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You've Got Mail: Preseason Week In Minnesota

Topics include QB battles, Gannon's game temperament; and potential waiver claims

Marco PBU mailbag 082223

The Cardinals are off to Minnesota, as am I. Before takeoff, a mailbag sounds right. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. You can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From Art Pozza:

"It seems Colt McCoy will probably go into the season as the starting QB. How serious is the competition between Clayton Tune and David Blough? Tune gets all the hype, but I am not sure it's settled."

We would have to agree to disagree at this point, Art. If I had to guess, I'd say the competition between McCoy and Tune is a bigger story than Tune and Blough. I expect Tune to be on this team once Kyler Murray returns. I do think it's probable McCoy is your starter in Week 1, but Tune is physical, mobile and a guy the coaches like. Jonathan Gannon on Monday was asked if he would say McCoy is his Week 1 starter; he did not commit.

From Scotty Whoa:

"Hi Darren! We're squarely in overanalyze-everything season, and my question is no different. In the Broncos game, I was surprised by how quiet Jonathan Gannon seemed. He was very buttoned up. Just prowling the sideline with an unreadable expression. From watching practice clips (and knowing his personality is his pressers) I would have thought he'd be a lot more involved. Grabbing players and coaching. Raising his voice now and then. But nope. Very demure the entire game. (I had to google that word!). Do you think thats how he's always going to be?"

I would assume you were at the game watching? Because I'm always leery of judging what is seen on TV. But I have no doubt he will raise his voice at times -- he has at practice for sure -- and do what he needs to do. He has his faith in his staff, however, and if I was an assistant, that would be something I would appreciate.

From Garth Short:

"Of the wide receivers Kaden Davis, Davion Davis and Daniel Arias, which one has the best chance to make the final 53? And, do you think he will? And, if he does I guess that means we go with six wideouts?"

Out of those three, I think I would go with Kaden Davis right now -- he has flashed a few times and has return abilities. I do think Arias has some raw talent that has caught some attention. Those are the kind of players who could potentially end up on the practice squad too. This week -- with these extra practices against the Vikings, as well as a game -- will be a big deal.

From Philip Castillo:

"Now that we have seen some in game play from a majority of rookies, albeit preseason games, how much do you expect to see from the rookies in the regular season? Seems like we found some gold deep in the draft and could see the entire draft class playing considerable time."

The way this team is set up, I think there is a real chance we could see playing time from many. Tackle Paris Johnson will start, wide receiver Michael Wilson could start and certainly will have a role, and I think the same for cornerback Kei'Trel Clark. At some point this season I think linebacker BJ Ojulari and cornerback Garrett Williams should have roles too. There is still an outside chance we see something from center Jon Gaines and even quarterback Clayton Tune. Again, that's in part because this team is being rebuilt and they need an infusion of youth. But all those guys could get on the field quite a bit.

From Chris McKinney:

"I've been a Cardinals fan since they arrived in Arizona. The draft was confusing to me. Did the Cards give up more to move back up to pick 6 then they got to move back from pick 3. Also, why draft Clayton Tune, when Dorian Thompson Robinson was there for the taking, seems DTR would have fit better."

The Cardinals got an extra first-round pick in 2024 to move back from 3. That was nowhere near the price of moving back from 12 to 6. So no, it wasn't more. As for Tune v DTR, I always found questions like this odd. If you were to ask why a QB as opposed to, say, a center, that can be discussed. But if you are asking why QB Tune was the pick over QB DTR, it's pretty clear that Monti Ossenfort and his group indeed thought Tune was a better fit for what they were looking for.

From Geralt Blaviken:

"Hey Darren, I know we have a very high slot on the waiver wire, but I'm actually thinking we're pretty shored up. Maybe we take a RB? Otherwise I don't see any big needs. Even the DL looked pretty darn good as is vs Denver. Has your impressions of this teams needs changed at all?"

Quite the TV show reference there. And unfortunately your question came in before the Chiefs game so, yes, I think they will be looking for help with the No. 3 overall waiver claim slot. (What that means is that the Cardinals will get every player they claim off waivers from now through the first four weeks of the season unless the Bears or Texans claim that player.) It'll depend on who is cut loose, but in the abstract, I could see them potentially claiming a lot of positions: RB, WR, IOL, DL, OLB, CB.

From Mari Moore:

"Thanks so much for responding to me, Darren. As a Cards fan it means the world to me that my favorite team reaches out to their fans. It keeps us more involved right? Do you know if the new GM and coaching staff like Kyler? Have they noticed any change in Kyler leadership-wise."

I believe both Monti and JG would like nothing more than to see Kyler get back on the field and play excellent football. That not only helps the team but also brings clarity in what they might need to do to rebuild the roster. Everybody is just waiting for him to get back on the field first. As for his leadership, I do think he has done a nice job in the situation he is in but frankly, when you are rehabbing to the side, the leadership stuff doesn't come up much.

From Trevor Chatlos:

"Do you think the team will do better this season than last season and if so do you think you can go into the playoffs."

I think this team is moving in the right direction. I don't know what that will mean in terms of wins and losses, but there was a lot here that needed to be reset. I think the postseason would be great but right now, I think the powers-that-be want to see improvement both on the field and off, and if so, we will see what that means in the win-loss column.

From Pat Dykman:

"Are the Cardinals an expansion team or did they come from another city?"

The Cardinals were birthed in the Chicago area in 1898, joining the original version of the NFL in 1920 in Chicago. They moved to St. Louis in 1960, and then moved to Arizona in 1988.

From Matthew Stroh:

"Hey Darren, thank you for the mailbag. Well that wasn't as good as Week 1. In my opinion this will be a good test and see how the coaches respond. I still believe we won't be the worst team in the NFL this year. If you had to pick what punter would you pick to be this year's Cardinals punter? Who was the player of the game for the Cardinals if you had to pick and why? Thank you Darren."

The Cardinals are down to one punter, Nolan Cooney, after releasing Matt Haack on Monday so he'd have to be the pick right now (but we will still see; the Cardinals ended up with Andy Lee after he was part of final cuts and having gone through an entire training camp with two other punters battling it out.) As for a "player of the game" against the Chiefs, I'm not sure many qualified. I suppose I'd say Keaontay Ingram.

From Joe Wilson:

"A couple left tackles have gone down across the NFL already. What are your thoughts around trading Josh Jones? I think it would be best for the Cardinals and Josh himself. Despite being a backup, he was our highest-rated OL last season. Other teams surely know that too. We can either trade him for something now, or lose him for nothing in 10 months. Beachum can be the swing tackle on this team."

The Cardinals do have a surplus at tackle and I wouldn't rule out some kind of trade. I wouldn't rule out a trade at another position or two either, depending on who they might want to keep on the roster and who they will not. Factoring in all the roster decisions yet to be made -- including the potential cuts and waiver claims -- and next week will be interesting.

From Kenny Williams:

"In the first preseason game, I saw No. 31 on offense and defense. I thought at first it was a two-way player, but the box score the next day showed two different players as 31. How is that possible?"

With 90-man preseason rosters, having players share a number is essential. Many teams do it, because if you get one person on offense and one on defense, it won't make a difference. (You have to make sure they aren't on the field at the same time on special teams.) Running back Emari Demarcado and safety Andre Chachere share No. 31. Wide receiver Brian Cobbs and safety Jovante Moffatt are each wearing No. 38. Linebacker Ezekiel Turner and tight end Blake Whiteheart are each No. 47. If two guys wearing the same number were to both make the team, one will change to a number opened up after final cuts.

From Wayland Heath:

"Kei'Trel Clark has been getting lots of publicity in his push to grab the No. 2 CB job. As a fan of this team, I hope he does thrive and seize it and performs well on Sundays. Lost though, I think, is the fact we took another cornerback in Garrett Williams, in fact drafted higher.

  1. What is the timeline for his return? Do you expect him to miss the season, or will he return at some point?
  2. Is he in the building and at practice? I went to one of the stadium practices and didn't see him on the sidelines.
  3. Regarding injured players in general, how come they never give press conferences? For such a vocal guy, I thought it strange how little we heard from Ertz the last few months.
  4. I noticed that neither CB travels. My question is who is the slot CB on this team? The slot CB must travel, since slot WRs tend to move around a lot."

Here are some answers, Wayland.

  1. No timeline for Williams, just like there won't be a timeline for Kyler. I do expect him to return this season. He got hurt around the same time as Zach Ertz.
  2. He is at practice every day watching after his rehab. He likely was out there after practice started for you and you didn't notice him; he won't be in a jersey.
  3. Generally, the Cardinals don't let injured guys do pressers. For the bigger names there are one or two -- Kyler gave his one near the beginning of camp, but I'm guessing we won't hear from him again until he is cleared to practice. Same with Williams.
  4. They are trying to figure that out. If Simmons is on the field, Jalen Thompson likely is that guy. If they want to use someone else there, that would cause an issue with getting Simmons out there, because your top two safeties are Budda and JT.

From Lou P:

"Can you text Larry Fitzgerald and ask him if he's still a minority owner of the Suns? It's actually unclear. Mat Ishbia is turning out to be the greatest owner in the history of sports, but we didn't know if Larry lost his ownership shares in the sale. Could you please confirm? Utmost importance."

Yeah, I am sure the fate of the world is resting on the info. No need to text. It isn't unclear. Fitz no longer is part of the ownership group; the sale to Ishbia included all the shares.

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