For what it’s worth in June, offensive edition

Posted by Darren Urban on June 27, 2014 – 1:00 pm

Offensively, the Cardinals need to take a step forward this year. They need to so they don’t pressure the defense as much as last year (especially after some unknowns with defensive changes) and they need to so they can keep up in the NFC West arms race. Good news – there is a confidence there it will happen. Who are the guys who will be at the forefront of that plan? Here’s my guess, at least for the regular-season opener. (If you want to see the defensive picks, click here.)

QB – Carson Palmer. Biggest question around Palmer at this point? What happens in 2015, considering Palmer is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. But he is the guy the Cards will ride or die with this season.

RB – Andre Ellington. No-brainer. He’s earned the right, and we’ll see about the touches per game, which I will guess will be 20 to 22 a game.

WR – Larry Fitzgerald. Big year for Fitz, who scored last year like he once did but is still searching for his first 1,000-yard season since 2011 and who is coming to a crossroads – along with the franchise – with his contract in 2015.

WR – Michael Floyd. He’s a star on the rise. He played well last year, and he should be better this season. The third wide receiver should be Ted Ginn, but I fully expect John Brown to at least have a chance to play a role in the offense.

TE – John Carlson. This is assuming he stays healthy, but Carlson has looked good in the offseason and could prove to be a very nice bargain.

TE – Jake Ballard. At some point – maybe not until 2015 – this will be Troy Niklas’ spot. The rookie is far behind right now. Rob Housler still has a chance to work his way into the lineup. But right now, Ballard is feeling good with his knee and he is closer to the blocker that Arians likes.

LT – Jared Veldheer. The left tackle they have always wanted.

LG – Jonathan Cooper. He’s going to be back to health. Time for the 2013 first round pick to get his time on the field and show why the brass so believes in him.

C – Lyle Sendlein. Old reliable is what they want in the middle.

RG – Earl Watford. Paul Fanaika has been running first unit and there is also veteran Ted Larsen lurking as a possibility. But the Cardinals are hoping Watford comes around and takes control of a job he was drafted to have.

RT – Bobby Massie. Another wide open spot. There’s always a possibility of a late-summer free agent signing. Bradley Sowell isn’t go to go away. But Massie has looked better in the offseason work and in a lot of ways, this is probably his last chance to take ahold of the place he held as a rookie.

So that’s that. There will be a lot of time and practices between now and the opener. Injuries happen. Battles will be won or lost. We will see how this guesstimate (educated as it might be) holds up.


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25 Responses to “For what it’s worth in June, offensive edition”

  1. By clssylssy on Jun 27, 2014 | Reply

    What an improvement in the offense although they were looking pretty good as the season came to a close last season. I am especially hopeful for Troy Niklas and the use of TEs more as it looks like we’re going to be up for some fierce competition in our efforts to Protect the Nest. Looking forward to seeing how this all comes together as we have tipped our hand at how really good we are in the defeat of the Seahawks in their house. Time to get serious, make some real noise and STAY HUNGRY for those wins. The way to the Superbowl is like eating an elephant…one win at a time!

  2. By shannon robinson on Jun 27, 2014 | Reply

    After Fitz scored his TD my wife and I got to do our “We won the Super Bowl Dance!” we were a little early, but I don’t apologize for the exuberance. Then we got to watch Bruce Arians move his team down the field in 90 seconds and see that he knew that the corner pass play would beat us if not to the left then let’s go right corner. Coach Arians is a great signal caller. The Cards finally have been able to sign and then draft speed WR’s who are necessary to complete BA’s offense. Big blocking tight ends who can burn you for big first downs are here to work. Power running and a vertical passing attack requires protection up front and Goody will put together the line he wants and demand the result he needs. I’ve waited a long time to see an offensive line like The Hogs we had with the Skins way back when. There is nothing like it in football – power running and time to set up and throw. But lastly my preference for the QB to win in the NFC West when the chips are down and the pass rush is tough is Carson Palmer over anyone else in the Division. Go Cards!

  3. By Domenico on Jun 29, 2014 | Reply

    Yes no. 3 IS!!!

  4. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Jun 27, 2014 | Reply

    The question mark is Cooper. He ain’t back until he proves it on the field full speed. Wish him the very best.

  5. By Leesters on Jun 28, 2014 | Reply

    There is a legitimate left tackle. 2nd most important player on the offense, next to quarterback. The only question I have is a goal-line/short yardage banger of a running back. Who is that guy?

  6. By br in nc on Jul 2, 2014 | Reply


    I think they may have found that goal line short yardage Guy in Robert Hughes, with pads he will go 240-250lbs and he is built like a brick s*$thouse, BA was heaping praises on him after minicamp, also I think we will see 2 back sets alot more this year, especially in goalline situations, Hughes can smash it in himself or play lead blocker for Taylor, who at his size with Hughes in front leading the way it will be very difficult for defenses to pick up where Taylor is, he will be very hard to see back there, as well he has the speed and shifteness (spelling?) to bounce outside if the middle seals up, watched him do it many times (in pure amazement I might add) when he was at Stanford.

  7. By BigAl on Jun 30, 2014 | Reply

    By Leesters…
    “The only question I have is a goal-line/short yardage banger of a running back. Who is that guy?”
    Take a look @ college footage & numbers of Stephan Taylor all-time leading rusher @ Stanford…& then look @ what Zach Bauman did @ NAU! One of these guys will grab it!

  8. By br in nc on Jul 2, 2014 | Reply

    Guess I should have read all the postings before I replied Leesters posting, wasn’t trying to step on your toes with my Taylor posting above, after I posted it I scrolled down to read the rest of the replies and saw that you had said the same on Taylor, happy to see that someone else saw what I saw from this kid when he was at Stanford, as well I think Hughes is going to surprise some people (even though I was never a Hughes fan, ever since he chose Notre Dame over his home state school of Illinois, most of the top prospects are stolen from my beloved Illini by Notre Dame and I have come to despise them over the years!! But have to root for all who wear the Cardinal Red, if they contribute to our Superbowl run then college choice is forgiven!! LOL!! Of course my beloved Illini could keep the elite players in state and away from Notre Dame if they could win some damn football games, problem would be solved, these kids would stay put, but 2-3 wins a year isn’t going to keep these kids home!!) GO CARDS!!! GO ILLINI!!!

  9. By chrisgaer on Jun 30, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren!

    Question: Whats your impression of Fitz this offseason? I bet BA would like to get him more touches, as his last season wasn´t as good as the team might have hoped. Many TDs, but not so much yds. You think it was partly his understanding of the offense?

    If so, u think he improved over offseason?

  10. By Darren Urban on Jul 1, 2014 | Reply

    chrisgaer —

    RE: Fitz

    I think Fitz wasn’t practicing a ton because of his hammie. I do think he’s more comfortable in the offense.

  11. By azqfan on Jun 30, 2014 | Reply

    As a huge NAU fan (daughter there now), I would love to see Zach make the team and fill that role. I am just not sure about him having enough pure speed, to counter his small size. No doubt the heart is there. The deciding factor may very well be if he can excel as a special teamer since he never played them at NAU.

  12. By br in nc on Jul 2, 2014 | Reply

    Hopefully if he doesn’t make the cut as a rookie he will be signed to the practice squad where he can work on any weaknesses he may have. I don’t know much about Zach, but I love the “under the radar” small school guys, and always root for the underdog. ( We don’t get much NAU football here on the East coast! LOL)

  13. By CreditCard on Jun 30, 2014 | Reply

    What’s in a name Washington Redskins?

    I say home games be called Washington Redskins — a fan favorite. Away games change names to Washington Pale-Faces — an ethical trade off.

    Its’ fair.

  14. By sbrown on Jun 30, 2014 | Reply

    hi Darren,
    just a quick note, I was out at UoP for the Sports Expo this past weekend. The steel supports for the new video boards are under construction. Just to let everyone know, the new board in the south endzone, if the extent of steel that is up is any clue, that new board is going to be huge ! The steel work went almost across the entire width of the walkway, from window to window… wow !

  15. By Darren Urban on Jul 1, 2014 | Reply

    sbrown —

    RE: Video boards

  16. By br in nc on Jul 2, 2014 | Reply

    I think Ballard is going to surprise everyone and have a huge role in the offensive success, in the short time he was here last year he was impressive, and seemed to improve every week, seemed to pick up BA’s offense faster than most even though he came in late last season. I think he will be #1 TE with Carlson #2 (hopefully he can stay healthy) followed by Housler, then the Rookie Niklas, at some point during the season I forsee T. Nicklas overtaking Housler as the clear #3
    TE and Housler finishing his as #!!4 TE as well as finishing his
    time as a Cardinal, unless he takes a big paycut i just don’t

    see him in a Cardinals uni in 2015.

    Also…Love to see Lyle Sendlein still “penned in INK” as the Cardinals starting Center!! How many Cardinal fans can honestly say that they had Lyle pegged as the anchor of the Cards O-line when we signed him all those years ago, I know I never in my wildest dreams thought he would ever be anything more than solid depth for a few years, then move on to provide depth for another team for a few years before fading into the sunset, man was I wrong, as were many others who probably wont admit it, but this is one time that I’m so happy I was dead wrong!! Although he is our anchor we probably need to think about drafting his replacement next year, that would give him a year or two of tutoring from Lyle himself, there are a couple of intriguing names that I think the Cardinals will be keeping an eye on this year –
    Mike Mathews/Texas A&M – great football pedigree, dad is Bruce Mathews, brother is Jake Mathews, doesn’t get much better than that as far as bloodlines go! Needs to add muscle this year to prepare for NFL.
    Nick Martin/Note Dame – Again familiar name, older brother is Zach Martin(1st round pick for Dallas) he too needs to add muscle for theNFL ( interestingly adding bulk and muscle seemed to be a common “weakness” if you want to call it that. But reading up on all the top prospects, almost all were marked with the need to add weight, bulk, muscle, most came with the comment that they had the frame to add additional muscle, so it seemed kind of strange to me that they have not added it during there 3 and sometimes 4 years in the program??? I do understand that some interior lineman don’t add the bulk/muscle due to the college program they are in requires them to have exceptional speed (ie…Oregon) in there fast paced offensive scheme requires speed over bulk, but not many run as fast paced as Oregon, just caught my eye and seemed interesting, in any case adding muscle shouldn’t be to hard for these prospects to do, and hopefully they wont sacrifice to much speed in doing so. Enough rambling for now! Happy 4th everyone!!!

  17. By Scott H on Jul 6, 2014 | Reply

    For what it’s worth, just something that kinda pissed me off more than a little….read in one of the many fantasy football mags currently out there that Fitz has definitely lost a step and is just not as dominant as he once was. Really? Geez, what a crock. He just missed a 1000 yard season in 2013 while putting up his highest TD total ( 10 ) in years. AND he did this while somewhat hobbled with a hammy issue for most of the season. Gee, too bad he has fallen off so much, huh? What an idiot, whoever is providing this analysis.

    Wonder if this genius took into consideration at all the list of QB’s that Fitz had to play with from 2010-2012. Take ANY WR playing right now and subject them to that cast of characters and let’s see them do any better, PUH-leeze.

    Not as dominant as he once was? Open for discussion and to anyone’s opinion. Still more dominant than most WR’s on the planet right now? DAMN STRAIGHT.

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