#CardsCamp Notes

Carson Palmer had the day off from throwing the ball, but did participate in some of the run game reps.

Here are some of the things that caught my eye:

There was good balance from both the offense and defense today. Patrick Peterson had an impressive twisting interception on a overthrow from Stanton.

Jaron Brown then beat rookie Brandon Williams on a post route for a 35 yard TD.

DJ Humphries had some really impressive blocks in the run game. One of which sprung David Johnson for a long TD run. He was celebrating his block so much that he forgot his assignment on the PAT after the score.

Kent Somers provided this insight:

He got beat badly a couple of times by Chandler Jones during some third and long scenarios. But in Humphries defense, Jones made a lot of people look bad all day.

Some of the middle and  back end of the roster played will today also.

Kareem Martin flashed a few times, stopping runners in the back field on couple of occasions and getting his hands on a ball that he was playing underneath coverage on. It was an impressive play as he was covering Chris Johnson in the flat and the throw went to the receiver up the field. He was able to peel off and with his 6’6 frame he almost came up with a pick.

Trevon Hartfield had a pick and a pass break-up on consecutive plays. Asa Jackson had a very athletic pick after a tipped pass. That was his second interception in as many days.

Xavier Williams got some time with ones today and looks slimmer than last year. It looked like they were giving him some time at D tackle and not just keeping him at nose.

The one big negative of the day was from a very unsuspecting candidate. Chandler Catanzaro missed at least five field goals. His first one hit the upright and it looked like it got into his head.

It was a good day though overall and it looked like everyone came out clean from a tough padded practice.

#LongBall

NFL and injuries…

Next man up is a mantra used by every NFL team. It is used by every team, because they are going to have injuries in a season. The question is to who and for how long.

I saw this interesting tweet a week ago and I decided to take a stab at answering this question.

Michael asks a great question. When I start looking at teams to come up with the list, I eliminated teams like the Browns and 49ers right away because their season is done before anyone gets injured.

So here are the top 10 that I could come up with. There are a few that you could flip flop spots, but I think the list looks pretty good.

10. Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots

Rob Gronkowski is as good of a football player that we have in the league. Brady does not have an effective receiving core or dependable running game. Having Gronk on the field makes more space to operate for the rest of the offense and he converts third downs at an alarming rate. Sure Brady is great and could keep any  game interesting without Gronk, but it is significantly more difficult without him.

9. Julio Jones and the Falcons

Julio Jones is a freak athlete. There is not another decent option at receiver or tight end to stretch the field for the Falcons. The running game is not bad, but it is not great either. Devonte Freeman can end up being a piece that can help win games, but without Julio the falcons would most likely finish last in their division.

8. Odell Beckham and the Giants

As OBJ goes, so goes the Giants. He is the offense and it needs him to take all of the attention off the defense to get anything going to the rest of the threats on offense. Could there be a shot that the Giants make the playoffs without OBJ? Sure. But the division is so bad that even if they did squeak in, it would be because the Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins all imploded.

7. Khalil Mack and the Raiders

The first defensive player on the list. Mack had a  career year last year and is part of a very improved defense and team for that matter. Without the pass rush that Mack provides, the rest of the team will suffer and the sleeper pick by most experts won’t make the turn and end up in the playoffs.

6. Fletcher Cox and the Eagles

Sticking with defense, Fletcher Cox is a terror on the interior of the line. He can single-handedly keep the Eagles in games. As I mentioned earlier about the NFC East, it is so bad that Cox will have a shot at the playoffs where anything can happen. Without Chip Kelley putting the defense on the field for more times than any other team in the league, Cox will be able to apply pressure at an even higher level.

5. Andrew Whitworth and the Bengals

Andrew Whitworth has been quietly one of the best tackles in football for a few years. Protecting the “Red Rocket” is critical for this team and it would be impossible to replace Whitworth. I know this is kind of cheating, because it is still about the QB, but without Whitworth this team will not make the playoffs.

4. Anthony Castonzo and the Colts

For the same reason as Whitworth above, but the Colts need a healthy protected QB more than the Bengals do. The Colts defense is suspect and there are not any great targets that the team would miss too significantly if they had to go without. We are expecting a bounce back performance from Luck this year and Castonzo is a big piece of that.

3. Michael Bennett and Seahawks

I know that Seattle is deep and most think they would be fine without any single piece, but Bennett is the exception. He is the reason that opposing teams can’t simply pick on the side opposite of Sherman all game. The cover three they play is susceptible to the 6-8 yard passes (i.e. Patriots in the Superbowl), but only if you can get Earl Thomas and Kam Chancelor spread out. That can’t happen if the QB does not have time. With Bennett on the field, QBs do not have time.

2. J.J. Watt and the Texans

The Texans might be a team that are out of the playoffs with or without Watt, but he is the best player in football right now. He is the engine to that whole team and without him they could finish in the bottom three or four in the league.

1. Adrian Peterson and the Vikings

The Vikings were a field goal away from beating Seattle in the playoffs. This team is built around AP and for good reason. He is the hardest player to tackle in the league and makes defenses pay for trying to stop him. They’re another Cinderella pick going into this year, but that can only happen with a healthy Peterson.

Honorable Mentions: Luke Kueckly, Von Miller, and Travis Kelce

#LongBall

The way too early roster projection.


3 QB:

Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Matt Barkley

No Surprise here and Barkley beats out undrafted rookie Jake Coker.

RB:

David Johnson, Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington, and Stepfan Taylor

Again no surprise at the top 3, but great special teams play and trust in pass blocking situations keeps Stepfan on the team. Probably won’t be able to keep Kerwynn on the practice squad after his last two years. I would not be surprised if Ellington is not on the trade block right now. He has not been available for most of his time with the Cardinals and could return good value. If Keim does not like the trade market for him, we will be happy to keep him as a third option as an explosive dual threat.

6 WR:

Larry Fitz, Michael Floyd, John Brown, JJ Nelson, Jaron Brown, and Brittan Golden

The first four guys are locked in. Jaron and Brittan having been here for so long and have a  huge advantage to make the roster, especially when you consider they’re big time contributors to special teams. Golden has versatility to play some corner in an emergency which is something Keim and BA love.  This may keep one of our late round DBs from the 53 man roster.

4 TE:

Jermain Gresham, Darren Fells, Troy Niklas, and Ifeanyi Momah

Jermain Gresham turned down a much larger contract to stay here in AZ and anchor this group. Troy and Ifeanyi need to stay on the field to round out this position group throughout the season. This group is excellent in run blocking and can create some mismatches down the field. We saw some great production from Fells at times this year too.

6 OL:

Jared Veldheer, DJ Humphries, Mike Iupati, Evan Mathis, AQ Shipley, Evan Boehm, and Earl Watford

The center position is causing some drama this year. Can a rookie take the starting role away from Shipley who was brought into start, but ended up sitting behind Sendline last year after the team resigned him late in camp? Watford can now play four positions on the line with the only exception being left tackle. Meaning that if something were to happen to Veldheer, Humphries would most likely slide over to left and Watford take his spot at right tackle. I think that Rob Crisp has a shot to land on the practice squad again.

Ok, I am now done with the offense and I am looking at the Cardinals’ defense. It is for real. They have guys that are either contributors or are high upside guys that will not make this football team. Unfortunately there are not a ton of names that will draw a ton of trade consideration, but there are guys that will most likely end up on someone’s roster.

DT:

Calais Campbell, Rodney Gunter, Robert Nkemdiche, Corey Peters, Frostee Rucker, Red Bryant, and Ed Stinson

This is the deepest group on the team. I have left off the list Josh Mauro and Xavier Williams, both of who the team likes. Xavier is listed as a NT and the lack of versatility could cost him a roster spot this year. Writing out these names makes me very excited. Frostee is another name that could be on the trading block. Again if the value is not there we will be happy to keep his leadership in our locker room even if Peters (returning from Injury) and Nkemdiche (rookie) cut into his playing time.

6 OLB:

Chandler Jones, Marcus Golden, Kareem Martin, Alex Okafor, are locked in. Tristan Okapalogu, Shaq Riddick and Zach Waggenman will battle for the last two spots. I think that Waggenman will end up on the practice squad this year, but he did have quite the buzz before getting hurt last year. Okafor could be on the trade block, but I doubt he is not on the roster come game one.

4 ILB:

Kevin Minter, Gabe Martin, Alani Fua, Deone Buchanan. Yeah, I am calling Buck an ILB, but this is where he will spend his time until the Cards find a Daryl Washington replacement. Alani Fua is a guy that can also stand up and play some OLB so that helps him make this team.

5 C:

Patrick Peterson, Justin Bethel, Brandon Williams, Cariel Brooks, and the newly signed Mike Jenkins. If the Cards do end up signing Chris Culliver it could be hard for Brooks to make the roster, but he will be a practice squad target again this year. Harlan Miller has an outside shot at beating Brooks, but should also be a practice squad guy.

5 S:

Tyrann Mathieu, Tony Jefferson, Tyvon Branch, DJ Swearinger, and Marqu Christian will get a spot as a rookie with his versatility to play some slot corner in addition to safety. Chris Clemons would have made this list, but after his Scottsdale bar incident he may be on the outside looking in.

P

Drew Butler

K

Cat Man

LS

Kameron Canaday

Can we just have Mike Leach back? But this guy is 6’4″ 240 though.

Never-ending Gate

I am not a fan of the way that Rodger Goodell and the NFL has handled Deflate Gate. To me it shows the ineptitude that happens at the NFL offices with almost anything that Goodell touches.

Let’s be clear. Rodger Goodell is not fighting this into the 2016 season to smear Brady and the Patriots at this point. At this point it is 100% for power. The power to be judge, jury and executioner to the league and it’s unionized players. He is using the collective bargaining agreement against the NFLPA in spite of Collective bargaining being the single most powerful tool the union has to make sure there is a balance of power.

Goodell asked the appeals court to overturn the ruling of Richard Burman due to the fact that the bargaining agreement allows him to set punishment, investigate incidents and rule on appeals of his own judgments.

Goodell is trying to use the broadest term of “conduct detrimental” policy to apply his ruling to Brady. To make the case that he can create a rule out of thin air if the player violated the conduct policy.

The appeals court agreed with Goodell that under the collective bargaining agreement he was within his right to impose such a penalty. Here is what they said:

The Commissioner was authorized to impose discipline for, among other things, “conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence, in the game of professional football.” In their collective bargaining agreement, the players and the League mutually decided many years ago that the Commissioner should investigate possible rule violations, should impose appropriate sanctions, and may preside at arbitration’s challenging his discipline. Although this tripartite regime may appear somewhat unorthodox, it is the regime bargained for and agreed upon by the parties, which we can only presume they determined was mutually satisfactory.

So, they admit the amount of power that Goodell has is “unorthodox,” but agreed upon.

To be fair, I think that the ruling on its own is the correct ruling, but they are leaving out a very critical piece of the puzzle. The conduct which was most detrimental to the league was the leaking of the information about the investigation on the night of the game.

The decline in “the integrity of, or public confidence, in the game of professional football” was due to the media and public being lead to believe that 11 of the 12 footballs from one team were deflated and that none of the the other teams were deflated at all.

As soon as I hear that, I think, what is the advantage of throwing a deflated football? (I still don’t know if that is an advantage). But, he must have really deflated those footballs if 11 out of 12 footballs were below the limit allowed.

We were lead to think that for weeks. It was not until the Wells report was released, media circus commenced and the public opinion of the situation was made, that we find out what we originally heard was garbage.

The Colts balls all started at 13 psi and the Patriots started at 12.5 psi. Every single one of the balls measured lost air pressure during the first half for both teams. The Patriots started the game at the minimum psi allowed and after being used in cold weather lost air. Of course they are going to be below the allowed amount if they started at the absolute bottom of the range. The Colts started with all of their balls at 13 psi and all of them came back in at 12.15 to 12.95 depending on what gauge you look at from the report. Again with consideration for which gauge you look at, three of the four balls tested were below the 12.5 psi allowed for the Colts. This would have been good info to give to the public as roughly 44 states, not in the far northeastern tip of our country, flipped the heck out.

The fact that this was a scandal at all is 100% on the league. The investigation should have never been leaked. It should have not been reported the way that it was, but when the information is coming directly from the league sources, you can’t blame guys like Bob Kravitz and Peter King. These are trusted sources with info from the horse’s mouth.

Now we sit and wait to see if the supreme court of the United States is going to hear this case before we know the final fate of this case. I don’t care about Tom Brady and deflated footballs, but I think that this is a case of commissioner blowing it and needing to save power for the league office to keep the control they so desperately think they need.

If you think I am biased, I would love to see Jimmy instead of Tommy week one.

#Cardinals #LongBall