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You've Got Mail: Chiefs Week

Topics include waiver claims = depth, Conner usage, and offensive line depth

Mailbag Hollywood Kliff 0906

The first week of the regular season has arrived, with the Chiefs arriving for Sunday's opener. That makes this the first mailbag of the regular season. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here

From Robert Malicki:

"Hi, Darren. Can you clarify the different paths open to GMs and the players themselves concerning getting to the 53-man roster? I'm interested particularly in Steve Keim involving Aaron Brewer in this process. Brewer is a key member but was still cut from the squad. How and why? Why would SK risk losing him one a waiver claim with no ready replacement?"

How was he cut? He was released like any other player was. Why? That's a little more complicated. First of all, Brewer isn't subject to waiver claims since he has four accrued seasons. That means he has complete control of where he signs after he is released. I think it's fair to say Brewer understood there probably was no team that was going to need him more than the Cardinals, and so it was unlikely he was going to try anywhere else, knowing the Cardinals would have some open spots later in the week.

From Mike in Gilbert:

"Hey there Mr. Senior Writer. (Ya, I looked up your title. And ya, this is another question that just struck me first. Does "Senior" mean old, or just been around longer than the rest?) OK. What can be inferred by waiver wire cuts/claims: For instance, Team A has no cuts claimed, while Team B has a lot claimed. Can I accurately infer that Team A has very little depth, while Team B has a lot? Are there other implications that teams often make based on such observations? Also, practice squad question. Hypothetically, when we put Trace McSorley on the practice squad and another team covets him and decides to sign him to their active roster. Can Trace opt to stay put and say no, I'd prefer to stay with this team?"

Old? Mike, do you also go by the nickname Q? As for your other questions: I mean, I don't think you can make a direct parallel between waiver claims and depth. The Jets had seven players claimed. Not sure their roster depth was that good compared to some others. I think they had a lot of draft picks they wanted to keep. In the end, we are still talking about players you are cutting, and as always, no team is in the business of cutting really good players. As for the PS question, yes, practice squad players can make whatever decision they want. Sometimes if a team comes around to sign away a guy, his current team promotes him to the active roster to make sure he stays. (A player essentially doubles his salary, at least, by going from a PS spot to an 53-man roster spot.)

From Matthew Stroh:

"Hey Darren, love the mailbag. I saw some videos on YouTube where people say Kyler Murray will have to run more for the first six weeks because of Hopkins suspension, I disagree. What do you think? Also do you think maybe Kliff will try to use Connor less to save him for the whole season. I'm not saying Connor isn't good but if they can figure out how to keep a healthy rotation of RB I think it will help keep everyone healthy and keep defenses guessing. P.S. if there was a karaoke battle between players and the media relations team, who would win?"

Not sure who is talking on YouTube; not sure why Hopkins being out would translate into more Kyler running. Barring further injury, I think the whole point of the offseason was building up the skills spots that a Hopkins absence wouldn't put more running on the table for Kyler. As for Conner, Kingsbury has already said he doesn't want Conner to wear down and will limit his touches in that regard. Finally, players versus media relations (which is not the digital content department, just to be clear) I would guess players.

From AZ Cards House:

"I've heard some talk surrounding a Cardinals trade for Marcus Peters. Do you know how real (or otherwise) that might be? Also, how early in advance do the Cardinals decide the jerseys they'll wear for home games?"

I never heard anything about Peters, so I'm not sure what that was (other than pure speculation.) I would guess they have to plan out the uniforms before the season, so the road teams know what jerseys they have to bring.

From jpr cards:

"Hi Darren, I was hoping that you could post an article relating exactly how out-of-market fans can get all NFL games live on either their television or online. Something like NFL Sunday Ticket (is that available even without DirecTV now?) The point is where can we purchase access to all live NFL games? What are our options? Not highlights, not game replays but live games each and every week. Thanks!"

So when I originally read this I misinterpreted it. The reality is there isn't a way to get live games out of market like you suggest beyond Sunday Ticket. Now, Direct TV's deal for Sunday Ticket is over after the 2022 season and there are multiple other platforms vying for the package. But wherever Sunday Ticket ends up, that's your only out-of-market option.

From Jo Jo:

"Hello, some O-line questions. What do you think about the Cards signing Josh Miles to the practice squad? I'm surprised we didn't right away considering we've spent a couple years developing him, and the fact that Josh Jones appears to be our only backup tackle unless you count Cody Ford. Also, what is the possibility of resigning Justin Murray down the line once he is healthy? I feel like having a fourth guy who can play tackle may end up being more important than a third-string center who we could stash on the PS himself. As a long-time Cards fan I think it is prudent to have plan C & D when it comes to the O-line."

The fact they kept Coward on the practice squad probably tells you they have seen everything they need to out of Miles at this point. Coward can serve as a backup tackle if needed, and Ford also can do it. With Murray, he's just been hurt too much. He was hurt most of last season, he was hurt almost all of training camp. Smith can play guard as well as center, and there is a concern someone else could grab him if he were to be released.

From Cory Holt:

"Hi Darren. Will you give me your opinion on Myjai Sanders? I personally think he is one of the best players on the team, and was the steal of the draft."

I don't think he's one of the best players on the team. You're getting ahead of things on that. I'm not going to call him the steal of the draft either since he hasn't accomplished anything as a pro yet. All that said, I think Sanders has a lot of good tools and could turn out to be a good player. But I'm not sure we see that come together his rookie season, however.

From Bob Kitsos:

"Sports Illustrated's football issue has the Cardinals projected for a 9-8 season and a third-place finish in the NFC West. Your thoughts?"

My thought is ... that's their opinion? I mean, it's possible the Cardinals can be as good as last year and have fewer wins just because the schedule is definitely more difficult. But who knows? If this team is healthy, I think they can win 11 again, even with the schedule. But it is far from a lock. I do think they need to win at least two or three of the six Hop-less games to be where they need to be for a playoff push.

From Richard Wakefield:

"Do the Cardinals run enough plays at speed in practice so that the starters don't need any preseason playing time to be ready for real games? I would think that they should at least play a half in the last game to get ready to real game conditions. It's been a long time since they played in a game."

Obviously the answer is yes. The starters barely played last year and they were fine in the regular season. This is how Kliff has decided is the best way to get ready -- mostly to try and keep everyone as healthy as possible.

From William Wootten:

"I'm bummed that Chandler Wooten didn't make the team, because I thought he played really well and we have pretty much the same last name minus a letter and hearing it on TV was cool. Why do you think they didn't select him to make the team? Also, what do you think our offense is going to look like scheme-wise? Similar to last year or changed based on the new additions? And what do you think the biggest strength of our defense will be?"

I think too often people try and get too complicated with some of this stuff. Wooten had a good preseason, but he also shined against mostly guys who aren't on rosters. They also saw him every day in practice. As an undrafted guy, and with the veterans they have added at inside linebacker, it was always an uphill battle. The offense is going to look like it has. I'm not expecting any kind of significant changes. As for the defense, it's going to be that safety tandem as their biggest strength. Can't do a lot better than Budda and JT.

From Roy Stime:

"Hi Darren. What is your preference for a season? Start 10-0 and then lose 7 straight (still make the playoffs) or alternate win/lose/win/lose/win/lose throughout the season and just sneak into the playoffs?"

These are the only choices? If this is all I get, I'll take the latter. I am a believer in how you are playing going into the postseason matters, and while win one, lose one isn't great, it's better than a seven-game losing streak.

From Tom Donlan:

"We all saw that silly question asked to a Cleveland Browns backup QB the other day about him not being Deshaun Watson. You've been in a lot of press conferences over the year, what's the dumbest question you've ever heard asked?"

To be honest, I didn't see that question. (And once I went and looked at it, I don't know if it was a dumb question -- "How hard is it not to be Deshaun Watson on the field." Which is the same thing about trying to do too much with Watson out. (And that "on the field" is kind of key context, don't you think?) I have heard many questions I thought were dumb over the years. I've asked some myself. Sometimes, though, those elicit the best answers. Besides, the dumbest question I've ever heard wasn't even when I was working. I was at orientation for my oldest at ASU, and there came a moment when the students went one way and the parents were brought into a separate area for a Q and A about dorm life. And then came the question I will never forget, from one clueless father: "What time is curfew?"

From Steve Boe:

"Maybe this is fake definition but I think this look legit."

I stand corrected. I tried to look it up and didn't find anything, but mistakes, obviously, we made.

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