The Cardinals are about a week into training camp. A lot has already happened, so we have a plenty of questions to get to here. As always, you can leave a question for next week's mailbag by clicking here.
From Juan Forever via azcardinals.com:
"Hello amigo! I believe in honest praise and criticism. We hear how amazing Kyler Murray is. After a handful of practices now, is there anything noticeable that he definitely needs to improve on? I know as a rookie the answer is 'everything.' I mean more of a bad habit that he repeatedly makes."
To be honest, I don't know if he has a singular bad habit he has to break. There might be something subtle that coaches might know, but outwardly, I don't really see one. His footwork looks on point and has a quick delivery. If anything, he'll have to work on his decision-making, but that's not a bad habit but the learning curve of a rookie.
From Red Birds via azcardinals.com:
"You mentioned you were in favor of keeping Josh Rosen pre-draft. Now that you've seen Kyler in person, do you still feel that way? All of this is moot, but just curious if Kyler has impressed you to the extent that you're on board the hype train."
Well, he was the first pick overall in the draft, so I don't know it's necessarily the hype train, which to me makes it sound like it's overblown. I did say it made sense to me to keep Rosen. But I will acknowledge that since being able to see Murray in person, I can absolutely see why the Cardinals' decision-makers wanted to make him the first pick. So I suppose that's a long way of saying, yes, I believe in the pick and think Murray has a chance to be an excellent NFL quarterback.
From DJ2K via azcardinals.com:
"What is your very early thoughts on the No. 3 wide receiver? Andy Isabella has looked real good, as has KeeSean Johnson."
At this point, I think I would lean toward KeeSean Johnson and Pharoh Cooper as the two guys who have stood out the most. The Cardinals will need more than three guys, I'd think, but those guys are who have popped to me. Johnson has looked really solid, especially for a rookie.
Hopefully the Cardinals don't have to find out. But yes, I think Murray has the ability to make things work with less-than-stellar offensive line play. We've seen a guy like Russell Wilson do that, and I think Murray could do the same. Also, I think the Kliff Kingsbury offense can help with that too, with plays designed to get the ball out quickly.
From Rod Smithers via azcardinals.com:
"When roster cuts come, what position do you think we will be most interested in? I'm thinking defensive line and linebacker. Also, can I ask why did the Cardinals ever release Josh Bynes? I never understood it. Hes a solid player. Good depth. Cheap. Any insight?"
At this point, I would agree, given that the depth could be needed. With that first waiver claim, I wouldn't rule out a wide receiver, a cornerback or an offensive lineman either. As for Bynes, I think they were just looking for more athleticism and speed at inside linebacker, more youth, and they knew they had a couple guys like Gardeck and Turner that might be ready to take a step forward.
From Jay Strong via azcardinals.com:
"If Darren Urban was a betting man, who is our No. 2 starting CB next to Robert Alford in Week One?"
Let's make clear, I am not a betting man. However, I can answer this with my best guess. At this point, I'm thinking it'll be Tramaine Brock, with Byron Murphy at slot. If Murphy makes huge strides in the preseason that could change, but right now, that'd be my guess.
From Cards 4 Ever via azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren! Justin Pugh has done several interviews as of late where he openly talks about being happy to return to LG, where he is much more comfortable. Thats significant to me. Given the O-line Tetris, do you ever ask the players where they would most want to play? I already know you will get the 'Wherever coach needs me' answer, but Pugh sounded very adamant that LG and RG is night and day. The reason I ask is because you've mentioned that center is undecided between A.Q. Shipley and Mason Cole, whereas I would think Cole would be more comfortable at guard (considering he played left tackle in college) and the backup center should actually be Lamont Gaillard, who is a career center. But the Cards have him working at guard."
A lot to address here. Do I think players have a preference? Of course. But like you said, rarely do they make a big deal about it because they know they need to go where the coaches ask. Each player is different when it comes to absorbing the nuances of one side or the other. In terms of the center position, they feel Cole's eventual position is center. He actually played center, guard and tackle in college -- he just happened to play tackle in his senior season. As for Gaillard -- or Cole for that matter -- unless you get to the point where you have established yourself as a starter, you better be versatile. Gaillard, assuming he makes the roster, isn't going to start. If he is to be active on game days as a backup, he'd have to be able to play a couple of different spots.
From Cards 4 Ever via azcardinals.com:
"I see a lot of 'Chandler+Suggs' content on the site, but I was under the assumption that Suggs wasn't going to be a full-time guy. The idea was he was going to split time with someone else. Who is that someone else? I can't think of the third or fourth OLB pass rushers on this roster. Do we have any?"
Lot of questions in a question here. No one has ever said Suggs wouldn't be full time; I think the Cards don't want to burn him out but he'll still be the main guy I'd think. Right now the third OLB is Brooks Reed. Beyond that, they are still looking. One guy who has quietly gotten reps through the offseason was Pete Robertson. But it's fair to be wary of the depth there at this point.
From John Pashkow via azcardinals.com:
"I'm reading that our base offense will include four wide receivers, but none of the receivers we drafted this year will be among the four starters. Are Isabella, Butler & Johnson just more busts?"
Got to love the assumption that, after one week of training camp, there are busts as rookies. That deserves a C'mon, man. When he first arrived, Patrick Peterson wasn't working with the starters either. He was not a bust. As for those three, all have flashed in camp thus far, and at this point, I do think Johnson especially has a chance to play a significant role early in the season.
At this point, I don't think he's doing poorly, but he hasn't necessarily stood out either. I don't think he's a lock to make the roster at this point, but he's in the mix. Preseason games will matter for him.
From Cris Peralta via azcardinals.com:
"Hello from Indiana. First, I want to say I am overly excited to see the Cards play the Bengals in October (my wife was not to happy with the purchase though, haha). This will be my first Cards game in person. My question is, how much does the defense talk with the offense, or vice versa, to help with player development? Like Pat P talking with K1 about his eyes or Fitz talking with Murphy about press to help them progress and continue to grow."
Those conversations happen. How often, I couldn't tell you. But yes, vets will help young guys on the other side of the ball when they can. Peterson actually brought it up this offseason about trying to help the rookie receivers.
From Burt Nailor via azcardinals.com:
"Hello Darren. Thank you for the mailbag. A big part of camp this year was the mystery of the offense. It's been a few days now and we know Kyler will be in shotgun 100 percent of the time. We also know we will run four wide receiver sets a large amount of time. Is there anything else you've noticed? Such a proclivity for deep passes? Throwing it to David Johnson? Outside runs?"
We don't know how they will actually break it down game to game. One practice last week, the defense decided to work on blitzing a good chunk of practice. While I think the Cards will be more aggressive this season, that work doesn't necessarily mean they will blitz as much as they did that day. (Also, I don't know if I'd say the Cards will be in shotgun 100 percent of the time.) I will say it's nice to see the shots they have taken down the field already, but again, that might be dictated by what the defense is doing.
From Jim Dewalt via azcardinals.com:
"How does the release of Robert Nkemdiche affect our salaries -- as in money to spend on someone else?"
It looks like the Cards will save about $1 million on the cap, once the regular-season begins (in the offseason, the cap is the top 51 cap numbers, with someone sliding in if a top 51 cap guy like Nkemdiche is cut). It doesn't make a huge impact, I wouldn't think. They weren't really counting on him because of the knee anyway, at least not early, so they had already built a defensive line they were comfortable with.
From Zap Branagan viaz azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren. I have a question about the inner workings of free agency. When the team signs a guy like Matt Longacre, only to cut him two days later, do they have the conversation at time of signing that 'we might cut you in 2 days?' I am of the opinion that something should be written into the CBA that a team is not allowed to sign a guy and cut him in less than a week. Everything about that bothers me and it makes no sense at all."
This is the gig. I remember the Cardinals signing three guys early in the week when they were in Prescott for training camp and all three, I believe, were released before the preseason game was played by the end of the week. I'm not sure what the difference would be between less than a week and say, 10 days. You assume a player isn't signing if a team doesn't want him. And there is always a chance there are things going on behind the scenes we don't know about. Regardless, players know going in they might be cut right away.
From Punchy Juan via azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren! Challenge! (I know this may be difficult) Might you give us a three-word first impression for each of our drafted rookies thus far please?"
You are right, that could be challenging, especially with some of the later picks. But I'll give it a shot.
- Kyler Murray -- Accuracy, touch impresses
- Byron Murphy -- Being tested early
- Andy Isabella -- Must beat press
- Zach Allen -- Strong as ox
- Hakeem Butler -- Red-zone target
- Deionte Thompson -- Learning the ropes
- KeeSean Johnson -- Best rookie receiver
- Lamont Gaillard -- Chance as depth
- Josh Miles -- Backup tackle wide open (That's four. Oh well.)
- Michael Dogbe -- Honing raw tools
- Caleb Wilson -- Quiet so far
- Jalen Thompson -- Looking to hit
From Fred Santesteban via azcardinals.com:
"Peterson is not eligible to be a team captain this year is he?"
If you are asking if there is a rule against it, I don't believe there would be. But will he be given that he would miss six games? I wouldn't think so but I do not know.
From Granjo via azcardinals.com:
"Darren, I know you get bombarded with the 'when are we getting new uniforms' question. But may I ask, if EVER there was a time to start a new era, and roll out new uniforms with it, wouldn't this be it? No.1 overall pick Kyler and Kliff?"
I understand your point. But a uniform change takes a long time -- I'd have to check but they might have to decide on such things a year in advance. I can only answer the way I have, which is that I have heard no talk about new uniforms.