Toler photo via photoshelter.com
In a struggling attempt to muster out more stories from my drained and battered brain before Arizona Cardinals football begins, we'll take a look at some of the battles that will take place in training camp this year. Numerous match-ups will catch our attention and the winner may not always be the popular choice. One thing we can agree on is that Ken Whisenhunt will put the best players on the field regardless of how we feel. In this segment, we'll use five categories to evaluate the match ups: size, speed, athleticism, potential, and leadership/experience. I thought I'd start with a match up we've been discussing already this offseason:
Greg Toler vs Michael Adams
Both Toler and Adams are competing for a chance to start at cornerback alongside emerging star Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They've already started at different times during OTAs. Toler is entering his second season, but is an intriguing prospect for 2010 after he played well against the Saints in the playoffs. Adams has been a special teams standout, but his size has burned him and the team in the past. He makes up for it with an abundance of heart.
Toler clearly wins this battle. At 5'11, 191 pounds, he has the ideal size to play alongside DRC. Adams stands a mere 5'8, 181 pounds - a weakness that opponents can and will exploit.
In this case Adams' biggest weakness works as an advantage, considering he's one of the fastest players on the team. Toler hasn't shown much of his speed just yet.
Toler has unique abilities that tempted the Cardinals to draft him despite coming out of a small school in St. Paul's. His football and change-of-direction instincts are captivating. I think we've seen most of everything that Adams has to offer.
I doubt Toler would've been drafted by the Cardinals or let alone any other team if he didn't have loads of potential. The Cardinals are banking on him to apply that potential on the field very soon. It's a matter of if he can do it that's the question. Adams has some potential considering he's relatively young in his career, but not enough to draw much interest.
Adams can be a leader on or off the field. He stayed late during offseason workouts this year to assist younger players with their form and technique. He's been in the league longer than Toler and has more experience to offer to the team at this point in their respective careers.
One thing we can never be sure about is how both players will perform in camp. We've heard positive reviews from both of the cornerbacks so far. Ken Whisenhunt values a player's experience, an edge that Adams holds over Toler. If Toler is going to start for the Cardinals next year, he must grasp the mental aspect of the game. Now I'll leave the question up to you.