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Takeaways from Cardinals Flight Plan: Episode 4

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What did we learn about the Arizona Cardinals and free agency? And who was that man signing contracts?

Episode 4 of the Behind The Scenes look at the Arizona Cardinals (titled Flight Plan in case you didn’t read the above title) dropped last night amidst a spew of rumors about what the Cardinals will do with their #1 pick.

Thankfully, this episode was a respite from all of that dealing with the team’s approach and performance in free agency.

Let’s take a look at some highlights and what we learned:

  1. Terrell Suggs wanted to see himself in Cardinal Red

It’s not just in free agency, he LITERALLY wanted to see himself in Cardinal Red. When he entered the room and saw his Ravens picture on the back wall behind Michael Bidwill he said “You know they can photoshop those things now.”

Bidwill laughed and made a quip about marketing and they signed his contract together. Nothing was mentioned about the past or Suggs not being a Cardinal before, as all that they are looking forward to is the future now that he’s finally back in the Grand Canyon State.

2. Bidwill didn’t sign ALL the contracts though

You might have noticed a new face signing the contracts in place of Michael Bidwill for players like Kevin White...

That’s Matt Harriss, director of football administration for the Cardinals. He took over Mike Disner’s job as the latter left for a new position with the Lions and while Suggs might have been a guy worthy of the owner’s presence to sign his contract (not that the other players aren’t, per se) it seems like he was unavailable so Harriss will be someone you see around a lot more.

The question is...what was Bidwill (and likely Keim) doing instead of greeting the free agents? Scouting players, perhaps?

3. Vance Joseph broke down the new roles

Vance Joseph in a fun display got to show off a bit of his defensive knowledge in highlighting his new additions in Suggs, Hicks, Swearinger, Alford and Reed.

He notably called Brooks Reed a “SAM” linebacker in his scheme.

For those not in the know, there are three linebacker positions: Sam (strongside where the tight end lines up) Mike (middle of the field) and Will (weakside where there’s no tight end).

In a 3-4 system, the Will linebacker goes 1-on-1 with an outside tackle so that’s where your best pass rusher will go. Chandler Jones has that “Von Miller” role locked down. It was interesting to see Reed as a guy on the other side, meaning that we could potentially see him sub in for Terrell Suggs on run downs at linebacker OR possibly a move-in to defensive end at times where all three are on the field rushing the quarterback.

Joseph was excited to be working with a good group of talent on defense that fits his scheme well.

4. Chandler Jones lost weight and will be in store for a monster year

Vance Joseph seems to get the current NFL. Chandler Jones said that when Joseph told him he would be getting an extra focus on sacks he was surprised, stating that most defensive coordinators would focus on generating takeaways, stopping the run and getting pressure, with sacks being an afterthought. A “selfish stat” if you will.

Naturally, he’s excited about this.

And why wouldn’t he be?

Sacks are starting to become a more crucial part of playing defense in the NFL as it kills drives by either ending it on 3rd down to punt or pushing the offense back so that they don’t have options on 3rd and short to run the ball and making it difficult to get past the chains.

It’s a drive killer.

And that’s important because with the new NFL rules passing is king with the ball flying all over the place and there’s little teams have been able to do to slow or stop it even with pressure. Sacks will be a big part of that moving forward for Jones/Suggs and more.

4. The photo of all the owners that Michael Bidwill coordinated was the first time in nearly 85 years

One of the coolest moments was seeing the old school photo with all the owners in black and white in a ballroom in Chicago, and with Michael Bidwill putting it together it was a great moment for the ownership groups in the league, including some of the oldest owners.

Bidwill even cracked a joke about him standing on the Cardinals logo under a tire about to get squashed (ironic after the 2018 season, much?) and it brought up an interesting thought.

-The coaches take photos almost every year, because there will almost never ever be a duplicate with the exact same coaching staff year in and year out.

-The owners....don’t change hands of teams hardly at all in comparison so there’s no need to. Some newer owners like Shad Khan of the Jaguars or the Bills were nice to see their moment in the spotlight, of course.

Any other takeaways from you?

You can find them below if you missed the episode, so no excuses now!