You've Got Mail: The Thick Of Offseason Work

AZC_CardinalsMailbag

The Cardinals head into the second week of OTAs and the final week of May, and we have our weekly mailbag. As always, leave a question for next week's mailbag by clicking here.

From Alan Konrath via azcardinals.com:

"We can assume Kyler will be moving around both by design and necessity at times. Will the air raid offense have our O-line utilizing pulling guards, counter trays, trap blocks and finesse rather than power techniques?"

Without knowing how this is going to play out -- and again, the Cardinals and Kliff Kingsbury are trying to keep details of this offense close to the vest -- offensive line coach Sean Kugler did say in February there will still be some power concepts in the run game. How much? No way to know for sure. One thing Kingsbury does do well, or at least he has on the college level, is adjust his game plans weekly. I think such things will be available. If they use shotgun a lot, which seems likely, it'll naturally cut into power running opportunities.

From Simon Liang via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren, greetings from China! Just a quick question: I believe I have seen in the videos from minicamp and OTAs that Kyler utilizes the 'clap-snap' like in he did in college. A coach once explained to me that you can hear a clap better than an oral command in a big stadium and you can play around with the snap count by pretending to clap your hands. So far, I don't remember seeing the clap used in the NFL. Do you think the Cardinals will introduce this college technique to the NFL? Cheers!"

That's a good question. Obviously Murray used it in college. I'm not sure if it'll be used in the regular season, but there are certainly no restrictions on using it in the NFL and if Murray is comfortable with it, it makes sense. The one thing you have to make sure is that it can't be read by defenses, but you have that same need if you are using spoken signals.

From Robert Brannen via azcardinals.com:

"Where does the $3.8 million (as a result of Patrick Peterson's suspension) go? Who gets it?"

You are referring, of course, to his scheduled lost salary in the six games he would miss. No one "gets" it. The team just wouldn't pay that part of his salary, since he is not working.

From Jarrod Foote via azcardinals.com:

"As we move through offseason workouts and training camp, what positions do you think Steve Keim will be looking to fill with available free agents? Thank you!"

Overall, I'd think you'd still be looking at potential help on the defensive line or inside linebacker. But generally, they will be assessing everyone on the roster over these next couple of weeks and into to camp to see what they might still need. Barring injury, I'm not sure there is one particular position they have to have at this point. But as always, if the right veteran at the right price is sitting there come late July or early August, Keim has proven he will make that move.

Other than knowing it was for a violating the policy on performance-enhancing substances, we do not get further details and I have not seen any further reporting on the subject.

From Steve Drumm via azcardinals.com:

"Kyler was asked after his first practice whether he would be getting together with his receivers after the conclusion of the OTAs to throw to them before training camp opened and he was non-committal. We know the new CBA rules limit the amount of work players and coaches can do during organized team workouts so wouldn't it make sense for Murray to get his guys together and start building a rapport with them the sooner the better before the season starts?"

If he is able to get together for a week or two that might be nice. Any jump on creating chemistry makes sense. But realistically and logistically, it might be difficult. The four weeks or so the players get after the mandatory minicamp before training camp is essentially the last time these guys get off before the grind of a long season. Murray has been going constantly since the end of the college season and might need a break. Also, the rookies have a couple of extra weeks they spend at the team facility after the veterans leave, cutting down even more their available downtime to have such a get-together.

From Cory Schenkenberger via azcardinals.com:

"Why is everyone predicting A.Q. Shipley to start at center over Mason Cole? A.Q. did not grade out well in 2017 per PFF and Mason just finished his trial by fire starting all 16 games. Seems like Mason would have the inside track here unless he would be an upgrade to the line at guard."

I don't know if "everyone" is predicting that. We won't get a good handle on that until Shipley and Cole start getting true training camp reps and we see how Shipley performs on his rebuilt knee. No one is going to be making any decisions based on a PFF grade. I agree that Cole, having played all last season and who is younger could have an inside track. But I definitely am not ruling out Shipley winning that job.

From Bob Kitsos via azcardinals.com:

"While playing time will be limited, are you comfortable with the running backs backing up David Johnson?"

I thought Chase Edmonds showed well in his time last season and I think his skillset actually meshes quite well with what Kliff Kingsbury wants to do offensively. It'll be interesting to see, in fact, if the Cards really make sure they have a beefy back (although David Johnson himself certainly can handle inside runs at his size), but with guys who can catch the ball and make some things happen in space -- including T.J. Logan and D.J. Foster -- the Cards seem to be in good shape.

In football, there is a reason most teams have a version of the Ring of Honor -- because you have so many players on the roster (especially in the offseason when 90 guys are around) -- you can't afford to take too many numbers out of circulation. So my thought is, no, you have to reserve it for very particular situations. It's notable that the Cards have not had anyone wear No. 24 since Adrian Wilson left even though it's not officially retired. In terms of officially retiring a number, there is only one I can think that would be discussed, and that's obviously No. 11.

From Freddy Rodriguez via azcardinals.com:

"Who are you most excited about watching in the preseason games. We know the top dogs might not play so much those first four weeks, which top three players on each side of the ball are you excited about?"

Little early to consider this, but I'll bite. Not surprisingly, I lean heavy on rookies that need to make an early impact.

Offense

  1. Kyler Murray
  2. Andy Isabella
  3. Hakeem Butler

Defense

  1. Byron Murphy
  2. Jordan Hicks
  3. Zach Allen

Sitting here in late May, I'll say yes, I think he could have a legit shot, if healthy, to go 1,000-1,000. He nearly had 1,000 yards rushing last year and that was in a terrible offense with little chance of success. Clearly he's going to get more opportunities to catch the ball this year. I'll be curious, if that happens, if he'll garner Comeback Player votes. It's not like he is "coming back" from much except for a bad offense. In my opinion, that award should go to someone with extenuating circumstances, like a bad injury or something that happened off the field. But that's me. As for Offensive POY, maybe he'd get some attention, but as with many of these awards, there is a tie-in to team success. If the Cards win five games and he goes 1,000-1,000, not sure that moves the meter. If they jump to 9-7 or something, I'm sure Johnson will grab some attention.

From Ric via azcardinals.com:

"I am a big Chad Williams fan. We attended the same college in Louisiana. What are your thoughts on him as a player, depth chart? Does he make the team this year?"

The best thing for Chad Williams is that, in this offense, wide receivers are important and you could see a scenario where they kept up to seven on the roster. That said, Williams has a lot to prove in a short amount of time. Depending on how things shake out, no, I don't think Williams is a lock to be on the roster. I think he will be in a fight. The good news for him is that he has plenty of time to show why he should stick. Preseason games, I'd think, will be very important for him.

From Kenyon Carlson via azcardinals.com:

"I labored under the assumption that P2 declined to appeal charges levied by the NFL that he violated the PED rules. But you corrected me and said he did in fact appeal. What was the end result? Also, I'm trying to create a timeline from when his drug test first arose suspicion. Could it be that the Cards (and all 31 other franchises) caught wind of that late last season? Obviously, that news would have mitigated P2s trade value. But more importantly, could that news have altered the Cards draft? With so many holes to fill, I was surprised to see Murphy drafted with the 1st pick in the second round (after the signing of Alford)."

Lot of questions here. There was a report on the day the news broke that Peterson did indeed appeal. That's what I am basing the appeal answer upon. In every case such as this, the news does not come out until after the entire process -- including any intended appeals -- play out. It's my understanding that the team itself doesn't know about anything until post-appeal either, unless the player chooses to loop the organization in. I have no idea when this happened, but no, I do not believe any teams knew about it until well into this offseason. This isn't something that gets announced -- until there is an official suspension -- on league memos. As for Murphy, it does stand to reason the Cardinals knew about it going into the draft. But again, as seen on Flight Plan, the Cards had Murphy as the top cornerback in the draft and as their No. 5 overall rated player. I don't think you are rating a guy that high just because of a particular situation. It's not like Murphy was a reach there; many thought there was a chance he'd be a late first-round pick.

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