Arizona Cardinals preparing for youth movement at cornerback
Head coach Bruce Arians believes that the Arizona Cardinals’ young cornerbacks are more than ready to step up and contribute
Time is running out for certain members of the Arizona Cardinals. Players like Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer and Karlos Dansby are desperately seeking Super Bowl rings. Unfortunately, question marks at cornerback are posing a threat to their quest.
Head coach Bruce Arians seems to think that the club has corners ready and able to start opposite Patrick Peterson. His belief is that Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams have made major strides, and are set to prove him right. Whether he really believes that or not is anybody’s guess.
He’s throwing excuses out there for Bethel. His claim is that the foot surgery that the Cards’ special teams demon had before the 2016 season was to blame for his horrible play. That Bethel’s lack of practice time severely affected his performance last year.
Cards’ fans would be smart not to buy what Arians is trying to sell. After all, it was Arians who just last year called Bethel a “failure in progress”. It may be that the coach’s kind words are a way of trying to justify management’s not addressing the position with a top-tier free agent.
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Arians endorsement of Williams is just as mind-boggling. While it wouldn’t be fair to completely write off last year’s third-round pick, early returns were not good. Williams was beaten like a drum in the 2016 opener, prompting the coaching staff to turn the job over to the now-departed Marcus Cooper.
Unproven youth is fine for an organization that is rebuilding. But for a team like Arizona, a team built to win now, it’s an unnecessary gamble. A veteran cornerback, one who’s been around the block and has played well, is much more appropriate.
The best free agent cover guys are pretty much off the market now, but a few lower-tier possibilities remain. Those still available include Darrelle Revis, Alterraun Verner, Brandon Flowers, Sam Shields, Shareece Wright and Tramon Williams.
Another resource would be next month’s draft, which is deep at the cornerback position according to draftniks. But for now at least, Arians sounds content with what he has. Let’s hope the front office doesn’t agree with him.