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You've Got Mail: Rams Week, Part II

Topics include Rosen's play, draft position and Humphries


The Cardinals are heading into their final home game of the season playing yet another team that is struggling. It's just in this case, it's the Rams, who have only been struggling of late. The Cards, unfortunately, have also had two bad games in that stretch. In any case, on to the questions. As always, if you want to send in a question, here is the link. If I don't get to your question, often it is because I have answered one similar.

From JTDG via

"OK, DJ Humphies is injured again. He has only started 27 of 64 games because of either being injured or 'Knee deep' as his old coaches put it. In fact, Jonathan Cooper, who was released by AZ, has started 17 games over the last two years in comparison to Humphries' 14 games.
Should his option be offered, and can he be considered a bust. I mean, 27 of 64 games?"

  1. Humphries' option was already exercised. Otherwise he'd be about to hit free agency.
  2. We can argue all day about his rookie year (and I know you would, John), but the bottom line is the offensive line the Cardinals used that season got them to an NFC championship game, so it was the right call. Humphries has been injured too often, and availability is often more important than ability. That is true. But as we sit right now, I think he's a starting tackle in 2019.

From Garth Short via

"Darren, this is my weekly Josh Rosen question, and I know you shied away from my last week's question. Do you sense that the front office is moving away from Rosen as our QB of the future? Or do they intend to go down with the ship?"

I'm not sure what you mean about shying away from your question -- I answered a bunch of Rosen questions last week, and one similar to this. So I'll go again, despite your less-than-subtle way of slanting it. No, they aren't moving away from Rosen as the future, and why would they? Until you get him some weapons at receiver and a better offensive line, you would be foolish to say Rosen is not the guy. Is it a guarantee he is the guy? Nope. But no one knows for sure either way. You have to let it play out a couple of years.

Via Alex De la Rosa via

"Hey Darren, now that it's likely to have most of the O-line re-built, what's going to happen with Mason Cole once A.Q. Shipley comes back? He seems to be doing not too bad. It's hard to judge when the whole line struggles as bad as they do now."

That is TBD. First, we have to see how the Cardinals want to look at the line in free agency and the draft. Second, we have to see how Shipley recovers from his ACL injury. Third, Cole does have the ability to play guard. Maybe he moves there. Maybe he remains center (given his youth, I'd guess that's what the team would prefer, but A.Q. isn't going down without a fight.)

From Chad Johnson via

"Out of the first QBs (Mayfield, Darnold, Allen, Rosen, Jackson), Mayfield is having the best season according to the stats. What percentage of a rookie quarterback's success would you contribute to personnel, coaching, and the QB himself?"

They are all intertwined, no? This delves into a lot of things. It was on display with Rosen in Atlanta. He is going to have a hard time succeeding given the offensive personnel the Cards have right now, and even Steve Wilks has said multiple times the coaching needs to improve. But Rosen has to take steps himself -- he took a couple sacks Sunday when he could've at least thrown the ball away. He has to learn, too. Coaches have to know how to put the QB in the best position for his particular skillset (you can see that with Allen and Jackson in particular)

From Joy Brooks via

"I've been a Cardinals fan since their first year in Arizona and I don't remember a season quite this bad. I think we have our quarterback of the future but we'll never know if they don't put a real O-line in front of him. Rosen actually reminds me of Carson Palmer in the way he can shake off an interception and move on. Palmer also spent a similar year in Arizona where he was hit, knocked down or sacked on way too many players. Has Carson reached out to Rosen with any words of encouragement?"

As far as I know, he has not. I don't think there is a relationship there, not like, say, Rosen and Aaron Rodgers.

From Brian Booth via

"Do the Cards draft high for a QB if there's one available ... i.e. Murray, Grier, possibly Lock?"


That's a fair question given some fast starts and then flatlining. I'm not sure. It felt like, in Atlanta, part of it was the Falcons coming out very slow too. It's possible teams are overlooking the Cardinals at the beginning too. Mostly I think, as the game goes on, the imbalance between teams shows up -- right now, the Cardinals simply don't have a lot of options or playmakers on offense, nor the front-line blocking. But I'm sure, for a young coordinator, there are a learning curve there too.

From Robert Maclicki via

"In today's NFL a team can go from the doghouse to the playoff contention in a single season, i.e. Bears and Colts. Even the conference title can be within reach over two seasons. Our defense has produced over the last six seasons like at no other time in franchise history despite adjusting to three coordinators. Could we follow the example of the Bears this season and have our defense lead the way next season with a second-year QB?"

You wouldn't rule it out. But there is a long way to go before that point. This franchise needs to figure out the direction it plans to go in 2019, and that obviously has a heavy impact on Josh Rosen and even the defense. Michael Bidwill, I am sure, is evaluating everything right now. So to predict what things might look like in 2019 for the Cardinals -- on the field or in the building -- is premature right now.

From Ben Quesada via

"Do you foresee a change in leadership over the next offseason."

As I mentioned above, I think that evaluation overall is happening. Given the season going on, it's hard to imagine that there would not be some kind of change. What that change entails, we still have to see.

From Ryan Jenkins via

"How can the Cardinals get the number one pick in the draft?"

If my research is correct, given the 49ers' win last weekend, if the Cardinals lose their final two games they will be picking No. 1 overall. There are other ways for it to happen even if the Cardinals win one of those games, but that would be the most direct way. It looks like the Cardinals will end up with a weaker strength of schedule than the Raiders (who have two great teams in their division that they play twice) so I don't think it is possible for the Cards to fall below the Raiders. (As a reminder, the tiebreak for the draft is that the weaker strength of schedule gets the higher choice in case of teams finishing with the same record. Head-to-head play does not matter.)

From Al Huerta via

"Its been a rough ride this year no doubt. If (big if) we let go of HC Wilks who would be your choice to come in and coach. And, in your opinion, what are the chances of Fitz returning in 2019?"

I am not a fan of speculating when nothing yet has happened in terms of the coaching. Lots of things go into it, and I don't get to interview people. As for Fitz, while I would not be surprised to see him retire, I do think he will give it some thought. I don't know if there is a percentage. I think Fitzgerald gets away from it a little after a season and realizes how much he loves it. We all know he is closer to the end than he's been. I believe him, though, when he says a decision has not yet been made.

From Mark Georgetti via

"Darren, if the Cards end up getting the first pick in the draft, since they are set at the QB position, do you see them trading that pick for additional picks as a possibility?"

That is absolutely possible, and probably what the Cardinals would prefer even if they aren't picking No. 1. They need to fill multiple holes. But wanting to do it and being able to do it are two separate things. Is someone going to want to make that deal? No way to get a sense of that until late March/early April.