For a fourth straight season, Razzball will be interviewing local NFL beat writers for some actual in-depth football knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy football knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NFL team through the summer. This installment comes courteous of Alex Mann from leading Arizona Cardinals blog Revenge of the Birds:
1) Ohhhh, the Cardinals QB situation… I’m sure over the past few seasons it’s seemed like a never-ending nightmare. Carson Palmer is certainly an upgrade, but will he be enough to get the Cardinals offense kick-started again? Hard to believe he was a 4,000-yard passer in Black last year, can he get that in Red as well?
I think he has the potential to turn this offenses stats from worst to near the top of the league. Fans and analysts alike will say most of those stats came in the fourth quarter, when the Raiders were already out of hope of winning. But what’s funny is that, while it is true, the Defense was looking for the pass and were still unable to stop it. He hit that 4,000 yard mark in black last year with no true number one receiver, and nearly no talent at the receiver position. I think he will hit that 4,000 mark, and, while I’m on that Cardinal Kool-Aid, he has a very real shot to surpass 4,500.
2) Well with a better QB comes the obvious optimism for Larry Fitzgerald, easily on a short list of the NFL’s most talented receivers. How is the early rapport between he and Palmer looking? Can Fitzgerald get his numbers into the top-tier of NFL WRs again this year?
The rapport between Fitzgerald and Palmer is good. Not just that, the rapport between the entirety of the receiving unit and Palmer is good. Before OTA’s broke, Fitzgerald and Palmer rounded up the receivers and quarterbacks and told them to go to their workouts – Fitzgerald’s in Minnesota and Palmer’s in California. Fitzgerald even posted a picture showing that the vast majority of the receiving unit was there, and of course both Drew Stanton and Carson Palmer. With the connection the two have already seemed to have made, yes I see Fitzgerald with a possible double-digit touchdown season, and 1,400 yards.
3) Another big-name acquisition was bringing in Rashard Mendenhall from Pittsburgh. Head coach Bruce Arians has already decreed Mendenhall will be the team’s #1 back and be an “every down” back. If that is indeed true and Palmer can get anything out of the passing game, that should be a huge year for Mendenhall, shouldn’t it? Do you expect him to put together a big fantasy season?
We were actually just discussing this the other day on an article that Seth Cox published on our site. A fellow community member and I were discussing that, if Mendenhall can stay healthy, he can be one of the best backs in recent Cardinals history. If Beanie Wells could put up 1,000 yards in a season in Arizona, then Mendenhall, who I believe is a better talent, can do just the same. If Palmer can produce, then we see Mendenhall having a stellar season, barring injury of course.
4) For a stretch in the middle of the season, Andre Roberts was providing great value as a plug-and-play WR on deeper teams. He then disappeared in a disappointing second half. Michael Floyd also has some big-name value being a first-round pick and ending the season with an 8-catch 166-yard game. Which of the two do you like to emerge this season and will either become a must-own in 10-team fantasy leagues this year?
I could see them both doing it. Floyd received the majority of the targets from Palmer during OTA’s, and while it may not mean anything, they seemed to be on the same page much of the time. Roberts has received plenty of rave from Coach Arians and following the numbers he posted last season he seems poised to make the next step. With Palmer throwing the ball, we could see a statistical season similar to that of 2008 when Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston all had 1,000 yards receiving, On paper, this unit is more talented than the ’08 unit, and if Floyd can make that leap and live up to the hype of the offseason, he should be taken in the mid-to-late rounds. Roberts could be a nice free agent acquisition.
5) I still don’t think Ryan Williams has really gotten a fair look yet as a starting NFL RB, and with Mendenhall brought in, it looks like he’ll be a full-fledged backup. That said, if anything were to happen to Mendenhall – who does have a major injury history – could Williams step up and be an every-down back?
I agree with you 100%. Ryan Williams has the talent, but fluke injuries in back-to-back seasons raises cause for concern. However, he did struggle last season, prior to his second season ending injury in as many years, but he did state that those struggles stemmed from the fear of his knee taking another hit and him going out. A year off with the shoulder injury should allow for that knee to heal as best as it will. And him sitting behind Mendenhall should also reduce any other fears he may hold. That being said… If Mendenhall does go down with injury, it should be interesting to see how things play out for Williams. He has the talent to be an every-down back, and I have confidence that he would step up and make the transition to being the every-down back Arizona would desperately need.
Alex Mann (@MannROTB) is a 17-year old High School student who got a chance to showcase writing early on with Sports Kings, Down & Distance. He then found his way to Revenge of the Birds where he has since been able to work on perfecting his craft, and building a resume to use later on in a hopeful Journalism Career.