Pre-camp thoughts - offense

Gandhi

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If you want, you can read my pre-camp thought of the defensive side of the ball by clicking here.

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Disclaimer

The situation around Steve Keim could potentially affect this post, but I wrote it before knowing about the case. We know that the story is still developing, and we know that things that we did not see coming can happen. If something were to unfold, like Keim being suspended or even fired, we know that Terry McDonough would likely take over, but we don’t know if he would just continue a plan (I am just going to assume that Keim right now are filling in McDonough on some strategy, just in case), or if he would try to meet some whishes by Steve Wilks. There could be a slight different in the two approaches, especially in selecting the final 53 man roster, I would assume. This post includes some free agent-targets, but I doubt they would be affected either way.

I am expecting this team to be anything from 5-11 to 8-8, and I don’t see them as a contender for the division. This is not just a roster filled with new acquisitions, as every team is going into camp. This is a team with, for the most part, a brand new coaching staff, and us fans don’t know what to expect from it.

I think the roster includes a living legend at wide receiver, one of the very best edge rushers in the game, and one of the best cornerbacks in the game. That’s not a bad start but is must be followed up by good depth, and that is where I have my doubts about this team. In previous years they have somewhat surprised me with better records than I expected, but how much of that was Bruce Arians and his coaching staff, and how much of it was talented players? I suppose it was a little bit of both things, which would mean that anything better than the last couple of seasons hinges primarily on Steve Wilks and his coaching staff.

You can’t argue that almost any team goes as far as their quarterback takes them. This is where Steve Keim has to come through right now. The DUI aside, what Steve Keim has done this offseason will in large part determine his legacy as a general manager, at least in my mind.

By the way, some of the position groups carries a lot of players and I have not included all of them. The ones I have left out, though, is probably bottom of the roster guys.

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Quarterback

At first, I was leaning towards Rosen starting week one, but for quite some time I have thought Bradford would start. I honestly believe that Rosen will be ready to play week one, but if Bradford is healthy I simply think he is the better quarterback for at least some time. To me, it is that simple.

Sam Bradford

Has Bradford ever played a bad season? I mean, his many injuries are obviously a problem, but has his play on the field ever been downright bad for an extended period? If he has, I don’t remember it. Also, I think it’s worth remembering that three teams have been willing to pay very high draftpicks to acquire Bradford (the Rams paid the first overall pick, the Eagles paid a second round pick and the Vikings paid a first round pick) even though they knew about his injury history at that point. Steve Keim’s evaluation does not stand alone among those who are paid a ransom to determine talent.

Josh Rosen

Who knows if all the anonymous sources, who pre-draft threw Rosen under the bus, were executives, scouts, coaches and other employers with the Cardinals to get him to slide? I have great expectations for Rosen. I really think he is the answer, and even though I understand that I could easily be proven wrong since he is an unproven rookie, I can’t help but getting my hopes way up. As I have written above, I think he will have to sit on the bench for a while, but I can’t wait for the Rosen-era. I also understand it if the team wants to invest in the future by having Rosen start the season and sort of let him learn of the fly.

Mike Glennon

Keim has reportedly been keeping tracks of Glennon for years, so I could easily be completely wrong on this, but I would not be surprised if he is not on the final roster. Neither would I be surprised if they only kept two quarterbacks on the roster. That said, I really like his approach that he knows he is #3 right now, but then he will just have to become the best backup ever. You can read it in Darren Urban’s article about Glennon. That mentality is off the charts, in my mind.

Chad Kanoff

I remember right after the draft, when all the undrafted free agents negotiate left and right, how there was a report that the Cardinals was pursuing Kanoff heavily. Allegedly they had followed him closely through the entire draft process, and they were the first team to offer Kanoff a contract after the draft. I could see him being a prime candidate for the practice squad.

Runningback

I am not that thrilled about the runningback-room, but on the other hand, if you have David Johnson on the team it’s not really that bad either. I really like how they apparently will be utilizing a fullback, even though it will obviously be at the cost of someone else somewhere on the field.

David Johnson

Oh, how I look forward to seeing David Johnson back on the field. I think we all do because we all know how big a difference it makes for the offense when you can utilize a player like him in many ways. There really is nothing more to say on this subject, other than maybe that I doubt his contract situation will become a real problem.

T. J. Logan

I don’t really know what to expect from Logan. I hope he can be a dangerous return man, and maybe Mike McCoy can find some ways to utilize him on offense one, two or three plays every game.

D. J. Foster

It’s basically the same with Foster as with Logan. I hope he can be a good special teams player, and if he can make a play or two in a game, I would consider it a big bonus.

Chase Edmonds

I thought he was a reach in the fourth round. I think someone in here wrote that in the Flightplan series it was shown from the war room how they were even considering Edmonds in the third round. I am sorry that I don’t remember who wrote it in here, and I haven’t checked it myself. I am just really surprised about it, and not in a good way. That said, I think he will prove to be a tough guy to defend because he is so agile and difficult to catch. I don’t know. Maybe he will turn out to be a good change of pace-back. Devonta Freeman is a stud with the Falcons, and he is even smaller than Edmonds. Edmonds is also a very good receiver, so he can be utilized in different ways when Johnson needs a breather.

Fullback

I can’t remember if it was a player or a coach who said it, but the point was that he didn’t think that Mike McCoy utilizing a fullback would create much of a difference from Bruce Arians’ offense. I don’t know about that. If we are talking about the outcome I might agree, but not in terms of the development of a given play. Arians would often pull a guard around to help block, or he would use a tight end to block down, or he would have one of the wide receivers move in to block. So, number wise the result would be the same no matter if you use a fullback or Arians’ approach. However, by using a fullback the runningback will literally have someone to follow up through the middle. He would see the play develop with the knowledge that he probably didn’t have to worry about the first defender, and thus could prepare his next move after that defender. In Arians’ offense he would obviously know where he would get another blocker from, but he would probably not see the blocker before the collision happened. It has to be a different feeling and approach for a runningback. Mike McCoy may also do some of the things Arians did, and that would create a numbers advantage to the Cardinals. Obviously, Arians made sure they sometimes had such an advantage as well, but most often he didn’t want to deviate from at least a three-wide receiver-set. It HAS to make a difference for the running game.

Elijah Penny and Derrick Coleman

I won’t get deep into this. Just mentioning that I have always liked Penny, but also always thought he was limited as a runningback. I really want him to succeed as a fullback. Obviously, it would be a much better story if Coleman made it, but I am rooting for Penny.

Wide receiver

This unit is worrying me, and I think they should pick up another veteran like Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker. If for nothing else then to have some veteran presence in the unit. As I see it right now, Chad Williams or Christian Kirk need to step up and be the #2 receiver (because I don’t have a lot of faith in Brice Butler and J. J. Nelson), and I simply don’t know if either of them can do that right now.

Larry Fitzgerald

Well, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. I don’t really know what else to say about Fitzgerald. I hope his play won’t suddenly decline because I don’t want him to go out that way, but I believe that he thinks the exact same way, and I certainly trust him to know if he can still contribute like he always has.

J. J. Nelson

Can you believe that Nelson is the wide receiver on the roster who has been with the Cardinals for the second longest time? I was certainly not impressed with him last season, but I would actually keep him on the roster for the single reason that he is blazingly fast. I think a lot of the wide receivers on the roster are best in the short to intermediate passing game, but you need something different to keep the defense honest. Nelson can be that guy, threatening deep, so that the defense must respect his presence on every play. Just don’t throw the ball to him.

Christian Kirk

I don’t really know what actually happened in the situation where he got arrested, but the gist is that he was arrested and charged with damaging other’s property, and the charges were only dropped because he paid the victim a compensation. I take that as proof he admitted he had done something very wrong. Getting off the hook by following the law is all good, but doing what he allegedly did is not good enoigh, and being young, drunk, on drugs, stupid or whatever is not an excuse. You don’t destroy other people’s property! You just don’t! I hope he has paid for a brand new car of the victim’s own choosing.

Okay, justice has been served. Moving on.

As I have written before, the fact that Kirk can run routes, as opposed to nearly every wide receiver coming into the league, gives him a chance to be successful right away. If you can’t run routes, NFL defenders will eat you alive.

Brice Butler

Well, the most receptions Butler has ever gotten in his pro career is 21. That happened in 2014, and it’s not like he hasn’t been active on game days. Maybe he will replace Nelson as the deep ball threat. After all, for years people has expected him to break out. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

Chad Williams

I doubt this is a make or break-year for Williams, but he does need to step up from last season. That’s in part because of the lack of proven wide receivers on the team, but also in part because he need to show improvement and reliability. That’s what I am looking for, anyway. That is something you can build on.

Greg Little

I could see Little and Butler fighting for a roster spot, and I can’t explain why but I have more belief in the guy that hasn’t played in a game since 2014 than I have in Butler. It’s actually not really a shot at Butler. I don’t know, there’s just something about Little. Maybe it’s the fact that I really respect how in only two tryout sessions he managed to impress the Cardinals enough to sign him, even though he had been out of the league for so long. It must require some serious discipline to stay in both physical shape and football shape by yourself for that long. I know he had been a huge disappointment for multiple seasons, and I know how he went into the draft with huge off the field issues. I just think it’s a fascinating signing, and though he could easily be cut after a week or two in camp, I am very interested to see him perform.

Trent Sherfield

Some people thinks he can surprise, so I just wanted to mention him.

Offensive line

I have been disappointed with the offensive line too many times not to know not to be skeptical about the unit, but I really do think that their new coach, Ray Brown, can make a positive difference.

D.J. Humphries

I am really excited to see what Humphries can do. I thought he showed real improvement and promise last season before he got injured.

Mike Iupati

Honestly, I wanted them to release Iupati before he took a pay cut. Not because of the money, but because I didn’t think he was playing well and not at all up to his huge contract. I simply thought he was replaceable. That said, he got that huge contract in the first place for a reason, which was that he had long stretches where he was great with the Niners. Maybe he can come close to that level again.

A.Q. Shipley

A part of me is hoping they are going to replace Shipley with Evan Boehm or Mason Cole, because I don’t think Shipley is that good of a player. Another part of me is arguing that he is important in terms of communication and cohesiveness on the line.

Justin Pugh

I think it was Solar who wrote that he considered Pugh to be the best acquisition other than Rosen this offseason. I agree.

Andre Smith

I expect Smith to be solid. Nothing more.

Mason Cole

I actually selected Cole in interactive mock draft I participate in every year, so I was happy when they selected him. I envision him as a future starting center, but he can also play guard which Evan Boehm has proven that he cannot, so maybe Cole as a guard and Boehm as a center is the more likely future lineup.

Evan Boehm

I don’t really know what to make of Boehm. I was excited when they picked him, but since then he hasn’t really done much of anything, and when they made him the starting offensive guard he basically botched the opportunity. As I recall it, he had problem making the transition from college to pro because of difficulties learning a more complex playbook, and so I wonder if it will be the same again with a new coaching staff and playbook? I still have hopes for him, but this season could be his final chance.

John Wetzel, Korey Cunningham, Will Holden

I think these three are clearly the front runners on the roster to be the backup swing tackle. I personally like Wetzel, but new eyes from the coaching staff could see it differently than the previous staff.

Tight end

At best, this unit has upside. My biggest problem with it actually is that the wide receiver-group outside of Fitzgerald isn’t exactly proven either, and thus the entire pass catching-arsenal is a question mark. I don’t think there is much to be excited about on the market, so I guess the best option is to see who gets cut, or simple go with what you have now. Ifeanyi Momah is on the market if anyone is interested.

Jermaine Gresham

Right now, with the story of him helping out a young woman at the airport, we all like Gresham. Some of us did before as well, and I hope he will be ready to go week one. Not only because of how he is by far the most proven tight end on the roster, but also because I believe he is one of the biggest motivators on offense.

Ricky Seals-Jones

Surely everyone of us must have high hopes for Seals-Jones after his play at the end of last season, but we also have to remember that he has only been producing for half a season.

Bryce Williams

I remember my evaluation of Williams leading up to the draft last year, and even though that evaluation isn’t worth much, I would keep an eye on him in camp. Obviously, he faces a very steep uphill battle to be good in the NFL, but I don’t think it’s that unrealistic that he can make the final roster.

Gabe Holmes

Some are mentioning him, so I am too.
 
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RugbyMuffin

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Awesome breakdown.

- I think Glennon makes the roster because Bradford's injury history. Not to mention after this year, Bradford will be gone, and Glennon will be the backup for Rosen. JMHO, a good backup is hard to find, and Glennon has the potential to be a good backup.

- Last I read the Cardinals had Mason Cole learning at guard in camp. Makes sense with two injury prone guards at each position. Shipley will start at center this year, and Mason will swing between guard and center. When one of the guards go down for the year, he will step in. I think Evan Boehm is not long for this roster.
 

CardsFan88

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Kirk finally has a QB to throw to him. He's NEVER had anything close to what we have on this roster QB wise.

He's the guy who gets open Fitz style and the QB can't get him the ball.

Here's a good example at 10:40 in the great Rosen comeback that wouldn't of been if Kirk had a decent QB throwing to him.

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If anyone has the mindset that our QB's Bradford/Rosen will be average this year, that's still about three notches better then Kirk has ever had.

Kirk himself genuinely thinks he's going to have a big year. I don't doubt him.

Kirk actually went to LA to work out so he focus. Also when he's here at the camps, he's rooming with Rosen. They are also sometimes hanging out off the field as well.
 
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JeffGollin

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Same goes for the offense as I feel about the defense (i.e. new regime. New QB's, thin at WR). Plus we've yet to see many of these guys in game action.

Injury history is part of this club's DNA and makes things even iffier.

It we remain fairly healthy, find a couple of receivers and our QB's establish themselves, we should be at least competitive.

But those are big "ifs."
 

kerouac9

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Bradford was pretty bad in 2015. 42.1 QBR in 14 games and threw 19 TDs against 14 INTs.

Sam Bradford isn't Blaine Gabbert. He's not going to stink up the joint. He's a very expensive peak Matt Cassell, who is going to play just well enough to get you beat and demoralize your offense by throwing a four-yard pass on third-and-seven.

Everything is going to depend on David Johnson this season. McCoy hasn't coached a rushing offense in the top half of the league since 2011 with Willis McGahee and Tebow in Denver. He's had some very productive passing offenses with two of the best 20 QBs ever to play the game in Manning and Phil Rivers. He's also been able to do it with fairly pedestrian personnel at WR outside of Keenan Allen.

I think that if this offense ends up in the top half of the league in yardage or scoring, it should be viewed as a victory. We were 25th and 22nd last year, respectively.

With David Johnson two years ago we were 6th and 9th. Weirdly, we were still in the bottom half of the league in rushing yardage (18th). It's weird, though, because the offense was 21st in DVOA. We scored a lot of points, but we couldn't score when we needed to — running up the score against bad teams but not consistently producing.
 

Snakester

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Good write up! At RB I am most wanting to see TJ Logan get playing time. This kid has special talent and he is all the way back healthy I've been told. He was incredible playing here in North Carolina both in high school and college. He can take it to the house on any play. I am so happy we have two guy's now that are very good return men in Logan and Kirk. It's about time we have a good special team's unit. Because of a lack of depth on our O-line I'm hoping our starters can stay healthy.
 
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Gandhi

Gandhi

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Good write up! At RB I am most wanting to see TJ Logan get playing time. This kid has special talent and he is all the way back healthy I've been told. He was incredible playing here in North Carolina both in high school and college. He can take it to the house on any play. I am so happy we have two guy's now that are very good return men in Logan and Kirk. It's about time we have a good special team's unit. Because of a lack of depth on our O-line I'm hoping our starters can stay healthy.

I am not sure about that, Snakester. I don’t doubt he had special talent at North Carolina, but the NFL is a different thing. Every player has special talent. He can bring something different, for sure, than Chase Edmonds, who I think is the backup to David Johnson going into camp. David Johnson can basically do everything, so I think at best Logan can be sort of a change of pace back for a few plays every game.
 
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Gandhi

Gandhi

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- I think Glennon makes the roster because Bradford's injury history. Not to mention after this year, Bradford will be gone, and Glennon will be the backup for Rosen. JMHO, a good backup is hard to find, and Glennon has the potential to be a good backup.

Great points, and as I wrote, I really like his mindset. I too think he could be a very good backup if Bradford does indeed leave the team after the season.

- Last I read the Cardinals had Mason Cole learning at guard in camp. Makes sense with two injury prone guards at each position. Shipley will start at center this year, and Mason will swing between guard and center. When one of the guards go down for the year, he will step in. I think Evan Boehm is not long for this roster.

I think you are right, Rugby. I kind of has a feeling that Cole shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of even starting the season, only because he has started every game at every level in his career. Obviously it would be kind of a stunner, but I’m just saying.

I agree with you on Boehm. I would not be surprised if he didn’t make the final roster. Such a shame, I think. I had high hopes for him coming out of Missouri.
 

Garthshort

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Two things:
1.Gandhi might be our Mitch replacement. Great job.
2.I think our offense is ahead of our defense going into TC.
 

RugbyMuffin

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Two things:
1.Gandhi might be our Mitch replacement. Great job.
2.I think our offense is ahead of our defense going into TC.


#1 - Gandhi has been doing this for a few years now, so it is good that people are starting to see what others bring to the table on this board. We have plenty of peanuts in the peanut gallery here, but I think it is important to, while reserving the peanut gallery's job/right to throw peanuts at everything and anything, show a little appreciation for what people put out there to be discussed.

#2 - If people want to continue to read things from Mitch, he is a partner with the Revenge of the Birds website. I have posted a few of the articles but stopped since there was more talk about Mitch than the article. The guy, Mitch, just didn't like to be questioned, but loved writing, so he has gone from being on a message board to being a blogger. Which works out for both sides. He can write articles, and not have to defend them, and we can post a link to the article here and talk about it without hurt feelings. I personally do not know what the big deal is.

Link to Revenge of the Birds: https://www.revengeofthebirds.com/

Link to Cardinals Wired: https://cardswire.usatoday.com/

Link to Dan Bickley: http://arizonasports.com/dan-bickley/

Those are the top three places I go for Cardinals news, well outside of the team's official site which, of course, I visit as well.
 
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#1 - Gandhi has been doing this for a few years now, so it is good that people are starting to see what others bring to the table on this board. We have plenty of peanuts in the peanut gallery here, but I think it is important to, while reserving the peanut gallery's job/right to throw peanuts at everything and anything, show a little appreciation for what people put out there to be discussed.

#2 - If people want to continue to read things from Mitch, he is a partner with the Revenge of the Birds website. I have posted a few of the articles but stopped since there was more talk about Mitch than the article. The guy, Mitch, just didn't like to be questioned, but loved writing, so he has gone from being on a message board to being a blogger. Which works out for both sides. He can write articles, and not have to defend them, and we can post a link to the article here and talk about it without hurt feelings. I personally do not know what the big deal is.

Link to Revenge of the Birds: https://www.revengeofthebirds.com/

Link to Cardinals Wired: https://cardswire.usatoday.com/

Link to Dan Bickley: http://arizonasports.com/dan-bickley/

Those are the top three places I go for Cardinals news, well outside of the team's official site which, of course, I visit as well.

+1 on all of the above.
 

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