And then there was one…

Cardinals’ 2nd round pick DE Calais Campbell finally agreed to terms for a 4-year contract earlier this week, leaving only top pick Dominick Rodgers-Cromartie unsigned as of the time.

In order to make room for Campbell on the 80-man roster, the Cardinals released veteran DE Bo Schobel who, I’m sure, will find work quickly.  When Rodgers-Cromartie signs, soon hopefully, Arizona will have to release another player.

On a positive note, Drew Rosenhaus -the agent of both Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett, who have both been in contract negotiations during the offseason, said the two will report on time for training camp despite missing the voluntary practice sessions earlier this summer.

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(Source: azcardinals.com)

And now for my rant:

Maybe Rodgers-Cromartie and the Chargers’ Antoine Cason ought to join oh, maybe Chad Johnson, and get a group of guys together who are either unproven rookies or washed up superstars-in-their-own-mind who think they are worth more than they really are and play some Monopoly or something.  I don’t care how great one’s college career is, there is no guarantee as to greatness in the NFL.  If you don’t believe me, I have just 2 words for you  – RYAN LEAF.

Maybe the league ought to impose a salary restriction on first-round players so they can actually earn their paycheck before expecting that, simply by virtue of being selected early in the draft, they are automatically God’s gift to the league and should be compensated accordingly.

And for some examples (of early picks who didn’t quite meet expectations, by year/# pick overall):

2005 #6 Adam “Pacman” Jones (he won’t do anything in Dallas either) 

2002 #1 David Carr

2001 #1 Michael Vick

2000 #11 Ron Dayne

1999 #1 Tim Couch, #2 Donovan McNabb (in my opinion…highly overrated), #3 Akili Smith, #5 Ricky Williams (My, this was a good year, eh?)

1998 #2 Ryan Leaf, #5 Curtis Enis

1995 #1 Ki-Jana Carter

I don’t want to go back too far, but there are far, far more players who ring a bell…most notably, Todd Marinovich, Jim Druckenmiller, Rae Carruth, Brian Bosworth, etc. etc. etc.


The Buzz up Here

As the Cardinals approach their impending journey up the mountain to Flagstaff for training camp (which is all the buzz here in Flagstaff), there are 10 pressing questions (as eloquently presented by “official” Cardinals blogger Darren Urban.)

Allow me to summarize:

1.  The big QB controversy, Warner vs. Leinart (I’ll take Kurt, but Ken Whisenhunt appears to be going with Matt, unless something happens.)

2.  The status of IR players.

3.  Does Edge still have his edge?

4.  How will Antrelle “Rolle” into his new position as safety? (Please pardon the lame, warped humor…it’s 2:00 am right now, hence the “lame” part.)

5.  Exactly how distracting is the whole contract thing? (For a more personal slant from yours truly, read my rant in my Chargers blog here.)

6.  Will the new additions on defense add depth?

7.  Will a cohesive offensive line from last season improve this season?

8.  With Bryant Johnson’s absence, who will be the 3rd receiver – Steve Breaston (my choice), Early Doucet, Troy Bienemann, or Jerheme Urban?  Or perhaps another?

9.  Will the rookies make a difference?

10.  Does Whisenhunt have what it takes to improve upon his last season successes?

Oh, and to add a personal question from yours truly…. Will TE Leonard Pope put up decent enough fantasy numbers this season?

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(I’ll be there!!)


Woo Hoo, Preseason is Almost Here!!

There’s a new head athletic trainer in town.  Ex-Falcon assistant athletic trainer Tom Reed is now charged with the task of getting the Cards in top form for the season.

Rookies Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Calais Campbell are poised to contribute great things to Arizona’s 2008-9 season.  One area gaining significant attention is blocking opponents’ kicks.  The Cards blocked only one kick last season, so Rodgers-Cromartie feat of 8 blocks during his college career thanks to his 6’8″ frame is exciting Cardinals’ coaching.  Additionally, Campbell, who desperately want to see some playing time, the idea of blocking kicks is intriguing.  Of course, the primary focus at this time is signing these two, in addition to LB Chris Harrington and WR Early Doucet, also unsigned so far.

On a positive note, OL Brandon Keith did sign a 3-year contract at the conclusion of the rookies’ offseason workout sessions.

Larry Fitzgerald has been spending time in his home state of Minnesota, undertaking some pre-preseason condition before returning to Arizona for training camp in 7,000 feet-above-sea-level Flagstaff.  Both cities must pale in comparison to the various international destinies whose stamps decorate Fitz’s passport.

Stay tuned for training camp news, (as I will be attending, using my almost 8-year daughter as willing autograph bait.)

(Source: azcardinals.com)


Viva Las Cardinals!!

As part of the NFL’s international practice squad program, LB Eduardo Castaneda was assigned to the Cardinals.  Castaneda, from Monterrey, Mexico, played for the Houston Texans’ practice squad in 2007.

Castaneda, at 6’3″ and 253 lbs, played for Mexico’s national team for two years.  As a result, the Cardinals will be allowed to exercise their roster exemption, allowing them 9 players on their practice squad this year.

These exchange players are allowed to play in preseason games, but are not allowed to be signed to the active roster during the regular season.  Of the 16 “foreign exchange” players this year, 5 are from Mexico; with the remainder from England (5), Germany (2), Sweden (1), Russia (1), Japan (1), and France (1).

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(Source: azcardinals.com)


Training Camp Schedule Announced

The Cardinals will be making the trek up the mountain to the NAU practice field in Flagstaff for training camp on July 23rd.  Friday, July 25th marks the first open-to-the-public practices.  There will be a couple of 7 pm practices on July 30th and August 13th in the recently turfed Skydome, as well as an autograph session prior to the August 2nd practice.

For a complete schedule of training camp, click here.


More Offseason News and Musings

Bertrand Berry is back on the field; hoping the 4th time will be a charm.  We all remember his torn triceps midway through last season, the 3rd season-ending injury in as many years.  Proving that he wants to play, as well as wanting to complete a season, he took a pay cut from $4 million to $1 million, converting the difference into incentives. 

*   *   *   *    

Despite the fact that Ken Whisenhunt continues to claim that Matt Leinart is the starter with “Kurt [Warner] is going to be there pushing him.”  (Pushing him into oncoming traffic, perhaps??)  At any rate, after I drafted Leinart in one of my fantasy leagues last year and, quite frankly, he was a bust.  I also have yet to see the drive and accountability that Warner epitomizes. 

*   *   *   *   *

Richmond RB Tim Hightower was the first Cardinals’ draft pick to sign – in this case a 3-year contract – and says he’s been learning a lot from Edgerrin James and Marcel Shipp.

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 (Source: azcardinals.com)


The Axman Cometh

The Cardinals currently have an 82-man roster.  Doesn’t sound like much, does it?  But by the start of training camp, they have to whittle it down to 80. 

Despite lingering injuries to veterans, Coach Whisenhunt expects everyone to be ready to practice/play by the start of training camp.  The problem, then, lies within the specialty positions.  The Cardinals, historically, have had an extra punter and kicker, sometimes one who can fulfill both roles, to stimulate a little friendly competition among the players.  While Neil Rackers and Dirk Johnson are safe, a backup is now a luxury; forcing Whisenhunt et. al. to take a different approach to training camp this year.

Whatever he decides, I’ll be there, up here in Flagstaff, with my almost 8 year-old daughter in tow for some autograph-getting.


Another Ring of Honor Inductee

Aeneas Williams, 6-time Pro Bowl CB will be the 13th Cardinal inducted into the Ring of Honor, on November 10th during the halftime ‘festivities’ of the Cardinals/49ers MNF game.

Williams played for Arizona for 10 years while amassing an impressive 46 INTs.  He ended his career playing his final 4 seasons in St. Louis, accumulating 55 career INTs, and earning speculation as to when he will be inducted into the leagues’s Hall of Fame.  He is eligible after the 2009 season.

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(Source: azcardinals.com)


That’s a Wrap

The Cardinals are off to a great start this year, with mini camp wrapping up.  A clean camp, according to both teammates and coaches, with only two false start penalties tarnishing the otherwise successful early practices.  Of course, it is quite early to accurately predict future success; however, a good start is better than the alternative.

3rd round draft pick WR Early Doucet has already formed a relationship with studly Anquan Boldin; once, his hero and now his teammate.  And who says dreams don’t come true?

Additionally, with Arizona’s failure to draft a RB high, Edgerrin James is in good spirits as well; likely confident that his job is secure.  Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner were also looking confident and able, and only time will tell if Leinart will fulfill his destiny as the Card’s starter this season.

The Cardinal’s first pick, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is expected to bulk up from 184 to 195 lbs before the start of the season; to which he says ought not be a problem, but maintenance may be.  Note to Rodgers-Cromartie: McDonalds.

(Source: azcardinals.com)