The speculation of free agency

Posted by Darren Urban on March 10, 2013 – 9:17 am

It doesn’t matter when free agency starts, whether it is a “soft” opening like the NFL has tried this year or the normal start of free agency (deals can be consummated starting at 1 p.m. Tuesday) — there will be rumors and speculation. It’s always tough to know exactly where it’s coming from. Is the agent just trying to drum up a market for the player? Is it serious interest? Sometimes, it feels like the recruiting process in high school for an athlete — a player could have “interest” from Alabama and Michigan and LSU and Oklahoma, but was it a form letter sent out to dozens of players or was it a phone call from Les Miles?

(And yes, obviously an NFL player isn’t getting a direct phone call from a team right now, because of the rules.)

So it’s within this context that the news must be viewed of the Cardinals looking at cornerback Sean Smith, or interest in Reggie Bush, or return man Josh Cribbs. Obviously, the Cardinals are going to have to be active in free agency to a point, because they will need to fill out a roster that has shrunk through recent cuts. This is the new NFL by the way — Rick Gosselin notes 11 players who started 16 games this season have been cut already, along with three others who started 15 games (including Adrian Wilson.) It will be very interesting to see what kind of contracts are reached with many of these players on the market. The Ravens are looking for Anquan Boldin to take a pay cut, which he doesn’t want to do. It’s a tough time to be an older veteran, regardless of performance.

As for what might happen with the Cards, well, they’d like to re-sign cornerback Greg Toler and safety Rashad Johnson. There hasn’t been much talk about free agent LaRod Stephens-Howling and the Bush news — if accurate — would not bode well for the Hyphen’s return. Neither would someone like Cribbs. (It does seem like interest in Bush contradicts Bruce Arians’ concept of a three-down back, but reports are Bush has become better all-around in Miami compared to his Saints years.)

This week will be fun to watch play out.

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Moving on with a short week, and other notes

Posted by Darren Urban on October 1, 2012 – 11:48 am

The Cardinals will practice tonight — for an hour — as their short week begins. They aren’t going to do much because they really can’t, not after finishing a game just about 24 hours before. The body just isn’t ready for that. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he won’t really know much about the injury situation until he sees his players like Darnell Dockett (hamstring) and Todd Heap (knee) doing things in practice, and it will be so light this evening that tonight probably isn’t going to give much of a barometer.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson just tweeted, “Quick turn around big game on Thursday. This game will say a lot about our team, can’t wait. #Don‘tBlink” That’s true. This game will tell a lot about the Cards. The last time the Cards had a Thursday game, it didn’t go so well.

— Whisenhunt said Greg Toler has been working back to health after missing all last season with the ACL tear. Toler was available all of camp, but he never was quite right. “He was fighting it in camp and he’s been getting healthier,” Whisenhunt said. “During the course of the game we made the move (to play him more) because we thought it was best because of the matchup situation.” Whisenhunt said “we’ll see” when it comes to keeping Toler in that spot. Toler ended up playing across from Patrick Peterson at cornerback instead of William Gay, and in nickel, instead of Jamell Fleming (with Gay staying at nickel). Gay played 50 defensive snaps Sunday, Toler 44 and Fleming 12.

— Because running back Ryan Williams is not part of the no-huddle because of where he is in his development and William Powell does work in that package, Powell actually played more offensive snaps (34) than Williams (33) Sunday.

— The play-action was very effective for the Cards Sunday. Whiz said if he could guarantee that success, he’d run it every snap. It’s a little strange too. “It’s not like we’ve been killing it in the run game,” Whisenhunt acknowledged.

— Many have asked about the push Dolphins defensive back Sean Smith made on Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone on Kevin Kolb’s interception. Fitz said after the game “when the quarterback is out of the pocket he’s allowed to push me” and the Pro Bowler was absolutely right. It says in part in Rule 8, Section 4, Article 7 of the rulebook, “If the quarterback leaves the pocket area with the ball in his possession, the restrictions on illegal contact and illegal cut block both end, but the restriction on defensive holding remains in effect.” Kolb still had the ball and was out of the pocket when Smith shoved Fitz.

— The game Thursday will be televised on NFL Network and for those who don’t have NFLN, it will be also shown on KPHO (Ch. 5).

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