What will Rashad do?

Posted by Darren Urban on December 17, 2009 – 4:42 pm

A lot is riding on what rookie safety Rashad Johnson can do here at the end of his first season. The third-round pick is the guy who has to step in for veteran Matt Ware when the Cards go to three safeties (veteran cornerback Ralph Brown has played there some as well) now that Ware is done for the season. And there are still raw parts of Johnson’s game, and you can see it both in practice — where he has heard from coaches many times for his mistakes — and games — after he took a bad angle to a tackle in San Francisco that allowed Michael Crabtree to get a first down after Crabtree had fallen on a catch.

Going forward, the Cards have big decisions to work with current starting free safety Antrel Rolle (scheduled for an $8.1 million salary for 2010 and a cap number of $13.7 million, and that’s without a possible escalator) and Johnson, I would guess, is the safety net (no pun intended) if something isn’t worked out.

We’ll see if Johnson can come through. It’s been bumpy so far. “I knew there would be some tough times,” Johnson admitted.

Johnson, who was supposed to make an immediate impact on special teams, found himself inactive six times in seven weeks before getting back on the field for Minnesota and San Francisco. It wasn’t by accident.

“You are always to a degree unsure about rookies,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The thing that has helped Rashad is he was up and then he was demoted because he didn’t play well. He was inactive for a couple of games and I think when that happens it wakes you up a little bit, creates a sense of urgency as far as how you have to prepare. He has gotten better. I didn’t see that earlier in the season.”

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21 Responses to “What will Rashad do?”

  1. By chris on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    kinda off topic but has there been any change to beanie and hightower depth chart wise is hightower still starter even after his first carry in the last two games were fumbles

  2. By darrenurban on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    Chris —

    No. I’ve said this many times, there will not be a depth chart change. Not with the way Hightower works and has endeared himself not only with his production but his work ethic.

  3. By Secret on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    i would say drop rolle for Q… have faith in this guy, maybe he’ll come through! if not just pick up some verteran free agent

  4. By Logan on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    We need Rolle. End of story.

  5. By Brandon on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    I agree with Logan, Rolle is one solid player, he is an excellent counterpart to Wilson! Rashad should be fine this week whatever he plays.

  6. By BDMag on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    Darren – I agree with you that Hightower won’t be replaced as a #1. But if we had a backup with half his talent who DIDN’T fumble… I think there would be much more doubt. However, if he continues to fumble in key points during games, I care much less about a couple missed blitz pick ups, and not rewarding work ethic, than constant key turnovers in our or the opponents red zone. And so should this coaching staff, end of story. At some point this coddling of Timmie will end.

  7. By Mike"Pay Q" on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    Why is everyone so hung up on Beanie “starting” when he gets in on the 1st drive EVERY game? Except of course when we turn it over. Does it really matter if is on on the 1st play of the game? Of course if he could hold on to the darn ball he would be getting way more carries.

  8. By Big Red on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    Pay BOLDIN,ROLLE,DOCKETT,LUTUI,HAGGANS,DANSBY AND we’ll be good for years. Just pay Bidwell”s. Why start all over again with new players, we haven’t enjoyed years like this two years.

  9. By darrenurban on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    Big Red —

    I understand your sentiment. But you can’t pay everyone.

  10. By Secret on Dec 17, 2009 | Reply

    what is the situation with Q? does he have another year on his contract? does he want to get paid more than what the cards have to give?

  11. By darrenurban on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    Secret —

    Boldin is under contract through 2010. I don’t know what Boldin wants at this time, nor what the Cards would offer. I don’t believe any significant talks have happened. In the past, the Cards have indicated they want to get to a point where they aren’t extending/renegotiating until a player is down to one year on his deal. The thought behind that is that, in theory, it will provide a baseline for knowing when these things will happen so players aren’t upset every year when they can’t get a new deal.

  12. By Eazy E on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    We need Rolle. He’s having a pro bowl caliber season @ free safety. Just because we got Rashad we need Rolle long term he is a great compliment to A-Wil.

  13. By shannon robinson on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    This is the time of year when when decisions made 10 months ago come to fruition. I was surprised we drafted a safety in the third round and then learned he played a pro style defense. Roll Tide – play some big time ball, Rashad! Matt Ware started as a tall cornerback and was able to play safety and special teams. I’m glad for him and the Cards that he doesn’t need surgery.
    I want Beanie Ball for Christmas.

  14. By azcardsfan22 on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Darren isn’t this great the Cards are relevant and people actually care, Man i have been a Cards fan since the Hart to Mel Gray days and living in New England its been tough, I LOVE THIS TEAM

  15. By NM Cards Fan on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    I agree we can’t pay everyone, however, been a fan for 24 years and am enjoying the success of this team so that being said the Bidwell’s really need to make good decisions. We are famous for not paying good players that move on to success with other teams as we fall to only winning one or two games, I remember many seasons like that.

  16. By Former Steeler Fan on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    I see that a question and comment that I submitted regarding the lack of passes thrown to tight ends on Monday night were deleted in this thread.

    What’s wrong about questioning the game plan?

  17. By darrenurban on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    Former —

    I didn’t delete it. It should be in there. I even answered the question. UPDATE: And here it is, where it’s always been. Maybe you were looking in the wrong place.

  18. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply


    I wonder if the Cardinals, in an uncapped 2010, would move to lock up some vets like Bolidin, Dockett, Dansby and Rolle if the salary cap obstruction is lifted (assuming that is part of the reason they haven’t been extended). In other words, with the spending cap removed as an obstacle for not extending contracts, would the team be willing to spend the money to get the deals done for the cornerstones of this franchise if the opportunity existed? I’m not talking about the Cards going Dan Snyder in 2010 and picking up anyone, but rather taking care of their core players/leaders who have played very well for them (and also would appear to have several good years left in their careers).

    In a related question, how would the NFL implement a salary cap after 2010 if 2010 was an uncapped year in which the ultra rich teams ballooned their payroll and other teams were more frugal? How could the NFL say, “Sorry you can’t spend the amount of money in 2011 (or whenever a new labor agreement is signed) as you did in 2010, even though you now have guys under contract beyond 2011 for big bucks that put you in no position to be under the cap in 2011?

  19. By darrenurban on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    Ottis —

    I believe there will be some sort of spending constraints in place, whether it is a cap or another mechanism. I would think the owners are on the same page in that regard, and will know this going into an uncapped 2010. In fact, that’s why I believe players are so leery of an uncapped year these days, because they realize it won’t create some kind of free-for-all that was originally hoped.

  20. By azcardsfan22 on Dec 18, 2009 | Reply

    I think them days are over of not paying our players, with new stadium we now have revenue to pay players its just a matter of making the right decision on who to pay and who not to pay so far so good…we let Pace go and Wilson so far not really hurt us, but we do gotta address Dline with Dockett and need to invest in a stud edge rusher

  21. By bobby J on Dec 20, 2009 | Reply

    the cards should have never got rid of marcel shipp for hightower. Tim i fumbles the ball too much.Shipp really never had the chance to do anything.When he started to roll they got Emmit smit and what did he do nothing. Pay Boldin dansby lutui

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