As this year’s crop of wide receivers run their 40s here at the NFL combine, it’s as good time as any to note that, yes, the Cardinals will look at the position this offseason.
(And as a side note, 40 times don’t mean as much as you’d think. Nice to have speed, but Jerry Rice reportedly ran a 4.71 at the combine. Larry Fitzgerald was a 4.63. Both turned out OK, in my opinion.)
The Cards will have Fitz and Andre Roberts next year. Early Doucet is a free agent and while there is a chance he could return, we will see what the market — and the Cards’ plans — turn out. The team will look over the free-agent market. That does not mean, for instance, they would bring in (if he does hit the market) someone like San Diego’s Vincent Jackson or that ilk. They have a No. 1 receiver in Fitz, and don’t need another. Yes, I have heard the arguments that Boldin was a 1A, but guys that are No. 1 potentials want No. 1 money, and it makes little sense to invest that kind of cash into two pass catchers.
Guys like Pierre Garcon and Robert Meachem make more sense to me. They have speed and, in theory, aren’t as expensive. The latter could change and that will impact the Cardinals. As general manager Rod Graves said the other day, the team sets the value for each player and then goes from there. At some point, each team needs to decide how much adding that free agent is worth. Garcon, for instance, reportedly declined a five-year contract from the Colts. Does that mean he is expecting a huge deal? We’ll see. We’ll see what the market bears.
One reason teams like having free agency before the draft is because free agency can be about need and there is a little more of “best player available” at draft time. Given the deep crop of UFA receivers this year, it makes sense to make a stab there for whatever the Cards might want to do, because you’d figure to get more for your money. If the Cards come out of free agency without a receiver, I’d think they’d look very hard at taking one in the draft.
The Cards still have young guys like Stephen Williams and DeMarco Sampson, but in both cases I’d think their most likely landing place would be as a fourth receiver if they take another step forward.
Tags: Andre Roberts, DeMarco Sampson, Early Doucet, Larry Fitzgerald, Pierre Garcon, Robert Meachem, Stephen Williams
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Obviously, not a good night. It looked like it would be, after the way the defense handled the Colts in the first quarter – three punts and an interception. After that, well, ugh. Coach Ken Whisenhunt used the word “disappointed” a few times, including when he talked about starting 0-2 at home. “I’m disappointed we haven’t lived up to our end of the bargain for our fans,” he said, and judging by the comments I have seen via e-mails/on the blog/Facebook/Twitter, the fans are none too happy about it.
Other thoughts on Sunday night, here on a Monday morning because it just got too late to write:
— I know many were wondering about the lack of Beanie (two carries for minus-2 yards) in the game. Simple, really. Beanie can run right now, but the other parts of the game, like catching and blocking, are better served with Tim Hightower in the game. The way the game developed meant Beanie sat.
— Speaking of running backs, I don’t think anyone would have guessed the Cards, after the Colts gave up 239 yards rushing the week before to the Dolphins, would only gain 24 yards on the ground.
— Kurt Warner could have thrown the ball away on his end-of-the-half fluky interception, but he saw a chance with Larry Fitzgerald – and it’s exactly the kind of play Fitzgerald has been looking for from his QB. “I felt he was in a favorable position on a smaller corner,” Warner said. “I think we had a window there.”
— That said, the turnover was obviously a killer, since the Cards did manage to march down for a touchdown to open the second half.
— Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said he is still learning, but the learning curve really hurt the Cards. All week the Cardinals talked about how Peyton Manning would rip them apart if they didn’t handle their assignments, and the couple of times DRC didn’t, Manning found the opening. Even on the bomb DRC barely missed, though, Manning threw a perfect pass.
— The plays that summed up the game to me, other than the turnovers. The juxtaposition of the two bombs: Manning’s right-on 53-yard TD toss to Pierre Garcon, and Warner’s overthrow of Fitzgerald when Fitz was wide open after the defensive back fell. You can’t miss those opportunities. Oh, and you can’t forget Warner running for his life backward on his final fourth-down play when he ended up losing 28 yards on a sack. This game will not be on the highlight reel for left tackle Mike Gandy or any of the offensive line, for that matter. “I don’t feel I won my share of battles out there,” Gandy said.
— Given the way this team is constructed, you have to wonder (worry) when the offense makes early mistakes on how it affects the whole team. We all know how badly the Hightower fumble at the Colts’ 5 hurt, but on the drive before – which ended on a Neil Rackers field goal and a 3-0 Cards’ lead – the Cardinals were at the Indianapolis 20 with a third-and-1. Warner tried to go down the field to Fitzgerald. Anquan Boldin was wide open on the left side of the play (he was demonstrably angry right after the incompletion, and was lucky he didn’t get a penalty when he ripped off his helmet on the field) about two yards past the first-down marker. The two drives combined maybe should have turned into two touchdowns. But when they didn’t, maybe it takes something away from the defense.
— Then again, maybe Manning is just the best quarterback in the NFL and that 95-yard drive after the Hightower fumble was simply Manning proving his legend once again more than the Cards’ shortcomings.
We’ll see. From here, the Cards have to go 6-0 at home just to match last season’s home record. But if they beat the Texans in their next game, they will be 2-2 after four games, just like last season. With the bye coming, they might as well as go half-full with the glass. What other options are there?
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Beanie Wells, Colts, DRC, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Gandy, Neil Rackers, Peyton Manning, Pierre Garcon, Texans, Tim Hightower
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