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Swope, YPC and taking shots deep

Posted by Darren Urban on May 6, 2013 – 11:40 am

It was Bruce Arians’ introductory press conference when he first talked about his offense and how he wants to take shots down the field. That’s how he rolled in Pittsburgh, how the Colts played last year and how the Cards will do it now, because as Arians sees it, yards in big chunks helps a lot. Certainly, it’s something the Cards could use more of after 2012. It’s a big reason the club picked Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope, because he showed off some big-time speed at the Scouting combine, running a sub-4.4 40.

(Although the scouting reports wonder if Swope’s 40 times can translate on the field or if he is better suited for a quick slot game. Swope, speaking after he was picked, about being a deep threat: “I see that instantly.” He also said his speed is real: “A lot of people had me as just a possession receiver coming in.”)

If Swope can help stretch the field, that would be a big deal. But the Cardinals have gotten deep prior to last season with their other wideouts. Don’t forget Larry Fitzgerald had a sparkling and career-best 17.6 yards per catch in 2011, when John Skelton/Kevin Kolb weren’t as errant getting him the ball as last season. Fitz’s YPC got crushed in part last year because it seemed the team worked so hard to get him the ball on short stuff just so it’d be complete that he didn’t gain many yards. The longest pass play of the season was a 53-yarder to Michael Floyd in the finale, and that featured a lackluster tackling effort made (as you can see on the video below.) The Cards only had nine pass plays of at least 30 yards last season.

Floyd led the team with 12.5 yards a catch, and that was boosted from 10.7 only after his eight-catches-for-166-yards in the last game of the season. Fitz, in what was his most frustrating season as a pro, was at 11.2 (71 catches for 798 yards, ugh) and Andre Roberts was 11.9 (64 for 759).

There should be more accurate throws downfield from Carson Palmer this season. There should be better protection up front to actually allow the quarterback time to chuck it downfield this season. And there is no question there will be plays called to do it too, whether it’s to Swope, Fitz, Roberts or Floyd. Or someone else. The Cardinals need those kind of big plays.


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Posted in Blog | 28 Comments »


28 Responses to “Swope, YPC and taking shots deep”

  1. By andystandsup on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Fitz, IMO, has always been a “possession” receiver.
    I would expect Roberts or probably Rob Housler to be the deep threat that Arians had with TY Hilton in Indy and Mike Wallace in Pittsburgh.

  2. By Joe on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    The tackling wasn’t good on that play, but Floyd is big and not easy for most DBs to bring down.

  3. By Dynosoar on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    95 days and 15 minutes to Pre-season in Green Bay.

    125 days and 10 minutes to our first Season game against the Rams.

    That’s not too far away. Not too far away at all.

    I’m anxious for the season to begin and see what happens with all the changes.

    Ya’ll know I regularly close my posts with us winning in NY next Feb., I know it’s possible, here’s to it also being probable.

    We added O-line strength, Levi’s back and lsat years O-line draftees improved through the season. We added another threat to pull coverage off of Larry. We added a quarterback who wants a shot at a ring. We added an RB and have another comming off injury with an O-line that should give them running lanes. We added to our defense which was already top-notch.

    We lost some that I wish we still had (two safeties and a Paris come to mind.)

    We added a new coaching staff and GM. Did we get the right personel? I believe we did. Can they pull it together quickly enough. Go watch Remember the Titans, they had bigger issues and outside forces against them and they did it.

    So can our Cardinals.

  4. By Ethan on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Fitz, Roberts, Floyd and now Swope, that’s some bad ass weapons! Swope reminds me of Welker. I can’t wait for this season to start!!! GO CARDS!!

  5. By Andy Kw on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    We got the best receiving corps in the NFL with a much improved offensive line:
    -Carson Palmer is probably the luckiest person in the world having L. Fitzgerald, M. Floyd, A. Roberts, R. Swope, L. Byrd, R. Housler, and J. King to throw to. Carson Palmer is in for a Pro Bowl year and I expect all of our receivers to have one to. I am anxious to see RB Stepfan Taylor in action. This is Ryan Williams last chance so I hope he makes the most out of it. We should have 3 Running Backs in our backfield so I think the best option for Williams and the Cards is to trade him to a team that really needs a running back. Lets trade him to Indianapolis for a Safety in return and a 4th Round pick.

  6. By Cecil on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, Are The Cards Still Looking To Sign Josh Cribbs?

  7. By Darren Urban on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Cecil —

    RE: Cribbs

    http://blog.azcardinals.com/2013/04/26/honey-badger-and-day-2-aftermath/

  8. By georgiebird on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Larry is a great receiver and a sure HOF player. But Larry does not stretch the field the way big time speed WRs stretch the field.
    When one defines stretching the field, a picture of Roy Green should appear.
    No one stretched the field and created separation like Jet Stream.

  9. By John The Draft Guy on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Love that Ryan Swope.
    The speed is real. The slot is about all his YAC and the way he can be a mismatch.But at 6′ and running a 4.3 40, he can do damage on the outside too.

  10. By samir on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,
    Snyder back to Niners and Brandon keith to vikings just a heads up on former cardinals

  11. By Mike Ellingboe on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    @Joe,

    Wasn’t good is probably the nicest review that effort will ever get. Obvious why they’re back-ups.

    Of course, if I’m going to mock them, in fairness it says just as much about our passing game when that qualifies as our longest passing play. Even more ridiculous when it’s a from a team that has Fitzgerald on the roster.

    Tell me again, why are some complaining about Carson Palmer’s arrival? After last season, he’ll look like Unitas by comparison.

  12. By Darren Urban on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Samir —

    RE: Old Cards

    Yes, noted that on Twitter earlier.

  13. By AzDesertRat1953 on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Looks to me like 26 thought the same thing I did, Floyd stepped out of bounds and it does look like it. That being said though, 26 still should have finished the play with a good tackle, like 29 did, and not wuss out just cause your already in the playoffs.

    We all know BA loves to play rookies/young players and I’m up for that, what the heck if it works Do It!
    But if I were a DC on teams we are going to play, my worst nightmare would be seeing Fitz, Floyd, Roberts and Byrd or Swope in a play at the same time!
    That could get real interesting, Real Fast.

    GO CARDS!!!

  14. By Bay Area Bad Boy on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    I am very interested in seeing how BA uses the rookies and if any of them get any real playing time. Besides our first and second round picks, I don’t really see any of the others contributing that much. But it will be interesting to see. Looking forward to a good season starting with a win in St. Louis. From worse to first sounds good to me.

  15. By Andy Kw on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Our roster is developing and I think everything that has been made by Bruce Arians and Steve Keim is pretty good so far:
    QB: Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley
    -This depth at Quarterback is much better than the last 3 years so we are doing good so far. Palmer and Stanton are guaranteed stays. Ryan Lindley is young and is cheap to keep so lets try to develop something out of him for now. QB Brian Hoyer has a huge 2nd round tender just for being a backup so lets try to trade him to the Cleveland Browns and get a 4th Round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. (Projected final QB Roster: Palmer, Stanton, Lindley)

    RB: Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington, Alfonso Smith, William Powell
    -This team wants to start of young and with good experience. William Powell and Alfonso Smith has potential on being a backup RB for this team but I think Bruce Arians wants to work with his own projects and not Whisenhunt’s projects. This is a new era in Arizona and I don’t think Smith and Powell will fit this system. I am a fan of Powell as I saw a lot in him but I don’t think this team will keep him. We drafted nice prospects in Taylor and Ellington and I expect Arians to utilize them to their full extent. Rashard Mendenhall will be nice veteran as he will be the starter and teach Taylor into becoming our future starting running back. Ryan Williams is injury prone and I think he will be competing for a roster spot against Ellington. I think Andre Ellington will win but this team needs to have a 53 man roster and I think he is lucky to have a job here. (Projected final RB Roster: Mendenhall, Taylor, Ellington, Williams)

    WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Ryan Swope, LaRon Byrd, Jaron Brown, Dan Buckner, Jarett Dillard, Robert Gill, Javon Lawson, Michael Rios, Tyler Shaw, Kerry Taylor
    -This is a no brainer. We have all of these Wide Receivers to fill up our 90 man roster for the offseason. Arians loves his wide receivers and I believe we will have 6 Wide Receivers this year rather than 5. Buckner’s size, speed, and his college years in Arizona will make him the likely 6th and final receiver on this final roster. I expect Floyd to compete with Roberts for the #2 and #3 WR spots and I think Floyd will move to #2 and Roberts loses and goes down to the slot receiver spot. (Projected final WR Roster: Fitzgerald, Floyd, Roberts, Swope, Byrd, Buckner)

    TE: Rob Housler, Jeff King, Jim Dray, D.C. Jefferson, Kory Sperry, Alex Gottlieb
    -Alex Gottlieb is a nice prospect but does not fit this system. Sperry was just a free agent signing last year that will be released when the 2013 season begins. Jefferson and Dray will be competing for the #3 TE spot. 7th Round Pick Jefferson’s experience as a QB and his ability to play Tight End will make him the likely winner. Dray was a nice special team’s contributor. His experience on this team will make him a contender for the 3rd TE role but Keim & Arians drafted Jefferson for a reason. But on the other hand, the more down field targets we have, the better. (Projected final TE Roster: Housler, King, Dray, Jefferson)

    OL: Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Jonathon Cooper, Daryn Colledge, Bobby Massie, Nate Potter, Earl Wartford, Senio Kelemete, Joe Caprioglio, Paul Fanaika, Mike Gibson, Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Chilo Rachal, Scott Wedige
    -Caprioglio, Fanaika, and Webb will try to compete for a roster spot but I don’t think any of them will succeed as we are loaded in Offensive Linemen. Wedige is too inexperienced to play and I believe this team had capable backups that could take play of Sendlein in case of injury such a Kelemete and Colledge with Wartford moving to play in Colledge’s place if Colledge replaced Sendlein for injury. Rachal and Gibson will compete for a roster spot and the likely winner will be Rachal. Wartford has a huge shot on beating out Colledge and becoming the starting left guard. (Projected final OL Roster: Brown, Sendlein, Cooper, Colledge, Massie, Potter, Rachal, Kelemete)

    DL: Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Dan Williams, Frostee Rucker, Matt Shaughnessy, David Carter, Ricky Lumpkin, Ronald Talley, Everrette Thompson, Padric Scott
    -Padric Scott is too short to be an offensive linemen and Everette Thompson does not have the ability to be a huge game changer to this team. Rickley Lumpkin and Talley will compete but whether they compete or not, I don’t expect either one to make the final roster. They have the ability to be last season pickups for this team, we know Talley can be an aggressive pass rusher. Our veterans and our signed veterans will be guys that win the job. (Projected final DL Roster: Campbell, Dockett, Williams, Rucker, Shaughnessy, Carter)

    LB: Daryl Washington, Kevin Minter, Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, Jaspar Brinkley, Alex Okafor, O’Brien Schofield, Reggie Walker, Kenny Demens, Tim Fugger, Dan Giordano, Korey Jones, Zack Nash, Colin Parker
    -Tim Fugger, Demens, Giordano, and Jones are players that are guaranteed to not make the roster. It is not their talent that is the issue but the fact that we have too many Linebackers already. Zack Nash and Colin Parker will compete and will try to make it in. Parker ends up being the winnerWe are just too filled in the Linebacker position. Daryl Washington’s 4 game suspension hurts but I think we can make things happen without him. (Projected Final LB Roster: Washington, Minter, Acho, Alexander, Brinkley, Okafor, Schofield, Walker, Parker)

    CB: Patrick Peterson, Antoine Cason, Jerraud Powers, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Javier Arenas, Bryan McCann, Josh Hill, Prentiss Waggner
    -Bryan McCann and Josh Hill will not make the roster. I think this team is still trying to develop Fleming so I believe he will stick around and with Bethel’s experience at Safety, he will stay as well. We are looking for young players and we got them. Waggner is an interesting prospect so I think he won’t make the cut but will make the practice squad. This team should trade Jamell Fleming to Cleveland as well since he was Ray Horton’s project. We should get back a 5th and 7th Round Pick in return.This team is probably looking to have 5 Cornerbacks again and I don’t think one of our 2012 CB will make the cut: (Projected Final CB Roster: Peterson, Cason, Powers, Arenas, Bethel)

    S: Yeremiah Bell, Rashad Johnson, Tyrann Mathieu, Tony Jefferson, Curtis Taylor, Jonathan Amaya, Javon Harris
    -Javon Harris is an undrafted free agent that will not make the cut. Jefferson is a nice prospect that this team will try to develop. Bell and Johnson are guaranteed stays. Mathieu is a troubled yet talented player drafted in the 3rd round so he will stay too. Amaya and Taylor will battle it out and I expect this team will continue to have 5 Safeties on the roster. Amaya will win due to his special team’s contribution. (Projected final S Roster: Bell, Johnson, Mathieu, Jefferson, Amaya)

    K: Jay Feely
    – All said and done no competiton needed. (Projected final K Roster: Feely)

    P: Dave Zastudil, Will Batson
    -This is not even competition. Batson will likely sign with another team such as the Chargers. (Projected Final P Roster: Zastudil)

    -LS: Mike Leach
    -No competition, done. (Projected Final LS Roster: Leach)

  16. By cards4sb on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Is it just me or has anyone else thought that the 49ers and Seahags could very well have a sophmore slump with their QBs? I know Kaepernick wasn’t a rookie but I believe he only started 10 games excluding playoffs. With the talent that has been noted I believe the CARDS are way ahead of the Rams in this division. Remember they had the players just no QBs or O-Line. Could be a surprise year for the CARDS!! And by the way. I find it very unlikely the 49ers make it to a third consecutive NFC championship game. With or without Colin! Defenses will catch up to all these guys. I hope the CARDS do it first!

  17. By Mike Ellingboe on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    @Andy Kw,

    With the amount of effort you consistently put into this, I felt compelled to point out you inadvertently left Watford off the team.

  18. By philly cards on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Dennis green had a simular plan that the next guy used. I guess swope is our breston. And I think the difference here is denny actually said wed score quick then run. Its not a bad plan. We need to stick to it unlike whiz.

    Telling people that sets up the run. 3 wr sets all day is cardinal football.

  19. By ored on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    just remembering games where we were in it for a half or even three quarters with no offense to speak of,flip to this year and just the qb change alone will be huge.then toss in a decent running game,improved o line and blocking scheme,healthy bodys,new rbs and even added help in the recieving end,make it easy to see a ten win season,add the smell of a playoff berth and it almost brings back memories of the kw days.

    temper that thought with a harder schedule and the fact that everyone in our division improved also just means nobody can take any team lightly.the winner will be battle tested for sure and ensures we,the fans will be treated to epic games.

    just listened to a c.campbell interview and he was really optimistic also and if the rest of the team feels the same way,who are we to argue.

  20. By ored on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    and this,how many times we ran a small back into a brick wall and how many times we could have used a decent screen pass and how many times we were forcing the ball to covered recievers in desperation and how we did not utilize our tight ends.just remembering our offense from last year brings kudos to the defense for how they handled it,cardinal defense proud.

  21. By Coach Kevin on May 6, 2013 | Reply

    This is the best group of receivers and running backs Palmer has ever had on one team. If this revamped o-line holds up their end, I see HUGE numbers for Palmer and possibly a pro bowl season. Cardinals win loss prediction. 10-6 and a wild card birth.

  22. By red bird of death! on May 7, 2013 | Reply

    This was a depressing article…………………..I feel like total crap now.

  23. By sammy on May 7, 2013 | Reply

    ” Don’t forget Larry Fitzgerald had a sparkling and career-best 17.6 yards per catch in 2011, when John Skelton/Kevin Kolb weren’t as errant getting him the ball as last season.”

    Re. the above:

    What I really noticed last year vs 2011 was that the quarterbacks hardly had any time to allow a deep passing play to develop. Also Fitz drew way more double coverage than the previous and Floyd and Doucet and Roberts were not really breakaway type receivers. In certain games we had no line nor running game thus making passing extremely predictable and the D would crowd the box and blitz.

    I think Skelton in particular tried to get Larry the ball too much when he was abundantly covered and then some. In 2011 the Skelton to Fitz gig surprised some teams and in 2012 they made sure to seal it. Certain games like Green Bay passing was effective deep, reality though was we had no deep threat whatsoever and the line was brutally erratic and stripped the quarterbacks of protection confidence !

    One thing I never got was the insertion of Lindley into the Atlanta game when we were up 13-3. Let’s hope we have better luck in 2013 and the line melds to allow an effective passing game. Bill Walsh always felt that a deeper passing game added higher risk for turnover hence the West Coast style of quicker slant passing. We need that breakaway receiver !

  24. By Mike Ellingboe on May 7, 2013 | Reply

    @philly cards,

    It can, but typically it works better the other way around.

  25. By Darren Urban on May 7, 2013 | Reply

    Sammy —

    RE: 2011 vs 2012

    There is no question the protection broke down quicker in 2012. But the receiving corps was no different in 2012 than 2011, other than the addition of Floyd, so I’m not sure Fitz received more double-teams last season than 2011.

  26. By Kevin_S on May 7, 2013 | Reply

    I do not get why we let Bartel go and kept Lindley, Bartel was good in limited time and could stretch the field. As for Palmer and Stanton the verdict is out. Palmer was 4-12 his last season as a Bengal and 8-15 as a Raider and they were happy to see him off. Stanton has no real record to speak of so let’s see what happens. Optimism is great but it has to translate to wins in 2013 ! Brian Hoyer really has no record to speak of either and was beyond limited in 2012, we have given him too large a contract. If Hoyer was so great he would have been picked up after being released by New England.

    Overall I think there has been allot of PR hype surrounding these guys so far . If only we had gotten Peyton Manning but he would have been road kill last year with variable protection.

  27. By Andy Kw on May 7, 2013 | Reply

    My bad, I forgot to put Earl Wartford on my final roster, add him in. I’ll post this again on Darren’s next updated blog.

  28. By Eazy E on May 17, 2013 | Reply

    Larry can stretch the field with his speed, route running, and innate ability to catch over a fill in the blank amount of guys for all you ”Larry can’t stretch the field” guys and gals maybe. He’s as good a deep threat there is in the league.

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