Thursday before the Packers (with a Fitz contract update)

Posted by Darren Urban on August 18, 2011 – 12:04 pm

Here we are in Titletown, and what do you know, the team that plays here just won a title – and they haven’t played a home game since then. Now the Cards come to visit.

The big “news” today is Jim Trotter’s report about Larry Fitzgerald’s contract talks. Fitz says he won’t talk extension after Sept. 4, but at the same time an agreement is “not too far away.” Trotter says on his own he believes a deal will get done, which I have said all along. Since he talked to Fitz for a good 45 minutes the other day, my guess is Trotter got a good vibe (or something more concrete) from Fitzgerald.

In the meantime  …

— It will be interesting to see how the Cards use the pass rushers. Will rookie Sam Acho get some snaps on the right side? How much do they play O’Brien Schofield, knowing he needs as many reps as possible? Coach Ken Whisenhunt said this week that while he wants vets Joey Porter and Clark Haggans to play – the defense is “new” for them too – they don’t need to play as much.

— No way to know how banged up the Cards are right now, but guard Pork Chop Womack did come out of practice yesterday and had his right shoulder wrapped briefly. I expect Deuce Lutui to play regardless even with his conditioning issues, but if Womack can’t go, it probably makes it more important. As was guessed to start camp, Lutui’s story will be one of the main ones to watch.

— Whisenhunt talked about all the back-fade routes the Packers like to run and how it’s high stress on cornerbacks. It’s a good test, especially when seeing where rookie Patrick Peterson is right now in his development.

— And, this time is as good as any, here are a few of the position battles at which you can look (sticking mostly to starting jobs right now, unless something really jumps out at me):

WR – Obviously Fitz will start. Someone asked me if there was a way Early Doucet (pictured below) could beat out Andre Roberts. I don’t think there is going to be one true set No. 2. Roberts is going to get his playing time, but there will be some mixing-and-matching, I’d expect.

TE – Todd Heap and Jeff King are both going to play quite a bit, and I won’t be surprised if the starting lineup a few times includes two tight ends. But King is a very good blocker, and since that is not Heap’s strong suit, don’t be shocked if King gets this nod some of the time.

RT – I still expect Brandon Keith to be the guy here. But don’t underestimate Jeremy Bridges.

RG – Lutui can still make this quite an interesting battle between he and Rex Hadnot. But Hadnot doesn’t have too much to fear if Lutui can’t get his weight/conditioning in order.

ILB – I believe Daryl Washington will start. Paris Lenon is a good soldier who is solid and versatile. Can Stewart Bradley do enough to surpass him on the depth chart? I could see Lenon in a reserve role, able to fill in for both Washington and Bradley. It may be a moot point anyway, since I could see them using all three quite a bit.

CB –Peterson vs. Greg Toler vs. A.J. Jefferson vs. Richard Marshall. In terms of sheer numbers and lack of absolute locks, this position has to be sorted out. Toler and Jefferson remain with the first unit, but to see Peterson and Marshall there to start the season makes sense. So does, quite frankly, any combination of the four. This is why they make preseason, for  battles like this.

There are other end-of-the-roster issues to figure out, but like every year, the top 53 probably already has 45 or 46 locks before camp even begins. That may be more true this year than any other, because the chances of an undrafted guy doing enough to make anything more than the practice squad seems slim without an offseason.

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41 Responses to “Thursday before the Packers (with a Fitz contract update)”

  1. By ALONEEAGLE on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Really starting to lokok forward to the season. Wasn’t really thrilled about the whole Kolb deal, mainly how much it cost, but it appears to be going in the right direction. My only real question for you would be Fitz? I don’t understand why he doesn’t want to talk about any extensions until 09/04 or later. From my understanding he got the QB he wanted, and it appears on paper that the organization did quite a bit in free agency to compete ( no they didn’t go crazy like the Eagles) but the appearently picked up quality players. Back to my question, if Rod Graves has publicly come out and said they want to make Fitz the highest paid reciever in franchise history, and one of the highest pd in the league, why hasn’t he signed yet? truthfully you can’t predict a winning team on paper and you can never predict injuries. Adrian Wilson case in point. It sounds to me like he wants to make sure he is on a winning team before he commits. We won’t know if this is a winning team til mid season. I really want to buy a Fitz jersey, but have no intention until he signs. I made that mistake with Boldin. Any way Darren, could you give me some more insight on this situation? Thanks

  2. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Aloneeagle —

    RE: Fitz

    As I have said many times, I expect Fitz to sign a new deal.

  3. By Jim in Missouri on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, whatever happened to Kenny Iwebema?

    I always thought he had the physical tools to make more of a contribution than he did, and then did he get hurt toward the end of last season and not come back?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Jim in missouri —

    RE: Iwebema

    He was still coming back from knee surgery. He blew out his knee last season. I think his chances to return were dealt a rough blow when they traded for Holliday.

  5. By Jesse Robles on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    We have X,Y,Z receivers, people need to stop crying about a number 2. As long as someone is out there catching the ball, who cares what number they are? Will they just move the Z to number 3 receiver so Fitz can show that numbers do not matter. Who cares, what does naming a #2 Receiver establish? As long as we get W’s in that column, is the only thing that matters. Bringing that NFC West Championship back to AZ is the only thing that matters. If naming a number 2 helps, I guess do it, but I do not see a significance in just naming somone.

  6. By Courtney on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Any word on if Spach is going to play? How’s the calf?

  7. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Courtney —

    RE: Spach

    No word. I expect to hear at game time.

  8. By clssylssy on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    The Pack is thick with WRs and TEs so this will be where they look to shed some weight. Wouldn’t might seeing us possibly picking up some of that weight since we are a little thin, and looking at all the injuries it seems we could use the depth. I like that Coach Whisenhunt’s style is to be flexible and fit the guy to the play. Larry’s September 4, date sounds a little like an ultimatum to me so I’m not so optomistic as Jim Trotter but feeling stressed.

  9. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Watch out for Packer’s rookie WR Randall Cobb, the Pack are high on him as receiver and kick returner. Enjoy your time in Green Bay, Darren. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the nice weather while your here in Dairyland. I live down the road in Madison, WI, but don’t the have time to get away to see the game in person. Will certainly be watching every play on TV though!

  10. By georgiebird on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Thank God we are in the NFC West-it gives Whiz time to get things sorted.
    But I remember all the years the Cardinals were in the NFC East- the toughest division in football. The Cardinals competed 8 times a year with the other tough teams in the division. To compound the problems, the Cardinals, at that time, were a low paying team with Stadium sharing facilities and an absolutely horrific travel schedule.
    So things could be worse- it’s for sure that Whiz has it much easier than his predecessors.

  11. By Paul H on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    RE Doucet. I’m not sure Early is safe for making the roster let alone being the #2. Has he stood out at all in Flagstaff? Unless I missed a day, I haven’t heard his name hardly mentioned. If he doesn’t perform better then any of the other guys then why keep the higher salary. He does bring a veteran presence but even that is dubious with the number of games he has missed in his career. If the team brings in another veteran WR then I think he’s the odd man out. We shall see.

  12. By cardsfan007 on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    hey darren,

    as the players go back into the locker room, could you try and get me some gamertags for xbox 360, from either one of these choices:

    Beanie Wells

    Patrick Peterson

    or, Darnell Dockett?


  13. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    cardsfan007 —

    RE: tags

    I have no idea what that means.

  14. By Dylan Clarke on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren i was wondering why we resigned Stephan Spach if we picked up King and Heap and drafted Housler and Drey, 5 tight ends seems like alot doesn’t it?

  15. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Dylan —

    RE: TEs

    At the time Spach resigned the Cards didn’t have King or Heap yet. And these aren’t guaranteed contracts.

  16. By Dylan Clarke on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Also darren does the drafting of Sherman mean the departure of Regan Maui? or do you think we keep 2 fb?

  17. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Dylan —

    RE: FB

    I don’t think they keep 2 FB. I think Sherman has the inside track on that.

  18. By Anonymous on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Desia Dunn needs to start at CB, he has great potential. He is also very mature and very intelligent when it comes to the game.

  19. By Andre on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Awesome article Darren, thanks.

  20. By Matthew on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, as of right now who would be your best guess as to who will start at cb for us

  21. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Matthew —

    RE: CB

    Marshall and Toler to start. But that’s just a guess.

  22. By wes on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    I heard heap wasnt playing, is he? think we will ever see spach and king in there ripping it up for the run game? speaking of spach, is he playing tomorrow?

  23. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Wes —

    RE: TE playing

    I don’t know if Spach is playing, or Heap. That’s a game-time decision, I think.

  24. By BigTom on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    I noticed the article did not address the battle for the remaining quarterback spots. Any thoughts, or are you just trying to avoid that conversation?

    Thanks again for all you do.

  25. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    BigTom —

    RE: Backup QB

    I was pretty much sticking to starting battles. Obviously there are many other battles going on elsewhere for backup roles. I think Skelton will be No. 2, Bartel No. 3 when it is all over.

  26. By Bob Diesel on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Good job D.

  27. By cards>niners on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    How much of an impact do you think this game will have on fitz’s decision to sign an extension?

  28. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Cards> —

    RE: Fitz deal/Packers

    This game? Zero.

  29. By R Robles on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds good hope we come out strong! GO CARDINALS!!

  30. By Zach on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply


    Any word on how Adrian Wilson is doing with his rehab? Also, from what I saw in the first preseason game and from what I’ve been reading, it looks like Bartel is doing a fair job at QB, do you think he could assume the backup role over Skelton?

  31. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Zach —

    RE: Wilson/Bartel

    I heard he is rehabbing fine but I don’t think we will have a better handle on that until near the start of the regular season. As for Bartel, yes, I could see a scenario where Bartel does that.

  32. By sigh on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply


    RE: Fitz

    The implication in the Jim Trotter piece, if you read it, was that Larry IS working on getting the contract done – NOW. Trotter writes, “sides are discussing a new deal that would keep him around for at least another six years.” And follows up with , “Fitzgerald…has put a self-imposed deadline of Sept. 4 — the final day of the preseason — for getting something done. After that, he says he won’t discuss an extension until after the season.” The context of the Trotter piece suggests the deadline is so that he can focus 100% on the regular season. Darren expresses as much in his article saying, “Fitz says he won’t talk extension after Sept. 4, but at the same time an agreement is ‘not too far away.'”

    Darren –

    I too was Initially upset by the ransom we seemed to pay for Kolb. Seeing more from Kolb and our newfound depth at cornerback (and possibly seeing the eagles get whomped last night) has really helped to allay some of those frustrations. Its looking more and more like Whiz may have had better insight into this transaction than your average fan. Funny how perspective is lost when emotions get in the way.

  33. By Peter in Canada on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Thanx for including the link to Trotter. Although you are my main go between to the team and I generally agree with your views, another opinion can be helpful.
    Trotter provided a different emphasis on things. His view on Kolb’s contribution, Horton’s scheme within a scheme re Peterson and his opinion on Williams were particularly interesting. Have a good time in GB.

  34. By clssylssy on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Wonder how Kolb is feeling going into Green Bay and up against Matthews again?
    Sure hope we can give him the protection he needs,,,I hate the idea of him trying to have to overthink the new offense he is having to learn while avoiding the bone crushers…*cringe*. Sounds like Hall is out because of his size and Whisenhunt’s favor for Bartel. Hall is small and scrappy and Bartel is what??? I apparently missed something in Bartels performance against the Raiders, so again, what makes him a better choice?
    Green Bay will probably only trot out their starters for show and play secondary and newbies for majority of the game. This is ONLY preseason and is a practical training exercise. So…..STAY HEALTHY MY FRIENDS!

  35. By cards62 on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Great article on the Packers game Darren.
    I am really looking forward to this game for the reasons you mentioned plus I would like to see if our young pup receiving corps have another very good week.
    Steven Williams impressed me last week.

    We will definitely know what we have at CB facing Aaron Rodgers. I hope the Pack will play him for the entire first half. Rashard Johnson needs to bounce back and have a good game at S. Man if Jefferson plays like he did last week we could really have a great find on our hands. I am nervous for him tonight, but also very excited to see how he does.

    Playing the Superbowl Champions will be a great test for both of our lines.

    Darren any truth to the rumor that Hadnot keeps having bacon & pineapple pizzas delivered to Duece Lutui’s room every night?

    Go Cards beat the Pack (My oldest son’s favorite team) He has always loved the color green especially seeing it flow out of my wallet. Have a great & safe weekend everyone.

  36. By D on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    boy, philly sure misses S. Bradley after watching last night’s game. I wonder if the Cards will need for him to play outside and start Lenon some this year inside

  37. By D on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    philly will be looking for a LB..send Lenon and a 6th to them for T. Cole ? 🙂

  38. By BIIRDISTHEWORD on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    After sept 4 Fitz doesn’t want to talk contracts…well lets hope they get this deal done…From everything we’ve been reading/hearing the outcome looks good…but just incase this doesn’t get done we can’t say they didn’t try cause in my opinion they did what they could to make fitz happy…MAN OOOOH MAAAN I CANT WAIT TILL AUG 27 for our 1st home preseason game…better yet i can’t wait till the 1st REGULAR season game…i’m sooo pumped…:)

  39. By Scott H on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    Should we expect to see the starters playing an entire half tonight?

  40. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Starters

    No. Not entire half.

  41. By Richcgallazteamsfan on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply


    Good article, i always read them, n just wanted to simply say thank you for your efforts and anybody and everybody who contributes on the up to speed blogs and news!!!!!!

    Others who dont fully understand the article’s or the CARDINAL TEAM Roster n how preseason works dont ask silly ?’s and waste time that Darren can use to retract more valuable team info for us. if u dnt follow closely enuff 2 understand Darrens blogs, which have way more than enuff info for even the average fan to follow n understand, please just dont ask.
    Sorry Darren if u do like to respond to all of the silly ?’s asked (my opinion) then by far its your show im just expressing feelings from a ruff 2010 season,

    Again thanks for all you do!!!!!!! LETS GO CARDINALS!!!!!!!

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