Thursday, June 16, 2005

A New Hope

Things are taking a turn for the better in Arizona. The Cardinals new rookie running back J.J. Arrington is making a big splash over in the desert. Arrington is getting a lot more reps with the absence of Troy Hambrick from the mini-camps. Coach Dennis Green can’t stop talking about Arrington either. He is quoted saying that Arrington has excellent hands and is very quick as well as explosive out of the back field. It seems that Arrington will be a shoe in for the starting role.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hero to Zero

James Darling was the Cardinals leading tackler this past season in 04’. He did the team a favor in a struggling defense, but now he won’t be the starter. The Cardinals picked up Orlando Huff in the off-season and he will play on the weak side which is where Gerald Hayes had played who is now moving to inside linebacker pushing Darling out as a back up.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tenacity

Earlier we talked about draft choices Eric Green and Antrel Rolle, and how they are an excellent addition to what was a depleted secondary. Everyone talks up these draft choices and they should, both players are good athletes, but they won’t be handed the job right away. People tend to forget about David Macklin who is already the starter. The cornerback position is Macklin’s to lose. The guy is small and often over looked, but his tenacity and pesky presence keeps him on the field.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

No Suprise Here

With the addition of journeyman quarterback Kurt Warner, Josh McCown has official taken a back seat as the number 2 quarterback going into training camp. Even though he has become the back up, he still has training camp to dethrone Kurt Warner. McCown still shows improvement and has impressed the coaches as well. So it is still quite possible for McCown to get a game or two under his belt in the 05’ season.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Mentor

I have to admit that Dennis Green has done a great job revamping his team with much needed talent. Recently signed free safety Robert Griffith will bring something very valuable to his team, especially the secondary.

The young secondary consist of two draft pick, both cornerbacks, Antrel Rolle and Eric Green. The Cardinals were looking for much need veteran talent to help the rookies adjust to the NFL game speed which is far different from College.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

3rd times a charm

from Foxsports.com
QB Kurt Warner is with his third team in three years, but he'll be operating an offense that's familiar to him. The Cardinals scheme is similar to what Warner ran in St. Louis, although it's hardly the scoring machine the Rams were when Warner was there. Warner knows what he's doing in this system. Coordinator Keith Rowen was a former assistant in Kansas City under Dick Vermeil, who coached Warner with the Rams.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Young Guns

Anquan Boldin's absence because of a contract dispute can't be underestimated. He's the team's best offensive player by a large margin, and the club doesn't have anyone who can match his production. Larry Fitzgerald has the ability but has yet to reach that level.

Although, Mr. Larry Fitzgerald did have his way with CB Antrel Rolle, the team's first-round pick, in the first two days of camp. But Rolle seemed to adjust in the last practice and was better in coverage.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Reporting In

from Foxsports.com
Kenny King isn't well known, but his return from injury this year should give the club a huge boost. For now, King is playing "under" tackle behind Darnell Docket, but he also can play end. He missed last year with a wrist injury, but has returned 20 pound heavier, which should allow him to hold up better inside. King has great quickness and instincts. Even if he doesn't start, he'll play a lot as a substitute for tackle Darnell Dockett or at defensive end or in nickel situations. His versatility help make the defensive line deeper than it has been in years.

The team has two solid fullbacks, Obafemi Ayanbadejo and James Hodgins, but only one of them is expected to make the team. Ayanbadejo seems to have the advantage. He played well last year, and while he's not the devastating blocker that Hodgins is, Ayanbadejo is a running and receiving threat. He was especially effective in goal line situations. Hodgins missed all of last year with a shoulder injury. At 273 pounds or so, he moves well and is an excellent lead blocker. But the Cardinals like to use the single-back formation a lot, so it would be a luxury to carry two fullbacks.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

A+

Looking at this draft class I must say that the Cardinals out did themselves. They stocked up on two very solid coner backs, added J.J. Arrington, and through in what most would have thought to be a late first round choice or mid second round choice in linebacker Blackstock.

1-8 A. Rolle DB Miami (FL)
2-44 J. Arrington RB California
3-75 E. Green CB Virginia Tech
3-95 D. Blackstock LB Virginia
4-111 E. Brown G Virginia
5-168 L. Mitchell LB Oklahoma
7-226 L. McCoy WR Indiana (PA)

By far one of the best draft plans in the 2005 NFL draft. Good Job Cards!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Drafting a Plan

The club has no proven playmaker at running back, and it could easily take one of the three best backs in the draft with the No. 8 pick. It's questionable whether Auburn RBs Carnell Williams or Ronnie Brown will drop to eighth. Texas' Cedric Benson could be there, but his speed is a concern. The Cardinals already have one back, Marcel Shipp, who runs in the 4.6 range and is most effective between the tackles.

So, coach Dennis Green might opt to wait until the second round to take a back. California's J.J. Arrington should be there, and he would give the club some speed at that spot, as would Oklahoma State's Vernand Morency. Green thinks three cornerbacks will go in the top 10, although he won't say whether the Cardinals will take one of them. It's questionable whether Antrel Rolle of Miami will drop to No. 8, but West Virginia's Adam Jones and Auburn's Carlos Rogers probably will. The Cardinals had success with an Auburn product last year, OLB Karlos Dansby, and Green likes players from big-time schools.

Rogers also has the ability to return kicks, which the team desperately needs. The Cardinals haven't drafted a cornerback since 2001, and they won't go another year without taking one. As for the need at tight end, Stanford's Alex Smith could be there in the second round. If the club waits until the later rounds, Miami's Kevin Everett and California's Garrett Cross could be intriguing prospects. The team could use a guard or tackle, but neither is likely to be chosen until the later rounds. Mississippi State T David Stewart could be such a choice, as could Northwestern G Ike Ndukwe.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Scouting Report

from Foxsports.com
Outside linebacker Karlos Dansby has the tools to be a Pro Bowl linebacker. He's big, he can run and he has excellent pass-rushing skills. Dansby, a second-round pick last year, played a bigger part in the defense as last season developed. But he's only shown a fragment of what he can do. Dansby was only occasionally used as a pass rusher, yet coaches think he could be devastating in that role. The only concern last year about Dansby is that he suffered from a handful of nagging injuries, which began in training camp. He has to become more durable.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Something to Prove

from Foxsports.com
The 2004 season could not have gone worse for running back Marcel Shipp. He lost his starting job at the end of minicamps, and then he suffered a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in training camp. That caused him to miss the entire season. His rehabilitation is progressing normally, and this is a critical year for Shipp. He's the only back on the roster with much experience, and he likely will be involved in a heated position battle in training camp. The club is expected to address the position in the draft or through free agency. Shipp is an effective runner, although he lacks speed. Coaches want to see him produce more big plays. In 2003, he touched the ball 258 times yet didn't score a touchdown.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

2 New Players.

From azcardinals.com:
The Arizona Cardinals announced Tuesday that the team has signed tight end Aaron Golliday and wide receiver/kick returner Luke Powell.

Golliday (6-3, 282) was signed by Kansas City on January 27, 2004. He spent last spring in NFL Europe as a member of the Scottish Claymores playing in 10 games (nine starts) with 14 receptions for 114 yards.

The former Nebraska Cornhusker spent the 2004 season on the Chiefs practice squad. Golliday’s signing in Arizona reunites him with his position coach in Kansas City, Keith Rowen, the Cardinals new offensive coordinator.

Powell (5-8, 175) was signed by San Diego as a rookie free agent in 2004. He spent last summer in the Chargers training camp and was released on September 1.

The Smyrna, Tennessee native and former Stanford Cardinal was the team’s leading punt returner and receiver as a sophomore and senior. He was named as a first team all-America punt returner as a sophomore with a 16.0-yard average. He finished his college career with 128 catches for 2,080 yards and 14 touchdowns while returning 83 punts for 1,073 yards and two touchdowns.
I hope the newly aquired players will be a push in the right direction for us, but only time will tell. Lets keep our fingers crossed for a better season next year. GO CARDINALS!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ending the season with a blow to the bucs

From sports.yahoo.com:
The Arizona Cardinals won their season finale with defense. With Darnell Dockett just a rookie, many similar games could be in sight.

The defensive tackle from Florida State had a sack, interception, fumble recovery and pass deflection in the Cardinals' 12-7 victory over the mistake-plagued Tampa Bay Buccanneers on Sunday.

``I want to give a special shout-out to Dockett,'' said Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice, a former Cardinal, ``because he definitely did his thing. Their D-line got down. You could see they're going in the right direction.''

Arizona coach Dennis Green called Dockett ``an explosive ball of barbed wire. He's very hard to block, very hard to keep out.''

Dockett had his helmet ripped off just as he fumbled his interception, and the turnover was negated by a facemask penalty. But Dockett says he purposely keeps his chin strap unfastened so his helmet comes off easily.

``My helmet comes off every game. That helps for marketing,'' he joked. ``I do that on purpose. The cheerleaders and the fans, they think I'm cute, you know what I'm saying? I try to show the face off a little bit.''

Neil Rackers kicked four field goals and the Cardinals harassed young Chris Simms all afternoon.

``Arizona was coming from everywhere,'' Buccanneers coach Jon Gruden said. ``That's a credit to them. Week 16 and they're going to blitz you every play from different alignments.''

Tampa Bay, plagued by injuries, lost its fourth in a row to finish 5-11, its worst record since going 5-11 under Sam Wyche in 1993.

``We've missed short field goals. We've fumbled snaps. We've fumbled with leads with two minutes left in games,'' Gruden said. ``I hope they all got it out of their system for this year, for the next 100 years, I hope.''

Four turnovers, one on a fumbled snap, loomed large on Sunday.

``It's been a tough season really for the whole team,'' said Michael Pittman, whose fumble set up an Arizona field goal. ``But the effort was always there. It's just us finishing the games, and eliminating turnovers. It's been the same story almost every time we lose the ballgame.''

The Cardinals (6-10) finished 5-3 at home in Green's first season as coach.

``I don't think anybody in the world is more disappointed than me that we're 6-10, but today I'm not disappointed. I feel like our guys played hard and earned the victory,'' Green said.

Simms got his second NFL start in place of Brian Griese, out with hip and foot injuries, and connected with rookie Michael Clayton on a 75-yard touchdown play that briefly gave Tampa Bay a 7-6 lead in the third quarter.

Emmitt Smith, in perhaps his last game for the Cardinals, gained 69 yards on 23 carries. Afterward, he waved and bowed to all four sides of Sun Devil Stadium.

``I tell you, if this is my last year here, it's been a heck of a ride,'' he said. ``If it's been my last year of playing football period, it's been a heck of a ride.''

Arizona looked to pad its 6-0 lead after Simms fumbled a snap and Dockett recovered at the Tampa Bay 19 in the third quarter. But a holding penalty on Anthony Clement pushed the Cardinals back, and Rackers' 35-yard field goal try was wide left.

On the next play, Simms threw short to Clayton, who ran to the end zone on a 75-yard scoring play to give Tampa Bay its first lead, 7-6, late in the third quarter.

The Cardinals then mounted their longest drive, 56 yards in 10 plays. Josh McCown threw 12 yards to Anquan Boldin and 16 to Larry Fitzgerald, and Rackers' 39-yard field goal put Arizona ahead 9-7 with 11:07 to play.

Pittman fumbled and Duane Starks recovered at the Tampa Bay 14 to set up Rackers' 31-yard field goal that boosted the lead to 12-7 with 6:12 to go.

Rackers' second field goal, for a 6-0 lead, followed a bizarre play in the final minute of the first half.

McCown's bad pass under pressure was intercepted by Dwight Smith with 1:46 to go. Simms drove the team to the Arizona 24. But he was hit as he threw by Karlos Dansby, and the ball popped into the air. Dockett intercepted it and rambled downfield. His helmet was ripped off by Kenyatta Walker, then he fumbled the ball some 35 yards downfield, where it was recovered by Pittman at the 16.

However, Walker was called for a facemask penalty, and Arizona was awarded the ball at the Tampa Bay 39 with 43 seconds left in the half.

Our offense hasn't been looking too grand, but with Dockett leading the way, the defense saved the game. Although it was too little, too late, it was good to end the season on a good note and not on a bad. Larry Fitzgerald hasn't lived up to his potential as far as skill goes. I have grown to believe, that although he is good, he wasn't worth the 3rd pick in the draft. Lets hope that next year brings us better luck!