2013 Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Report
|Suzy Kolber of the ESPN has spent sometime covering the Arizona Cardinals and looks into their upcoming season as well as their future One on One with the newly hired GM Adarsh Patel.
With the hiring of yet ANOTHER New GM, Adarsh Patel, The Arizona Cardinals Organization strongly hope to keep their ropes on this GM for a long time to come in order to build a great sense of Stability, Construction, and Progression of an young uprising Team. They have certainly hired an experience GM who has done quite a fine piece of work in improving Teams he has controlled in the past. This GM is certainly not afraid to make any kind of move that he thinks will prove valuable for the Team. Regardless of what the other GM's in the league may say, he will carry on with his Job and handle and manage the Franchise the way he has always done so. This 2013 Offseason for Cardinals has brought quite a few changes with Trades and a great deal of "Cuts" of players the GM Adarsh Patel thought were in a wrong place.
Here's an my Interview Conducted with GM Adarsh Patel
Suzy: You step in the first day as the GM, what were your thoughts on the roster and the moves you needed to make immediately in the offseason?
Adarsh: "Well I looked at the Team very closely on my first day and went through the whole roster and figured there were a lot of players that certainly didn't belong here. I had made a plan that buy grouping them together, I would release them when the appropriate time came in order to make Cap Room and Trade with other Teams. We've gone back and forth with our Cap room (at some point increasing then decreasing and then Increasing again) all in the efforts to release the players and replace them with the better one's. I had told myself that before the season starts "I want to make sure that when i go through the roster, I feel very comfortable with EACH and EVERY player at any Position whether its a backup or the 3rd backup. That way the Team in my regards will stand at a better position to perform in the Season of 2013 and with a bunch of Immense Young Talent in this Team, the upcoming Years will benefit the Franchise of Arizona Superbly.
Suzy: What do you expect with the likes of QB Christian Ponder and WR Julio Jones?
Adarsh: Wow, There is no limit for success with those players, they are certainly the FACE of the Franchise and I can assure that they will go nowhere but stay here and Play with this Team as they're the future. We saw how Dynamic they were in the season of 2012 and despite my style or running the Team is very different, I absolutely expect them to make another big leap in becoming the Premiere players of this League.
Suzy: Your Young Safeties in Rahim Moore and Mark Legree, how much do you really expect from them going ahead and will you be looking elsewhere to fill those positions if need be?
Adarsh: No, I will be sticking with those players because I feel they are on the rise and it really depends on how quickly they are able to develop in becoming really good players. I really like them a lot and the past GM needs to get a lot of credit in drafting not only them but others prospects with the likes of QB Christian Ponder, WR Julio Jones, DT Stephen Pea, LOLB Warren Barker, LG Adam Howell, and C Mike Pouncey. These guys have ridiculous amount of Potential to be at the top of list of "Greats" at their respective Positions in the forthcoming years and we sure hope so each and every one of them makes a big name for themselves. Rahim and Mark will surely do so as well but may need more time than other Prospects in our team to develop which is not a problem at all.
Suzy: What was the idea and reasons behind acquiring of DT Terrance Knighton from San Diego Chargers (expiring contract) and LT Eugene Monroe (2 Years left on contract) from Tampa Bay Buccaneers and bringing back CB Greg Toler (hefty 5 Year Contract)?
Adrash: Well the plan was to upgrade the defense with Knighton and Toler. Terrance is an amazing player still at the Prime of his career and we feel very confident that we will able to either restructure his contract during season or resign him but we will put forth all our best efforts to not let him leave and we are sure he won't. Greg Toler is someone I felt we had to definitely bring back since he had a great season this past year and we feel him being the #2 CB behind Cason will boost and blossom our defensive passing game. Toler is very athletic and has great speed with his size, so he will take the much needed pressure off of Cason's shoulders from the other side of the field.
[b]Suzy: How well you think you did in your first Draft in this league and who do you think will have the most impact?
Adarsh: Well My priority was to amp up our Special Teams by drafting a Kicker and a Punter and with the find we made in Kicker Blair Walsh and Punter Maximilian Bauer these two will end up staying here for a long long time to come. I found them to be Legitimate and their rookie season may not pan out to be impressive but they will certainly carry this team's Special Teams squad. I understand and highly value the Art and meaning of Field Goals as well as Punting.....they are immensely significant in any situation of the game whether its Game Winning/Tying Field Goal OR Leading towards the end and Punting deep in the territory to give the opposition a tough field position to start with. Walsh and Bauer will do a tremendous job for us, I felt that right away when I drafted them both. On the defensive side I ended up drafting two top-notched defensive ends we could've gotten towards the end of 4th round. Jake Baquette and Tyrone Crawford will compete to start on the Right End for us with Calais Campbell. I feel both of them are really good to start of with and will provide a huge spark on the defensive side for us starting this season. The tough question is who will start because both of them are so close in comparison and they will have to fight it out in Training Camp and Preseason to ensure a starting role. I feel extremely good about our Rookie Class as we signed 7 out of 8 of them who I personally feel will find a way to make vital contributions during the season.
Suzy: So finally, What do you think will transpire in the 2013 Season for the Arizona Cardinals (your 1st as a GM)?
Adarsh: I certainly hope to see a lot of Success, no doubt. I feel our Youth will lead the way and only get better and better as the season progresses and It will help us Win. I want to make the Playoffs of course to be able to carry the momentum we had last year by making it there for the first time and this time hopefully advancing ahead. Of course, I'm not counting Injuries and inexperience but I surely hope so that doesn't bother us. The first step will be to make the Playoffs and of course we don't want to be in the Top 10 pick of next year being one of the Team's that regressed. We traded out 1st Round Pick of next year already in order to protect our face of Franchise QB Christian Ponder with Tackle Eugene Monroe who I feel is probably the BEST Pass Blocker there is in the League. All will go very well though as I feel so and our Team will find a way to come up Big.
Suzy: A Great Pleasure talking to you, Best Wishes for the upcoming Season, Thank You!
Adarsh: Much Appreciated....Thank You
Furthermore, GM Adarsh Patel thinks the Key X factor on Offense and Defense will be those who aren't going to get much attention when anyone talks about this Team. He pointed out how these players will be given less attention in favor of others by the opposition but eventually will make a big difference in the level of impact they have on the Team’s showing this upcoming season.
Offense: Adarsh Patel clearly feels WR Steve Breaston will have a crucial role to play in the way offense performs this year. “His Speed, Size, and Experience will help him make a big impact for us while WR’S Julio Jones and Larry Fitzgerald get the most attention. We were glad to bring him back because he’s still in good shape and as the #3 WR he can put up really good numbers for the Team.” With the likes of RB Beanie Wells and QB Christian Ponder also gaining recognition around the league with their thrilling play especially last season, the stage will be all open for Steven Breaston to make be the difference maker on the offensive side of the ball.
Defense: There are quite a few standout players on this Cardinals Defense but LOLB Daryl Washington awaits to implode this upcoming season being guaranteed the Starter this offseason from the GM himself. Washington is quite young (25) and has raw speed for an outside Linebacker which will help him cover Tight Ends in the Passing game as well. The opposing Offense will have to contend with the Speedy and Skillful Washington in order to make their drives down the field. One other Linebacker needs no recognition, MLB Lofa Tatupu who is widely known throughout the League, will surely have his troops rally behind him in stopping the running game and Washington will play a huge part in it. “He’s just versatile, he has good strength, great speed for an OLB, and his tackling skills are just Raw which will be highly important because you want to avoid missing tackles as much as you can by having your players make tackles when they have a chance and Washington will do that. He carries with him a “good” awareness at this age and it will certainly rise up as he gains more experience and he will certainly be brought back for the future to lead this Defense (has an expiring contract).
There is no doubt that with the development of the Ace Signal Caller, QB Christian Ponder, the running game will have to absolutely do a monumental job in guiding the Offense. Both Ponder and RB Beanie Wells are at the age of 25 but with the year that Wells had last year, it will be hard to repeat it again for him yet he not backing away from the challenge and aims to just do his “Best”
“Everybody has been talking about the season last year, It was just Staggering man….the way Ponder handled the Passing Game and how he excelled at it, it made it so much easier and smoother for me to perform at my Best….no doubt. Teams will toughen up on us now that they’ve seen us play and we will surely have a hard time in repeating the numbers we put up last year. Are we surely capable of repeating them? Yes, absolutely but it will be difficult. I told Ponder to stop thinking back to last year which was clearly an overachieving season for us and just go in and about the business of getting better and focus on just Winning Games. We had such great numbers last year, that I still feel we were a much better Team than being 10-6. That’s the next step to take in being able to win more Games and getting a better spot in the Playoffs. We are growing, feeling comfortable with everyone and it will only make our bonding get stronger so we can Win with this Team. I’m not looking at numbers or a certain amount of 100-Yard Games, bottom line is for me to contribute and excel from all the angles (blocking, running, catching in the passing game, etc.). Hopefully this upcoming season we make some serious noise and achieve something Wonderful.”
These Arizona Cardinals are “Talent” and “Success” filled waiting the much needed Spark they’ve been looking for a long time. This past year was a huge step forward in making the playoffs and having a bunch of players attain career-best Years to lead the Team. More is yet to come, rather a better showing is yet to come and this Season might as well be it because these Young Players want to win NOW. They are mostly developed and read to lead this Team into a Stage never seen before by this Franchise. With the new GM Adarsh Patel, New Changes, New Style of running the Team, something Great is awaiting to Spark and that will only be experienced once the Season gets started. Arizona Cardinals are going to be the League’s Thrilling Teams to watch out for without a doubt.
With Suzy Kolber reporting from Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN.
(by A_Patel on 07/12/2012)
Replies - 0 :: Views - 30
Cardinals through February
|Through 8 weeks in the season, the Arizona Cardinals stand at 5-2 after having an early bye week. The team struggled at the beginning of the year, losing big to the surprisingly strong Tennessee Titans. After beating division rival Seattle, the Cardinals then went on and lost to last year's GZL Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. This left the team sitting at 1-2 and wondering what needed to be changed.
Then the spark came against another division rival in San Francisco. The Cardinals came away with a 17-3 victory with a strong defensive performance, and went on to 4 straight wins posting victories over such quarterbacks such as Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, and Jay Cutler, holding both Cutler and Romo to QB ratings under 50.
Arizona's own quarterback, Christian Ponder, had a rough start to the season himself. With the third game against Green Bay, his QB rating dipped down to 27.6. However, in the following victories, his rating never fell below 82.4, playing mistake free football to help the team to victory.
Finally, the play of Beanie Well can't be overvalued. While he is posting a career low for a season of 4.65 yards per carry, that is still a very strong number to go with his 6 touchdowns against only 2 fumbles. This has also been his best season receiving the ball out of the backfield, while matching his career high in receiving touchdowns (1) and only one yard under his career high in receiving yards (111) through week 8.
The Cardinals are looking forward to the next stretch of games, where they will welcome a couple division rivals, and one of the league's top teams with Tampa Bay coming into town to provide a real benchmark to Arizona's progress on the year
(by G_Wendel on 02/29/2012)
Replies - 2 :: Views - 38
Cardinals Training Camp
The Cardinals offseason was very light on trades in regards to quantity. However, one of the two trades that was made may have been the biggest of the offseason. In this trade with the San Diego Chargers the Cards sent:
CB Dominique Cromartie
CB Antoine Cason
Draft Pick 1.2
Draft Pick 3.28
This pick sent a few shockwaves through the league, as the Chargers picked up the best "on paper" CB in the league in Cromartie. At 6'2 and about as fast as they make 'em, Cromartie could shut down any receiver in the league. However, in return the Cardinals received Antoine Cason who is not only the same age as Cromartie, but arguably played better last season. On top of this, the team was able to grab a pick to lead them to a sure superstar athlete.
The Free Agency situation for the Cards this offseason was an interesting one. In the first round of free agency, the Cardinals made two strong bids, one for 49ers DT Aubrayo Franklin and another for the Bengals speedy OLB, Geno Hayes. However, both of these large bids were matched and left the Cardinals without a free agent at that stage.
In the next round of bidding, the Cardinals still had a goal of getting a new DT. The team was surprised to see Mike Patterson available and quickly put in a bid for the quick, though slightly weak tackle. The team signed him, and everything looked great.
Unfortunately, due to a league mistake, Patterson never should have been a free agent as the Eagles had previously made him a match eligible player in the previous free agency stage. The Cardinals shiny new defensive tackle was quickly snatched away leaving the team with only underwhelming Alan Branch and Kentwan Balmer at the position.
In the end, the only free agent that the team signed was retaining a few players and resigning punter Ben Graham.
The Cardinals draft produced 4 players that will be starters from day 1, with another to take over either as the season progresses or by this time next season. The breakdown is as follows:
Pick 1.2 - WR Julio Jones, Alabama
In the Cardinals opinion, Julio was the only must have player outside of QB in this years draft. At 6'3 with great speed for his size, Jones comes into the league not only ready to start from day 1, but ready to be an instant impact player as with his combination of size and speed, he is uncoverable by all but the best cornerbacks in the league. Of course, if a team does decide to put its best defensive back on Jones, that still leaves team stalwart Fitzgerald on the other side and puts opposing defensive backfields in a lose-lose position. Also of note is that, although the league website argues it, Julio DID in fact go to Alabama and NOT Georgia.
Pick 1.18 - DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State
Paea was an attractive target for the Cardinals after setting a combine record in the bench press. While slightly undersized, he has already been helped by having some body weight added, and with his strength isn't likely to be pushed around in the trenches anyway. Paea was also the teams top target outside of Jones, and the team was thrilled when he fell to the 18th pick. He will be the number one tackle from the start, although his partner is yet to be named.
Pick 2.15 - LG Adam Howell, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
In a move to get the Cardinals a second round pick, the team moved up to grab LG Adam Howell, who will be another day one starter, though it is yet to be named which side he will be playing on. Howell is a solid player with no glaring weakness, though he has no particular strengths either. The team is hoping that he can be a solid role player and help strengthen a weak position for the team.
Pick 3.18 - OLB Warren Barker, Temple
While sad in the above picture to have fallen so far, Arizona was very happy that he did as he is a 3rd rounder that can come in and start immediately for the team. He also came in slightly undersized, but was given some weight conditioning and will be heavier by the time week 1 rolls around. Barker is slightly slow, and may not be ideally suited as a coverage linebacker, but he is a solid all around player and is an extremely sure tackler.
Pick 4.18 - S Rahim Moore, UCLA
Moore was a rushed pick that GM Wendel had to send in over his phone while at a stoplight to his war room committee, but nonetheless one the team is extremely excited for. Moore is being moved over to SS from his college FS position and will be the heir to Adrian Wilson's throne. While thought to be a little slow as a cover safety, Moore will be a perfect playmaker on the strong side of the field with a bit of work on his tackling coupled with his already excellent ball skills.
Pick 6.18, 7.18 - G Doyle Ross, Ohio : G Ben Ijalana, Villanova
The last two draft selections were left to the interns Otto and Pik. In the 6th round Otto took Doyle Ross out of Ohio University and in the 7th Pik, not to be outdone, took a guard he thought could be better. Fortunately enough, Ross turned out to be a better player than initially thought, and in a year or two of grooming could potentially take over a guard spot from Faneca. Ijalana, on the other hand, is most likely a career backup and as such deserves a way smaller picture in any official team production.
As mentioned previously, rookies Stephen Paea and Warren Barker are both working on adding weight to their frames before the season starts. But it isn't just the rookies working hard. Center Mike Pouncey has been hitting the weight room to work on his strength so that he doesn't get embarrassed by the new rookie DT pushing him around in practice. Quarterback Christian Ponder showed nice accuracy in his first year, but has worked to improve his arm strength in the offseason so far.
Along with adding weight, OLB Barker is looking to add to his first step which is no easy task while trying to add weight. Fortunately he and Paea have gotten along extremely well so far, and with Paea being known as a gym rat, this relationship is paying off well for the team.
Safeties Mark Legree and Rahim Moore have been working on their speed as well as they both have high aspirations of taking over starting jobs as the old guard in the defensive backfield enjoy their NFL twilight years. That speed will be needed if they want to even sniff the field, as covering Julio Jones and Larry Fitzgerald will be a true test of whether they can succeed against other teams during the season.
Offensive Guard - Adam Howell vs. Doyle Ross
In this battle of rookies, Howell is tabbed as the starter by nature of his higher draft pick. However, that is not to say if he struggles during preseason, or Doyle stands out, that this could not be changed. Howell is quicker than Ross, but Doyle is just a much better name so things could change quickly.
ROLB - Warren Barker vs. O'Brien Schofield
In another battle of better talent against a cooler name, we have a rookie against last years starter. Barker is undeniably the better talent and as a rookie is already the more polished player. However, Schofield was not completely invisible last season and put up 12 tackles for a loss. While this position is probably Barker's for the taking, he isn't ahead by very much.
Slot Receiver - Steve Breaston vs. Stephen Williams
Breaston is a quicker receiver with better hands. Williams is just straight up huge and while he isn't a burner, has good speed for his size. This is a position that may change from game to game based on matchups. If the nickel corner is small and quick, look for Williams in there to just be able to snatch the ball over his opponents head. If he's a taller, more physical player, look for Breaston in there to be able to make a quick step past him for a long score.
With a new GM, usually comes a few major changes, and a fan of the GZL would have to look no further than Indianapolis to see this. While a major change or two has been seen in Arizona this offseason, the team looked careful to keep quite a bit in place of a 9-7 team that just missed the playoffs a year ago. Cards fans are looking to take this season to the next level with new weapons and a new mind behind the team. Let's see if it all pays off.
(by G_Wendel on 12/20/2011)
Replies - 3 :: Views - 67
Cardinals Bring in Wendel
ESPNews reports that the Arizona Cardinals have their new General Manager. Greg Wendel will replace recently retired Jeremy McCumbers as the head of the franchise. Wendel comes over from a Buffalo Bills team that improved from 1-7 to 5-11 when he first took over, and then 8-8 in the second year. The Cardinals are hoping that he can not only help turn around a struggling franchise, but take a solid team to the next level.
At the introductory press conference GM Wendel made an executive decision right away stating, "Despite offers I have already received, Dominique Cromartie will NOT be traded. This is a team that needs big time players in order to take the next step and he is a key building block for this team." While there are some questions on both sides of the line, there are quite a few very good skill position players both offensively and defensively.
"We have some great help for our young quarterback at WR and running back, but the offensive line and defensive lines need to be built up. If we can do that, we will score a lot of points and be a threat to beat anyone on any Sunday." These were tall words from the confident young GM, and only time will tell if the team can back them up on the field.
(by G_Wendel on 12/05/2011)
Replies - 4 :: Views - 62
Red Report: Cardinals Derailing?
Following the loss of Christian Ponder a few weeks ago, the Cardinals have entered a slide. They put up a good effort against the Patriots, but simply failed to produce the offensive numbers. Max Hall threw for 2 TDs, but he also gave the ball away twice -- something he has had a problem with since taking over for Ponder. The defense, however, did a good job managing Tom Brady. He came away with 2 TDs, but only a 48% completion rate.
Hall seemed to bounce back only one week later in a solid performance against the Jets defense. Throwing no interceptions, Hall threw for 2 touchdowns and 239 receiving yards. Getting the bulk of those yards was WR Larry Fitzgerald, who grabbed 8 passes for 174 yards. Beanie Wells also tore up the ground game with 104 yards rushing. The defense played well enough to keep the Jets at bay, only allowing the offense to see the end zone one time.
The past week against the Lions was a huge step back. Hall simply could not thread the needle on some throws, which led to costly interceptions. He didn't get the ball into the end zone once, leaving the only offensive score to HB Beanie Wells. The defense simply had no answer for Calvin Johnson, who managed 165 receiving yards.
For now, it seems the ship is sinking. Although the Cardinals still hold the lead (and only winning record) in the NFC West, it's hard to think that much progress is being made. Next week the team travels to San Francisco for a divisional battle. The way that the Cards play will be solely based on the Max Hall that shows up. Will we see the sharp, precise, careful Hall? Or will we see the reckless, inaccurate, confused Hall? Only time will tell, but fans should be relieved to see Christian Ponder back on the field in a few weeks.
(by J_McCumbers on 08/29/2011)
Replies - 3 :: Views - 53
At A Glance