Splitting right side reps and OTA notes

Posted by Darren Urban on May 27, 2014 – 1:27 pm

Last week, Bobby Massie (at right tackle) and Earl Watford (right guard) started getting some work with the first unit. It wasn’t that surprising, given how open the job is right now. Bruce Arians clarified it a little more after Tuesday’s OTA, which again featured Massie and Watford with the first unit. By the time the Cards go through six OTAs, Arians said, Massie-Watford and Bradley Sowell-Paul Fanaika will each get three with the first unit. The reps will continue to be divvied up, and let’s face it, nothing can be determined now because offensive linemen aren’t even blocking now. There’s no way to prove yourself in the time of year when, as Arians likes to say, the Cardinals are just playing soccer. The true depth chart/starting jobs won’t be figured out until training camp and the preseason.

(Although, for instance, Massie must sidestep too many mental errors right now, the bugaboo that Arians and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin like to bring up.)

— Tuesday’s workout was moved an hour earlier with the heat. No bubble will be used when there are this many players. You can only have so many guys inside. Besides, Arians said, “we need the heat to get in shape.” They’ll get in shape, that’s for sure. With some missing players and the fact Arians uses two fields, all the main guys were taking a ton of reps Tuesday. If you were looking to see, for instance, Larry Fitzgerald vs. Antonio Cromartie, there were plenty of opportunities.

— The rookies are a little banged up after minicamp. First-round pick Deone Bucannon has a minor turf toe, Arians said. WR Walt Powell also had to sit out.

— The early thoughts on Andre Ellington from Arians? Hopefully 25 to 30 touches a game, which is a ton and basically unheard of these days for a running back. A lot of that will have to do with Ellington’s receptions (Arians has made no secret he wants to use Ellington a bunch as a receiver). There’s no question Ellington is the No. 1 back. How that translates to the stat sheet, we will see.

— Arians did say the Cardinals will use more two-back packages than last season, and that’s not the time when a tight end moves back there. There will be no true fullback on the roster, but both Jonathan Dwyer and Robert Hughes are beefy enough to be in there, I’d think.

— As the team waits on word about Daryl Washington’s status, Arians said he would like to add a veteran inside linebacker if the right guy came available. That’s not a big surprise.



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Brown (and Powell) show well in early going

Posted by Darren Urban on May 16, 2014 – 10:34 am

First, a disclaimer: In the offseason — where hitting is banned and helmets aren’t on half the time — on-field work is suited for certain groups to stand out. Usually offense has the edge overall, since there is no tackling even in minicamp and no one needs to be afraid of getting leveled coming over the middle. So that immediately emphasizes the wide receivers. Sometimes, summer goodness translates to the season (Steve Breaston). Sometimes, not so much (Steve Williams).

That said, and knowing they’ve only been on the field a few days, the Cardinals are happy with what they’ve seen from drafted wideouts John Brown and Walter Powell. They should be, from what I have watched. Brown especially looks every bit of the 4.34 40 guy, and more importantly, he looks confident in what he is doing. He shown good hands — snaring one Logan Thomas laser I happened to notice — along with his quickness and explosion. Powell too has shown similar things. Again, when you are talking about players from Pittsburg State and Murray State, you don’t want them overwhelmed by the stage.

Now, there is a long way to go. The real stage comes later — in training camp, in preseason games, and then in games that count. There are plenty of potential pitfalls. The scene will even change next week, when helmets go on and the defense is introduced to the passing drills. Each step will be important.

Brown is a kid you want to root for, given his backstory. But succeeding in the NFL isn’t about the what you’ve done to get this point but what happens now that you are here. The start, however, provides hope.


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