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Blogs

Peterson’s arrival

Posted by Darren Urban on July 31, 2011 – 10:11 pm

Don’t remember the last time a No. 1 draft pick’s arrival was so off the radar, but it was Sunday for cornerback Patrick Peterson, but that’s what happens when Todd Heap arrives and Tim Hightower is traded and Deuce Lutui returns (we won’t even talk about the fact second-round pick Ryan Williams signed).

But Peterson did arrive — his first practice is Monday morning, although it’ll only be a walkthrough — and he sounded ready to go. He knows Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is gone, but Peterson was a good cross between confident and humble as he spoke.

“I still have to come in and make plays,” Peterson said. “It’s definitely a big loss to the secondary but at the same time it a business. We have to move on.

“I was definitely looking forward to learning from DRC but now they brought in Richard (Marshall), so I have a great opportunity to learn under him.”

Peterson was asked about finally going against Larry Fitzgerald, but the rookie pointed out he had a chance to train some with Fitz in the offseason.

“He told me he’s going to make me better and he’s definitely looking for me to make him better,” Peterson said. “That’s the beauty of this whole deal.”


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Hightower traded to Redskins, Deuce suddenly returns

Posted by Darren Urban on July 31, 2011 – 3:00 pm

I suppose, in this crazy, condensed offseason, the unexpected should be expected. So I wasn’t too surprised today to hear running back Tim Hightower was traded to the Redskins, in exchange for veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday and a sixth-round draft pick. I was, however, stunned to hear that guard Deuce Lutui flunked his physical with the Bengals, with whom he signed last week. I was also stunned to hear the Cardinals then brought him back on a one-year contract. That’s certainly not how Lutui wanted his free agency to play out. That dynamic now that he is returning, and how/if he fits into the lineup, will be very, very interesting.

As for Hightower, another good man in that locker room, it was clear when they drafted Ryan Williams that, eventually, Hightower or Beanie Wells would be moving on. I thought it might not be until after this season. Turns out it’s today. The fumbling issues really hurt Hightower. So he signed his tender and gets a shot with the Redskins (Cards at Washington, Week Two, by the way) and the Cards alleviate the crowd in the backfield and get vet depth to work along the defensive line.

Dang, I can barely keep up.


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Posted in Blog | 117 Comments »

Final rookie has a contract, and other notes

Posted by Darren Urban on July 31, 2011 – 1:40 pm

Second-round pick Ryan Williams agreed to his rookie contract today, a four-year deal for the running back that gets all the rookies finally signed. I would guess running back Tim Hightower is going to sign his tender offer sooner rather than later too.

– Multiple reports have put the name of WR Braylon Edwards back on the radar screen for the Cards. His name has surfaced and resurfaced a couple of times. He definitely isn’t going back to the Jets after Plaxico Burress signed. Edwards has former teammates like Jay Feely, Kerry Rhodes and Ben Graham here, he’s got a stud receiver in Larry Fitzgerald to take the heat off him, and, let’s face it, the market clearly hasn’t been what he thought it would be for him. To sign Edwards would continue the drastic revamping of the offense in just a matter of days (although let’s be clear — Edwards-to-Arizona is no sure thing).

– We are unveiling part of the camp coverage video-wise today with “Camp Unfiltered.” Here’s how the concept was explained to me: “A ‘raw’ inside look at different aspects of practice and the team.” The first installment puts the spotlight on catching punts.

– A happy birthday to owner Bill Bidwill, who turned 80 today. And while we are on the subject of birthdays — indulge me for a moment — I wanted to note my grandfather, Ray Urban, turned 100 yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be there.


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Posted in Blog | 64 Comments »

Heap agrees to two-year deal

Posted by Darren Urban on July 31, 2011 – 10:42 am

The Cardinals have added yet another tight end. Veteran Todd Heap, a local product of Mesa Mountain View High School and Arizona State, who was released recently by Baltimore, has agreed to a two-year contract. Heap becomes the Cardinals’ sixth tight end joining Jim Dray, Stephen Spach, Jeff King, and rookies Rob Housler and Stephen Skelton. Obviously the Cardinals won’t need so many at the position.

The Cardinals kept three tight ends last year, and after signing King as a main blocker, drafting Housler and adding Heap, it will be interesting to see it that’s how the position filters out or if the remaining guys can make a mark. The Cardinals have not used the tight end much as a receiver over the past few seasons, but bringing in Heap and Housler may underscore a shift in philosophy this season.


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Porter realistic about situation

Posted by Darren Urban on July 30, 2011 – 6:19 pm

Linebacker Joey Porter was scheduled to make $5.75 million this season. He was asked to restructure — take a pay cut — to stick around he did. After practice, he told reporters Kent Somers and Craig Morgan he couldn’t complain, and admitted that he was more mature about the situation than he might have once been.

“You get five sacks they don’t really want to pay you $5.7 million base,” Porter said.

The Cardinals haven’t found any outside linebackers worth chasing on the open market as of now. They have hopes for O’Brien Schofield, but realistically, they still need Porter. But Porter is right, it couldn’t have been at his former salary. To Porter’s credit, he understands the place he is in these days, in the last part of his career. Plus, he still is optimistic this team can make some noise, and wants to be a part of it.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said after last season he felt part of Porter’s issue was having to play too much, which was forced after Cody Brown fizzled and was cut and Schofield took half the season to get back from his knee surgery. But at Porter’s age — he is 34 — questions will always follow such a season.

“If I had played better last year, it wouldn’t have been this situation,” Porter added.


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Peterson agrees to five-year contract; Womack arrives

Posted by Darren Urban on July 30, 2011 – 5:09 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt just said the Cards and No. 1 pick Patrick Peterson have agreed to a five-year contract, so the cornerback should be around — assuming he gets in in time to pass a physical — for Sunday’s afternoon practice I would think Sunday night, ready to practice Monday probably, according to Whisenhunt. With third-round pick Rob Housler getting his own deal earlier in the day, it leaves second-rounder Ryan Williams the last unsigned rookie (and I would guess he will be done very, very soon).

With the addition of free-agent cornerback Richard Marshall on a one-year contract earlier Saturday, the top three Cards’ corners are set: Marshall, Peterson and Greg Toler. How they play out — which ones start and who is the nickel guy — will likely come down to how quickly Peterson assimilates to the NFL game. My guess is the starters are Marshall and Toler, and when Peterson is ready, the better of the other two will team with the No. 1 pick.

Marshall is known as a physical tackler. Toler’s strength is tackling and the word on Peterson is physical first. I know there were a lot of people upset about DRC leaving and DRC was a special talent. But there is no question these three fit the mold of what defensive coordinator Ray Horton says he wants.

UPDATE: And the Cards made another addition to the offensive line as well, coming to terms with Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack, late of the Browns and one-time Seattle Seahawk.


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Marshall coming, and getting started

Posted by Darren Urban on July 30, 2011 – 7:26 am

The Cardinals will have a conditioning test this morning, but given that a chunk of their guys can’t even do it (the same rule keeping the vets out of practice until Aug. 4 keeps them out of the run test as well), it’s all relative.

“It’s just to assess where our guys are,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Honestly, it’s all about player safety. When you are talking about practice, you want to know which guys are in the shape you want, which ones may need a little extra work.”

– Looks like the Cards got a veteran cornerback. Former Panther Richard Marshall tweeted this morning he is on his way to Arizona.

– On acquiring WR Chansi Stuckey, Whisenhunt said the Cards got a physical, intense player. “When you lose  a player like Steve Breaston, this is an effort to bring that kind of effort to the position.” Whisenhunt was asked about getting yet another receiver. He didn’t say they would, but he didn’t say they wouldn’t. He wants to see the current WR corps work first.

– LB Stewart Bradley can play any of the four LB positions, even an outside rusher as possible. His key will be staying healthy.

– On the free agent chase and signings: “It’s by no means behind us,” Whisenhunt said. The roster churn will probably be ongoing for at least another couple of weeks. The Cards are talking to tight end Todd Heap, for example.

– With Deuce Lutui going to the Bengals, Jeremy Bridges and Rex Hadnot will have a shot at RG but Whisenhunt did note the Cards are still looking at the market for linemen.

– For the vets who can’t practice until Aug. 4, they can watch practice and go to meetings. They can’t do anything else.

– Whisenhunt said the Cards should have their top three draft picks under contract “in the next day or two.” Third-rounder Rob Housler actually showed up, and that’s a no-no when you aren’t under contract. “I had to say, ‘You can’t be here,'” Whisenhunt said.

P.S. Needed to pass on this message, that because football has returned, Papa John’s is running a weekend special: Double Papa Rewards Points for every order you place on PapaJohns.com


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Posted in Blog | 99 Comments »

Kolb’s first day as camp nears

Posted by Darren Urban on July 29, 2011 – 1:16 pm

Kevin Kolb, in his press conference, talked about how comfortable he already was in this city. And he looked it. He handled the questions as you’d think, acknowledging he has a lot to prove and that there is risk involved from the Cardinals’ end. But he clearly is confident he will make this deal pay off, and while you’d expect him to say just that, it’s one thing to say it and another thing to sound like you mean it. Kolb is the latter.

He said, after working out with Larry Fitzgerald that one time in the offseason that it was a “good fit.” Better yet was this line on Fitz: “Great teammate and you can tell he’s a great leader … you don’t always find that in a receiver.” When Kolb arrived, by the way, Fitz was there and gave him a big hug.

Kolb said he hopes to “work something out” with kicker Jay Feely to wear No. 4. I’m guessing that isn’t going to be a problem. Kolb also will be sidelined practice-wise until Aug. 4. As a refresher, anyone signing a new contract this offseason has to wait until that date — next Thursday — meaning all the non-rookies the Cards sign (including their own, like center Lyle Sendlein) can’t do anything until then.

– The Cards agreed with Eagles LB Stewart Bradley (and, I didn’t note this last night, lost DL Alan Branch to Seattle).

– The Cards will get a veteran WR, but it’s not going to be a big name (i.e., no Malcom Floyd or Braylon Edwards). They are still looking at cornerbacks.


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Sendlein comes back, and other adds

Posted by Darren Urban on July 28, 2011 – 7:49 pm

This morning came the news G Daryn Colledge agreed to terms. Then came the Kolb trade.

Tonight, ESPN said the Cards agreed with Steelers DE Nick Eason, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter said center Lyle Sendlein has agreed to come back. And the Cards are still in on Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley. (Kent Somers reported that LB Joey Porter, who was in in the morning working out, agreed to restructure his deal, keeping him on the roster). And CB Michael Adams tweeted he was flying to Phoenix “with a smile on my face” so it sounds like he’s coming back as well.

Tomorrow at 3 p.m., all these things can be official, so I expect more news then. Probably some rookie announcements. It’s all moving pretty fast.


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Reacting to the Kolb deal

Posted by Darren Urban on July 28, 2011 – 6:01 pm

After every draft, a slew of draft “grades” come out as people try to analyze what happened. In truth, it’s foolish because there is no way to know at that moment how the class will turn out. In truth, it’s smart, because the draft grades are probably the most read part of draft coverage.

But the draft grades were what I was thinking of today (and the last few days) as the Kevin Kolb trade moved to completion and the reality set in of the Cards giving up DRC and a pick. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the deal will be judged on whether the team wins, and that is true. I take it even further, which I mentioned on Twitter today: Bottom line, if Kolb wins and plays well, in the end, no one will care what was surrendered to get him. If he is a bust, the acquisition would have been attacked regardless of the compensation.

Take Derek Anderson, who was humanely released Thursday after one very rocky season in Arizona. He was a free agent. He cost nothing. But he played poorly, and most are upset he was ever brought to town.

Everyone will have an opinion on this (and most of the ones I hear are very strong) and that’s fine. If he goes down in flames, I’m sure everyone will pat themselves on the back. If he succeeds, he’ll end up generating the same good feeling Kurt Warner did, even if no one liked how he got here. Heck, even Darnell Dockett was conflicted, immediately tweeting “I don’t know how to feel” to later predicting Whisenhunt would make “big moves” and the Cards would win the NFC West.

As for the big contract, ESPN’s Andrew Brandt tweeted that Kolb’s deal is similar to the one Aaron Rodgers got in 2008 when Rodgers had just seven starts under his belt — like Kolb. So the money isn’t out of context.

Maybe DRC leapfrogs his 2009 season and Kolb struggles and this looks bad in the end. Maybe DRC feels the pressure of being in Philly and hears about his tackling while Michael Vick gets banged up and Kolb shines. Maybe Kolb plays well and DRC plays well and everyone is happy. Who knows. But that’s why we pay attention to this in the first place, right?

P.S. The NFL.com story is wrong. The Eagles did not trade the Cards a second-round pick.

P.P.S. In case you missed it, LB Gerald Hayes was also released today.


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Posted in Blog | 110 Comments »