The Cardinals are starting up mandatory minicamp today, the final three practices of the offseason before the veterans take off for the summer and training camp becomes the next big date on the calendar. Mailbags will continue as long as we get questions, however. As always, you can leave a question for next week's mailbag (hosted June 18 by the great Kyle Odegard) by clicking here.
From Bique Azmen from azcardinals.com:
"Which of the rookie wide receivers are impressing you the most so far and who is running the best routes?"
It's early. That's a caveat that cannot be understated. But you can see in Andy Isabella, with his speed and abilities, what the Cardinals liked so much. He has definitely impressed. And KeeSean Johnson has shown why people thought he was a smooth route runner. Hakeem Butler, as was his scouting report, is a massive body and has potential, but you can also see the raw parts in his game. That's where David Raih and Jerry Sullivan come in. They are working with all those guys. But to answer the original question, Isabella is tops on my list right now, and that makes sense, given that he was the highest pick.
From Jerry Brown via azcardinals.com:
"Would you agree that two areas where the Cards are most lacking depth are offensive tackle and tight end? And are there any others you would add?"
I guess it would depend on your definition. They have backups at both those spots that have started games in this league, so I'm not sure they are any better/worse off with depth there than, say, wide receiver or inside linebacker. For me, I want to see all the offensive linemen in training camp, when the pads come on, especially in such a new offense. As for tight end, it's kind of the same -- how will that position be used by Kliff Kingsbury?
Kyler Murray is going to be your starter. And he's a rookie. So I would guess he'll get all the first-team reps barring something unforeseen.
From Kenton Carlson via azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren. Would you recall the reasons as to why tinted visors were prohibited in 1998?"
From what I have been able to tell, you cannot wear a tinted visor (unless you have a medical reason) for a couple of reasons. One, in case of a serious injury, the league wants to be able to look into a guys eyes/face without having to worry about taking off the helmet. Also, the league simply wants to make visors uniform. Guys can wear tinted visors, but they will pay a fine just like they would for any other uniform violation.
From Rob Scoresby via azcardinals.com:
"The Cardinals are taking a lot of flack in the national media for hiring Kingsbury with no NFL experience and a losing college football record. I wonder if he had been hired as an NFL team's offensive coordinator if most people would consider that a good hire? If so, what is wrong with the Cards' strategy, to hire the OC they want and believe in, and make him the head coach so he doesn't get poached by some other team? Perhaps I am discounting all that a head coach does versus his coordinators?"
Well, I do think you are discounting everything a head coach does, which at a 30,000-foot overview, still has to lead the team in various ways and be the face of the franchise and needs to be at least competent at those things. Kingsbury has been a head coach, albeit in college, so I do think that helps in that regard. Make no mistake, Kingsbury was hired in large part because of his offensive acumen. And Vance Joseph is basically in charge of the defense. There is also something to the argument that if Kingsbury is good at his offensive scheming -- which you are assuming he will be, since that's why you hired him -- he can't be hired away in his current spot. But there is only one way you'll get everyone saying it was a good hire, and that's if the Cardinals win games. Whether or not people say that now, frankly, doesn't really matter one way or the other.
From Cards Numero Uno via azcardinals.com:
"With all due respect to Carson Palmer, do you think he deserves to be in the Ring of Honor? Personally I feel Anquan Boldin deserves to go in before anyone. But regarding Palmer, he had one amazing season, and then a couple of OK ones. I could actually make the same argument about Kurt Warner, but that would be heresy. Both were amazing QBs, but I do think there's a time-of-service aspect that's not being respected. The Ring of Honor should be reserved for LEGENDS, like Fitz and Tillman and (locally) ADub."
I completely understand this argument and those who make it -- although, for instance, Pat Tillman played only four seasons with the Cards, Palmer five. Yes, extenuating circumstances, and there is zero doubt Tillman should be honored, but that's part of this, right? There are other factors involved, and (as I argued on last week's podcast) Palmer's inclusion goes far beyond the field. It was his impact on the organization, internally, with ownership, that not everybody is going to see on a grand scale. He helped pull this franchise out of a bad spot after the Ken Whisenhunt era ended. I'd argue, in fact, along your same lines just on the opposite side -- that the same general reasons Warner went in are why Palmer went in.
From Jeff S. via azcardinals.com:
"I've been meaning to ask this question for awhile and I'm sorry if it's already been asked but why have the Cardinals always ended the season on the road the last few years? Does it have anything to do with the Fiesta Bowl being played at their stadium?"
The Fiesta Bowl does play a role -- it's a tough turnaround to have both an NFL game and a big-time bowl game within a couple of days of each other. You aren't wrong, 2019 marks the seventh time in the last 10 seasons the Cards will close the regular-season schedule on the road. There are also other factors of course. And the Cards have opened the schedule at home more often than not.
From Brian Thokey via azcardinals.com:
"Does the team still use the VR equipment that Carson Palmer was so fond of?"
It does. Kyler Murray has not yet been asked how he feels about it -- Josh Rosen last year said it wasn't that important to him. But every player is different, and the Cards definitely still use it.
From AndyStandsUp via azcardinals.com:
"Hey Darren, longtime listener-first time caller. Thanks for your time. Just noticed the Preseason schedule has Cards in Minnesota at 10 a.m. local time. Can you remember a preseason game that early? When State Farm first opened there were a couple of 1 p.m. starts to showcase the stadium but nothing I can recall to have the guys playing around brunch. And with this being the third game (presumably most starter minutes), any changes over a later start that you would expect?"
Because it's in Minnesota, it's a noon kickoff there, but it's been a while since a kickoff has been that early. Interestingly, there are only three other preseason games that start before 5 p.m. locally -- one 1 p.m. game with the Saints at Chargers and a couple of 4 p.m. kickoffs. The vast majority don't start until 7 p.m. locally. Off the top of my head, I do not recall a preseason game that early for the Cardinals since they opened then-Cardinals Stadium against the Steelers in 2006, as you noted.
From Larry Legend via azcardinals.com:
"Who do you think will return punts while Pat P is serving his suspension?"
The suspension, I suspect, has nothing to do with Peterson not returning punts -- that's a job I'd think Christian Kirk will likely have, given his success in college. Peterson's days as a return man I believe will be over. He's too valuable when you have other quality options.
We are way too early to be able to predict the wide receiver snaps. Spitballing at this early time, I'd guesstimate Andy Isabella. We will see how it plays out. As for tight end, again, way, way too early to say it is Charles Clay's to lose. (These feel like June fantasy football questions. Which is fine, but you aren't getting concrete info in June when there are actually questions to ask.)
From Garth Short via azcardinals.com:
"Darren, at the end of OTA's/Minicamp, do you expect Kliff Kingsbury to give some of the players a public report card?"
Out of anything I might be able to predict with Kliff Kingsbury, who definitely likes to keep things close to the vest, one of the things I am most confident in saying is that he will not give any kind of specific report card on individual players. I hope fans are not holding their breath waiting for such comments.
From Bryan R via azcardinals.com:
"I've noticed Kyler Murray has his cleats heavily taped to his ankles when he's out on the field. Does he have ankle issues or is this a preventative measure?"
He gets his ankles taped just like a lot of players. I don't think there is any issue, and if there is, you cannot tell when he's running around the field.
From Robert Malicki via azcardinals.com:
"The Commissioner has brought the CBA issue out of the shadows by raising the question of changing the ratio of preseason vs. regular season games. All negotiations revolve around money and they will work it out. What intrigues me is how will more regular-season games impact the roster. I see an expanded roster and a greatly increased cap but fear a shrinking level of veteran players because of their cost. Could the quality of play in the NFL decline from a professional approach to looking more like college play?"
Lot of questions here. First, I'd say the CBA issue is never really in the shadows, not if you are paying attention. Let's see what the conversation is about when it comes to potentially increasing regular-season games and what might happen in light of such a change. If you are increasing the roster and the cap, I'm not sure why you'd think there would be less veteran players. As for quality of play, I think bad football is bad football. There is some good football -- albeit different at times -- played in college, just like there is bad football played in the NFL right now under current rules.
From Sidney Sexson via azcardinals.com:
"First of all I really appreciate all of the content that is put up on the site. It is so much better than what I find on other teams' websites. I am going to preface this question with the fact that I have a non-functioning right eye and am familiar with the challenges it creates. I have noticed that coach Kingsbury seems to also have an issue with his right eye as in all his interviews it is always half closed. Did he have an injury to it?"
To be honest, I've never noticed that. I don't believe there are any issues.
The Cardinals currently have nine wide receivers on the roster. Do I think they'll keep most of them? I'd think there is a good chance they keep at least six and there is a chance, in this offense, you'd keep seven. But not all of them are going to be active on game days, I wouldn't think. Who those guys will be are TBD. Fitz and Kirk, yes, and I think the three draft picks. That's five. Kevin White has looked pretty good so far, but again, training camp is where those guys will separate themselves.
From Bill Jouris via azcardinals.com:
"Many Cardinals fans live in the Oklahoma City area. We have radio coverage of the Cleveland Browns as Baker Mayfield is their QB. Will the Cardinals be affiliating with a station in OKC with Kyler Murray being the Cardinals QB? "
I assume when you say many Cardinals fans live in OKC, that's recent development -- as in, since April 25. As for radio broadcasts, that's interesting that someone picked up the Browns games. I'd assume that if interest is that high there, some station would at least think about it, but that's a question you'd have to pose your local stations. Would it surprise me for one to pick up the games? No it wouldn't.