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  1. #1
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    Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    The analysis is still coming from their site this week, but thus far we have info for...

    -QB/RB
    -WR
    -OL
    -DL
    -LB

    I'll post the articles as they become available.
    Last edited by Nick; -07-28-2005 at 02:49 PM.


  2. #2
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    Questions loom on Cardinals offense
    Outlook hazy on ability of new backfield
    Odeen Domingo
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 24, 2005 12:00 AM

    First in a series looking at Cardinals positions heading to training camp, which opens Aug. 1. Today: offensive backfield.

    Depending on whom you ask, the backfield is either solid or a mess.

    Starting quarterback Kurt Warner has shown he can play close to an elite level when given time in the pocket. But when that time decreases, his decision-making and accuracy stray. His leadership skills are unquestioned, but he has yet to show great zip on the ball since joining the Cardinals.

    Josh McCown led the team within a game of .500 after nine games last season before suddenly being benched. His arm may never be as accurate and his trophy shelf may never be as full as Warner's, but he's smart and mobile.

    If a strong arm and a statuesque frame were all you needed in today's NFL, John Navarre would be winning Super Bowls. Navarre needs more experience on top of more experience, plus an offensive line that is built like the Great Wall.

    Free-agent rookie quarterback Tim Chang is vying for a practice-squad spot.

    All indications point to rookie J.J. Arrington starting in coach Dennis Green's one-back, three-receiver set. Arrington has great speed, shiftiness and hands. He's short (5 foot 9) but stocky (214 pounds). He has speed running to the outside, but can he take the pounding running inside as an every-down back for 16 games?

    That's where Marcel Shipp comes in. Shipp has the experience and the proven desire to ground out yards inside. Training camp will show whether he's 100 percent recovered from major knee and ankle injuries.

    Unless Troy Hambrick shows up at Flagstaff with a rock-hard body and 4.3 speed, his voluntary camp no-shows bode well for the other four backs who are trying to earn a roster spot.

    The fullback position won't be used much, but Obafemi Ayanbadejo's versatility gives him the edge over James Hodgins for any playing time.

    Impact player
    Arrington. The rookie is a threat at the receiving end of a handoff and a pass. Rookie running backs adapt to the NFL easier than any other position. Without a proven pass-catching tight end, Arrington will become Warner's safety net on dump-off passes.

    Keep an eye on
    McCown. If the offensive line doesn't improve, Warner will be knocked around. Green won't hesitate to promote McCown, an experienced quarterback who can move his feet and escape trouble. McCown's ongoing development may be as important as Warner's possible resurgence.

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    Receivers projected to fuel Cards offense
    Odeen Domingo
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

    The top three wide receivers on the Cardinals' depth chart are the main and maybe only reason people are excited about the offense. Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Bryant Johnson are young, have great size and have good to great hands. But are they essentially the same type of player? That's not a bad thing, but in a three-receiver offense, you need your go-to guy (Boldin), possession receiver (Fitzgerald) and a deep threat. Johnson, who reportedly ran 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash entering the 2003 draft, has yet to show that he can fill that spot in the offense. The team may look to the other eight receivers in camp to find a consistent deep threat, including drafted rookie LeRon McCoy, who has wings for feet but mittens for hands. The Cardinals brought in Charles Lee, entering his sixth NFL season, to back up all three positions.

    The Cardinals' list of tight ends isn't a "who's who;" it's a "who's that?" Second-year veteran Eric Edwards has the most NFL experience, all five catches of it. But in coach Dennis Green's history, he never had an elite pass-catching tight end. The tight end in his offense is mainly used as a sixth offensive lineman. Green likes all four tight ends in camp. Bobby Blizzard, who has the best hands of the bunch, could be used as a pass catcher in two-tight end sets.

    Impact player
    Boldin. He missed the first six games of the 2004 season but finished within two catches of the team lead. Look for him to receive an extension no more than one day into camp. The Cardinals can't lose Boldin, the player the team wanted in David Boston.

    Keep an eye on
    Fitzgerald. He vowed to do better than his rookie campaign, which he viewed as disappointing even though he led the team in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. Fitzgerald worked late nights and after practices this off-season to become an elite receiver.

  4. #4
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    Cards offensive line must hold up
    Depth is lacking on key unit
    Odeen Domingo
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

    This is the unit that will decide the offense's fate. If the line crumbles, hello, below-.500 season.

    Only the starting right tackle has changed since the end of last season. The Cardinals dumped Anthony Clement seven weeks after signing eight-year veteran Oliver Ross, who started all 16 games with the Steelers last season.

    Center Alex Stepanovich showed last season that he was at least durable, starting every snap as a rookie. He will have to prove more than capable of being the leader of a unit that needs to jell fast.

    Leonard Davis, the team's 6-foot-6, 366-pound former first-round pick, still has to prove he can become a reliable left tackle. Coach Dennis Green moved him there from guard before the 2004 season.

    It seems left guard Reggie Wells was a nice find in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. At right guard, rookie Elton Brown will push three-year veteran Jeremy Bridges if Brown can avoid the hamstring problems he suffered in minicamp.

    The offensive line is as deep as a dry river. Gone are tackle L.J. Shelton and guard Cameron Spikes. Tackle Ian Allen has experience. Nick Leckey is back to back up Stepanovich. Guard Rolando Cantu (6-5, 361 pounds) and tackle Jim Newton (6-10, 338) are big but very raw.

    Impact player
    Davis. Stepanovich is the center and, by tradition, the leader of the offensive line, but Davis is the most imposing, most talkative and highest-paid lineman. If he plays with intensity as big as his paycheck, the rest of the line will follow.

    Keep an eye on
    Brown. At 6-4 and 339 pounds, he was the highest-rated guard coming into April's draft and lasted until the fourth round, partly because teams questioned his desire.

    His junior varsity basketball coach, Rodney Shields, swears Brown has a mean streak once he is challenged. The next challenge is to prove other teams wrong.

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    Cards defensive line built on speed
    Odeen Domingo
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

    The addition of former Seahawks end Chike Okeafor gives the Cardinals one of the fastest lines in the league.

    The current starting line, which could become the best the team has had in Arizona, is perfect for defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast's penetrating read-and-react system. Okeafor, end Bertrand Berry and tackle Darnell Dockett have a quick first step and excellent pass-rushing moves. Nose tackle Russell Davis' main objective is to control the middle and keep opposing linemen off linebackers.

    Having Okeafor, who had a career-high 8 1/2 sacks last season, at one end should keep teams from concentrating their blocking schemes solely on Berry.

    The unit's bench has experience, especially at defensive tackle. End Calvin Pace and tackle Wendell Bryant have yet to live up to their first-round expectations.

    The Cardinals will have to improve their rushing defense. They finished 27th in the league last season, and the starters average just 285 1/2 pounds. Of the teams that primarily use four linemen, only five are lighter than the Cardinals' line but none finished lower than the Cardinals in rushing defense last season.

    Impact player
    Berry. He is the Anquan Boldin of the defense. He's the best player on that side of the ball and the only other member of the Cardinals to earn a Pro Bowl spot in the past three seasons. Even though Berry's 26 sacks in the past two seasons rank second most in the league, he's still not viewed as an elite pass rusher. Another Pro Bowl season will change that.

    Keep an eye on
    Dockett. One look at Dockett and the words "breakout season" come to mind. Dockett, a second-year veteran, wants to make the Pro Bowl this season. He said to do that he must record at least eight sacks, more than double his total last season. He's worked tirelessly this off-season to accomplish that goal.

  6. #6
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    Linebacker depth a worry
    Veterans replaced by youth
    Odeen Domingo
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 28, 2005 12:00 AM

    The defensive line may be susceptible against the run, but it's also the linebackers' job to help plug the holes. The team made significant changes, but it's questionable whether the moves improved the rushing defense.

    Orlando Huff started 14 of 16 games played at middle linebacker with the Seahawks last season but recorded just 51 total tackles. Huff will start on the outside with the Cardinals.

    Gerald Hayes, a 2003 third-round draft pick, will start the season as the middle linebacker, where he has just one career start. But he did record a team-high nine tackles in that game last season.

    Strong-side linebacker Karlos Dansby has Leonard Davis-size potential. Dansby's quickness will always make him a pass-rushing threat, but he still must improve his coverage skills.

    James Darling also started last season on the bench before earning a starting role. He is a reliable backup at every position.

    Besides Darling, the backups don't have much experience. Three veteran linebackers who totaled 16 starts last season are now gone. Rookie Darryl Blackstock, who has Dansby-like length and speed, should see time on passing downs and when the team uses four-linebacker sets. Fellow rookie Lance Mitchell, a middle linebacker, may have lost a step after a major knee injury his junior season at Oklahoma, but makes up for it with pure skill. Little-used backup Leon Joe may have thrown himself off the team after being arrested on a gun charge last month.

    Impact player
    Dansby. Like defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, Dansby has the tools to become one of the best at his position soon. He recorded 68 tackles as a rookie last season, starting 12 of 15 games played. Look for his tackles to reach 90 or more if he stays healthy for the 16-game season. His five sacks a year ago could double since defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will get creative in utilizing Dansby's speed on blitzes.

    Keep an eye on
    Hayes. This is how much the Cardinals expect Hayes to step up as a starter this season: They moved one guy from his natural position (Huff, to the weak side) and moved last season's leading tackler out of the starting lineup (Darling) to make room for Hayes in the middle. The team tried making Hayes a starter on the outside at this time last year, but it didn't work out. His natural position is in the middle, where his range is key.

  7. #7
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    Defensive backfield may rely on rookies
    Odeen Domingo
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 29, 2005 12:00 AM

    A consistent pass rush will help a secondary thin with talent. Renaldo Hill and the failed free-agent additions of Duane Starks and Dexter Jackson are gone.

    The Cardinals addressed their needs by drafting cornerbacks Antrel Rolle and Eric Green within their first three picks. Rolle basically became a starter once NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced his name on draft day in April; Green will contend with Ifeanyi Ohalete for the nickel back spot.

    The team brought in free safety Robert Griffith, who played for coach Dennis Green in Minnesota, mostly for leadership.

    The holdovers are Adrian Wilson at strong safety and David Macklin at right cornerback. Wilson is on the verge of a Pro Bowl season; the 5-foot-10 Macklin is adequate but unspectacular.

    The team's six other cornerbacks don't generate much excitement. Backup safety Quentin Harris started four games last season. Unless rookie free agent Ernest Shazor, a safety, is fully recovered from a hamstring injury, he might not be in the team's plans. Fellow undrafted rookie Aaron Francisco from Brigham Young has done well in minicamps.

    Impact player
    Wilson. This is the year he expects to become a household name. He's recognized his potential, now he has to make others recognize him. The team already thinks highly of Wilson, signing him to a five-year contract extension last season.

    Keep an eye on
    Rolle. He's not used to the Cardinals' coverage scheme but he picks things up like a vacuum.

    Even though Macklin is 2 inches shorter than Rolle, teams will pick on the rookie. So he'll have plenty of chances to show what he can do.

  8. #8
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    Re: Detailed reports on the Cardinals from AZCentral.com

    I don't see how you can not like what the Cardinals are doing of late.

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