While the Arizona Cardinals are set at one cornerback spot, question marks on the opposite side could derail the season
The Arizona Cardinals were hoping for alot. They had promoted Brandon Williams, a rookie, to start at one of the NFL’s hardest positions to play. A 3rd-round pick with exactly one year of experience at playing cornerback.
Williams was tested extensively throughout the night against the Oakland Raiders. Pretty much beaten like a drum consistently although he did manage to recover a fumble. Truth is, the Cardinals may be back to square one in their search for someone to start opposite Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.
Granted, it is only preseason and it was the rookie’s first NFL appearance. He may bounce back in a big way next week and get back on track to start the season opener. But I wouldn’t bet money on that Cards’ fans.
In what may be the most important season in the club’s history the front office needs to do better. Better than a 3rd-round rookie who, as early as 2014, was playing running back. No matter how good, according to reports, he’s been performing in training camp.
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It’s not like this dilemma just surfaced for Arizona. The since-departed Jerraud Powers appeared to hit a wall last season. His replacement, Justin Bethel, made some plays but then melted down during the playoffs.
The first wave of free agency came and went but the Cardinals stayed quiet. Names like Josh Norman, Janoris Jenkins, Sean Smith, Prince Amukamara and Pacman Jones were available.
The team didn’t have alot of salary cap space. But there are ways to circumvent the cap in the NFL. Sometimes it means mortgaging a bit of the future. But for an organization that’s never won a Super Bowl is that such a big price to pay?
The Cards were well aware of the hole they had in their secondary. Veteran Leon Hall was brought in for a visit. Chris Culliver was scheduled to visit although there’s no word on whether that happened or not. The fact is they were looking.
Arizona did end up signing some experience. Michael Jenkins was signed in July. Just over a week ago Alan Ball was inked to one-year deal.
Currently both Jenkins and Bethel are banged up. Bethel is dealing with a lingering foot problem and Jenkins is recovering from a broken hand, but both should return soon. Ball saw action against Oakland but failed to leave an impression, although he was beaten on a pass near the sideline.
With William’s disappointing performance you’d have to wonder if the coaching staff’s focus has reverted away from the rookie. They currently have a whopping 12 corners in training camp battling for four or possibly five roster spots.
It’s disappointing that a team so close to a championship has such a glaring need so late in the offseason. Cornerback is such an important position and it’s a bit alarming to not yet know who’ll be starting opposite Peterson.
So unless there’s a trade on the horizon or a capable cornerback shakes loose during final cuts, that player is currently in the Arizona locker room. Who that is exactly is anybody’s guess at this point.
The Cardinals need someone to take the starting cornerback job and run with it. Their Super Bowl dreams may be dependent on it.