Fleming and the secondary

Posted by Darren Urban on August 22, 2012 – 12:29 pm

Rookie Jamell Fleming isn’t going to go into a bunch of detail about his work at cornerback.

“I want to keep working hard I take pride in what I do,” Fleming said. “I want to be the best.”

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton had said he thought Fleming had hit a bit of a wall in camp. Fleming had looked good in OTAs and minicamp, so maybe a bit of a plateau was going to come. Fleming shrugged it off – “All rookies get a little wall in the way” he said. “You’ve got to push through it.” – and he certainly wasn’t bothered by the two questionable calls against him last game, one for hitting a defenseless receiver and the other for pass interference. Both calls certainly could have gone the other other way.

“Stuff is going to happen like that in the NFL, especially at corner,” Fleming said.

There is little question the third-round pick will be counted upon this season. The battle at defensive back has turned into the interesting story as expected, although I think the Cards would have liked more dynamic plays at this point to help separate people. I think right now, barring something odd, William Gay will stay as the other cornerback starter alongside Patrick Peterson. Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes are your safeties.

Then what?

At safety, veterans James Sanders and Rashad Johnson have been running as backups and special teamers, but now the Justin Bethel factor comes in. Bethel is getting some work at cornerback now as well as safety, but he will be on the roster because of special teams. Do they keep five safeties because of that? Could the Cards keep 10 instead of nine defensive backs? If so, that leaves five cornerbacks, or three to join Peterson and Gay. Fleming is on this team. So that leaves Greg Toler, Michael Adams, A.J. Jefferson and Crezdon Butler vying for two spots.

Fleming isn’t ready to step in across from Peterson, but he could end up as the nickel back.

“I think he is learning and growing, especially playing the nickel inside and playing this level of competition,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It’ll ramp up quite a bit in the regular season. He has done a nice job from when he first came in as far as what was expected of him. He has been told he needs to get better at some things but I’ve been pleased with how he has progressed.”

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Posted in Blog | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Fleming and the secondary”

  1. By Tranell on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Darren how are Jefferson and Toler looking in camp?

  2. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Tranell —

    RE: Jefferson and Toler

    Toler has been sidelined with a knee problem. Jefferson has been OK.

  3. By Tranell on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    @Darren also is Blake Gideon expected to make the team?

  4. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Tranell —

    RE: Gideon

    Maybe practice squad. Don’t see him on the 53.

  5. By Brent on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    The remaining 2 CBs have to be Toler and Jefferson. The only question is whether Toler can stay healthy. I think everyone likes Money Mike, but let’s face it – Bethel had show he does everything Adams can do on special teams, but better, plus block kicks. Adams has been destroyed in coverage from what I have seen. Jefferson is the backup kick returner, so I don’t see him going anywhere. Butler is good and I hate to see him go, but there just isn’t a spot.

  6. By Steve on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply


    Any chance Toler starts the year on PUP? Seems like he is still having issues recovering from his knee injuries. This may allow him to get 100 % healthy and prevent further issues while also seeing if Adams special teams prowess should keep him on the team over Jefferson (I think Butler is a sure cut).

  7. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Toler PUP

    You can’t put a player on PUP once he has practiced in camp.

  8. By Sir60 on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    I have only seen Bethel on special teams where he has excelled. I think our special teams will be something special. I am also impressed with Flemings play. Both penalty calls you mentioned, I don’t believe, would not have been called by regular officials.

    I like our defense a lot. We have serious depth almost everywhere. Our O-line isn’t nearly as bad as many have made it out to be. In the last half of last year, we had very good success with 2 WR’s, 2 TE sets, running and passing. We haven’t seen that much in preseason.

  9. By tom on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Fleming seems like he plays the nickel. For those calls against him in the game i just liked the fact he was there contesting the pass. this is the preseason so no need to panic. Fleming still needs to learn the nfl style, but this kid has some skills. I like pp and gay outside for sure. As for the 4th and 5th corners i think we should go with toler and adams. Both of them have played well for us and adams is one of the best tacklers on the team.

  10. By Rob on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply


    How is Sturdivant progressing? I have not heard much about him (which I guess could answer my question)

    And do you see Alfonso Smith or another Tailback making it onto the final roster (given Wells and Williams are healthy)?

  11. By Darren Urban on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Rob —

    RE: Sturdivant/tailback

    I assume they keep four tailbacks again, like last year.

    Sturdivant has an uphill battle. It’s mentioned in my upcoming “Wednesday before” blog post.

  12. By john the draft guy on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Thank God they don’t have to make that decision right now.

    Toler, being injured, is a huge question mark. In the first game, I noted he was playing so far off and tenetive. He just might not be 100% yet. Can you enter the season with that question mark?

    AJ is a solid backup and has special teams skills. Adams is a special teams guy, but not much of a cover guy.

    I’ll look in thursday’s game for Bethel at CB. If he can be competent, I think they only keep 9. If he struggles, they might keep 10.

    So, Wilson, Rhodes, PP, Gay and Fleming are in. Bethel makes 6. Johnson and Sanders now reaches 8 and AJ is number 9. I’d rather keep 7 D-lineman and 9 DBs

    Darren, Could Toler be put on some kind of PUP team or will he be out there for preseason? If no to both, he looks like the odd man out.

  13. By D on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    I think the jury is still out on R. Johnson…maybe we as fans expected too much being one of the smartest players Saben coached….I think Toler’s knee issues will help decide on one of the corner spots…

  14. By Rio on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Gay can’t or won’t tackle, Flemimg is the guy.

  15. By D on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    I would rather see Sturvdivant backing up D Wash along with Walker backing up Bradley at MLB than Lennon on the team…watch this will be Lennon’s last year in the league and Sturvidant will be signed off the waiver wire and given more time with another team…

  16. By mike in gilbert on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Adams seems to be one of the better tacklers, and always seems to down punts inside the 5. I’d hate to see him cut.

  17. By AzDesertRat1953 on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    I want to see what happens Thursday night, the O and D will play more than half the game, and that means just about everyone will get some on field time to see how they are doing.

    I for one would like to see the same effort in this game as in the Oakland Game.

    Floyd, Fleming, Bethel, Peterson and other drafts in the past years.
    I don’t know who changed the mindset in the front office to go after the Best players instead of what we Might Need, that sometimes are not that good. Who ever it was that started this trend, keep doing what you are doing, IMHO it is the Right way to Draft.

    GO CARDS!!!

  18. By buddy ball on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Butler to practice squad and toler gets cut we keep adams and jefferson. Plus convience of knowing toler won’t get claimed.

  19. By Brad Wheeler on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Adams has had his time, now it’s time to go, we have a great special teamer in Bethel, Adams is no longer needed, he is too short, yes he can tackle, but we need corners that can deflect a pass and stop a play, not make a tackle after a play has already been made…Time for Bethel to take over the reigns as special teamer and keep a corner who can actually defend a pass like Toler, Jefferson…

  20. By buddy ball on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    The whole reason adams is here is he does deflect ect I hate short guys but he’s been a lifesaver.toler can’t make it off trainers table so he’s not deflecting anything. Jefferson I see hope because he’s atleast up and down. Toler is a down arrow.whiz doesn’t effect the up or downs he’s just as surprised as we are. He needs a team of self starters in contract years… Oh wait didnt

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