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You've Got Mail: Saints Week

Topics include practice situations, contract extensions, and Moore/Dortch

Zeke Turner mailbag 101722

It's a short week, so the mailbag is a little shorter (and earlier), given time constraints. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From Steve Cubi:

"Hi Darren. Doom and gloom Monday, as you know, but I have a very valid question to ask. Do you believe we are closer to championship or total rebuild? I understand the human impulse to believe we are that 10-2 team from a year ago, but every ounce of evidence we see week after week seems to indicate we are actually this 3-9 team we've been ever since. Mind you it wont be a 'total' rebuild because we have the single most important position locked up: franchise QB. Yes, I do believe Kyler can be a franchise QB, but not with this current arrangement. He's not improving, and that's extremely troubling."

Well, it seems you have answered your own question. Because that would be the point I would make. You have the quarterback. There is no such thing as a "total rebuild" in the NFL when the QB is in place. The changes a team can make from year to year (and to a lesser extent, how the schedule influences things) means a turnaround is always possible to happen quickly.

From Dhruvraj Parmar:

"Kudos to VJ, the defense and special teams for keeping us in a horrendous offensive game as long as they could Sunday. 'The situation in practice isn't the same as the situation in games. All of us have to look in the mirror and get stuff right.' Marquise Brown said that but, this is the common sentiment in all press conferences. What is happening in practice? Are we not simulating the real thing well enough?"

Honestly, I'm not sure that's how it works. I suppose practice things could change, but I tend to agree with Hollywood. You can prepare in practice. I'm not sure you can simulate an NFL game. I know you can't. You don't have a chance to have your head knocked off in practice. But that's true for every team in practice. It's not unique to the Cardinals. Without knowing specifically what they are missing on, you can't understand what it might mean. The other thing is, in practice, the players aren't the same -- you can scout team the defense out there where guys might be, but you can't rep Aaron Donald out there rushing, or something like that.

From Gabe Spain:

"Hi Darren. This Robbie Anderson trade reeks of desperation. Are we desperate? Yes. But I think it compounds issue. I don't see Robbie reacting well if Kyler snaps at him for running the wrong route. This feels like it could be worse than whatever positives we might get."

I know Anderson has had issues in the past. He just had one this weekend with Panthers' coaches, and got sent to the locker room during the game. So your concerns make sense. But with Brown being down, the Cardinals needed a bigger receiver that can get down the field. All along the idea for Brown was to either make teams pay for covering him and not doubling Hopkins, or make them pay for doubling Hopkins. Without Brown, they felt they needed another piece.

From Darrell from Pinetop:

"At what point does McCoy get put in? K1 did not play like a Pro Bowl-caliber QB in Seattle and one can only wonder if D-Hop will have much of an impact if K1 keeps imploding when it matters"

Colt McCoy isn't playing unless Kyler gets hurt. You already knew Murray was your franchise QB and that was set in stone when he got the contract extension. Kyler is your QB.

From Michael Schmoor:

"Why do you think Rondale Moore has earned playing time over Greg Dortch.? It seems the past two 'slot receivers' drafted lack the route running and ability to make contested catches skills. I thought Dortch had the best hands on the team and ran great routes, frankly he looked to be a legit slot option. I think he needs to be starting with Moore getting worked in."

At this point, Moore is going to get a chance to play. He's a second-round pick who has had a couple of good moments and until they get an extended look at him, he is going to play. I get where people want to know why Dortch doesn't play more, but the reality is he and Moore play the same spot, neither fit as an outside receiver, and Moore was always going to get the work ahead of Dortch.

From Mark Mulls:

"Long time Cardinals fan back to the 1970s in rural Virginia. I've followed the team daily through the ups and downs and all the Cardiac Moments. My question centers on the D-line and Zach Allen. Injuries early in his career hampered his play but he was always putting in the work and solid teammate. Why has he not been been signed long-term to anchor this young unit minus J.J. Watt?"

To be honest, there was probably some wait-and-see with Allen, and make sure he can stay healthy. I am sure there are thoughts about a new deal for him. Whether that happens in season or right after the season, we will have to see.

From Greg Danielson:

"Hi Darren. Thank you for the mailbag. What's your response to when ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky said: 'Kyler fits Kliff's system, but he can't thrive in it'? This is a big issue because most professional players are built that way, having the need to thrive?"

Well yeah, everybody in the world has the need to thrive. Not just athletes or football players. As for the Orlovsky comment, I don't know. That is his opinion, but I don't know how he would know enough about the ins and outs of what is going on unless he was inside the situation. It feels moot right now -- Murray isn't going anywhere, Kingsbury isn't going anywhere.

From Matthew Stroh:

"Hey Darren, thank you again for the mailbag.I think I remember in the past you said how drafting a kicker might not make sense. Or maybe it was Kyle Odegard. But my opinion is I think that's the past. With kickers like the Ravens' Justin Tucker proving time and time again his worth. If next year there's a great kicker would you be mad if the Cardinals draft one? Also, everyone wants us to bring in a edge rusher. But the defense so far has been good. Unless the defense starts declining what do you think if we wait it out until the offseason and see how the young players develop?"

Here is the thing on kickers and drafting them, in my opinion: For every Justin Tucker there is a Roberto Aguayo. From an article from The Ringer: "From 2013 to 2020, there were 15 kickers taken in the draft. Fourteen of those lasted two or fewer seasons with the teams that drafted them; five never played a game with those teams. As for the edge rushers, I don't see a trade. So you'll have the rest of the season to see how Thomas and Sanders and Dimukeje look. They looked good Sunday.

From Justin Heffner:

"With the Steve Keim draft misses, it is nice to see two picks like Zach Allen and Byron Murphy continue to play well. I believe they are both on the last year of their contract and will be unrestricted free agents this offseason. Are there any chances they can be extended this year so we don't see them succeed elsewhere next year?"

As I mentioned above I do believe that is the thought process for Allen and I would guess Murphy too. Now, will that be in-season as opposed to later? I am not sure about that. I would guess if it was after the season you'd want it to be very soon after, because once guys get closer to free agency they tend to want to test the market.

From Sebastian Quiros:

"Hey Darren. What do you think of the roughing the passer calls? I think it's getting a bit ridiculous. Absolutely some scenarios are too much, but the Grady Jarrett sack on Brady, or the strip sack on Carr, how are the refs being serious about these calls? Do you think some sort of intervention from the players will come? Does NFLPA have the power to at least put in discussion this rule?"

I don't like either call but do I think it is so messed up they should have an intervention? Probably not. I worry about the ability to review them just like I was concerned about DPI replay. We can parse these things forever. No, in this case, the players don't have much say.

From Doc Mackenzie:

"Hi Darren. Do you think all the injuries on the Cardinals are caused by inadequate stretching and conditioning? "

I do not, although to be truthful, I am not an expert on the subject. The Cardinals have had the same strength and conditioning coach for a long time now, so I don't know why what they do in that area would be worse now than before. Every body is different, every season is different. Injuries stink, but they are part of the game.

From Robert Malicki:

"Hello, Darren, Please comment on this tussle between Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones? Men of their ilk are top-of-the-heap trail bosses. They don't like backing down or being told what for. Snyder had to acquiesce on the franchise moniker probable deciding that wasn't the hill to die on, but something more sinister is now surfacing. The ownership and its prestige is capped by the money-making machine that is his. He's now being pitted against his fellow owners with unfair media creating the narrative."

I can even begin to comment on anything between Jones and Snyder. I don't know if this story of Snyder and the Commanders is going anywhere. I'm not sure how you determine the media is "unfair." I think at this point many of the things brought up in this situation have many witnesses willing to say what happened. I can't tell if you are trying to say that powerful people should be allowed different rules; I can't disagree more.

From Garth Short:

"Darren, thanks for taking my question, which is: I think the team is becoming the team I had hoped they'd be, and feel that they'll continue to improve as the season goes on. But, I do think that Kliff has to bring on board a co-offensive coordinator. Do you agree?"

Kliff Kingsbury said Monday he is open to giving up playcalling. We will see if it happens but to be honest, I think it shows what point we have reached to have Kingsbury -- who likes very much to be the playcaller -- to consider this.

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