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Blogs

Analyzing Whiz and Newton

Posted by Darren Urban on March 9, 2011 – 10:16 am

So yesterday’s Auburn pro day dragged on and on and on just to get to the end part, which was the part everyone was looking for — Cam Newton throwing passes. After his ragged showing in Indy, he needed a good day. He had it, although again, how can you not, throwing against no defenders?

More importantly — and more relevant to anyone reading here — was the end, when coach Ken Whisenhunt stepped up to ask Newton to make a particular throw or two that he had not, and then made sure to shake Newton’s hand after it was over, apparently the lone coach to do so. This was caught on camera, and from a Cardinals’ perspective, tough not to notice.

I agree with Kent Somers: The request from Whisenhunt was less about seeing how Newton made the throws and more about seeing how Newton reacted to being asked to make those throws. I’m sure Newton’s sequence was scripted yesterday; so you ask for something off the script. Playing quarterback in this league is often about adjusting on the fly.

But I wouldn’t read too much into it. Whisenhunt traveled across country to see this pro day (and that’s a fuzzy Whiz on the far left of the Newton picture below). He might as well get something out of it besides what Auburn was trying to portray to the NFL. It doesn’t mean the Cards are suddenly looking at Newton — to me, any interest was always going to come down to how Newton interacts with the Cards during interviews, and what kind of things are said about the kid by those who had to work with him all the time (coaches, trainers, etc.). And I still think there’s a good chance he is taken in the top four picks anyway.

A couple of other things I wanted to touch on:

– There was that “other” pro day yesterday. Arkansas, with QB Ryan Mallett. And he ran a 5.37 40-yard dash. That’s way slow. As a point of reference, Cards tackle Levi Brown ran a 5.40 40 when he came out, guard Deuce Lutui a 5.45 and center Lyle Sendlein a 5.24. Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, neither of whom are considered runners, were under five seconds when they came out.

Does it matter? Maybe not. It’s not like you are going to ask Mallett to rush 15 times a game. But it definitely makes you wonder about his ability to move in the pocket if the play breaks down.

– Seems like almost everyone has linked Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller to the Cardinals — even me — but there are those who aren’t fans of Miller. Former Cardinals scout Dave Razzano, who frequently does work for Comcast in the Bay area, is one of those guys. Razzano compared Miller to Jets bust Vernon Gholston, who was cut after three seasons and zero sacks.


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Posted in Blog | 40 Comments »


40 Responses to “Analyzing Whiz and Newton”

  1. By Don't Take Losses on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Whiz didn’t ask him to throw just for drill He’s interested, to my surprise; but shame on me. In Whiz we Trust.

  2. By D on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe a reason why Razzone is not a scout anymore..ha

    QB to be taken:
    ANDY DALTON TCU round 2
    (assuming we sign Bulger as starter)

  3. By brad oneill on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    its funny that you mentioned mallets 40 time and lutui’s because when i heard about Mallet’s forty the first thought that ran through my head was forget the drc breaston race i want to see mallet and duece competing for last place in line at the water fountain.

    the real question is what can we trade with the patriots to get one of their first round picks so we can get mallet late in the first. after his day yesterday i don’t see him falling to 5th in the second round.

  4. By John the draft guy on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    I think the game is on;
    If other teams think you are interested in Cam, maybe they trade with say Denver or Buffalo to pick their QB, This allows a player Whiz wants, to fall to #5.
    or
    Whiz, maybe, likens Cam to Big Ben (I heard the comparison several times-I see him more as a Vince Young). In that case, maybe he is interested.

    I agree with “D” above, when regarding the scout. Not hard to understand why he is doing something else now. Gholston was a much larger DE converted to OLB. Miller is a OLB who has dropped into coverage. He has proven production over 2 years at A&M. Gholston had 1 big year. Give me a break.

  5. By John the draft guy on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Darren,
    Got Bernie Kosar’s 40? How ’bout Dan Fouts? I’m sure they would be pushing that 5.4 mark. :)

  6. By hopeful_card on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Kevin Kolb!

  7. By Phoenixraven1 on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Didn’t he call Miller a one trick pony? Must have had something more than that to get so many sacks! I’m assuming wiz and company will make sure he wasn’t just succeeding because of the system he was in and that if we choose him at #5 he is best player available!

  8. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    To play devil’s advocate, my fear for the Cards @ #5 is that Miller is another Gholston. Yes, he does line up at OLB but there just isn’t much evidence of A&M using him to do anything other than pass rush. I know Mayock projects him well in coverage but I haven’t witnessed it, good or bad. I did see him get caught upfield quite a bit on delayed handoffs/draw plays, and at 240-245 pounds can he bull rush in addition to his speed rush?

    I do know that position either seems to produce boom (Matthews, Orakpo) or bust (Maybin, Hughes, Ayers, Gholston, etc.), at least in recent drafts. I think I’d feel more comfortable using #5 on DaQuan Bowers and starting him opposite of Dockett – not the most conventional way of creating a pass rush in a 3-4 but it worked very well in Buffalo with Bruce Smith.

    Time will tell, and Miller would fill a huge need if he’s the real deal. Would like to be a fly on the wall to hear the conversations about these guys from the current coaching staff.

  9. By Nick Pepe on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Glad the decisions not mine. Not sure where I stand on Newton, but based on statements that he made earlier, they may not have a helmet big enough for his head!

    Nick Pepe

  10. By Andre on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    From day 1, I didn’t like Von Miller as a number 5 or even top ten pick at all, even before I knew about Gholston. He seems undersized and has benefited from his athletic speed against slower players. I hope we get someone else. I think Robert Quinn is a better possibility if he impresses the Cards coaches even a little bit so long as there are no QB’s and Peterson is off the board. Damn, there are so many possibilities I really don’t have any educated guess. They can go QB, CB, OLB, DE, all seem like reasonable choices.

  11. By cards62 on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Why draft a Cam with the # 5 pick when you can get another Cam (Vince Young for free) Go back and watch Vince Young’s junior and senior years of college. The man was incredible. I know he is a risk but so is Cam so get a risk for free and keep your # 5 draft choice. Mallet does not impress me at all.

    Peterson or Von Miller in the first round or trade down, and Klye Rudolph in the second round.

    I would not sign Tiki and I am glad we did not sign Shockey. Too much drama for me.

    Go Cards

  12. By Roy on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Miller had more than one trick at the Senior Bowl. Everything I read says that he was dominant. The last pass rushing guy I remember the “experts” said dominated the way Miller did in Senior Bowl practices was DeMarcus Ware. I sure would love somebody of that caliber rushing the passer for us. He would really make A-Dub, Rhodes, DRC, and Toler look better. Not that they can look any worse than last year after NO pass rush and apparently injuries.

  13. By Sean on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    If the cards have any sense, they’ll go after Patrick Peterson in the draft if he’s available (2nd choice Von Miller), then sign Chris Jenkins & Marc Bulger. Then I might get some confidence in the front office to do the right thing!

  14. By Greg on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    After Patrick Petersen, Von Miller is the cleanest player in this draft. Plug him in and play him, he’s exactly what this franchise needs: a legit edge rusher.

  15. By Mark in Chandler on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Razzone’s point is well taken but overblown. Before the combine I had Quinn several places ahead of Miller because of Quinn’s ability against the run. I am encouraged that Miller put on weight and did not lose speed so maybe he could be more stout against the run. Consequently I have moved Quinn and Miller to about the same grade depending on your flavor. Today I think I still lean toward Quinn. He reminds me some of Peppers while Miller reminds me of Dumerville.

    As for Razzone’s point about Peterson and Amukamara, there is some merit as well if not as much as he proposes. Peterson and Amukamara have been built up as incredible shut-down corners. If such a thing exists, it should be understood that neither one of these corners are one. Amukamara is more of a true corner and Peterson brings more to the table as a whole package. Both are very good but neither is dominate in coverage. Both are NFL starter quality but neither has shown they will instantly dominate. They are top 10 quality but I think the media’s talking heads have made them into more than they really are, which is pretty good corners but not the next Revis.

  16. By B on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Passing on Von Miller would be like passing on Terrell Suggs….DOH!We suck at drafting.

  17. By Awesomest wilson on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    I think this is great. Even if wiz doesnt win next yr and gets canned we have a future.and a new jersey to buy!

  18. By Travis Stiegler on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Kent – I usually really enjoy your columns and find them informative and well written but to say that a QB might have pocket ability issues b/c he ran a 5.37 in the 40 yard dash is utterly ridiculous. First off, pocket presence and eluding the pass rush have little to do with outright speed, (ie. Big Ben, Tom Brady, McNabb, Elway) even though it can obviously help (ie. Vick, Cunningham, Flutie, Steve Y., etc.). And second, we are talking about hundrenths of a one second here. So maybe his big toe slipped when he got out of the blocks, who knows and who cares. Don’t get caught up in the minutia when you could just look at film or read what people have written regarding his ability to escape the pocket, for G_d’s sake, your a journalist! Don’t give complacent “what if’s’ just to write something.

  19. By joe holst on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    I do not care for Von Miller either, I want a thumper in the middle, a QB who can complete at least 60% of his throws, a pass catching tight end and a ballhawk in the secondary..

  20. By SeeingRed on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Interesting…here’s hoping our scouting Dept does better this time around after whiffing completely on Cody Brown..

    Kevin Kolb PLEASE!! I

    Shouldn’t even bother with a QB (Bulger) who is rumored to be content to be a permanent #2…but I guess that’s what interviews/workouts are for.

  21. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Not that I’m comparing the two, but if my memory is right Tom Brady ran the 40 in the 5.2 range. Probably the most useless stat available in judging a football player.

  22. By Darren Urban on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Travis –

    RE: Mallett, and me

    1) Last time I checked, I was Darren, not Kent. Wrong website, wrong writer.

    2) You are welcome to your opinions. You don’t have to care. You may think Mallett is the second coming and should be a top 10 pick. You may be right. Maybe I wonder if he was disciplined enough to train for his own pro day, since he is insisting he can run faster. You say maybe he tripped. What if he didn’t prepare? You don’t know, just like I don’t. You know teams are going to be watching these results. Is it a deal-breaker? I’m sure not. I have heard and read about plenty of red flags with the guy, and that was one of them.

  23. By nate on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Von Miller time! If Newton, Bowers, Von Miller and Mallet are selected first…

  24. By Scott H on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    For whatever it’s worth, NFL.com is reporting that 8 teams have scheduled private workouts with Newton and the Cardinals are NOT one of them.

  25. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t see anything with Whiz shaking Newton’s hand, probably just found out where he could find a good deal on a laptop.
    And I agree with John, Dan Fouts had to be the slowest, least athletic QB ever seen. Yet he somehow worked that body to a Hall of Fame career.
    Good article Kent.

  26. By georgiebird on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Darren.
    Glad to hear Dave Razzano’s comments on Von Miller. I made the same comment to you about 3 weeks ago. Best move for the Cardinals in 2011:
    1) draft AJ Green-best player in draft
    2) FA McNabb for 2 years
    3) balance of draft- go for defense.
    4) FA – go defense after McN.

    Said the above 3 weeks ago -so trying to be consistent.

  27. By Michael on Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Why is everyone sold on Kolb. He has not shown me anything. I would take Carson Palmer at a much lower price than Kolb. Plus he suits our offense better. Then get Peterson or Miller with the #5 and an offensive lineman in the second round…

  28. By Eazy E on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Great job Cam he is that good and very classy of whiz to shake his hand after he asked him to do a little extra, definitely wouldn’t mind Cam, Patrick, or Von at 5.

  29. By Darren Urban on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Georgie –

    RE: Miller

    I remember you saying the same thing.

    They aren’t going to take Green, though.

  30. By Nick Pepe on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    @Georgie
    I tried to refrain but couldn’t: did you follow football last year? Enough with McNabb. He does not have what it takes.

    -Philly Daily News has Fitz quoted as saying he is “not really” interested in becoming a free agent and is “hopeful” a deal will get done.

  31. By Kent on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Look at 3 cone times, and Vert and Broad Jump numbers for OLB prospects of future and present drafts. You will see Quinn is far more likely to be a Gholston like bust, whereas Miller compares favorably to guys like Clay Matthews and DeMarcus Ware.

    Von spent his entire Sophomore season playing WLB in a 43 defense, he, according to himself, spent 60-65% of the snaps that season in coverage. He then played a stand up “joker” role his final two year at A&M spending again according to himself around 20% of his snaps in coverage.

    You are very rarely going to find a 34 OLB prospect who is already that versed in coverage, and when you do that person is not likely going to be the type of pass rusher you covet. Miller has both, and while he might struggle vs the run a little bit you do not pass on an elite edge rusher becasue of slight concerns over his ability to hold up vs the run.

  32. By georgiebird on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    To Nick Pepe:
    Nick- I thought you knew a little about football. No one is touting McNabb as a savior. The Cardinals are in a tough spot right now- their best player may leave regardless of what you read in the paper..
    Criticize McNabb all you want, but he is a much better QB than anyone in the NFC West last year. With a lot more motivation to prove others wrong, I feel that McNabb would still be the best QB in the NFC West in 2011.
    The object here is winning the NFC West and I feel McN gives us the best chance. If the Cardinals were in the NFC East, I would be right with you in not wanting McN.
    Kolb may be a viable option but he will cost a #1 (definitely).
    The Cardinals’ defense is a much bigger problem where there are only two guys who we can have any faith in -DD and Rhodes.
    So don’t over-react to what is being offered as a solution. Your solution would have “holes” too. It’s a tough situation.

  33. By johnnybluenose on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    no way we take a qb with our number 5 pick. it’s either miller or peterson or we trade it for other picks. there are lots of good players who will be available late in the first round and in the second and third, maybe even a decent qb.

  34. By Nick Pepe on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    @ Georgie -

    I do know a little. I am not the expert that everyone else appears to be, but I like to think I know a little. If McNabb was as good as hyped the Eagles would have won a couple Super Bowls. In my opinion his accuracy is brutal, and his time management and leadership skills are even worse. He was not even close to as good as Bradford was last year. I don’t think what division you are in should dictate who can and will QB your squad. The goal (or object as you put it) should be winning the Super Bowl, not just winning your own division. McNabb’s own receivers ripped his accuracy, leadership, and time management when he left. TO did it while he was there! If McNabb is not the “savior” as you say, why would you bring him in. Bring in the guy you think IS the savior!

    As I stated before, I am not sold on Kolb as a starter. And I am certain he is not worthy of the 5th pick.

    As far as my solution having holes, it should…..because I don’t remember offering an opiniion/solution. I never once said “draft this guy, sign that guy (except for Fitz), acquire this guy”…….

    Again- I think we all want the same thing here- a consistent winner in the Cards. And I do know this: McNabb won’t get us there and he won’t even be a consideration. He is no better than DA. And yes it is a tough situation but I trust the GM and coach.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  35. By georgiebird on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Darren/Nick,
    Agreeing he’s no savior, further points with McNabb are as follows:
    1) The Redskins played one of the 8 most difficult schedules in the NFL in 2010
    2) NFC West teams played the easiest schedules in all of the NFL in 2010
    3) McNab’s QB rating was slightly better than Bradford’s in ’10
    4) while Bradford should get better in 2011, many young QB’s fall prey to the 2nd year jinx
    5) McN is an upstanding guy who truly wants to play for the Cards
    6) he should be acquired at much less cost than the others

    My mindset here is: McNabb going to the Cards is like an American League pitcher going to the NL. Things get a lot softer and the veteran QB can regain some confidence. If he’s truly washed up, then let Skelton beat him out. Remember, while this QB position is very important, it becomes a moot point if the defense doesn’t improve by leaps and bounds-even if we were to get Aaron Rodgers, Peyton or Brady.

  36. By Nick Pepe on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    I think McNabb would want to play anywhere at this point. Maybe an arena team will pick him up, but it won’t be the Cards.

  37. By Scott H on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Nick Pepe -

    RE: opinion of McNabb

    Very well said and very logical. McNabb is not a winner and at this point, he is a QB on the decline.

    georgiebird – I take Sam Bradford over McNabb any day! And saying that McNabb is better than anyone playing QB in the NFC West last year is hardly a ringing endorsement. That said, I’m not even sure I would agree with that! Heck, I would take john Skelton over McNabb, for that matter! In any case, I ain’t interested in being last year’s Seahawks – in other words, being the best of a bad lot. Therefore, I’m not interested in someone who will help us win a sorry division with an 8-8 record because everyone else sucks. What is the point in that??? I want this team back on the road to being a bona fide contender in the NFC for years to come. McNabb is NOT the guy who is gonna make that happen, IMHO.

  38. By tyman on Mar 10, 2011 | Reply

    Good job whiz. Dont rule any QB out right now. Go to as many qb workouts as you can and try real hard to find the next great cardinals QB after warner.

  39. By Big Red Fan on Mar 11, 2011 | Reply

    Cam Newton = Vince Young.

    The similarities are certainly there. Something to consider.

    My two cents? ANDY DALTON TCU round 2
    :)

  40. By Big Red Fan on Mar 11, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren!!!!

    I may be on to something no one else has EVER noticed before, but have you ever considered that McNabb might be a good fit in AZ? He has a house and everything already! And he’s a QB! It might work!

    (feel free to delete this comment) :) :) :)

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