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A Plan Of Action

Posted Jul 31, 2011

Cards delivering on their promise to make roster moves

Coach Ken Whisenhunt (left) talks with new quarterback Kevin Kolb at practice.


FLAGSTAFF – Grabbing Todd Heap was part of the equation.

So were Daryn Colledge and Stewart Bradley. As was trading for Kevin Kolb, adding a Pork Chop, regaining a Deuce and chasing others, like Braylon Edwards.

The names might not be exactly how the Cards drew them up on the office whiteboard back in February, but the idea was. Anytime coach Ken Whisenhunt or general manager Rod Graves (or president Michael Bidwill, for that matter) talked about reconstructing the roster, they said they would be “aggressive” in the market.

They talked about having a plan.

“We will see how it all plays out,” Whisenhunt said. “Just by the number of moves, we are trying to get our team better and that’s what it is all about.”

The agreement to finally end the offseason-long lockout isn’t even a week old, and free agency is only six days removed from its start. Since Wednesday, the Cards have added 51 players, including the 30 drafted and undrafted rookies and their own previously unsigned free agents. But that’s still significant new change – and moves that seem to happen constantly.

“It’s like there’s a trap door and every day it opens and in comes somebody new,” linebacker Clark Haggans said.

“You’re sitting in the cafeteria, watching the NFL Network, enjoying your meal, and see the ticker and are like, ‘Oh wow, that just happened?’ ”

Kolb was the centerpiece, the necessary first step on a team desperate to upgrade the quarterback situation. By itself, the trade brought mixed reviews from the fan base, especially with the dealing of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

That was just a few days ago.

It feels, as Whisenhunt joked, more like two weeks ago. Given the transactions that have gone down since, the time frame actually should be longer.

“This is the most active I’ve ever seen the team in free agency,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.

DRC was dealt, so Richard Marshall was brought in. Colledge replaces the retired Alan Faneca, but Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack provides line depth, and that was even before Deuce Lutui was unexpectedly brought back. Tight end got two veterans in Heap and Jeff King. Defensive end received depth when Nick Eason was signed and Vonnie Holliday was brought in via trade for running back Tim Hightower.

There are still some holes – Edwards would provide some speed at receiver, nose tackle needs someone behind Dan Williams – but the Cards have been considerably revamped already.

The massive changes aren’t helped by the lack of offseason or the reality veterans can’t practice for another few days, but without good players, practices are moot anyway.

“I know the guys upstairs are doing everything they can to put a good product on the field and win games,” center Lyle Sendlein said. “So far, as far as the competition standpoint, I don’t think anyone is comfortable. That’s why a lot of us who can’t practice are itching to get out there.”

As he did when analyzing the Kolb deal, Whisenhunt knows wins and losses are the only thing that will validate the moves.

Games don’t count for a month, however. In the short-term, the Cards seem to be adding the right pieces to avoid another 5-11 season.

“We kind of said we were going to do that,” Whisenhunt said. “Like we said, we had a plan.”


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