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You've Got Mail: It's Craig's Turn To Answer Questions

Topics include the offensive line, Marvin Harrison Jr., Trey McBride, and the new kickoff rule

Froholdt Mailbag

So Darren remains on vacation.

And while he's away, myself, Dani Sureck and Zach Gershman will be handling the mailbag. Dani did a great job last week; it's my turn this week; and then Zach will answer your questions on July 9.

There will be no mailbag the week of July 4th.

From Jerry Martinez:

"Hi Craig, I saved this question for you since you're blunt and to the point, which I appreciate. Monti has made two moves that has me scratching my head: Jonah Williams and Isaiah Adams.

First, Isaiah Adams, to be fair to him he's an OG who was forced to play OT; and with that said, he was arguably the worst OT in college football. Absolutely abysmal.

Secondly, Jonah Williams. He's by far the more concerning. Yes, he played better at RT last season, but better doesn't mean good, he played less awful. Joe Burrow has notoriously been one of the most battered QBs in the NFL the past few years behind that leaky Cincy OL, and Jonah was a big part of that. I'll be blunt, he's not very good. Why is he here protecting Kyler?

Again, these are paper evaluations, but stats are stats. If they say your QB is getting creamed, I can't help but feel worried for Kyler. I'd think Beach would be a better option than Jonah. I don't understand these moves. Am I wrong?"

Admittedly, Jerry, I didn't watch a ton of Bengals or Illinois games last season. And I'd be careful reading too much into stats when it comes to offensive linemen. Unless it's an obvious one-on-one matchup with a defender, it's almost impossible to know what an o-lineman was or wasn't supposed to do on a given play in real time. What may look like a busted assignment could very well have been the right decision or the right move and thus someone else's fault.

What I do like about both Williams and Adams are their size and availability. Williams started all 17 games last season, and he has missed only two games over the past three seasons. Adams, meanwhile, has 25 starts under this belt the past two years with 14 of those coming at guard, which – as you noted – is where he'll be competing for playing time.

The Cardinals paid Williams a lot of money to be their starting right tackle. That said, Jonathan Gannon has mentioned several times this offseason that a player's role can change. In other words, if a player is not doing their job to the satisfaction of the coaching staff, then they'll look behind door No. 2.

From Jeremy Johnson:

"How's PJJ looking, feeling at LT? Haven't heard any news since he made the switch.

Also, how's Jon Gaines doing? Has he commented on how he's feeling? All healed up? And what position is he practicing at? Guy was a 4th rounder with loads of potential. I would hate for him to be ignored and washed out because of an injury. Give the guy a shot."

So, Jeremy, we -- meaning the media -- don't get to see a lot of on-field work during the offseason. In other words, very little has been seen of Paris at left tackle other than his work during position drills. Thus far, we can only go off of what others have said about the move, including Paris himself. Jonathan Gannon, Will Hernandez, Hjalte Froholdt and Evan Brown have commented as well; and they've all been very complimentary of Paris. Remember, it's not a new position. Paris played left tackle at Ohio State, so the transition, you would think, should be a relatively smooth one.

As far as Jon Gaines (by the way, Jeremy, did Dani put you up to this, to ask about Gaines?) he has been seen during OTAs and minicamp, but only as a spectator. He's yet to participate. Gannon said he expected Gaines to be ready to go "in some capacity" when training camp begins next month.

From JB Prewitt:

"Craig, hey man! I know Marvin is new and you haven't gotten a ton of time with him yet, but he's clearly a softer-spoken guy. My question is, how does he compare to Fitz? Would you say Marvin is more forthcoming or less than Fitz was? How's his comfort with the media? I know Fitz evolved over the years but largely was a pretty buttoned up guy. How would you compare Marvin so far in his handful of media interactions? Thanks!"

So, JB, I have had just two interactions with Marvin so far and both times I came away very impressed. As talented as he is and the expectations fans/media have for him – which are no greater than the expectations he has for himself – Marvin comes across very humble, very respectful, and very self-aware.

Given the national prominence of his alma mater, Ohio State, Marvin has had plenty of experience in the spotlight, and it shows the couple of times he's been in front of the cameras. He's very comfortable answering questions.

From Barry B:

"Hey all. Where does Trey McBride fit into the puzzle? As much excitement as there is surrounding Marvin and Michael (in addition to our strong run game), I would hate for us to lose sight of McBride essentially being a WR2 type weapon. FOREVER I have lamented that the AZ Cardinals, regardless of GM or HC, seemed to ignore the TE position. It's such an amazing weapon and all the best teams have, and utilize, their star TE. Baltimore, SF, KC...AZ?! Seriously though, I want to see McBride get 1,000 yards, but the only way of accomplishing that is for Petzing to prioritize McBride. Has Petzing or JG or McBride made comments yet that would imply he's going to be a major, consistent part of the offense?"

Not sure, Barry, if any one player will be prioritized in Drew Petzing's offense. The run game took priority last season in Petzing's first year as offensive coordinator, and McBride did emerge as a valuable option the back half of the year.

But how I see it – and right now, it's only on paper – Kyler Murray is going to have a number of options in which he can distribute the ball. He can hand the ball off to James Conner, Trey Benson, or Michael Carter. He can throw the ball to McBride, Marvin Harrison Jr., Michael Wilson, Greg Dortch, or Zay Jones. And let's not forget how dynamic Murray is when he keeps the ball. Again, a lot of options.

I do believe McBride will play a large role in the offense. And, yes, a one-thousand-yard season is possible. But this team will do whatever it needs to do to move the football and score points; and that very well may change week-to-week given the opponent, and of course, health.

From James Richards:

"Ok, Darren, let's pump the brakes sir. I just read your Bernhard Seikovits article and couldn't help but feel skeptical of its tone. Seikovits is being patient and trying not to go crazy by the wait and uncertainty of playing and etc. etc.

Let's be practical about this: other than a long-term backup QB (looking at you Charlie Whitehurst) Seikovits might have the sweetest gig on earth.

Unlike other practice squaders, he has the super-special international tag, meaning he can only be swapped for another international player, and there's only like six out there honestly, so he has an extra layer of PS job security, that really nobody else has. And it's not like he's being paid in Apfel strudels, a quick check of shows he's made $1.1M in his PS career.

The stars aligned for that guy. He was born freakishly tall, fast, and strong, in Austria, and joined the NFL right when the league was revamping their international player considerations. Good for him, truly. Very cool. This short stint in football is going to set him up for the rest of his life and likely give him the ability to start some business back home someday. So rather than ring hands over the potential he never sees the field, let's applaud his good fortune and how dang lucky that guy is."

Far be it for me to speak for Darren, but I'll do my best. And let me start with this, James: thank you, thank you for checking out and reading the article on Seikovits.

Every player in the Cardinals locker room wants the same thing: they want to play. Seikovits is no different. He's putting in the work to be able to earn his way on to the field, and the key word there is 'earn.' Will it happen? Who knows. Personally, I hope it does happen. Yes, it'd be a great story, but also, it would demonstrate the NFL is borderless.

From Shravaka:

"While there has been a justifiable amount of optimism around the Cardinals preseason and offensive potential, Bleacher Report just came out with an article ranking the worst defenses in the NFL. And yup, they have the Cardinals rated as the #1 worst.

Obviously, you, Monti, JG, Nick and the entire organization must be aware of this perception and what appears to be the most important challenge for the organization in 2024. Can you share anything with us, other than boiler plate stuff, of what might be taking place internally to turn this situation around? JG's position with "violence", "adaptability" and other motivational perspectives are great! But let's be honest, it typically takes a few years for defensive rookies to ramp up to NFL level productivity and while there are outstanding personnel like Budda, Jalen, White, and several others, B/R is not impressed with their overall observation. Is Monti and the scouting staff still seriously investigating possible upgrades or are we standing pat for now and seeing what Nick and his coaching staff can achieve?

This is not meant to be negative or raining on our preseason parade, but rather a realist and constructive discussion on a variety of ways of how this apparent Achilles heel might be healed soon."

Until in-season improvement is shown, Shravaka, the national media will always have a pessimistic tone when writing or talking about the Cardinals defense.

The offseason additions look great, but they look great on paper because that's all we have to go off of right now. We'll get a better sense of where the defense is once training camp begins and then, of course, the two joint practices against the Colts. Until then, I think Monti Ossenfort and the coaching staff will be patient. They want to see the defense in action – who looks good, who knows the playbook, who steps up unexpectedly – before considering any more additions to the roster. That's not to say they aren't paying attention to what players remain unsigned. I just feel they want to see what they have already in house before knocking on someone else's door.

From Brandon Evers:

"How come we've seen so little of Mack? I was super excited when we signed him, and he was very vocal the first few weeks of being here, but lately it's been radio silence. No interviews or anything. As far X factors on this team, I really think Mack might be one of the most substantial additions we've made."

Not sure, Brandon, how much more you were hoping to see and hear from Mack Wilson Sr. He addressed the media after he signed and joined Dani Sureck for an interview in the Cardinals TV studio. Remember, player access is limited in the offseason.

I do agree with you that Wilson may become one of those under-the-radar signings that pays big dividends, especially considering what we saw him do late last season with the Patriots. He and Kyzir White have the ability to be dynamic in the middle of the defense.

From Noyale Donahue:

"What position will D-Rob be playing? Has that been cemented yet? He said he can bulk up to 300 and play interior DL or stay lighter and play DE. I assume he will be a DE. It's unfair to compare him to CC, but D-Rob is incredibly long like CC. If he can learn to use his length, I think he can have a similar output (10 sack seasons)."

The 'CC' you're referring to, Noyale, is Calais Campbell, right? (By the way, good to see Calais continue his playing career now with the Miami Dolphins, whom the Cardinals will play in Week 8.)

According to defensive coordinator Nick Rallis, Noyale, fans will see Darius Robinson play everywhere along the defensive line. He's got the size to play in the interior, and he's got the athleticism to play outside, with the possibility of even being a standup edge rusher at times.

Sacks will come, but at the onset, I think Rallis would be very happy if Robinson was a consistent disruptor to opposing team's offenses.

From Artie Bratton:

"In your opinion what do you think the Cardinals stance will be with the new kickoff rules? Will they take a "no risk it, no biscuit" type approach where they try and take every kickoff to the house and on the opposite side try and cause more turnovers when kicking it. Or will they take a more safe approach and try to minimize mistakes and play it as safe as possible?"

The new kickoff is going to be fascinating to watch, Artie. And I'm not sure we'll learn anything about the Cardinals' plans until the start of the regular season. Even then, we’ve heard from special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers that he expects teams to change strategy week-to-week, and perhaps even mid-game.

Given the abilities of both DeeJay Dallas and Greg Dortch, whether one or two of them are back to field the kick, I'd love to see an aggressive approach to returns to really put the pressure on the opponent. Good starting field position can really setup an offense.

Now, if we start to see teams become too good at returns, then, like Rodgers told the media recently, kickoffs may just be sent out of the back of the end zone to allow the ball to be placed at the 30-yard line.

From Carlos Amaya:

"When is the cards first game airing?"

Now are we talking about the first preseason game? If that's the question, then the answer is Saturday, August 10 at 5 p.m. against the New Orleans Saints. The game will be televised on Arizona's Family and air on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.