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In one way, “new” additions already here

Posted by Darren Urban on February 22, 2018 – 12:07 pm

A couple of weeks ago, David Johnson randomly sent out a tweet about the Cards’ injury issues last season.

The list was pretty long by the end of the year, and encompassed a lot of key players. Johnson, linebacker Markus Golden, tackles D.J. Humphries and Jared Veldheer, guard Mike Iupati, safeties Tyvon Branch and Antoine Bethea, quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Adrian Peterson among them. Some were hurt later in the season, mitigating their absence.

But what has struck me about the notion isn’t what it did to 2017, because that’s been covered in-depth and is moot now, but what it means in 2018. In particular, the return to health of the first three names on the list in particular — Johnson, Golden and Humphries — is essentially key additions when the Cards didn’t really have them for most of the season. Johnson was hurt in the first game. Humphries played only five total games because of two different knee injuries. Golden didn’t even finish the fourth game with his knee injury.

All have been rehabbing, and all are confident of their return this season (All happen to be the top three picks of the Cardinals’ 2015 draft, as well.) To be able to “add” a running back who has proven he can gain 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season, or a pass rusher who has proven he can collect 12 sacks means something. I know Humphries engenders a lot of different opinions thus far, but the Cardinals are convinced he is evolving into a top-flight tackle.

Obviously, they have to avoid getting injured again. And injuries happen to every team — it just depends on who and for how long. But when assessing what the 2018 Cardinals can look like, getting key parts for (hopefully) a full season should be part of the perspective.


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11 Responses to “In one way, “new” additions already here”

  1. By Joe C. on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Darren,
    Outside of this board I haven’t seen Gabbert’s name mentioned. Is there any noise surrounding him? I mean, he’s no Mike Glennon or Trevor Simian, but he’s got to be in the same breath as Paxton Lynch or what’s his name from ASU.

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Joe C —

    RE: Noise

    All the noise is white right now. Gabbert or otherwise.

  3. By joe holst on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    David Johnson has been hurt twice in his last 5 games, don’t’ forget he hurt himself the last game of 2016 against the Rams so he is getting that dreaded :can’t stay healthy’ label, like it or not they have to be aware of this and should invest heavily in a stud back up.

  4. By Scott H on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Excellent point, Darren. But it also has to be tempered somewhat by a certain degree of reality. By that, I mean….

    Branch – looked great last year when he played but for having been here for two seasons now, he’s played very little. So, is he an injury-prone guy who we just won’t be able to count on? Based on what we’ve experienced so far, the needle is leaning toward yes.

    Iupati – seems used up at this point. Seems like it’s been awhile since he’s been the player he was when he came here. Yeah, we could do worse. But we probably need to do better at this point.

    Veldheer – same as Iupati at this point? For 2018, what position is he playing? We saw how it went when he was played on the right side of the line….and it was ugly. If Humphries is back on the left side, where does Veldheer fit? And does Veldheer really have it anymore? Again, we could do worse. But maybe we need to do better.

    And speaking of Humphries….well, see the above comments for Branch. Same thing. Horrible track record of availability. Plays very well when he plays. When he can’t – which has been more often than not – it starts the domino effect. Top-flight tackle? Not when he’s standing on the sidelines in street clothes.

    Point being, from the list of all of these players, how many of them SHOULD we be counting on for 2018? And how many of them CAN we count on?

    And don’t it figure, that one of the guys who we WOULD love to be able to count on for 2018 ( Palmer, of course ) retired?

    Sigh….

  5. By JTDG on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    The cardinals injuries : A weak argument.

    On Offense;
    The issue wasn’t injuries made the team struggle. The line was bad to start with, and yes, when guys went down, it went from bad to worse. Palmer never had a chance with the starters (which many on the board said before the season started ) . Gabbert and Stanton were battered and DJ and AP got banged up behind this poor line. . It really all started with a poor off season and draft, that never addressed the weakest link of the team, the OLine. I would say injuries were a result of the poor planning.

    On Defense;
    Branch was having a great year, but was quickly replaced by Budda Baker when he went down. Golden never was replaced and first round pick Reddick really had no impact. Fortunately, Jones was good enough for both guys. Injuries had a small impact on the defense and this team could have won with this defense.

    Truth is, poor personnel decisions cost the cards the season.

    Looking at the first 3 games of the season, the cards went 1-2 when they should have been 3-0. The decision to start Bethel, who gave up 3 forth quarter TDs in the two losses, was the main reason we lost.

    But we also saw an offense that was struggling from the opening game. They couldn’t open any holes for DJ and Palmer was sacked and threw 3 picks. The oline struggled to protect and get any running game with all 5 starters.

    In game two, against a terrible pass rush, the colts sacked Palmer 4 times and picked him off.

    In game 3, Palmer was sacked 6 times.

    By the time Palmer left for the season against the rams, he was sacked 11 more times . That made it 22 sacks in 7 starts. Many of those games had most of the starters on the oline. Iupati only played 1 game but look at his 2016. Not stellar.

    So sure, blame it on the injuries. But those wounds were self inflicted. A signing of G Kevin Zietler and a draft in round 3 of C/G Pat Elflin makes a huge difference of how this season would have went.

    So, yes, we get Humphries, Iupati, Veldheer back, but how did they do when healthy? And can you count on any of them to stay healthy? Better find depth if you are counting on them.

  6. By JTDG on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Yeah, It’s a good thing the Eagles didn’t have any injuries.

    You know, like QB Stud Carson Wentz, All Pro LT Jason Peters, Punt Returner and 3rd down back Darren Sproles, Rising star MLB Jordan Hicks, just to name a few.

    Who would have thought that once Wentz went down, the Eagles had a chance ? Since they were underdogs throughout the playoffs, not many.

    The difference? The Eagles had a Tackle who stepped in and rose to the occasion . They had a back up QB who played like an MVP, They traded for a RB, Another LB stepped in and they won the super bowl.

    That narrative is getting old.

  7. By JTDG on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    “Humphries engenders a lot of different opinions thus far, but the Cardinals are convinced he is evolving into a top-flight tackle.”

    See Levi Brown, See Leonard Davis, See LJ Shelton.

    Heard that same line for all three. Maybe they can call him Elite. That will complete the praise. Meanwhile, 18 games out of 48. That stat can not be denied.

  8. By georgiebird on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Hate to hear about last year’s injuries-AGAIN. As I see it, the Cardinals were probably the healthiest defensive team in the NFL last year. Yes, the offense was clobbered with the loss of David, Carson and Humphries.. But there were a lot of guys who failed to get to the next level last year- guys like HB, Bethel, Niklas, Reddick, Nkemdiche, Boehm and Gabbert. And there were some cases where the replacement, Bynes, was better than the incumbent, Bucannon.
    And most of all, last year was a wake up call for PP. Hope PP realizes that tackling is a big part of the cb position. Opposing teams gain a lot of confidence knowing they can run all over the Cards “best” player.
    The only real surprises last year were T. Williams, Bynes and Pierre. A few like Jones and Larry performed at an expected high level. But most guys were just ordinary NFL players- thus the 8-8 record.

  9. By georgiebird on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    When Wilks and Keim start drafting players and acquiring FAs, three names should come to mind- Dockett, Boldin, Fitgerald. The Cards need guys that we would love to go to battle with. We don’t need guys that can’t stay on the field from
    week to week- and the Cards are now loaded with this type of fragile player.
    On the current team, aside from Larry, the only guys that come to play each week are probably the guys with the least amount of talent but the biggest hearts on the team- AQ Shipley and Kerwynn Williams. And with BA gone- and he loved both guys- I don’t expect to have either guy back.

  10. By Chris G. on Feb 23, 2018 | Reply

    I look back at some of the injuries and I don’t think some of them can be pinned on the player and thus labeling the player injury prone. Injuries happen in football, it is a contact sport. A player can’t control a leg injury after being rolled up on from behind. David Johnson came away with only a knee sprain after his knee bent the wrong way. Looking back at that, a lot of other players would have torn a ligament, but not David. I do believe that there are ways to prevent injuries. Prevention starts in the strength and conditioning room. It also starts with not having the oldest roster in the league. Coaching could be a factor. I was coached from a young age, that if you don’t play with aggression, you will be the one that gets hurt. I believe strongly in that. The past is the past but we can learn from it. Get younger, get stronger, get meaner.

  11. By Scott H on Feb 24, 2018 | Reply

    Chris G –

    I hear the point(s) you are making. No, a player can’t always ( if ever? ) control the injuries that happen to him. Footballi a fast and violent game of collisions involving multiple players in a small space. At other times, a player may go to plant like he has a thousand times before ( like Palmer back in 2014 against the Rams ) and on that one occasion, boom, his knee blows out.

    That said, when you look at players like Humphries and even Branch…..I think it is fair to consider them injury prone when the the time they are un-available to play because they’re injured ( again ) is so dis-proportionately greater than the time they ARE available to play.

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