2020 Schedule Announced
May 8, 2020 - Each year we scour the new schedule with the same set of questions: Who (& where) do we play in our opener? Does our Bye Week screw us? Any "snow days?" National TV games? What about unusually short or long practice weeks? A few answers:
We open against the NFC champ 49'ers in their house. We play three straight road games in Panthers, Jets and Dallas. Dallas game is on Monday night - shortening the midweek interval going into Seattle (at home). We play two nationally televiised games (@ Dallas on Week 5 and at Seattle on a Thursday night in Week 11). The Week 16 home game vs. the Niners will either be on a Sat. or Sun. night - & to be determined. We play in Vegas vs. the Raiders in preseason. Week 12 (@ Pats )and Week 14 (Giants) are on Nov. 29 and Dec 13 respectively and, therefore, potential snow days.
It takes time to review comparative schedules (especially midweeks) of our division rivals (to see who gets an unexpective breather, who gets screwed by the scheduling gods etc.) After we take a long hard look, we'll get back to you.'
"We Don't Know What We Don't Know..."
Thurs. Apr. 8 - We're in uncharted waters. There was a very funny Gannett piece on "what the upcoming "virtual draft" will be like (i.e. Goodell's kid entering Roger's downstairs office to ask if he could announce the next selection etc. etc.).
One way out of this condundrum might be to restrict most commentary to Cardinal Football and what we might (or should) do with our #8, #72 or #114) pick:
We traded away our second round (#40) pick as part of the blockbuster trade that netted us a primo WR and annointed Kenyan Drake as our bell-cow RB. If we "play it straight", draft for need and net one of the top 4 offensive tackles, we won't have a second round pick to instantly repair any other glaring weaknesses. Pressure will be on Steve Keim to make sure our third round (#72) pick really counts. Following that line of reasoning, here our our most apparent options:
1. Draft an offensive tackle (Becton, Wirfs, Wills, Thomas) with our #8, and hope a sleeper EDGe guy and CB drop to us at #72 and #114. I've been intrigued by LB Akeem Davis-Gaither. We use our #114 pick to CB Essang Bassey.
2. Either draft LB-S Isaiah Simmons or DL Derek Brown with our #8 and use our #72 on a second-level lineman like Josh Jones or Wanogho and our #114 on fleet WR (scuttlebutt suggests Duvernay)
3. Grab Lamb or Jeudy at #8 (which might support a BPA strategy but leave us a bit "top heavy' at WR (with Fitz, Hopkins, Kirk etc.) and vulnerable at OL, ILB or CB).
4. Trade down for an extra pick (or even two) but not so far that we can't still draft one of the four top offensive tackles) This would enable us to fill in an additional defensive roster-hole (probably at LB, CB and S).
Anyway - that's what I'm thinking as I sit in my home office praying that I won't test "positive." Catch you later.
It's April Already
Sun. Apr. 5 - We enter what has to be the wierdest Draft in US history (because we're in the midst of what possibly is the weirdest era in human-kind).
I write this rounding the curve between my 81st and 82nd birthday (In part due to Covid 19 and part due to the logic of pure numbers) this probably will be the last Draft I cover.
I think the strangest part of this whole deal is that, as a society, we're used to thinking ahead of our situations to zero in on "what do we do next." Well, boys and girls, we don't know what will happen next (let alone what we'll be doing in a day, week, month or year from now). Transfer that thinking to the Draft, and suddenly, "whether the Cards draft a WR or OT doesn't seem so important, does it)?
Scheduled on and off-field events for virtually every major sport have been postponed or cancelled (or postponed to be cancelled later). One exception is professional football. I don't think the scheduling of the draft s mainly due to "excessive greed" by NFL management and owners (Sorry A Schefter). Instead, I think it's because Draft coverage - which is full of lists, film clips, interviews, digital data and mocks - lends itself perfectly to media coverage. Our current "social-separation" culture also fits the trend featurning "interviews from home", War Room coverage and other "distant" media wrinkles.
So there 'tis. (The one Draft feature I'll regret having is the lack of late-breaking an inside information about teams and players. Other than that, it's full steam ahead.
Stay safe, fellow Cardinal fans. Reach out. Do good things. Enjoy your loved ones. Hug your kids. And, try to take a few moments away from all the craziness to enjoy the Draft. Go Cards! - JGG
Cards Re-Sign Humphries
Tues. Feb 18 - Cards signed their starting LT, DJ Humphries to a 3-year contract extension.
For many of the Cardinal Faithful, this was a very big deal - some fans were happy that one roster-problem had been erased from Steve Keim's agenda. Others (who blamed many of the team's offensive woes on the Cardinal OL) were less positive.
From this fan's perspective, (1) we couldn't afford to lose a starting lineman, (2) have other fish to fry. and (3) Could ( & should) place additional trust in O-line coach Sean Kugler's ability to identify and develop offensive linemen.
One final note - a lot of web space has been filled with fiery pro and con commentary about various veteran players, cap-hits, franchise taggiing free agent statii and other Inside Football minutae. The only thing I know about all that book-keeping stuff is that - if, let's say, the conventional wisdom guarantees we'll be in "salary cap heaven", you can bet your boots that we'll wind up with cap space roughly one-half of what we thought we'd get. (I truly believe it's a "League thing").
So I have no idea which front-office move will turn out to be cool or uncool, and, instead will advocate for keeping the players who play well and saying "buh-bye" to those who don't. (example - Would I rather draft a big 'ol RT or roll the dice on Gilbert? (That's what they pay Kugler the big bucks to figure out). Would I want to sign Kenyan Drake or rely on a David Johnson comeback? I'm a believer in the "hot hand" theory and, therefore, would like to sign the hot hand (Drake) while hoping that "cool hand" D Johnson regains his mojo.
Happy Combine, everybody.
2020 - Where are we?
Mon. Jan 20, 2020 - Wrapping up a losing season isn't exactly a thrilling exercise - one of the most avid segments of the fan base typically wants to fire the entire FO and coaching staff, cut every player and, if they could do it, have the owner "fire himself."
Go too easy on evaluating the organization and you get labeled a "homer." Go too hard and you risk being categorized as a "hater."
This year's 5 - 10 - 1 Cardinals are hard to analyze - mainly because, within the context of changes that accompany a new offensive system, this is a young team with its players part of the process of improving at differing rates of speed. Add a young coaching staff willing to "adjust on the fly"at various stages of the off-season, pre- season and regular season and you get the feeling that figuring out this team is kind of like trying to hit a moving dart-board blindfolded. With that in mind in the early throes of off-season, a few observations:
Murray's upside remains huge (listen to Fitz wax poetic) - but that doesn't mean he's a finished product or a lock to become League MVP. He still has a lot of learning challenges to overcome and adverse situations to bounce back from.
Team chemistry is said to be "special" - most notably amongst offensive linemen. How this translates into protecting the QB better or a higher tun-blocking success rate remains to be seen. But better to hear good news than otherwise. But, of course, the proof still lurks in the results - I'd like to see a higher "batting average" opening holes and protecting Murray.
Fitz is back - The "body language" of the final quarter of the regular season kind of pointed to Fitz wanting to come back for at least another year, but what iced the cake were his comments of wanting to remain part of a dynamic, young team with its best years ahead of it.
And we still have Chandler Jones - For more than 50-years as a Cardinal rooter, I've always wanted us to have a deluxe pass rusher. We now have a league sack leader in sacks who keeps his level of play high from year to year.
Welcome to the desert, Jordan Hicks - He brought consistently solid play to a less than solid LB unit whose consistency remains a work in progress in both run defending and pass coverage.
There are other things we can get excited about - our young receivers (including TE), and the possibility of having Kenyan Drake back at RB, but, to me, there are still questions to be answered - they still belong in the "prove-it"category. We'll have to see what rabbits Steve Keim pulls out of his FA and Draft Pick hat between now and next Sept. before we jump up and down and do a dance.
Until then, we'll keep combing the wires looking for more good things to happen. - JGG