Topics include pressure on McBride, Playing in Mexico's altitude, and CB Jackson Darren Urban
So this is it for a couple of weeks -- vacation time has arrived. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here. If it's sent it, I promise to look at them all for when the mailbag returns in mid-July.
From Rich Sousa:
"ESPN's Dan Orlovsky recently released his top five QBs under 25 years old and left Kyler off the list. I'm seriously baffled as to why there is so much hate or distaste for Kyler. He literally has better career stats than everyone on that list and along with Joe Burrow has made their team relevant again. Why the hate/distaste? Even among our own fans. Is it because Kyler is short? Seems to have a 'bad attitude' (even though none of us know him personally)? Do they want Rosen back? I'm seriously baffled here. Side note: Dan Orlovsky went 2-10 as an NFL starter with a career rating of 75. I don't think he'd make a lot of lists for NFL QBs."
Well, I've never played in the NFL and have opinions -- informed ones, in my mind -- about players, so I'm not sure that final note applies. As for the list, I'm not sure exactly -- other than the bad taste the playoff game gave off -- how Murray would be off the list and Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones would be on it. That's my personal opinion. As for the lack of faith by some with Kyler, I'm guessing Rosen isn't a factor. Those other things are on the table, though. There is a weight of heavy expectations on Murray's shoulders, no doubt, one that only gets heavier if he gets the mega-contract. You can't make fans "like" someone. If some don't, all he can do is be himself, play football, and see if they come around.
From Nathan Palmer:
"I am curious about how D-Hop's suspension works. Obviously he is at the facilities right now and is allowed to go to training camp, but at what date can he not show up and what are all his restrictions? Will he be able to play in preseason or even practice with the team? I'd find it dumb for him to not be able to play in preseason but not count against games he is suspended. As always thanks for your time Darren."
The suspension does not start until the Monday before the regular-season opener (in this case, Sept. 5.) Until then, Hopkins can be a part of the team in every way, including playing preseason games. Once the suspension starts, he can't be around the facility until the suspension is over, which will be Oct. 17 -- the day after the sixth regular-season game.
From CD Morales:
"Do you think there will be unfair pressure on Trey McBride not only from the standpoint he was our top pick, but also it wasn't a position of need, per se? Or pressure on Steve Keim? IMO it's not McBride's fault. He didn't draft himself. If he turns out to be Kelce, then Keim will look like the smartest guy in the room. But if he doesn't, and our defensive line and cornerbacks struggle, isn't that going to fan the flames worse?"
Unfair? No. I mean, there is pressure to succeed as a pro athlete, but in the context you're giving, not sure any pressure is unfair. You are a) assuming he was overdrafted, which I'm pretty sure McBride would argue you were wrong, and b) going hard into the hindsight with a draft that every pick has every year. If McBride stumbles and a cornerback could have been picked instead? Sure, that could happen, but why is that different than other picks that didn't work out? The job of player inherently comes with pressure. That's the gig. Same with being GM.
From Ben J:
"Hey Darren, I just heard the most hilarious story on Bussing With The Boys podcast and guest Melvin Gordon. They were talking about how awful it is to play in Denver due to the altitude, but even worse, and this is never talked about, is Mexico City. Melvin said he'd fake an injury before ever running in Mexico City again because the altitude is so bad, you can barely breath. I just looked it up, and it's over 2,000 feet higher than Denver. I had no idea! This is a legitimate story for our game coming up. Kyler (who's a runner) and our running backs are going to be brutally hampered by the crazy high altitude."
Yeah, but so are the 49ers, right? I've been to Mexico City, I've watched the Cardinals play there, and they were OK enough to score 31 points that game. It can be done.
From Mike Selles:
"Good to hear we signed (cornerback) Josh Jackson. A young, talented guy. I liked him coming out of college. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery/scheme for things to click. I really hope we snagged a gem there. Is your expectation that he's a camp body or do they project him to play? Jeff Gladney was signed to be a starter. I'm not sure the same for Jackson?"
I think Jackson has a chance to make this team, and barring roster moves, has a good chance to earn some playing time as a third corner. Now, I do think there is a good chance they also sign another veteran CB at some point, so that will alter things. But they want to see what he's got. He impressed them enough in a tryout for that.
"You mentioned in an earlier article that Zaven Collins himself made it sound like he could be part of more committee work again. Does that attitude strike you as at all strange? Maybe it is just me but that is not what I would've expected from a guy that has just been handed a starting spot."
I don't think it's an attitude. If that's what has been discussed in the defensive room and what he's been practicing, then to me it's just being honest. It's funny. It seems to depend on the situation, but why is it that we praise some guys for doing whatever is asked by the coaches, and in other cases we act like it's a fault when they don't rebel against such plans so they can be the full-time guy?
From Joseph Stradling:
"In the pictures on AZCardinals.com during minicamp, I noticed Rondale Moore covering/defending a guy with the ball. Was this just a drill/special teams or do they give offensive guys a taste of the defensive side of the ball?"
If it is the image I am thinking of, it was a punt coverage drill with Moore as one of the gunners.
From Doc Gentry:
"As a long-time Suns fan, what are your thoughts on the Deandre Ayton situation? Here's my two cents: it sucks, no way around it. Is DA one of the best young centers in the NBA? Yes. He is going to be near-impossible to replace with his skill-set. If we must replace him, it'll be with a less talented, 'classic center' who really mostly a defensive presence. But here's the ongoing problem with DA, he constantly needs to be pushed. In any sport, at the professional level, you wish your guys would self-motivate. Should we pay max money for DA? Yes. Why? Because he's a non-replaceable rare talent. To tie things together, the situation is very similar to the Kyler situation. Are they perfect? No. But we are far worse without them."
I tend to agree with you that it would be good to pay Ayton (and I think Murray should get his money too, although I don't think motivation is an issue with Kyler.) It's a hard decision, made more difficult with the luxury tax and the Suns with an owner that probably doesn't want to get into the tax as much as some others. But I will say this -- the Suns have had long enough to know what they have in Ayton. I don't think his mentality is ever changing. Your personality is your personality. So if they decide he isn't worth the money, they certainly have ample evidence to make that choice.
From Steph Foosey:
"Hi Darren! Question 1 - where are you going on vacation? Question 2 - Do you think Kevin Durant is the missing piece the Suns need to win that ring? I don't want to lose Ayton, but if we end up with Durant I think that's a net positive gain. C ya'!"
I'm on the Kliff Kingsbury "I'll keep my destination on the downlow but you won't find me" plan. At least for part of it. I don't have the Kliff paycheck, so vacation also includes burning up off days at home just so I don't lose them. As for Durant, he's one of the best players in the NBA so yeah, he would certainly change the dynamic. I don't think it's realistic given his contract, and I'd have to know what I am giving up -- if you gut the team beyond Booker, that's not winning you a ring. Gotta have at least some depth.