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Blogs

As minicamp arrives

Posted by Darren Urban on April 29, 2010 – 11:24 am

It feels like we were just here, prepping for minicamp, waiting for Beanie Wells to arrive from the airport for his introductory press conference, wondering what Fan Fest would be like coming off a Super Bowl appearance. The years certainly zoom by.

But this minicamp, for so many reasons, seems more intriguing that most. Many years there is a storyline or two that excites; in 2006, Matt Leinart’s first time on the field, last year it was about Beanie. But for sheer number of important and interesting topics to follow, this one may reign. A few of the key things to pay attention to starting tomorrow (minicamp is two practices Friday, two Saturday, one Sunday morning):

Lining up on offense: Adding Alan Faneca to the offensive line mix has really made that unit tops to watch. Faneca will be in there, that much seems obvious. How will Levi Brown do moving to left tackle from the right side? Who is the right tackle — Reggie Wells? Brandon Keith? Jeremy Bridges? Can Herman Johnson make a play? Does Deuce Lutui sign his tender and force the Cards to keep him on the field? Where does Rex Hadnot fit? Offensive line coach Russ Grimm told me “we will play the best five.” Who will that be?

Small-school corners: DRC is already a lock, hailing from Tennessee State. Now the other starting corner is probably going to be Greg Toler, from Saint Paul’s in Virginia. Toler did well in short stints as a rookie, but he has to prove he can hold up. And with Bryant McFadden gone, who steps up as a nickel guy?

Those inside ‘backers: Can Daryl Washington show something early? Will the pressure of replacing Karlos Dansby fall to Paris Lenon? And what about a guy like Ali Highsmith — can he make a run at playing time while Washington grows up in the NFL?

Oh yeah, there’s the quarterback: It’s Leinart’s time to take control of the QB position. But Derek Anderson has a little something to prove too, and he’s probably anxious to show that outside of what had become a toxic situation in Cleveland. Anderson should push Leinart. The Cards really need Leinart to respond in a good way.

There are other things to watch too, like how Dan Williams looks at nose tackle, or if Andre Roberts can outperform unknowns like Ed Gant, or even what the outside linebackers look like with Joey Porter and possibles such as Stevie Baggs and Mark Washington.

(And fans obviously can take a look at the public Saturday practice at Fan Fest; click here for all the details).

Football is here again.


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Posted in Blog | 42 Comments »


42 Responses to “As minicamp arrives”

  1. By Adam on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    No mention of 2009 2nd round pick Cody Brown? I figured he would have been done with rehab by now and ready to fight for that OLB position, especially with the Cards taking Washington in the 2nd round this year. Its great to have some LB depth!

  2. By cory on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Finally! I cant wait! Of course I want us to go all the way, but what I REALLY want is for us to shut up those mouthy 49ers fans this year. Im so sick of all the articles saying they are favored now that Kurt is gone. Im just so excited- GO CARDS!!!!!!

  3. By Eric on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I can’t remember ever being this excited about a new season. The Cardinals have made some really good moves and I think they’ll surprise many people this year!

  4. By Sittin in the Sun at Sun Devil Stadium on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Darren-

    Do you think you can get us some sort of mini camp depth chart after it’s over?

  5. By bobo on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Is there any word on Cody brown? Doesn’t seem like anyone is that excited about him this year.

  6. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I’m sure glad we don’t have any Ohio State grads on the roster this year who will be missing OTAs and training camp because of the school’s academic calendar extending into the summer. I know there are a few other schools with the same kind of calendar.

    Not a knock on those schools by any means, but not having a rookie at early practices has to be a big downer for the coaches. For the kids coming from those schools who don’t have elite talent, missing that much time when the playbook is being installed certainly can’t help their chances of making the team.

  7. By Former Steeler Fan on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    As most of the fans have said on recent threads (since the draft), the cornerback situation is probably the key to a successful season. Every other position appears to be well manned (depending on injuries).

  8. By Joe-B on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I wish I didn’t have School on Saturday so I could go to Fan Fest…

  9. By wampag on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    so much to look forward to GO CARDS

  10. By darrenurban on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Adam, Bobo –

    Obviously, Cody will be a part of that. I probably should’ve mentioned him too.

  11. By darrenurban on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Sittin –

    I’ll probably do some of that, but of course, nothing would be official.

  12. By Gang6230 on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I’m a fan of Anderson I hope ge gets it cuz judging from the perfomance of leinart last year I have my doubts all Anderson needs is the kind of offence we hav that protected Warner n he will be great

  13. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    I have to laugh at all the talking-heads out there who say the Cards won’t win the division because Matt is QB. So I guess they reason that Alex Smith is a better QB than Matt? They never mention Alex Smith as a reason why the 49ers are a better pick to win the division. I wonder why that might be.

  14. By The1stAZDanWilliams on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    - Gang6230, and every other doubter

    I’m seriously getting tired of so called fans that constantly measure the play of Matt Leinart, or any other player for that matter, by what they did in a few games. Leinart came in against GB last year during the season and almost brought us back to win. He came in late in the game at New England after Warner was unable to do anything for 3 quarters. Also when you talk about his play vs Warner, why doesn’t anyone talk about Warners 5 INT game during the season? Or how Warner never played well in cold weather or even outdoors for that matter. Don’t put Warner so high on the pedestal that you can’t see what you have. Leinart was a damn good player in College and his 1st year was pretty good too considering the situation he was in. I can almost guarantee that if you let Leinart throw the ball 50+ times a game that he would get huge numbers every time too.

  15. By Chad on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    Can the Cards rescind their tender offers to players? What happens if Deuce never signs and a team doesn’t go after him – does he just sit out the year until he is a UFA?

  16. By The1stAZDanWilliams on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Oh yeah and one more thing, before anyone starts saying that I’m hating on Warner or that Warner got us to the Super Bowl and I’m being disrespectful……. I’m not hating and for the latter, Warner didn’t do that all himself. Great defensive play, good pass blocking and a GREAT group of recievers played a HUGE part in the last few years.

  17. By The1stAZDanWilliams on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    One last thing, I wanted to say that I got a couple of those games mixed up, NE was the Super Bowl season. The GB game I was referring to was Pre-season. But you have the same look and I forgot to mention his start against Tennessee last year wasn’t too bad. They had that game in the win column until the Titans march 99 yds on our defense and one it.

    So I apologize for my mistakes, but the point is clear.

  18. By mschultz on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    If Hassleback continues to decline in seattle and the unknown of how Bradford will be a as an NFL QB and how unstable Smith has been with the 49ers. The cards could stilll have the best QB in the division whether it ends up being Anderson ot Leinart. And i think as a team the cards still have more proven talent than anyone in the divison. Thanks for all the info Darren. The season truly never ends.

  19. By John on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Ottis,
    It’s an interesting observation. I guess nationally, no one has faith in Leinart.

    I guess they see , with the addition of the 2 1st round picks at OL, the niners can run the ball with Gore, Davis had 10 td’s and emerged, and Crabtree looks like a nice player, that the niners offense will score enough and let the defense do their thing.
    I see where people can say that.

    Nationally,Lets face it, they see the cards have a promising running game, but were still near the bottom in rushing yards. The defense ranked at the bottom. This team was driven by Kurt and the wrs.

    But what we see as Card fans is, an addition of Fanaca and a huge physical line should allow Beanie to run, we still have fitz, breaston, and Early, we improved our biggest problem(rushing the passer) with the addition of Porter . We got very good players in Williams and Washington and are a better overall team.
    So what does it come down to? Will teams bring 8 in the box, stop the run, and blitz Leinart or will Leinart raise his game enough to keep the cards on top? I guess nationally the answer is no.I think its as simple as that.
    For me, I’ll wait and see which Matt come to play. With all the weapons he has, it will be hard to fail.

  20. By darrenurban on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Chad –

    Until the tender is signed, yes, it can be rescinded. But it makes the player a free agent. Unless they rescind it, Deuce is stuck and can’t go anywhere. I’m not sure of the rules if he sits out the year, but if he does, he is still credited with just four seasons of service and not a fifth.

  21. By Pipa Piko on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Deuce Lutui should get offered a better tender and is by far a better fit for the o-line then some of these other additions. Shoot if I recall correctly the year USC won the national title at the Orange bowl against UO, deuce was the right tackle at the time. A little undersized nahhhhh! But Willie Colon for the steelers is way undersized for a rt. tackle??? I see Deuce fitting in anywhere on the o-line, he just needs to get the opportunity. So invest in him because he is very trustworthy and loyal but nonetheless it is all business at the end of the day. And the Cards are labeled as the cheapest organization in the league!

  22. By Pipa Piko on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Free Brubruh Deuce!

  23. By TBru on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    If Duece doesn’t sign the tender, can the Cards trade his rights?

  24. By darrenurban on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Pipa –

    Are you Deuce’s agent?

    Here’s Lutui’s problem right now. Many RFAs are not getting long-term deals. It’s not happening in this time when labor issues could cause a stoppage in 2011. Steve Breaston signed his tender. So did Lyle Sendlein. Deuce obviously got messed over because of the uncapped year, because otherwise he would have been a free agent. But he is not. I am sure he’s sent his message that he wants a long-term deal. But the longer he stays away, the more he hurts his chance to fight for a job. The Cards aren’t going to just cut him. They’d be stupid to do so.

  25. By darrenurban on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Tbru –

    No. Deuce can’t be traded unless he is under contract.

  26. By TBru on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    So his options are, sign the tender, or find a new line of work? No one else can sign him at this point, right?

  27. By darrenurban on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Tbru –

    Correct.

  28. By Ctownbeatdown on Apr 29, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    i was looking at some videos on the undrafted free agents. How long of a road do players like Max Komar have. A player that doesn’t have top end speed, but catches away from his body really well, and is a great blocker. And then there is stephen williams, who has great ability to catch the ball at its highest point, in traffic. Are they just brought in to push players like Onrea Jones and Ed Gant?

  29. By Jeff Gollin on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Kudos to newbie McElroy on his video coverage of 1st rookie day (He took us fans behind the scenes where we seldom get to go).

  30. By 209Cardsfan on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    or anyone else for that matter.. not sure if this is the place to ask or not.. but when exactly does mini camp start for the 2010-2011 season!?

    thanks

  31. By Skiptim on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,
    What is the main reason for Levi Brown moving to left tackle? Is it because for the possible replacements for the tackle position, they would all be more comfortable at right? Is it because Levi is still at this point more comfortable at left? What’s the dealio?

  32. By darrenurban on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Ctown –

    I think that, for the most part, those guys are fighting for jobs on the practice squad.

  33. By darrenurban on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    209Cards –

    Minicamp starts Friday with two practices, two on Saturday, one Sunday.

  34. By darrenurban on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Skip –

    I think it’s a little of everything. I will have more on that after the morning practice today.

  35. By LUKE on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    man!im really looking forward to fan fest!my son and i went last year and he (we) had a blast!go cardinals!!!

  36. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren -

    When do the rookies (draftees) get their numbers?

  37. By darrenurban on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    Ottis –

    They already have them. I posted them on the roster the Monday after the draft. What, you’re not checking?

  38. By PipaPiko on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    I wish I was Deuce’s agent because he would be payed sir! Really nice covering for the organization since they feed you! I’m just saying and speaking my mind so don’t take it personal. As far as Deuce the obvious is out there no long term? Fine, well tender the guy and show interest in him for the future.

  39. By darrenurban on May 18, 2010 | Reply

    Pipa –

    I don’t take it personally. But I wonder if you are seeing this objectively yourself.

    Many, many RFAs all around the NFL are not being offered long-term deals this offseason. It’s not just Deuce. On the Cards, is Deuce more deserving of a long-term deal than Sendlein? Breaston?

    The rules are the way they are because Lutui’s union agreed to them. It stinks, given that he has been around four years. But he had an opportunity to get a long-term deal from another team during the RFA offer period, and he couldn’t get any team to do that. Had that happened, the Cards would have either had to match or let him go. I’m feeling confident most, if not all, other teams would be handling Deuce’s situation exactly the same as the Cards. I’m guessing you’ll disagree. But I am confident in that assessment.

  40. By Pipa Piko on May 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren-

    I agree to what you are saying to a certain extent, but i feel that he deserves a little bit more that’s all. I’m a big fan of this sport and I like to study the game from all directions. I just wish he was given a higher tender because he is that caliber type player. Sendlein on the other hand, well I don’t know if you watch film but it seems like he is constantly calling for help. For him to sign immediately and do all he can to be there is in his best interest period. Breaston is a great player hands down no argument. Had the cards not high tender him you know and I know he would of been doing training camps somewhere else. As far as Deuce he still has until June 14th to work a deal. If not I know somebody will get sliced when he signs just do the math my friend!

  41. By darrenurban on May 19, 2010 | Reply

    Papa Piko –

    You are correct someone will get cut, but I doubt it will be a “name” at this point. And I understand you (and Deuce) think he deserves more. But in studying the game in all directions, you should also see the big picture from a team standpoint. You also cannot discount the possibility of some missing football in 2011, which not only cost Deuce his UFA status but is also holding up extensions across the league.

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