In preparation for Saturday night's very important preseason game between the San Diego Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals, two teams that have been tied to each other a lot this offseason, I decided to reach out to Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds to get some answers.
How is Bruce Arians doing in his first training camp and preseason as a Head Coach?
JR: Fans adore him. He is up front with the media and has had some interesting ideas. He uses practice time to the max. He doesn't have his team stretch together -- they are expected to do it on their own. During OTAs and mini-camps, he conducted two simultaneous practices on different fields, giving everyone, even the guys buried on the depth chart, a chance to get lots of reps. Fans see him as the anti-Whisenhunt, but truthfully they are very similar.
Are Cardinals fans excited to have Carson Palmer? Would the same be true if they had a decent QB on the roster last season?
JR: Yes they are excited, but mostly it is because the large degree of talent upgrade. That isn't because Palmer is elite, but rather because of the joke that was the QB position for Arizona in 2012. They like that he can push the ball down the field and put balls in places receivers can actually catch them. The offense looks so much more effective with Palmer at the helm.
Do you think the team did the right thing in firing Ken Whisenhunt, and do you think he could succeed as Offensive Coordinator of the Chargers this season?
JR: Well, in a results based business like football, two 5-11 seasons in three years, three seasons with losing streaks of at least six games and the inability to acquire or develop a quarterback made it necessary. It looked like he was beginning to lose the locker room a bit, too. So the firing was a must. Can he succeed as OC? Absolutely, but it will take Philip Rivers picking up the offense and making quick reads.
Give me your quick thoughts on Antoine Cason and Tyrann Matheiu? Do you think either will start this season?
JR: Well, as of this week, Mathieu moved up the depth chart and bumped Cason down. Mathieu is now the team's nickelback. Cason was that previously, coming in and taking the outside, pushing Jerraud Powers to the slot. Now it is Mathieu that comes in as the fifth DB. Cason appears to be fading. Mathieu could end up starting, but it would come as a result of injury.
Is Michael Floyd going to have a breakout season this year?
JR: That's what everyone thinks. The pieces are in place. He has a year under his belt. He has had a great offseason. He has an offense that suits his skills. He has a quarterback that can get him the ball. The only thing that will hold him back is himself.
How will the Cardinals rush the passer in 2013?
JR: That is the big defensive question. The addition of John Abraham should take care of that, at least in some spots, much like Dwight Freeney is doing for you all. After Abraham, we don't know. We haven't seen any pressure yet.
Thank you, Jess, for answering these questions. I will always remember you as the person that informed me that Tom Tupa started 13 games at quarterback for the Cardinals.
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