Morning Combine Notes: 2.23.07

Notes from this morning's interviews, as well as a chance encounter with Running Backs Coach Maurice Carthon.

Just talked to Running Backs Coach Maurice Carthon.  He didn't want to talk about last year.  I started asking, "There have been some struggles with the running game-" and he cut me off, saying that "Last year was last year."  He's looking forward to the group of players he has to coach right now and he wants the past to be the past.

He specifically mentioned Marcel Shipp and said that it's a priority for him and a priority for the Cardinals to bring him back for this season and beyond.  He said had a lot of respect for Shipp, "Here's a guy that just comes to work and does his best.  They brought in Emmit Smith and he didn't complain, they brought in Edgerrin James and he didn't complain, he just went out there and went about his business.  I have a lot of respect for that."

As to the running game this year, he realizes that they have a lot of work to do this year, but he's excited about the prospect of working with Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm, "Guys that have been there and done that, won championships.  Russ both as a player and a coach."  He knows that they like to run the ball and he's looking forward to the challenge.

In the passing game, he's not focusing too much on passing drills and helping the running backs act as receivers (even though he caught a lot of passes out of the backfield as a player).  He says that the focus is on pass protection, keeping Matt Leinart upright in the pocket, and giving the receivers time to get open.

Levi Brown, T, Penn State:

This is a guy that we have to keep an eye on.  I don't think he's going to last until the second round, since his stock has been rising like crazy the past few months.  Also, he's a Penn State guy, Whisenhunt used to coach in Pittsburgh, Grimm is from Pittsburgh, and there's definitely a "Penn State Mystique" in that area of the country.  To top it all off, he looks like a solid prospect.

He was exceedingly comfortable and affable with the media.  He even made a joke about Joe Paterno when they asked why he started out his college career as a defensive tackle: "Coach came up to me.  Little guy with glasses.  You may have heard of him.  And he told me to play defense, so I did."

The guy has two degrees (said he promised his Mom he'd graduate) and definitely seems to have a good head on his shoulders.  He likes to dominate the opposition (used the word "dominate" 324 times by unofficial count) and he likes to talk a little trash, by his own admission.

One of the reporters (I would assume someone from the Detroit media) kept pressing him about getting drafted by the Lions and how he would handle rising above the losing culture that exists there.  Bad, Bad Levi Brown tried to dodge the question, the guy kept pressing, and finally Brown said, "I was part of a 3-9 team and a 4-7 team in my time at Penn State.  I can handle it."  And that line of questioning was over.  Pretty impressive.  I mean, aside from the fact that Brown could've used the reporter as a toothpick and he started using his stern, "I'm not going to keep being nice about this" voice.

Two negatives:

1.  He prefers run blocking over pass blocking.  He likes to throw guys around and dominate them, crushing their wills.  You can do that as easily when you're pass blocking.  While Arizona could use a guy with an attitude like that, he may not fit into their way of doing things too well, even if Whisenhunt likes to run the ball.

2.  He seems set on playing left tackle.  Most of the guys here seem intent on playing LT, because it's more of a glamour position and there's more money tied to it.  I personally think, to look at him and hear him talk, that he'd be a better right tackle than a left tackle.  He used the generic, "I'll play wherever they want me to play," line, but I'm always weary of that.

Should we take him 5th overall if Joe Thomas is taken?  I'm not sure.  I guess we'll have to see what his numbers look like and how it all plays out.  He said that he was likely to run a 5.0 40 and put up 27 bench presses.  Sounds pretty good.  I personally want to see how he does in the short shuttle.

Jordan Palmer, QB, UTEP:

I feel bad for this guy.  He's Carson Palmer's brother.  With the reverence that the other media guys (I think there were 6 guys from Cincinnati) attached to Carson, it makes me happy that Jesus Christ never had a kid brother.  There were mostly questions about Carson and only a few tidbits about Jordan.  And that's weak.  Really, we're here to talk about Jordan Palmer, not his brother.

Still, he handled the mundane barrage of Carson questions very well and was very talkative, open, and candid.  Seems like a really good guy and someone that's genuinely just looking to make it into a training camp somewhere.

As soon as I sat down to write this, all the guys from Scout that went to the Senior Bowl started talking about what a poor showing Jordan gave there.  Apparently, the only things that he shares with his brother are that he cuts his own hair and his last name is Palmer.  And they look exactly alike.  I sat down and was shocked, even though I knew he was Carson's brother.

This would be a good time to mention that I talked to a quarterback from Akron yesterday named Luke Getsy.  Getsy is big enough, looks like a quarterback, and said he can make all the throws.  He already looks better than Navarre or Warner in my mind.  I'm thinking we'll either sign a veteran back-up or get some type of young, proven guy to hold the clipboard for Leinart, so I wouldn't say that I'm overly concerned about the quarterback situation.

Having said that, I think we should draft Getsy (or someone like him) at some point in the Second Day.  If it looks like we can get Palmer as an undrafted free agent, that's something we should do.

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