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You've Got Mail: Raiders On ESPN Week

Topics include positions of strength, dead cap money and scouting for the waiver wire


The Cardinals are prepping for the second game of the preseason, and also head into the stretch run of training camp (the Cards will have finished up by next week's mailbag). As always, if you'd like to leave a question for next week's mailbag, click here.

From Kenneth Schroeder via

"My first time asking a question and yes, there are Cardinals fans in South Dakota. When I look at the roster each position group has two really good players and then question marks. On each side of the ball, which position groups are considered the team's strength?"

The strengths? On defense right now, I'm going to go with safety or corneback (once Patrick Peterson's suspension ends, because yeah, that's a big deal.) I really like the Swearinger-Baker tandem, and they might've found something with supplemental pick Jalen Thompson. Robert Alford has looked solid at cornerback and Byron Murphy will be good. I even like how Chris Jones has come along.On offense, right now, running back looks good with David Johnson and Chase Edmonds. And given that you only need one at a time, I think quarterback is also going to fall into the "strength" category.

A fair question. Losing Darius Philon isn't ideal. A lot of fans didn't know him well, but he was supposed to be a key piece of the defensive line. I like what Zach Allen has shown, but the depth is an issue. I definitely see a defensive lineman high on the priority list when teams make final cutdowns at the end of the preseason.

From Robert Malicki via

"Over time now, I have been attempting to wrap my old-school mind around the Cardinals projected offense. What kind of behind-the-scenes discussions have you heard about it that intrigues you? For me, lately, it has been how coach can utilize it at the end of the half and the game itself. I am a big proponent of a team scoring at the half, especially if they are receiving the 2nd-half kickoff. I, also, see it as a potent weapon as the game is winding down, whether we need a score to win or possess the ball and run clock to maintain the lead."

No matter what offense you run, you'd like to be a team that can score at the end of the half, providing not only momentum going into the break but also a chance to score twice if you are receiving the second-half kickoff. That was always a big deal to Bruce Arians. That doesn't have a ton to do with Kliff Kingsbury's offense uniquely. Clearly though, if they run the offense as they hope, the Cards should have a quick-strike ability.

Nothing new on signing Crabtree or any other receiver signing. I am not ruling it out, however, after they take the next game or two to fully sort out what they already have on the roster. With Crabtree in particular, it likely comes down to a money thing -- what he wants, what they are willing to pay, and whether Crabtree might want to wait for another team that is desperate after suffering an injury at the position.

According to, the Cardinals have a little more than $34 million in "dead" money on the salary cap. QBs Rosen, Bradford and Glennon account for about $16M of that. Former TE Jermaine Gresham is $5.75M.

From Andrew Miller via

"Darren: love your site and this format. My question is whether you foresee the possibility that the Cardinals might exercise discretion in using K-1 during the inevitable blowouts to reduce the potential for injury and give Brett Hundley the experience with the offense in the event of 'catastrophe?' Not inferring K1 is fragile, but the downside of injury seems severe."

I am assuming you mean will they take Murray out if the score is one-sided? First, I'm pretty sure they don't see blowouts, plural, being "inevitable." Frankly, I don't either, not at this point. But would they take him out? That'll be case-by-case, but I'm sure they'd think about it. I don't think the thought process would be any different than any other QB.

Meaning, I assume Hundley and Murray on the field at the same time? I don't think that's going to happen. If Murray was the backup, maybe, to get him on the field. But he is not.

From Michael Travers via

"Hi Darren, thanks again for this fan forum and taking our questions. We all got excited seeing Kyler against the Chargers and expect great things from him. Having said that, my question is, in your opinion, will the offensive line as envisioned be able to hold up? And do you think Steve Keim will add another piece when the rest of the league cuts to their final 53?"

The odds are against all five staying healthy, both because of that group's history but also because it's a brutal game and most offensive lines suffer injury issues during the season. Now, will that mean a lot or extended injuries? Maybe not. But obviously the line, and how it performs, is a key to the season. I think there is a good chance the Cardinals claim an offensive lineman after the final cuts, given that top waiver spot.

From Blaine Pierce via

"I see Corey Peters weight listed at 335 lbs. I thought he played around 305. Has he put on weight to play Nose Tackle in the 3-4? Thank you."

I don't think Corey is playing at much of a different weight than he has. Any "change" was probably more of an calibration of the listed weight on the roster.

It is against NFL rules for teams to scout opposing teams' practices, even if they are open. The info gathered is from preseason games, previous NFL games, and also from the scouting that team did on that player when he was in college. They also will call friends they have around the league to get info on a guy.

From Jeshua Witt via

"The news about Antonio Brown and his his issue with the NFL for banning his former helmet reminded me that Larry Fitzgerald's helmet was also set to be banned this year. Do you know if he has been wearing a new helmet model this year?"

Fitz indeed changed his helmet as the rules stipulated. I haven't had a chance to talk to him about it, but I'd guess he's like most players -- you'd prefer to keep the helmet you've played in for so long, but when it comes to brain safety -- and the rules -- you aren't going to get around it. Brown has found that out.

Hakeem is a work-in-progress. His tools are mesmerizing -- the size, the speed for that size, the big body in the red zone. But there is little question Butler has a lot to work on as well. As a bigger player, he still has to improve route-running and getting in and out of breaks. More importantly, he has to catch the ball more consistently. He absolutely has made some highlight-worthy catches, but there are too many drops and too many tough catches that he cannot finish.

From Artie Bratton via

"I live in Oklahoma and as of now the only chance I have to see a game is on my son's first Halloween to go trick or as I see it now I get the horrible father award or get lucky and the Cardinals get a Sunday Night game. I know the Cards have to have a good season but what are the other stipulations for them to play on Sunday night?"

It would help, as someone from Oklahoma I'm sure is counting on, that Kyler Murray is fun as hell to watch. But yes, the Cards have to be somewhat good at least, and it'll depend on what other games are that week and what game is already scheduled on Sunday night. That matchup with Baker Mayfield on Dec. 15 seems an option. The SNF game now is Vikings-Chargers, so who knows.

There is also GamePass, which won't give you the games live but you can watch them all later on demand.

More than Game One. I predict two series. But if he leads the Cards to a TD on his first drive, that might be it too.

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