Cardinals

Offseason Needs: Arizona Cardinals

1. Offensive Line
While the Arizona Cardinals obviously need a quarterback, it would be foolish to bring anyone in before the offensive line is fixed.  Former 1st-round pick Levi Brown returns from injury, but he has been playing out of position at left tackle for years. 2012 4th-round pick Bobby Massie is coming off a season in which he led the league with 13 sacks allowed and may be better suited to play guard. Brown may be the only lineman whose job is relatively safe.

2. Quarterback
The Cardinals could be competitive with Kevin Kolb if the offensive talent, especially the line, were upgraded around him. But it has become clear that the quarterback of the future is not on the roster. Arizona may consider a quarterback in the first round, but the safer route would be wait until the second or third round and bring in a developmental prospect such as Ryan Nassib or Tyler Wilson.

3. Linebacker
Daryl Washington has emerged as one of the league’s premier inside linebackers, but there should be a competition for the other three linebacker positions in training camp. Paris Lenon is an unrestricted free agent, and the Cardinals don’t have an adequate replacement on the roster. Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles’ decision about sticking with the 3-4 or shifting to a 4-3 scheme will have a significant impact on how the front office approaches the linebacker position this offseason.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cardinals, Team Needs 1 Comment

Ryan Lindley to start Cardinals final preseason game

Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley will get the start in their final preseason game in place of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

Ken Whisenhunt made it clear that Lindley was not part of the quarterback competition, but this is still a great opportunity for Lindley who could potentially see some action late in the season for the Cardinals. It’s become clear than Kolb and Skelton are likely not the long-term answers in Arizona, so it would not be a surprise to see Lindley get some action if this season slips away from the Cards.

The key to Lindley’s development will be his accuracy. He has the size and arm strength to play at this level, but accuracy has always been an area of concern.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cardinals, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Justin Bethel emerges as special teams star

Arizona Cardinals 6th-round pick Justin Bethel, out of Presbyterian College, has already made his presence felt. While he’s listed as the third-string free safety, he is seeing significant time on special teams and making an immediate impact.

Bethel has already blocked a punt and an extra point, and likely has a spot on the 53-man roster due to his performance. As a 6th-round pick, nothing is guaranteed. So any little thing you can do to catch the coaching staff’s attention is needed, and Bethel has clearly done his part.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about Bethel’s performance: “He’s got a long ways to go defensively, but he’s working at it. That’s what you like to see. When we talk about guys that can contribute on special teams while they’re learning that, it’s a pretty good situation.”

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cardinals, Rookie Notes 1 Comment

Ryan Williams returns for Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals 2011 2nd-round pick Ryan Williams, who missed his entire rookie year with a knee injury, will return to the field on Friday night as the Cards take on the Oakland Raiders.

While much of the focus has been on the Cardinals quarterback situation this season, Williams’ return may be the most significant storyline in Arizona. The combination of Williams and Beanie Wells could give the Cards a formidable one-two punch at running back and take some pressure off Kolb and/or Skelton.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cardinals Leave a comment

Draft Grades: Arizona Cardinals

This was a bold draft for the Arizona Cardinals, who acted more like a team on the verge of contention than one in rebuilding mode. It’s a fine strategy if Kevin Kolb works out, but if their quarterback situation remains a question mark, this could set them back.

Michael Floyd was a luxury pick, but does give Larry Fitzgerald the support he needs. It also shifts Early Doucet back into the slot receiver role, which is a better fit for his skill set.

I like the selection of Jamell Fleming inthe 3rd round. He’ll add some much-needed depth to the secondary and potentially compete for more serious playing time as the season wears on.

The Cardinals should have addressed their offensive line issues before the 4th round. Bobby Massie is a right tackle or a guard, and doesn’t provide them a clear upgrade at any position.

Senio Kelemete may compete for a starting job at either right or left guard, but won’t be a significant upgrade at either position. If he wins a starting job, it will likely be by default, more than the fact that he’s actually ready for the NFL.

Justin Bethel is a nice developmental prospect who could potentially play cornerback or safety. He’ll likely contribute on special teams early while they develop him on defense.

Throwing Ryan Lindley into the mix at quarterback doesn’t really solve any problems. Lindley is a developmental prospect with all the NFL measurables, but accuracy has always been an issue for him.

Nate Potter can play tackle or guard and will compete for a backup job.

This wasn’t one of Rod Graves better draft classes. They could potentially come away with three immediate starters (Floyd, Massie, Kelemete) but that speaks more to the lack of depth on the current roster than the strength of this class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cardinals, Draft Grades - 2012 Leave a comment