We’re a few practices into training camp now, a couple of padded practices in the books. Here’s another mailbag as the season creeps closer:
The schedule is significantly different. The players are at it much earlier in the morning on the field, either with walkthroughs or a legit practice, which didn’t happen under Bruce Arians. You can tell Steve Wilks’ attention to special teams – there were always ST sessions in parts of practice in the years I have covered camp previously under many coaches, but not as many and you can’t miss the intensity of special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers. The tempo is also off the charts. Coaches are running around after every single play, and the Cards move through practice at a speedy pace.
We’re still early. But as promised, yes, this offense will often have a fullback in the backfield by the looks of it. Because the Cards are still installing, it’s hard to tell exactly how the passing game will play out – teams tend to put in sections at a time, for example, there hasn’t been any red zone work as yet – but it does seem like the idea of short, quick passes will be prominent. The major wild card is that the Cards don’t yet know who their main receivers will be besides Fitz. That could be a factor. Certainly, the days of seven-step-drop-and-bomb are (mostly) over. OC MIke McCoy says nothing is set in stone.
Dez Bryant never really made a ton of sense here, simply because he and Fitz are so similar in what they provide as a receiver these days. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would be fun to see again in the locker room on a personal level. But I think that ship may have sailed once the team traded for Jamar Taylor, unless DRC was willing to play for cheap this season. The way Taylor has looked early in camp, he seems to be showing he’s a capable No. 2. Unless the Cards decide Brandon Williams (or Lou Young) absolutely can’t do the job, I’m not sure they’re still going to look to add another cornerback period, assuming they stay healthy.
I’ve said this a few times – every sign points to the Cardinals keeping three quarterbacks. The biggest reason, of course, is that with Sam Bradford’s injury history, it makes sense to have a veteran like Mike Glennon around with rookie Josh Rosen. Besides, if you keep two, it’s Glennon being released, obviously, and it would actually cost the Cards more against the salary cap to let Glennon go than to keep him around.
Tim Tebow once won a playoff game with Mike McCoy as his offensive coordinator. Just sayin’.
(Tebow, however, does not have a house in Chandler.)
It does make some sense to have Rosen run such plays. I could even see Bradford having some of those plays available (although you’ll want to be cautious about the positions in which you put Bradford.) That seems to be the direction the league is headed in these days anyway.
The running back spots behind David Johnson are intriguing. Rookie Chase Edmonds is getting a lot of work with the second unit. How T.J. Logan and D.J. Foster fit – and if the Cards want a backup fullback in Elijhaa Penny, behind Derrick Coleman – are decisions that have to be made. I think preseason games will be huge for Logan, who still looks incredibly fast but has to show it in games after missing so much of his rookie year.
J.J. Nelson still seems like the natural deep ball threat, but there will be other options. I could see Fitz getting a chance to go down the field a little bit more than the past couple of years. As for the slot, there are a multitude of options. Christian Kirk can be in there. Don’t forget about David Johnson lining up there either.