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  • Wed., Apr. 23, 2014 8:00AM - 2:00PM MST Cardinals Charities Golf Tournament Cardinals Charities Golf Tournament at Whirlwind Golf Club (5692 W North Loop Rd, Chandler, AZ 85226).
  • Wed., Apr. 23, 2014 5:00PM - 5:15PM MST 2014 NFL schedule released The 2014 NFL schedule is released. Check out all the details on azcardinals.com.
  • Thu., Apr. 24, 2014 5:00PM - 9:00PM MST "Spring Tailgate" at the Big Red Rib and Music Festival The Cardinals are hosting a live TV special, as team president Michael Bidwill, general manager Steve Keim, and coach Bruce Arians preview the 2014 Draft and season with hosts Paul Calvisi and Ron Wolfley. There will be players in attendance.
  • Mon., May. 05, 2014 8:00AM MST On-field work Players allowed on-field football work with coaching (no helmets, no contact, no offense vs. defense)
  • Thu., May. 08, 2014 5:00PM MST NFL Draft First round of the NFL draft.
  • Fri., May. 09, 2014 3:30PM MST NFL Draft Second and third rounds of the NFL draft.
  • Sat., May. 10, 2014 9:00AM MST NFL Draft Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft.
  • Tue., May. 20, 2014 8:00AM MST Organized Team Activities Players allowed on-field football work with coaching. Helmets allowed, as is offense vs. defense.
  • Wed., May. 21, 2014 8:00AM MST Organized Team Activities Players allowed on-field football work with coaching. Helmets allowed, as is offense vs. defense.
  • Thu., May. 22, 2014 8:00AM MST Organized Team Activities Players allowed on-field football work with coaching. Helmets allowed, as is offense vs. defense.

Blogs

An option for Peterson

Posted by Darren Urban on April 21, 2014 – 1:58 pm

It came as little surprise, given the circumstances and previous reports that it was going to happen, but the Cardinals officially executed the fifth-year team option on the rookie contract of Patrick Peterson today. The option is for the 2015 season, and will pay Peterson a little more than $10 million. More importantly, it gives the Cards some breathing room as they move toward a long-term contract extension. Peterson was at the facility today (although I didn’t get a chance to talk to him.) Without the option, Peterson would have been an unrestricted free agent after the season.

What the timeline will be for a Peterson extension is unknown. This isn’t a new subject. The option year means the Cards aren’t really under any pressure to get a new deal done yet — this could be complicated, since Peterson is going to want a hefty new contract — but General Manager Steve Keim has left little interpretation about Peterson’s future. Peterson isn’t going anywhere. He has joined Larry Fitzgerald as one of the faces of the franchise, and that isn’t going to change.

The contract is part of the reason a guy like Antonio Cromartie gets only a one-year deal. There are other factors, of course, but in part it’s because the Cards will have a significant investment in the other starting cornerback. Given needs across the depth chart, having to pay both starting CBs big money probably isn’t feasible in this salary-capped world. Given who is involved, with Keim and Peterson, I still expect this to come out with relatively few issues. It might not happen right away, but it’s going to happen.

fifthPPuse

 


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Patrick Peterson helps countdown to the 2014 NFL Draft

Posted by since1898 on April 17, 2014 – 1:30 pm

21-DAYS-DRAFT-FB

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Hoping for a return in the return game

Posted by Darren Urban on April 16, 2014 – 11:12 am

Everybody remembers Patrick Peterson’s wonderful rookie season returning punts — four touchdowns (and a fifth he should have had if not for a shoetop tackle by the punter in the finale against Seattle). Peterson averaged 15.9 yards a punt return, the Cards averaged 24 yards a kickoff return between LaRod Stephens-Howling and A.J. Jefferson and it was generally an effective use in Ron Wolfley’s beloved “transition game.” Obviously, the last couple of years, it hasn’t been quite the same.

In 2012 Peterson’s average fell to 8.4 yards a return with no scores. A dropoff was probably inevitable, but Peterson looked uncomfortable much of the time. The kick return game dropped to 23.3 yards a return, although finding a happy medium for effective kick returns in this day and age of big kickoffs and mostly touchbacks isn’t an easy equation. Last season, Peterson’s punt returns fell to 6.0. Kickoff returns were a mere 20.0, and former kick returner Javier Arenas often looked so frustrated he rarely could return one that he did so when he shouldn’t, leading to poor field position.

It’ll make for an interesting dynamic this season. Ted Ginn was signed to add speed in the receiving corps, but it’s not hard to make the argument his greatest strength as a player is on kickoff returns (where he averaged 23.8 yards a return last season). He’s also pretty good on punt returns (12.2 yards last year), and that will provide an option if Bruce Arians decides Peterson is better served focusing on being a Pro Bowl cornerback and remove the pressures of being the guy who everyone thinks might score a touchdown every time he fields a punt. Peterson doesn’t want to give up the job, but we’ll see how it turns out in the big picture.

The Cardinals’ offense was doing much better at the end of the season and should be improved given the pieces that have been added. It wouldn’t hurt if the kickoff and punt returns could chip in to the improvement equation.

PPPuntreturnuse

 


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More Powers for Cardinals

Posted by Darren Urban on April 14, 2014 – 9:28 am

There was a lot of speculation about the future of cornerback Jerraud Powers, especially after the Cardinals were in the process of wooing and then signing Antonio Cromartie to start alongside Patrick Peterson. But Powers wasn’t going anywhere, in large part because the injury of Tyrann Mathieu makes him an early-season question mark. There are other reasons, though, including a trust factor with the coaching staff. And then there is the profootballfocus.com analysis that put Powers — despite far fewer snaps in the slot — as the most effective slot cover man in the league last year in terms of allowing receptions. Powers is in line, with Mathieu on the sideline, to be the slot corner alongside Peterson and Cromartie.

Powers did not have a fantastic season as Peterson’s fellow starting corner last year but he wasn’t bad either. He was exactly what the Cardinals expected from a veteran who didn’t break the bank. A healthy Cromartie would be an upgrade, but having Powers in reserve is smart. He was, after all, a starter for the sixth-ranked defense in the league. Finding a stud companion to Peterson long-term would be lovely but frankly, somewhat unrealistic. At some point sooner rather than later, Peterson is going to get a very, very large contract extension. Spending big money on both cornerback spots is difficult if not impossible for any team given the realities of the salary cap. The Cards could find a young guy in the draft who turns out to be very good and that might buy you a few years, but it also means forgoing a solid player at another position that might prove more necessary.

The saying goes that you can never have enough corners, and that generally is true. But after the Cromartie signing, the Cards are in pretty good shape, because Powers fits what they need.

 

 


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Patrick Peterson visits the 2014 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Open House

Posted by since1898 on April 11, 2014 – 10:54 am

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Fitzgerald, Peterson take swing at Michael Jordan’s Celebrity Invitational

Posted by since1898 on April 4, 2014 – 10:01 am

 

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“Throw gas” on a potentially dominant defense

Posted by Darren Urban on March 28, 2014 – 12:09 pm

The Cardinals’ initial foray into free agency was offense-heavy. Not a big shock, since that side of the ball need the most work. As the draft approaches, however, the focus may just shift. Because even though Bruce Arians is an offensive guy, GM Steve Keim has a belief that the good teams in this salary cap work have a dominant side of the ball. And the Cardinals — with the No. 1 rush defense and the sixth-ranked defense overall — aren’t in that realm on the offensive side of the ball.

“Seattle was a dominant defense with a solid offense,” Keim said. “Denver was a dominant offense with an OK defense. In our situation, we are closer to having a dominant defense. So I think you have to continue to throw gas on the fire. Continue to build the strength.”

That’s why cornerback Antonio Cromartie shot to the top of the to-do list after he was cut by the Jets. The move surprised the Cards — they did not think New York would let him go — but rallied to understand the situation and aggressively court him. It was only a one-year contract, but the team proved last year with linebacker Karlos Dansby that could be a golden type of situation. There are still spots defensively that need shoring up (like the need for a safety or inside linebacker depth), and there is also Keim’s quest to get longer and more athletic with his 3-4 defensive ends and the pass rushers outside. The draft could very well provide those things. But when you start looking at the top end talent on the roster, it is the defense that claims many of the spots, whether it is Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell or Daryl Washington. (Or even, as Ron Wolfley points out, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who fortunately for the Cards did not get a head coaching job.)

The offense isn’t going to be ignored — “We know we have areas we need to fix and it certainly needs to catch up with the defense,” Keim said — but a defensive juggernaut is the first goal. It’s what has put the Seahawks and 49ers into the stratosphere they are in, and why the Cards returned to relevance last season.

DefenseGasBLOG

 


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Posted in Blog | 75 Comments »

Don’t forget to vote in #CardsBracketology

Posted by since1898 on March 21, 2014 – 9:39 am

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5VS12-MATCHUP-SOCIAL


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Cardinals get Cromartie

Posted by Darren Urban on March 20, 2014 – 10:02 am

The Cardinals and cornerback Antonio Cromartie have agreed to a one-year contract, and it’s official. It’s early in the story, but my guess is it will be a deal a lot like the one linebacker Karlos Dansby signed a year ago with the Cards. For not a lot of money, but the chance to excel in a good defense and then go back into the market in a year and make some cash.

It’s a huge get for GM Steve Keim, who again seems to be able to push all the right buttons. Cromartie figures to step into the starting role opposite Patrick Peterson, and the Cards have a very good inside corner combo of Jerraud Powers — who probably is more effective inside — and Tyrann Mathieu when he returns to health. It also would stand to reason that the Cards now target a young safety in the draft that can be the guy who can cover tight ends.

Cromartie isn’t without his risks. He dealt with a hip injury last season (although he played all 16 games) and despite back-to-back Pro Bowls and probably a not-very-big price tag, the Jets didn’t want to bring him back after releasing him and his then-hefty salary. Cromartie reportedly wanted to go back too. No matter. The Cardinals will take it, and take another “win” so far in free agency. Low risk, high reward. Keim’s plan continues to unfurl perfectly.

Clearly, Patrick Peterson is happy.


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Tweets between friends (PP-Cromartie edition)

Posted by Darren Urban on March 15, 2014 – 6:35 pm

Nothing has happened on the free agency front for the Cardinals since Thursday, when they signed Ted Ginn. There will be other signings at some point. The Cards, as I have mentioned, want a cornerback, and everyone is waiting for the puff of white smoke announcing that perhaps Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie is that guy. We’ll see if that happens. Again, it might even just be on a one-year deal, if Cromartie can’t get the kind of money he’d like. But there was an interesting trade of tweets today between incumbent Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson and Cromartie Saturday evening.

First came Peterson:

Answered Cromartie:

To which Peterson replied:

Peterson isn’t the one negotating the deal for the Cards of course. But Cromartie certainly sounds open to coming to Arizona.

UPDATE: As you can see above, Cromartie has deleted his tweet (although you can still see above what he wrote.) Maybe his agent let him know putting that thought out there wasn’t good for free-agent business.


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