Left tackle logic

Posted by Darren Urban on October 17, 2012 – 10:11 am

It’s not like Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was breaking any new ground when he said this morning on a conference call that teams need to have the left tackle position solidified in today’s NFL. Minnesota — thanks to their 3-13 record a year ago — was able to draft Matt Kalil with the third fourth pick overall and have been able to do just that. The Cardinals, with Levi Brown done for the year and D’Anthony Batiste (below) filling in, are trying to make do the best they can. The Cardinals did bring Pat McQuistan back this week after releasing him after the third game, and maybe that means a change is possible.

Even Kalil has needed help once in a while, although Frazier said it hasn’t been nearly as much as the coaches expected. The Cardinals have done some things to help Batiste, although they also have to help out rookie right tackle Bobby Massie too. And the more help needed for the tackles, the more it changes what a team can do in the passing game.

“When people can force you to keep seven people in or even eight people in, it just reduces your potential to make plays down the field, so you better have a dynamic guy outside when you go max protection and a dynamic quarterback as well,” Frazier said. “You don’t want to end up having to utilize people often to help on the offensive line. You are going to have to do it sometimes, but to get into a situation when you’re doing it much more than releasing players, you simplify to the point where you make it a lot easier for defenses to defend you.”

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Sifting through smoky draft talk

Posted by Darren Urban on April 23, 2012 – 11:15 am

I listened to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock make a point today that isn’t new nor something I hadn’t thought of, but it bears repeating right now: Any information someone from a team divulges about the draft or players in it knows what he is doing.

I never really like the term smokescreen because, to me, that tends to imply everything said is a lie. While there are obviously some lies being told around the draft right now, not everything is false. But I do believe that everything said, true or false, has a purpose, whether to make people think better or worse of a player or differently about what a team might do. It doesn’t mean you can’t make logical, educated guesses about who a team will pick when all is said and done, but unless you have a team’s draft grades, there is no way to know.

Which brings me to the element of the player talking draft. There has been a lot made this morning about an item in Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” that Larry Fitzgerald “badly” wants the Cards to draft Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. To which I say, that’s no surprise, but it doesn’t really mean anything. I have no problem with a team touching base with a player or listening when a player has something to say. Basing a draft pick on that doesn’t make sense to me. In 2006, Kurt Warner made it clear he didn’t think the Cards should draft a quarterback. Turned out Warner was right in thinking he was better than Matt Leinart, but it’s tough not to see the personal bias there. While Floyd could help the Cards, Fitz has a personal reason for wanting another high-profile receiver too. Just like on the flip side when Fitz’s buddy Steven Jackson didn’t want the Rams to take Trent Richardson (although Jackson understands reality too.)

Bottom line, there will be speculation increasing 10-fold this week. The benefit of hindsight Friday morning will show that most of it was wasted breath. But that’s what makes it fun. Greg Cosell of NFL Films, who watches a ton of video, did a mock draft based on team needs and strict on-field grades (off-field issues didn’t factor in for him) and he has Matt Kalil dropping to the Cards. That won’t happen, but it’s fun to dream.

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