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Barkley finally gets work in Cards’ scheme

Posted by Darren Urban on November 4, 2015 – 2:28 pm

Matt Barkley isn’t going anywhere. The trade that brought him to the Cardinals from the Eagles said he had to be on the Cardinals’ roster for six weeks in order for the Cards to surrender their seventh-round pick and that deadline passed a couple of weeks ago. It only made sense, because the Cardinals hadn’t even had a chance to see Barkley do anything in their own system by that point. In-season, the third-string quarterback works the scout team when everyone is healthy.

Finally, that changed with the Cardinals’ lone practice of the bye week. Bruce Arians worked mostly those players who don’t get much game-time work. That included Barkley at quarterback for the first time in the Cards’ scheme.

“(It) was fun, for the first time to get some real live offensive reps as opposed to just the surface reps we’ve been doing,” Barkley said. “It’ll take some time to get that muscle memory of the footwork and where (the ball) needs to go, but a lot of these concepts are similar to what I did in college. You don’t want to think back to the terminology and what you did in former offenses, but a lot of it does have similarities that I’ve been used to. So I’ve just got to get back trained like that as opposed to being in the gun and doing zone-read all the time (like in Philadelphia).”

The only downside? Most of the vets weren’t going to relish the bye week practices.

“They all want to get out of here,” Barkley said. “They were yelling at me to get the huddle in and out. But no, it was a good day.”

Barkley remains an unknown for the Cardinals, someone whose play in the offseason work likely will determine his future more than what scraps he gets now. But with backup Drew Stanton a free agent after the season and the Cards still looking for what they might do post-Carson Palmer, it’s worth kicking the tires on Barkley.


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Keim: Cards like Barkley’s mental makeup

Posted by Darren Urban on September 8, 2015 – 8:12 am

We’ve delved into why the Cardinals took Matt Barkley at quarterback already, but General Manager Steve Keim — during his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 Tuesday morning — got into a little more detail.

“When you are looking at a quarterback … and you’re saying, ‘What are the traits you look for,’ the first thing you don’t say is arm strength, or foot speed or mobility,” Keim said. “To me, when you look at quarterbacks, the first thing you want is mental toughness, the second thing is the ability to process and learn.

“Those are the things that excited us about Matt Barkley. When he came out of college we spent a lot of time with him. We liked him coming out. We know he is a football junkie. The mental part of the game is not too fast for him. Now, we bring him in, not a lot of risk involved, and you see what he’s got physically. To me, that’s how you have to approach that position because they are so hard to find.”

Other Keim’s points:

— The roster is “always in flux.” Keim wouldn’t even say the current 53 would stay static through Sunday’s opener against the Saints. Something to watch, although I’d be surprised if there was a move at this point just given what is out there (and assuming no one gets hurt in practice.)

— The fact the Cardinals have only three cornerbacks on the roster isn’t lost on Keim. Having safety Tyrann Mathieu there is a bit reason the Cards were comfortable with the move, but Keim did point out there is a reason the team has three cornerbacks on the practice squad. Any one of them could be pulled up in a given week.

— Once Bobby Massie is reinstated from his two-game suspension, then Keim and Bruce Arians will figure out who might be released to make room on the roster. No reason to talk names now, Keim said, because no one knows what injuries may happen, if any, over the first two games. Keim was pleased with the way Earl Watford played right tackle in the final preseason game.

— That said, Keim deferred to Arians on any starting lineup announcements, including center. He also said he had nothing concrete to report on injury updates of G Mike Iupati and WR Michael Floyd. Arians already said Iupati wouldn’t be playing this week.

— Keim said it was “good to see” both RB Chris Johnson and LB Sean Weatherspoon play “extremely well” in the final preseason game. Keim reiterated the Cards were excited for both additions when they signed and the team is counting on their contributions.

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Thomas goes to Dolphins; No claims for Cards

Posted by Darren Urban on September 6, 2015 – 1:07 pm

There is no official news from the Cardinals today. Multiple outlets reported a total of 27 waiver claims after final cuts around the league, and the Cardinals don’t look like they were awarded any players. (The Cards may have claimed someone but were trumped in the waiver wire; the Cards are 24th in line for waiver claims.) So that means as of right now, the 53-man roster will remain as is, which is something of an upset.

Two players the Cardinals released were claimed. Quarterback Logan Thomas was taken by the Dolphins, while undrafted rookie safety Harold Jones-Quartey was grabbed by the Bears. That means both are on those team’s respective 53-man rosters. Thomas joins Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore with the Dolphins and will go in as the third QB. Jones-Quartey was likely going to be asked to come back to the Cards’ practice squad. Thomas’ time with the Cards was done, a point underscored when the team traded for Matt Barkley.

The same goes for QB Phillip Sims, who also went unclaimed. With Barkley, I’d be shocked if there was a fourth QB kept on the practice squad. Now, if Barkley isn’t what they wanted, could I see them releasing him later and bringing Sims back to the practice squad? Maybe. But for now, I just don’t see them keeping four QBs around.

With only two guys being claimed, it gives the Cards a lot of options for possibilities of the practice squad. For all the pre-cut fears that I was hearing from the fan base, guys like WR Jaxon Shipley, LB Gabe Martin, CB Cariel Brooks and even RB Kerwynn Williams are still out there and no one wanted them for the 53-man roster. I would not be surprised to see all four on the practice squad. We’ll see. I don’t expect the Cards to name their practice squad until Monday.


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Analyzing the initial 53-man roster

Posted by Darren Urban on September 5, 2015 – 5:28 pm

The roster will change. Now that the Cardinals are down to 53 players, the chances of it staying the same by the time the team comes back together Tuesday isn’t great. GM Steve Keim seems almost a lock to make at least one waiver claim that comes through. But for now, here’s some of the highlights to Saturday’s choices:

— The breakdown by position looks like this:

QB 3
RB 4
TE 4
WR 6
OL 9
DL 7
CB 3
S 5
ST 3

— The Cardinals will have four cornerbacks at some point. I don’t see how they don’t. It might not be until after the first game, but I am confident they will keep the search going.

— The trade for Matt Barkley ended the chances for Logan Thomas and Phillip Sims. I don’t see them keeping a fourth QB on the practice squad.

— Two undrafted rookies make the roster in nose tackle Xavier Williams and Alani Fua. Fua, at 6-foot-5, is one of those choices Keim wanted to make the team longer and more athletic. It’s why they still like Shaq Riddick even though Riddick has been hurt so much.

— Stepfan Taylor is your “big” back with the cut of Robert Hughes. Kerwynn Williams is a fan favorite but his skill-set is just too close to Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson.

— With the suspension of Bobby Massie, it might have saved Bradley Sowell a roster spot for now. When Massie returns, we’ll see what happens. By then, the Cards might have a better sense of who they want at center, or maybe they let a tackle go.

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Barkley and the “QB of the future”

Posted by Darren Urban on September 4, 2015 – 3:05 pm

The odds are that Matt Barkley — who the Cards agreed to trade for Friday — will not develop into a starter. That’s the reality of taking a flier on a guy who never meshed with what Chip Kelly was doing in Philadelphia. But this is a flier with almost no risk, costing a seventh-round pick and only then if Barkley makes the roster for six games. So Barkley is on a six-week tryout and if it doesn’t work, the Cards move on and keep the pick. The Eagles potentially get something for a guy they were going to cut. And Barkley gets a fresh start with a coach who is pretty good with quarterbacks.

But bigger picture, it’s another chance at a QB. It’s kind of funny, fans are always asking when the Cardinals are at least going to make an effort to find a future QB, a guy for post-Palmer. Then a trade like this happens and so many say why? Because if you don’t have a top 10 (or even top five) pick, this is how you find a future QB — you buy a QB lottery ticket. You go after a Logan Thomas in the fourth round or trade a seventh-rounder for a Barkley, and you hope. Sure, when the numbers are called on the TV Wednesday night, they probably aren’t going to match. You go buy another ticket. Sometimes, the numbers will match enough, and you get that $500 (or in this case, a backup QB.)

The chances of hitting the jackpot is slim. But the Cardinals have plunked their two bucks down, and we’ll see what that means for Barkley when his numbers come up.

Matt Barkley

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Sunday at the combine and Barkley chatter

Posted by Darren Urban on February 24, 2013 – 9:04 am

Sunday morning in Indianapolis. The media room is still sparsely filled, after a Saturday night when many were out — late — in a city populated with coaches and scouts at local establishments. It’s a fruitful time for little bits of info to be spread of the “I’m hearing …” variety and then for it to pick up a little steam, regardless of what it is. So then the tweet came down from @nfldraftscout: “Text I received from a scout this morning: Matt Barkley will not get past the Arizona #Cardinals at No. 7 overall.” Then SI’s Peter King retweeted it and it floats out there for everyone’s consumption.

Let’s get past the idea of whether Barkley could actually be the pick there for a moment (although I don’t see it happening, not that high. Maybe the second round, but GM Steve Keim wants a difference-maker at 7 and I don’t see how Barkley is going to grade higher than all but six or seven of these guys available in the draft.)

Instead, think these things: Why would one of the Cardinals’ scouts tell @NFLdraftscout (his name is Matt Miller) this? If it comes from another team’s scout, how would that scout know? Most importantly, how could this even be decided yet? The Cardinals haven’t even evaluated the quarterbacks yet. They haven’t done any draft grades, or have had any of the draft meetings for anyone higher than the fringe back part of the draft. If none of the grades are known, it’s impossible to know how the Cards will build their board. In short, it’s fruitless to guess where the Cards are leaning with that top pick — QB or otherwise — because they aren’t yet.

It is easy to play connect the dots with the Cardinals and a quarterback. Maybe Barkley impressed in the interview. The interview doesn’t show if he can throw a 15-yard out to Larry Fitzgerald, though. I do think the Cards will draft a quarterback. I do think there is a good chance it will happen in the first couple days of the draft. But I’d be stunned if that plan has already been finalized to the point of a definite player already.

I asked Cardinals coach Bruce Arians the other day about how all the coaches and scouts get together at Indy, guys they know, and what they talk about. He chuckled when I suggested info might bounce around. If info is discussed, what’s it really worth?

“I think any information you get, throw it out the window,” he said. “They’re lying to you. It’s all secretive.”

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