and 2009, and finished second, third and fourth in the other seasons.

Last appearance in the playoffs: came last season, when they beat the Packers 51-45 on their home field and then lost in New Orleans to the Saints 45-14.

Owner: William V. Bidwill is the latest member of the Bidwell family to run the franchise. His father Charles bought the Chicago Cardinals in 1932 from Dr. David Jones for $50,000. The team has been under Bidwill Family control since. When Charles Bidwill passed away in 1947, his widow Violet ran the team for 15 years. She married St. Louis businessman Walter Wolfner and moved the franchise to St. Louis in 1960. When she passed away in 1962, she left the team to her sons Bill and Charles Jr. In 1972, Bill became sole owner and later engineered the move of the Cardinals to Arizona before the 1988 season.

General Manager: Rod Graves was named general manager in 2007, but has been with the organization since 1997. Graves began his career in football personnel working for Carl Peterson and the Philadelphia Stars in 1982. Two years later, he joined the Chicago Bears as a regional scout, where he stayed until he joined the Cardinals. His father was Jackie Graves a long time player and personnel man with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Head coach: Ken Whisenhunt is in his fourth season as head coach of the Cardinals and has an overall record of 34-28 including the playoffs. He spent nine years as a tight end in the NFL, playing for the Falcons, Redskins and Jets. His coaching career began in 1994 at Vanderbilt University where he spent two years. Whisenhunt then worked his way up the NFL coaching ladder, spending two seasons with the Ravens, one year with the Browns, one season with the Jets (where he shared an office with Todd Haley), six seasons with the Steelers, where he was offensive coordinator for three years before he was hired by the Cardinals.

Coordinators: Russ Grimm (offense/running game) for the last four years with Arizona and Mike Miller (offense/passing game) has been with the Cardinals for the last four years; Bill Davis, defense, joined Arizona with Whisenhunt in 2007; Kevin Spencer, special teams, fourth year with the Cardinals.

Roster overview: The Cardinals have tried to build their team through the draft, but there are only 23 draft choices on their 53-man roster and a dozen are starters. They’ve signed seven players as unrestricted free agents; one player was acquired in a trade and another on waivers. There are 16 street free agents and four college free agents. There are 10 rookies on the roster, with 24 players who are 25 or younger and 12 players who are 30 or older. The roster is heavy on players out of the SEC and Big 10.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson, who was signed as a free agent in the off-season after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. Anderson began his pro career in 2005 as a sixth-round draft choice of the Ravens. Released by Baltimore, he was claimed on waivers by the Browns where he spent the next five years. Anderson started 34 games with the Browns, with 46 TDs and 45 INTs. With the Cardinals, he has six TDs and eight INTs, dealt with an injury and losing the starting job for several weeks to rookie Max Hall.

Offensive threats: Larry Fitzgerald is among the best WRs in the league, with 49 catches for 601 yards and four touchdowns. With Anquan Boldin gone, WR Steve Breaston has become the No. 2 receiver with 29 catches for 456 yards and one TD. The Arizona running game has been anemic over the season, with Tim Hightower leading the way at 4.8 yards per carry, including an 80-yard TD run.

Defensive stars: In the secondary, the Cardinals have three talented players in safeties Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson, along with CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. All three have a pair of interceptions and Rhodes and Rodgers Cromartie have both scored TDs on turnovers. The team’s leading tackler is LB Paris Lenon, with Rhodes and Wilson just behind him. Former Pittsburgh and Miami OLB Joey Porter has five sacks and a pair of forced fumbles on the pass rush. DT Darnell Dockett is one of the league’s more talented defensive tackles and has 31 total tackles and two sacks.

Special teamers: Kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling has been one of the most explosive special teamers in the league, with two return touchdowns and a 27.8-yard average. Rookie Andre Roberts handles punt returns, at a 7.6-yard average. K Jay Feely has hit nine of 10 FGs. Ben Graham is the punter, averaging 43 yards on 50 punts.

By the numbers: the Cardinals are No. 31 in offensive yards, averaging 263.9 yards per game. That’s 29th in rushing yards and 30th in passing yards. On defense, Arizona ranks No. 30 in yards allowed at 401.8 yards per game. He’s 28th in rushing yards allowed and 27th in passing yards. They are minus-86 in the point differential, minus-13 in the sack ratio, minus-8 in the turnover ratio.

Top ’10 draft picks: 1.) DT Dan Williams out of Tennessee, he’s played in eight games with no starts. He has 15 total tackles and one forced fumble. 2.) LB Daryl Washington from TCU has played in all nine games, starting seven at one of the inside linebacker spot. He has 48 total tackles, with one sack and three tackles on special teams. 3.) WR Andre Roberts from the Citadel has played in eight games with one start. He’s caught six passes for 96 yards and one touchdown. He has also returned 14 punts for a 7.6-yard average. 4.) LB O’Brien Schofield out of Wisconsin opened the season on the Non-Football Injury list after suffering a knee injury during the Senior Bowl week. He’s played the last three games and has three tackles and a forced fumble on special teams. 5.) QB John Skelton out of Fordham has been the team’s inactive third quarterback for all nine games.

Familiar faces: LB Reggie Walker is out of Kansas State and has played in seven games, with two tackles and four tackles on special teams. He signed as a college free agent before the 2009 season.

One Response to “Opponent: Arizona Cardinals”

  • November 18, 2010  - RW says:

    On paper, the Chiefs should win this one but given their uneven play over the past few games, I’m seeing the outcome being a tossup. If McCluster plays and plays well, I like the Chiefs. If Dex is limited, so are the Chiefs.

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