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You've Got Mail: Lions Week

Topics include David Johnson workload, Edmonds' role and Fitz's future


The Cardinals are coming off their first road win against the Packers since 1949, an impressive feat given the circumstances of the season -- circumstances that only get more difficult with the rash of season-ending injuries that have taken away top rookie Christian Kirk and any semblance of an expected offensive line. On to your questions. As always, you can leave a question for the weekly Tuesday mailbag right here (or use #CardsQuestions on Twitter), and if I don't get to yours specifically, I often have answered one like it.

from Doug Keller via

"I was at Lambeau for this game so I can say firsthand how bad the weather and field conditions were that day. With that being said, this was the most poised Rosen has looked all year. Can we say this was the signature game of his young career so far? Hitting throws in tight windows and the clutch moment of the game finding Fitz. A monster amount of credit goes to Fitz on that catch though. People can dissect tape of the game but the eyeball test from the stands, he played great."

It was an impressive end, although on the game-winning drive, one semi-Hail Mary throw does not a "most poised" make. The way he directed the team for that less-than-a-minute-left game-winning TD against the 49ers was pretty poised. That said, he made the plays he needed to make, and he was not rattled even at third-and-23 at his own 12. That means a lot. There are still times when Rosen needs to improve, definitely. The first quarter remains Rosen's best quarter when it comes to passer rating. But you can see Rosen developing into a guy you want to have on the field at the end.

Also, it does not hurt to have Larry Fitzgerald.

There is a whole lot of stuff that goes into David Johnson not producing like 2016. It's the offensive line. It's usage. It's play calls. There are definitely missed holes. It's an offense that often goes three-n-out, severely limiting the opportunities to even use Johnson. I don't know if I'd say he was slow. As far as Chase Edmonds, I'd agree that Edmonds outplayed Johnson in Green Bay. Overall? No.

From Rudy Beltran via

"Hey Darren, so first off, is this one of the coldest games Cards games you can remember in recent memory? And with more injuries on the O-line, do you expect the cards to make a roster move there this week?"

It is one of the colder games. Patrick Peterson said last week the other really cold games -- both at night -- were the NFC Championship game at Carolina and the Sunday night game in Philly in 2015. But I know doing our Facebook Live show pregame, I could barely talk because my mouth and lips were freezing up. As for roster moves, uh yeah -- there are going to be a lot of roster moves.

No. Nope. No way.

Look, Edmonds is going to get some work. We have seen that all season. If the offense overall could sustain more drives, we'd have seen more of Edmonds up until this point. But guess what -- we'd have seen more Johnson too. Edmonds is there to give Johnson a blow on a series or two, and to change things up against the defense. Sunday, Edmonds happened to play well, and you want to use guys playing well when they are in that zone. But Edmonds still only had five carries to Johnson's 20, and Johnson was in for 52 offensive snaps compared to Edmonds' 13. This was no sea change. Johnson is still the workhorse.

From Chad Johnson via

"Why is there a minimum waiting period after a player retires before they can enter the Hall of Fame? Everyone knows Larry Fitzgerald is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so what is the purpose of the rules that say he can't be inducted the year he retires?"

The rule is in place to make sure those that get in -- be it a player or a coach -- don't retire, are put in the Hall immediately, and then decide to come back and play/coach. It doesn't happen often, but in the cases of guys like Barry Sanders or Calvin Johnson (who is waiting now), that's a concern. Brett Favre is a great example -- how many times did he "retire" and then not?

Ah, a question that can never really be answered. I think there is a chance he would've been better. Yes. But that wouldn't have made the offensive line play better. It wouldn't have improved the overall receiving corps. It wouldn't have made it easier to play some rough defenses in the Rams and Bears -- the two teams that ultimately helped push Bradford out the door. I also think there were times that Bradford, understandably given his history, was a little quick to pull the trigger in the pocket.

From Charley via

"Great win over the Pack anytime anywhere. Been thinking that Chase Edmonds had a lot of favor for sometime, what would the Cards get for trading David Johnson?"

What would they get? They'd get a dead money cap hit of $9 million. They'd get a big hole in the backfield that Edmonds, as a smaller guy, could not fill on his own. They'd get a strange look from me, since it makes no sense to sign Johnson to a big extension and then deal him a year later, when you need a back like him to lean on as Josh Rosen develops. That's what they would get.

From JTDG via

"We all know Wilks would like to add to the current linebackers. Provided Wilks is here, what type of LB is he looking for? The last draft's first four linebackers had it all -- big, fast , athletic and able to play both pass and run. That is unusual. So if they look at linebackers in 2019, would he prefer the guy who can be a big thumper or that smaller safety-type linebacker who can play three downs?"

I think you look at his prototypes -- Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis -- and go from there. Obviously, those guys are elite. But I absolutely think they'd like to have three-down-types, whatever the size. You need athleticism. Also, the third Carolina linebacker was Shaq Thompson, meaning two of the three -- Davis and Thompson -- played safety in college.

I'll answer this way:

Back in my former life, I was once a beat writer covering the Coyotes. Jim Schoenfeld was the coach. In my lone season on that beat, the Coyotes started out scorching -- 17-3-3 IIRC -- and then faded. In the guts of the latter schedule, a story leaked that if the Coyotes didn't win the game that night (I think it was against the Ducks) Schoenfeld would be fired. The Coyotes won. But at the next morning skate, knowing the leak had come from high up in the organization, Schoenfeld made some pointed comments that essentially boiled down to this -- if he wasn't doing the job well enough that firing him was possible, why would a single win change anything? (And the Coyotes still were a good team, losing a heartbreaking first-round series to the Blues in OT of Game 7, a series in which Jeremy Roenick was basically unavailable with a broken jaw.)

In the Cardinals' case, a single win in Green Bay can't be what it's all about. Just like a single loss in Los Angeles shouldn't be a deal-maker/breaker. In the Packers' game, to play with that effort in those conditions probably goes beyond the final score, even if Rodgers had somehow pulled it out.

It all has to be considered, all the way through the end. It can't be just one thing. Otherwise you're doing it wrong.

From Cory Moser via

"I have screamed for Wilks' job as loud as anyone. But as I watch since Mike McCoy has left, I'm rethinking whether or not the head coach is our current issue. Now, I simply see a variety of personnel issues. Is it time for Cards fans to re-think their desire to see Wilks go and be a bit more pragmatic about our situation?"

As I noted in the above answer, everything needs to be considered. I don't know the answer. I don't know enough of all the details that will be taken into account. But while I understand the emotions of the fan base, you have to hope the organization is always pragmatic and measured in making decisions like this.

From Chad Johnson via

"Given Mike McCarthy's (125-77-2) firing but the Marvin Lewis extension (130-118-3 in 16 years) with a Hue Jackson (3-36) firing in year three at Cleveland, what are reasonable expectations of a coach's win/loss record? How long should a coach be given to 'turn things around' and implement the scheme before the organization cuts ties with him? Maybe fans would have pulled the trigger already, but I know there are things we don't know and don't understand, so just curious if we all should R-E-L-A-X a bit."

Well, other than being a week late with the Aaron Rodgers reference, it's a fair question, not unlike the previous one. I think there is no set answer. Every situation is different, every owner is different, every fanbase is a (little bit) different. Early in a tenure, in my opinion, it can't just be about wins and losses. It's how you get there, how things are run, how things are headed and what the future holds.

From James Twisse via

"Do you think with all the injuries and the rookies getting more than expected playing time that we'll see a lot of the guys on the last year of their contacts leave?"

Not necessarily. It depends on who the players are, what their potential contracts might look at, age, etc. There are some guys that are likely to move on whether they got hurt or not. There are guys the Cardinals want to keep around. The rookies playing does help with some evaluations, but just because rookies are playing doesn't mean they are necessarily the answer at whatever position we are looking at.

From Lindsay Cleveland via

"Why does this coaching staff refuse to play our best tackler in Deone Bucannon?"

They didn't play him the past two games because he is injured with a chest issue. Before that, he started two of the three previous games and was getting some snaps. With Bucannon, it's been an up-and-down process in this defense. I don't think he's thrilled about it, but as Buc does, he's put his head down and done his work, whether it's in his defensive role or on special teams.

Fitz's catch was the reason the Cardinals pulled out that win in Green Bay, and he was clearly happy to come out with that win. That said, I would say that a December win on the frozen tundra will, in itself, have very, very little impact on Fitz's decision about playing or not in 2019.