Considering Alfonso

Posted by Darren Urban on July 31, 2013 – 5:59 pm

Alfonso Smith first came to the Cardinals in April of 2010. It’s been a journey back and forth since then. He’s always flashed talent, but he could never get past guys with more glittering resumes like Tim Hightower/Beanie Wells/Ryan Williams/LaRod Stephens-Howling/Chester Taylor. Last year, in fact, he was released in favor of William Powell at the end of camp. But when Wells and Williams suffered more injuries, the Cards brought Smith back, and it is he and not all the others (save for Williams) who is still around.

Now, everyone is talking about Rashard Mendenhall’s career comeback or what Williams can still do or what draftees Stepfan Taylor or Andre Ellington might be able to do. Smith still has an uphill climb to a roster. He knows this.

“Man, in the past when I was younger it would frustrate me and it would cloud my mind and I wouldn’t perform to the best of my ability,” Smith said. “Now I know sometimes things aren’t in my hands and I just go out there and give it all I got and coaches, fans and y’all (in the media) see hey, I can play. I know those guys have proven themselves too. But I do have talent and I work hard and I am just as good.”

It’s hard not to notice him. You can argue he isn’t always going against the top part of the roster, but Smith looks the part much of the time. And he practices like you’d expect — like he knows his time could be cut short at any point. The other day during 1-on-1 pass protection drills, Smith had a pair of doozies with linebackers Jasper Brinkley and Reggie Walker (below) when he doggedly battled in a setup that are designed to make it very hard for a back to be successful.

“I look at the defense that they are trying to take food out of my mouth, they are trying to take food away from my family,” Smith said. “I take it very personal. When I saw Mendenhall and Ryan (Williams) go out and the defense kind of got the best of them, it pissed me off. That’s like seeing your brothers getting in a fight. I just wanted to go hit the defense in the mouth.”

The numbers say the Cards will keep at least four running backs. Keeping a fifth is usually a luxury. So Smith fights to see if he can stick around yet again.

“(Coaches) don’t really tell me anything but I know when I do well,” Smith said. “I grade myself hard. When I mess up one time out out of the whole practice, I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve got to fix that because I know my window is not as big as theirs and my opportunities are slim.’ That’s all I can do.”

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9 Responses to “Considering Alfonso”

  1. By Eric G on Jul 31, 2013 | Reply

    That Fitz – Warner interview was phenomenal. I just can’t imagine what life would be like if we had passed on Fitzgerald. I have a lot of favorite Cards, Centers, Swann, Aeneas, Wilson, Warner …… so many others. But, seriously, Fitz tops them all. He is a class act and I hope he retires a Cardinal. He is one player I will never accept in any other uniform.

  2. By Jorge on Jul 31, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, huge compliments on how you and your team have been keeping us informed in all things cardinals during training camp! Its awesome to see all this videos and stories constantly coming up and making us fans more excited (if thats possible) for the upcoming season and helping us getting to know all the players. Keep up the good work!! This will be a great season no doubt in my mind!!

  3. By Pete Dowdle on Jul 31, 2013 | Reply

    I hope for the best for pretty much anybody trying to give their best, but I hope the guys ahead of Smith on the depth chart (that remain there) are better than Smith is. Because, if they’re better at pass-blocking and keeping Palmer upright than what this video would suggest Smith is all about, than Palmer will have ALL DAY to connect with his WR’s! Smith looked really, really good battling to keep his side of the pocket intact. If he cracks the line-up and maintains his hunger to succeed, than he won’t be that guy we sometimes groan about when we see fill in for our #1’s and #2’s–he’ll be that guy we’re interested, if not intrigued, to see come in… because we know he can hold his ground! Go Card’s!!

  4. By Chuck 1 on Jul 31, 2013 | Reply

    Great human interest story, Darren.
    The odds appear to be stacked against Alfonso. It would be a major upset if any of the other four RBs were cut. An injury to one them would probably be the only way that he makes the 53.
    However, he is one tough cookie and the battle with Walker was a heck of a heavyweight fight.
    Keep fighting, Alfonso.

  5. By Rio on Jul 31, 2013 | Reply

    the secondary, should have the handle”THE WILD BUNCH ” JUST LIKE THE WESTERN MOVIE WITH WILLIAM HOLDEN, A GROUP OF UN KNOWN gun fighters. who prove TO BE REAL MEN.

  6. By Big Ken on Aug 1, 2013 | Reply

    Darren is there anybody with trade value? It looks like there’s good depth at several positions. Or are teams just patient an and keep watch on the waiver wire? Hats off to Cardinals staff for turning the team upside down, quality draft, ect.

  7. By Darren Urban on Aug 1, 2013 | Reply

    Big Ken —

    RE: Trade value

    I would think the Cards could try and deal a player or two for late-round picks later in camp.

  8. By Annette Richters on Aug 1, 2013 | Reply

    Smith never really had a chance under Whiz. Beanie was a “Whiz-Baby”. Ken kept thinking he would breakout. Smith would have given us more yardage and more fight in the scuffle. Beanie played like an oversized woos. JMHO Go Smith.

  9. By Eazy E on Aug 4, 2013 | Reply

    Great mentality and love the slo-mo.

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