For what it’s worth in June, offensive edition

Posted by Darren Urban on June 19, 2015 – 3:03 pm

So, before it’s time to take leave for a bit, we come to the second part of the “for what it’s worth” posts. Yesterday, it was the defense. Today, the offense, which starts with a healthy Carson Palmer, always a good thing. This team should be in a better place offensively this season, if for no other reason than the system is set and the offensive line should be better than it’s been overall in a long time. Of course, the Cards have to show it. And Palmer needs to stay on the field.

QB — Carson Palmer. Whatever else the Cardinals might have done on the field this offseason, just having Palmer back and working in 11-on-11 by the end would deem it a success. We’ll see how it plays out in camp — and more importantly, the first preseason game he takes part in — but it’s important that he is on track to be the starter.

RB — Andre Ellington. Rookie David Johnson should end up playing a role and could end up as a key on offense. But right now, all things still figure to go through Ellington to begin with. The entire running back situation is an interesting one. Will the offensive line upgrade trickle down to help this position? How might Kerwynn Williams fit in? The Cards just want Ellington to stay healthy, and see what that means.

WR — Larry Fitzgerald. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact, after another year under 1,000 yards, that Fitz was really clicking with Palmer before Palmer got hurt. If the two vets can play together, I’m curious to see what Fitz’s numbers can be, even in this system when not one receiver figures to dominate the stat sheet.

WR — Michael Floyd. It’s a big year for Floyd. The quarterback situation did not help last season, but there were times even when Palmer played where, for whatever reason, Floyd didn’t produce. Sometimes, that was a lack of targets. The Cards certainly have other options too. But the former No. 1 draft pick needs to make a greater impact.

WR — John Brown. In this setup, the Cards go three wide receivers (I’ll hit the tight ends in a minute.) Brown has added a little muscle and had strong self-awareness of what happened to him last season, including wearing out at the end of the season. Palmer can’t say enough good things about Brown, with whom he developed a strong bond with last summer. Smokey will get his chances.

TE — Darren Fells. Troy Niklas is going to be in this mix and when the Cards go two tight ends on running downs, Niklas will likely join Fells. But right now, with Niklas still trying to get healthy, it is Fells who as emerged out of a very inexperienced tight end room. One caveat: Can’t exclude the possibility of the Cards signing a veteran at the position, which could change this dynamic.

RT — Bobby Massie. D.J. Humphries is making strides, but as of now, it’s hard to see Humphries surpassing Massie. Things could change when the pads go on. Another possibility is if Humphries makes enough strides, maybe Massie is a guy who the Cards would consider trading, especially if another team loses a tackle in injury in camp. But if Massie is around for the first game, I think he starts.

RG — Jonathan Cooper. He’s in great shape. He doesn’t have any of the issues left from a broken leg or turf toe or any of the other problems he might have had. If Cooper is going to become the player the Cardinals hope he can be, this is the season he needs to do it. His confidence clearly has never been higher, and he comes across as a different player than he was at this time last year. A big, big camp awaits.

C — A.Q. Shipley. This is an interesting spot. Shipley and Ted Larsen will battle in camp. OTAs and minicamp are what they are, but Shipley was the one getting more first-unit snaps by the end and he has history with both Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin. This will come down to how Shipley and Larsen perform in games. (And if they both struggle, I wouldn’t completely write off the idea of a Lyle Sendlein return either, as long as he remains a free agent.)

LG — Mike Iupati. For a second straight year, the big free-agent purchase was an offensive lineman. Iupati’s reputation is that of excellent run blocker and a guy who needs to work on his pass blocking. Iupati certainly looks the part, and it will be fun to watch him in pads during camp and see what collisions develop.

LT — Jared Veldheer. The Cardinals wanted a left tackle and after one season, it looks like they have gotten a pretty good one.



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

  1. By D on Jun 19, 2015 | Reply

    Should be interesting to see if any Cards are traded.
    On Offense, I would guess the possibility for:

    B. Massie- young and in the last year of his deal.
    Would require a huge jump for D.J to take the spot away

    M. Floyd- young and in the last year of his deal.
    Would require confidence in Jaron Brown starting but
    would deplete some depth on the team if Floyd is traded.

    T. Larsen-doubtful a team would trade for Ted
    Would require A. Steen to step up as backup C/G (we know Watford can’t play C)


    M. Shaughnessy. He is the second highest paid D Lineman on the roster. Hard to think that just two years ago he was the best DL against the run and could be still a good player.

    T. Jefferson. Would hate to see the Cards trade him. I would guess they
    wouldn’t being that R. Johnson is going into his last year and Jefferson is younger player. Cards are loaded at Safety, even their 5th Safety C. Clemons is a good player.

  2. By Cactus jeff on Jun 19, 2015 | Reply

    Cooper is the key. Will he get steam-rolled or will he dominate? Sure doesn’t help with Massie next to him.

  3. By CreditCard on Jun 19, 2015 | Reply


    Nice article about one of the Card’s unsung players … Mike Leach. Leach is a model of consistency and professionalism. Both attributes rub off on the younger players setting a high standard.

    One of the many things I’m impressed with Mike Leach, is that he will obtain about a dozen tackles per year on the punt coverage team. After perfectly snapping the ball, followed by a 300 lb. defensive lineman using your lower back as a springboard, running 40+ yards and then finally tackling an elusive returner is quite an athletic accomplishment.

    Seeming simple hustle and desire from Mike Leach resonates to the entire team.

    Have a good vacation — well deserved.

    Be safe and be happy

    Credit Card

  4. By Crow on Jun 20, 2015 | Reply

    i would like to see humphries over massie…….RB will be interesting

  5. By Jerry on Jun 20, 2015 | Reply

    Nice post regarding Mike Leach’s athleticism. I never considered that he actually gets downfield to make tackles. The guy’s a player!

  6. By Lynn on Jun 20, 2015 | Reply


    Maybe too late for this year, but has there been any thought of Cooper at center, with Massie/Humphries or Humphries/Massie at the guard/tackle position?

  7. By Darren Urban on Jun 21, 2015 | Reply

    Lynn —

    RE: OL

    Not at this point.

  8. By Ruben Ortega on Jun 20, 2015 | Reply

    With a veteran playoff team, I was wondering how would Michael Vick be as a backup QB safety net? Because of what happened with last years injuries. His salary would be cheap.

  9. By Darren Urban on Jun 21, 2015 | Reply

    Ruben —

    RE: Vick

    Vick isn’t coming here.

  10. By georgiebird on Jun 20, 2015 | Reply

    Nice view of the Cards likely offense. Center and TE look like changes will be made.
    Never liked the combination of Larry and Floyd from the day Floyd was drafted-too similar in strong suits. Would have liked to see Jaron Brown take over from Floyd.
    It all rests on Palmer. The offense is good enough to win with Palmer. Without Palmer, it’s not a strong enough group to be a playoff contender.
    Probably the biggest question- can BA win COY again?- that would be unprecedented.

  11. By Scott H on Jun 21, 2015 | Reply

    Floyd….yeah, the long stretches during which he virtually disappeared last season are still difficult to understand. And they are NOT explained, as Darren points out, by the QB situation. He had a few good games with Palmer AND Stanton under center, so it’s not like he clicked with one but not the other. But he also disappeared during several games with both QB’s under center, so…whatever it was, it was clearly a Michael Floyd thing. He is entirely too talented to disappear during entire games. We can only hope whatever the problem was, it is resolved. Even with Palmer healthy, it seemed like Fitz and Floyd just never got going as a tandem last year. Given the potential they would appear to have as a tandem, I hope we see it this year.

    And with Ellington….ugh, I just have to ask – is anyone else NOT liking the sound of ” all things still figure to go through Ellington?” Or, is it just me? Andre Ellington is just not built to be a guy that it “all” goes through. And IF we run him into the ground by mid-season again, it will feel very frustrating that we didn’t learn our lesson after last season.

    But as always, I hope for the best. I always consider the worst, but I hope for the best!

    Honestly, I think the best thing that can happen for this offense is that Johnson looks so good through camp / pre-season / the first few games, that the coaches HAVE to give him more snaps because they can’t NOT do so! A 50-50 split between him and Ellington would seem ideal.

  12. By Scott H on Jun 22, 2015 | Reply

    Ruben –

    On this team, Vick would have to be the 3rd stringer. He ain’t gonna start and Stanton is a MUCH better option as the back-up than Vick would be. Do you really think he would sign on anywhere as a 3rd string QB??? I say there’s no way he would. He would never agree to being THAT cheap!

    All that said, I would want no part of Vick at this point. He’s been much more injury prone as of late and I don’t even think he’s that good anymore.

  13. By Scott H on Jun 22, 2015 | Reply

    Wow, how’s this for so un-believable, it goes beyond ridiculous – just saw on a piece where someone picked an all-NFC West team from the teams in that division. At WR, they picked Floyd, Anquan Boldin, and Doug Baldwin. You gotta be friggin kidding me, man. Fitz is still THE most talented WR, hands down, in this division. And yet, the idiot who did this list doesn’t even have him among the top 3??? AND yet they have Boldin – who is even older than Fitz at this point – in the top 3.

    Wow….I’m just letting this go. Some things are just too stupid to slow down for.

  14. By clssylssy on Jun 22, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H.
    I quite agree with you about’s evaluation of the NFC West and, moreover, the talent of WRs. However, one must consider the source, and the writers on write as much to stir controversy and get fans worked up especially at this time of the year when controversy translates into board hits for them and also is a way of drumming up “interest” during this otherwise dead zone of the season.
    I think Floyd has talent that has not been utilized (or developed) and perhaps that is not entirely his doing, although he certainly does not have the hands of Larry Fitzgerald nor has he seemed to have embraced a change in his role from go-to guy and big play maker to that of more a solid, physical tandem type. BA doesn’t seem to use he and Fitz in the same way that Fitz and Boldin were used and his “disappearance” seems more a matter of John Brown getting the big plays (although BA said Brown hit a wall along with the rest of the rookies last Dec.1st). Unlike Fitz, it almost seems our other receivers need the spotlight in order to stay interested in the game. The fact that Floyd’s name continues to come up in trade talks leads me to question his job security with the Cards, and I’m sure this could have some effect on his performance.
    I think Ellington has flashes when he excels but lacks the physicality and durability to be an every down back–he will never be a Darren Sproles but alternating with our other less fragile backs is still an impressive weapon for the offense. I agree that the idea of everything going through Ellington is not a major confidence builder. I hate the idea of advertising that we are placing all our “eggs” in a flimsy basket! B.A.seems to really have a preference for these smaller guys which concerns me, as the rest of the league is getting bigger and more physical while the we aren’t and I hate to see our guys pancaked and carried off the field! I do think BA has his own different way of doing things and sometimes we, as fans, try to put players into a “traditional” role that is successful for other teams.
    Guess, we’re just going to have to continue to hope for the best and wait for things to shake out .

  15. By rod on Jun 22, 2015 | Reply

    Floyd disappearances = secret lingering groin pull?

  16. By Big Ken on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    I keep reading about DJ Humphries being immature. Well just get on with camp and let the hazing begin!

  17. By Scott H on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    I hear ya. I could see Floyd being ranked where he was based on apparent potential. But he hasn’t shown it yet. I wish he would. I want to see him pick up where he left off at the end of 2013 and never look back!

    But that ranking on was just absurd. There is not a WR in this division right now that can operate on the level that Fitz does. I love me some Anquan Boldin ( always will ) and he IS still a damn fine WR. But among the top 3 WR’s in this division right now? Don’t know ‘ bout that.

    And Doug Baldwin in the top 3??? What about Torrey Smith??? How is HE not in the top 3 in this division?

  18. By clssylssy on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    Of course, I agree with you on the topic of Fitz (and so would his fellow players that have to go up against him). We do need to remember that Fitz’s contract was only for two years however, and so far I don’t see anybody who could take his place on our current roster. Floyd’s extension ends at the end of this season and size-wise and overall skillset, he’s the closest we have to filling Fitz’s role (albeit, he needs to step it up and find some motivation for a return to his previous level of 2013. Also, Jaron Brown suffered a fractured shoulder in the playoff game with the Panthers and who knows how that will effect his efficiency this season? John Brown while fast and glitzy is just to small to ever be a Fitz and be effective blocking the likes of Reevis or Sherman, etc. (BA likes to use his big receivers as blockers as much as actual “receivers”.)
    I have always been a big Torrey Smith fan and believe he and Boldin, reunited,
    will be the dynamic duo of the West that Boldin and Fitz once were and perhaps was overlooked because he’s new on the NFC West horizon…my only explanation! Also, it seems some of these writers fail to factor in that some of these players were injured and were playing through their injuries causing their production to go down and are often not targeted, which is beyond their control also. We’ve been spoiled to have “the best hands in the NFL” in a Cardinal uniform and so, our standards for receivers is based on the “Fitzgerald scale”
    which is a big reason I was an Odell Beckham Jr. fan when he was still at LSU and before it became fashionable!

  19. By Richard L on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    Left side of the OL looks good. Right side is suspect.

  20. By Richard L on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, Do you give comments on the Blog thumbs up or downs?

  21. By Darren Urban on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    Richard L —

    RE: Thumbs

    Not on purpose. There have been a couple of times my fat fingers have accidentally hit a “thumb” on my phone when trying to approve a comment. But never on purpose.

  22. By rod on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    Is Tommy Kelly still on the team, haven’t heard a peep about him all summa!

  23. By BigBobDiesel on Jun 23, 2015 | Reply

    This will be Floyd’s last year unless he develops a decent route tree. The go route is his only route. He rounds everything else and body catches too much.

  24. By Scott H on Jun 25, 2015 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    I hear ya. It seems to me that WAAAAY too many people are writing Fitz off ( which is to say, they have removed him from the ranks of the elite ) because of his age. He’ll be 32 this season. OK. AND??? 30 just seems to be this magic number that, once you get there, you just can’t do it anymore. Especially for RB’s and WR’s. Granted, it certainly HAS held true for many RB’s over the years. But WR’s can AND do go into their mid-30’s ( some go beyond that! ) while staying at / near the top of their game. Reggie Wayne and Terrell Ownes being 2 recent examples. My man Anquan being another.

    I do NOT see age catching up with Fitz at all. He has been remarkably durable and he remains remarkably dedicated to his physical conditioning. Speed has NEVER been his game, so…it ain’t like now that he’s lost a step ( love that cliche ), it’s over for him. He’s as fact as he’s ever been. His hands? Please. Still THE best in the game. And Fitz is one of those guys that – because he always works on getting better / improving – he will adapt to getting older by getting wiser and learning how to outwork opposing DB’s. He’ll adapt any way he can to stay productive.

    All he needs is to get the ball more often than he did last year. I’m pretty sure you agree with that, too. 🙂

  25. By Scott H on Jun 25, 2015 | Reply

    Man, speaking of age becoming a factor, I think it is clealry catching up with ME these days because my typos are getting out of control.

    In the last post, obviously I meant to say Terrell OWENS, not Ownes.

    And I meant to say that Fitz is as FAST as he ever was, not as fact as he ever was.

    I have definitely lost a step. I lose any more, I’ll be going backwards.

  26. By JohnnyBluenose on Jun 25, 2015 | Reply

    @Scott H…how about Steve Smith Senior? He is 36 years old and all he did last year was catch 79 passes for 1065 yards. Not too shabby. If he can play two more years he will reach 1000 receptions. Hope he makes it. Did I mention that he is 36 years old?

  27. By Luke on Jun 25, 2015 | Reply

    will you write a article on jaxon shipley, i am a huge fan of az and i live in austin so yeah, just curious on how he is doing

  28. By Chuck 1 on Jun 25, 2015 | Reply

    Off topic; however, the article (below) on reminds me of the waste by BA of the offensive use of his TEs.

  29. By clssylssy on Jun 25, 2015 | Reply

    I totally agree with everything you said about Fitz’s abilities, and longevity. I do think that the organization has been working hard to find a replacement for Fitz as “the face of the Arizona Cardinals” because, some of the uncertainty about Fitz’s future is due to the fact that he is about so much more than football, and he’s accomplished just about everything he can as a professional football player and may want to do more. Unlike many, he is an educated “renaissance man” who thrives on new challenges and there may be more to the reason for his contract only being for two more years than we know…I don’t for a minute believe it has anything to do with money or the usual considerations. When it comes to elite players, they are in a class by themselves and age is just a number that does’t apply because they’ve discovered how to stay healthy and remain in shape year around. I see Fitz leaving the game on his own terms and going on to bigger things whenever the time comes (hopefully he’ll have a ring).
    As for getting old, my eyesight doesn’t catch the minor typos or don’t give them much weight, as none of us are journalist doing this for a living!

  30. By clssylssy on Jun 26, 2015 | Reply

    And…I will once again add that I think fans try to put every player and team into the same little box and try to transfer positions and player roles without consideration as to the unique coaching scheme that differs from team to team.
    BA has his own way of doing things when using his players and the Cards will never do things the same way as say, the Saints. BA uses his TEs entirely differently, as well as his receivers.
    Part of the decline in Fitz’s stats (which everybody seems so hung up on) is due to the way his role has changed under the tenure of BA. It’s really hard to score it you don’t get the ball but if you looks at the per centage of balls caught when Fitz was targeted compared to the other receiver’s consistency, he’s hands down our #1 receiver and still one of the best in the league. When Fitz is on the field EVERYBODY plays better as was apparent last season when he missed a few games which we lost. People can manipulate stats all day to support how good a new player appears, but, at the end of the day it’s consistency of production that wins over glitz, and the veterans tend to do it longer than rookies who are great out of the gate but then hit a wall before crunch time rolls around.

  31. By Scott H on Jun 26, 2015 | Reply

    JohnnyBN –

    Yes! Thank you. I knew there was a very obvious guy I was forgetting, and Steve Smith was it. There’s lots of others. But you get the point. And Smith is a great example of how an “older” WR can remain VERY productive when he is getting the ball often enough to BE very productive. And that is the only reason why Fitz’ numbers fell off last year. Period. Give him the ball often enough for his numbers to bounce right back and his numbers WILL bounce right back.

  32. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 26, 2015 | Reply

    Chuck 1,

    TE’s Use;

    OK, you lost me. You say BA doesn’t use his TEs , then you attach an article about Martavis Bryant, who is a wide out.

    I remember the debates about Bryant coming out last year, that he was fast, good in the red zone, but ran poor routes. Sounds like it took him half a year to get going but may make a splash next year.

    Which begs the question, What does a budding WR have to do with the use of TEs in a BA offense??

  33. By Cactus jeff on Jun 27, 2015 | Reply

    Fantastic observation on how Floyd runs routes. BA’s experience of watching Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison getting separation by sticking their foot in the ground and change direction without slowing down has to have made a strong impression. I think you are right on.

  34. By Crow on Jun 28, 2015 | Reply

    I totally agree with some of the guys on espn AZ should definitely trade for glennon be a good kid to have learn behind palmer. The kid’s got a cannon of an arm.

  35. By Scott H on Jun 28, 2015 | Reply

    Having a cannon of an arm is great but it means nothing if you don’t have it from the neck up. Ya gotta know how to read defenses, go through progressions, know where your hot read is, make adjustments at the line based on what you see the defense doing, etc. And so much more. There have been plenty of young QB’s who could throw it a country mile but they came and went pretty quick because they didn’t know how to play QB.

    I can’t say I have seen enough to Glennon to have an opinion one way or the other. But his having a cannon for an arm means nothing if he doesn’t know how to use it.

  36. By Berdj J. Rassam on Jun 28, 2015 | Reply

    Some of these players are solid, while others positions can be beefed up if the Cards are going to compete for the Super Bowl.

  37. By brinnc on Jun 28, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H
    I may be wrong but it seems to me that when Palmer is in the game he uses Fitz and finds him even if he isnt the #1 read , but when Stanton is in he forgets Fitz is on the field, I believe if CP remains healthy Fitz will return to glory, he will lead the team in catches and turn in over 1,000 yards, again maybe it is just me and im totally off base on this one but it sure seems that Fitz had his few big games with Palmer under Center.

    What about the possibility of BA using a 2 back scheme, AE and DJ both in the backfield? (Could put AE in motion most of the time and either hand it to DJ or dump it in the flats to Ellington) as well very curious to see if BA uses Humphries as a blocking TE next to Massie, supposedly all the rage was on Humphries and his footwork and super quick feet, I would love to see that alignment for some of the offensive snaps, especially in the redzone and goal line situations! Very interested in seeing K. Williams and D. Johnson in a 2back scheme in redzone and goal line as well, I think we would be unstoppable with Humphries as Tackle Eligible, and DJ and KW in the backfield, would love to see Humphries line up on the left with our two all-pro’s and then send both backs left, the whole world would know the ball is coming left, just try and stop us from scoring!!! I think that would be a monster setup and would be very successful, not to mention an ego boost to all involved, the roadgrader express!!!

    Just my humble opinion, but does anyone else see the Cardinals drafting a WR in the 1st round of next years draft?? I think I’m stating the obvious! And depending on how Shipley and Larsen do at Center, I can also see a Center drafted in 2nd round next season, or possibly a big name veteran free agent Center signed next off season.

    Yes im back guys (and gals), somehow with all my computer savvy (NOT!!) I locked myself out of my account!! To be totally truthful, don’t know what I did but after weeks of banging my head (and this phone!) Against the wall I was finally able to break back in, trouble is, I dont have a freaking clue what I did to get it to work!! LOL! But for the time being, the novel writer has returned!! LOL!!

  38. By brinnc on Jun 28, 2015 | Reply

    Almost forgot,
    I second the praise for Leach!! I posted prior to free agency that he was one of our free agents that must be resigned!! If he isnt the highest paid long snapper in the game he should be, or at the very least he should be top three! I thought I read somewhere that he signed a one year deal, I hope I’m mistaken, hopefully the Cardinals locked him up for at least two and preferably three season, I realize he is close to 20 seasons in theleague, but he is another Cardinal that takes outstanding care of himself in the off season!! He should retire a Cardinal, and I know this may rub some the wrong way, but when he does retire I wouldn’t object to a Ring of Honor spot for Leach!! He is a critical piece and he performs almost flawless, and the icing on the cake is that he actually fights his way down field after snapping almost perfectly everytime, and he makes the dang tackle, take a few minutes to watch Leach, he will impress the hell out of you!!

  39. By Andy Kw on Jun 29, 2015 | Reply

    Is DeMarco Sampson still in the NFL?

  40. By Andy Kw on Jun 29, 2015 | Reply

    David Carter could have been a beast. What ever happened to him?

  41. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 29, 2015 | Reply


    With AE and DJ in the back field, you really have 5 receivers on the field. I think it creates mismatches. Remember, Palmer says AE is as good as any WR, and DJ was a WR early in college.
    Forget the flat, I see wheel routes, drag routes, and other opportunities to hit big plays to these receivers.
    I don’t see BA doing it often, but I could see it time to time.

    I don’t see a Receiver in round one. The last two drafts have been deep in receivers and a lot depends on what they do with Floyd. I thought they would draft a receiver earlier than they did this year and maybe they should have. I would have drafted Jaelan Strong over Golden in round two.

    As for Humphries, let’s see if he can grasp Tackle first. This is a first rounder who should start day one. But will he?

  42. By Scott H on Jun 30, 2015 | Reply

    brinnc –

    Yeah, agreed, Fitz’ better games seemed to come with Palmer under center. Heck, Fitz didn’t have a TD catch until Palmer returned again the Redskins. That was after a few games with Stanton.

    Then again, look at week one against the Chargers last year. Palmer was in, yet Fitz didn’t even see a target until late 4th quarter! HOW does that happen???

    I really think it’s more the play-calling and the general philosphy of avoiding any one player being the go-to guy. And that’s a shame. I mean, does ANYONE think the offense would be worse or less productive if Fitz were getting the ball MORE often??? Because that would seem to go against the 10 years that Fitz has played so far for this team.

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