Azcentral’s Kent Somers and Bob McManaman catch up during second week of OTAs at the Cardinals Training Facility.
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Coaches and players talk about the importance of head coach Bruce Arians’ family fundraiser at Top Golf in Gilbert. (Michael Chow/azcentral sports)
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How has free-agent QB Blaine Gabbert adjusted so far to the Arizona Cardinals? (Michael Chow/azcentral sports)
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the NBA MVP, the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers and the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive backs.
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azcentral sports insiders Kent Somers and Bob McManaman react to the big news from the first day of Cardinals OTAs. Video: Rob Schumacher
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The NFLPA has released its 2017 Rising 50 list of players poised to break out and rank among next season’s top-sellers in officially licensed merchandise and the Cardinals running back is No. 1.
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss the latest on Arizona Cardinals’ Carson Palmer and the NBA playoffs.
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Shot Clock: Colin Kaepernick is better than Blaine Gabbert, right? So why did the Cardinals not sign him? Also, Zack Greinke has his Randy Johnson moment … what does it mean for Diamondbacks?
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With camp starting tomorrow, players reported today and reporter Kent Somers lays out the future and what the team hopes for it.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers gives some insight into the releasing of Daryl Washington and why it was probably best for both team and player.
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Cardinals draft picks had some time to sit down and answer some questions about their experiences and expectations of the future on Thursday.
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azcentral’s Kent Somers and Dan Bickley talk about the Cardinals decision to release linebacker Daryl Washington.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Bob McManaman weigh in on the Cardinals’ signing of Blaine Gabbert.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about mini-camp, his excitement about undrafted rookies, LB Daryl Washington and QB Blaine Gabbert at Steak 44 on Wednesday. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about Arians’ annual fundraiser at Steak 44 on Wednesday. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Daryl Washington possibly returning to the Cardinals and how James Harden can’t beat the Spurs by himself.
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The Arizona Cardinals announced Thursday that former St. Louis Cardinals QB Jim Hart would be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this season.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss what to expect from the Cardinals’ 2017 NFL draft class.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley assess the Arizona Cardinals’ selection of Haason Reddick in Round 1 of the NFL draft and discuss the needs the team still has to address.
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Check out how Cardinals fans were feeling during the team’s 2017 NFL draft party.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers reacts to the introductory press conference for Haason Reddick and what the Cardinals might do next.
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With plenty of defense options on the table and all the quarterbacks gone, the Cardinals elected to go linebacker and Kent and Bob break down the reasons why.
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The Cardinals have made 18 picks in the first round of the NFL draft since 2000. Take a look at the standouts.
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With the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft, can the Cardinals afford to repeat their strategy with their last two first-round picks?
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers have the latest on the Cardinals draft and the reinstatement of Daryl Washington.
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The Cardinals are hosting draft parties Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Great Lawn outside of University of Phoenix Stadium.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Jay Dieffenbach discuss possible Cardinals strategy in the NFL draft, views on picking a quarterback and more.
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Bob McManaman ranks the top special teams players in the upcoming draft.
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Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians have found some of their best players in the third round.
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Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald and Chandler Jones discuss the importance of giving back and some bets amongst Cardinals players before the Larry Fitzgerald Celebrity Softball Game on Saturday at Salt River Fields. Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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Cardinals GM Steve Keim has a tough task when it comes to finding quality talent and character to add to the team through the draft.
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azcentral sports Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Fostee Rucker. || Video by Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Cardinals defensive tackle Frostee Rucker discusses learning from last year’s expectations and adding Karlos Dansby and other veterans. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Breaking down the top three games of the Cardinals’ 2017 season.
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Bob McManaman discuss the Cardinals’ potential use (or overuse?) of running back David Johnson.
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Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is ready for the 2017 NFL schedule to be announced.
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Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim talk about the upcoming NFL draft. || David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Carmelo, a dancer, and the Cards’ quiet, classy young superstar.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald discuss Fitzgerald’s charity softball tournament on Saturday.
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The Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald joined azcentral sports’ Kent Somers to discuss the team and the upcoming season.
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Bruce Arianas likes full-time officials, centralized replay and says there’s 1 QB in upcoming draft who’s plug-and-play. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Coaches of the National Football Conference take questions from the media in Phoenix on March 29, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers and other reporters talk with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman of azcentral sports talks to AFC coaches at the annual NFL owners meeting at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owner’s meetings: Coaches of AFC teams meet the media at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Kent and Bob talk new NFL rules and wide out depth
Arians Family Foundation Fundraiser at Top Golf
Report card on Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert
Watch out for Dodgers; Cards CBs apply for job
What Deone Bucannon’s injury means for Cardinals
David Johnson No. 1 on NFL Players Association list
No throws for Cards QB, cheap shot in NBA?
Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?
Kent Somers talks Cardinals rookies
Kent Somers talks Daryl Washington departure
Cardinals rookies take to the microphone
Cardinals release linebacker Daryl Washington: Somers and Bickley discuss
Shot Clock: Gabbert a terrible fit for Cards
Somers sits down with Arians on Cardinals’ offseason
Bruce Arians talks about his annual fundraisers
Daryl Washington-Cardinals meeting: What happened?
Jim Hart to be inducted into Cardinals Ring of Honor
Shot Clock: Cards picks make instant impact?
Shot Clock: Tap brakes on Haason Reddick pick?
Sights and sounds from Cardinals draft party
Somers talks Reddick and possible 2nd and 3rd round picks
Kent Somers and Bob McManaman talk Cardinals draft of Haason Reddick
Cardinals’ top first round NFL draft picks since 2000
Can Cardinals afford to be patient with another first-round pick?
Cards face choices with draft, Daryl Washington
What to know about the Cardinals’ draft party
Shot Clock: Cardinals trade up for QB?
Top 5 special teams players of 2017 NFL draft
Keim, Arians striking gold in draft’s third round
Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones talk about Celebrity Softball Game
Cardinals looking for ‘football character’ in NFL draft
Kent Somers talks with Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker
Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker on expectations, adding Karlos Dansby
Top 3 games in Cardinals schedule
Cards playing dangerous game with RB Johnson?
Bruce Arians wants to know date of London game
Keim on Cardinals’ NFL draft prep
Shot Clock: New face of Cardinals franchise?
Larry Fitzgerald holding 7th annual charity softball tournament
Larry Fitzgerald 1-on-1 with Kent Somers
NFL meetings in Phoenix: On Bruce Arians, new rules, the draft
NFC coaches take questions at NFL owners meeting
Kent Somers talks with Bruce Arians at NFC coaches breakfast
Bob McManaman talks to AFC coaches
At the NFL owner’s meetings: AFC head coaches meet the media
“Opposite Patrick Peterson.”
It’s a phrase Cardinals fans have heard for the past two years and until the team actually finds a reliable cornerback it can trust to play – say it together now – opposite Patrick Peterson, it’s going to remain a familiar refrain.
Brandon Williams and Justin Bethel, for starters, would like you to refrain from that refrain. Privately, they will tell you that they are the best man for the job and that between the two of them, one will ultimately win the No. 2 starting cornerback spot by the time the 2017 season begins.
And yet there are no guarantees. Neither one of them could hold it down a year ago. Williams, then a rookie, got the first shot but lost it after just two games to veteran Marcus Cooper. Bethel was still dealing with lingering issues from a foot injury, was called a “failure in progress” by coach Bruce Arians, and at the tail end of the season eventually found a role as a “slot” corner.
Since Cooper left the team upon signing a free-agent contract with the Bears after parlaying his productive efforts across from Peterson, Arians has said “Brandon is ready” and “Justin is going to be much, much better.”
In the same breath, of course, Arians also said “the draft is loaded with corners.”
It was, but the Cardinals didn’t draft one until the sixth round, trading both of their seventh-round selections to the Raiders to move up and select Rudy Ford from Auburn. Ford has intriguing potential, but it’s difficult to imagine him challenging for a starting spot in his first season.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals passed on a slew of capable corners in the first three rounds. A handful of NFL-ready prospects were available early, including Alabama’s Marlon Humphries, who went 16th overall to Baltimore, and USC’s Adoree’ Jackson, who went 18th to Tennessee. They could have had one of these highly ranked corners, too – Florida’s Quincy Wilson (46th to the Colts), his former Gators teammate Teez Tabor (53rd to the Lions) or Connecticut’s Obi Melifonwu (56th to the Raiders).
“I wasn’t sure what they were going to do, but at the end of the day, for me it doesn’t really matter,” Bethel told the team’s website recently. “If they brought in somebody, that’s good because we’ve got another young guy that we can build up over time that’s going to help the team. And if not, I’m still going to do what I’ve got to do on the field and work my ass off to try and get the position I want.”
Williams told azcentral sports that he’s ready for the challenge and that he likes his chances after digesting his first full NFL season. He was a running back until his final year in college at Texas A&M and it’s taken time to learn all the nuances of playing cornerback.
“It’s year two, man,” Williams said. “I’m more confident in what I need to do and I’m not going into a situation blind. I know what to expect out of OTAs. I know what to expect out of training camp. I know what to expect out of myself. That’s basically it.”
It’s now, Williams said, when the Cardinals are about to “get the player they drafted.” Arizona selected him a year ago in the third round, where they routinely have found success under the current regime. They saw enough of the raw, natural talent to believe he could develop into a top-tier corner at some point. Williams dazzled so well in training camp as a rookie, though, that they handed him the keys to the job opposite Peterson.
Like Bethel the season before, however, opposing teams kept picking on that side of the field. Quarterbacks rarely throw in Peterson’s direction and when they do, Peterson usually makes them pay for it.
But with the window of opportunity supposedly closing on this current Cardinals roster, can the organization risk not having a dependable and at least semi-shutdown second cornerback in place in case Bethel or Williams can’t cut it?
ARIANS: Receivers group is his best ever
“Brandon Williams feels ready,” Williams said, adding he paid no attention to the draft and he isn’t worried about the competition from Bethel. “My concern is what I did, how I prepare myself and how I put myself into position to win. All that other stuff, man, it doesn’t concern me.
“I’m only concerned with myself. I can’t control what the other man does. I’m not worried about the competition. I wasn’t concerned about the draft, either. I’m focused on Brandon Williams.”
Of the nine cornerbacks presently on the roster other than Peterson, the one with the most NFL experience is Jumal Rolle, who was signed to a one-year deal as a free agent this offseason. He’s appeared in 19 games – 18 of them with the Texans – and missed all of last season because of an Achilles injury.
Rolle might not be the last veteran the club brings in to compete for the job. If for any reason the Cardinals feel they still need to address the position, be it due to injury or inconsistency, they might not hesitate to reach out to any number of notable unsigned free agents such as Brandon Flowers, Sam Shields, Alterraun Verner or Darrelle Revis.
So even if the No. 2 corner is here, it doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t be replaced.
Williams, for one, doesn’t think that’s necessary.
“I’m ready to show everyone what I can do,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
Reach McManaman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.