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You've Got Mail: 49ers Week, Part One

Topics include the Drake trade, injury updates and cap concerns

AZC_CardinalsMailbag

It's a short week, but that doesn't mean there won't be a mailbag. And for those who got confused before the Seahawks game -- Part One in the headline means Part Two comes before the second 49ers game, not later this week. As always, you can leave a question for next week's mailbag by clicking here. On to the questions:

I think yikes is a fair assessment. I don't know if Kingsbury necessarily has to simplify the entire gameplan, but he did say he will need to give Drake a package that he can pull off on a high level even when he gets essentially two days of practice. It's not a good situation.

I'll be honest, the move surprised me. But if both Johnson and Edmonds are down for a few more games, they might not have really had a choice. You don't know if he'll be an eight-game rental. It's possible he could return next season. But let's say he does not. He does become a player that can potentially fetch a compensatory pick if he leaves as a free agent -- perhaps even a fifth- or a sixth-round pick. And when you say running back is the easiest to replace, they obviously felt -- after watching Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner last week -- that they still needed a bigger upgrade. If they don't get some semblance of a running game for the next few games, they are going to have a tough time generating any real offense.

I do not believe so. As Stephen noted above, this very well could be an eight-game rental for Drake. It would also be cost prohibitive if they wanted to move David -- releasing him or trading him would mean a dead money hit of more than $16 million. Besides, I still think they like Johnson. He just needs to get healthy. (For those who say he's always hurt, I don't get it. He was healthy all of 2018.) At some point though, yes, the Cardinals are going to need to see consistent production from Johnson, and part of that includes being on the field.

From T Cowley via azcardinals.com:

"Do you foresee any defensive changes/trades taking place for linebackers or cornerbacks prior to Tuesday deadline? Thanks."

I do not at this point. But I didn't think the Drake trade would happen either.

From Kenny Williams via azcardinals.com:

"I know this will never happen, but what do you think of the concept of a team interception allowed. Let me explain. If the QB throws a perfect strike that goes right through the receiver's hands, hits his facemask, ricochets into the air and is picked off by the defense, the poor QB gets charged with the INT. Doesn't seem right. I believe the NBA has a similar concept with team turnovers that don't get charged to individuals. Thoughts?"

I have heard of a similar concept. It does make a lot of sense. But you're right, it won't happen.

From Jeshua Witt via azcardinals.com:

"What's the process of evaluating a player's injuries such as Chase Edmonds? Do the team doctors run all tests at Cardinals' facilities or are players brought to an actual hospital for this?"

It's both, depending on the injury. The Cardinals have medical equipment at their facilities as well as an army of trainers and team doctors. But players absolutely go to the hospital for certain things, including MRIs. Just depends on what is going on. I'd guess a hamstring issue would be handled at the facility.

As the Cardinals got into the season, and as they starting using 11 personnel more and 10 personnel less, it was going to impact Johnson. Then Trent Sherfield appeared to surpass him on the depth chart. I don't know if that was because of things at practice or games or both. Judging by his tweets last week, Johnson was clearly disappointed (and in hindsight, may have been aware he was going to be inactive on Sunday.) But he's young. He's going to have chances to earn back that time.

From Chad Johnson via azcardinals.com:

"You have long said the success of the season would not based on the record but on Murray's progression. What grades would you give his progress on the games this year?"

I think Kyler Murray is ahead of where I thought he'd be eight games in, especially without a ton of playmakers around him. It'd be nice to see him throw a few more touchdown passes -- he hasn't had one in a few games -- but he isn't turning the ball over either. Four interceptions in eight games and no lost fumbles? That's way lower than I expected. If I had to give him a grade, I'd say B. He's been good.

Not sure how you'd say that when we've already seen a bunch of examples of Kingsbury making adjustments, most notably the use of 11 and 12 personnel much more than what was originally planned. This base offense was going to be 10. But he's been willing to morph. Kingsbury still needs to prove himself on this level, but he's shown the willingness to change.

From Jerry Brown via azcardinals.com:

"How much does the Cards' D miss Zach Allen and how close is he to returning?"

Allen was struggling before he got hurt -- he had lost his spot in the starting lineup the game in which he got injured -- but I do think they could use him in the rotation. Kingsbury said Monday they are being extra-cautious with Allen. They don't want to take a chance on a second setback, since he already had one after the initial injury.

From John Pashkow via azcardinals.com:

"Do you think Josh Rosen will be out of the NFL by next year? Word is the Dolphins are looking to draft a franchise QB, having already concluded that Rosen, who has the worst QBR in the league, is not one."

Out of the league? No I do not. Not sure why anyone would. My understanding in fact is that the Dolphins plan to keep him next year as the veteran competition for the top draft pick, or that pick's backup.

From Dan Williams via azcardinals.com:

"With the Cardinals defense practicing against the Pro Raid offense day in and day out, does it under-prepare the defense for more traditional style offenses?"

I don't believe so, because during the week, after some individual work, the first-team defense works against the scout offense -- and they are running plays that, for instance this week, the 49ers' offense would run. Not the Cardinals. So that really should not make a big difference. In training camp, perhaps, but not this time of year.

From David Brandt via azcardinals.com:

"Do you believe that if the Cards ran that fourth-down play as a trick play -- as in letting the refs place the ball then run to line, set and quick-snap in hoping to catch one or two or more defensive players out of position -- that it might have worked?"

Perhaps, but in order to do that, you better be totally confident in your ability to rush to the line and snap without making a mistake yourself. In that situation, that seems like you're adding risk to a play that already has some risk. Again, Kingsbury said he wishes he would have made a better playcall. I don't know if a quick-snap is that better call.

From Adam Griffiths via azcardinals.com:

"Any update on the return of Robert Alford?"

Nope. And I don't anticipate one anytime soon. If there is one, you'll see a post on azcardinals.com. I promise it won't be buried in a mailbag.

From Rudy B via azcardinals.com:

"Darren, I got to ask what is going on with Andy Isabella. Healthy second-round pick who can't sniff the field even when we actually need receiver help. We signed Cooper off the street instead of giving him some kind of role. Will we see him get any productivity this year?"

Along with Alford, it's the second-most popular mailbag topic. The answer is no different now than the last however many times I have answered. They don't see him as better than Cooper right now. He's probably better suited for the slot, and right now, that's Kirk and/or Fitz. After eight games, I think you've gotten a sense of what Isabella's rookie role is going to be, barring a massive injury barrage, or at least until we get to the tail end of the season.

Reddick's snaps are falling, and that's of course not a good sign. He has not made the progress which they had hoped for, and it's fair to wonder what they do with him in the future. The defense does need a ton of pieces. I do think Byron Murphy can be good at cornerback, I think Budda Baker can be solid and I'm willing to see what kind of growth the Thompson twins make at safety. But they probably need another inside linebacker, they need a pass rusher across from Jones, and they need a talent infusion on the defensive line beyond Corey Peters.

From Juan Jones via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Urbs. There's some rumors rumbling that the Jaguars might part ways with Calais Campbell next year given they are cap-strapped and they need to pay Yannick. CC is older, they already spent picks on some younger DL, etc. What do you say the odds are we bring CC back? We'll have the cash available."

I'd never say never and I'd love for Calais to come back because he's such a good dude. But as always, it would depend in part of how much money he'd want. They didn't want to pay him as much as he got four years ago, they're not going to pay a ton with him four years older. And that's assuming his time in Jacksonville would be over.

From Jim Hart via azcardinals.com:

"Been a long long time follower of the NFL and over the last ten years or so I keep hearing that the days of the young mobile QBs are the future of the NFL. You know the guys who are under six feet tall, with 4.3 speed and 180 pounds and like to run, run, run. My early days it was Fran Tarkenton who did that on a consistent basis. Sure Murray and guys like Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson are exciting to watch and look good on highlight reels but I feel most GMs in the league still prefer a tall 6-5 pocket passer with accuracy and some mobility over a scrambler on a third down and 15 any day of the week. Comments?"

My comment would be, how many 6-5 pocket passers with accuracy and some mobility actually exist? I mean, seriously, if you aren't willing to be a little more flexible, you may never find a QB. I'll say this -- Sam Darnold is that prototype guy. Daniel Jones. Or Matthew Stafford even, and Stafford is a good QB. But I'd rather have Wilson or Watson than Stafford. And right now, I think I'd rather have Murray over Darnold or Jones. Time will tell. But winning matters, and you shouldn't shoehorn your chances to do that into a place you can't get out of.

From Ron Castle via azcardinals.com:

"We currently have $35M in dead cap money. Does all of that money come off the books next year? Meaning we have all that $35M back to play with?"

According to overthecap.com, the Cardinals are actually at around $43M in dead money right now in 2019. For 2020, they are scheduled right now to have about $2.4 million in dead money, so yes, they will have a lot to play with -- as of now. That dead money is always fluid, based on who might get released or traded.

From Simon from China via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren, I'd like to suggest a desert rock band called 'Big Red Rowdies' (working title) consisting of the following players: Cassius Marsh, Maxx Williams, Dennis Gardeck, Brooks Reed, Joe Walker. Any additions from your side?"

Ummm ....

*quietly walks away from mailbag*

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