Monday, August 29, 2011

There goes another defensive back

 Losing Toler hurts.  I love how hard he plays the game and how much his teammates seem to respect him.  The good news is that PP21, Jefferson, and Marshall are solid and should be able to handle the load.  

No news yet as to whether the Cardinals have contacted Philly to see about a trade for one of their 3 pro bowl corners.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chargers preseason game

I've never put any stock in preseason performances.  I mostly look for chemistry and evaluate players instinct.  This time last year Daryl Washington tore up the opponents 2nd and 3rd strings.  He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.  So it wasn't surprising to see him named the starter.  Of course, what irritated me to no end was his lack of progression (thank you Bill Davis) through the season.  There was also no chemistry last year from D.A. and anyone not named Steve Breaston.  You just got that feeling that something was way off and at the time I trusted the Whiz would slap together a good run oriented offense and pound their way to a divisional championship.  Little did I know that the grand scheme included D.A. and co. to throw more than any other team in the league.  That worked out well.

This year I've got a total different feeling.  Kolb looks sharp.  He leads and others follow.  You can see that the team believes in him. (and unlike Max Hall, he has actual NFL talent and size to back it up)  He and Fitz have remarkable chemistry considering the shortened conditions of the preseason.  Fitz looks like he's ready to explode with a monster season.  The "other" receivers all look solid and ready to contribute.  And even if Whiz does have them throw a lot, at least they have a QB that looks like he can handle it.  (Oh please stay healthy Kevin, please)  By the way, someone tell Kevin to throw the ball away and stop taking needless hits.  Beanie looks good, but something still tells me that he's avoiding the holes created between the tackles.  (Well at least watching the replays on slo-mo with the DVR is telling me that)  The line looks good, although I think someone forgot to tell Brandon Keith that you actually have to wait for the ball to move before you're allowed to.  Maybe Levi Brown can talk to him... wait... nevermind. 

The defense looks hungry.  I mean like they've been in the Sahara for a year and saw their first cheeseburger kinda hungry.  Dockett looks Superbowl good and with Horton teaching them this new concept called 'fundamentals', they look like they are ready to rip people up.  Again, I'm seeing too many linebackers overrun the gap and get killed on the cut back, but I'm hoping that's just residual from the last two years and not a reflection on the current regime. 

Remember when Whiz used to pull plays out of his bag of tricks?  It sure looks like he's got that back on the menu. 

Maybe I've swallowed a whole keg of Cardinal Kool-Aid, but this team looks ready to compete. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I swear it wasn't on purpose.

I just finished my fantasy football draft.  I picked 7th out of 10.  Understand, I'm a firm believer in taking the best players available, snagging people that drop too far, and my absolute lock solid rule is stay away from Cardinals players.  So how'd I do?  I ended up with Kolb, Fitz, Beanie, and even Q.  Yes, I have to start all of them.

This is going to be a long season.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This hurts

Anyone that knows me knows that I believe running backs are a dime a dozen.  With rare exceptions like Barry Sanders or Walter Payton, I think this position is more of a reflection of the offensive line than their talent level.  Also, you might note I was very frustrated that the Cards added Ryan Williams to an already crowded backfield.  But my heart broke after seeing him tear his patella tendon and witness him realize that his year was over, possibly his career.  This kid is talented.  He is a strong inside runner with cuts that made my knees hurt just watching him.  He has an incredible attitude and you could tell he is loved by his teammates.  I fully expected him to supplant Beanie as the starter by week 3.   I even had images of a 1,200 yard season and a full compliment of TD's for the guy.  A Pro Bowl tag wasn't far behind. But it's not to be.  This is one of those losses that takes the air out of not only the team, but an entire fan base.  I hope he recovers quick and has a long healthy career, but for now I can't help but feeling like something special was just torn away from me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The whirlwind

Free agent signings galore, so what do the Cards have to show for it:

Todd Heap comes back home to combine with Max Hall for a Mountain View Alumni meeting.  Couple that with Deuce, Mesa High School, coming back for an all Mesa team.  Heap is a great signing.  Kolb, unlike Mike Vick, loved playing with Brent Celek and used him often as a security blanket.  This is a huge upgrade at the position even as old and brittle as he is.  But 600 yards and 5 TD's last year is nothing to turn your nose up to.  Right now he's the best TE they've had since... crap... ever?  It sure wasn't Johnny McWilliams, or Leonard Pope,  or Stephen Spach.  Maybe Jay Novacek in '89.  With depth at the position now his injuries don't become a major factor.  I love this signing.

Oh do I feel bad for Deuce.  It's like Oliver Miller all over again.  This guy is talented and I was a bit surprised to see the Cards not sign him first.  He's lost the weight before, he'll do it again.  If not, he's out of work. 

Timmy Hightower progressed well over his years here.  When he first came into the league I was stunned at how awful his footwork was.  It wasn't even good for college.  But boy did he improve.  The last two seasons it was hardly noticeable.  But as we all know his hands are the problem.  You can't play that position well and fumble that much.  The coaches must share some of the blame for either not teaching him correct technique or not benching him to get the message through.  If Tiki Barber can figure it out why can't Timmy.  (or Beanie)  This opens the door for Ryan Williams.  I won't be surprised to see Williams starting by the 3rd week.  Vonnie Holliday brings experience and depth to DE.  Who knows, maybe he can become a solid contributor like his days with the Dolphins.  Normally I wouldn't get excited about receiving a late round pick, but the way the Cardinals have drafted lately I wouldn't discount another gem.

Richard Marshall might fall into the Paris Lenon category of "not much love for a solid starter".  I hope he has the year Paris did last year.  This gives them much better depth with Toler, PP, and Jefferson.  From what I gather, Marshall plays the game as physical as Toler with a high tackle rate.  I'm always worried though when I see a CB with a lot of tackles. 

He may not be the best guard out there but at least Daryn Colledge started for the best offense.  For the last 5 years in Green Bay he only missed 4 starts.  Again, this is a great signing for the previously weakest point on this team.

Joey Porter continues to impress me.  Although I don't blame him for his lousy year last year (ahem Bill Davis), he took a pay cut to help the team because of it.  Thats pretty ballsy.  I look for he and Horton to have a fun year together and I think he's got way more in the tank than last year indicated.

Stewart Bradley might take Darryl Washington's starting job this year.  Washington played way too undisciplined last year.  While I don't totally blame him (ahem Bill Davis), I do think it will take time to route out all the bad habits he perepetuated.  Bradley had a good season last year after his ACL tear.  This bolsters a thin interior.  Another solid signing.

Chansi Stuckey is a wasted signing.  If they land Braylon Edwards or Malcolm Floyd, then that leaves Fitz,  Doucet, Roberts, and Williams (with an outside chance on DeMarco Sampson) to fill out the position.  They love all four of those and I don't see them keeping six like last year.  Doucet can never stay healthy so maybe Stuckey fills his spot, but I'd rather see the Sampson kid get a shot than a WR from Cleveland.

O.K. this might not constitute as big news, but I was bummed they didn't land Pat Devlin out of the undrafted free agents.  Pat has size and a sick completion percentage.  He inexplicably fell of the charts in the draft, and I think Miami got a low risk steal here.  I heard the Cards were interested though.

This team has exactly the pieces you want to make a good run.  They have a nice mix of veterans and young talent.  If they pick up a 2nd WR, then they are solid at every position, with the exception of RT.   They nailed this season's free agency.