The lunch news? No QB yet

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2012 – 12:30 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt”s opening statement from his presser today? “OK, well, no decision on the quarterback yet.” Beautiful.

— I will have more on the running back situation in a story later today, but as good as recovering running back Ryan Williams looked in his first practice, Whiz cautioned patience. “It’s a little bit like the quarterback situation,” he said. “It’s something we have to see over time.” Whiz did say he’s rooting for Williams not just because he is a good player but also because he is a good kid.

— Whiz was asked about how he’s evolved as a coach. One of the things he noted: “I’d like to think I am a better coach going from 1-6 and finishing 7-2 and adapting to what we had to do to try and improve.” Whiz did note, given his background (playing/working with guys like Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells) he is old school. I think we pretty much knew that.

— Whiz, talking about the cornerbacks, mentioned that he thinks he has enough good ones that he believes a couple that will end up being released will find work elsewhere in the NFL. I agree with that notion.

— Undrafted rookie OLB Zach Nash sprained his ankle in practice yesterday. His return is to be determined, but Whisenhunt said Nash had shown some things during the offseason. With the Cards in search for reserve OLBs behind Sam Acho and O’Brien Schofield, it’s a tough time to get hurt for Nash. Opportunities exist.

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Floyd vs. Peterson and Beanie’s confidence

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2012 – 6:10 pm

Wide receiver Michael Floyd, the Cards’ top draft pick, had a pretty normal first practice Wednesday. He also ended up in a highlight, although it had less to do with him and more to do with the No. 1 pick of a year ago, cornerback Patrick Peterson. On a long bomb, Peterson maneuvered his way into a one-handed interception.

“I’ll watch film later on and see what I did wrong, make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Floyd said, and when it was pointed out that maybe Peterson just made a nice play, Floyd said, “I don’t know. I always feel I can make a play. I kind of feel it was my fault.”

Peterson said he wasn’t going to say anything to the rookie. “That’s my job, so …” Peterson said. But Peterson — who actually is eight months younger than Floyd — praised the newcomer.

“Michael Floyd, he’s going to be a gamer,” Peterson said. “He’s coming here to work. I expect nothing less from him. … I just want to continue to make him better by trying to shut him down. … I just got one interception on him. I know he’ll come back hard tomorrow.”

To Floyd, the first day of practice just meant games are around the corner. Mistakes have to be avoided. “It’s going day-by-day,” Floyd said. “I’m keeping my head in the playbook, because that’s all I have to do now. … You don’t have homework anymore (from college). The homework is the big, fat playbook.”

— RB Beanie Wells was asked what exactly he had done to his knee when it was surgically repaired. “I had a scope and we did some things in there and we kind of let it settle down and let it get right,” he said. He wouldn’t say when he’d return to camp, but he insisted he will play when the regular season starts. “I know for a fact there is no question of being ready for Sept. 9,” he said.

— Undrafted rookie linebacker Zach Nash left practice early after hurting his right leg. No details yet.

— There was a good turnout for the first workout. And the Cards ended a little early.





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The first lunch with Whiz

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2012 – 12:25 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt had his first lunchtime press meeting. Not a whole lot new — the Cards haven’t even practiced yet. Everyone passed the run test (video here). Some quick notes:

— Nose tackle Dan Williams passed the run test for the first time. More on this later, but Williams said he weighed in at 314 pounds, which is a great sign.

— Whisenhunt didn’t think much of the comments by Willie McGinest when McGinest said he had talked to “buddies” on the Cards and it “seems” like they were gravitating toward Skelton. “When you get second-hand information like that, I don’t know how much stock you put into that.”

— The Cards will have their first padded practice Thursday. Today’s work will be in shells.

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On Wilson, Wells and camp

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2012 – 7:57 am

It’s a beautiful morning for training camp, with the Cards’ first practice this afternoon. No, I don’t know if it will rain.

(Well, I’m guessing, knowing this place, it will rain, I just don’t know when and whether it will push us inside the Walkup Skydome. The dome is back open to the public.)

Anyway …

— I was surprised like many when I first heard Adrian Wilson was going to get an extension, a little less so when the details emerged. I’ll say this: Knowing Adrian as I have, which is the length of his NFL career, he’s one of the few guys that I think would have taken what is essentially a pay cut so well. One of the things I like about Wilson is that he has never hid the fact that a) he is honest about leaving a legacy and b) he has been consistent about wanting to be a Cardinal for life. Obviously, the Cards knew that when they approached him, and that was to their advantage. When Wilson got his last extension, back in 2009, he had wanted to get re-upped sooner, but he stayed patient, knowing the team was holding off until he was down to one year left in his deal, and it paid off.

I don’t know how long Wilson will play for the Cards, whether he really has a chance to get all the way to 2015. The NFL is a year-to-year business, especially for players who will turn 33 during the season. Teams and players differ about when the end should come 99 percent of the time. But given the circumstances, I am keeping my fingers crossed that Wilson doesn’t end up a Brian Dawkins or John Lynch, that the last game he plays in the NFL is as a Card.

— Wilson made it clear that one of the reasons he was willing to make a move was to set a precedent and send a message about young players like Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington. I think it’s a two-way message. To the players, it’s about investing in their current team, and a willingness to be a career Card (which is impressive, although players rarely have the Wilson mindset when it comes to that.) But I also think Wilson will make it clear to the team that, hey, I’m cool if you need some money back, as long as you put it toward other important players to keep them around.

— I get so many questions about Beanie Wells and his health and whether the Cards will sign another veteran running back. Again, I don’t see it happening right now and judging by how coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed Beanie’s PUP placement yesterday, I don’t get any sense of urgency in that regard. What else can I say about Beanie except we’ll see how it plays out. Personally, yes, I would have said — had you asked me when the news of his surgery first happened — I expected him back by now. But as long as he (and Ryan Williams, for that matter) is ready to roll by the regular-season opener, then the rest probably doesn’t matter.

— If you’re looking for some pictures of the Cards reporting to Flagstaff yesterday, click here.

— Because the Cards are one of the first teams to get started in training camp, I’m expecting an influx of national media early on. Doesn’t hurt that there’s a quarterback battle. Here we go.

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Beanie, King start on PUP

Posted by Darren Urban on July 24, 2012 – 8:27 pm

Oh, the report day always turns into a whirlwind after hours of waiting. I tweeted this earlier (again, follow me on @cardschatter for the most immediate updates as I float around the NAU campus for camp), but RB Beanie Wells and TE Jeff King were placed on the active physically unable to perform list as camp opens.

What does this mean? Nothing urgent. To start with, players can come off at any time — players on the PUP list to start the regular season must miss the first six games, but up until then, it is flexible. In both players’ cases, coach Ken Whisenhunt said he doesn’t anticipate either being down long. It was a procedural thing, Whisenhunt said, and the players will be evaluated tomorrow and as the time goes on to see where they are.

Whisenhunt said he expected both would be on PUP, and reiterated Wells has made a lot of progress coming back from knee surgery. Of course, nothing is proven until Wells actually starts practicing, but the Cards were always going to bring Wells along slowly in the preseason, and if Wells’ current predicament is bothering Whisenhunt, he certainly doesn’t show it. The coach still sounds confident in Wells when it will mean something.

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Wilson gets another contract extension

Posted by Darren Urban on July 24, 2012 – 11:18 am

Adrian Wilson has always wanted to stay a Cardinal, and it means something to him to make sure the team is doing well. So getting another contract extension Tuesday — he now is under contract until 2015 — is not a total shock. Wilson is coming off a Pro Bowl season and played well the second half of last season. He was also scheduled to make more than $6 million this season, so the Cards extending and restructuring, lowering a cap hit, wouldn’t be a surprise. Terms were not announced but Wilson and coach Ken Whisenhunt are expected to address it later as the players report to Flagstaff. Wilson’s old deal was supposed to end after 2013.

Wilson still talks about playing a few more years. I know he isn’t thinking retirement yet. UPDATE: Full story here.

I’m on the road right now driving up myself to Flag. I’ll have more later.

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Waiting for camp, a new app

Posted by Darren Urban on July 24, 2012 – 9:00 am

As players head to Flagstaff today — I’m going too, of course — there will be some waiting. Physicals are this morning so stories and interviews won’t come until late afternoon and early evening. I’ll have a bunch of stuff then. The expectation is that the Cards will be basically healthy as camp starts. Only tight end Jeff King figures to start off on the sideline; I believe Beanie Wells will be ready as the Cards have expected the whole time.

While waiting, feel free to download the new Cardinals app — it’s free! — now that it’s officially available for iPhone, Android and RIM devices. All the info is right here.

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Williams wants to be “irreplaceable”

Posted by Darren Urban on July 23, 2012 – 2:49 pm

There are still plenty of people high on running back Ryan Williams (yes, I know he was the second back taken last year too) but none moreso that Williams himself. I mean that in a good way. Talking to him earlier this summer about his comeback, there was something he said that stuck with me. This is the kind of mindset, more than anything, that makes me believe he can return all the way. He’ll still need to prove it on the field, of course. But he wants, more than anything, to be important to his team.

“You can be, ‘My favorite running back is Adrian Peterson, but that kid Ryan Williams, that’s the guy,’ ” Williams said. “I want to be the guy that somehow, some way, you can’t leave out.

“I’m not a statistical guy. I could care less about breaking records. Records are meant to be broken. But when I step on the field, I want defenses to feel like, ‘Watch out for number 34.’ And I want our coaches to feel like, ‘That’s an irreplaceable dude right there.’ If 34 is not on the field, we are losing some type of dimension.’ I want to feel that it matters when I am on the field.

Players are in town today and report to Flagstaff tomorrow. #CardsCamp has arrived.

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Odds and ends on a Friday

Posted by Darren Urban on July 20, 2012 – 4:49 pm

Trying to run some errands on a Friday in prep for going to training camp — that doesn’t mean I didn’t post a story about the top 10 questions the Cards face heading to Flagstaff — I just wanted to drop a couple of small notes:

— Ken Whisenhunt’s last free weekend is being spent at the American Century Championship, the annual celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Whiz was a plus-11 today on the first day of the three-day event, using the modified Stableford scoring system. Actor Jack Wagner and former Major League pitcher Mark Mulder are tied for the lead at plus-22. Whiz played with former NFLers Marshall Faulk (plus-14) and Vinny Testaverde (plus-11) — I wonder if Vinny and Whiz talked at all about how Testaverde turned down the Cards in 2007 when they tried to sign him after Matt Leinart got hurt, instead picking the Panthers and then beating the Cards a few days later.

— In just a couple of weeks, Sunday, Aug. 5, the Cards will be playing in the Hall of Fame game. When I think of the Hall of Fame, I think of burnt pizza. OK, not really, but that was the best segue I can come up with to have to take a look at this entertaining video of Cards coaches being flown by Michael Bidwill to Canton a couple years ago, a surprise for Russ Grimm when he was being inducted to the Hall.

— At long last, we are unveiling a Cardinals’ app for your smartphones and iPad Monday. And guess what? It’s free. For more info, click here.

Have a good weekend. I’ll be talking to you all a lot more very soon.

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A “blueprint” for the quarterback situation

Posted by Darren Urban on July 19, 2012 – 10:15 am

Ken Whisenhunt has been through this before, back in 2008, when Matt Leinart was coming off a broken collarbone and Kurt Warner was coming off 27 surprising touchdown passes and training camp was about figuring out which guy was going to be the starter that season. (It was Kurt, and while hindsight made it look kind of obvious, it wasn’t as much at the time.)

Some of that experience will translate to this year’s Kevin Kolb/John Skelton competition, although Whisenhunt noted it isn’t the same thing, because Kolb is not Warner is not Skelton is not Leinart.

“I think we have at least knowledge as far as breaking the reps up,” Whisenhunt said. “Handling players, it’s always different because every player has to be handled differently.”

“As for having a blueprint, I hope it works out the same way it did the last time because we had a guy who distinguished himself and he played well and that’s ultimately what you want. But there is no blueprint for success with this. We are just trying to find the guy who give us the best chance to win. We’re doing this because both guys have the opportunity to compete for that spot. That’s it.”

These are different situations, so drawing a straight parallel isn’t fair and it doesn’t make sense. This is only the first of what I am sure will be many, many, many times I write on this subject. But you know that this, barring injury, isn’t going to be decided after two weeks of Flagstaff. This is going to be about at least the first four preseason games if not all five. Back in 2008, one of the turning points was Leinart’s three-interception disaster in Oakland in the third of four preseason games. Often these things work themselves out. (This time doesn’t correlate with 2010 either, really, since Leinart was the clear No. 1 going into camp before things got so sideways in camp and Derek Anderson eventually surpassed him on the depth chart.)

This won’t happen in a vacuum. It’s impossible to ignore what happened last year — Kolb has admitted it’s not as if he’s trying to pretend his struggles didn’t happen — but at the same time, there does need to be a fresh-start aspect to this. In the end, neither player played well enough to say they have already earned the job. So we go from here.

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