Search for depth in free agency

Posted by Darren Urban on April 15, 2013 – 5:18 pm

Each free agent signing brings with it immediate reaction, and that’s understandable. But the proper context isn’t always immediately there for the player and what will turn out to be his eventual role (see Stanton, Drew.) And even at the time, a signee was always seen as a reserve, and that is by design from General Manager Steve Keim.

“We not only got some starters but some key role players, guys who can come in and play 15 to 20 snaps, help keep fresh legs, and in a 60-minute game, to me, it’s extremely important to have quality depth,” Keim said.

He particularly noted the defensive line, to help with guys like nose tackle Dan Williams or defensive tackle Darnell Dockett if they get gassed. Keim likes the idea of bringing in Matt Shaughnessy and Frostee Rucker without having much of a dropoff. Looking at the veteran free agents the team has signed there definitely seems to be a mix:

— RB Rashard Mendenhall, starter

— QB Drew Stanton, reserve

— S Yeremiah Bell, TBD

— CB Jerraud Powers, TBD

— LB Lorenzo Alexander, TBD

— LB Jasper Brinkley, starter

— CB Antoine Cason, TBD

— DE Matt Shaughnessy, reserve

— DE Frostee Rucker, reserve

— S Jonathan Amaya, reserve

— G Chilo Rachal, reserve

Obviously either Powers or Cason will be a backup/nickel guy, because Patrick Peterson will be in there. I’d guess Alexander will be a reserve but he’ll get snaps on defense. Bell could end up as a backup if a high-end safety is drafted, but he’s slated to start for now and Rachal’s spot could be impacted with the draft too depending on how the offensive line ends up shaking out.

Ultimately, not every name signed in free agency draws the “Wow” response, nor is it intended to. That famous board Keim built for free agency had more than star(ter) power in mind.


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Posted in Blog | 30 Comments »

30 Responses to “Search for depth in free agency”

  1. By Nick Pepe on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Darren- is Nick Eason still a Card and if so will he still be at training camp? And has the hyphen signed anywhere? Sorry if these have been addressed previously in social media outlets.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  2. By Darren Urban on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Nick –

    RE: Eason/LaRod

    Neither player has signed anywhere.

  3. By Scott H on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    darren –

    I asked recently and pardon me if I just didn’t catch your reply but since we are taking inventory of the off-season so far, what – if anything – ever became of Joshua Cribbs? If he’s even still within the realm of consideration, will they make a decision on that before draft day? I mean, based on what he HAS been prior to the injury, I’d say he might actually be a “WOW” factor player. But, clearly, that is in question SINCE the injury…yes?

  4. By Darren Urban on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Cribbs

    There is nothing new with Cribbs. I don’t know if anything could still happen.

  5. By Ricardo C on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    I’m not going to lie Darren that video you posted of the cards pumped me up!…it’s nice to see palmer throwing to fitz and Floyd.

  6. By Andy Kw on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Carson Palmer looked comfortable, the offensive line looked smooth, Mendenhall looked back to full power, and our receivers looked okay.

  7. By Gilbert on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply


  8. By ored on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    never know when someone rises to the occasion,may be that a few positions will see some shake up,now there is your competition.even if all stays status quo for the time being,if the talent level is close then there is no drop off in substitution,either keeps everybody fresh or lessens the hit from an injury.

    a plus to this is also that the rookies see consistent play and what is expected of them.should work that whether plugging in a back up or rookie that play does not drop off,and then if someone so chooses they can make it their moment to shine.

    even the back ups are capable of quality play,usually it’s the stars that do so consistently and have special moments when something more is called for.i remember watching beanie have some awesome downhill runs,if he could have stayed healthy and played that way all the time he would have been great,but like i said,to be the man you need to bring it all day.

    we have a good core,now if they play to their abilities and we add more young talent and find more fitzes at other positions,we’ll be good.

  9. By philly cards on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    That secondary has me worried. The line you atleast have a mix of youth and age. There is nothing at fs and ss and opposite 21. And we had impact at 2 of the 3 spots(when krhodes was a rare participant)

  10. By Mark on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Seems premature to me to label Mendenhall as the starter, unless you know something I don’t, which is likely. Is Ryan Willisms not being considered to start?

  11. By Darren Urban on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Mark —

    RE: Williams

    Ryan has to show he can stay on the field first.

  12. By Dynosoar on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    If he’s still there at #7, I hope we draft Leon Sandcastle. I’ve seen his footage and it looks fantastic. Even Kurt Warner’s impressed with this “kid.”

  13. By Steve Weston on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Had to Google Leo Sandcastle and just about laughed aloud at my work desk when I saw his pic on the NFL Network webpage. That was great, thanks Dynosoar, I hadn’t seen that at all until your post. 🙂

  14. By Mark on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, thanks for answering the question I feel the need to point out Mendenhall also started his career injury riddled and last year was only able to stay on the field a similar amount to Williams so he has some of those same issues. So I ask the question again, is Mendenhall the presumed starter or does legit competition exist at the position? I’ll take the question a step further. What does it mean that they only guaranteed Mendenhall $500K? That to me seems he needs to show something just to make the team. Thoughts?

  15. By Darren Urban on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Mark —

    RE: Mendenhall

    My thought is that I will be surprised if Mendenhall isn’t starting.

  16. By a kill3r kr3w on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    is stephens-howling still on the roster or was he released?

  17. By Darren Urban on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    a kill3r —

    RE: LSH

    He was an unrestricted free agent. He is unsigned.

  18. By Jeff A on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    There’s NO WAY Leon Sandcastle drops to us at 7. We HAVE to trade up and make that play!

  19. By chuck on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply


    I love the video footage of the Cardz training especially phase 2. How ever I hope for the d vs o that you put up more footage. Because 1:30 was rather short for an electric cardinal fan. Can’t wait for the next training even if it lasts only 3 days.

  20. By Credit Card on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t want to sound like Debbie Downer, but a mixture of second string players from a medley of non-play-off teams that either placed last or second to last in each of their divisions, frankly has me worried.

  21. By Jason on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Credit Card —

    I understand the sentiment and I’m sure it comes from the frustrations of the past three years. I think it’s easy to forget how competitive we were last year and how many games we lost due to not only poor QB play but horrific QB play. The young guys we were forced to play last year plus the guys we are getting back from injury are going to be big for us this year. The free agents we signed are upgrades to the players they’re replacing (with the exception of safety but hopefully we have a plan to address that in the draft). Finally, I have high hopes for the new coaching staff. We have all season to be pessimistic if the off season moves don’t pan out….right now is the time for optimism! Maybe not Dynosoar optimism…but you get the point.

  22. By Rio on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Sandcastle , we will take him for sure by the second round, BA said when he was a kid at the Beach he would always built a Sandcastle on the second day there.

  23. By clssylssy on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Kerry Rhodes was clearly one of our best weapons and consistent playmaker last year and while I understand he wanted to test the market, I don’t understand the reluctance to bring him back when the need is clearly there. We need to beef up our RBs, if Mendenhall and Williams are the best we have we need to hope for Mingo, Lacy or Monte Ball and maybe a free agent. In 2011 the Saints went through something like 11 RBs and have one of the best corps in the NFL. While we have made a lot of moves in the offseason, I’m a little concerned about our defense as it seems like we have traded quality for quantity and the guys we’ve signed aren’t any younger (in some cases older) than those we had. The 0-line has to be fixed first but it seems we still have a number of areas that are barely covered and there aren’t enough draft picks to fix everything. What is the issue keeping Rhodes and Larod Stephens-Howling from being resigned?

  24. By Eazy E on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    I like some of the moves and some I don’t. It all comes down to the QB anyway and we don’t have one I trust so that is that.#Geno Damn Smith Man!

  25. By Rob on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Obviously some support is needed at corner. Peterson can’t do it all on his own. Look to the draft?

  26. By DanishFan on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, i have been following the return of JaMarcus Russel closely, and im wondering, why not bring him in, work him out and see if he could be a solution? he is only 27, and he is looking to be a backup right now.. i know we have Stanton, but JMR is known for a great arm, maybe he could work out when Carson Palmer is done, im not that hyped up on Stanton..
    But reports have said that Cardinals arent interested, why not??

  27. By Darren Urban on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Danish —

    RE: Russell

    Wit Palmer and Stanton, Russell is unnecessary. It’s not worth the hassle, IMO.

  28. By clssylssy on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    See that Josh Cribbs is due to take a physical for the Cardinals again. Sounds like Keim is really wanting to hire this guy which makes me a little nervous about his durability if he’s had so much trouble getting himself up to speed to get his foot in the door?

  29. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Even without QB’s, Russell is unnecessary.

    If he didn’t have the heart and desire to commit to the NFL in his early 20’s, what could possibly make anyone think he suddenly acquired those traits, or is any better of a QB years later?

  30. By ored on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    maybe he’s done with the purple drank and now wants to try some red drank,lol

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