Here is what we culled from the annals of the Arizona Cardinals' media vault. Just about everything you need to know, or want to know about this longstanding NFL franchise who host our Giants tomorrow afternoon at 4:15pm...
The Cardinals once hailed from Chicago before moving to St. Louis in 1960, where they played in Busch Stadium until 1987. They moved west to Phoenix in 1988 and officially changed their name to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.
They were longtime division rivals of the Giants until being moved to the NFC West Division in 2002 as part of the league's geographical realignment.
This week’s game between the Cardinals and Giants is the 125th meeting between the two teams in a series that dates back to 1926. It is the Cardinals third-oldest rivalry (Chicago, Green Bay) and the Cardinals have faced the Giants more times than any other NFL franchise. The Giants lead the series, 80-42 with two ties.
From the Arizona Cardinals Media Dept:
The Cards are 1-2 in their first three contests of 2011. In each of the last two weeks, they appeared to have a tough road win within their reach but let each slip away with a late fourth quarter turnover. Last week in Seattle, it was a 13-10 loss to the Seahawks that spoiled a defensive effort that limited Seattle to 261 yards of total offense and produced four sacks and constant pressure on QB Tarvaris Jackson. Arizona’s lone TD came on a spectacular leaping grab by WR Larry Fitzgerald between two defenders that established a new franchise record in that category. Four Cardinals drives that penetrated Seattle territory ended without points – two culminating with INTs and another two on missed FGs (49 & 51 yards).
A win this week would give the Cardinals four consecutive home victories for the first time since 2007-08 (7) and it would mark the second-longest home win streak in 24 seasons in Arizona.
A win this week would give the Cardinals a 25-12 record (postseason included) at home under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
- The Cardinals will wear their black jerseys this week, the team’s third uniform option that debuted in 2010. The Cardinals last wore the black jersey vs. SF (12/11/10).
- WR Larry Fitzgerald: With 35 receiving yards this week, Fitzgerald would pass Roy Green (8,497) and become the franchise’s all-time receiving yardage leader. Fitzgerald enters the game with 8,463 career receiving yards.
- With 100 yards receiving this week, Fitzgerald would have 28 career 100-yard games and set a franchise record.
- With two TDs this week, Fitzgerald would have 69 career TDs and tie Roy Green for the franchise TDs record.
- TE Todd Heap: With five receptions this week, Heap would pass former Cardinals all-time great Jackie Smith (480) for 11th place on the all-time receptions list for TEs.
- LB Joey Porter: With two sacks, Porter would become the 26th player to reach 100 career sacks. He would join Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett as the only players on that list who played exclusively at LB.
With a 93.8 passer rating through the first three games, QB Kevin Kolb ranks in the top 10 among NFL passers in 2011. Kolb has led a Cardinals offense that has shown the ability to strike quickly. Three of Kolb’s TD passes have come on either first or second down and the Cardinals (3) join the Ravens (4), Texans (3) and Raiders (3) as the only teams in the NFL with three “quick strike” scoring drives— defined by Stats, Inc. as a drive of four plays or fewer.
In addition to the three quick strike drives, the Cardinals also had a five-play drive that ended on a 70-yard TD pass to WR Early Doucet in week one.
Cards Quick Strike Attack
Arizona’s eight offensive scoring drives have averaged 5.25 plays, covered 61.4 yards and taken 2:29 off the clock. The average NFL scoring drive this season has consisted of 7.77 plays, covered 58.2 yards and taken 3:29 off the clock.
With his 73-yard connection to WR Larry Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter in week two,
Kolb became the first Cardinals QB to throw a TD pass of 70+ yards in back-to-back games since Tom Tupa in 1989.
Kolb also had a 21-yard TD strike to TE Jeff King against the Redskins and his five TD passes through the first three games have covered a total of 194 yards. He is averaging 38.8 yards per TD pass so far this season.
The Cardinals defense is one of just eight in the NFL that is allowing fewer than 20.0 points per game this season. Arizona’s opponents have averaged just 18.7 points per game so far in 2011, the eighth-best total in the NFL.
Much of the reason for the Cardinals success is the performance in the red zone. Arizona has given up just four TDs on 11 opponent red zone possessions and the Cards 36.4 red zone efficiency percentage is the sixth-best total in the NFL.
In 2010, the Cardinals had one of the NFL’s most dangerous kickoff return units, led by RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, who led the NFL with 1,548 KOR yards and tied a franchise record with two KOR TDs. Overall, the Cardinals led the NFL with 2,084 total KOR return yards on the season.
In 2011, the Cardinals KOR unit is again proving a strong suit for the team. Arizona’s average drive has started at the 27.8 yard line after kickoffs so far this season, the second-best starting position in the NFL behind the San Francisco 49ers (29.6).
Led by rookie Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals punt return unit is also one of the best in the NFL. Peterson’s 147 punt return yards rank second in the NFL behind the 49ers Ted Ginn, Jr. (156) and the Cards 147 punt return yards rank third overall in the NFL behind Denver (175) and San Francisco (156)
One of the more overlooked aspects of the Cardinals special teams units is the team’s ability to block kicks. Dating back to 2008, the Cardinals have blocked eight FG attempts, the most in the NFL over that period. The Cardinals led the NFL in blocked FGAs in both 2009 (3) and 2010 (3).
Arizona blocked the first FG of the 2011 season in week two at Washington when DE Calais Campbell got a hand on K Graham Gano’s 30-yard attempt late in the second quarter.
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt
- Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had an impressive run in his first four-plus seasons with the Cardinals. Prior to the 2010 season, Whisenhunt earned a four-year contract extension with a team option for a fifth.
- Arizona’s win during week one vs. Carolina gave Whisenhunt a 3-2 record in season openers. The win also improved the Cardinals record to 24-12 at University of Phoenix Stadium under Whisenhunt (including postseason).
- Below is a look at an impressive list of achievements that Whisenhunt has put together during his time in Arizona:
- The Cardinals earned NFC West titles in 2008 and ‘09, earning their first back-to-back division titles since 1974-75.
- Arizona’s win over Green Bay in the 2009 Wild Card matchup gave the Cardinals wins in the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history.
- The Cardinals have won twice as many playoffs games under Whisenhunt (4) as they had won in their total playoff history (2) prior to his tenure. Under Whisenhunt, the Cardinals appeared in six playoff contests between 2008-09, after appearing in seven total postseason games in the franchise’s history prior to his arrival.
- Arizona finished with a 10-6 record in ‘09, giving the Cardinals 10+ wins in the regular season for the first time since 1976 (10-4).
- Whisenhunt was the first head coach in franchise history with a .500 record or better in each of his first three seasons. The Cardinals were 8-8 in 2007, 9-7 in 2008 and 10-6 in ‘09.
With his 12-yard TD reception in the second quarter last week in Seattle, WR Larry Fitzgerald established a franchise record with 67 career TD receptions, surpassing the previous record of 66 held by Roy Green (1979-90).
With that TD reception last week, Fitzgerald also moved into sole possession of fifth place among active players in the category as well. Fitzgerald has appeared in fewer games (111) than any player in the top 10.
WR Early Doucet is off to the best start of his career in 2011, having caught 10 passes for 175 yards (17.5 avg.) and a TD in the first three games, including a 70-yard TD reception in week one vs. Carolina. His 105 receiving yards vs. the Panthers marked the first 100-yard game of his career.
Doucet has been particularly good on third down. Of his 10 receptions this season, six have come on third down and seven have resulted in first downs (including the TD). His six third down receptions are tied for fifth in the NFL and his 134 yards rank as the top total in the NFL on third down.
After a difficult 2010 campaign, RB Beanie Wells is poised for a breakout season in 2011. In his first two games, Wells, who missed last week’s game in Seattle due to a hamstring injury, totaled 32 carries for 183 yards (5.7 avg.) and two TDs.
In week two at Washington, Wells had 14 attempts for 93 yards and a TD, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. His 93 rushing yards ranked as the second-best total of his career (110 yards at Detroit, 12/20/09) and his 6.6 average was the best of his career (min. 10 carries).
Wells was particularly impressive in the second half against the Redskins, when he carried the ball 11 times for 87 yards (7.9 avg.) and a TD. The 87 yards were the most ever in a single half for the third-year back.
The performance in Washington followed up an 18-carry, 90- yard outing in week one that included a seven-yard TD run in the first quarter. He also established a career-high with four receptions against the Panthers.
All-Pro DT Darnell Dockett had another standout season for the Cardinals in 2010, recording 51 tackles, five sacks, eight tackles for loss, a pass defensed, a forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, five QB pressures and 11 QB hits. For his efforts, Dockett earned his third career trip to the Pro Bowl (2007, ’09), becoming the first defensive lineman in franchise history to appear in three Pro Bowls.
Dating back to 2004, no player at his position has appeared in more games (114) than Dockett. He has started 113 of 114 career games and has missed just one contest in his first seven-plus seasons.
Dockett has led the NFL in sacks among DTs twice in his career, recording 9.0 sacks in 2007 and 7.0 sacks in 2009.
Since 2007, Dockett is among the league leaders in many categories at the defensive tackle position. Below is a look at Dockett’s sack total since then compared to some of the more well-known defenders at the position.
Now in his 11th NFL season, SS Adrian Wilson is the team’s most tenured player and has been with Arizona since the team selected him in the third round (64th overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft. In that time, Wilson has become one of the league’s best safeties and most feared defenders.
After missing all four preseason contests due to a torn biceps injury suffered early in training camp, Wilson has started all three contests this season and has posted 14 tackles, three tackles for loss, an INT and three passes defensed.
Wilson’s accomplishments during his first 10 seasons include four Pro Bowl appearances and numerous NFL single-season records. One of the most significant is his inclusion on an exclusive list of NFL players who have recorded at least 20 INTs and 20 sacks in their career. In 2009, Wilson reached the career milestone, becoming just the 10th player in NFL history with at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions. With two sacks and two INTs in 2010 and an INT this season, Wilson has added to those totals.
Some Giants/Cardinals connections:
- Cardinals K Jay Feely played for the Giants from 2005-06. He made 62 field goals in two seasons, including a career-high 35 in 2005. That season he scored 148 points, the most in the NFL by a kicker that year. Feely as played for the NY Jets for two seasons (2008-09) before coming to Arizona. In two seasons with the Jets, Feely connected on 54-64 FGAs and scored 233 points.
- Giants S Antrel Rolle played for the Cardinals from 2005-09. He was the Cardinals’ first-round pick (8th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, and he played in 69 games (60 starts) with 378 tackles and 12 INTs over his five years in Arizona. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, his final season with the Cards.
- Cardinals Special Teams coach Kevin Spencer is a native of Queens, NY and was a graduate assistant at SUNY-Cortland from 1975-76 and at Cornell University from 1979-80 as well as the head freshman coach at Ithaca College from 1981-85 and the offensive coordinator in 1986.
- Cardinals DBs coach Louie Cioffi is from Queens, NY and attended college at SUNY-Stony Brook.
- Giants Secondary/Safeties coach David Merritt played LB for the Cardinals from 1993-96.
- Cardinals TE Jim Dray is a native of Paramus, NJ and was a two-time All-State selection at Bergen Catholic (Oradell, NJ) High School.
- Cardinals LS Mike Leach hails from Jefferson Township, NJ and was named first-team All-State at Jefferson Township High School.
- Giants CB Prince Amukamara hails from Glendale, AZ and attended Apollo High School, where he scored nearly 50 TDs during his final two seasons. As a senior, he was named the state High School Player of the Year and a first-team Class 4A All-State pick by the Arizona Republic.