Hoping Dan’s the man

Posted by Darren Urban on March 21, 2011 – 2:54 pm

While there is plenty of debate over who the Cardinals will take in the first round of the 2011 draft, the hope is that the first pick of the 2010 draft — nose tackle Dan Williams — will develop into the anchor of the 3-4 front the Cards so desperately need. And there’s at least one place that seems bullish on that possibility after what Williams showed as a rookie. posted an article naming Williams one of their “secret superstars,” saying Williams actually had a quietly impressive rookie season based on limited playing time and effectiveness against quality competition. One quote from the article: “He has a fantastic ability to beat centers en route to making plays on the ball carrier. That skill earned him 22 defensive stops – only John Henderson finished with more while playing fewer snaps.” Another comment: “he ended with the 11th-highest run-stopping grade of all defensive tackles, and 4th-best among 3-4 nose tackles. Quite remarkable, especially given he only played 387 snaps.”

Obviously a first-round pick is counted upon to be a solid starter — if not a star — sooner rather than later. The Cards should end up with Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett flanking Williams in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s first version of his Arizona 3-4. Williams did play well near the end of the season. He still has work to do with consistency and he will still be learning, but statistically, it sounds like Williams had a decent beginning to his career.

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39 Responses to “Hoping Dan’s the man”

  1. By Scott H on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    RE: Hoping Dan’s the man

    Amen to that! With the departure of guys like Dansby, Berry, and Rolle AND the drop-offs that we saw with Dockett and Campbell…this defense had nothing last year. Hoping to see it come a LOOOOONG way in a the other direction this year.

  2. By Brandon on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Dumpster Dan really did come through towards the end of the season it was very noticeable. If we can get a pass rushing OLB our db’s and D-line will be that much better

  3. By Doug Woiwod on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Campbell, Williams, Dockett, that should strike fear in to opposeing offenseive lines and Q/B’s. I sure like the sound of it.

  4. By Tien on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    I think dumpster dan will make a great impact to the cards defense

  5. By KingJM on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Am I the only one to notice how gigantic his lower body looks in that picture?

  6. By brad oneill on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    i just hope he can keep his weight in check during the lockout. I personally thought he was fantastic last year and was very disappointed when he was forced to sit out due to weight. He is in a position that doesnt get a whole lot of glory but he has the potential to be a superstar shut down anchor that can run down people from behind which is just sick for a man of his size.

  7. By D on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    That was a good article for Dan. It also stated Dockett and Campbell was suspect against the run, not sure if I believe that.
    Darren- let’s say the Cards sign a QB, get a pass rusher in the first round and still have their second round pick. What do you think would be a draft priority would be for round 2-OT, Corner or another LB?

  8. By Darren Urban on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Draft priority

    I think it could be any of those, or a guard, or a tight end.

  9. By John the draft guy on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    What impressed me the most about Dan was the fact that he moved so well down the line. He is not a typical “phone Booth” kind of nose guard. I never thought Williams would fall as far as he did last year in the draft.

    I thought Branch played well last year at end, even better than Campbell. I hope we resign him. He is a solid rotation guy.

    Now a nice passrusher off the end (Von Miller) and a solid inside LB to join Washington inside, this defense has to make strides next year…….If there is a next year.

  10. By Joe Holst on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    The Defensive line is knocking on the door, grab Darous, Fairley, or Bowers with that 5th pick and you would have a dominating line, follow up with an inside linebacker, and then outside linebacker and your front seven is set. Mr.Urban any word on the Cards hanging onto Gerald Hayes?

  11. By Darren Urban on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Joe Holst —

    RE: Hayes

    Depending on the labor situation anything is possible but I still believe Hayes is a long shot to remain with the team in 2011.

  12. By Jake on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    one thing i noticed about Dan is when he grabs whoever, they ARE going down, its like “touch me and you fall down”

  13. By TMS on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    I agree with Kurt Warner. Carson Palmer would fit into the Cardinals offense very well. It is not what Kurt said, but what he DIDN’T SAY that is important:

    a. We had a Heisman Trophy winner and pro-system QB in Matt Leinart and we let him go. Who honestly believed Derek Anderson could replace Matt Leinart? Certainly not the season ticket holders who watched the pre-season games.

    b. Leinart never had a chance to prove what he could do. Okay, there was that one game where Matt brought us back from 20 points down and certain loss to tie the game. (No WAIT, Matt didn’t tie the game because Wiz made him go for the 2 point conversion and we lost!). Yes, it does give your QB confidence that you believe in him and are not going to trade him when you do stuff like that.

    c. Carson Palmer is out of the same system from USC (as is Jet’s QB Mark Sanchez); however the Bengal’s do not have as good a receiving corp nor as good an offensive line as the Cards or the Jets. Hey Cards, connect the dots!

    Coach Wiz, you need it spelled out for you? Your Super Bowl QB Kurt Warner just TOLD YOU what you need to do. Get Carson Palmer. “Just Do It.”

  14. By drummer-1 on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    @TMS.. this blog was about Dan Williams not Matt Leinart.. he’s gone and ( i’m glad)now get over it.. go look him up on facebook or twitter and cry to him..

  15. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, if you believe Hayes is on his way out the door, you have to think Joey Porter is following him.
    And did you see the article where Ben Patrick was more valued as a potential TE re-signing than Stephen Spach?
    Talk among yourselves while I get verklempt.

  16. By Mark on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    I think Dan Williams is going to be a pro bowl player someday soon. It was obvious that he was outplaying Bryan Robinson but Whiz doesnt like to start rookies. I think part of the reason Docket and Campbell had down seasons was that Robinson really regressed this year along with Porter and Haggans.

  17. By nor cal cards fan on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    Urb- Is Branch coming back to us?

  18. By Darren Urban on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Nor Cal —

    RE: Branch

    I think they would like him back. Whether he does or not, we’ll have to see.

  19. By matthew on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    If dan comes through we have a very good secondary. The defense just got tired at the end of the season for being out there so much. If we get Von Miller that will help with our pass rush game so much, and hopefully obrien schofield can come through as well. Then our front 7 would be set.

  20. By Jeff Gollin on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Unsaid during the piece on Dan Williams was the matter of “what do you do in the Draft if Von Miller is off the board, you don’t want either of the two top-ranked QB’s and your BPA’s at the top of your board Dareus and Fairley.

    Do you hand over the keys to the NT car to Williams (who, while OK, still has much to prove)? Or – if you really feel that Dareus or Fairley can dominate the LOS in the same manner that Ngata, Suh or Bunkley can – do you draft one of the two top DT’s?

  21. By SteveDCO on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Why would the Cards draft DL or ILB when they have such pressing needs at other spots mainly OLB.

    I heard several of the guys mentioned as DL prospects refered to a Dockett type player and yes that was a compliment.

    Miller, Peterson or trade back in that order are the only options this year. Trade the #2 for Palmer or sign Bulger or Hasselback in FA )if they give a #1 for Kolb, Matt is gone)

    I would suspect you will see several mid to low FA signings along the offensive line like a Hadnot last year and maybe at TE if they can find one they like.

    I’m excited for the 2011 season, I jst hope we have a real FA period or the Card may be in real trouble.

  22. By Roger Goddell on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    “Am I the only one to notice how gigantic his lower body looks in that picture?”

    I doubt that. The picture is “to scale”. From the Upper Level you can tell that this dude has junk in the trunk and by “junk” I do not mean old clothes, a pinata and some lady’s hat. By “junk”, I mean an anvil, a sack of hammers, two hemis and a full suit of plate armor.

    In my non-expert view, Dan was an excellent draft choice last year and brought along well behind B-Rob. I suspect that he is going to have a hell of a season (assuming that there is one).

  23. By toddcard on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    i love it. Dan the man thats what i’m talking about…not to mention our rookie ILB D. Washington and Schoefield! dude D-Wash is gonna be a freakin beast.

  24. By john m on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    I was wondering why they haven’t considered moving Daryl Washington to OLB to pair with Schofield and pick up ILB through the draft/FA. I think this would change the draft thinking and allow them to take best player instead of a need position.

  25. By Darren Urban on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    John M —

    RE: Washington

    In the scheme the Cards run, Washington is better suited to be an inside LB and not an edge guy.

  26. By dieselbomb on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    TMS –

    Re-read what Kurt Warner *really* said … His first choice is Marc Bulger. He included Carson Palmer, but made the case for Bulger. He’s speaking from experience with the Bidwill/Graves/Whisenhunt brain-trust.

    Both Bulger and Palmer were named because of the very high likelihood that the team won’t be paying big bucks this year for a QB. They have a couple of pretty talented QBs right now (Skelton) and should get another easier to afford Rookie (later round Draft choice). Bulger was noted for his KW style and skillset. KW made note of the fact that Bulger’s professional profile was quite similar to his own. He mentioned Palmer as a possibility because Palmer wants out of the Bengals organization … strictly from an opportunity point of view.

    The whole purpose of identifying Bulger (primarily) and Palmer was that he sees the wisdom in building a future QB (which we have with Skelton) through the means of a smart veteran who might only have two or three years of true productivity remaining.

    Bulger and Palmer have HUGE physical negatives. Palmer, especially, has multiple problems – any one of which would bench him or put him on the Disabled List. He’s had that problem for the last three seasons. Bulger is a Consussion survivor. Both situations are rather profound Red Flags.

    Personally, I prefer Bulger over any other veteran QB who would serve as the Bridge QB that has been touted in the press for the Cardinals since the end of the 2010 season. I think Bulger makes more sense.

    As for Leinert – very, very glad he’s gone. He had 29 games to prove himself. The thought that he wasn’t given a chance is simply untrue. If he can’t get it done over four years and 29 games, he isn’t going to get it done.

    Bradford for the Rams had 16 games and one season as a pure Rookie and in that time did indeed get it done … one game shy of a Playoff berth.

  27. By Sean on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    @John M…I was wondering the same thing.

    I am sure that the Cards did consider moving him to OLB, but maybe the injuries at ILB he was needed more there.

  28. By Sean on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    @TMS I am not going to rue the loss of Leinert until he maybe finds himself a position as a BACKUP QB someplace. So far he hasnt even made an active gameday roster!

    I am sure that he is a great guy, but I dont miss him on my team.

  29. By drummer-1 on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    @dieselbomb.. Very well said…

  30. By DoblerFan on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Someone asked why would we draft a DT or a ILB. My response is we could use a heavier (better at stopping the run) ILB to pair with the light D. Washington and a DL in case Branch bolts and/or C. Campbell isn’t resigned next year. I could see a pick as early as the 2nd with the great depth at DE this year. I like Heyward. We need depth at nose too.

  31. By brad oneill on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    bryan Robinson has been playing pro football since 1997. That is 14 years of being a hell of a lot better than average. He took the young guy under his wing and has been a great team guy.

    when its all said and done those are the kinds of guys that make me proud to be a cards fan.

  32. By Jeff Gollin on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    In response to Sean, the mention of Leinart is less a matter of opening up past wounds and more one of exploring “what went wrong?”

    How was the decision made to draft Leinart? Who did we listen to? What did they say? Where was the information inaccurate? Did the problem have more to do with our failure to develop Leinart than our decision to draft him?

    The reason why this is important is that, quite possibly, 2 prospects out of our Top 6 may be QB’s. Which begs the question: “What lessons have we learned from the Leinart situation that we can apply to the evaluation and decisions concerning Gabbert and Newton?

    (Note – Each of us probably has a different Top 5 or Top 10 Board. My Top 6 includes Miller, Peterson, Dareus, Fairley, Gabbert and Newton in no particular order, with Bowers, Quinn, Amakamura, Green and J Jones hovering somewhere around the fringes.

    The good news is that we’re guaranteed to get one of our Top 5 or 6 prospects.

  33. By CZarr on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply


    Having a better rookie season than Mark Sanchez wasn’t getting it done?

  34. By CZarr on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Good to see Dan Williams getting some credit. I loved that picture of him arm tackling Steven Jackson in the last piece about him.

  35. By dieselbomb on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Hey … drummer-1 :

    Thanks for the thumbs-up : )

    Oddly enough, I *used to be* a drummer, too. Still have a pretty nice kit that I look at more than I play; which bums me out quite a bit.

  36. By Ditship on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    There is never an mistake on whether Dan is on the field or not. The size of that man’s lower body is almost disturbing. I remember hoping we’d get him in the draft and cheered each time he wasn’t selected. I know Dockett only has great things to say about the guy and that tells me he’s playing as hard as he can.

  37. By dieselbomb on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    In response to Jeff Gollin’s comments :

    The Matt Leinert situation was publicly justified as : ” … we couldn’t pass him up at Round One, 10th pick.” { My paraphrase }. Denny Green making the comments.

    Green was pre-sold that Leinert was ‘already an NFL QB’ based on the rather stupid notion that USC was a Pro team in all aspects. What a crock.

    Problem was : Leinert never had an arm. This would’ve been obvious had anyone watched USC games. He never was a deep threat. Leinert always ~seemed~ to check down . Short routes are important in football; passes to the Flat are routine with the best teams; but Leinert never seemed to stretch his abilities by playing vertical. While in the NFL : Of those times he had a good completion percentage, often it would be with poor yards per throw.

    I would venture that had the Cardinals developed a stout Run game, Leinert would likely be the starter today. Think Carolina Panthers while Delhomme was still QB in 2007 and 2008. Fox had the Panthers do both : Set up the pass with the Run; and Set up the Run with the Pass. Leinert’s poor leadership and his passing deficiency led to his finally being dismissed – at least a year too late, In my opinion. But that wouldn’t have been so crucial at the time if the Cardinals had already developed a worthwhile Run game. Coach Whiz could’ve conducted his annual QB competition as usual and given the ball to the new guy with the justification that the new guy out-performed Leinert … his contract would’ve ended and he would’ve left. But what we have is some controversy due to the drama in some fans’ memories.

  38. By Sean on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    @ Jeff Gollin. Those are all good points.

    I really, really believe that Denny Green had a hand in the acquisition of Leinert and that if he had not been a part of the organization, cooler heads would have prevailed. (This isnt to say that Green was a bad coach- he left the team in better shape than he found it, despite Leinert!).

    As to your Top 5 draft prospects, do you really think that either of those QB’s are deserving of a Top 5 pick? It just seems to me that if you are picking in the top five, YOU REALLY CANNOT AFFORD TO BE WRONG. I agree that we need a QB and that both of those guys have potential, but I would far rather see the Redbirds grab a “surer” thing, if such an animal exists. I believe that Peterson or Miller are that animal.

  39. By Scott H on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    TMS –

    RE: Get Palmer, “Just do it”

    Three words – Collective Bargaining Agreement. Currently, there is not one in place and that means the Cardinals can’t “do” anything right now. You do realize this, yes? And with things going the way they’re going right now between the owners and players…there’s no telling when they’ll be able to “do” anything. Their ONLY access to a QB right now is through the draft. Palmer, Bulger, Kolb, McNabb, Young, whoever…they don’t even exist until the CBA thing is resolved.

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