Topics include Murray's play, Gardeck use and the 17-game season Darren Urban
The Cardinals certainly showed some good things in manhandling the Cowboys Monday night, but now comes the Seahawks -- a little different of a situation. It's also a short week, but still time for the mailbag. As always, send in a question for a future mailbag by going here.
From Von D via azcardinals.com:
"Heya Darren. I want to talk about the legend of Kyler Murray. This (past) week has been the big return to Texas, and thus you guys are putting out all of these mythos videos of Kyler, understandably. But it does irk me a bit when the legend overshadows the play. Kyler is one of the most talented players I think we've ever seen. But talent is akin to potential, not reality. Thus far in his professional NFL QB career, Kyler has not been dominant yet. He hasn't had a Russ Wilson six-TD game. He still does dumb stuff like throwing the ball up for grabs, falling on his backfoot as a defender gets into his face. I'm not badgering the kid. He is very very good. But isn't there a risk to constantly telling Kyler how amazing he is, when he hasn't played amazing yet?"
Except with this stuff, none of it is saying he is playing legendary right now. My story was all about his high school career, and he was a legend on that level. And he won a Heisman. I mean, if we did a piece saying he was the best QB in the NFL, that indeed would be hyperbole and I don't have any plan to do that. But when he was going back to where he starred, it was a good story. Murray knows his shortcomings, what he has to work on. For whatever mistakes he made Monday night, he made the plays needed to win, and in big spots. He acknowledged it should've been better.
From Dhruvraj Parmar via azcardinals.com:
"Hi again Darren, great to read your mailbag every week. Looking at the Cowboys game our defense balled out. While Seattle is a different beast I take confidence in believing our defense can repeat their performance. Someone mentioned on MNF that it's interesting to see how Arizona would do after facing adversity in a game. All championship-caliber teams that I have seen (Chiefs, Pats few years back) have the potential to play catch up and win after giving up early leads. Do you think Arizona has the potential to do the same? (Also we really enjoy Lisa's interviews with the players, so wanted to thank her for that)."
They did do it in the opener against the 49ers, so yes, I think it's in them. I think a lot has to do with the growth in your quarterback and the confidence the rest of the team has in him. Murray wasn't able to get it done in a couple of the opportunities he had as a rookie, but I do think in time, he has the potential to be that guy.
From Tom Cowley via azcardinals.com:
"Hey Darren. Prior to Dallas game, what do you think is the problem with Drake's lack of yardage, rushing and receiving? Don't see the expected amount out of him during this five-game stretch. Is the OL not blocking well on the run, or is it something else?"
I just think that sometimes, Kenyan Drake -- who many, including myself, thought was going to have a huge season -- tries to build that on a single carry. Kliff Kingsbury said something similar when he said Kenyan was trying to hit a home run every time he touches the ball. I don't think it's much else, and I expect it to steadily get better as we go. I think we saw that Monday night. That was a more focused Drake in terms of hitting the hole hard, and it showed.
From Linda Powell via azcardinals.com:
"What does the 8 on the Cardinals jersey stand for?"
It's a patch remembering Hall of Famer Larry Wilson, who passed away earlier this season. His jersey number was 8.
From Tom Cox via azcardinals.com:
"Is Coach Kingsbury contemplating reversing roles between Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds? Seems Chase has been more effective this year."
No, I don't expect anything flipping. Especially after Drake's game Monday.
From Cameron Todd via azcardinals.com:
"Hey Darren. This whole 'Kyler being strangely inaccurate' is becoming a trend. We all know he's capable of being accurate. After every single outing he and Kliff acknowledge he's not passing up to his standards. So what the heck is going on with him? My theory is its a mechanical issue because his bad passes consistently sail high. Can Kurt or Carson swing by sometime and work him out? I know Kliff is supposed to be a QB whisperer, but Kyler is still sailing going on seven weeks."
I don't see them bringing in outside help. Kliff and this coaching staff were fine when Murray didn't seem to have this issue last year. I agree it's perplexing that he's been so up and down, but I would say that the people around him all the time -- and Murray himself -- are the best ones to get him out of it.
From Cy Fredrick via azcardinals.com:
"In light of Chandler Jones going to the IR, I have a two part question. What is Cap Capi doing these days, and why hasn't Steve Keim signed him yet? ¯(ツ)/¯"
I see what you did there.
From Jessup Waldrop via azcardinals.com:
"Dennis Gardeck only got 16 snaps at LB against the Cowboys. So on behalf of every Cardinals fan from here to the moon: WHAAAAAAT?????? Gardeck is no Von Miller, but in his four pass-rush attempts, he almost has five sacks. Isaiah Simmons hardly ever playing is one thing, but benching the guy who has an uncanny ability to get to the QB over his very few attempts is mind boggling. Why?"
First of all, Gardeck is basically playing on passing downs, so he has a lot more than four pass rush attempts. And I'm not sure on the math, getting five sacks in four chances. Gardeck has done a nice job. But I gotta say -- the Cardinals' defense played really well against the Cowboys, gave up just 10 points, and yet it's what they didn't do?
From Haley Cleo via azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren! Can you talk about the team~media arrangement regarding player-required weekly interviews? I've never understood it. Marshawn Lynch infamously was always like 'I'm only here so I don't get fined' which implies there is a requirement that he faces the media every so often. Right? Every Wednesday we see Kyler give an interview. We often see Hopkins and Drake and Chase. Occasionally see Larry. Haven't seen Jalen Thompson yet. Haven't seen Sweezy ever. Never, ever saw a Levi Brown interview in his seven years here.So who is required and who is not?"
All players are required to be available to the media after games and during the week. One or two star players can be held to once a week plus the games. Obviously, they aren't always held to that -- reporters understand to a point it isn't always feasible. But players aren't supposed to be able to just avoid it. There can be fines if they do so, but it usually doesn't come to that. In this COVID world, things are a lot different. I talked to Sweezy a ton last season, although he wasn't necessarily doing press conferences. Both Sweezy and Jalen talked in camp. But we are kind of at the mercy of the media relations staff, who are the ones getting the players to do the Zoom calls. It's different when the locker room is open. (And I talked to Levi a bunch over his career.)
From James Turek via azcardinals.com:
"How is Robert Alford doing? Does he travel with the team? And I know this is early, but any chance we re-sign him? Going on two years ago now, but he did look like the best CB in camp. I went to a couple practices and he was tremendous. I was so excited to see him play."
First of all, Alford has another year left on his contract, so if he wasn't around next year, it would be because the Cardinals released him. He's not traveling, but he's been around and rehabbing.
From ASU Sun Devils via azcardinals.com:
"I don't use my real name due to anonymity, so I can trash talk and not get punched in the nose, the reason the internet was invented. And anyways I speak for all Sun Devils. We are legion.What were your thoughts on the soon-to-be 17-game season. It starts in 2021. I'm somewhat of a purist, therefore I hate it. It essentially stops the clock on current records, and resets it. Sack and catch records mean nothing when you have an extra game per season. And also it cuts into your vacation time. If the season runs an extra week, that means Darren has to work one extra week. Did the CBA consult with you on this? Did you get compensated for your toils?"
I appreciate you looking out. Still would prefer a name, but that's a me problem, I suppose. Good to know you're paying attention to see that, basically, I'm working whether they play that week or not -- it's not like I go into hibernation after the Cardinals' season ends. But no, I don't love the extra game, partly for the reasons you gave and partly because it's so hard for a team to get through a season as it is, health-wise.
From Neil Bowie via azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren, Kliff goes on about cleaning up the penalties, but isn't that his job? Doesn't look like he's made any progress. Thoughts?"
I would have to look at the penalties specifically. Obviously, they need to clean them up further. Other than the one drive that got waylaid by the Fitz offensive pass interference, they did a much better job Monday night avoiding penalties that really set them back. They only had four penalties for 25 yards until about 6 minutes were left, even though they got a three more (all by backups). I do think it was better.
From Jason Beckum via azcardinals.com:
"Will Cardinal fans see Dennis Gardeck on Dancing With The Stars? He showed some promise after his Jets celebrations. Also, with the signing on Prince Amukamara and TJ Ward, what are the Cardinals plans for them? They have shown they can play or are we just seeing if our secondary can hold up?"
That's a good question. I think in both cases, it's insurance. If the Cardinals stay healthy at cornerback and safety, I don't see a change coming. But we will see.
from Zero Leeroy via azcardinals.com:
"This 'take it slow' thing with Simmons is so frustrating. Other than injured guys and Green Bay backup QB Jordan Love, Simmons is the single least used first-round rookie. And almost a mockery, a practice squad LB name Isaiah is likely in line to see more reps than our No. 8 overall LB Isaiah. That brings up Reddick. It feels like a very big problem that he failed at ILB for three years but has seemingly picked up OLB like a fish to water. That screams 'a coach didn't know how to use him.' Otherwise he would've been slotted as an OLB Day one, contributing, being a good player. WHAT IS THE PLAN? Simmons hardly playing is not a plan."
Actually, that's incorrect. If a player hardly playing is not a plan, then how come it has happened with so many players? I can name a ton of NFL guys who have done it. Now, it's not what you want, and I get that. The Reddick thing has scared many fans. I understand it. But Reddick at ILB was his deal across three coaching staffs, so it's not like it was one group. We can keep going around and around on this in every mailbag, because someone wants to complain about it weekly. But the defense just gave up 10 points, Hicks and Campbell are playing well, and I don't see anything changing soon.
From Robert Malicki via azcardinals.com:
"Hi, Darren. I know all scoring plays are reviewed but please explain something to me? It seems to me on scoring plays that aim toward the goal line pylon, game highlights show the player crossing into the end zone but holding the ball where it crosses over the sideline marker but not the goal line? Either the replay tricks my eye into thinking the ball has not crossed into the end zone or the rule states a player in possession of the ball only needs to cross the goal line? What gives?"
I'll be honest, I don't know exactly what you are asking. The ball has to break the plane of the goal line; once it does, it's a touchdown, regardless of the rest of the play. The pylons on the side are vertical extensions of the goal line, which is why you see players reach out to make sure the ball is inside of the pylon even if the rest of them is headed out of bounds.