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Blogs

Cards make scouting changes

Posted by Darren Urban on May 31, 2012 – 2:30 pm

The Cardinals have made some scouting department changes, adding a extra body to their previous group by hiring Zac Canty — who most recently spent the last two seasons as a pro personnel assistant with the Bears — as the team representative for the National Football Scouting Service, and also bringing in former Dolphins scouting assistant John Richter to scout the northeast region of the country.

The team parted ways with scout Don Corzine.

The team reassigned some current scouts, putting Mike Boni on the near East, Kyle Johnson in the Midwest and Luke Palko in the Southeast. Malik Boyd remains a cross checker for the western half of the country, Chris Culmer remains in the West and Dru Grigson as a cross checker for the eastern half of the country.

Also officially announced was the addition of former running back Josh Scobey as a scouting assistant, although Scobey has been on board for a while now.

The personnel department also saw the return of Jason Licht recently as director of player personnel.


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Whiz addresses QB competition (but not that other QB)

Posted by Darren Urban on May 31, 2012 – 12:36 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Cardinals are trying to split the first-team reps between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb as close to 50/50 as they can.

“I’d have to chart the plays,” Whisenhunt said. “It might be 51 (percent) to 49. I don’t think there’s a great discrepancy.”

And what, he was asked, should be read into that?

“That it’s a competition, like we’ve said all along,” he said.

Whisenhunt did insist that, out on the field, the other factors in the QB conversation — specifically, the amount of money Kolb makes and has been paid — doesn’t enter in. That’s been his philosophy.

“I don’t really think about that,” Whisenhunt said. “I don’t look at a player and think, ‘What’s he making?’ I don’t think that’s the way you do it. I look at the plays he has been making. There has been a lot of guys, free agents or players you didn’t know about who showed up and made big plays for you. I don’t think about (the money). I’ll be honest, I obviously know what we’ve invested in Kevin. I want Kevin to be successful, I want him to be our quarterback. But I’m not going to ignore the fact John Skelton worked pretty hard and did a good job when he was playing and he’s earned the right to compete for that spot.

“I’ve tried to be fair with how we have evaluated players and how the competition goes.”

– Since it’s been brought up, Kent Somers asked Whiz if the Cardinals were “pursuing” or “evaluating” Peyton Manning back in March when the quarterback visited the team complex. Whiz declined to comment, wisely avoiding the subject. We are left to guess. Ah well.

– Rookie WR Michael Floyd sat out today with a quad strain, Whisenhunt said. It isn’t serious, the coach said, and in fact Floyd wanted to try and practice. The Cards decided discretion was the better part of valor.


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Gradually, Washington builds up

Posted by Darren Urban on May 31, 2012 – 9:55 am

When Daryl Washington first arrived in Arizona, special teams coach Kevin Spencer asked him if he was the new strong safety. (I’m not sure if Spencer was joking, but I’m guessing he knew exactly who Washington was.)

“That there told me I needed to put on some weight,” said Washington, the Cards’ emerging star at inside linebacker.

Washington was 228 when he first got to the NFL. Last season, he came in at 234 pounds. He weighed in last week, at the start of OTAs, at 243 pounds and “I didn’t feel it.”

“Is it a good thing? Yes,” Washington said. “I am going to lose weight. I don’t plan on playing that big.”

Washington had a very good year in his second season, hitting all his goals –  although he is still lamenting the three interceptions he dropped or lost because of penalties, which would have given him his preseason goal of five for a total. He’s turning into exactly what the Cardinals hoped for when they made him a second-round pick, replacing departed free agent Karlos Dansby (and even wearing Dansby’s number.)

The weight will naturally adjust as Washington goes through training camp and the season, he said. His ideal weight is around 238 pounds, which will make him around 245 with pads on. This was always the plan, he said. Strength coach John Lott told Washington when he arrived not to worry about adding pounds because it would be a natural progression. “Now,” Washington said, “I can see it.”

“Plus,” he added, “my speed is still the same.”


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Splitting time for the quarterbacks

Posted by Darren Urban on May 30, 2012 – 1:50 pm

Guess the quarterback: 16-for-25, 247 yards, one touchdown. Cards win in overtime.

It was Kevin Kolb, against Dallas, in the middle of the Cardinals’ rebound stretch last season. It easily could have been John Skelton.

This isn’t to point out Kolb was better last season, or to downplay what Skelton accomplished. It is to point out, however, that once the defense found its groove, the Cardinals were winning in similar fashion when Kolb was QB — like they did against the Cowboys — as when Skelton was QB and the team was finding ways to win close games late.

This isn’t intended to rile up the Skelton-versus-Kolb crowd. Actually, it’s the opposite. As noted a few places, Kevin Kolb took first team reps Wednesday. Skelton led the first team Tuesday. This is just getting started. Barring something unexpected, I’d think each will get a chance to start in the preseason. Each will get their chances, just like coach Ken Whisenhunt has said. Obviously, the Cards have invested a lot, money and otherwise, in Kolb. I don’t think that will insure him the job, although maybe it tips it to him with everything else being equal. Could it end up equal?

But like I noted from the Dallas stat line that easily could have had Skelton’s name attached to it, there is a reason this has reached this point. That’s not going to change. It’ll go back and forth until deep into camp. That’s what I expect. That’s what the Cards want, to have each guy pushing.

“I’ve said it a hundred times: ‘Look, if you are afraid to compete in this league, go home,’ ” Kolb said. “There is a lot of time between now and (the season) and a lot of time to prove yourself.”

A lot of time.

This is just beginning.


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Cards sign receiver, cut Lindsey

Posted by Darren Urban on May 30, 2012 – 8:57 am

The Cardinals made a roster move Tuesday, releasing cornerback Korey Lindsey (who had been acquired off waivers at the end of the preseason last year) to make room for undrafted rookie receiver Gino Crump, who played at the University of Arizona. Crump took part in the Buffalo Bills’ rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

Lindsey spent most of last season on the practice squad, a healthy inactive for three games and failing to appear in the one game he did dress for. Crump had 65 catches for 610 yards last year for the Wildcats. The Cards had been down a receiver after cutting Marc Wilson last week when they signed linebacker Quentin Groves.


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Kolb isn’t worried about concussions

Posted by Darren Urban on May 29, 2012 – 1:07 pm

A concussion knocked quarterback Kevin Kolb out of the last month of the regular season last year and certainly, the topic has been an intense one when it comes to the NFL. Kolb also said his symptoms didn’t fully subside until the season was over for a few weeks. But he is not concerned about getting another concussion, he said after Tuesday’s organized team activity.

“I don’t worry about them,” Kolb said. “It was a freak deal. They don’t happen all the time.”

He also insisted he isn’t worried about the long-term problem, saying, “you can’t. If something comes up I’ll worry about it then. Right now, my head is clear and I know I will be in the league a long time.”

Kolb searched for and found a new helmet to wear this offseason, one he said will give him better protection — especially in the back of the head, where “most of the concussions come from.” UPDATE: ESPN’s Mike Sando has more details on the exact nature of Kolb’s new helmet.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he isn’t even thinking about the problem with Kolb. “There are procedures in place and the NFL has done a good job with (concussions),” Whisenhunt said. “The equipment has changed trying to protect the players. I haven’t even thought about it. That’s something, if it happens in a game, it happens, because you have big guys running fast and there are going to be collisions.

“The NFL has done a very good job of trying to protect players and give them information. As far as safety for players and how the NFL is handling it, I think it’s the best it has ever been.”


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Crowded locker room doesn’t bother Dockett

Posted by Darren Urban on May 29, 2012 – 9:22 am

The Cardinals’ locker room, relatively speaking, is overflowing. Because of the rule change to allow 90 players on the roster for the first time during the offseason (it happened in training camp last year too, following the lockout as a special circumstance), temporary lockers have been added this summer and it’s just more crowded as the team readies to undertake a second week of OTAs.

Not that it’s bothering Darnell Dockett.

“I put a rookie out of his locker that was next to mine, put him in the middle of the hallway,” the defensive lineman deadpanned. “Rookies are just people in the locker room. I give the rookies hell. When I come around they all just scatter.

“But,” Dockett added, “it’s good to have young guys around and I think the coaches did a good job getting young talent. Hopefully those guys will develop.”

Dockett, who once upon a time before his latest contract extension wasn’t a big fan of the voluntary stuff, not only has embraced it the last couple of years but actually sounded like he was rejoicing getting a chance to do something right now after missing all of last offseason. The defense was so far behind when 2011 started — and Dockett was one of the players who most struggled with the transition — that having a year and now a summer window to perfect the defense is welcome.

“Oh my God, this is so much fun,” Dockett said. “You can actually enjoy practice without paying attention 130 percent. It’s good. There is more work to do. We have wrinkles to add, and there are blown assignments here and there. Right now, we want to get through the process and keep guys healthy.”


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Remembering on Memorial Day

Posted by Darren Urban on May 28, 2012 – 6:25 am

On this Memorial Day, remember to honor those who have died serving our country — including former Cardinals safety Pat Tillman. We owe them a great debt.


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Cards in focus on TV special

Posted by Darren Urban on May 25, 2012 – 1:20 pm

Here’s one way to get a Cardinals’ fix on a Sunday not during football season: a Cards’  TV special.

“Arizona Cardinals: Season In Focus” will be an hour-long special aired on ABC 15 Sunday (that’s May 27) immediately after the telecast of the Indianapolis 500. That’s approximately 12:30 p.m. Arizona time, but I won’t pretend to be a race fan and guess the likelihood of it ending then. The special (Alert: necessary sponsor  acknowledgement in 3, 2, …), presented by you Arizona Ford Dealers, will feature in no particular order:

– The voice of the Cards, Dave Pasch, sitting down with head coach Ken Whisenhunt to break down video of the members of the draft class (I have to say, this is the one I am looking forward to seeing);

– A feature about new quarterbacks coach John McNulty and how he wants to get the players at his position back to basics, working on technique and footwork;

– A feature on the journey back to the field for injured running back Ryan Williams;

– A feature on the work on and off the field of linebacker O’Brien Schofield;

– Some burning questions facing the Cardinals, as broken down by Paul Calvisi and Ron Wolfley;

– Oh, and a one-on-one interview between some guy who writes a blog for this site and newly signed defensive end Calais Campbell.

Again, that’s Sunday after the Indy 500. The boys in broadcasting — Tim DeLaney, Johnny Hayward, Richard Mendez — have worked hard on putting this together. It’s worth the time to watch. Yes, I understand some of you can’t see it, if you are out of state or busy. We do plan on putting up the segments on the site eventually, but it won’t be all at once.


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Peterson 55th on top 100 list

Posted by Darren Urban on May 23, 2012 – 9:00 pm

So it turns out it was Patrick Peterson on NFL Network’s top 100 list of current players tonight, landing at No. 55 (as guessed the other day.) He admitted he was only on the list because of his punt returns, but hoped that was a short-term thing.

“I believe it’s definitely less about my cornerback play right now,” Peterson said. But I’ve been working so hard  this offseason, I honestly can’t wait to face another opponent.”

In the video talking about Peterson’s place, teammates Adrian Wilson and Larry Fitzgerald both reiterated Peterson’s hard work and potential to be an elite cornerback in the league, as they did when the trio were named to the Pro Bowl last season. In the meantime, Peterson was grateful to already make the list, considering it is fellow NFL players who vote.

“That’s definitely special that I have the respect from my peers around the league, to consider me in the top 100,” Peterson said. “It gives me something to work on through the  rest of my career. I want to get into the top 10.”


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