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You've Got Mail - Raiders Week

AZC_CardinalsMailbag

The Cardinals head into a home game against the struggling Raiders, so there is a chance to win a second straight at State Farm Stadium. Of course, the Cards are dealing with their own issues at 2-7, although there were some things to like in their loss at Kansas City. With that, on to the (mostly offensive line) questions. Here is the link to send questions for next week's mailbag, and as always, if I didn't get your question specifically, I probably answered one similar.

From Don Patterson via azcardinals.com:

"Two-part question, Darren. Do you think Steve Keim should use a first-round or second-round pick for the offensive line and do you think he will?"

As we stand here right now in November, I could very well see one of the first two picks spent on an offensive lineman. Clearly, that part of the team needs work, and coach Steve Wilks acknowledged as much. But I'm not a fan of saying you have to do something specific in the draft. There are a couple reasons for that. One, we don't know how they will approach free agency, and if they are able to get a couple of high-profile linemen there, then that changes the equation. Two, there are a lot of things the Cards need in the draft. If there is a top-flight cornerback or linebacker or wide receiver you like at those picks, depending on the OL there, do you pass? Those positions are important as well.

From George Borrelli via azcardinals.com:

"The Chiefs scored a TD, FG, FG and TD on their first four possessions. On their last two possessions of the game the Chiefs went three and out. Did the Cards defense improve from the beginning of the game to the end or did the Chiefs lose interest?"

I can't speak for the Chiefs, obviously. I think the Cardinals played better defensively. I don't know why the Chiefs would've lost interest -- that hasn't stopped them from piling up points in one-sided games anyway. If there was a problem with interest, I think that would've impacted the Chiefs earlier in the game. The Cardinals had a good game plan and were able to make Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable at times. Obviously, the Chiefs still scored 26 points, so it speaks to the level of that offense.

I don't know that Ray Brown's job would be in jeopardy any more than anyone else's. I mean, when a team is 2-7 -- as GM Steve Keim has said -- everyone is being evaluated through the balance of this season. As for the line, the coaching has to find ways to make things better. That's the definition of the job. But there is little question the line will be a top priority for an overhaul in the offseason. It has not been the unit they they had counted on it being.

From JTDG via azcardinals.com:

"On the Josh Rosen interception on the screen play, it used to be the play-side tackle would invite the rusher and then cut him to get his hands down. If D.J. Humphries goes low, the defensive end has to drop his hands giving a passing lane. Have the rules changed on this? If not, would you say that the tackle has to take as much the blame?"

The rules have not changed, and in fact, Wilks noted that Humphries needed to do a better job on that play "inviting" Houston as you described. It was not a great throw by Josh Rosen, but yes, it is fair to have Humphries shoulder some of the blame on that in terms of executing the play. It's too bad because David Johnson looked like he had a ton of room to run there.

From James Walsh via azcardinals.com:

"Cap Capi. The way the Cardinals shuffle through players -- they bring them in, they let them go, and some don’t even see the field. Don’t you think Capi should get a shot? I’m a lifer and I do training camp and I watch all games, preseason included. He always makes plays! Why is it they don’t think he can do it on Sundays?"

I did not expect a Capi question at this point. But I'd say if they thought he could do it on Sundays, he'd be here, playing on Sundays. They thought Capi should be better against the run, for starters. Two, I'd say that the top trio of defensive ends has played pretty well -- Chandler Jones, Markus Golden and Benson Mayowa -- and even Zach Moore has made some plays. It's not like defensive end has been an issue.

From Niall Kennedy via azcardinals.com:

"I liked the snippets I saw of running back Chase Edmonds on Sunday. Do you think lining him or T.J. Logan up with David Johnson and having DJ peel out allowing the other back to use his explosive pace and hit a hole could work?"

They have used Edmonds and Johnson together some. But I would hesitate to use Johnson as a decoy a lot -- I think we saw Sunday what it could mean when Johnson got the ball a lot.

From Keith Southern via azcardinals.com:

"With our O-line in flux, why did we continue to go with five- and seven-step drops? Why not flair or screen passes on the side they were blitzing from? Also, outside of Fitz and Rickey Seals-Jones, our receivers have disappeared. If we have athletes in our backup running backs, why not use multiple backs and find ways to get them the ball quickly and give them a chance to make something happen?"

1) The Cardinals still used some quick passes. And the Chiefs weren't blitzing much. That was straight four-man rush much of the time.

2) The Cards have tried to use Edmonds specifically in addition to Johnson, but to ignore receivers -- and Christian Kirk had looked pretty decent up until the Chiefs game -- will get you into trouble. The receiving corps will need an upgrade in the offseason, but I'm not sure using Logan, for instance, instead of Kirk will make that big of a difference offensively.

From Stephanie Henderson via azcardinals.com

"Do you know what talented offensive linemen will be available in free agency after this season? It seems more likely that the Cards will find better ones in FA than in the draft, if recent history is any indication; especially with more cap space available than in the past."

I have not looked at potential free agents at all, other than to note what Cardinals are on expiring contracts after the season. There will be time for that. I do think signing one or two linemen makes sense, given that they would be known commodities. But until I really look at a list -- and we know that none of the guys on it are signing an extension where they already are, which inevitably shrinks the talent pool -- it's hard to pick and choose.

From Chad Johnson via azcardinals.com:

"Is Tre Boston playing well or is he struggling? He seems to be late to the ball and often out of position. "

Well, he just played one game after missing two, so I think we need to see more of a sample size where he is right now. He's a center fielder much of the time, so he will be roaming. There were a couple of times against the Chiefs where it didn't look good, especially on that first drive, but after that, his play didn't strike me as way off base.

From Robert Malick via azcardinals.com:

"They say an offense is only as good as its O-line plays. Ours may be a mixed bag going forward, but reports say our run-blocking is effective. Will David Johnson be used to carry the offense through his running now? What does this mean for Derrick Coleman? If there is to be any real progress for Josh Rosen this season, it looks like a running game may have to show the way."

To me, that was always the inevitable need for this team -- to be able to lean on Johnson, both running and in the air (because of the overall receiving corps), and to be able to bring Rosen along in that regard. So yes, I expect the offense to lean on Johnson. I think that was the plan all along, only to have it get short-circuited because Johnson couldn't find running room, the offense didn't really play to his strengths and the Cards faced such huge deficits. What we saw in Kansas City on those long drives, to me, is the blueprint.

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