You have to hand it to GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians, who managed to make a 30-minute pre-draft press conference entertaining considering that no real news can come out of it. As willing as both are to interact with the media, no secrets are coming out. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun with it.
“Everything you hear this time of year is the furthest thing from the truth. Except from us two,” Keim deadpanned.
And as far as mock drafts go, Arians — who smiled and said he read ’em all — was blunt: “They make for banter and chatter and good bar talk, but there isn’t much reality to it.”
As far as the other quick-hit highlights (I’ll post a story later today on the homepage):
— Keim wouldn’t rule out trading up but made it clear trading down made much more sense. Keim wants to have more than the six draft picks the Cards already have. It’ll be wait-and-see if that can happen.
— Keim said coaches and scouts have already reached out to some players who may not get drafted, to try and sell them on the idea of the Cardinals as a good fit and signing in Arizona as an undrafted free agent. That’s interesting, since the draft itself will alter the roster landscape.
— Neither would rule out drafting a quarterback, although Arians acknowledged it’s tough to have a first-round pick sit. There are quarterbacks they like. No, they wouldn’t say who. (At one point, Arians was asked how many QBs they would take in the first round. “Ten,” Arians said with a grin.) But taking a guy later? That sounded less promising as Arians talked about how many holes are in the games of QBs that last that long. “To think you’re going to draft (a QB) in the third round and he’s going to beat out (third-stringer) Ryan Lindley, that’s tough to do.”
— Arians said the potential suspension of Daryl Washington would not change how the Cards make their picks.
— The Cardinals finished their “120” board this morning, the list on which the Cards will make their draft selections. The powers-that-be will run through a bunch of mock draft scenarios Tuesday in order to try and get a sense of the many ways the first round can go.
— Keim said Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier can play inside or outside, and in regard to Shazier’s smaller size, noted that he was similar to the 49ers’ Patrick Willis and bigger than Navarro Bowman.
— He said ASU’s Will Sutton is more of a 4-3 under tackle.
— Keim said there are “four to five” safeties at the top of the list. After that there is a dropoff to guys who may or may not be able to start in the NFL at some point.
— Arians was impressed with Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas’ arm strength. He hesitated slightly when asked if Thomas’ future position is QB. “He thinks so,” Arians said.
— Keim on Johnny Manziel: “He’s one of the few guys this year when you are evaluating players where you want to get a big Coke and a popcorn box, put your feet up and it’s fun to watch. … There are not many guys who have come out with his skill-set. He’s a polarizing figure.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Daryl Washington, draft, Johnny Manziel, Logan Thomas, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, quarterbacks, Ryan Shazier, Steve Keim, Will Sutton
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Patrick Peterson’s big year just got a little better Friday, when he was named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. The AP All-Pro team has generally been accepted as the “the” All-Pro team of the NFL. It encompasses the entire NFL, not a conference. Peterson joined Seattle’s Richard Sherman as the cornerback choice. And there is some good news for linebacker Karlos Dansby, who was a Pro Bowl snub. Dansby ended up making second-team All-Pro along with Bengals star and former ASU Sun Devil Vontaze Burfict. The first team inside linebackers were Luke Kuechly of Carolina and NaVorro Bowman of San Francisco.
— Patrick Peterson (@RealPeterson21) January 3, 2014
It was interesting that there is no second-team All-Pro quarterback — which can only mean that Denver’s Peyton Manning received all 50 of the votes from the AP selection committee.
I know a lot of people, for some reason, had issues with Peterson’s play this season. I get the frustration as punt returner but I thought Peterson was very good most of the time at cornerback. I believe he is deserving of an All-Pro slot. I guess I wasn’t the only one. It was nice to see Dansby recognized after he did not get named to the Pro Bowl list nor rank high enough on the alternate list to be so named. There are some great inside linebackers in the NFL right now, though. Patrick Willis, for instance, is not on the All-Pro list.
Tags: All-Pro, Karlos Dansby, Luke Kuechly, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Peterson, Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Vontaze Burfict
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The Cardinals are winners of four of their last five. Of course.
But those four wins test the heart. A 99-yard punt return in overtime by P-Twice. A touchdown drive with less than two minutes left in Philly. Running out the clock with a couple of third-down conversions in St. Louis. And, of course, The Hyphen comes alive in overtime last week.
At least the Cards are coming out ahead. Two teams have had a league-high nine games this season decided by seven points or fewer: The Denver Tebows, and your Arizona Cardinals. Of course, for a while, that just stung. Head back to the six-game losing streak (I know, picking at a scab here). There was a one-point loss in Washington, a three-point loss in Seattle, a four-point loss to the Giants and a three-point loss in Baltimore.
The Cards are 5-4 in those games decided by a touchdown or less. “It’d be nice to blow somebody out,” LaRod Stephens-Howling said this week, and that’s true. But it probably won’t be how these last four games play out.
— Niners linebacker Patrick Willis did not practice again Friday and he has not practiced all week with the bad hamstring. He’s questionable, I think we all know guys who have been listed questionable after sitting out all week and it is very, very difficult to find scenarios when they have played. I expect Willis to sit. The 49ers have greater aspirations than just this game, even if they like beating the Cards.
— The Niners have other defensive talent though. Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike Miller, talking about San Francisco’s “other” linebacker, NaVorro Bowman compared to Willis: “Watch them on film, they almost look like the same player.”
— There has been a lot of talk this season about defensive coordinator Ray Horton and only having a percentage of the defensive playbook in. What about the offensive playbook, especially considering that quarterback Kevin Kolb arrived without an offseason?
“For the most part, our plan is our plan, and the system is what it is,” Miller said. “It takes time. You’d like for anyone, a quarterback or a running back or whoever, to line up and play right away, but it takes time. But we have everything operating. It’s just about whether we want to dial it up in a game or not.”
— This game will be about mistakes. Can the Cards force any? Can they avoiding making them? Ken Whisenhunt was technically right when he said the previous games don’t mean anything Sunday, but the way the Niners have controlled the scoreboard – the Cards haven’t scored double digits the last four games or reached 17 the last five – the Cards need to be smart and take care of the ball. Turnovers always hurt. They seem to inflict more damage when they come against the Niners.
— No, no new updates on the contract status of defensive end Calais Campbell. I don’t know what will happen. He is having a fantastic season though. The defensive turnaround has been Campbell’s hot streak; in those five games he has three sacks, 19 tackles, four tackles for loss, an interception, six QB hits and two blocked field goals. Not bad for a 3-4 DE. Pro Bowl possibility, anyone? “I think that’s everyone’s goal,” Campbell said. “If not, you shouldn’t be playing. It’s something a lot of people value, including myself. I would really like it, but in the end, it’s about winning games.”
— He didn’t get to do anything on punt returns last week, but Patrick Peterson played possibly his best game as a cornerback last week. And while his value as a punt returner is greater than most punt returners because of the scoring chances, the Cards still need him more as an elite cornerback, all things being equal.
— Don’t forget – the roof will be open Sunday.
— Don’t forget – there will be a toy drive at the stadium Sunday, so bring new, unwrapped toys (or donate money) to any stadium entrance.
— Don’t forget – Beanie and Fitz are chasing 1,000.
— If the Cards win, they will clinch at least a .500 home record this season – and Whisenhunt will become the first coach in franchise history with five straight seasons at home of at least a .500 record. Whiz would also tie Don Coryell for most wins by a head coach (42) in franchise history if the Cards win.
I’m interested in seeing if this defense can carry the Cards to another win. I’m sure it’d be close. Of course.
Tags: 49ers, Calais Campbell, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Miller, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Peterson, Patrick Willis, roof
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