Arians blunt on Nkemdiche evaluation

Posted by Darren Urban on November 23, 2016 – 2:34 pm

First-round draft pick Robert Nkemdiche has been inactive the last two games — a healthy scratch, in hockey parlance — after playing the three games before that. The defensive lineman has only played in four games this season, earlier in the year derailed by a lingering ankle injury but of late hurt only by his own doing.

The Cardinals have plenty of defensive linemen, even when one or two are hurt, so Nkemdiche has been forced to earn playing time. And he’s not doing it. Coach Bruce Arians was asked about Nkemdiche’s progress.

“Talent, not an issue,” Arians said. “Maturity is. It’s just maturing.”

Arians said the same things about 2015 first-round pick D.J. Humphries, and the tackle never was made active the whole season. (Then again, since so many defensive linemen play and you usually stay static at tackle, it is in theory easier to get on the field as a D-lineman.) A few weeks ago, Arians was asked if the two situations were similar and he said yes. His evaluation has changed. Asked again if Nkemdiche’s spot was similar to Humphries, Arians quickly said “no.”

“D.J. worked harder,” Arians said.

It was a short yet emphatic statement about Nkemdiche’s place, especially since there were plenty of times last year when the Cardinals talked of Humphries’ need to mature. Arians likes to say rookies are usually ready to contribute by Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving eve, it does not sound like Nkemdiche is that close.


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35 Responses to “Arians blunt on Nkemdiche evaluation”

  1. By Equipos Especiales on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    Do you think Amos Jones can draw up an amazing way to use Nkemdiche on special teams?

    It can’t get much worse!

  2. By EDijkstra on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    Maybe one shouldn’t draft players who fall out of windows.

  3. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    I wonder what kind of draft pick the Cards could get for him in 2017.

  4. By texascard on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    I wish I had been wrong about this guy. It was glaringly obvious though. The question is ( and jtdg is so right about this) how did Keim miss it. Easiest bust to see in the whole draft class. Keim is the only one who didn’t see it

  5. By texascard on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    And happy thanksgiving to all

  6. By Genken on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    It’s really to early to say but I’ll say it anyway… right now this draft class looks like an abysmal failure.

  7. By clssylssy on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    Teams like the Seahawks and Patriots are constantly churning their roster even getting rid of players who are good and would be sacred cows for the Cards, like RB Christine Michael who the Packers didn’t hesitate to grab. This keeps things fresh and the players competitive, the energy is high and there are high expectations and standards just to keep a job. The Cards let guys get way too comfortable and hold nobody accountable; it’s like Pop Warner with benefits. This is not a developmental league and if teams want to win there is no time for players to “mature”. While players are “maturing” they aren’t even learning good technique. I don’t understand this mentality. It’s no wonder we’ve never won a SB and aren’t taken seriously, this would be laughable if it weren’t so frustrating.
    And, it’s not just the players who have no sense of urgency but, it seems the organization has also become comfortable since we began selling out all of our home games and have a waiting list. It’s like there is no pressure to put a quality product on the field to attract fans. Cards games have become more party than football, all show and no go. As much as fans will hate hearing this, it’s time we borrowed a page from the Seahawk’s management playbook.

  8. By creditcard on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    I was excited when the Cards drafted Robert Nkemdiche. It is now obvious why a top 10 talent dropped to the 27th draft pick (or perhaps lower if the Cards didn’t take him).

    I know the Cards interviewed him several times before drafting, but I think they may have failed in terms of interviewing others about Robert Nkemdiche.

    Hopefully this young man turns it around and becomes a valuable player for the Cards, NFL, and community leader. So far, it sounds as if his desire to become the best is distant.

    Possibly players like Robert Nkemdiche, and / or continual lousy draft picks like Robert Nkemdiche is causing ripples in the locker room. Players want to be a champion, and the GM making horrible draft selections — can kill desire The entire organization needs to their job in order to be a winner, appears Kiem is not doing his job, and he is not being held accountable.

  9. By John faile on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    I saw a comment by Ron Jaworski a week ago about several Cardinal players being “mentally weak”. I got a little ticked by his comments about the current state of affairs in Arizona, but after watching the last two games, I’m forced to agree. I see a lot of lazy players not giving the effort I saw the same players give last year. Lately, it seems BA is defending everyone except RN, who has been a huge bust. As an earlier post mentioned, this is not a developmental league, and this is 2 straight years the Cards have wasted a first round pick on a player who wasn’t ready for the NFL.

  10. By Bandit on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    Maybe this past draft will be a lesson to Keim. It is a sad example of how to ruin a team. I know we drafted late but other teams draft late consistently and put a good product on the field. Why should Arizona fans suffer?

  11. By Eric G on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    Everyone saw it but Keim. Wtf? His biggest knock was work ethic. Guess it still is. Wish I could have that talent.

  12. By Eric G on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply


  13. By Wild Blue Yonder on Nov 23, 2016 | Reply

    I’m just reflecting on the posts by fans during\ the last few weeks.

    Does this remind you of the angry posts by Cards’ fans during the last couple of years of the Graves/Whiz era when the team won five or six games?

  14. By Darren Urban on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    Wild Blue —

    RE: Posts

    It’s similar to posts whenever the team isn’t doing well.

    All those posts are still there. On the right side of this page is a way to select any month of posts since I started on this platform. You are welcome to take a walk down memory lane.

  15. By clssylssy on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    Looks like it may be time to “churn the management roster” again, or at least be looking at who would be viable options. I’m not for Deep 6ing BA, but, would try to bring back Todd Bowles if things don’t work out in New York, with the idea of having him take back his old job as well as the guy to groom for the HC position when BA retires. As far as GM is concerned, I would start a serious look for somebody with the resume and creds, preferably from a franchise like Denver, Seattle, Pittsburg,Baltimore, New York, who has demonstrated the ability to identify talent.
    It seems BA and this franchise have a real soft spot for underdogs and problem children who are high risk/high gain (like the Honey Badger), and they overestimate our resources and realistic time constraints for getting these raw talents NFL ready. We didn’t go into the Tyrann Mathieu deal completely blind and on the gut, as we had PP and others helping out. I REALLY wish that Robert had worked out as hoped, but, how much progress can be expected from a player who never plays? I’m sure he’s disappointed as well, and any kind of motivation has been killed as he was shoved in the corner.
    One of our biggest strengths last season was our veteran core because we had a locker room of teachers and role models, who were playing,mostly for the love of the game and not the big contract. They made big plays occasionally, but, their real value was teaching guys like David Johnson, (who credits Chris Johnson with much of his success) and showing them how to get to the playoffs on a week-by-week basis.
    It seems this organization never recognizes what they have until they lose it, and the fact is, we really don’t learn from our mistakes.

  16. By Eric G on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    Wild Blue Yonder

    I’m pissed because this was finally supposed to be our year. Those of us who have rooted for this team since they moved to AZ in 88 have suffered a lot. More than a fair share of suffering. You look at teams like Pittsburgh, New England, Seattle, NYG etc that are competitive year after year and find a way to win. The cards don’t. Instead we get a good team that loses both starters and has to start a guy who had never thrown a td and then they set the record for futility in the playoffs. Last year they were great, then honey badger goes down, Palmer’s finger gets injured and they stink it up bad in Carolina. They have nearly everyone this year and they just come out and quite frankly stink it up this year. I’m pissed because it feels like it will always be this way and the Cards will never win. Palmer needs to retire and we don’t have our qb of the future. As I see it, we have another 5 years at least for rebuilding.

    Plus, we always had the draft to look forward to, but now we don’t even have that because Keim will eff that up too. That’s why I’m frustrated.

  17. By mitchaz on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    One thing that I have never liked about the NFL Draft is the pundits’ inane notion of what a “value pick” is.

    First of all, how often do the draft ratings turn out to be wildly incorrect?

    So, if all the pundits have a player rated as a late 2nd rounder, and a team takes that player in the late 1st round, the pundits bash the pick.

    However—here’s the rub. With 31 other picks between your picks in the draft, you may only have one chance to draft the player you like the best.

    For example, a player that I liked in this draft for the Cardinals was WR Sterling Shepard. Yes, WR was not considered a need for the 2016 Cardinals. But—in my way of thinking, it was. For 2 reasons: (1) Shepard is a classic slot WR. John Brown and J.J. Nelson are not classic slot WRs—they don’t have the polish as route runner or the physical strength.. (2) We badly needed 9and still need) a punt returner and we missed out on drafting Tyler Lockett in 2015.

    So, the Cardinals draft Robert Nkemdiche at #29. Now—I will argue every day of the week that Sterling Shepard is a better, more productive football player than NK.

    Had the Cardinals taken Shepard at #29, the pundits would have liked the player, but trashed the pick because it wasn’t the Cardinals’ most glaring need and no one had a 1st round grade on Shepard.

    The irony is, Shepard goes 11 spots later at #40 to the Giants (who did not have a pressing need at WR either) and the pundits rave about the pick.

    What I would like to see Steve Keim do this year and beyond is take the players he thinks are sure bets, regardless of the round and where the pundits project the players.

    Plus, in the vetting process SK needs to make sure that the players he drafts can handle BA’s and the staff’s coaching style. We need tough guys who can handle being yelled at and later hugged.

    The Giants are 7-3 and Shepard has made a significant impact. I wonder what Shepard could have meant to our fortunes this year, both as a slot WR and punt returner. As for NK—tons of physical talent—but like Bill Parcells always said, “Potential means you haven’t done anything yet.”

    it’s unreal that the Cardinals haven’t gotten anything out of NK. Other than Campbell, Rucker (when healthy) and Mauro, the Cardinals haven’t gotten much production on from anyone else at DE/DT.

  18. By texascard on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    DU. I accept your challenge.
    By texascard on Apr 29, 2016 | Reply
    I’m all for you guys seeing this as a quality pick but please refrain from comparing this guy to the honey badger. Maybe they are both smokers but that’s as far as it goes. The honey badger was and is a passionate football player. He probably outplays his talent (which is substantial) because of his love of the game of football. It’s a joy to watch. This latest drugged out thug is just a waste of talent. A quitter. A loser. A team killer. We can’t win by putting poison like this in the locker room. PP doesn’t have better things to do than run a daycare for wayward boys? Please sk quit drinking your own koo laid and add teammates not talent!!!!!!!!!!
    I saw it then. I think it’s fair to ask why Keim didn’t see it.
    P.S. Scott h replied to this post in April to tell me I had personal issues!! Lol and haha

  19. By John The Draft Guy on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply


    Exactly what the cowboys did in 2013.

    Most had Travis Frederick as a 2nd round pick. The cowboys loved the guy, but at 18? So they made a deal with SF and dropped to 31 while picking up a high 3rd.

    They chose him at 31 and the pundits said they took a second round pick in round one. Frederick has gone on to being a pro bowler and anchor at center.

    Point is, if you loved Shepard, you should take him at 29, but if you feel you can still get him at 40, trade down.

    I think many, many on this board wanted him to trade down. I heard trade down for Center Nick Martin, I heard trade down for other players. I wanted to trade down for either Makenzie Alexander or TJ Green at CB.

    Bottom line, if you love him take him. But if you really believe you can get him lower, trade down

  20. By Corgon on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    I told you before the draft, everybody will be so smart after the year….come on guys.

    Is there a small gift or something after the 10th “how could Keim not see this” post?

  21. By GARY HICKERSON on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    AS A LONGTIME CARDINALS FAN (43YRS.) THE CARDINALS need to treat this game( as well as the remaining games) like play off games,the CARDINALS MIGHT NOT MAKE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS,but they need to put together a long winning streak to get their confidence back,something they have been lacking since after the eagles game last season.THEY CAN WIN IN ATLANTA this sunday if they run the ball like last week against Minnisota,and avoid the turnovers ALSO THE DEFENCE NEEDS TO STEP IT UP ,MORE SAFETY BLITZES,CBs NEED TO QUIT GIVING UP THE BIG PLAY,IT SEEMS NO TEAM IS AFFRAID TO ATTEMPT TO PASS ON US ANYMORE!! special teams”” cover returns ,ang get a good return for us!!feild position is KEY,WRS need to get on the same page.they looked” lost” last week,need to run shorter crisper routs with 5 or so deep/ smart throws down field…GO CARDINALS!!

  22. By Scott H on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    Well, there’s a ringing endorsement, huh? Another first round gem.

    So….we’ve gone from “Stop killing our players” during mini-camp to this. I’d say that is a progression that has gone in the wrong direction.

    As always, I appreciate BA.s candor – even if it is probably quite edited. But, c’mon, that aside, there is CLEARLY a problem with the thinking that is going into these first round picks lately.

    Far too many things have gone in the wrong direction this year. Floyd. Palmer. Our first round pick. And, not surprisingly, our record.

  23. By clssylssy on Nov 24, 2016 | Reply

    i hate it when BA trashes a player publically–very bush league. First rule of Fight Club, and should go for any team’s internal business. As far as I’m concerned, RN is as much a product of this system as anything, and was, at least in part, BA’s choice, so he should just keep quiet and either fix it or live with it. You never see other good coaches ragging on their players to the media!

    s internal business

  24. By dan on Nov 25, 2016 | Reply

    Thought Nkemdiche was a good pick……..guess he’s just a lazy bum.

  25. By dan on Nov 25, 2016 | Reply

    I say play him all season from here on out and make an ass off himself….show the world how lazy he is.

  26. By dkerry5242 on Nov 25, 2016 | Reply

    Play him, let him get beat up, pretty soon he’ll learn.

  27. By jeffcardinalfan on Nov 25, 2016 | Reply

    as usual it appears that everyone is smarter than sk AFTER THE DRAFT…look at the honey badger-if he had been a bust there wudda been a hundred comments about “how could sk not see it?”

    as often said hindsight is 20/20…every draft is full of cant miss prospects who cant play and guys who r too slow, too small who become all pros..

    all coaches r positive that they can get guys with poor work ethics to play…talent always trumps character in the nfl…

    RN may or may not develop but there is not a team in the league that wouldn’t have liked to take a shot with him…

    there is a certain amount of luck involved…see the cowboys-Elliot-bad character guy…Prescott-NO ONE had him as anything as a possible back up

    I have been a cards fan since 1970 (I was 8 yrs old) and suffered thru way worse times than these…many, many years I would have jumped for joy if the cards were 4-5-1

    I used to post here a lot…now im mainly a lurker as not all but most posters seem to b fair weather fans or form opinions based on watching a few games…for a decade plus I watched game tapes over and over, charting every snap of many players…by no means does that make me smarter than anyone else and certainly not smarter than any gm

    imho the only bad thing sk has done has overrated existing ol talent and thereby hasn’t spent enough high round picks on ol

    last comment…I remember that when fitz was taken 3rd overall, denny green was crucified by fans(for a while) for not taking a qb…how’d that work out?

  28. By Scott H on Nov 25, 2016 | Reply

    texascard –

    Why don’t we try keeping things in their proper perspective here, OK? Because perhaps in APRIL, what you said may have seemed a bit much and it’s not like you were providing solid facts there. A drugged-out thug? Really? OK, then where are the suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy? Where are the arrests for his criminal behaviors?

    Look, I readily agree with the your / anyone’s disappointment over how it’s gone this year where Nkemdiche is concerned. That is one thing. That post you quoted above is another. Don’t you think?

    And I do also agree – at least as of this point, I see no real comparison between this guy and the Honey Badger.

  29. By CARDS62 on Nov 27, 2016 | Reply


    Interesting post – I like what you said about watching a lot of game film on our players. Can you tell me in your opinion how you think Humphries is playing for us this year, and if you think he is improving and will get better next year.
    2nd – I loved the move when we signed Mike U. guard from the 49ers couple of years ago, based upon his reputation and pro bowls, but the whole time I have watched him he has been very inconsistent in his play and watched him get pushed around.

    Just to correct one point you make, Zeke Elliott was at OSU for 3 years, my college team, and he never had any problems. Everyone raved about him and only issue was he was mad after the MSU loss last year because our coaches would not give him the ball. We all knew he would be a stud in the pros and Dallas is perfect for him.

    Guys and gals remember it is fun to play general manager on our site and we all have opinions on players and coaches and our front office. I enjoy reading others ideas about players but honestly unless you have a team of private investigators you really do not know what you are getting off the field when you draft a player. I truly hope Robert N, works out as we need another DD or Eric Swann and most scouts were very high on his talent before the draft, but I am like most of you and just very very frustrated that we are getting so little out of our first round draft choices especially during their rookie season.

    Remember even the great Patriots Organization drafted the thug of thug, Aaron Hernandez, and even signed him to an extension. It can happen to anyone so we have to look at the whole body of work of a GM.

  1. 6 Trackback(s)

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  7. Nov 24, 2016: ‘Talent not an issue’ for Robert Nkemdiche, ‘maturity is’ | Cards Wire

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