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You've Got Mail: Seahawks Week, Part One

Topics include technology for first downs, potential trades, and Hop's impact

Moore Mailbag 101122

The Cardinals dive back into the NFC West this week, and we dive back into a mailbag. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From Karrie:

"I'm frustrated with the loss like everyone, mostly because we probably could've won at the end and fumbled the last chance. That last play which led to our downfall, the scramble, was a great example of something I've been saying for the longest time: How do we not project the first-down line (and LOS) onto the field? We have the technology. It's not complicated. It's beyond frustrating watching players think they had it when they didn't."

That's a good question about potentially having lines on the field. It's the same concept of having technology to measure for the first down with a chip in the ball. My ultimate guess as of now? It doesn't happen enough to be worth the time and effort. (And as long as we're on the topic, while that last sequence could've been better, I a) don't think it lead to any downfall because I think it was going to be a FG attempt in that range; maybe a few yards closer; and b) you've got to make that field goal.

From Kerry Musgrove:

"Any thoughts on Kyler's post game demeanor? He's done such a good job this year with his improved demeanor it was a little surprising to see some old, miserable Kyler come out. And he's human, so emotions will happen. But what we don't want is for that stuff to compound and get out of control. A win next week will be important."

I thought Kyler's demeanor was on par with the rest of the locker room. I had no problem with it. He wasn't snippy. He was down. He didn't have a lot of answers. He got a little better as he talked. It was a game he thought they were at least going to take to overtime and they didn't. I totally understood. There is a fine line between not wanting "some of that stuff" or having robots playing the sport.

From John McGill:

"Keep up the good work Darren. I had to move to L.A. to take care of my mother, so I can only follow the Cardinals game on computer. It appeared they made the field-goal attempt on third down with 22 seconds left. Were you surprised they did not try a quick throw into the end zone? My second question is why do you suppose they haven't use of Greg Dortch much over the last two games?"

The field-goal attempt came on fourth down. The Cardinals spiked the ball on third down. I was not surprised they didn't really go for the end zone. A 25-yard throw or more that could be picked off or have Kyler sacked and have time run out. That would've been less than ideal. As for Dortch, he was playing the role that Rondale Moore has.

From BDUB Wooten:

"Darren, I'm happy with the Cards and the direction they seem to be heading. They seem to be getting better. VJ seems to be doing a great job, defense plays hard. Hop will be back soon. My one complaint is why sign such a young inexperienced kicker? Why not sign an older veteran who's been in these pressure situations before and proven they can do it under pressure?"

They had their ready list of potential fill-ins, and brought in four guys. Not sure who you are talking about. I'm open to hearing names, but a general "why didn't they get a better kicker," I mean, that was the guy they thought could do the job. He didn't. I'm sure if they knew he was going to miss, they would've looked elsewhere.

From Roth Lynda:

"Hi Darren. Love Markus Golden the person, but he's a non-contributor as a pass rusher. Why are we not playing Myjai Sanders? At least Myjai has speed and bend. It's really frustrating we use two high-round picks on pass rushers who never play, when the starting pass rushers give us nothing. He has zero sacks."

Sanders did get into the Eagles game for the first time, playing eight snaps. I wouldn't call he and Cam Thomas high-round picks. They were third-rounders. I do think both guys will get some chances as the season goes on, but I don't see Golden going anywhere. He's going to get the bulk of the work.

From Carey White:

"Hello sir. I have a sneaking suspicion DeAndre Hopkins will not be the savior we think he is. I feel like a lot of our offensive issues are Xs and Os. Will Hop help? Of course. Does he make us a 30-plus ppg team? I really doubt it. What do you think? What are your true, realistic expectations?"

I think Hopkins makes a big difference. That said, does it solve everything? Of course not. Kyler has to be more consistent, get his completion percentage up (although throwing to Hop will help with that.) I think to myself how different the Packers would be right now with Davante Adams.

From Nathan Palmer:

"When are Antoine Wesley, Colt McCoy, and Matt Prater coming back from injury? How did Billy Price and Mayjai Sanders look? And who was your least favorite former Cardinal to interview?"

Wesley isn't coming back. He suffered a season-ending injury last week in practice before he had even officially come off IR, so the Cardinals will just let his 21-day window pass and he will end up staying on IR. McCoy should be close. Prater is going to test himself this week in practice but Kliff Kingsbury said the Cardinals will be cautious with him because they don't want this to be a lingering issue. Price did not get on the field this weekend; Sanders got eight snaps and had a solid PFF grade, but I will be honest, I didn't notice him. As far as my least favorite Cardinal, I don't know if I had one. I've had a few interactions I didn't love over the years but in almost every case I had a good interaction with the same guy, so sometimes it's just the circumstances.

From Kevin Jones:

"Hi Darren, there are a bunch of trade-deadline articles all over the internet, some mention Arizona. I wanted to throw out a trade idea. Isaiah Simmons for Bears pass rusher Robert Quinn. It's pretty clear Simmons career in Arizona has gone the way of Reddick. We never knew how to use him, and now he's run out of time to become that all-pro we drafted him to be. Like Andy, let him get a fresh start elsewhere. However his trade value is probably high due to his recent draft position."

Not sure how you square the idea that he has done poorly but that he still has high trade value. That's not how it works. Also, I don't love dealing a young player like Simmons, who is on a rookie deal, for a 32-year-old player who also isn't producing how you'd want and would cost a lot more (including $13 million next year if you keep him around.) Finally, I'm not as "done" with Simmons as you and others might be. I'm not sure, five games into his third season, how he has "run out of time."

From Ian McMechan:

"Hello. Who would you rather have on a team: a player with outstanding talent but lower motivation, or a player with less pronounced skill levels but incredible drive? Thanks."

I would need more information than that -- specifically how much "lower" or "less pronounced"? Generally, talent triumphs. If the talented player doesn't care at all, well, then his talent is moot anyway. I get where you are coming from, but it's usually not quite that simple. A team full of the latter will battle, but won't be a great team because they will face other teams that have better talent, and talent wins.

From Ceasar Santiago:

"Hi Darren! When coaches get fired there is a team fire sale. The Panthers just hit the market. So yes I will be asking if we should be highly active in going after any players. Notably nose tackle Derrick Brown. Given we got pushed around by the Eagles OL, I don't think anyone would disagree a big NT isn't much needed? Secondly, pass rusher Brian Burns. Unlikely because I think every team in the NFL will be trying to get him, so realistically I don't think he's an option. But Derrick Brown sure seems like the guy we need to proactively get."

I don't think it's a guarantee they have a fire sale. Teams can turn around in one season, and the idea that you'd get better by dealing off two of your best young defenders seems short-sighted. If Brown was on the market, you'd think the Cardinals might look at him. He was going to be their choice at 8 overall had the Panthers at 7 taken Simmons instead. Would depend on the price.

From Sonny Rizzo:

"Said it before, I'll say it again. We should sign Baker Mayfield as our backup QB. Obviously he's going through a hard time right now in Carolina, but thats moreso system fit than anything. He was a good QB in cleveland who was tough as nails and a tremendously positive personality to have around. Essentially his career is at the point where nobody is going to hand him a No. 1 job, so he will have to settle for a No. 2. Before you say 'he's not released yet,' I know. This is rhetorical. When he's released, say this coming offseason. Why not us Darren? Feels like a perfect system fit. Kyler is a friend. McCoy is more expensive, and you need to save every dime you have with a $47M QB. Feels like a perfect marriage, no?"

Colt McCoy is more expensive than Baker Mayfield will be? I'm going to say that's untrue. Otherwise, I have to see how Mayfield is as a backup. RIght now, no, I don't see a guy who would handle that well, who would want to go to a team that the No. 1 is locked in with no chance of a backup winning the job. I'm surprised you see that.

From Charlie O:

"I love your feedback. Question I have is on less than needing-a-yard plays I don't recall seeing a true QB sneak. Is there a reason for that?"

Yes. Mostly it's because you have a sub-6-foot QB who isn't comfortable diving into a pile and may not have the size to push for extra yardage if needed. And I don't see that ever happening with Kyler.

From HFS Schubert:

"Darren, I have two questions. Do you think Patrick Peterson will want to retire a Cardinal and if so, do you think the Cardinals would welcome him with a typical one-day retirement contract? And are you aware of any discontented top tier edge rushers that will become free agents next year that are on a team that might be willing to trade them to the Cardinals this year?"

I think there is a chance, if some time goes by, that P2 could do a one-day here. I think he was disappointed the team did not try to keep him, so it may not be right away (and I think Patrick would want to keep playing for a while if he can.) As for pass rushers, no one comes to mind right now and frankly, with the parity in the league, I'm not sure who would want to deal at this point anyway.

From Joey Cammiso:

"Can you recall a time at any point in the last four years where Kyler lined up under center and then proceeded to throw a pass in a traditional 3-5-7-step dropback? I cannot. Defenses obviously have keyed us under center as a run play. Any insight on why we don't change it up?"

The amount Kyler is actually under center is so little I'm not sure it makes a difference. And just as a clarification, Kyler was under center for the first snap of the Rams game and threw a pass. It was a play-action rollout, but it was not a run play.

From Greg Danielson:

"Hi Darren. Is it not a heads up to the organization when Kliff Kingsbury constantly says in post-game interviews, 'I need to call better plays?' Also, why the slow start on the field in the first half?"

I appreciate the fact people want to ask stuff like, "why the slow start" or questions like that, but those can't be answered. If they could, the Cardinals would have done it by now. If I could, I'd make a lot more money. As for the Kliff quotes, yes, he needs to be better sometimes. But is it not a heads up to fans that Kliff usually doesn't want to get into details of what might've happened, and prefers to protect the situation and/or players by simply saying "I need to call better plays"?

From Robert Nations:

"For many years, especially during the Whisenhunt years, the Cardinals had several games at the early time slot on the East coast and coaches and players were not happy with the travel. This year they only have two games, at Minnesota and at Atlanta, is it mainly due to playing the AFC West? For some reason, the Carolina game was a late game and most of the other East coast teams are playing here in Arizona. Thank you for hosting the mailbag for the fans."

Yes, this year is just a quirk in the schedule. In 2020, the Cardinals had East coast early times in New England and New York (twice). Next year, they play in Cleveland, Philly, Washington, Pittsburgh, maybe Chicago or Detroit, and at a AFC South team, maybe Jacksonville. So it just depends.

From Jayson Wing:

"Darren, Thanks again for Mailbag. It's the only way l know of getting Q&A. Regarding the Hernandez disqualification: Upon replays l've seen, Hernandez barely touched the official as he seem to pass him. So, is there a review or discussion before an ejection? And are there fines or punishment for next game?"

He wasn't suspended. I don't know if he was fined. But I have to say -- and you're not the only one to bring it up -- I don't understand those that say he barely touched the official. When I watch the video, he clearly isn't intentional, but when a 350-pound guy bangs into you, that's not nothing.

From Bryan Rowlan:

"It has been close to two calendar years since Larry Fitzgerald took the field in a Cardinals uniform. It has been well documented about his preference to stay out of the headlines. But we are talking about the single greatest player in franchise history hands down! When if ever can fans expect to have closure? On a side note I'm a season ticket holder and my dad flew in from Missouri to attend his first Cardinals home game against the Eagles. He has been a fan since the Charley Johnson, Sonny Randle, John David Crow days. This is a special moment in my life. I wish the players knew that sometimes it's more than just a game. Thanks for your work."

I would think that closure will come at some point. When, I don't know. Maybe a Ring of Honor night, or maybe we will have to wait for Canton in 2026. But it'll happen. And trust me -- this is more than just a game to many of the players. But they are mostly going to see it through a different prism than you, and that's OK. I am sure there are players who wish fans could see it through their perspective as well. That road goes both ways.

From Mike Gingrich:

"Is the Cardinals home game postgame show ever going to come back, with Jody Jackson and Bertrand and the others? I always enjoyed it."

I do believe that show's time has come and gone.

From SSL:

"Do you think Larry Fitzgerald will be in the Ring of Honor eventually? If so, how long do they typically wait before adding someone. Also, what are the odds the Cardinals retire his number? No. 11 is a pretty common number but I think he deserves it being retired. It would be hard to watch someone else wear it. Thank you for the mailbag, it teaches me so much about football."

Yes, he will be in the ROH. When that will be -- and whether they retire his number -- is up to ownership. But I would guess his number being retiring would be something to be considered. Retiring numbers in football is hard to do, but obviously Fitz is a special case.

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