Toler’s difficult daily lessons

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2011 – 8:16 am

Greg Toler would like to be a starting cornerback for the Cardinals. He’s certainly not going to turn down the chance to work with the first unit. But that also means that much of the time in practice, he’s covering Larry Fitzgerald. That job can be hard.

Fitzgerald has always been good in practice but his turns on the Flagstaff fields this year have made him look particularly sharp. Spectacular, even. Often, Toler is the victim. Monday afternoon was a great example. On one deep pattern, Toler was in perfect position. But Fitzgerald — excellently using the strength from his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame — squeezed the route and basically boxed Toler out on the run while hauling in the Kevin Kolb pass over his head on the run.

Later, Toler cut in front to get his hand on a ball thrown as Fitzgerald cut across the middle, about 12 yards downfield. It looked like a pass breakup — except Fitzgerald kept hand-fighting in the play, and a moment after some chaos and a bobbling ball, Fitzgerald someone plucked it out of the air and took off downfield, leaving Toler defeated again.

“I look at it like if I am able to catch passes on him every single day and he knows Fitz is doing it, I am going to give him the best look,” Fitzgerald said. “I am trying to get him ready to play, and he is doing the same thing for me. I had the same thing with DRC. That’s what it is all about. It’s not about crushing anyone’s spirit. He gets me sometimes, I get him sometimes, but we are teammates. If he breaks up a pass, I tell him, ‘Greg, that’s a hell of a play.’ If I get one, he’ll say, ‘Fitz, that’s a nice catch.’ It’s about building the team.”

Toler acknowledged battling Fitzgerald isn’t easy, but his relationship with Fitz has impacted him in multiple ways.

“Before every game, he’ll come up to me and say, ‘G, just take it one day at a time,’ ” Toler said. “Hearing that from him … I can honestly say, looking at other teams’ receivers sometimes, not taking anything from their game, I’m like, ‘You’re not number 11.’ He settles me down before the game with any butterflies.”

That’s the ultimate advantage for Toler. Rarely if at all will he take on a receiver in a game as good as the guy he must cover every other day of the week. So Toler will continue to take his lumps and try to improve. If nothing else, he gets practice on one of the most important parts of being a cornerback — quickly forgetting the previous play when it goes against you.

“It’s always for the next play,” Toler said. “Going against him, he is so technique-sound, I know he studies DBs to a ‘T.’ He knows when to lean on you, he knows when to give you the ‘high hat,’ because he knows what DBs are looking for. That’s just him being a great player. And I get to compete every day with him.”


Tags: ,
Posted in Blog | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “Toler’s difficult daily lessons”

  1. By cards62 on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Toler how do you become a probowl CB? Practice Practice Practice

    Darren how has Peterson and Jefferson looked against FItz. in practice?

    This is another Larry benefit our CB get better or they get cut.
    Should also help our tackles facing Dockett and Campbell in practice on a daily basis.

    I am looking forward to the San Diego game another great test for our defense.

    Go Cards

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

    Cards62 —

    RE: Other CBs versus Fitz

    Honestly, I don’t recall many Jefferson v Fitz plays. Peterson has gotten schooled once or twice.

  3. By MIKE G on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Excellant chance for Toler to step up and replace DRC. Hopefully he can improve and build on last year–I remember his pick against Dallas that he scored a TD on. Playiong against Fitz in practice has to makke him better. Who do you think will be our starting corners when all is said and done?? Toler and Marshall???

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

    Mike G —

    RE: Starting CBs

    I think all four top guys are still in the mix.

  5. By Kurt on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Toler just needs some time and seasoning, he’s a great talent

  6. By darrel on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    darren i kno this ? has been tossed around alot but … no ones has really made there case to be the number 2 wr … who do u see playin oppsite fitz startin week 1 ?

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

    Darrel —

    RE: No. 2 WR

    Not sure what you are talking about for not making the case. Roberts has had a good camp. I expect him to be the starter.

  8. By D on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Steve Slaton is in his last yr/contract-only making $550k-I would offer one of the 6th round picks in next years draft for him–then see how he and Beanie plays this year to determine who to bring back next year…

  9. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    We’ll sure miss DRC’s six foot frame. I don’t know why most DBs are midgets compared to WRs. Why can’t DBs be 6’3″ and run with receivers? I bet the league average height for DBs is 5’10” MAX.

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

    Ottis —

    RE: Size of DBs

    Because if you are 6-3 and have hands and can run, they make you a receiver.

  11. By John the draft guy on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Another reason to like Fitz, Instead of taking plays off or half-$ssing it, Fitz goes hard every play to try to improve. In doing so, he makes others better; Toler, Kolb and the other wideouts who are watching his approach. Guys like Walter Payton and Jerry Rice elevated their teammates game the same way.

    Best line; I can honestly say, looking at other teams’ receivers sometimes, not taking anything from their game, I’m like, ‘You’re not number 11.’
    No GT, their not. and dont worry, there are a whole lot of CBs fearing what you do everyday.

  12. By John the draft guy on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve heard the Slaton comments and I think that is the best idea yet. I heard he might be cut though.

    On 2 of Beanie’s runs, Roberts had excellent blocks. He also caught 2 balls for first downs in a quarter and a half. Thats what they want out of Roberts. 4-6 catches and some blocking to spring Wells. This last game, I think they got what they wanted.

  13. By CZarr on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Slaton has had ball control issues. I wouldn’t shut the door on Alphonso Smith just yet. His cuts looked crisp and judgement relatively sound.

    Roberts will make a fine #2. Although, if he got a nose job he’d shave .02 off his 40 time… Ok that was mean, but my nose is big too, so that makes it ok right?

    I love that everyone is freaked about #2 WR issues and RB depth when Kolb is putting up similar numbers that got a certain QB cut from the team last year.

  14. By richard moreno on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    My little story. Toler is a cool dude. When he was a rookie, i was working at the mall in glendale selling phones, he was in there late afternoon with will davis and a women. i did not know who they were expect guys walking through and i tried to stop Toler to talk to him and sell him a phone but the girl he was with pulled him away. It was fun to hear who they were after some ppl told me later on. He looked like a regular cool guy. Came from a small school but hes got talent. Hes a sound football player.. The NFL will find you, they did it with Eric Swan

  15. By Secret on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply


    What is your favorite part about covering the Arizona Cardinals?

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

    Secret —

    RE: My job

    As much as a grind as it can be, and as stressful as it can be, I know I have a job many, many, many people would love to have. I consider myself lucky.

  17. By AndyStandsUp on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Even though he’s listed at 6-0, one of the better tacklers on the defense and should be an upgrade over DRC in that area.

    New nickname for him from me is “Little GT Ohhh!”
    Wa, wa, wa,wa, wahhhh,
    Wa, wa, wa, wa, wa.

  18. By georgiebird on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply

    Your article on Toler and Fitz is a feel good story. However, it might have little to do with making Toler better.
    Toler may get to a point that he can do a pretty good job on Larry during practice. Then, in the next game, he faces a speed burner like DeSean Jackson and Toler may get burned three or four times.
    In practice, I would much rather a young defensive back go up against talented speed burners (which Cards don’t have). Larry is a special receiver but he doesn’t scare you with his speed.

  19. By Scott H on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply


    RE: Kolb

    Oh my gosh…we’ve already played TWO PRE-SEASON games and Kevin Kolb doesn’t look like Tom Brady…this is a disaster!!! We should demote him to back-up QB immediately! Or, maybe we should just cut our losses now and release him…after all, he’s had plenty of time to prove himself by now, right?

    Just relax, man. And maybe the reason why so many people are concerned about depth at WR and RB is because they have a good reason to be concerned.

  20. By CZarr on Aug 23, 2011 | Reply


    Eh, I was unaware I came off as anything other than amused and apathetic. No one said anything about Tom Brady or demotions.

    I just figured people should be more concerned about the 63 million dollar mediocre man as opposed to Roberts, who has blown the top off defenses (been wide open downfield and not been seen) quite a few times the last two games, as a 2nd WR. Coupled with the fact that we will certainly see more 2 TE sets this year with the depth we have at TE and 2 receivers that can perform at an adequate or better level for a WR2 makes me wonder what valid concerns you’re talking about.

    Are you even watching the preseason games or camps? You could have put Adrian Peterson in the RB slot the past 2 games and gotten the same YPC. Running backs only have a small slice in the problem pie.

  21. By brad oneill on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    first real game of the season.

    Fitz to toler- Man I am glad i dont have to go up against you today.

    Toler to fitz- back at ya 11.

    Toler- 2 picks with one going for a td.

    Fitz- sits the second half with a 24 point lead 2 touchdowns and 8 catches.

  22. By Scott H on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    CZarr –

    Well, first, unless you have a copy of the playbook, then don’t pretend that you know what kind of sets we will be running. Your “assumptions” are no more valid than anyone else’s.

    Yes, I have watched some of the two games so far. And? Perhaps you are familiar with the fact that what teams do during pre-season games is often NOT what they will be doing during the regular season games??? I’m pretty sure we see that, like, every year…my point being that seeing every single play of every pre-season game doesn’t necessarily show you anything. Oh, but I forgot…you have the playbook, so you know more than the rest of us.

    Obviously, you have a pre-determined opinion of Kevin Kolb and that’s fine. But what if you’re wrong? Where Kolb is concerned, we will know at some point what he is or is not. But since we do NOT know right now, just cool it with the supposed-to-be-witty nick names.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: