Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact There were few bright spots on the Cardinals defense Sunday against the New England Patriots. Strong safety Tony Jefferson was one of them.Jefferson played all 71 snaps, and led the Cardinals in solo (9) and combined tackles. He had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit that blew up a passing play because he got to Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo so quickly. None of that mattered to Jefferson after the game. He was more concerned with the Cards’ inability to put the Patriots in long down situations, and their inability to get off the field on third down where New England was 10 of 16.“We’ve just got to win on first down,” he said. “Once a team gets to second and short they can do anything in the playbook — it opens up the playbook and they can pass, run or do whatever … and obviously, third down we didn’t do as good.”The Cardinals tendered Jefferson, a restricted free agent, at the lowest amount possible ($1.67 million) this spring, giving them the right to match any offer for Jefferson. Jefferson, an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma, tested the free-agency waters but received no offers. He has not missed a game since signing as a rookie free agent in 2013. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “Yesterday, when you plant it would just kind of give,” he said. “You couldn’t really get into it, into the plant foot and out. But the pain, next week, should be fine. We should be good to go.”Butler’s optimism for Week 2 stems from feeling better Monday than he did Sunday night, and he added there was some luck involved because assistant athletic trainer Michael Blankenship, who always helps Butler tape up his left ankle prior to games, put a little extra into Sunday’s job.“There’s no question if I didn’t have the tape on there, I don’t know if I could be playing this week,” he said. “But I am and I’m excited to get out there and get back to work.”Injury newsSunday night, the Cardinals saw as Butler, guard Evan Mathis and defensive lineman Frostee Rucker all seemed to come down with some sort of injury.Butler’s ailment has been discussed, and it appears as though he will be fine. Monday afternoon, Arians said there was no word on Mathis’ status and that Rucker has an MCL injury that will likely keep him out two to three weeks.Jefferson’s big day (as told by Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan) Top Stories Looking for positive returnsTo say the Cardinals struggled in the kick return game would be putting it mildly, as Andre Ellington averaged just 15.3 yards on his four opportunities. He had a long of 21 yards, and took a return past the Arizona 20 just once.When you consider downing the ball for a touchback would have let the offense begin at the 25, the failure to generate much of anything in such situations was a rather unsightly blemish in a night with a few of them.Many would point to Ellington as part of the problem, but Arians looked to the blocking in front of him.“We did not block the right guys and obviously turned to many of them loose on Andre,” he said. “We’ve got a hell of a returner back there if we just block somebody.”It’s likely some of those issues can be attributed to young players who were either too amped up or are still learning their respective positions.Asked what needs to get better, Ellington said the return team needs to clean up its techniques.“As far as that, we pretty much understand what’s going on and I’ve got to do a better job of setting blocks and helping those guys up front get their blocks,” he said. TEMPE, Ariz. — Drew Butler was called on to punt five times in Arizona’s 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday night.Of his five kicks, just two landed inside the Patriots’ 20-yard line, and his boots had an average distance of 36 yards.In a game filled with spotty special teams play, Butler’s performance was if not the most detrimental, still very noticeable.Yet on Monday, when asked about Butler’s status on the roster, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians offered a healthy dose of praise. Arizona Cardinals punter Drew Butler (2) during an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)center_img Arians said there was just one return where Ellington probably should not have taken the ball out of the end zone, and it was clear the Patriots were doing what they could do put the ball in situations that would not lead to big returns.Ellington would not be surprised if other teams tried to emulate that plan, but even still understands there are things they could do better to still get significant yardage.He is looking forward to breaking one.“I feel like we are capable,” he said. “Just watching film, we’re real close. But we’ve just got to clean up a few things and we’ll be fine.”Other musings– Asked what he told the team after the loss, Arians said that it’s just one game.“Go back, watch yourself and your preparation. Was it good enough? Watch the film and see if your preparation got to the stadium.”– David Johnson appeared to have an excellent game, with 89 rushing yards, 43 receiving yards and one touchdown. However, Arians said he thought the second-year pro was impatient early and did not produce as much as they were hoping he would in the passing game. The coach said his running back was solid, though, and noted how his 45-yard run in the fourth quarter was reminiscent of Johnson’s impressive jaunt last year in Philadelphia. But if there is any thought to getting Johnson more involved in the offense — he had just 16 carries and four catches — it appears that if anything else, the plan is go use him less. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “He kicked his ass off on one leg. He had a severely sprained ankle,” Arians said. “Some guys would have not been able to go out there. He sucked it up for his team and went out there. He sprained his ankle severely on that first punt.”During the game it was apparent that Butler had suffered some kind of injury on his first kick — a 38-yarder that was caught at the New England 18 and returned to the 26. He received attention on the sideline after the play, but no official injury was announced and he continued with his normal role. Had Butler been unable to continue, kicker Chandler Catanzaro would have handled punts.Butler said the injury happened when teammate Troy Niklas got tripped up and rolled into his plant foot.“It hurt pretty bad; I thought it was bad initially, but just gutted it out and was able to finish up the game,” Butler said. “Wish I could have put a better product out there.”While there was no indication Butler was blaming the injury for his performance, he noted the importance of his plant foot and the impact a badly sprained ankle could have.Whereas some injuries are more about pain tolerance, what Butler was — and still is — dealing with has more to it. Comments   Share   “No, he probably played too much,” Arians said. “I’d like to have Chris (Johnson) in there more, but we only had 59, 60 snaps.”– Arians is known for his “no risk-it, no biscuit” mentality, but on the team’s first drive, when facing a fourth down and inches to go on the Arizona 49, he elected to punt. Butler’s boot did not pin the Patriots deep, and New England proceeded to mount its first touchdown drive of the night.“It was really a decision by me to not go for 4th-and-6 inches, to punt it to their offense. I was thinking we could get good field position back. I think that third down call. In the past, I’ve gone for that a few times. In this game, had it been a different scenario, I probably would have. But, that was probably the most conservative call I made all night.” – / 55last_img

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