This is the time of year when not a lot of news happens. There was a little today, starting with the signing of another player to a “futures” contract: Pass rusher Adrian Tracy, who played 16 games at defensive end for the New York Giants in 2012 and was cut at the end of the preseason this past season. Tracy will be an outside linebacker for the Cardinals, who are looking for players like that.
(Again, futures deals are to lock down a player with a contract that doesn’t officially kick in until March 11, the start of the new league year. It doesn’t mean a player is absolutely going to have a shot at making it — don’t forget, teams need to get to 90 players for their offseason rosters. That’s a lot of extra bodies that won’t be around come September. We’ll see how these guys pan out.)
– Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu had surgery Wednesday for his torn ACL. He said the procedure went well (when doesn’t it?). Too early to know what kind of timeline Ta’amu might follow to return to the field. He said he wasn’t rolled up on but instead was jumping to try and avoid stepping on a prone teammate. When he came down, the knee popped. Ta’amu is keeping his humor about the situation. “I should’ve just stepped on him,” he said.
– Safety Tyrann Mathieu is at the very beginning stages of the rehab process himself after his torn ACL/LCL. He was in this morning actually doing some exercises.
– Finally, if you didn’t get a chance to read it, here’s a story about Patrick Peterson, and some analysis through metrics about his performance. Those who chart such things back up the other accolades Peterson has received, that he is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. The tough thing to measure is the times teams don’t throw his way because of his play. As I said in the story, Peterson hasn’t been perfect. But it has been amazing to me, as I have said before, the amount of backlash Peterson has suddenly seen. The people I talked to had the same reaction I have had. I don’t get it.
Tags: Adrian Tracy, Alameda Ta'amu, Patrick Peterson, Roster, Tyrann Mathieu
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Justin Bethel, NFL, Patrick Peterson, Pro Football Focus, Tyrann Mathieu
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So it’s gonna be about 70 degrees today. Sunny. Just sayin’. Seems like everyone else is making comments about the weather, so I thought I’d chime in.
– Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles reportedly met with the Browns for their head coaching job on Friday and was supposed to meet with the Vikings about their opening Monday. Neither team seems close to making a decision on their coach, although Bowles reportedly made an impression with the Vikings. Both Minnesota and Cleveland continue to look at more and more candidates, and that doesn’t include coaches still in the playoffs. Bowles won’t be interviewing in Detroit, where he was a candidate back in 2009. That makes sense, because many reports say the Lions would likely hire Chargers offensive coordinator and ex-Cards boss Ken Whisenhunt for that job once the Chargers are knocked out of the playoffs.
– On the all-pro team from profootballfocus.com, Tyrann Mathieu makes first team as a slot cornerback, Justin Bethel first team for special teams. Patrick Peterson is second team at cornerback.
– Cardinals director of football administration (and salary cap guru) Mike Disner was named on Forbes list of top 30 rising stars under age 30 in sports. (The man next on the Forbes slideshow after Disner? Kevin Durant. LeBron and Gronk are among the athletes on the list too.)
– I am not a fan of messing with the playoff format. It caught up with the Cardinals this season yes, it benefited them in the 2008 season. I do not think extra teams should be added to the postseason. That said, it is still often discussed. That doesn’t mean anything is imminent, but things could change at some point.
– In case you missed it — and in case you’d like a smile or two — check out here the year in quotes and quips from coach Bruce Arians.
Tags: Browns, Bruce Arians, Justin Bethel, Lions, Mike Disner, Patrick Peterson, playoffs, Todd Bowles, Tyrann Mathieu, Vikings
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Tags: All-Pro, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFL, Patrick Peterson
Posted in Since1898 | 3 Comments »
Patrick Peterson’s big year just got a little better Friday, when he was named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. The AP All-Pro team has generally been accepted as the “the” All-Pro team of the NFL. It encompasses the entire NFL, not a conference. Peterson joined Seattle’s Richard Sherman as the cornerback choice. And there is some good news for linebacker Karlos Dansby, who was a Pro Bowl snub. Dansby ended up making second-team All-Pro along with Bengals star and former ASU Sun Devil Vontaze Burfict. The first team inside linebackers were Luke Kuechly of Carolina and NaVorro Bowman of San Francisco.
— Patrick Peterson (@RealPeterson21) January 3, 2014
It was interesting that there is no second-team All-Pro quarterback — which can only mean that Denver’s Peyton Manning received all 50 of the votes from the AP selection committee.
I know a lot of people, for some reason, had issues with Peterson’s play this season. I get the frustration as punt returner but I thought Peterson was very good most of the time at cornerback. I believe he is deserving of an All-Pro slot. I guess I wasn’t the only one. It was nice to see Dansby recognized after he did not get named to the Pro Bowl list nor rank high enough on the alternate list to be so named. There are some great inside linebackers in the NFL right now, though. Patrick Willis, for instance, is not on the All-Pro list.
Tags: All-Pro, Karlos Dansby, Luke Kuechly, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Peterson, Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Vontaze Burfict
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This time around, the Cardinals aren’t going to be looking for a coach or general manager, so this early part of the offseason figures to be much more quiet than it was in January of 2013. But there is still plenty for GM Steve Keim and his people to work on, because the combine is in less than two months, free agency is soon after that, and it’s time to focus on what the offseason roster in 2014 will look like.
That starts, of course, with figuring out what they liked and didn’t like with the roster from 2013. It also comes down to budget, and contracts, and how many of these unrestricted free agents-to-be want to come back to Arizona based on the deals Keim wants to/is willing to offer. These are not always simple solutions but it is why Keim, as they say, earns the big bucks. When I talked to Keim as early as the week in Florida prior to the Week 4 game at Tampa, Keim was already acknowledging the work that had to go into this offseason.
“There are going to be some tough decisions to be made after the season based on the numbers, just looking at the three-year view,” Keim said then. “We will obviously have to make some tough decisions like we did this past year after the season. The one thing fans and other people don’t realize (is) there are certain contracts that bind you and you can’t do anything (with) and you have the dead money factor.
“Once we get to 2015 I feel really good where we are going to be from a salary-cap standpoint.”
With that all in mind, here is my annual roster breakdown, with most players by position, when their contracts expires and a quick comment on each. There are a lot of choices to be made, and not just by Keim. If you are Karlos Dansby, for instance, do you like the scheme Todd Bowles has put you in — and like playing next to someone like Daryl Washington enough — to want to stay? Money, as always, talks. Dansby did not get the kind of interest he expected last offseason in the market. He had a better year this season, but will that translate for a player who will be 33? These are the things the Cardinals, and Dansby, must balance.
The Larry Fitzgerald situation, and a looming $18 million salary cap number, is another touchpoint. The Cardinals really need to get it lower. How they can work with Fitzgerald on that impacts a lot of things, including, for instance, any potential Patrick Peterson contract extension. When you start mulling all these numbers, you start seeing why Keim is targeting 2015 for salary cap comfort.
There are other key things the Cards must look at roster-wise, aside from the draft. Other key free agents like Matt Shaughnessy, Rashard Mendenhall or Andre Roberts. Other contracts, like perhaps those of Daryn Colledge or Darnell Dockett. Other issues, like the long-term rehab of Tyrann Mathieu and Alameda Ta’amu, or a possible suspension of Daryl Washington, and whether absences at the beginning of the season could make a difference on who is needed on the roster for depth.
The offseason is just beginning. So too is the job of the Cardinals to get ready for 2014.
Tags: Alameda Ta'amu, Andre Roberts, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Daryn Colledge, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Shaughnessy, Patrick Peterson, Rashard Mendenhall, Roster, Steve Keim, Tyrann Mathieu
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Tags: 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFL, Patrick Peterson, San Francisco 49ers
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Patrick Peterson didn’t see Michael Crabtree the first time the Cardinals and 49ers played. Crabtree was rehabbing a torn Achilles he hurt during the offseason. But Peterson is very aware of Crabtree, whom Peterson once called one of the the top wide receivers he had faced. Crabtree has returned to the field, playing in the last four games and slowly working his way back into the San Francisco offense — and he’ll be sitting there, waiting for Peterson Sunday.
Crabtree has 16 catches for 255 yards and a touchdown in those four games, and Peterson has been watching. “I still feel (he’s one of the best I’ve played),” Peterson said. “He has big-play ability receiver that adds a new dynamic to the San Francisco offense. He’s comfortable with (QB Colin) Kaepernick and Kaepernick is comfortable with him. Monday night he made a bunch of big catches and put up a lot of good yards.
“It seems like he is slowly getting back into game shape, slowly getting back into the groove of things. He looks to me about 85 percent now and coming back off that type of injury of course you are going to come back a little sluggish, a little slow trying to make sure you get the feel back. I’m quite sure the competitor he is, he’ll be back in the groove soon.”
The “85 percent” comment, which Peterson delivered a version of during a conference call this week with San Francisco reporters, is what has caught the attention of many. (Bruce Arians said something similar, by the way.) Crabtree had his way with Peterson last season — Peterson did cover him the vast majority of the time in two meetings — with 13 receptions for 244 yards and four touchdowns. If Peterson has had cornerback kryptonite as he has established himself as a top cover man, Crabtree has been it. How that matchup comes down Sunday will be intriguing, both on a micro-level between the two and a macro-level of how it will impact the outcome.
Peterson emphasized again he thinks Crabtree is an excellent player. Whether the 49ers try and get the ball more to Crabtree — who had five catches for 102 yards against Atlanta Monday – to “prove” to Peterson Crabtree is indeed 100 percent remains to be seen. There is no question both Peterson and Crabtree have enormous confidence in their own abilities. That’s what will make this so fun.
Tags: 49ers, Bruce Arians, Michael Crabtree, Patrick Peterson
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The Pro Bowl players will be announced Friday night at 7 p.m. Arizona time during a special on NFL Network (and you’ll get the info here too, on azcardinals.com), but for now, the Cardinals hoping to go can only wait. Cornerback Patrick Peterson seems like a lock to make his Pro Bowl appearances three-for-three in his young career, and defensive end Calais Campbell is certainly deserving.
There are a couple of other deserving Cards too, and they might be the most intriguing storylines. One is special teamer Justin Bethel, who has had a fantastic season. So too has linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is seeking his first Pro Bowl bid in his 10th NFL season. Both are helped by the fact in the new Pro Bowl format in which conferences do not matter — all the choices from a position could conceivably come from just the NFC, which gives breathing room — but at this point, neither one is counting on anything.
“I’m kind of nervous, but I’ve done all I can do,” Bethel said. “Hopefully everyone saw (my play) and we will see what happens.”
It’s long been the Pro Bowl adage that a player ends up making the Pro Bowl a year after he deserves to go and at the end of a career, a year beyond he should have. Bethel knows such things, but he is hoping he showed enough as a rookie last season that this would be “the year after.”
“I was thinking about that last year, because at the end of the season I was playing at a high level,” Bethel said. “If it happens it happens. (Not making it) is not going to deter me from working harder.”
Dansby is in a slightly different spot. He wants to make the game, but he has made a lot of money and is confident in his play — and he also knows that Pro Bowl slots don’t always line up with the players that are most deserving.
“It’d be a great honor,” Dansby said. “But it ain’t going to crush me because my play speaks for itself. It always has. It’s just getting recognized now. Balled in the AFC too, different scheme, first time playing Mike linebacker (last season). This is my second year playing Mike. I’m having fun. I’m still learning the game from a different angle and I’m having fun. I can’t say that enough.”
– There are only a couple of hours left in this auction of Anquan Boldin’s game-worn jersey that December Sunday back in 2003 when he set the NFL record for receptions by a rookie in a season. If you’re up for trying for the jersey — with proceeds going to Cardinals Charities — click here.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Calais Campbell, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl
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Justin Bethel is having a Pro Bowl season on special teams and deserves a spot in Hawaii. And with two-thirds of the Pro Bowl vote coming from players and coaches that is still possible. But Bethel isn’t getting any help from the fan vote. Despite his excellent year — and to be fair, a special teams player rarely has a ton of recognition outside his home city — Bethel has now fallen out of the top 10 among special teams players. Bethel had been in the top 10 in votes every week until now.
That’s the second Cardinal to lose his place on the top 10 list. Tyrann Mathieu was taken out of the free safeties list after he was placed on injured reserve.
Voting ends Dec. 26. Click here for a ballot.
Three Cardinals are still in the top 10. Darnell Dockett remains 10th among defensive tackles, Karlos Dansby is ninth for inside linebackers (although Bengal and former ASU star Vontaze Burfict is only 110 votes behind) and cornerback Patrick Peterson remains third and a likely Pro Bowler.
Tags: Darnell Dockett, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl
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