No Position Safe In Cardinals Camp
The Arizona Cardinals are entering the 2014 season with high expectations.
Last season, the Cards surprised the league by rounding up 10 wins. An effort that was impressive, but just short of a playoff bid. Blame the brutal NFC West division for that.
After attending another training camp practice Tuesday afternoon, it is evident the Cards are still hungry.
Well, what team isn’t at this point in the season? Football is back, and these 90 men are fighting for another day on the roster. No position is solidified.
Kickers, often overlooked by many, may up their value over the next few seasons. With the NFL experimenting with the placement of the extra point, kickers will be called upon to perform in even more clutch situations.
The Cardinals definitely have a battle going on at the kicker position. Veteran Jay Feely hasn’t necessarily won the coaching staff over. Enter rookie Chandler Catanzaro to the competition.
Just a few days ago, the Clemson rookie missed about five straight in a feeble kicking display for the fans and special teams staff. His struggles continued Tuesday, missing more than a few should-be gimmes. His strong leg for kickoffs has kept him in consideration.
Cardinal coaches know what to expect with Feely. Veteran experience comes with father time consequently. Choosing Chandler would make for a young, coachable, strong kicker. Keep your eyes on that position battle the rest of camp. One of the two may not remain.
One player with a lot to prove still is Jonathan Cooper. Last year’s 7th round pick has yet to even offer a sample size for consideration.
Kind of hard to make a name for yourself when you miss all of the season due to a broken leg. Add on a nagging leg injury in camp, and this first rounder is beginning to smell like a draft bust. Even Coach Arians has noticeably expressed his frustration on the subject.
Not something Cardinals fans want to hear. Have we forgotten about the great Levi Brown pick? That pick understandably hurt more knowing Adrian Peterson was passed up.
Ok, enough with the flashbacks.
Whether Cooper is on the line or not, Palmer will need some protection.
If Palmer gets that protection, expect a breakout year from Michael Floyd.
Floyd is expected to be one of those receivers catching plenty of balls from Palmer this year. Some may deem it a cliché ‘make or break’ season for Floyd.
Floyd has all the tools to make this season the breakout one. A year into the offensive game plan, Floyd can now use his expertise and experience to his advantage. With Larry Fitzgerald drawing the premiere defender from each weekly opponent, Floyd should shine.
To set up the pass game, Andre Ellington will need to mold into an effective back. Ellington had a successful season last year; something Cardinal backs of the recent past know nothing about.
Arizona has their fingers crossed with Ellington. With past starters like Hightower, Wells, and Mendenhall, how can they not improve?
Andre will either be the primary reason the team’s success or failure on the offensive side this year.
The defense was pretty consistent Tuesday afternoon as well. Both the first and second squads showed snippets of lockdown defense on Cardinal receivers.
As of now, I cannot confidently assess the Cardinals defense until a few preseason games are squared away. Sure isn’t simple to judge the team without Tyrann Mathieu being plugged in yet.
All in all, the team looks fresh and relatively healthy. The Cardinals play their first preseason game Saturday in Glendale versus the Houston Texans. This first matchup with real contact should give Cardinals fans a better view of the team’s progression.