Toler’s road back

Posted by Darren Urban on January 18, 2012 – 10:12 am

Following the update on the rehab of running back Ryan Williams, I also had a chance to catch up to the Cards’ other key figure who lost the season because of injury: cornerback Greg Toler. Toler tore his ACL in the third preseason game against the Chargers, the first major injury he had ever suffered.

Toler has been at the facility daily, getting treatment and working on the bike or doing some jogging. Toler said head athletic trainer Tom Reed said his knee was around 75 to 80 percent right now and the lateral movement is now the focus. Toler said he will “definitely” be back for training camp.

“I’m trying tp push it before then but Tom said he didn’t want to put too much wear and tear on the ligament,” Toler said.

Toler was in line to start before going down with the injury (it would have been interesting to know how the secondary would have played out had Toler stayed healthy, because it was Patrick Peterson as the third corner and Richard Marshall as the fourth at that point, with A.J. Jefferson starting). He insists the process of coming back has made him a stronger person.

“I’ve always been athletic and never been slowed down (because of injury),” Toler said. “I’ve never been hurt to the point where you have to put in some work or you don’t come back from an injury like that. It makes you value every second you are out there.”

Toler isn’t unaware of the strides the defense made during the season — “We looked good and I was happy to see that,” he said — but he knows he is far behind the learning curve for a scheme it took most guys half the season and a lot of playing time to understand. “I will try to learn as fast as I can,” Toler added.

He should get that chance. Toler’s contract is up, although he is a restricted free agent and he is expected to be tendered an offer by the Cards.

“I would love to be here,” he said. “I love all the coaches. I would like to stay a Cardinal. It’s all I know.”

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40 Responses to “Toler’s road back”

  1. By Joram on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Toler come back!

  2. By Chris Robot on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    I thought Toler was becoming a semi-bright spot in the secondary and was looking forward to his season until it was cut short.

    I know some people critique and say that Toler gives up some plays but the reality is, DRC was opposite of him and a lot more throws came at Toler.

    Best of luck to him and if he can learn the system, I think he could be better than Jefferson.

  3. By beardinals on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Looking forward to seeing him back. Is it August yet?

  4. By Peter in Canada on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Chris –

    I agree with you. He was picked on in 2010 but improved a lot towards the end of the season. He was the projected #1 corner at the start of 2011. If he returns at 100% in training camp he will be a real asset going forward.

  5. By MIKE G on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope Toler can recover from the injury and along with Ryan Williams contribute during the 2012 season. Toler is physical and I think fits with Hortons defense. The key is learning the system because he is behind.
    Darren –what are the chances of both Rashad Johnson and Richard Marshall leaving??? & if they both leave –do you see us drafting a safety??? Replacing Rashad and looking at A-Dubs age??? This kid Barron from Alabama looks good!

  6. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Safeties

    I don’t see the Cards letting both Marshall and Johnson leave. Maybe neither.

  7. By Peter on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    I always thought he would be the first corner after DRC was traded and then Peterson broke out. He was great in 2010 and I think better than the Jefferson, Adams and Marshall. I haven’t seen much of Marshay Green so I can’t really tell. I think the secondary is the most promising component of the team next year. I haven’t seen Williams run in the regular season, but there have been rave reviews from coaches when he practiced. With a revamped line and more refined QB play, this team is playoff bound.

    Darren, is there anything you can drop on us about what to expect in the draft at this time?

  8. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Peter —

    RE: Draft

    Nope. Still way too early.

  9. By R Robles on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren with our 1st pick who may we be looking at? or atleast position wise?

  10. By Jesse on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    Considering Toler plays a physical game, how do you see him adapting to Horton’s scheme?
    Personally I think him, Peterson and Marshall are a great combo of athletic, physical corners. CB blitzes could be very dangerous.

  11. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Jesse —

    RE: Toler with Horton

    I always thought Toler would fit well in this scheme. But we have to see how it plays out.

  12. By SteveG on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Will be as if we got 2 extra draft picks with both these guys back (hopefully).

    When do OTA’s start? and can we buy tickets?

  13. By Eric on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Tolers physical play was missed and will definetely be a great addition to the secondary.

  14. By cards62 on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hurry back Greg.
    The defense is having a lot of fun now and we would like for you to join the party.

    I think our secondary was the strongest group on our team for 2011, and I will be surprised if they are not even better during 2012. The weakest link is Money Mike and I know the secondary has arrived when we cut him. Hope our DL, LB, RB, WR group catch up to them in 2012.
    Concerning the draft I think we will select one of the two offensive linemen out of Stanford or a WR in the first round.

    Darren – Can you provide us with an update on the Haley situation, and did you read the strange article on Haley from Yahoo Sports? I still want Haley for our OC.

    Go Cards and hurry back Mr. Toler

  15. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    cards62 —

    RE: Haley

    There is nothing to report right now. I’m not sure Haley-to-Az is going to happen, unless he’d want to be QB coach. I expect Miller to remain OC.

  16. By Shane on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    I know this isn’t exactly the right forum Darren and i apologize. But no Blogs on Grimm are up that I can see.

    We as a fan base are extremely frustrated with him as a coach. Since his tenure here we have seen more unblocked rushers and blitzes not being picked up than at anytime in Cardinal history. It is insane to watch Levi brown turn to the inside and double team an interior DL only to see the DE/OLB lined up right in front of him get a free pass to the QB. It happens a lot. Same with Keith. Can you tell us is this a scheme IE coaching that is taught? Or is it just boneheaded plays by inferior OL?

    I watch so much football and so many other teams are able to stonewall blitzes. How many times do you see us send 5, 6 , 7 blitzers on D and see the opposing team pick it up? Yet when teams blitz us many times with only 5 or 6 they seem to always get a free shot at the QB. Kolb was literally running for his life. The OL is the reason Warner retired IMO even though he was able to mask a lot of it with his quick release and able to recognize where to go.

    All in all and I know you may have to preach the company line. Grimm is a HOF player. But in your opinion do you consider him a good coach? Or is it just lack of talent on the OL? Thanks for any response you may have!

  17. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Shane —

    RE: Grimm

    Honestly, I can’t tell you. I would guess there are multiple factors at work. Obviously the offensive line hasn’t performed well enough over the years. How much is the coaching? Whether I work for the team or not, I couldn’t say for sure. The questions are fair, IMO. But I don’t see how ownership would give him another contract if they were convinced they were throwing money away to do so.

  18. By Lynn on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply


    Will there be any way to access the team link from the AZCardinals website without signing up for Facebook? If not, you’ve lost a fan dating back to the Chicago Cardinals.

  19. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Lynn —

    RE: Facebook/site

    Not sure what you mean. “Access the team link?” There is nothing that says you have to be on Facebook to get on the site.

  20. By DannO on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, about Tolers’ injury. Not being an athlete, I do not know much about knee injuries except that they can be devastating. Does the knee fully mend? Once experiencing this type (Toler’s) of knee injury is recurrence more likely? Thanx for your great articles; DannO

  21. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    DannO —

    RE: Toler

    Yes, the injury eventually heals. I think whether it makes another injury more likely is purely case-by-case. Everyone is built differently. No way to know for sure.

  22. By Kevin on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply


  23. By Phoenixraven1 on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Horton is going to love having Toler back! Remember that hit Toler put on a WR in Atlanta last year!

  24. By 949cardsfan on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    how many picks do we have in the draft this year? what rounds?

  25. By Darren Urban on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    949cardsfan —

    RE: Draft picks

    Right now, there are six picks, one in each round except for the second.

  26. By Chris Robot on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    RE: phoenixraven1 (Hit in Atlanta — I still don’t think it’s a penalty.. he didn’t really launch and looks to be shoulder to shoulder or shoulder to helmet)

    Also: Nice athletic play to knock down this one:

  27. By georgiebird on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    People on this site are off base complaining about Grimm. Grimm is an excellent OL coach. The problem with the Cardinals offense is there is no offensive team speed- this allows the defense to put extra people near the line of scrimmage.
    In almost every game, there are speed rushers getting around O tackles, I don’t care what team it is- that’s the way the game is played.
    Last year, about 80% of the fans on this site were clamoring for the Cards to draft Von Miller. This year Miller showed he was the “invisible man” once the offense put a blocker on him. Cards got it right picking Peterson, the best player in the draft (including Newton).

  28. By AndyStandsUp on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Toler is a natural tackler.
    If Peterson can show enough DB presence where opposing teams throw away from him, Greg will more than ready to pick up the slack.

  29. By brad oneill on Jan 19, 2012 | Reply

    tolers learning curve will be much less painful than the others. for one thing the other 10 guys have a clue as to what they are doing unlike the first few games in 2011. Second toler has an entire year of watching the system in action.

    Toler is one of my favorite players. He took a ton of shots to his side when he played opposite drc and he more than held up well. at that point in his career he was the new guy trying to keep his job, now that he has some experience under his belt, a full year of study time and a humbling injury to help mature him the guy is going to be positively deadly. I am loving our secondary. Peterson is going to start ball hawking now that he has the defense down and Toler and the safeties are going to control the deep routes like never before.

  30. By cardsalltheway on Jan 21, 2012 | Reply

    5 is the number of players I think is on our roster that have had major knee surgeries or have the same incision/cut on their knee-cap(J. Dray, O’Brien Schofield, G. Toler, R. Williams, D. Zastudil). That’s almost 10% of our roster, are there any more, am I missing one or more?

    Now, let’s see what they have done for us…
    O’brien Schofield has clearly shown the most promise albeit a slow process. He had 12 tackles in 2010 and 37 in 2011(see the link below for 2 year career stats)…

    Jim Dray’s 2 year career consists of 26 games played with 8 tackles and 5 catches for 72 yards.
    D. Zastudil had a lower net average in 2011 compared to his career stats including less punts inside the 20. However, he had less touch-backs. Due to his history with injuries, he couldn’t play every game in 2011, Ben Graham was called back to replace him temporarily.
    Greg Toler ~ Remains to be seen.
    Ryan Williams ~ Remains to be seen.

    Personally, I wouldn’t waste trainers time and salary cap $$$ with either Greg Toler or Ryan Williams. They simply won’t be able to perform at the required level anytime soon and we’ll always hear excuses about them. Also, they won’t able to play as much as any other player we could easily get to replace them. NO EXCUSES, field the Cardinal team with players on the grass who can play without worrying about past major knee injuries.

  31. By Darren Urban on Jan 21, 2012 | Reply

    Cardsalltheway –

    RE: knee injuries

    You are truly priceless.

    Under your premise, of course, the Cards should have never drafted Anquan Boldin. The Patriots should have dumped Tom Brady too.

  32. By cardsalltheway on Jan 21, 2012 | Reply

    Quarterbacks like Brady don’t have to run if an NFL team/coaches etc…can agree to provide some blocking up front for him. As for wide receiver, it’s easier to make moves/cuts rather than react to them which is what Greg Toler will have to do as a CB. Why didn’t you give me the % of NFL RB’s and CB’s who have returned the next season with great success?

    What I’m saying is it’s a long road to recovery and neither Toler or Williams will be able to do as much in 2012 as someone else without a MAJOR knee injury. Sure, if they’re lucky they could produce a little(someday, or perhaps at least 18 months later like Obrien Schofield) but it’s not going to be until late in the 2012 season so why keep them on the team, or, in Toler’s case sign him to a new contract? Toler would have to accept a contract with less pay in 2012 since he ain’t gonna be on the Sunday field much as a CB.

    Geez, forgive me for wanting players on the field without diminished performance.

  33. By Darren Urban on Jan 22, 2012 | Reply

    cardsalltheway —

    RE: Injured players

    I’m not saying it’s not a hard road to hoe. But go back and look what you said — you said the Cardinals shouldn’t bother with rehabbing them. The quote was “Personally, I wouldn’t waste trainers time and salary cap $$$ with either Greg Toler or Ryan Williams.” Well, if you aren’t wasting trainers time or money, you are saying cut them. If you don’t rehab them, they will never make it back, in 2012 or ever.

    You can want whichever players you want to have. But if you dump to the side every guy who has a major injury, you will cost your team.

  34. By William Barry on Jan 22, 2012 | Reply

    I just saw this blog on the Card’s website…my dream just came true, the Niners lost to the Giants in the Championship game,….its so great to see the Niner’s lose, only because they think they are the best thing since sliced bread….Harbaugh is so stuck on himself…Mark my words, the Cards will win the division next year, and I dont see the Niners bouncing back to the division title. Toler will be a great addition to Ray Hortons defense, and I cant wait to see Ryan Williams running wild in opponets backfields…..Our defense is really looking good…If I’m not right, the Cards were ranked somewhere about 10th in Red Zone defense in the whole league..~~~~~~

  35. By cardsalltheway on Jan 22, 2012 | Reply

    No, I’m saying you ought not draft players with major injuries because that will only add to the list. What is wrong with cutting players with major knee injuries, we cut “OUR(Quarterback/Matt Leinart)GUY” in the preseason who was perfectly healthy, threw only 20 passes, and who never had a major surgery?
    We have drafted two of our 5 players with major knee injuries of late, Jim Dray and O’Brien Schofield(plus Zastudil as a free agent). No team can expect all players(with major knee injuries) to be outstanding, and that is what WE expect from ALL our players. If you decide to keep players with such deficiencies on the team then what should anyone expect but mediocrity?
    If you start out at a disadvantage with 10% of the roster with major knee injuries then that decreases our chance at success, plain and simple. DUH!!!
    BTW, Boldin returned to play after a major surgery during college, NOT during the NFL. I’m still waiting for your ratio or CB’s and/or RB’s who have returned the FOLLOWING year to the NFL with great success???. Please don’t talk up Ryan William’s and Greg Toler’s chances as you’ve been doing for the sake of Cardinal management and Ken W.

  36. By cardsalltheway on Jan 22, 2012 | Reply

    By calling me “Priceless” you want others to think I’m wrong and you/Cardinals are correct to keep players with major knee injuries. You are going against the odds. How foolish is that?
    I’ve shown what the current players have done, if the Ken W. chooses to keep R. Williams and G. Toler then we can only wait and see. The odds are in my favor. Although I do with the best for them since I know how it is goes. I just don’t think any player should expect to be kept on a team the year after they experience such a terrible injury.

    Come on Darren, give us Cardinal fans a reason to believe we should expect R. Williams to be like “a few exceptions to this(ACL) trend, as Jamal Lewis and McAllister were both able to make an impact the season after a reconstructive knee procedure.”

    Do the Cardinals have the offensive line blocking like McAllister had in 2005 with New Orleans??? Or do the Cardinals have the offensive line blocking that the Baltimore Ravens had in 2001 with Jamal Lewis???

  37. By Darren Urban on Jan 22, 2012 | Reply

    cardsalltheway —

    RE: Reason to believe

    Not my job to give you a “reason to believe.” My job is to write interesting stories and try and keep everyone abreast the best I can of what is going on with the team. Not sure from where you are quoting the part of about Lewis and McAllister. I never wrote that. As for “I just don’t think any player should expect to be kept on a team the year after they experience such a terrible injury,” just seems incredibly short-sighted. You either keep them or you don’t. Again, the Pats should’ve cut Brady? Extreme example, yes, but you certainly don’t leave any room for leeway in your belief.

    And we both know why I used the term priceless and it has nothing to do with me wanting to make people think you are wrong.

  38. By NickP on Jan 31, 2012 | Reply

    @Cardsalltheway Darren is just being nice when he says priceless. Let me say what Darren wants to say. You cardsalltheway are a horrible fan who is drinking half empty cups of life. It must suck to wake up everyday and look through those lenses lol Go find another team to flood the blogs with pessimistic opinions on why there team sucks and is making bad decisions! Last I checked you were not employed by any NFL team (Thank GOD) So leave the reporting to a real reporter like Darren. Do I absolutely love everything that is on this site, no. But to come on hear day after day and rehash the same dribble is getting tiresome on the readers and im sure Darren too. Thanks again!

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  2. Feb 16, 2012: Word From the Birds BlogToler gets his degree — and some dorm life «
  3. Mar 7, 2013: Free Agent Profile: Greg Toler, CB, Arizona Cardinals - NY Superbowl Insider

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