It was just one example, when Bruce Arians mentioned in an interview last week that in regard to new free agent linebacker signee Lorenzo Alexander, “We’re going to start him at outside linebacker.”
That could be taken two ways. Did that mean that Alexander, who has been a reserve most of his career with the Redskins, would be the starter at an outside linebacker spot? Or just that he was going to begin his time with the Cards outside? Arians clarified Monday at the NFL owners meetings, not just on Alexander but anyone — which includes, for instance, who might start between new corners Antoine Cason and Jerraud Powers across from Patrick Peterson. Or maybe the quarterback.
“No job is won until we get on the grass,” Arians said.
Interestingly, in an interview tapes for NFL Network later tonight, Arians was asked if his 2013 starting quarterback was currently on the roster. Arians said yes, but left the “on the grass” wiggle room.
“Yes, we have a very capable one in Drew Stanton,” Arians said. “Drew knows the offense, he is more than capable of doing it. If he is our guy, I am comfortable.”
That’s still an if. Smartly, there needs to be competition for jobs (especially at QB.) You have no idea who you might draft, for instance. But there is no question Stanton, for instance, has a leg up because of his history with Arians (a reason, I’d think, why Kevin Kolb wouldn’t necessarily think it be safe to stay even with a paycut.) There is a reason coaches want to bring in “their guys” after taking over the team. Because they know what they are getting and they know how those players mesh.
But — aside from quarterback — starting can be a very loaded phrase in the NFL anymore. OK, so your offensive linemen are usually one unit. But almost every other spot on the field can sometimes be interchangeable. Talking about Alexander, Arians noted that he is a good situational pass rusher that would start in the nickel package so “why not start him on first-and-10?”
“We’ll play the best 11,” Arians said. “That doesn’t just mean first-and-10. There are so many sub-packages you can you could be labeled a starter on. The game has turned into sub-football.”
The grass will dictate the best 11. We’ll see how the other stuff factors in.
Tags: Antoine Cason, Bruce Arians, Drew Stanton, Jerraud Powers, Lorenzo Alexander
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