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“The grass” will determine if Stanton, or others, start

Posted by Darren Urban on March 18, 2013 – 5:23 pm

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.

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29 Responses to ““The grass” will determine if Stanton, or others, start”

  1. By aaron on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    I’m a homer and just excited about the change, but I pretty much love everything Arians says. I can imagine how easy it would be to buy into him as a player.

  2. By Scott H on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Wait a minute…is that…DEREK ANDERSON in that picture??? Really, Darren? Do we need to be reminded?

    Speaking of reminders, how ’bout YET ANOTHER reminder of how much better the entire NFC West is getting as free agency goes along? The entire NFC West EXCEPT THE CARDINALS, that is. But I really didn’t have to clarify that, did I? Of course not.

    Today, it is the Rams making themselves significantly better on their offensive line for the next several years by signing Jake Long. Hey, good for them. And I’m sure he WILL be good for them. Funny…i thought we needed o-linemen, but I guess the fact that we’ve been among the worst lines in the league for the past several years is just my imagination, right? Or, maybe just more of my negative thinking, perhaps? yeah…must be me.

    Don’t look now folks, but the NFC West has very quickly become the toughest division in the NFL. And the Cardinals have contributed NOTHING to that opinion. Seems like we have regressed back to the days of the NFC East, when the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants were Super Bowl contenders EVERY YEAR. And the Cardinals? Well, they just everyone’s door mat. And guess what? In THIS division, that’s exactly what we are once again.

  3. By johnnybluenose on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    darren. keim is quoted as saying that the team’s new additions could improve the leadership in the locker room..really? wilson and rhodes both seemed to be good in the locker room. i don’t think kolb caused any problems, nor hyphen. lenon and holliday were both valued. wells was probably disgruntled but maybe with just cause. we hardly knew bradley was there. dockett was a distraction but he is still a cardinal. maybe keim is referring to letting go of whiz and horton and hiring arians. i’m pretty sure that alone will improve the attitude in the locker room. darren, what exactly do you think keim was referring to and which of the new additions is/are blessed with superior leadership skills?

  4. By Steve on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: How surprised where you that the Cards did not send one single scout or representative to Geno Smiths private workout? Almost every team sent someone to scout the workout except AZ!! Is this some kind of predraft shenanigans the Cards are playing or do you think they are really not interested in the drafts highest rated QB despite them needing one??

  5. By Eazy E on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    If Arians really think Stanton or any other QB we have on our roster can really be a starting QB and actually win games, he is out of his damn mind…#Delusional

  6. By Jerrytown on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    I’m pretty excited about the direction in which the team is headed. The one year deals we negotiated were smart plays, almost like auditions. I think that puts us in good shape cap-wise next year to re-sign Peterson to a long term deal and either lock up the new additions if they play well or let them walk. I also think Keim has done a tremendous job of weighing his options in free agency vs the draft and not feeling pressure to fix everything in one offseason. Instead, he wisely added promising younger talent without overspending. You never know about Stanton….he played well in college and hasn’t been given much of a shot yet in the pros. BA could be on to something….overall, great work Cardinals! Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out!

  7. By NJAzCardsFan on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Why do I get the feeling the only thing BA and Keim are doing is re-arrangin the deck chairs on the Titanic…??? The QB spot was upgraded with a 2nd stringer???. No OL additions or deletions, a wash on the RB spot. The loss of some of the best veterans this team ever had on defense. Replaced with a lot of what seems interim replacements signed to 1 year contracts. Looking at this realistically, I don’t see very much to be positive about. Time will tell…..

  8. By Darren Urban on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Picture

    Yeah, no. That’s Brandon Weeden.

  9. By Darren Urban on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    johnnybluenose —

    RE: Leadership

    I don’t think it was a shot at anyone. And as far as the new guys, I don’t know much about them.

  10. By Darren Urban on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Workout

    Again, there are conflicting reports of who was there. I would be very surprised if the Cards were not represented, but even if they were not, I really do not believe it’s a big deal.

  11. By CaRdSuNs on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, ok so I just read the NFL article. They think we won’t pick a QB in the first.Arians thinks Stanton is capable to start. I don’t, unless he’s a Rodgers in disguise. In your opinion are the cards going for what they need QB/OL in the firstor best player in draft?

  12. By Eazy E on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Cason and Powers, we should add another cb to the mix that is viable and can get a starting spot. They both have a lot to prove though. Alexander is our starting OLB? I think not, he’ll need to prove that because O’Brien and Sam ain’t going to make it easy and Alexander while he is intriguing, hasn’t done much outside of special teams in his career.

  13. By Coach Kevin on Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    I expect the Cardinals will go Tackle, QB, and Guard with the first three picks in this draft. They will also take a linebacker and free safety in later rounds. This draft is deep at the safety position. So the 6th round will land a quality player.

    Watch for these names: Fisher, Johnson, Warmack, Manuel, McDonald, Schwenke, Quessenberry, Kasa, Evans, Williams and Jenkins to be called by the Cardinals.

  14. By dan on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Will this be Fitz final season in Arizona? If so……….goodbye season tickets.

  15. By shannon robinson on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    John the Draft Guy : I appreciate your analysis of college prospects. I’ve added players to my draft board based on your recommendations. However I think differently about how this year’s draft will unfold.
    First, these guys actually tell us what their roster assessments are and their overall plan. Secondly, you have to provide talent for the coaches you hire. Todd Bowles was a dominating safety who could cover and was a game changer. Keim has to provide Mr. Bowles with a franchise safety to build his defense. The fans deserve that choice be significant because our team has always had a dominant safety. Third, you can’t be an Alabama fan if you don’t choose their best player in the draft. Thanks to Darren we got to tour Bruce Arians’ office and I was struck first with the dedication to one man, Bear Bryant. There are those of us who think our O-Line problems are interior. So to answer Kent Sommers’ question, yes, #7 is just right for Chance Warmack. Fourth, the Cards have to give Tom Pratt an Outside Linebacker with the athletic talent to do his magic. I’ll leave you with a couple witticisms : “The O-Line is not in as bad shape as people think” and “The starter is on the roster” and “They have a lot of pieces in place already in the offense.” and “This draft is deep with safetys.” Todd Bowles is the coach who will receive the most scrutiny if he’s not successful so I think Steve Keim is working to deliver a tough defense which means we’ll also not pass up on the strengths of this draft with a Defensive Tackle and another Inside Linebacker. QB may be selected late…I apologize for the shaggy dog e-mail.

  16. By kevin on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Funny how everyone wanted Coach Whiz to be fired. I know I didn’t and some said we gave up DRC he is nothing compared in letting Rhodes and Wilson go and to get rid of Kolb for Stanton wow going to be a very long year we are not moving forward. Have not really brought in anyone to replace what we lost to Lenon walk and several others? I see the 49ers and Hawks made some good moves while we did not. At least we kept Hoyer. Skelton and Lindley both need to go.

  17. By Darren Urban on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    CaRd —

    RE: No. 1 pick

    I have said many, many times that Keim will pick the best player. If that is a QB, so be it. But I’m not sure there is a QB that is going to be graded that high.

  18. By kevin on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Already miss Coach Whiz hate to see us go more backwards as the Hawks and Niners and Rams move forward. Getting rid of Rhodes made no sense at all and we all know Wilson wanted to finish with us hope he makes the superbowl with the Pats he deserves it. Still scratching my head on Stanton who has more picks than TD’s. To bad we didn’t get Smith or Hasselback. Good move keeping Hoyer he will be our starting QB I see a lot of good in him. Darren so Skelton and Lindley are still with us? Stanton reminds me of Skelton. We need to shore up the OT RT if we had done and do that we will be good to go injuries killed us and Kolb. Kolb will be successful he is a good QB we just over paid him

  19. By Louisville Card on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    With all the press and BA basically saying they are passing on Geno and going with Stanton, Hoyer, and a later round QB, are the cards stacking their deck for a high pick next year? Or is it smoke and mirrors so they won’t have to trade up to pick Geno?

    I know NFL teams don’t want to lose, but they can’t seriously believe Hoyer and Stanton and a later round qb are the answer could they? Stanton and Hoyer have been third string qb’s their whole career’s. Seems like they realize this isn’t going to be their year so why not set themselves up for the next couple drafts when no one expects BA to win a Super Bowl this year or probably next…

  20. By Darren Urban on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Arians/Smith

    Where was Arians “basically saying they are passing on Geno”?

  21. By Campbells on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    I’m all for competition, but it would be nice for us to have a premier QB on the roster. I’d like to see us go into training camp with a clearly defined starting QB like NE, Denver, Giants, Steelers, etc.
    I believe we’re hindering our QB development by having competitions year after year.
    I understand the reasons behind it, but I’d like to see our team get past it.

  22. By donttakelosses on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Good post, D.

  23. By Marco_Antonio on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren, Here I am again asking the same question again. Hopefully you will read this one. Why is BA still concentrating only on D-Line and not the O-Line? I think alot of fan want this same question answered? Thank you!

  24. By Darren Urban on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Marco —

    RE: No OL

    http://www.azcardinals.com/news-and-events/article-2/Steve-Keim-Talks-Free-Agency-Philosophy/d9908f9f-379f-48de-91ef-604cf16edc1f

    and

    http://blog.azcardinals.com/2013/03/14/a-hint-at-offensive-line-and-safety/

  25. By kofari on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    I think Cards should cut Adam Snyder …..He didnt realy help the cards last season

  26. By Scott H on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    Thanks for the clarity on that. Actually, I realized that couldn’t be Anderson on my own after I sent my post.

  27. By Scott H on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Jerrytown –

    RE: The one year deals are smart plays, almost like auditions.

    I’d be careful with your optimism here. They may very well be one-year auditions. But auditions for WHO? The Cardinals or the other 31 teams in the league? Richard Marshall came here for one year, played very well AND was a very positive influence in the locker room. And supposedly the Cardinals wanted to keep him but that did not keep him here, did it? He moved on, the Dolphins reaped the benefits of the one-year audition, and the Cardinals were left with another hole to fill.

    I think the one-year audition is a two-way street. because I think the players look at it exactly the same way. A one-year deal does nothing to create or build loyalty. So, after one year, why are any of these guys gonna give the Cardinals any special consideration? If any of these guys happen to perform especially well, they are gonna want to parlay that into the best deal they can get and they will go wherever that offer comes from. If it comes from somewhere else, they’ll be out of here in a heartbeat. And it ain’t gonna help if the Cardinals are 5-11 again and appear to be on the road to nowhere.

    These one year deals have the potential to create a lot of frustration about one year from now.

  28. By Darren Urban on Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: 1-year deals

    Here’s part of the equation, however: Agents prefer one-year deals if their player isn’t going to make the cash they want. If an agent is saying, we’ll do a 1-year deal and nothing else, do you just say no?

  29. By William Barry on Mar 20, 2013 | Reply

    I think BA has everything under control..In football, one must realize that the coach goes with players he trusts, and have worked for him before…this helps in the continuity going forward. J. Powers, the DE from the raiders, will only make this team better. Mendenhall I think will shine for us…I think we will be surprised by Stanton!!!!!!GO CARDS

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