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2019
Gollin's Blog

Peterson Suspended 6 Games
Friday, May 17 - According to the official Cardinal website, "Patrick Peterson has been suspended for the first six games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy...Peterson would be eligible to return in Week 7, a road game in New York against the Giants. The first six games of the Cardinals’ schedule are home against Detroit, at Baltimore, home against Carolina and Seattle, at Cincinnati and home against Atlanta. He is allowed to take part in offseason and training camp activities, as well as preseason games."

Followed by the expected words of "disappointment", apologies, excuses and finger-pointing.

Peterson is arguably the most talented player on the Cardinal roster (who has become increasingly outspoken about various topics over the past several months). Therefore, my wish to commit my feelings to writing:

First of all, let's talk professional football - it's a competitive sport where, those who play best within a commonly accepted set of rules, win.

When they sign professional contracts, players agree to not gain unfair advantage by taking performance-enhancing drugs. When they choose to ignore this, they upset the competitive nature of the sport - not only do they gain unfair competitive advantage over opponents (who presumably play by the rules), they also gain unfair advantage over teammates competing for the same roster spot.

This isn't just a matter of being busted for a little bit of recreational weed (we'll save the pros and cons of that issue for another time). It all boils down to cheating.

I don't know about everyone else, but the reason I follow the Cardinals and root for them to win games is because they played the best under a common set of rules and not because a player, an owner or an executive used their weasel-skills to gain an unfair advantage.

The selfish part of my brain is very upset that we won't have our top cornerback on the field for 6 straight games, but another part of me hopes that Patrick will clean up his act and return action for the final 10 games. (Frankly, I'm not that optimistic - I didn't hear anything yet from Patrick or the team to give me much hope - but, for Cardinal fans, there's still hope).


State of the Roster
Monday, Apr 29, 2019 - As we wait for the final list of Undrafted Free Agent Cardinal rookies, it's as good a time as any to take a brief look at the Cardinal roster and see where we might stand.

Quarterback
Enter the new Kingsbury Era featurning 5-10 207 lb (?) rookie mighty mite Kyler Murray. We don't know much about his backup (Hundley). We have to assume that there may be some fluidity to the backup situation (i.e. where are we offensively should Murray get hurt?

Running Back
Pretty much the same as last year (only change is addition of DJ Foster) ; the hope being that David Johnson will snap back from a down-year. Same question as for QB - Who steps up should DJ get injured

Wide Receiver
Last year's depth chart could best be described as "Fitz, Kirk and a bunch of guys named Ernie." High on the Keim and Kingsbury "To-Do" list was to bring in additional receiving help via the draft. Keim went overboard, filling various roles with a Waterbug (Isabella), Mr. 50-50 (Butler) and The Good Hands Man (D Johnson). Add to this piece of the puzzle - a big fast veteran (Kevin White) and we should end up with 13 high-level receivers fighting for 5 or 6 roster spots (a far different story from a year ago).

Tight End
Not a pretty picture. We have two guys who can catch but not block and 2 other FA signees we don't know very much about. Implied message - KIngsbury doesn't plan to make TE an integral part of his offense (at least for the time being).

Offensive Line
The weakest (& most depressing) part of our roster last year. Was the main problem lack of talent? Injuries? Poor Coaching? All of the above? It's hard to say. What we do know is that the injured guys are returning to action, Kingsbury brought with him a respected OL coach (Sean Kugler) and the Cards signed a few more FA veterans. Starting Front 5 should consist of Humphreys, Pugh, Cole, Sweezy and Gilbert. If anyone doesn't get the job done, there appears to be 15 other linemen waiting to jreplace him.

Defensive Line
Cards switch back to a 3-4 from their one year adventure running the 4-3. This means that pass rushers like Chandler Jones will switch from DE to OLB and Peters, Gunter and Valentine will play inside at NT. Our DE's will be in the 285 lb area with the only DE of note being Robert Nkemdiche (who looks to be on the cusp of greatness but, injury and production-wise, "there's always something). This is another decent unit with little or no depth.

Linebacker
Looks like rookie Zach Allen will be paired with pass rusher Chandler Jones on the outside. Haason Reddick will man one ILB. Other ILB spot figures to go to Jordan Hicks. Little if any other high-profile guys in this unit - just a lot of high-motor guys fighting for a roster spot.

Defensive Back
Looks like we have three contenders for the CB#2 spot in FA's and Alford and Brock. Add to these guys 2nd round pick Byron Murphy and we should be OL. At safety, Budda Baker returns to a more traditional centerfielder role, with Swearinger providing a physical presence at the other safety position. All told we have 15 defensive backs, so this too looks like a matter of many contenders scrapping for a low number of roster spots. (The good news is that we should have enough backups to withstand any unexpected rash of injuries).

Special Teams
Andy Lee performed at a Pro Bowl level last season. Zane Gonzalez showed flashes of brilliances but occasionally would flame out. More consistency is expected from a pro kicker. It will be fun to see which WR or DB emerges as our kick returner of punt returner. Plenty of guys who run fast and know what to do with the ball in their hands.


Unofficial Undrafted Free Agent List
The Cardinals published their official llist of Undrafted Free Agents. It is considerably different from lists compiled by ROTB and other sources.


Cards Kick Off Day 3 in Style
Saturday, Apr 27, 2019 - Checking the "Players Available" list as we det up our Day 3 Board, Hakeem Butler's name stood out like a sore thumb. One thing missing from the Cardinal passing attack last season was a big ol' possession wideout. Despite drafting a blazing route runner (Isabella) early in Round 2, the Cards still needed someone who could go up and win the majority of jump ball battles. Butler was at the top of their Board (& mine). And Butler was the name called with our first pick in Round 4.

With the 5th round (#139) pick, the Cards scooped up Alabama safety, Dionte Thompson whose write-ups make him sound that he came right out of Central Casting (i.e. has the build, has the speed, has the athleticism, film-room junky, etc.). Most draft services rated him 1st, 2nd or 3rd (PFW was the one exception; not writiing him up at all). One rap that may have caused Dionte to drop was an off-the-field assault charge.

With their #174 pick (6th round) pick, the Cards came right back and drafted a third WR. KeeSean Johnson is considered a technician - thin on athleticism and a bit subpar in measurables but who makes up for it in versatility, effort and technical execution. With #179 (in the 6th round), the Cards drafted their first offensive lineman, center Lamont Gaillard (UGA). Gaillard was ranked #11 on my OC - OG ranker chart and #106 on my BPA Big Board. Great value for the 6th round.

Cards finished off the Draft with three more picks (#248) OT Joshua Miles, Morgan St; (#249) DE Michael Dogbe from Temple (and #254 - " Mr. Irrelevent)" TE Caleb Wilson (UCLA. Miles has prototypical size, Dogbe has incredible strength and Wilson has 4.56ish speed. The latter three picks are kind of like having three pre-designated undrafted free agents.

(Currently the phones around the League are blazing, with reps attempting to sign prospects who weren't drafted. The list of UDFA's is continually shifting (as players sign and then renege and then re-sign with various teams. For that reason, I'll delay publishing the UDFA list until there's something more concrete).


"Rosen Unfrozen"
Saturday, Apr 27, 2019 - After the Cards rolled the dice on Kyler Murray, the one uncompleted task at hand (other than, you know...the Draft) was What to Do About Josh Rosen. Rumor had it that Miami and Arizona had been on the horn consistently and that the deal was done - the Dolphs would part with their #48 pick in the 2nd Round in exchange for Rosen (pick for player)...This got our attention. With the first piick in the second round, (#33) the Cards chose CB Byron Murphy (#1 on my board and considered a "ball hawk," That left us at the front end of a 14-pick "death watch": Would we draft a big, physical WR like AJ Brown or Metcalf? Or maybe an OL (C Ford or J Taylor)? Tick Tock; Tick Tock...#48 came and went, with Miami dealing the pick to the Saints. "WTF!" we exclaimed. Couldn't Steve Keim at least nail down a done-deal?

But then - as we approached Pick #30 (#62), it became apparent that: (1) it was owned by Miami abd (2) the Dolphs had (hurray!) dealt the pick to the Cardinals. Cards used the pick to draft speedster wideout Andy Isabella (best described as a Bill Belichick type WR with 4.31 speed (perfect for the Air Raid offense).

Three picks later (#65), the Cards snapped up a 280 lb defensive lineman Zach Allen, described as "a safe player clubs love to find in the second round" (except we got him in the third). Not a bad haul considering the Rosen clownfest - the only nagging feeling of disappointment being that, twice in a row, we had a targeted WR stolen right before our nose (Harry to NE with the last pick in the 1st round and Metcalf with the lastl pick of the second round.

Otherwise, within the parameters of roster-need, we did OK - We got our QB to operate Kingsbury's offense. We landed a playmaker to play opposite PP21. We got a "take the top off" wideout to open up the offense for Murray. And we grabbed lunchpail-like Golden DE to shore up our Front 3.

Still left to do - TE (I believe Irv Smith is still available). Butler, Harmon and Ridley still out there at WR. Gaillard and Samiel are interior OL's wrth worth consideration. And what about Benschwagel?

Will probably not post anything more till tomorrow. Seeya.


Meet "Mr. Relevant"
Friday, Apr 26, 2019 - "Cards Select QB Kyler Murray" - After an obscene amount of useless smokescreening (that netted absolutely nothing in the way of trade offers, draft picks etc.) the Cardinals - with the first pick of the first round of the 2019 draft - selected (fanfare!) Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray.

The rationale for (1) drafting Murray and (2) presumably jettisoning Josh Rosen was that, after a disasterous 2018 season (whose single biggest hallmark was the firing of their head coach after only one year) the Cardinals went all-in for a young college head coach with a reputation for being an offensive revolutionary. (I have images of HC Kliff Kingsbury and Murray jumping off the proverbial Sundance Cliiff into the abyss.

If the final pick in each year's Draft is known as "Mr. Irrelevent" - in terms of one individual's impact on the future of the franchise - Kyler Murray at #1 (& his impact on the future of the franchise) has the inside track to the title of most relevant player on the Cardinal football team. For Cardinal fans, this figures to be a roller-coaster ride - i.e. will we sit on pins and needles hoping that Kyler will pull another rabbit out of the proberbial hat? Or prayy that he not be chopped into mincemeat by larger grown professionals?

Cards' next scheduled pick is at at #33 (at the end of Round One). At the top of what I think is their BPA Board are: Murphy (CB), G Williams (CB), J Taylor (OT), Metcalf (WR), Risner (OL), AJ Brown (WR) and C Ford (OL). Isabella is a late-rising lunchpail type WR who's difficult to pinpoint on the rating scale, but he might belong on this short list as well. Catch you Saturday. - JGG


And Down the Stretch They Come...
Mon April 22, 2019 - Draft starts Thursday. Expect to see the rumor fires stoked during these last few day and, along with this, a serious uptick in mistruths, smokescreens, disinformation and outright lying by NFL clubs as they jockey for position on the trading front.

And speaking of trades, let us not forget that GM's get paid for (1) making the right personnel moves and (2) being at least a little aggressive and creative as traders (i.e. if they they act like robots and follow a preordained script, who needs them. Thus, built nto the process is an automatic bias for "doing deals" - especially later in the Draft.

The Draft has come along way from those early days when it would be held in the ballroom of a NYC hotel and a bunch of us would mosey on over during Lunch Hour to be eyed with suspicion by League personnel. The Draft now takes two evenings and a Saturday, with full media blitz starting roughly a full month before the actual event. Nary a day goes by when one or another sportswriter will publish his latest in a series of mock draft.

Within this modern-day context, what's important to most hard-core Cardinal rooters is: (1) "Who will we get?", (2) "Who did we get?" and (3) "How good am I at predicting who we'll get?" Add to this the rare spectator-sport of comparing our current 1st year starting QB (Josh Rosen) to possible #1 draft pick (Kyler Murray) as potential "QBs of the Future." Rosen is young, green and talented. Murray is talented and considered "a winner" but is only 5-10 and slight of build. Fan support for either appears to be split down the middle - 50 - 50.

If you're one of us obsessive types who can't resist "doing just one more" mock draft, the mocks conducted within a day of the Draft are the only ones that really mean anything. A few hints for improving your ratio of "hits to misses":

Pay close attention to late entries by local beat writers - they know their teams best and often will have at least one team source who'll provide inside information (sometimes as the result of a "you scratch my back/I'll scratch yours" exchange of favors)

Sometimes writers with big national followings have their own network of inside sources - keep a short list and follow it. Back in the day, Paul Zimmerman and Gary Myers were two writers who seemed to have the highest "batting averages." These days, I'd pay extra attention to SI's Peter King and newcomer Daniel Jeremiah.

There are three players with relatively late medical red flags - Rashan Gary, Jeffrey Simmons and Montez Sweat. All three are first round talents, and each team has different policies as to whether to retainor downgrade their ratings or drop them from their Boards altogether. This will only add to the Draft's unpredictability and make 1st round mocks all the wilder and woolier.

So far as my own Cardinal draft projections - my gut favors Murray over Bosa or Q Williams, with an 80% likelihood of Rosen being traded. I also feel that the this year's draft class is (1) more talented than usual and (2) relatively "flat" - i.e. talent-level is pretty much the same from player to player at least thru Round 4; thereby making any attempt to predict "who will go when" a somewhat futile undertaking.

By position, S Keim, in addition to Murray, will try to add an EDGE rusher, a disrupting run-stuffing defensive lineman, a couple of receivers; each of who has at least one freakish trait (i.e. wins 50-50 battles, home run hitter, razor crisp routes etc.) at least one interior OL, a CB and a TE. We currently have 10 picks (which could go up to 12 if we trade Rosen or could be packaged to help us nail down a prospect we really like.

I may add one more draft article if anything earthshaking happens before Draft Day. Otherwise, fasten your seat belts - JGG


2019 schedule announced -
Fri. April 19, 2019 - Every Spring since the beginning of time, this writer has waited on pins and needles, wondering which regular season games would be gimmes* or challenges*, when would we be featured on MNF or on Thursday or Sunday nights, would there be any "snow games", were there games where either team had the advantage of a longer or shorter practice-week etc.

This year - at least on paper - is different. The Cardinals ranked close to #32 in just about every category (including, of course, W's and L's) which, by default makes every game a "challenge."

Therefore, there's a lot less to say - but there are a few things worth noting:

1. BYE week is late in the season (Week #12).

2. Every game - except for the Thursday-nighter hosting the Niners on Halloween - is a Sunday afternoon game.

3. Barring extremely weird weather Biblical in nature, there are no "snow games") - The latest away game in the East is Oct. 20 at the Giants.

4. Our last 6 games are the "second games" on Sun. afternoon.

5. After our BYE week, we have three straight home games Dec. 1, 8 and 15 - the only home or away streak more than 2 games.

When I have time after the Draft, I'll take a look at whether our opponents are coming off a short or long week, whether our game can be considered a "trap" game or comes at the end of a road trip - & all that good stuff. Other than that, the most i can tell you is that the schedule looks pretty "ordinary" and the team's weekly routine shouldn't be disrupted by a whole bunch of non-Sunday afternoon contests. Have a good day! - JGG

Week 1          Sun Sept. 8.........vs. Lions..........4:25 p.m. ET  Fox
Week 2          Sun Sept. 15.......at Ravens........1 p.m...... ET...Fox
Week 3          Sun Sept. 22.......vs. Panthers....4:05 p.m. ET...Fox
Week 4          Sun Sept. 29.......vs. Seahawks..4:05 p.m. ET...Fox
Week 5          Sun Oct. 6...........at Bengals.......1 p.m......ET...Fox
Week 6          Sun Oct. 13........vs. Falcons.......4:05 p.m.ET  Fox
Week 7          Sun Oct. 20........at Giants..........1 p.m......ET...Fox
Week 8          Sun Oct. 27........at Saints..........1 p.m......ET...CBS
Week 9          Thu Oct. 31........vs. 49ers..........8:20 p.m.ET  Fox/NFLN
Week 10        Sun Nov. 10........at Bucs ..........1 p.m.......ET..Fox
Week 11        Sun Nov. 17........at 49ers          4:05 p.m. ET  Fox
Week 12         BYE     -           -           -
Week 13        Sun Dec. 1.........vs. Rams........4:05 p.m. ET  Fox
Week 14        Sun Dec. 8.........vs. Steelers....4:25 p.m. ET  CBS
Week 15        Sun Dec. 15.......vs. Browns.....4:25 p.m. ET  CBS
Week 16        Sun Dec. 22.......at Seahawks..4:25 p.m. ET  Fox
Week 17        Sun Dec. 29.......at Rams.........4:25 p.m. ET  Fox


"We're #1" (in Rumors) - Wed. Mar. 6 - Welcome to "crazy time" - the Combine is over, front office personnel (when they're not attending Pro Days) are holing up with piles of digital material to dig thru. And, with a month and a half till draft day, it's "Disinformation Time." And, with the Cardinals owning the #1 drafting spot in all 7 rounds, it stands to reason that they'll bear the brunt of the early barrage of rumors, specuation and the occasional nugget of fact. (Sources of this so-called info can best be described as: "I know a guy who knows a guy").

It's started already. First rumor was that the Cards were shopping QB Josh Rosen and planned to draft Kyler Murray with the #1 pick in the draft. Fact? Rumor? Speculation? Hard to say, except that the most recent source of this report was former GM and TV commentator Charley Casserly (who cites 2 or more football insiders as his sources). Charley is not likely to stake his reputation on material from sources that do not exist; so however wierd the rumor, we'd be well-advised to give it serious thought. (Then again, the rumor, while it sounds plausible, also seems unlikely.

Several factors make this rumor intriguing: In doing the deal, the Cardinals would be trading away a textbook, pocket passer with prototypical size, live arm and notable accuracy; but inexperienced, less productive than expected and, at times, prone to shakiness under pressure. In return, the Cardinals would be drafting a smallish athlete short on big time football experience, with playmaking talent and freakish mobility outside the pocket. Plus - new Cardinal HC Kliff Kingsbury knows him and likes him. So do the Cardinals throw away one year of effort developing Rosen (albeit under ineffective offensive systems) in order to draft a small athletic playmaker short on experience that Kingsbury likes? Stay tuned.

Well, actually we don't have to "stay tuned" because Casserly relayed a set of new rumors that dwarfed the Murray/Rosen buzz: Something to the effect that Murray had poor work habits, couldn't decypher board work and had the worst intangibles "of any top QB prospect in recent memory." So OK - we're supposed to jettison a prototypical QB prospect who didn't turn into Johnny Unitas in his first 16 games in favor of "a dumb midget who can run fast." (my quotes). Being a Cardinal fan is not for the faint of heart these days.

My advice to Cardinal fans is: (1) Don't ignore the rumors (because "this is the Cardinals") but (2) understand that it's in the Cardinals' interest to ratchet up high value for both Rosen (as trading asset) and the #1 pick (as a target for teams "in love" with Murray, Bosa or any other prospect). (3) Conversely, it's in the best interest of other trade-interested NFL teams to lower the perceived value of either the #1 pick, Rosen or any other player they plan to trade up for - thus the possible smokescreen generated by the Casserley buzz. (Truth or smokescreen? Logic favors a smokescreen, but I just don't see Charley making this up or passing along bogus info).

Bottom line - There is no bottom line (& they're won't be probably till Draft Day. The stories don't follow a single logical path: If reports of Murray's lack of maturity and poor classroom skills are true, the Cardinal brass will learn this and probably walk away. If they wind up drafting Murray, it would logically indicate that they did their due diligence and stil have faith in him. (Or a very big "or"): Despite positive public commentary - how do the Cardinals really feel about Rosen and what impact does all the controversy have on QB-Team relationship and Rosen's overall confidence-level?

There's another aspect worth exploring - There are two ways an NFL team can manage a rebuild: (1) Do the conventional things you do to build a winning franchise - just do it better than anyone else or (2) Break the mold early and often - with new personnel, new culture, new schemes etc.. If the Cards go the Murray route, they'll choose "Door #2." If they stick with Rosen, they'll be pursuing "Path #1." It seems as if Michael B was all-in with the conventional route only to discover that (at least under Wilks) it was full of "tired blood." So now, he's going the "blow it all up" route and it kind of scares me. Either approach will work if you have the right guys in place to execute flawlessly. .


New Additions - Wed. Feb. 20 - One of the hidden perques of finishing last is that you get first dibs on waivers. Naturally this fact hasn't escaped the watchful eyes of Steve Keim and his crew, and we've all been advised to keep up with a very busy bottom-of-the-roster. This can keep the part-time blogger very busy during the period between the Kingsbury signing and Draft Day. (Result - I may miss a couple of signings, and may have to play "catch-up" from time to time, but I'll try to keep us all up to speed on any significant signings from free agency or the waiver list.

Five signings worth mentioning:

S DJ Swearinger 5-10 205 6 South Carolina (definitely in contention to start)

LB Tanner Vallejo 6-1 230 2 Boise (Waivers - Browns)

CB Robert Alford 5-10 186 6 SE Louisiana (FA - 3yr. Favoried to start at CB2 opposite P Peterson)

LB Brooks Reed 6-3 254 8 Arizona (FA-1 yr)

TE Charles Clay 6-3 255 8 Tulsa (FA - 1 yr). TE competition wide open)


Fitz to Return - Thurs. Jan. 24 - When your favorite team has what many of its fans consider "the worst season in the history of the franchise", it seems as if nothing will go right. So, whenever the question arose of Larry Fitzgerald's future with the Cardinals, my immediate reaction would invariably be: "Let's not talk about that."

When it comes to anything about the Cardinals, the automatic response among today's rooters was to "expect the worst." (I automatically accepted the conventional wisdom that Larry would retire, the Cardinals would be without a team leader, and the leader of our depleted wide receiving corps would be second-year man Christian Kirk.

You'd figure that, should Larry return, the news would be accompanied by a lot of hoopla and fanfare. Not really - the news kind of showed up one day. Kind of low key - kind of like Larry Fitzgerald. Looking back over the past15 years, there were zero, zilch zowie seasons where Larry didn't live up to very high standards. And he did it the right way - with an unequalled work-ethic, never-ending desire to be the best at what he did....and it translated to performance on the field.

Cardinal fans are, by and large, ecstatic about their opportunity to spend one more season with "The Face of the Franchise." I only hope that the rest of the NFL community gets to know and appreciate (the football and non-football) FItz as much as we do.

Yay!


Focus Shifts to Coaching Assistants - Tues. Jan. 15 -With the naming of former Texas Tech Head Coach, Klif Kingsbury, attention shifts to the naming of a staff and teaching/development of players. (You needn't watch more than a few plays in any game the Cardinals played last season than to know that play calling had no tempo, execution of those plays looked discombobulated and techniques were seldom executed with much consistently. When searching for causes, the finger always seemed to fall on fundamentals and the teaching thereof.

This is what we know so far:

Offensive Coordinator - Unfilled (2 contenders: John DeFillipo and former Giant OC)

Offensive Line - Sean Kugler / Assistant Offensive Line Coach -= Brian Natkin

Running Backs - (Unfilled - Leading candidate - James Sexton)

Wide Receivers - David Raih

Tight Ends - Steve Heiden

Defensive Coordinator - Vance Joseph

Defensive Line - Unfilled)

Linebackers - Bill Davis

Defensive Backs - Unfilled)

Special Teams Coordinator - Jeff Rodgers

It was rumored that Stump Mitchell would be hired as RB coach (following other unconfirmed rumors that James Sexton - credited with development of a world class Steeler running attack - would joinng the Cardinals to coach RBs).

The hiring of Kugler is considered to be the key to turning around what was considered by many to be feeble offensive line play and Joseph (who was a former Denver HC) has impressive creds as well - he is expected to oversee transition back to the 3-4 (after a disasterous attempt to move the Card defensie to the 4-3.

Major remaining coaching issue - "Who'll be the OC? (No doubt I'll be proved wrong, but I'd expect Kingsbury to take on the role of "super OC" with the actual OC supporting KK in the offensive game with eyes, ears and experience. Power on!


Cards Hire Offensive Innovator New HC - Wed. Jan. 9 - It's official. The Cardinals named former Texas Tech Head Coach, Klif Kingsbury, their new Head Coach. Kingsbury, who hasn't quite reached 40 years of age, is known for being an offensive innovator and disciple of the Air Raid offense. (One of the most notable characteristics of the recent collapse in Cardinal fortunes had been the deterioration of Bruce Arian's "no risk-it, biscuit" offense to what was, according to most fans, a lethargic, passive approach to offensive football.

Kingsbury's move was not without controversy - after being released by Texas Tech after 4-seasons with a sub-500 (35-40) record, he recently accepted an OC position with USC, but took advantage of an attractive buy-out provision in his contract a short time later to make the move to Arizona.

The only Assistant Coach said to be moving to the Desert with Kingsbury thus far is former Bowling Green HC and USC RB Coach Mike Jinks. A number of other likely assistant signees were snapped up by Arians (who decided to return to coaching as HC of the Tampa Bay Bucs). Former Jet HC / Card DC Todd Bowles and former Cardinal OC Byron Leftwich are joining BA in Tampa.

The Mike Leach Air Raid offense is said to involve nearly all the snaps coming from shotgun, trips alignment and empty sets with 4 receivers (1 slot/1 wide on either side) and getting the ball into receivers' hands "in space" and "on the move" as much as possible. There are more Kingsbury wrinkles than my brain can absorb - quad alignments, wide-bunched sets, slot WR's covered up by outside receivers at the LOS, 4 verticals and stick, slant-flat, follow, mesh and smash concepts,

Kingsbury believes in getting his best athletes the ball in space as quickly as possible. The key to these plays working is a quick release from the quarterback, as well as accuracy to hit the receivers with ball placement that allows for forward momentum.

The most impressive thing about Kingsbury’s adaptations is how he is able to adjust his play-calling around his own and opposing personnel. His offense looked different from Case Keenum to Johnny Manziel to Patrick Mahomes to Davis Webb. Additionally, there were instances of attacking weak spots of the defense on a weekly basis.

Reaction by Cardinal Nation has been mixed - many members of "the great unwashed" apparently feel they know more about hiring head coaches than the owners and professionals who do this for a living. (No problem with fans speaking their mind; it's the "certainty of opinion" that bugs me - Football is a people occupation and when you are dealing with human beings, nothing is "for-certain").

(Note - Lost in all the X's and O's talk is Kingsbury's youthful age (not quite 40). Latest League trend is toward hiring Millenial/New Age disciples (see: Pete Carroll in Seattle or Gruden and Mayock in Oakland). Keep an eye on innovations involving leadership approaches and team culture when following the Cardinals).

Stay tuned.


Wilks an Ex-Cardinal - Wed. Jan. 2 -- As expected, the Cardinals gave HC Steve Wilks and his staff their walking papers shortly after Janikowski's FG attempt split the uprights with 0:00 on the clock to clip the Cards by 3.

Seldom do teams hire a HC in Year One only to fire them in Year 2, but the Cardinal play over the past season was abysmal under Wilk's oversight. Cards apparently have decided to keep GM Steve Keim despite heavy fan criticism of Steve's behavior (DUI infraction) and performance (for some unexplained reason - all at once the wheels all came off what seemed to be a perfectly good Cardina roster. Cards wound up winning the "We're #32!" race for Top 2019 Draft Spot.

Names atop the list of possible head coaching replacements for roughly 8 openings throughout the NFL: Dan Campbell (NO Asst HC), Zac Taylor (Rams QB Coach), Eric Bienemy (KC OC), Adam Gase, Kliff Kingsbury (QBC), Josh McDaniels (NE OC), Pete Carmichael (NO OC), Jim Caldwell (Ex HC GB), Mike McCarthy (Ex HC GB, Chuck Pagano (Ind Ex HC). No doubt there will be additional candidates and the list will expand.

Just one writer's opinion: I'd like us to sign a creative, aggressive and courageous offensive play caller who will fill out his staff with assistants who have pretty much "seen it all" (and no how to handle adverse conditions. (What Wilks seemed to lack was a plan for fixing what was broke and turning what Steve Keim gave him into effective offensive and defensive units).

The way things look, expect "breaking news" on probably a daily basis (When you get first-dibs on the waiver wire, you tend to be super-active churning the bottom of your active roster).

Note - 8 players were signed to Futures contracts: Charles Kanoff QB; Dietrick Nichols CB, Justin Evans OL , Will House OT, Jonathan Moxey CB, Pete Robertson LB, Coleman Shelton OL, Brandon Wilds RB


 


 


 
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