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You've Got Mail: Final Cuts And Waiting For The Regular Season

Topics include third QB, Kyler's practice time, and cornerback depth

Isabella mailbag 082922

Final cuts are Tuesday, as well as a break -- the players get one more bye weekend before the regular season starts. No break for the mailbag, though -- in fact, a day early. We'll leave Tuesday for the cuts and practice this week. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here. (And Kewina, don't bother sending me such disinformation. All that stuff is foolish.)

From Ryan Buzbee:

"Hi Darren. Just a logistical question about the joint practice with the Titans. I imagine there has to be an overall leader of the practice. One head coach. Otherwise it's too many cooks in the kitchen. Am I right in assuming it was coach Vrabel leading the charge?"

For the vast majority of practice each team worked on its own. Other than the last 11-on-11 part, there were still multiple parts of practice -- so there wasn't just one "leader." It was all scripted. Vrabel did kind of "take over" during 11-on-11, but only so far; there were NFL officials on hand and the two teams were on their sideline so it played out like a game, other than the lack of tackling.

From Chad J:

"Any idea how the other players feel about Kyler Murray calling plays? I would think, if you are trying to make an NFL roster, that you'd want the best possible opportunity to show your skills and player calling plays wouldn't allow that opportunity."

The couple players who have been asked about it, and they have good-naturedly talked about it. Those aren't the guys on the field when Murray was calling plays, though, and to be honest, I wouldn't think those players would care if it was Kingsbury, Murray or Larry Fitzgerald calling the plays. In preseason, it's all about how you execute a particular play, not how successful the team is.

From Derek Cooper:

"As I judge Trace McSorley is not the answer if we get to three QBs, how important is it to you to to develop someone like Jarrett Guarantano or pluck someone off another team to fill out the roster to have a sim QB to practice against?"

It's a little weird to me to ask me a question based mostly on your particular analysis, which, no offense, is moot. I think Kingsbury likes McSorley and sees someone he can continue to move ahead. But the reality is Colt McCoy will take most of the scout team reps because he's the No. 2; the No. 3 QB reps are limited once the season starts.

From Wilson Montoya:

"I was about to ask you how has Kyler looked in camp this preseason, and then it dawned on me. Kyler has barely practiced this preseason. I'm not a catastrophizer, but I do expect rust in Game 1. It doesn't matter what your pursuit is in life, reps are reps. You're good at what you do often. So I'm a little worried to be honest. I guess I can still shoot the question your way. From the extreme little you've seen, how has Kyler looked?"

He's looked ... like Kyler. Last year he didn't do much in the preseason and that first game in Tennessee, if I recall correctly, was pretty good. You are right, reps are reps. And Kyler, because of Covid, practiced a week less than normal. But not that much. I don't see that being the issue whether he plays poorly or not. Also, you efforted, but catastrophizer is most certainly not a word.

From Matthew Chadduck:

"When watching the QB battle for the third string, which mistake is more serious: Throwing two picks in the middle of the game, or getting sacked twice in a row on the game winning drive then failing to convert? In your opinion, who makes the roster in the end, and what are the most important things for each of them to showcase against the Titans? Always appreciate you and the mailbag, thanks again!"

This came in before the Titans game, obviously. But with the way the preseason played out -- with McSorley getting the vast majority of the game reps all three games -- it's pretty clear who the third QB will be. If the competition had been more wide open, I am guessing Guarantano would've gotten one of the starts. As for the particular question, it's always about context: what point in the game, who you are playing with, who you are playing against, and what you are trying to accomplish offensively at the time.

From Dave Courtney:

"Hi Darren, there were 2 guys who quietly SHOWED OUT vs Tennessee who I very much want to make the team. D-linemen Antwuan Woods and Christian Ringo. They lived in the backfield. Those two were the reason Cam Thomas got two sacks. They were the reason Zaven got his big tackle for loss. I know it was vs backups but those two guys looked better than Leki or Dogbe. I get Leki and Dogbe are already on the team, but Woods and Ringo solve all our DL depth issues and I really hope Keim can see that."

I think Woods and Ringo have had good moments but solve all the depth issues? I can't go that far. What happens with those guys will be interesting (they are also practice squad eligible now that veterans can be there). I don't see both these guys making it. How many defensive linemen do you keep on the 53-man? I can't see more than six, and might only be five. If so, Woods and Ringo likely are on the outside looking in.

From Don Newth:

"All the talk about Antonio and Marco, what's going on with Byron? He look good? He look like he's gonna take the next step or is he is what he is?"

I think Murphy has been solid. I don't know if he's a guy who turns into Jalen Ramsey, but if he can play like he did the first two months last season, that's pretty dang good.

From Anthony K:

"When's the CB depth coming? Kevin King seems to be the outright best guy left on the market. Alford seems to be just floating in purgatory. I wouldn't care if DRC came out of retirement at this point (I'm sure he's still plenty fast), but just please sign SOMEONE. Are they waiting for the cuts to 53?"

Again, I think something is coming. If Antonio Hamilton is going to be unavailable Week 1, it's got to be soon, I'd think. If Hamilton can play, I think it still could come after Week 1, when you can sign a veteran who may or may not still have some gas left in the tank and -- if he doesn't you can release him without a financial cost. There are still potential trades of guys who might get cut (because they will never get a decent CB cut on waivers because their claim spot is too low.)

From John McGill:

"Hey Darren. Hope all is well for you and yours. I have been rooting for Victor Bolden to make the team, but it looks like it is a very long shot to do so. Do you see him possibly making the practice squad if another team doesn't pick him up?"

Yes, I could see him on the practice squad. Although the Cardinals have seen things from Jontre Kirklin and JaVonta Payton and it's possible those guys will get the PS spots. Bolden is a guy who has been around the NFL five years. Again, I wouldn't rule it out but if the Cards keep Dortch and Isabella that's a lot of redundancy for small guys.

From Bubba Fitzgerald:

"As a long time member of the NFL, you've seen lots of practices, probably lots of dustups. What is your opinion on the Aaron Donald fight vs. the Bengals, where he swung helmets around like weapons? Myles Garrett infamously made that move popular, and got a six-game suspension out of it. The argument online is that it happened in practice (not a game) therefore it should not be punished. Others say assault is assault, and if the Rams aren't professional enough to suspend him themselves, the NFL should step in. You've seen more camp fights than all of us combined, so maybe you have a different perspective. Looking forward to hearing it."

I don't know if people said it shouldn't be punished because it was in practice, but the reality is the NFL doesn't have jurisdiction on practices like they do in games. Personally, I do think if there are joint practices, there has to be some kind of baseline to keep guys safe. Donald throwing helmets is incredibly reckless, but of course the Rams aren't going to punish him if they have a choice. Look, fights are going to happen in practice, and especially joint practices. But let's face it -- Donald has shown his temper can heat up quickly in battle (tried to choke D.J. Humphries in the playoff game, if you remember) and this wasn't shocking to see.

From Rich Sousa:

"Darren! You're either really tall or Paul Calvisi is really short. If you're that tall we could use that height in the WR room. Great coverage in Tenn. from both of you though. In regards to the RB room and Darrel Williams? Is he going to make the roster? Do you see Kliff/Steve keeping only four RBs? If only four were kept, I think it'd be Conner, Eno, J Ward and Ingram. I just feel we haven't seen/heard enough from Williams. Thoughts?"

I am fairly tall. Paul is definitely short. And my slowness and lack of athleticism would never work at wide receiver. With that out of the way, I think the Williams question is interesting. I don't see them keeping five running backs on the 53-man roster. I still think Ingram is the odd man out at this point but could it be Williams. Conner is in, as is Eno. I think Ward is, for special teams especially.

From Ansel Maldonaro:

"Darren, I have some big brain time that needs discussion. And I'm being 100% serious on this, so don't roll your eyes like it's unrealistic. Hump is locked up long-term. Josh Jones is never going to be our starting left tackle. It's just a timing thing. I know the team is very high on him (as they should be) but by the time Hump's career is over and Josh takes over, he'll be 30. So lets start looking at Josh as a trade asset. It just so happens Cowboys LT Tyron Smith hurt his hammy. Cowboys fans are panicking as they have zero LT depth. How about we dangle Josh? For a pick? For a player (CB)?

"That was my realistic comment. Now comes my unrealistic fantasy version. Josh Jones + a 2nd round pick for Ceedee Lamb. Why the heck not?"

*rolls eyes*

Sorry, involuntary reflex. Anyway, why are you only talking about Jones as your left tackle? Kelvin Beachum is in the last year of his deal. You may need a starting right tackle sooner rather than later. Also, if you dump Jones, who is the backup tackle? Now would I rule it out? No. Not if the Cowboys had something I really wanted. Don't think I'd do it for a pick though. I'd want a player I could use right now. (And no, the Cowboys aren't trading their No. 1 receiver (when they don't have a No. 2). That deserves an eye roll.

From Brett Lawrence:

"Can we please stop the overreaction to the departure of Chandler Jones. Last year the Cards were 11th in sacks and as much as we all love No. 55 he was second in sacks on the team and got half his sacks in one game. STOP THE INSANITY. Right or wrong?"

I can understand someone saying it is overreaction, but the reality is Jones' departure does impact the Cardinals. To argue they are better without him than with him is disingenuous, IMO. He's not with the Cardinals not because they don't think he can play, but because they don't think he can play at the level of the money he commanded. We will see what the Golden-Gardeck-Kennard-Thomas-Sanders lineup will bring.

From Aaron Miller:

"Are you looking forward to traveling to the Raiders game and seeing the new stadium and Chandler Jones? That's a cool part of the job I would think. Not often get to see a new stadium. I'll be traveling up for a Cardinals-Raiders game eventually. It'll be a fun trip."

The Cardinals were supposed to have opened up the building, with the 2020 preseason opener there. That game was of course canceled. But yeah, it's always cool to see a new stadium. SoFi was awesome. A co-worker asked me the other day if I have been to every stadium. With this trip, I will have.

From Dillon Wyms:

"Any idea why Marquis Hayes slid so far in the draft? The Cardinals themselves passed on him several rounds further than he was projected. From what I can tell, he is a mature, well spoken young man. There's a chance he may have had DJ Humphries work-ethic type concerns in college (which is common with highly talented players, who skate by on physical ability). But from what I've seen he's looking like a steal."

The big thing about Hayes is what his progress will be big picture in the line play. He's got the right mentality but there are times he'll just miss on a block. So he needs to tidy up those kinds of details. But could I see him eventually becoming a starter? Yes. But we are not yet close to that yet.

From Robert Malicki:

"Hi, Darren. It's been announced that a ceremony on Opening Day will feature the addition on the Ring of Honor the name William V. Bidwill. I feel this is fitting and proper. The NFL has also announced the final step approval of distinguished coach, Don Coryell. for enshrinement at the Hall of Fame in Canton. As a very long time Cardinal fan I support Don Coryell's being voted in and hope it occurs. Not only did Coryell's coaching tree include Joe Gibbs and Jim Hanifan but he made Jim Hart into an NFC offensive MVP, brought consecutive division titles to St. Louis, and introduced an NFL record-setting O-Line to fans. When Don Coryell is enshrined do you think Michael should bring him into the Ring of Honor, too?"

That's a good question. It's possible, although Coryell also had big years with the Chargers which probably put him in the Hall (if he gets there). The ROH is an interesting thing; I think there are a number of guys who could get in soon. At some point No. 11 would have to be a candidate too.

From Rick Zertini:

"Hi Darren. This question is definitely in the category of way-too-soon-to-be-talking-about-that, but if D.J. Humphries sticks around as our starting left tackle for 10-12 years, is there a chance he could make the ROH someday? Hard to believe, but D.J. is quietly becoming one of the longest tenured AZ Cardinal left tackles."

I think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. If Hump sticks around and makes a few more Pro Bowls, I think that's a discussion, but longevity alone won't do it.

From Brian Council:

"Hi Darren, saw the question about Mike Jurecki, and wasn't even aware he'd left. Got me thinking -- I haven't heard Bertrand Berry on a podcast in a while, and it's been forever since I heard Roy Green. How are they doing?"

They are both doing fine. But there always seems to be a little analyst turnover on the radio/audio side every few years. Pretty normal.

From Chris Minton:

"I like to imagine Michael Bidwill flying the team to road games on the new plane, but given how highly unlikely that is, how does it actually work? Does the club have a dedicated crew on staff, or is it contracted out? It would also be neat to have a podcast recorded during a flight. Get Craig Grialou on this ASAP."

Gri doesn't travel so that would be hard for him to do. Actually, we have actually a couple of times recorded Cardinals Underground on a flight, once going to the Super Bowl and another time for a playoff game in New Orleans. Yes, the Cardinals' charter has a dedicated crew, although they are contracted out -- they don't work "on staff" like someone like Mark Dalton or Tim DeLaney do.

From Gabriel Gambill:

"Darren, love the mailbag. Ever since hearing about 'the green hat' I have been trying to find one. I love the idea that it helps Kyler find the coach on the sidelines. It is those unique tidbits that I wish the Cardinals would embrace more for the fans. Call it the coaches hat or something and sell it for $5 extra to benefit a charity but those things endear us more to the team. Yes it is not our color scheme, but so what. Only fans in the know will get it. An inside joke right out in the open. I am telling you it is a missed opportunity."

Sorry about that. Those decisions are made above my pay grade. I appreciate yet another apparel question though -- I haven't had a jersey question in a couple of weeks.

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