Some things to consider on Tuesday, as the Cardinals are set to unveil their complete team in on-field work for the first time as organized team activities begin later this morning:
– The one-year contract of Karlos Dansby calls for a salary of $1.25 million this season, according to the NFLPA. Kent Somers reports Dansby also got a $1 million signing bonus. That’s $2.25M (yes, I am sharp at math), which is obviously well below the $6M-plus Dansby had been originally scheduled to receive from the Dolphins before he was released. The Cardinals had approximately
$8.5 $10.5 (forgot about the money cleared in the Hoyer release) million in cap space before Dansby (A $2.25M cap hit, obviously) and second-round pick Kevin Minter (who should count about $800,000 against the cap, and I’d figure he’ll slide into the top 51).
– One roster move already this morning. The Cardinals decided to sign tryout tight end Kyle Auffray out of New Hampshire, releasing undrafted rookie cornerback Prentiss Waggner. Again, with 90 on the roster (because all the unsigned draftees figure to sign sooner rather than later) the Cards will continue to cut for every player they sign.
– Could there be another potential veteran signee? Josina Anderson is reporting that tackle Max Starks is visiting the Cardinals today, including a physical. Don’t read too much into that — any vet is going to need a physical first, especially at the point in the career Starks is at. Starks has been available for a while and in the past, there was always a question of whether Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm would bring him in after working with him in Pittsburgh. Obviously, Bruce Arians also has worked with him given Arians’ Steelers ties and offensive coordinator (and offensive line coach) Harold Goodwin also worked with Starks in Pittsburgh. We’ll see if that develops. Starks has also talked to the O-line-needy Chargers.
Tags: Harold Goodwin, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Minter, Kyle Auffray, Max Starks, Prentiss Waggner, salary cap, Steelers
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Ryan Williams smiled. He had just met Jonathan Cooper for the first time and as he sat on his stool in front of his locker, he couldn’t help but grin.
“Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,” Williams said.
Cooper’s introduction came Friday, the day after the Cardinals made the North Carolina guard their No. 1 pick. General Manager Steve Keim tweaked him by wearing a North Carolina State shirt, and the Cards clearly found a player who was articulate, smart and potential backbone in their community efforts.
Mostly, though, the 6-foot-2, 312-pounder looked the part of a massive blocker. No wonder Williams — a running back on a team that struggled to run the ball last season — was happy. Williams didn’t even hear the Michael Irvin-on-NFL Network comparison to Hall of Fame guard Larry Allen, a notion Cardinals coach Bruce Arians wouldn’t dismiss.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Arians said. “Larry, early in his career, was an unbelievably athletic pulling guard that when he got there, good things happened for the offense. This kid has that.”
Cooper didn’t hear about that comparison until today. Nor one to another Hall of Fame guard, Randall McDaniel, who many know around these parts after he grew up in Avondale and went to Arizona State, or multi-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, who played for Arians in Pittsburgh during his glory days and later finished his career as a Cardinal.
“Honestly, it makes me a little nervous,” Cooper said. “It’s high expectations and kind of a little bit of pressure, but I also put just as much pressure on myself, and it makes me want to get to work immediately. There are some guys who kind of bask in that hype, but I can’t allow myself to do that. It’s now time for me to prove to myself that I’ve earned that and I deserve that high praise.”
Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who is the de facto offensive line coach, didn’t want to hype Cooper too much although he allowed that he could see similarities to Faneca. The difference, Goodwin said, is that Cooper hasn’t proved a thing yet. He’ll get a chance, though, Goodwin allowed. “When you are picked that high, you are picked that high for a reason,” Goodwin said. Cooper will play but “what that spot is, I couldn’t tell you right now.”
Cooper promised Darnell Dockett when the two met Friday that he was ready to go to work. Williams was long gone by the time Cooper had his press conference, but one of Cooper’s comments would have made Williams grin all over again.
“You want to be able to run that ball and show that your offensive line is good enough to impose your will on the defense,” Cooper said. “So, it would mean a lot to me to establish a running a game here in Arizona. It’s rare that you find teams that can run the ball frequently, and if we can do that, you can be a special team in the NFL.”
I’m guessing that is exactly what Williams was talking about.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Harold Goodwin, Jonathan Cooper, Ryan Williams
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On a day where most of the NFL was just starting their offseason work (and on a day when football seems a little trivial given the tragic events at the Boston Marathon), the Cardinals were entering Phase II of the offseason schedule thanks to their new coaching staff. That meant on-field work for about an hour today with coaches. The main restriction is no offense-versus-defense work, which meant once the defensive players finished with their various position drills and gathered as a group, they were limited to lining up against trash cans to walk through various defensive calls without much else to do. The offense didn’t get to do a ton more, but at least there were snaps and handoffs and passes, even if it was against air.
The most noticeable thing on this initial day of coach/player work on the field: The tangible evidence of the larger coaching staff. When players are working with individual units, they had smaller groups thanks to the extra coaches. That was Head Coach Bruce Arians’ plan all along (and there is Arians below checking out his team). Arians wanted more coaches so that it was easier to teach (and with my wife being a teacher, I understand the desire for smaller class sizes). That extended on to the field when assistant offensive line coach Larry Zierlein worked with the edge blockers (tight ends and tackles) while offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin worked with the centers and guards. Or linebackers coach Mike Caldwell working the inside linebackers with outside linebackers coach James Bettcher working with that group.
The crowd was also good. This is all voluntary remember — including next week’s minicamp — but the Cardinals had almost everyone on hand. A story on the homepage and a photo gallery coming later today.
Tags: Bruce Arians, coaching staff, Harold Goodwin, James Bettcher, Larry Zierlein, Mike Caldwell, offseason
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Tom Moore may be 74, but he cautioned Friday not to look at his chronological age. “I feel like I’m about 50,” he said, which was helped tremendously when he got his knees replaced in the offseason prior to the 2012 season. Moore was close to retirement but realized after his surgery it was the knee problem, and not a want-to with coaching, that would have kept him out of the game. He told Bruce Arians that this season — when Moore served for five weeks as a consultant with the Titans — that he wanted to coach again, and Arians knew he would hire Moore if he got a head coaching job.
So Moore ended up in Arizona. When Arians called him to work, Moore said he told his wife, “We just hit the lotto.”
That’s a good starting point to have an offensive mind like Moore so excited to fix what ails the Cardinals. The man who worked under Chuck Noll in the glory days in Pittsburgh once upon a time and the man who was Peyton Manning’s Colts mentor for first decade-plus of Manning’s career now gets a shot whomever will be quarterbacking the Cardinals. A full story in just a bit on the homepage, but first, a few of the key highlights:
– Clearly, the offensive line is important. “Everything in the passing game starts with the protection,” Moore said.
– Moore will join Arians as overseeing the game planning, although other coaches will have their specific duties. An interesting note: Game-planning will actually begin Saturday nights eight days out from the specific game, in order to get a head start on the week. That leaves more time on game-plan Tuesdays to get to important specifics like red zone, two-minute, etc.
– Perhaps the most critical point Moore made, and he made it a couple of times: His system isn’t one size fits all. If a QB is better throwing deep, you tailor the system that way. If he is better with the short pass, you tailor the system that way. You don’t jam a square peg into a round hole. Moore had a great anecdote about a time under Noll when the Steelers’ staff found themselves coaching one of the Senior Bowl squads. Noll found Moore and some other coaches soon after getting the gig working. Noll asked what they were doing. “Game-planning,” was the reply. Noll asked, “How can you game-plan when you don’t even know what the players can do?” With that, the coaches waited, spending a week watching the players on film before going back to the original task.
Obviously there will some things Moore and Arians (and OC Harold Goodwin) want in the offense, but making sure it fits will be important. So too will the protection emphasis.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Harold Goodwin, Tom Moore
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Bruce Arians sat at the interview table next to his new offensive coordinator, Harold Goodwin, and was asked — bluntly — what they were going to be able to do so that the Cardinals didn’t have the “worst” offense in the NFL, after the team was last statistically in 2012.
“There’s nowhere to go but up,” Arians said with a smile, cracking Goodwin up next to him and drawing laughs from the media. “I guarantee we won’t be there this year.”
There were a few smiles between the two of them Wednesday as Goodwin, 39, got to be a coordinator in public for the first time. The one-time college offensive lineman at the University of Michigan (he played there with Cardinals kicker Jay Feely) has a background in offensive line and was the offensive line coach for the Colts last season. That will remain important in his role. Arians emphasized there will be a “group of people” teaching blocking on the Cardinals, including Goodwin, assistant head coach Tom Moore, assistant offensive line coach Larry Zierlein, tight ends coach Rick Christophel and assistant tight ends coach Steve Heiden.
Goodwin will indeed be the coordinator of the offense, however. Arians said that too, noting that while Arians will call plays, Goodwin will work all the other normal coordinator duties.
– Goodwin and Arians didn’t get super specific on the offensive linemen, although Goodwin mentioned Levi Brown and Nate Potter in passing and said he thinks the group has some talent. He wouldn’t speculate why the unit would have been so poor last season. Said Arians about the line, “We’re not far off.” Injuries were a factor, both of them said.
– There were a couple of jokes about how intense Goodwin can be. If it gets emotional it will be a change for the offensive linemen. Russ Grimm saw his players through the “they are professionals and know what they need to do” lens.
– Arians opened the presser before anyone could ask about the quarterbacks by talking about the quarterbacks. “Nothing has changed on my comments on quarterbacks since the last time we talked,” Arians said, adding, “the quarterback situation will take some time.”
A full story coming later on azcardinals.com. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is set to meet with the media tomorrow, with Moore and special teams coordinator Amos Jones coming on Friday.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Harold Goodwin, Larry Zierlein, Levi Brown, Nate Potter, offensive line, Rick Christophel, Steve Heiden, Tom Moore
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The Cardinals finally released a list of their new coaching staff Tuesday. They had already announced, after the hiring of head coach Bruce Arians, the addition of assistant head coach/offense Tom Moore, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Now comes 13 new names, along with keeping four holdover coaches:
– Special teams coordinator: Amos Jones (last job, special teams coach, Pittsburgh Steelers)
– Quarterbacks: Freddie Kitchens
– Wide receivers: Darryl Drake (receivers coach, Chicago Bears)
– Running backs: Stump Mitchell (head coach, Southern University)
– Tight ends: Rick Christophel (head coach, Austin Peay)
– Assistant tight ends, assistant special teams: Steve Heiden (tight ends coach, Concordia University)
– Assistant offensive line: Larry Zierlein (OL coach, Hartford of UFL; was Steelers’ OL coach from’07-’09)
– Defensive line: Brentson Buckner (intern DL coach, Steelers, 2010-12)
– Pass rush: Tom Pratt (consultant, IMG Academy)
– Linebackers: Mike Caldwell (linebackers coach, Philadelphia Eagles)
– Outside linebackers: James Bettcher (special assistant to head coach, Indianapolis Colts)
– Defensive backs: Nick Rapone (defensive coordinator, University of Deleware)
– Cornerbacks: Kevin Ross (safeties coach, Oakland Raiders)
– Defensive assistant/assistant defensive backs: Ryan Slowik
– Offensive assistant: Kevin Garver (offensive assistant, University of Alabama)
– Strength and conditioning: John Lott
– Assistant strength and conditioning: Pete Alosi
An interesting note: the offensive line doesn’t have a offensive line coach per se. Duties teaching the line will be split between Zierlein, Moore and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who has spent his coaching career as an offensive line coach.
Kitchens had been coaching tight ends under Ken Whisenhunt, but moves to quarterbacks, a position Kitchens played in college. Slowik was outside linebackers coach on the last staff, and of course, Lott and Alosi remain in their former jobs. The staff of 21 is four more coaches than was on Whisenhunt’s staff. Arians said he preferred to have extra coaches on staff, and said he likes the diversity of experience and youth. The group moved into offices and began their meetings today. More in a bit on azcardinals.com, including more background on the new group. (And here it is.)
Tags: Amos Jones, Brentson Buckner, Bruce Arians, coaching staff, Darryl Drake, Freddie Kitchens, Harold Goodwin, James Bettcher, John Lott, Kevin Garver, Kevin Ross, Larry Zierlein, Mike Caldwell, Nick Rapone, offensive line, Pete Alosi, Rick Christophel, Ryan Slowik, Steve Heiden, Stump Mitchell, Todd Bowles, Tom Moore, Tom Pratt
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The Cardinals officially announced Monday the additions of the three main new coaches to Bruce Arians’ staff: offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Tom Moore, the assistant head coach/offense. The addition of Bowles and Goodwin I’ve covered before. Hopefully we’ll hear from Arians soon about his choice. While I understand there are still a lot of questions over going from Ray Horton to Bowles, that too was explained in simple terms by Arians. Now we see how this plays out.
But the addition of Moore is a big deal. Moore had stepped away from the game for health reasons — he did serve as a consultant for the Titans for five games at the end of the 2012 season and consulted for the Jets in 2011 — but he wanted to get back into coaching this year. The Cardinals benefit. Moore was the guru who brought along a young Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. That, along with Arians himself, give the Cardinals a good base with whatever young quarterback they choose to bring along. Between the two of them (below, talking before a Colts-Titans game last season), that’s a good start for any young quarterback.
Now, would the quarterback be Kevin Kolb? Maybe. It would seem very likely a quarterback is drafted this year. Sitting here right now, I don’t see it in the first round and seventh overall, but second round, that makes sense. Jason Cole noted Arians was at the Senior Bowl practice of the North team Monday, a team that features quarterbacks Mike Glennon of North Carolina State, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse and Zac Dysert of Miami (Ohio.)
As for the rest of the staff, I believe most of the decisions — if not all — have been made but the announcements will filter out as the logistics work out.
Tags: coaching staff, Harold Goodwin, Kevin Kolb, Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib, Todd Bowles, Tom Moore, Zac Dysert
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There have been no official announcements yet from the Cardinals about additions and changes to the coaching staff, but multiple reports from many places have noted that new head coach Bruce Arians — who said Friday he was hoping to have his staff set by Sunday — is starting to do just that.
To the surprise of no one, former Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is the pick for Ray Horton’s replacement as defensive coordinator. Bowles took over in Philly for the fired Juan Castillo last year as the Eagles season went from bad to worse. Bowles played for Arians at Temple and later played for the Redskins and 49ers. Here’s an interesting coincidence too — Bowles was interviewed for the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator job in 2011, the spot that eventually went to Horton. He worked as the assistant head coach and interim head coach while in Miami, but his part-season stint in Philly this season was his first as a coordinator.
For offensive coordinator, Arians will go back to his Colts’ ties to bring in Harold Goodwin, who was the offensive line coach in Indianapolis. Arians already said he will call his own plays. But having Goodwin on staff — along with whomever is the going to be the offensive line coach — will give the Cards extra eyes on a unit that needs to improve. Arians already said he is a big believer in technique on the line. Goodwin’s brother, Jonathan, is an offensive lineman for the 49ers.
(It may be worth noting, after a lot of talk of late that after the head coaching hires around the league did not include a minority, both Cardinals’ coordinators will be African-American.)
The Cardinals do need a lot more spots filled. It looks like Arians will move on from the bulk of the holdover coaches. Special teams coach Kevin Spencer joined former boss Ken Whisenhunt with the Chargers Saturday (Whiz was named offensive coordinator and the Chargers hired Frank Reich, who was just the Cards’ receivers coach, as the quarterbacks coach). The Cards reportedly only are keeping tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens — Kitchens played quarterback in college for Arians when Arians was the offensive coordinator in 1997 for Alabama — and strength coach John Lott. That would mean moving on from defensive line coach Ron Aiken, linebackers coaches Matt Raich and Ryan Slowik and defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi.
Again, there have been no official announcements yet. Whether the staff is all in place by tomorrow is in question, but as coaches and scouts head to Mobile next week for the Senior Bowl work, it seems that Arians will have a good chunk of his work done (and Mobile is often a place where coaches can interview prospective candidates, too.)
Tags: Bruce Arians, coaching staff, Freddie Kitchens, Harold Goodwin, John Lott, Kevin Spencer, Louie Cioffi, Matt Raich, Ron Aiken, Ryan Slowik, Todd Bowles
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