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You've Got Mail: Training Camp Has Arrived

Topics include Kyler's return, joint practices and running back contracts

Before Camp mailbag 0724

The offseason is over. A lot happened, yet it seems like it moved pretty fast. The Cardinals start training camp -- and Jonathan Gannon's first season -- with a practice on Wednesday. Here we go. As for the always-reliable mailbag, questions have been edited for length and clarity. You can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From Dustin M:

"How much do you think we will see Kyler practice in camp? I know he said he hoped to be back in Week 1, but is that even possible? And is Colt McCoy the guy if K1 isn't ready?"

I'll take the second part first. I do think McCoy will be the starter until Kyler is ready. I know there has been a lot of conversation about Clayton Tune, but I don't see the Cardinals throwing the fifth-round rookie to the wolves right out of the gate. He could surprise during camp, but we will see. As for Murray, I've said more than once (like on last week's Cardinals Underground) that I don't think Week 1 makes sense. It's a guessing game, though. We will have a better feel as camp moves on; I expect Murray to start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He can't practice until he isn't on that list, a la Maxx Williams last camp. Murray and the PUP list is the first thing to monitor.

From Wade Hamlin:

"Hi Darren. There are a lot of new faces around this team as they go into training camp. You have talked about how many jobs are up for grabs. But are there any specific players/positions you will be watching? I want to see what happens at cornerback, because I'm concerned about what we have there right now."

There are plenty of spots to watch. Yes, cornerback will be one, especially for a defensive-oriented head coach. But I suppose I am going to watch the lines closer than anything. On the offensive line, I am curious to see how the interior ultimately shakes out, and even if Kelvin Beachum makes a push to be the right tackle and what they then do with Paris Johnson Jr. And on the defensive line, I just want to know who makes the team. All those guys seem to be starting in the exact same space to start camp, so who will impress enough to get the playing time?

From Matthew Stroh:

"Hey Darren, with training camp starting right around the corner, we used to call late signing a 'Keim Time' signing. What are you going to call any late signings when Ossenfort signs someone? Also, with a revamp of the health and fitness area this offseason, do you think there's a chance to have less injuries in training camp or more injuries or no change? Thank you for your time."

We will see how the Ossenfort signings develop, but I get the sense Monti is going to try and build the roster in a different way so I'm not sure how many just-before-camp impact signings we are really going to see. As for injuries, obviously this is a course that Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon believe in with a large strength and conditioning staff. Clearly the hope is that players are kept in a better place injury-wise. But this is football, and as many veterans have said over the years, it's not a question of if you are going to get injuries, it's a question of when.

From John Staszkiewicz:

"What do you think that the offense will be more of a running or passing attack. I would love a balanced attack."

There has been a lot of conversation about running the ball more than in the past. The idea of almost every coach is a "balanced" attack. But that is often dictated by the game itself each week.

From Jake from Gilbert:

"Darren, I know the Cardinals are going to practice against the Vikings. What are the benefits of practicing against another team in preseason? Also, will you guys interview Byron Murphy that week?"

Those two practices will come the third week of the preseason in Minnesota, prior to the teams closing out the preseason schedule with a game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Practicing against another team has become a favorite of coaches -- more than the preseason games in a lot of ways -- because it can be good competition against someone besides your own teammates yet it can be controlled. Some teams are practicing against two other teams (including the Vikings). The Cardinals also get a chance to work outside when it isn't 115 degrees. As for Murphy, we will see. It'd be nice to at least say hello.

From Red Sea Rick:

"What are your thoughts on Saquon Barkley not being paid and running backs not getting paid in general? Any chance the Cardinals might try to trade for him?"

For starters, no I don't think the Cardinals would (or should) try to trade for a high-end running back. If one of those guys were traded, you still need to give them the contract for which they have been looking. I think after what happened with the David Johnson contract, the Cardinals are always going to be leery of a major deal for a running back. That's what is happening with Barkley and Josh Jacobs (and others.) I'm not sure there is an easy solution here, given that -- in my opinion -- both sides have a strong argument to feel the way they feel. What happens with Barkley and Jacobs will be fascinating to watch. I know both have been tagged, but I am not sure they would necessarily find the deal for which they are looking on the open market either. Such is the way teams see running backs these days.

From Chase G:

"OK, if Dani isn't the best basketball player in the media department. how do we as fans organize an all-Arizona sports teams media basketball tournament? We want to see a starting five of Darren, Patrick, Q, Dani and Craig. Who would start at each position if the Cardinals were to have a media starting 5?"

This is probably nightmare fuel. But if we are going with those five, Patrick is the point guard. Dani the 2, Q the 3. Craig and I can duel for power forward and center. Whatever moves the least is probably the spot I'm best suited for these days. Dani and Q will handle the trash talking. I also should consider getting Kyle D in this lineup. For a tournament that will never happen. (We used to have a couple of media games every training camp when we were up at NAU in Flagstaff, but those days are long past.)

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