Tag:Arizona Cardinals
Posted on: April 29, 2011 8:57 pm
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Ryan Williams will enlist Beanie's help

R. Williams will try to take carries away from B. Wells and T. Hightower (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Only a few minutes after the lockout was reinstated by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, new Cardinals RB Ryan Williams, drafted No. 38 overall in the second round, was talking about how much he likes to study the playbook and how much he’ll need to do so in order to beat out Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower for playing time.

So, I asked him: now that the lockout has been reinstated, how much is that going to hinder your development since you won’t be receiving a playbook immediately?

“When the Cardinals told me they were going to pick me, they gave me Beanie Wells’ phone number,” Williams said. “I didn’t use it, but now I might give him a text for some help.”

You think he will help, considering you’re trying to take his job?

“I hope so,” Williams said. “I heard he’s a good guy. He’s a team player, and I’m part of the team. Hopefully, he’ll be willing to help.”

I imagine, even though Williams will be trying to take carries away from Wells, Williams is probably correct.

And for his part, Williams says he has no problems sharing the ball. He’s had to do it every year but one since he started playing at 14 years old – the only time he was THE guy was when Virginia Tech teammate Darren Evans tore his ACL in 2009 – and he’s used to making the most of less opportunities.

With Wells and Hightower – assuming the Cardinals keep both of them – that could be an interesting RB trio.

“I was part of a three-back rotation last year, “Williams said. “I’m all for it.”

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:26 am
 

Some teams still keeping doors locked Thursday

Posted by Andy Benoit

Judge Susan Nelson has made it as clear as she possibly can: the lockout is over. NFL owners don’t seem to agree. It’s one thing to delay the enactment of transactions (signing free agents, making trades, etc.); it’s another to continue keeping the doors locked.

That, however, was the case in some NFL cities Thursday morning. According to the Washington Post , Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, defensive end Vonnie Holliday and center Casey Rabach showed up at the team’s facility Thursday, only to be turned away.
“The doors are still closed and as I understand it, they will remain closed until the appeals process is completed,” Holliday said. “The courts made a ruling, and you would think that would carry more weight. Guys wanted to get back to work, resume getting physical therapy at the facility and train with our strength coaches, but the doors are still locked. It’s unfortunate that they’re choosing to handle it this way.”

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Pro Football Talk reports that the same thing happened in Arizona and Miami. Players on those teams who showed up to workout were told that the league is waiting out the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision.

Given Nelson’s orders Wednesday night, keeping players out borders on owners being in contempt of the court. It would be somewhat surprising if all 32 teams choose to keep their facilities locked on Thursday, as that could spark legitimate accusations of collusion (and anger the courts). Having some teams welcome players and other teams turn them away only adds to the chaos, which, at this point, plays to the owners’ argument that they can’t possibly do business without knowing how the Eight Circuit will rule.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m. EST: A fourth team has been reported as keeping their doors locked. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean tweets that the Titans turned away quarterback Rusty Smith on Thursday.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:57 am
 

Ranking the NFL's 32 final draft decision makers

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are many ways a person could rank the top draft decision makers for each NFL team. Among those criteria: team history of success; number of first-rounders who have panned out; the number of late-round gems discovered; consistency of the players developed within the organization.

But without a scientific formula, sometimes the best rankings can derive from a standard eyeball/smell/gut test. Thus, here is a ranking of all 32 “final draft decision makers” in the NFL.

Lists like these tend to attract criticism and rebuttals. Have at it -- this is meant to be a discussion starter.

1. Bill Polian, ColtsB. Polian (US Presswire0
Sticks unwaverlingly to his formula: invest in a small handful of elite skill position players on offense and playmakers on defense, and then surround them with low cost youngsters who fit your scheme. In the 2000s he led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl win and annual division titles. In the '90s he ushered in the most successful expansion franchise in NFL history (Carolina Panthers) and oversaw the four-time AFC Champion Buffalo Bills.

2. Kevin Colbert, Steelers
Doesn't get much attention because A) he rarely does interviews; B) the Steelers are often drafting late in the first round and C) he's almost always looking two or three years ahead when drafting players, which minimizes the hype of Pittsburgh's rookie class. These methods have brought in guys like LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons, Mike Wallace and Maurkice Pouncey to name five.

3. Ted Thompson, Packers
It took major intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger on Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was still on the roster and many believed the 2005 Packers were in position to "win now." Virtually the entire Packers Super Bowl roster this past year was comprised of players who were drafted by the organization and in their prime. That's perfect planning paying off.

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4. Bill Belichick, Patriots
The best trader of picks the NFL has seen since Jimmy Johnson. Like an alchemist, he regularly turns one late first-round selection into two or three solid contributors who fit the Patriots' ever-changing system.

5. Mickey Loomis, Saints
Is batting about .750 with his high-round draft picks, and has managed to snag several small-school gems in middle to late rounds (See: Jahri Evans, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, who was primarily a basketball player at Miami).

6. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens
Simply has a knack for connecting on stars. His latest include Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and (maybe) Michael Oher and Joe Flacco. Because of good mid-round drafting, depth is generally a plus for this club. The only true black eye on Newsome’s resume is the Kyle Boller pick, for which Brian Billick shares equal blame.

7. A.J. Smith, Chargers
Supposedly not the most likeable guy in the room, but that's in part because he has a gift for ruthlessly getting the most out of his resources. Part of that is replacing players a year too soon rather than a year too late.

8. Andy Reid, Eagles
Aside from Green Bay, Philadelphia is the only NFC team that has consistently drafted for the future first and the present second. Because of that, the Eagles are able to stay afloat when they do miss on a high-round pick.

9. Mike Holmgren, Browns
Jury is still out in Cleveland, obviously. But a person's track record has to count for something, right? And Holmgren's is pretty good.

10. Mike Tannenbaum, Jets
Home runs (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis -- who was a grand slam -- and possibly Mark Sanchez) outnumber strikeouts (Kellen Clemens, Vernon Gholston). Willing to be aggressive and trade up to get his guy. So far, it's worked well.

11. Jerry Reese, Giants
Has done a superb job building off the foundation that Ernie Accorsi put in place.

12. Thomas Dimitroff, FalconsT. Dimitroff (US Presswire)
Ex-New England front office executive instantly turned the rudderless post-Vick Falcons around by nailing the Matt Ryan pick. Has since retooled the offense with solid role players and upgraded the speed on defense.

13. Mark Dominik, Buccaneers
Made the bold commitment for the Bucs to get younger on both sides of the ball. Already, those young players have turned out a 10-6 record, putting the team a year or two ahead of schedule. The decision to draft Josh Freeman one day could lead to a Lombardi Trophy.

14. Marty Hurney, Panthers
For the most part, Panthers have been consistently competitive for 10 years despite the absence of a star quarterback. How? Solid offensive line (Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil were successful high draft picks), good running game (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were two more successful high picks) and a staunch defense (Jon Beason has more than lived up to first-round billing).

15. Scott Pioli, Chiefs
Was an integral part of the Patriots dynasty and is showing a knack for finding players who fit the Chiefs’ scheme.

16. Billy Devaney, Rams
Has not been at the helm long; will soar up this list if his 2011 draft class turns out to be anything like his 2010 class.

17. Mike Shanahan, Redskins
A nod to experience more than anything. Shanahan The GM has never been as good as Shanahan The Coach. But Shanahan The GM has still been around the block a time or two and knows exactly what he wants. Having Bruce Allen handle some of the technical GM duties is helpful.

18. Ken Whisenhunt/Rod Graves, Cardinals
Only one player they've taken in the first three rounds has not contributed (Cody Brown). The rest all have been part of a club that has won postseason games two of the past three seasons.

19. Jerry Angelo, Bears
Seems to have a slightly better feel for the veteran market than the rookie market, but we're nitpicking. Has done a fine job finding players who fit Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 defense. Offensively, he’s building around Jay Cutler (for whom he traded significant picks to get).

20. Mike Reinfeldt, Titans
The assumption is he occasionally has to cater to the demands of Bud Adams, which could be a challenging wrinkle to his job. Overall, has constructed a deep roster and seen a few gambles pay off (notably Chris Johnson in 2007).M. Reinfeldt (US Presswire)

21. Rick Spielman, Vikings
Too many busts early in his tenure, though some of that was beyond Minnesota's control (Kenechi Udeze's health issues, Erasmus James' injuries). While forcing a few picks into the lineup, the Vikings also have gotten their money's worth from top picks Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Adrian Peterson (considered a risk because of injury problems at Oklahoma).

22. Jerry Jones, Cowboys
Yes, the Cowboys have a talented group. But a bulk of that talent was acquired when Bill Parcells was around.

23. Martin Mayhew, Lions
Still waiting to see what becomes of the major investments on offense (outlook appears good but still not certain).

24. Jeff Ireland, Dolphins
Brand new in his role as top decision maker. It wouldn't be fair to judge him based on what his former boss (Parcells) did.

25. Gene Smith, Jaguars
In two years has shown willingness to rebuild in bunches by using back-to-back draft picks on the same position. In that time, not a lot has changed in Jacksonville's bottom line, though there is legitimate optimism about this franchise's direction.

26. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
It's way too early to judge. His first draft class looks like it could turn out to be spectacular at the top (Russell Okung has star traits, Earl Thomas has shown flashes and many like Walter Thurmond) but very few men have successfully worn the GM hat while coaching.

27. Trent Baalke, 49ers
The Niners' draft record during his two years as VP of Player Personnel was iffy, but he wasn't the final decision-maker then. His first draft class will likely prove to have produced long-term starters with the first four picks (Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Taylor Mays and NaVorro Bowman). Iupati, in fact, seems destined to be a perennial Pro Bowler.T. Baalke (US Presswire)

28. Buddy Nix, Bills
Bills are full of overachievers, but part of overachieving is not being very talented. The Aaron Maybin air ball in 2009 puts a damper on what was otherwise a solid draft class. But Nix, a national scout at the time, wasn't fully responsible for that draft class. His 2010 draft class is off to a slow start but its still in the judgment phase.

29. Rick Smith, Texans
Houston is overhauling its defensive scheme after spending five years investing first-round picks on players who were supposed to fit that scheme.

30. Mike Brown, Bengals
He would be a great fantasy drafter because he always takes the best player. Problem is, in the real draft, team chemistry needs to factor into your decisions. Those "best players" Brown takes are often available because of character red flags.

31. John Elway, Broncos
No track record to evaluate.

32. Al Davis, Raiders
One apparently solid draft (2010) does not erase years of atrocious ones.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 12:06 pm
 

Would Cardinals consider A.J. Green?

Posted by Andy Benoit

For the man many have described as the “safest” and “most NFL ready” player in the 2011 Draft, you sure don’t sA. Green (US Presswire) eem to hear much about A.J. Green. The Georgia wide receiver is projected by many to be selected No. 4 overall by the Bengals.

But pause and ask yourself, why is that the case? The Bengals have three young receivers in Jordan Shipley, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson. True, Caldwell and Simpson have been inconsistent if not downright ineffective. But Bengals owner Mike Brown has never been big on admitting his mistakes. His tendency is to keep high draft picks who turn into bad players on the roster as long as possible.

What if Green falls past the Bengals (who badly need a defensive end, by the way) and gets scooped up by the Cardinals? Given the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and rise of Steve Breaston and Early Doucet in ’09 (not to mention the intriguing flashes of last year’s third-round rookie, Andre Roberts), the notion sounds ridiculous. But Sports Illustrated's Peter King floated the idea in his most recent Monday Morning Quarterback and backed it up with a little known nugget:

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For those who've asked about Larry Fitzgerald's frame of mind if Green's the guy, I don't think the Cards are worried. Fitzgerald won't be doubled as much with Green on the other side. And for those who've wondered why in the world the Cards would take another receiver with so many holes on the roster, remember this: As Dez Bryant free-falled last year, the Cardinals seriously considered trying to run up into the late-first round area to try to get him.

To be clear, this is NOT a prediction that Green will go to Arizona. The Cardinals have greater needs at quarterback and outside linebacker. But the chances of Green going to Arizona appear to at least be greater than zero.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 7:47 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.25.11: Ocho top athlete on Twitter

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Per our friend Darren Rovell, Chad Ochocinco is the top athlete in social media. Ocho's obviously one of the most famous athletes in the world -- hell, he had his own reality show and, in possibly the single-most impressive display of popularity, is the Future Mrs. Brinson's favorite NFL player -- but it just goes to show how well he (and the gents at RockLive) have utilized the medium in order to boost his recognition.
Posted on: April 21, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Larry Fitzgerald has his young teammates' backs

Posted by Andy BenoitL. Fitzgerald

Last week, Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware opted to put his $60,000 lockout stipend back into the NFLPA’s pot in order to help his less financially stable brethren. This week, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is indicating that he’s willing to do the same thing (and more, if need be).

Fitzgerald said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com, that the NFLPA’s financial plan to aid players during the lockout is fantastic, “but for my young guys [like] Stephen Williams, Max Hall, Isaiah Williams, all the guys that are on my team they know if they need anything all they gotta to do is pick up the phone and I’m going to be there for them and support them any way I can.”

In other words, Fitzgerald would be willing to play banker.

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Posted on: April 18, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 6:00 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Arizona Cardinals

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

L. Fitzgerald could walk into free agency at the end of next season (US Presswire).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Let’s see, when your choices to fill the starting quarterback spot boil down to Derek Anderson vs. Matt Leinart, you know your season is pretty much screwed before it even begins. And that’s pretty much what happened with the Cardinals last year (though, to be fair, quarterback was far from the only problem in Arizona).

I bet you don’t remember this, though. After beating the Saints in Week 5, Arizona actually was 3-2 before falling through the floor. The only player worth a darn on offense was WR Larry Fitzgerald, and it seems like most of the defense underachieved (most notably, LB Joey Porter). Suffice to say, it was not a good year for the Cardinals.




Best player is unhappy

Fitzgerald, the only bonafide superstar on this team, was visibly frustrated last year with the offense (and the quarterback play in particular), and even though he somehow caught 90 passes for 1,137 yards last season, the Cardinals front office has to convince him that Arizona has a blueprint for the future. Otherwise, Fitzgerald could walk away after his contract is up after the 2011 season.




1. QUARTERBACK
This is an easy spot to pick on, because if you look at the current roster of QBs, here’s who you find: Anderson (consistently terrible throughout his career, and he doesn’t like taking questions about laughing on the sideline during losses), Max Hall (probably doesn’t have the skill set to start in the NFL), John Skelton (perhaps a little potential) and Richard Bartel (no idea who this is). Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert has a pretty good shot at landing in Arizona, and if he doesn’t, the Cardinals could elect to go after Marc Bulger.

2. RUNNING BACK
The Cardinals tried two years ago, selecting RB Beanie Wells in the first round, but that hasn’t worked out so well. Wells had a tough time staying healthy last season, and Tim Hightower had a big problem with fumbles. In fact, Arizona was last in the league in rushing offense – which kinda doesn’t help the quarterback. I actually think LaRod Stephens-Howling is a pretty good player, but I’m not sure he’s a featured back kind of guy.

3. LINEBACKER
Although the defense ranked No. 29 last season, I like the three players across the line (NT Dan Williams and DEs Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell), and the secondary could be very, very good. But the linebackers are brutal. Texas A&M’s Von Miller would be a blessing for the Cardinals, who pick fifth, but he might not be around by then. Besides, Gabbert might be the more exciting (though not the safer) pick.




It’s hard to believe the Cardinals are only three seasons removed from playing in the Super Bowl, and it’s hard to imagine them getting back there anytime soon. If only Arizona had a good quarterback, a dependable running back, a second WR, a decent offensive line, and some players in the LB corps, the Cardinals would have a good chance of getting back to .500.

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.14.11 good Fitz, bad Fitz

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

  • Larry Fitzgerald stinks – STINKS! – at baseball. And he knows it.
  • In other Larry Fitzgerald news, he organized team offseason workouts at Arizona State. Kent Somers, a highly respected Cardinals beat reporter, says that five years ago, the idea of Fitz (an admitted loner early in his career) exerting this kind of leadership would have been almost laughable.
  • Because they’re playing in the Hall of Fame game, the Bears and Rams will both get an early start on training camp.
  • Jerome Simpson, wide receiver of the Bengals, is training hard this offseason. There’s a chance the underachieving second-round pick could be in contention for a starting job in 2011.
  • Jamal Lewis is offering $3 million to purchase the shuttered Maui Sands waterpark in Erie County, Ohio.
  • Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker held a film session for 500 Jags fans. Koetter took the fans through four offensive plays. Just how revealing was the film? Well, one of the plays Koetter showed was the Hail Mary against Houston – not exactly the most complex X’s and O’s the sport has to offer.
  • Good headline from the Miami Herald: “The joke that is the pre-draft press conference”.
  • Matt Light and his fellow New England resident Peter King hosted a lockout breakfast to raise money for charity. (And no, the charity did not benefit players who can’t handle their money.)
  • Here’s a great glimpse into some of the offseason workouts of Texans Connor Barwin and Owen Daniels.
  • Ray Lewis talks about regularly visiting the hood.
  • Could the Steelers be looking at Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor?


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