General manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt address the media Thursday.
By mid-March last offseason, the Cardinals' roster – except for rookies – was all but set.
Kicker Jay Feely and guard Alan Faneca were April additions, but even then, they arrived before the draft.
This year, the offseason has been flip-flopped. Ongoing labor problems and the lockout have forced free agency and player movement deeper into an unknown part of the summer, and left the draft first up as the way to begin retooling a team.
"We are creatures of habit," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I think we are accustomed to free agency starting at the start of March and being able to go through that process, and this is a little bit different.
"But it is something that you adjust (to). We've put the same amount of prep time, as far as all !of that, and we feel like we're ready and this is our first opportunity. We know that we are going to have other opportunities. We know that we are going to play football in 2011."
In a week the Cardinals will take part in the draft, starting with the No. 5 pick overall. There are spots on the team in desperate need of upgrade/talent infusion – quarterback and pass rusher, among others – which normally would have been at least partially addressed by now.
Best player available has always been the mantra of the draft, with a nod that grades are always slanted with needs and schemes in mind. If the Cards had already signed, for example, a pass rusher in free agency, that would have influenced draft-day decisions.
There's a chance that the absence of free agency could actually make it easier to select "the best player available," although general manager Rod Graves said the Cards' approach isn't expected to change much even with new circumstances.
"It does sort of turn things around a little bit," Graves said. "But we are anticipating that at some point things will be up and rolling and we will have those opportunities. At least we're keeping our fingers crossed to that effect."
Besides, director of player personnel Steve Keim said, any team should be looking beyond a single offseason, regardless of any change.
"There is a difference between 'now' and building an organization correctly the long-term way, and the only way to do it correctly long-term is to go in with the mindset of the best available," Keim said. "There are need-based thoughts to that process, but we can't get consumed with the aspect of need. It's something you fight every year. That's just natural. But if you stay focused on long-term goals it keeps you safe."
Filling in the blanks via free agency still will arrive, even though the when and how has yet to be determined.
"At some point free agency is going to start and when it starts you've got to be prepared," Whisenhunt said. "We are prepared."
Not surprisingly, Whisenhunt wouldn't be specific about what the Cardinals may chase during the draft. Quarterback is a possibility, although the coach did not commit to the idea the Cards would take a quarterback.
Whisenhunt said there hasn't necessarily be anxiety waiting for the draft because of a lack of free agency or an absence of players. While the entire coaching staff is used to interacting with players by now – the players would be deep in their offseason program at this point – the rest of the job, like prepping for the draft and potential free agency, remained the same as every season.
There was also analyzing the team, which after a 5-11 record, wasn't fun.
"There is also still a feeling of hurt because we didn't play better, and obviously your pride, you want to get into it right now and get it corrected," Whisenhunt said. "That has been tough, because nobody wants to wait. Patience is tough."
Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information
Apr 21, 2011 at 02:47 PM
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Jonathan Gannon Opens Door To Head Coaching Career
First-year Cardinals boss brings energy as franchise resets
Cardinals Bring Back Long Snapper Aaron Brewer
Veteran coming off chest injury that ended his 2022 season
You've Got Mail: OTAs Coming To An End
Topics include using cap space, trading tackles, and Hopkins finances
Zaven Collins Looks To Spend A Little Time Outside
New Cardinals staff is working with inside linebacker out on edge
Dog Days Not Yet Upon Potential Cardinals Starting QB Colt McCoy
Elbow getting healthier as veteran in line to stand in for Murray
Paris Pitch Highlights Rookie Night At The Ballpark
Cardinals take field trip for the first time since before COVID
The Safeties In Numbers: Jalen Thompson Waits For Budda Baker
Along with Simmons, Cardinals hopeful in big production from position
Without DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals Are 'Moving On'
Notes: Gannon excited for Minnesota practices; Ojulari nicked up
Cardinals To Have Joint Practices With Vikings In Minnesota
Teams will work out together prior to preseason game
You've Got Mail: Questions About D-Hop
Topics also include Tune's selection, injury insurance, and the third QB rule
Cardinals Release DeAndre Hopkins
Wide receiver let go during roster reset under new GM Monti Ossenfort