Here was a key line from coach Ken Whisenhunt’s season-ending press conference after the 2010 season: “As far as personnel change, there’s going to be change. When you go 5-11, there are going to be changes that are made. It has to be that way.”
Monday, Whisenhunt’s team still hadn’t made the playoffs, but it was three games better. Thus: “You don’t anticipate a lot of changes.”
There will be some of course. That’s inevitable. Some players will be determined replaceable. Some will be wanted back, but at the right price, which always leaves the door open for them eventually leaving. And there is always the chance an unexpectedly good player will come available that simply has to be had, even if there isn’t necessarily a place for him to immediately play.
If there is one thing Whisenhunt has repeated over and over and over in his five seasons, it’s that every offseason “we are always looking to improve.”
Free agency and the draft comes later (free agency is first, March 13, a Tuesday, at 2 p.m. Arizona time). First, the Cardinals coaches – after undergoing an evaluation process themselves – have to sort through the Cardinals’ roster. Not that they need it, but for your viewing pleasure, here is my annual breakdown of the Cards’ roster and what each individual’s contract status is as of today.
The top priority is re-signing DE Calais Campbell. I have no idea if anything is close. I know they’ve been talking, I haven’t heard anyone be pessimistic and Whisenhunt himself said he didn’t want to talk about it Monday because he didn’t want to jinx anything – and could that be a hint, since you don’t worry about jinxing something that won’t happen, right? Either way, Campbell will be back because they will franchise him if they must.
Other keys players to watch, in my opinion: DB Richard Marshall, of course, but the price will have to work both ways. The Cards have a load of DBs. Not sure exactly how they feel about A.J. Jefferson right now, but defensive coordinator Ray Horton sure likes Marshall. I’d think they’d want him to return. What about good locker room guys and defensive veterans like LB Clark Haggans and DE Vonnie Holliday? Or WR Early Doucet? The Cards also have all three specialists – K Jay Feely, P Dave Zastudil and long snapper Mike Leach – who have expired contracts.
This is what was missing last offseason. Oh, we had the questions in January, we just didn’t have the answers until late July. I love those who still ask what I do in the offseason – really, given the interest, there is no offseason. It’s already time to talk the 2012 season.
Tags: Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans, Early Doucet, Richard Marshall, Roster, Vonnie Holliday
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