NFL Team Report - Arizona Cardinals - INSIDE SLANT
The new Cardinals regime of coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim have different evaluations of talent than the men they replaced. Nowhere is that more apparent than offensive guards.
In 2011 and 2012, the Cardinals acquired guards Daryn Colledge and Adam Snyder via free agency. They paid Colledge a $3.5 signing bonus and another $3.5 million last year when they converted salary to signing bonus.
Snyder signed a year ago, receiving a $5 million signing bonus. That surprised many people because Snyder was regarded as little more than average.
Yet, the Cardinals, under former general manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt, targeted Snyder as a priority in free agency. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm had a considerable say in that decision.
The new regime, however, regarded Snyder as a weak link in the offensive line. No one ever said that, but their actions spoke volumes. The Cardinals used their seventh overall pick on a guard, Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina. They released Snyder less than a week later, even though the salary-cap ramifications are significant.
Snyder is designated as a post-June 1 cut, which allows the Cardinals to spread the cap acceleration over two years, $1 million this year and $3 million next year. The Cardinals chose not to keep Snyder, even though he would have cost the same to keep ($4 million cap) as it was to cut.
With Cooper in the starting lineup - it's uncertain which side he will play - the Cardinals believe they are going to have a "helluva" offensive line. That's the estimation of Arians.
Levi Brown is back at left tackle after missing all of last year with a torn triceps. Backup Nate Potter improved after becoming the starter the last six weeks of 2012.
Bobby Massie, a rookie last year, made great strides in the second half of the season at right tackle. Colledge was probably the team's best offensive lineman a year ago, and center Lyle Sendlein is returning from a knee injury that caused him to miss the final five games.
The depth is better, and the unit will receive more coaching. That's not a knock against Grimm, who coached the line by himself for six seasons.
Arians hired two coaches to work with the offensive line: Harold Goodwin, who also serves as offensive coordinator, and Larry Zierlein, who assists Goodwin with the offensive line.
In a recent minicamp, players were divided into two groups and received more individual instruction than they did under the previous regime.
NFL Team Report - Arizona Cardinals - NOTES, QUOTES
--The Cardinals now have 88 players on their roster, including 46 who are new. That's a startling number, even when you consider that 25 are rookies. That means 21 veterans are new to the team. The team cut or did not re-sign six players who started at least 10 games a year ago. They accounted for 21 percent of the games started. The roster turnover is massive. The players no longer in Arizona accounted for 39 percent of the snaps taken a year ago, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
--The trade of fullback Anthony Sherman to Kansas City for cornerback Javier Arenas is not a surprise. Neither player was likely to make his former team's roster. Arians doesn't favor traditional fullbacks, preferring to use tight ends in that role. "I'm not a fullback guy. I never have been," he said at the league meeting in March.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "D.C. stands for Daunte Culpepper. Back in the day when I was a quarterback, I got a little nickname from one of my receiver coaches. I guess I was the big, tall black Daunte Culpepper look-a-like. That's kind of how it worked out." -- Tight end D.C. Jefferson, the team's seventh-round pick. His given name is Lequan.
NFL Team Report - Arizona Cardinals - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
A closer look at the Bucs' picks:
Round 2/43 - Johnthan Banks, CB, 6-2, 185, Mississippi State
Banks is a tall, physical cover corner in the Richard Sherman mode that fits well in the Bucs' defensive scheme. He had 16 career interceptions for the Bulldogs, tying a school record and was the Jim Thorpe Award winner in 2012. Will learn a lot playing alongside Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson.
Round 3/73 - Mike Glennon, QB, 6-6, 220, North Carolina State
Glennon is a big-armed cornerback who fits nicely into the Bucs system. Sat behind Russell Wilson at North Carolina State for three seasons but ranks third in school history with 7,411 passing yards. Glennon will give the Bucs an insurance policy if starter Josh Freeman falters or is injured in 2013. Recruited by Greg Schiano to Rutgers five years ago.
Round 4/100 - Akeem Spence, DT, 6-1, 307, Illinois
Spence is an exceptionally strong player with a quick first step. Started all 38 games he played for the Illini. Bench pressed 225 pounds 37 times at the NFL combine. Had 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in three seasons. Will help replace Roy Miller at nose tackle after he signed with the Jaguars as a free agent.
Round 4/126 - William Gholston, DE, 6-7, 278, Michigan State
Gholston was among the best players on the No. 1 defense in the Big 10 the past two seasons. While he only produced 10 sacks in three seasons, he has an astounding 30 tackles for losses and is capable of playing either defensive end position. Had 10 passes defensed in 2012. Will be in the rotation as a third-down pass rusher.
Round 5/147 - Steven Means, DE, 6-4, 250, Buffalo
Means is a versatile player who endured two head coaches and three coordinators at Buffalo. He can play defensive end in a 4-3 or linebacker in a 3-4 package. As a senior, he had 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. Means was not invited to the NFL combine but drew scouts' attention for his athletic ability. Projects as an outside pass rusher and can block kicks on special teams.
Round 6/189 - Mike James, RB, 5-11, 222, Miami
James is a versatile runner who will back up Doug Martin after the team traded LeGarrette Blount to the Patriots Saturday. James rushed for 621 yards and six touchdowns and had 344 receiving yards and three touchdowns with 30 catches. Also played special teams and fullback.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (5)
--S Ronde Barber will be 38 in April and his move to safety a year ago was largely successful and Barber led the team with four interceptions. But Barber hasn't decided if he wants to continue playing.
--TE Dallas Clark proved he could stay injury free but doesn't get the separation he once did. The Bucs have an interest but believe Clark will try to reunite with Peyton Manning in Denver.
--CB Brandon McDonald was pressed into service with the suspensions of Eric Wright and Aqib Talib but eventually lost playing time to younger players. No interest in re-signing.
--WR Roscoe Parrish came over from the Bills and did a decent, if unspectacular job, returning kicks. No interest in re-signing.
--WR Sammie Stroughter is a former seventh-round pick who has been injury prone. Bucs will try to upgrade, but with no slot receiver, he may receive some interest.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
--LB Jacob Cutrera: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.
--LS Andrew Economos: UFA; terms unknown.
--DT Corvey Irvin: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--QB Dan Orlovsky: FA had been released by Buccaneers; $905,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB/$365,000 guaranteed.
--DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim: RFA tendered at 1.323M with third-round pick as compensation); terms unknown.
--LB Jonathan Casillas: UFA Saints; $3M/1 yr.
--TE Tom Crabtree: Not tendered as RFA by Packers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--RB Jeff Demps (trade Patriots).
--S Dashon Goldson: UFA 49ers; $41.25M/5 yrs, $22M guaranteed.
--P Chas Henry: FA; terms unknown.
--K Nate Kaeding: UFA Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Derek Landri: UFA Eagles; $2.75M/2 yrs, $1.25M guaranteed.
--RB Brian Leonard: UFA Bengals; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--TE Zach Miller: FA; terms unknown.
--WR Kevin Ogletree: UFA Cowboys; terms unknown.
--CB Darrelle Revis (trade Jets).
--DE George Selvie: Not tendered as RFA by Jaguars; terms unknown).
--WR Steve Smith: UFA Rams; $715,000/1 yr.
--WR Arrelious Benn (traded).
--DE Michael Bennett: UFA Seahawks; $4.8M/1 yr.
--CB E.J. Biggers: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--LB Quincy Black (released/failed physical).
--RB LeGarrette Blount: Potential RFA; $1.75M/1 yr, $350,000 reporting bonus; traded Patriots.
--DT Roy Miller: UFA Jaguars; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--T Jeremy Trueblood: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--RB Danny Ware (released).