INDIANAPOLIS —We've got the Arizona Cardinals and the Indianapolis Colts matching up on Sunday in their 2017 Week 2 showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Walker:Obviously, the big news of the week: wrist injury to David Johnson. He'll be out a couple months. Obviously he's not playing Sunday in Indy. What can of impact can this have on that Cardinals offense?
Urban: "**Well certainly losing arguably the best running back, or one of the best running backs, in the NFL is not an ideal situation. But, you know, when you've got 15 games to go, you've got to find a way to work around it. And they're going to start with the guys they obviously had on the field in the first place behind him. Kerwynn Williams is going to get the start at running back; he's a guy who's been around here a couple years; believe, actually, (he) was with the Colts briefly — maybe practice squad — before he ended up coming to the Cardinals back in 2014. And he's a guy who, he's not a big guy, but he has shown the ability to get five yards a run when he has had his limited opportunities. So he's a guy who's done a little bit of it; he'll be the starter. Andre Ellington, who's kind of flashed — dealt with injuries the last couple years — is the guy behind him, and then Chris Johnson, the veteran who was on this team the last couple of years and then they cut him at the end of the preseason, they bring him back and he could be in the mix, too. And I think it's going to be kind of fluid. I mean, obviously you're talking about a guy in David Johnson that gained over 2,000 yards of offense last year rushing and receiving; had 20 touchdowns. I mean, that's not something you take away and have it be a simple fix. But they feel confident they can do some things to make it better."
Walker:And you mentioned Chris Johnson, someone we obviously know very well here from his time with the Titans. After spending the last couple years in Arizona, he can be a guy that could produce right away, but obviously he was cut for a reason a couple weeks back. Do you think he gets much of a shot on Sunday, or do you think he's that third guy, and maybe plug him in when needed, but maybe not that big of a role this early on.
Urban:"I would say that's a fair assessment. He was released for a reason; they like the other two guys better. I think Kerwynn Williams is going to get his shot to carry the ball. You know, unfortunately for Chris, here is a guy who was never injured his entire career, and actually when he came in in 2015, before David Johnson's emergence when Andre Ellington was supposed to be the starter and he got hurt in the first game, Chris Johnson took over and was among the league leaders in rushing before he hurt his knee, and that ended his season. And then last year, he only played in four games before he suffered another season-ending injury — a groin injury — so he hasn't been able to stay healthy himself. I think at this point, you bring him back, you have a veteran presence, you might be able to use him here and there, but again, because of the decision they made to keep those other guys ahead of him, I think those are the guys that are going to get the shot. And I think, again, they're going to see how it plays out. I don't think there's any lock way of how this is going to go, just because so much was based around David Johnson, and now they kind of have to figure out how they want to have it go from here."
Walker:Right, and I only ask that because while the Colts have done very well against the Titans in the past here, I'm sure a lot of fans are going to see Chris Johnson's name and kind of cringe, so I'm sure they're just wondering what kind of role he'll play. Carson Palmer — I'm guessing more abnormal than anything he throws three picks against the Lions last Sunday. Was that more defense? Was it a bad day? What happened with Carson Palmer?
Urban:"Carson Palmer had a very bad day. And he admitted it afterwards, and he admitted it again this week; Bruce Arians just said it. And, really, nobody really needed to say it because you could just see it. I mean, unfortunately, two of the interceptions were just really bad throws: one was to nobody but a Lion — I'm not sure who it was intended for — the other one was just well over the head of the receiver. He had some footwork issues; he was speed up in the pocket a little bit, rushed himself more than I think he needed to. You know, the offense in general played poorly last week. It wasn't just Palmer. Obviously it starts with the quarterback, and they need him to play much better than he did. But the offensive line needed to play a little bit better. David Johnson had gotten some yards receiving before he got hurt, but he was having trouble finding holes; even when there were holes, it seemed like he was dancing a little bit more than he needed to. The receivers haven't really busted out the way that they were hoping, and they've got some injuries there already. So the offense as a whole is something that has to take a giant step forward. Of course that starts with the quarterback — he needs to play a lot better — but even if he does play a lot better, he needs some other pieces to work with him to have this really turned around."
Walker:And you mentioned Bruce Arians. Obviously he has a special place in his heart for Indianapolis, and that feeling's definitely mutual on this end. But what stands out to you about the way he's gone about leading that Cardinals franchise? It seems like he tells it like it is, and that's the way he's always been, but it seems like that resonates out there.
Urban:"Yeah, I mean, look, you guys got a taste of it in 2012, obviously, what Bruce Arians would be like as a head coach. He's done the same kind of thing here. He obviously came in, and kind of in a whirlwind fashion; this team had five wins the year before he got hired. They got 10 the next year; they got 11 the year after that. And then, of course, a 13-win season and the NFC Championship Game. Things were going really good. Now, obviously, last year wasn't as good — under .500, massive expectations and they weren't met — and now you're dealing with some injuries and this tough start. And he's going to work to keep it together, and I do think it's going to mean a little something to him to be on the field this weekend, but I think it would've been a whole different kind of perspective for him had everything been OK and David Johnson been healthy and they would've won last week. I have to say, I think Bruce Arians is a little grumpy this week — which you can't blame him for. He lost his best offensive player and he's 0-1. So it might change a little bit of how he's looking at this game and this trip, but obviously Indianapolis, he holds that place dear in his heart. It meant a lot to him. He's not a coach here if it wasn't for that 2012 year in Indianapolis. So I think there will be some emotions, but mostly, right now, I think his head is about trying to get them a win that they desperately need and not start 0-2.