Finally, an OB offseason

Posted by Darren Urban on January 25, 2012 – 4:47 pm

There was a lot made about not having an offseason for many of the Cardinals last season because of the lockout. Then there is linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who is going into his third season without yet having had an offseason of work. The odd confluence of events — Schofield ripping up his knee in January before the 2010 draft, which cost him that summer, and then the aforementioned work stoppage — sure would seem to have dealt him a blow.

This isn’t about excuses for Schofield. The college defensive end had to watch Sam Acho make the same adjustment without offseason work. But there is reason to think at least one of those offseasons could have made a big difference. Schofield had 4.5 sacks and 29 tackles in a role that still had him playing much fewer snaps than veteran Clark Haggans.

“From a standpoint of seriously working on technique, actually on the field and doing football stuff, that’s where I haven’t had a chance to improve,” Schofield said.

Schofield only got a couple of weeks of practice in 2010 before he was used around midseason, thrust into defensive work late. This past season, Schofield had his bumpy times in training camp. The Cards were busy learning the defense at that point. The time to work on technique and fundamentals is the summer.

“It didn’t dawn on me until the season when we were working scout (team),” Schofield said. “That’s when you want to work on it but at the same time you want to go through it with your coach. Then you know exactly what he wants.”

Schofield wasn’t complaining (I was talking to him about another story and brought up the subject that he had never had an offseason). He’s been getting treatment for a bad left shoulder that he first hurt in the Green Bay preseason game but kept to himself as he tried to find his place on defense. NFL teams will have less time for offseason work this year because of the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement — the conditioning program will start in mid-April instead of late-March and on-the-field work has been reduced from 14 to 10 organized team activities, plus a minicamp — but anything is better than the nothing Schofield has had.

“I am very excited to get better,” Schofield said. “Last year was about the expectations and I’m not sure my expectations were as high as everyone else’s. I feel like the way I am learning the defense … I’m going to come back next year and be ready. Next year is my year to put everything together.”


Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »

24 Responses to “Finally, an OB offseason”

  1. By brad oneill on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    i have high hopes for schofield, from his very first strip on special teams i was like wow this kid is going to be special. He struggled this year and at times looked lost but when he found his way he was awesome. like his two consecutive sacks where the second resulted in a strip.

    He needs to get better before he can be great, but there have been glimpses of who the cardinals had hoped he could become.

  2. By Sir60 on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    Our defense looks extremely strong for next year if we can hold on to everyone.

  3. By Eric on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    I really am impressed with OB and Acho. Getting our hands on another young stud LB (I really liked Kaddo from Oregon in the EW Shrine Game, big motor) in the draft would be awesome for the future. Finally I think we are getting close to a top 5 D, and clearly in this division, thats what its going to take to win.

  4. By Jesse Robles on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    Dudes a beast. I believe him

  5. By Brandon LA on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    We’re excited for you OB!!!!!

  6. By in fitz we trust on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    alot of people were sketptics about drafting him with the injury he was coming off of in college, hes gonna be a steal if he can flourish. when i think about the youth and the great upside with out linebacker core, d. washington, sam acho, and scofield… im excited too see where were at in 2 years. gotta think about how our last too draft went, very successful overall, which makes me hope kiem stays!

  7. By kaleb on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    DARREN –

    Is it possible to trade kolb prior to march 17th?

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

    Kaleb –

    RE: Kolb

    Possible, yes. It won’t happen, though.

  9. By cdubbbbb on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    Schofield needs to prove himself and earn the starting job this season. If not, I’m sure the OLB we bring in will, assuming we do. Mario Williams is a beast who had 5 sacks in 5 games in his first season playing as an OLB. He is a FA and could be a franchise LB that could teach Acho and Scho. That’s a solid rotation… Williams, Acho, Schofield, Rookie.

  10. By Joram on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    Schofield + Acho + Lenon + Washington = pass rush!!!!

  11. By John the Draft Guy on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply

    Darren and Kaleb,

    Does Kolb have trade value? If Kolb had this year for another team, what would you be willing to give up for him? Kolb is one year away from having potential to being a journeyman backup. Bigger risk this year with big contract.

    Kolb has 3 possible outcomes this off season
    1. Be the starter for the cards
    2. Be a back up for Skelton (less likely)
    3. Be released if AZ signs Manning. ( outside shot)

    My fear about Kolb is he isn’t the guy. I know they won’t do this, but I would really be tempted to draft Ryan Tannehill with the 13th pick. If Kolb isn’t the guy, we are still chasing our QB AGAIN. Maybe, at some point, you need to take a QB that will be your guy. Think of how much better it is to be a Bengal or Panther fan now that your QB problem is solved and you can build around them.

    Of Course, if you land Manning, then get another weapon at wr . and trade down for more picks.

  12. By Darren Urban on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    John the draft guy —

    RE: Kolb status

    I would agree with your three points, and in that order.

  13. By John the Draft Guy on Jan 25, 2012 | Reply


    I agree that OB has to prove himself. I’m still wondering if he is a starter or rotational guy.
    As for Super Mario, it will be interesting if Houston tries to get him back. With Brooks and Barwin, they have two good OLBs. Williams is not a true OLB. He is really a DE. Maybe someone like the jags or raiders open the vault. But can’t see any way shape or form he ends up in AZ. He just doesn’t fit.

    I will make this bold prediction; Acho has double digit sacks this year.

  14. By Rugbymuffin on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    Schofield is a great pass rusher, and his surprising speed makes him valuable on special teams.

    For the first time since the Cardinals starting using the 3-4, I think they have a pair of NFL-caliber pass rushers in both OLB positions. Which is a rarirty in the league.

    I am not sure Schofield will ever be an every down OLB, but that would be icing on the cake. His pass rusher/special teams role fits well with this group.

    I thought the experimentation with Bradley at both the ILB and OLB showed promise, and to rotate Bradley and Schofield would be asset.

  15. By Jeff Gollin on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    It’s not only Schofield but I see the need for a bunch of our youngsters to get bigger and stronger via the offseason training/conditioning program.

    Both Schofield and Acho need to be get bigger/stronger and our newer DT’s (Carter and Eason) tend to lack a bit of sand in their pants and are vulnerable to being pushed around by more physical teams.

    And if Early is to remain a Cardinal, he too must become more of a beast in the crowd, get pushed around less and become less susceptible to nagging injury.

    And I’m guessing we’re going to want to see Housler add some muscle and both Beanie and Ryan W become “harder.”

    Any buzz around Cardinal Hq about the importance of meeting offseason conditioning goals?

  16. By Darren Urban on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    Jeff Gollin —

    RE: Buzz

    Not to be a smart ass, but there is no buzz around here right now. It’s January. It’s the dead time.

  17. By clssylssy on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    I hope the new guys learned a lot from not having the OTAs and facilities available to trains and stay fit and follow the lead of some of the veterans like Fitiz, Dockett, Wilson (and others). It seemed that there were an inordinate number of serious injuries throughout the league but some players who maintained their training routine in the off season faired much better than those who were “on vacation” and became sedentary. Either they managed to escape injury or they rebounded much faster. We all witnessed what can happen to otherwise “Elite” teams like the Colts when a main player goes down and I hope that now that we’ve gotten our “legs” we can stay healthy. The career of an elite professional football player is not parttime six months of the year and I’m excited that young talents like Scofield are willing to work at their craft through injury to “get there”. The league does a lot of talking about player safety but this seems to be more for the media than for the players. Kudos to those who have the work ethic to train hard during the offseason. Stay Healthy My Friends…Next Year is gonna Rock!

  18. By cardsalltheway on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    Big 10 OB(Wisconsin), all behind him. But really, how often can a team rely on players with major knee injuries? The unfortunate answer for the Cardinals ~ About 10% of the time. I can take it so far and have accepted it to a point, but there is a time to draw the line and it is here with OB. Anyone after OB has made me sick with excuses as to why this/that player ain’t performing. Expect MORE excuses with R. Williams AND G. Toler. Blaaah!

  19. By NJAzCardsFan on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    I agree with John the Draft guy about Kolb. The one thing about Kolb IF he can stay healthy is he HAS to develop a quicker release if he is ever to be a successful NFL starting QB. A quicker release by Kolb will accomplish two things for him- 1) He will take less of a beating due to a weak OL 2) The defense will bltiz less against him and the Cards receivers might be open more for him.
    Skelton should be the starting QB if he can become more accurate during the 1st 3 quarters. Personally, I would try to trade Kolb now to recoup a draft choice, before his value dropped more, if not release him, declare it a mistake, save the cap space and move on……

  20. By Andy K on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    If OLB Clark Haggans plays for 1 more year, will O’Brien Schofield be the replacement once CH retires? Or will Clark Haggans play for more than 1 year?

  21. By Darren Urban on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    Andy K —

    RE: LB futures

    No way to know right now. Even if Clark comes back, he doesn’t have a lock on a starting gig. And we don’t know who might arrive in draft or FA.

  22. By Buck on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    cardsalltheway Do you enjoy your life looking for bad things?

  23. By drummer-1 on Jan 26, 2012 | Reply

    @ Buck

    Pay no attention to him, he have run out of his meds….

  24. By cardsalltheway on Jan 27, 2012 | Reply

    I see the good in OB and I’ve never questioned the decision to draft him or his play. Eye-check!

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