BA & Staff Year Two

Mitch

Crawled Through 5 FB Fields
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Posts
13,405
Reaction score
2,982
Location
Wrentham, MA
Much has been written and said about it taking the Cardinals' offense longer than usual last year to click---that BA's exacting scheme and style was difficult for some players to pick up, particularly the mental aspects and nuances of the assignments.

Any time there is change, the learning curve and it's timetable are going to be factors.

But, the way I look at it, it wasn't so much the players not grasping the offense as it was the players learning how to win again---and learning what it takes preparation-wise to win.

Carson Palmer had to learn how to win again.

And so did every Cardinal who played under the previous staff.

When you come right down to it---there are two basic preparation philosophies in sports: (1) do what we do best and keep trying to do it better; (2) analyze the opponents' strengths and weaknesses and game plan to minimize their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.

Under the previous staff---what we saw was the same predictable schemes. The idea was---the system works---we just have to run it better.

Under BA and his staff---what we see is detailed game planning week after week. The idea is we have figured out a way to beat the opponent at hand and we just have to execute the game plan.

The past Cardinal players didn't really know how to game plan. That is why it took 8 games for last year's team to start jelling.

Once the players understood the process and how it gave them a "competitive edge" from week to week---the Cardinals were as competitive a team as there was in the NFL the last 8 games.

Thus, there are a number of tangible reasons for BA's team in Year Two to be very optimistic:

1. All eyes are firmly fixed on the prize. This is quite a departure from years past. Anything less than the prize will not be accepted.

2. Even though the Cardinals went 7-2 down the stretch last year, BA and his staff have emphasized to the players how much better their performances in those games could have been had the team been more efficient and more focused on the game plan. Even in wins---BA has the team focusing in on correcting and "cleaning up" the glitches.

3. Patience. This is the most wonderful and paradoxical aspect of BA and his staff's approach---while they have instilled an urgency to win and win now, they also are patient enough to hammer their way through the glitches---to keep running the ball and not abandon the running game when it isn't working early on in games---sticking with the QB when he is making sloppy decisions and mistakes---switching the matchups on defense when the opponents are finding a way to move the ball---instilling a belief and commitment to the younger players by helping them work through rough patches.

4. Half-time Adjustments. Have we ever seen anything like it from the Cardinals? No sooner have the players taken a knee in the locker room than masterful blueprints for second half success are being unrolled like the U of P turf before their eyes.

5. Personnel Honing. Look at what Steve Keim, in tandem with BA and the team scouts, have been accomplishing in just two short years. Take the TE position, for example. Last year, BA had to get creative with his roster to get some blocking on the edge and had to turn to Bobby Massie. This year, the TE group is deep and has been catered to fit BA's system. On defense, the secondary is now deep and diverse which is the key to Todd Bowles' innovative combo blitz-cover schemes. This off-season the Cardinals have become a considerably faster and tougher football team. Playing fast, physically and briskly is a BA mandate.

6. Careful Calculations. Everything about the organization right now is being carefully calculated. There are short term goals, from practice to practice, and long-term goals. The plan is squarely in place.

7. Scouting. You just know that BA, his staff and the advance scouts, with another year under their belts have copious scouting reports on all of the Cardinals 2014 opponents and most especially on the teams in the NFC West. General game plans have already been mapped out---and will be adjusted as this year's games give the Cardinals more tape to analyze. There is already a plan as to how to get to Colin Kaepernick---even to the point of having a QB on the scout team, in 4th round pick QB Logan Thomas, to emulate him.

Josh Weinfuss' 53 Man Roster Prediction:

I really like Weinfuss---he delves deeply into the Cardinals scenarios the way we at ASFN do---like a true, hungry and knowledgeable fan. And I was particularly impressed with his recent roster prediction, because I think he understands what BA&SK want. I will add some of my own comments here but I think for the most part, Weinfuss' assessment is spot-on at this point---and I stress at this point because as BA has stressed, nothing really will be decided until the pads come on.

Quarterback (3)
Carson Palmer*
Drew Stanton
Logan Thomas


The only question here is whether Ryan Lindley can challenge Drew Stanton for the #2. That would seem unlikely at this point, but, I get the feeling that BA likes Lindley enough to give him the opportunity to stick.

Running back (4)
Andre Ellington*
Stepfan Taylor
Jonathan Dwyer
Robert Hughes


The question i have here is the absence of another speed RB. I think it is quote possible that one of the speed RBs in camp (Bauman, Parmele or Thigpen could supplant Dwyer or Hughes). ST consideration will be a factor as well.

Wide Receiver (5)
Larry Fitzgerald*
Michael Floyd*
Ted Ginn
John Brown
Walt Powell


I think it is going to be near impossible to cut Juron Brown---and I think Walt Powell will make the roster on STs alone (to start with)---so I think keeping 6 WRs is a strong possibility. The other guy to keep an eye on is Brittan Golden. He might be a surprise.

Offensive line (8)
Bobby Massie*
Earl Watford*
Lyle Sendlein*
Jonathan Cooper*
Jared Veldheer*
Bradley Sowell
Ted Larsen
Nate Potter


Weinfuss argues that if Watford wins the RG position, as he thinks Watford will, that because Larsen and Potter can play guard, Paul Fanaika could be the odd man out. I do not see the Cardinals keeping Potter over Fanaika. I can also see the Cardinals adding a guard and another tackle to the mix. And I could see BA keeping Potter over Sewell if Sewell fails to impress. By the end of camp, i wouldn't be surprised to see two new names here...one quite possibly being G Anthony Steen, depending on his recovery.

Tight end (4)
Jake Ballard*
John Carlson*
Rob Housler
Troy Niklas (injured)


Looks pretty set here, but I still think that Fells or Hardy will make a very strong case.

Defensive line (7)
Calais Campbell*
Darnell Dockett*
Dan Williams*
Kareem Martin
Frostee Rucker
Ed Stinson
Alameda Ta'amu (injured)


The kid Gaston from Purdue has a shot here, depending on Ta'amu's recovery.

Outside Linebacker (5)
John Abraham*
Matt Shaughnessy*
Sam Acho
Alex Okafor
Marcus Benard


The one guy I am very curious to see in live action is Adrian Tracy---a fast player I could also see getting a look at WILB. I wonder about Acho and Okafor---as neither one showed consistent pressure ability last year.

Inside Linebacker (4)
Larry Foote*
Kevin Minter*
Kenny Demens
Lorenzo Alexander


I think we are going to see a new name in here---most likely via trade or the waiver wire. I could see Alexander making the team because of STs. But, his foot injury looks like it could be an ongoing issue.

Cornerback (6)
Patrick Peterson*
Antonio Cromartie*
Justin Bethel
Bryan McCann
Jerraud Powers
Teddy Williams


The question I have here is whether both McCann and Williams makes the roster. I can see why both would, especially for the sake of STs. But, if BA keeps 6 WRs, one of the CBs could be on the bubble.

Safety (4)
Deone Bucannon*
Rashad Johnson*
Tony Jefferson
Tyrann Mathieu (injured)


Love that Jefferson has been impressing thus far. That's huge. I could see Curtis Taylor or Anthony Walters making the roster if the Honey Badger isn't ready week one.

Punter (1)
Dave Zastudil

Kicker (1)
Jay Feely

Long snapper (1)
Mike Leach


If Feely struggles in the pre-season, a waiver wire pickup could occur. The kickoff issues are still pressing.

Bubble Players on Weinfuss' Roster, imo:

RB Dwyer
RB Hughes
T/G Potter
WR Powell
OLB Acho
OLB Okafor
ILB Alexander
CB McCann
CB Williams
K Feely

Challengers, imo:

QB Lindley
RB Bauman
RB Parmele
RB Thigpen
TE Fells
TE Hardy
G Fanaika
G Steen
WR Juron Brown
WR Golden
WR Buckner
DT Gaston
DT Renfro
DT Topou
LB Tracy
LB Clayton
LB Dickson
LB Carson
LB Jonathan Brown
CB Legree
CB Whitley
S Taylor
S Walters
 
Last edited:

BullheadCardFan

Go for it
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Posts
60,521
Reaction score
23,337
Location
Bullhead City, AZ
4. Half-time Adjustments. Have we ever seen anything like it from the Cardinals? No sooner have the players taken a knee in the locker room than masterful blueprints for second half success are being unrolled like the U of P turf before their eyes.
Good read Mitch

This is what really stood out in the 2nd half of the season to me. How the coaching staff made adjustments and we were able to shut down the things other teams were doing. KW's staff kept doing the same thing in the 2nd as the 1st half and other teams caught on and used it against us.
 

AzStevenCal

ASFN IDOL
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Posts
36,298
Reaction score
15,436
Thanks Mitch, you make me want to put a tap on the Kool Aid keg.

Steve
 

Duckjake

LEGACY MEMBER
LEGACY MEMBER
Joined
Jun 10, 2002
Posts
32,190
Reaction score
317
Location
Texas
Carson Palmer had to learn how to win again.

And so did every Cardinal who played under the previous staff.

I thought they needed to learn to win again without following up a winning streak with a horrendous losing streak.

2011 and 2012 many on ASFN said all the Cards needed was a decent QB and they'd be playoff contenders. Cards got Carson Palmer and went 10-6.

Smart folks, ASFN posters.

Well except for me. All I can do is try to work the Duckjake jinx in the Cards favor. :)
 

Catfish

Registered
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Posts
4,551
Reaction score
64
Nice work-up Mitch. I can't get over how this coaching staff has introduced confidence into this roster. That coupled with the closeness they have achieved bodes well for the up-coming season.

I am very happy that you chose to produce this summation, as it is something very nice to have to chew on during the next few weeks of dead time. The scouting department and Keim have provided almost exactly what BA and his staff have coveted. That, despite the unfortunate off-season hurdles they had to overcome. As you alluded to, they are not yet finished, and we may yet see a new face or two after cut-downs, (or perhaps even a trade). In any event, BASK has continued to follow their plan, and the 2nd year version is just as complete and well conceived as was the first one. This team HAS become wonderfully deep and talented, and posses much greater speed than before. This looks to be a terrific season to follow. Thanks again for the work-up.
 

Garthshort

ASFN Addict
Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Posts
9,225
Reaction score
5,277
Location
Scarsdale, NY
Mitch, at a glance. I'm not sure about Hughes at RB, though it sounds like he's safe, but I'm pretty sure that Dwyer is a sure thing. I'll take a closer look at the other positions, though they look like they're pretty accurate.
 

Jetstream Green

Kool Aid with a touch of vodka
Joined
Feb 5, 2003
Posts
29,462
Reaction score
16,606
Location
San Antonio, Texas
"I wonder about Acho and Okafor---as neither one showed consistent pressure ability last year."

It is hard to show consistent pressure when you are not on the field and injured :)
 

Garthshort

ASFN Addict
Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Posts
9,225
Reaction score
5,277
Location
Scarsdale, NY
Bottom line, imo, is that we WON'T see a 24-26 (offense/defense) breakdown. I'm guessing 25-25, and would sub Fanaika (offense) for Williams (defense). However, as we all know, there is always a couple of surprises that come out of TC. As well as injuries.

And I believe that Josh Weinfuss used to work for the Cards, along with Darren Urban, so I'm sure he has a good take on the team.
 

Russ Smith

The Original Whizzinator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 14, 2002
Posts
85,310
Reaction score
34,545
I think Arians is a good coach but I think what we saw last year was largely what happens when a good team with a terrible QB replaces said QB with a seasoned veteran who's reasonably good.

Palmer hurt us at times with mistakes but he made enough plays to keep us in games and we leaned on the defense to win them.

I think if you gave Whiz Carson Palmer he could have gone 10-6 last year too.

By the same token if Arians had to start Stanton, or yikes Thomas, we'd see pretty quickly how his playcalling would change and become more predictable. it's much harder to playcall when you start a QB you can't trust.

Whiz's problem was identifying the next QB, not coaching IMO.

I'm happy we got Arians I think he's doing a nice job but I don't particularly buy we have a tactical edge because of him. But if the players think we do, that's good.
 

Jetstream Green

Kool Aid with a touch of vodka
Joined
Feb 5, 2003
Posts
29,462
Reaction score
16,606
Location
San Antonio, Texas
I think Arians is a good coach but I think what we saw last year was largely what happens when a good team with a terrible QB replaces said QB with a seasoned veteran who's reasonably good.

Palmer hurt us at times with mistakes but he made enough plays to keep us in games and we leaned on the defense to win them.

I think if you gave Whiz Carson Palmer he could have gone 10-6 last year too.

By the same token if Arians had to start Stanton, or yikes Thomas, we'd see pretty quickly how his playcalling would change and become more predictable. it's much harder to playcall when you start a QB you can't trust.

Whiz's problem was identifying the next QB, not coaching IMO.

I'm happy we got Arians I think he's doing a nice job but I don't particularly buy we have a tactical edge because of him. But if the players think we do, that's good.

Well said Mitch. I think we have a slight edge over some teams because I cannot turn away from the fact of what he did with the Cardinals and the Colts. I think Arians is solid. The best thing to say is that is could be a lot worse as a Cardinal fan lol
 

RugbyMuffin

ASFN IDOL
Joined
Apr 30, 2003
Posts
30,485
Reaction score
4,877
Concerning "struggles" with the offense. Our wide receivers seem to have a lot of problems on the mental side of football.

If I remember correctly, Whiz had complaints about WR's not running the right routes as well.
 

Russ Smith

The Original Whizzinator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 14, 2002
Posts
85,310
Reaction score
34,545
Concerning "struggles" with the offense. Our wide receivers seem to have a lot of problems on the mental side of football.

If I remember correctly, Whiz had complaints about WR's not running the right routes as well.

That was mainly one guy and he got a lot better at it. Floyd couldn't even line up correctly as a rookie. It got to be comical the first few games when Kolb was the QB he was moving Floyd from one side to the other on like a third of the pass plays.

I noticed the last half of last season you almost never saw Palmer move Floyd, I think he has the offense down now and that's probably why he played so well the 2nd half of the season, didn't have to think anymore because he knew where he was supposed to be.

His last 8 games were pretty darn good, 31 catches 19.6 YPC, 3 TD's. He would appear to be a guy poised for a real breakout year.
 

kerouac9

Klowned by Keim
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Posts
37,500
Reaction score
27,779
Location
Gilbert, AZ
I'm happy we got Arians I think he's doing a nice job but I don't particularly buy we have a tactical edge because of him. But if the players think we do, that's good.

Yeah... People who think that sight-adjustments by WRs are somehow unusual in the NFL just don't know much about the game at this level. That's the foundation of pretty much every NFL offense at this level. There are a few offenses that just run the same base plays out of multiple formations (this is what Andy Reid likes to do), but many, many offenses in the NFL do something similar, if not identical.

It's interesting to note that while our defense seems to be predicated on having our players play aggressive and act on instinct, or offense seems to be highly cerebral and players have been required to think instead of react.
 

Catfish

Registered
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Posts
4,551
Reaction score
64
kerouac9;3002619} It's interesting to note that while our defense seems to be predicated on having our players play aggressive and act on instinct said:
That is interesting. It could simply be because of the Co-ordinator's coaching styles. BA and Tom Moore are more cerebral, while Bowles is more instinctive and aggressive. Thus two styles of play, each reflecting that particular coach's personality and style.
 

LDL

Veteran
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Posts
462
Reaction score
0
I think if you gave Whiz Carson Palmer he could have gone 10-6 last year too.

.

I don't agree with this. From what I have seen, read and discussed, he is too rigid and divisive with his roster for my taste. The system works thing really, really got old. I guess the pudding will be shown to all with the job he does with the Titans this year.
 

Staff online

Forum statistics

Threads
542,666
Posts
5,311,648
Members
6,290
Latest member
stbmd
Top