Cardinals Combine Flyover

The Cardinals Combine Flyover is an Arizona Cardinals-specific blog that will cover the team for the entire Combine week. This blog will cover prospect interviews, on-site reporting, coaches Q&As, Indy sights and sounds and anything else publisher Amberly Dressler can come up with.

Bring on the Pass Rush

Saturday, 2:55 p.m. (EST)

Just finished speaking with USC DL Everson Griffen. He's comfortable playing defensive end and outside linebacker. He really can't remember the teams he spoke with last night. Bills and Browns were among them. He said he's one of the bigger versatile DE/OLB in this draft. While it would be a dream to reunite with Pete Carroll and his former Trojan linebacker coach, he wants to go anywhere that will take him. He wouldn't take my Cardinals bait either. He grew up in Arizona and his family still lives there. I asked if Matt Leinart ever goes back to USC. He said no. I was reaching. Nobody else heard me ask, as I was the lone man standing interviewing him at the podium. Keep in mind there's half as many media here than yesterday.

I caught the tailend of Indiana's Jammie Kirlew's interview. On Sunday, he wants to show his strength on the bench. On Monday, he hopes to show off his quick reaction and just look loose out there.

From the Desk of Ed Thompson

Saturday, 2:50 p.m. (EST)

Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard measured in at 6-foot-tall and 187 pounds, eight pounds heavier than he was at the Senior Bowl, but that was his plan. While there was some buzz about whether his 179-pound frame would hold up well in the NFL, he created even more buzz with his performance, winning the Under Armour Offensive Player of the game with his 179 all-purpose yards and a score. The game's speedy wide receiver was asked how fast he thought he'd run the 40 tomorrow and he simply replied, "it'll be good" with a wide grin. Gilyard plans to do a full workout, except for the bench press. He mentioned that one of the teams that he's had some informal meetings with is the New England Patriots, talking with both their wide receivers and special teams coaches.

Team-First in Contract Negotiations

Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (EST)

The Arizona Cardinals plan to take the same approach with Anquan Boldin as they did last offseason, according to GM Rod Graves.

"We want to take the approach of looking at all of our options and exploring, and ultimately determining what's best for the team," Graves said. "From that perspective, nothing's changed. We still recognize Anquan as a valuable member of our football team. Again, we'll weigh what the options are the through the offseason and make the decision that's best for our team."

Despite a deep receiving corp, Graves said he'd be remiss to say that Boldin is easily replaceable.

"I think having Anquan in the mix, certainly enhances our abilities as a football team. Again, we'll see where things take us through the offseason and make the decisions that ultimately that's in the best interest of our team."

Graves also took the team-first approach with the decision to tag linebacker Karlos Dansby for the third-straight season. Graves said a lot goes into the decision in whether or not the use the tag but, "it has to be a situation that makes sense for us."

The Cardinals offseason to-do list is lengthy and Graves understands they can't keep them all. But he has confidence in his coaching staff that whoever they end up with, they'll still be competitive.

Final Chapters

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. (EST)

Today is Day 3 of the NFL Scouting Combine. The defensive linemen and linebackers are set to storm the media room today, but two leftovers (wide receivers) have wondered in. I spoke with Kevin Jurovich out of San Jose State. He stands at 5'11" (3/8) and weighs in at 188. He's appreciative of Wes Welker for paving the way for small receivers like him.

Growing up in the Bay Area, Jurovich is very familiar with the 49ers organization. His dad is a fan. Jurovich had too many short interviews to remember, but he said the Cowboys stick out as a session that was the most intense. He hasn't had any of his formal interviews yet. Weird note, he's in a small percentage of 23-year-olds without a Facebook page.

I finished up with him early, as a well-respected Dallas reporter had some pretty specific questions that I had nothing to do with and Rams Coach Steve Spagnuolo was set to take the podium.

He spoke about a lot of draft-specific issues that I'll dish out at a later time, but I manage to squeeze a couple NFC West-specific questions and Mike Sando had one as well. My last question was after the "two more questions" announcement was made by the NFL media and his answer wasn't really worth the dirty look.

Me: Can you talk a little about the NFC West and where you think your team stands moving forward?

SS: Well, we are all 0-0, so we are all even right now. It's a competitive division, some good coaches, some new coaches, but the number of teams that surfaced last year- certainly Arizona, in the last two years has played really well, Ken has done a great job there- but it's a competitive division. I know that we would have been a lot more competitive than we were, but I think that the division is on its way up. I look forward to playing those three teams twice a year.

Sando: How different is it to coach without Kurt Warner, does it change....

SS: Certainly he is- we all know what kind of player Kurt is, or I guess I say was now-and certainly any quality quarterback. It probably makes Arizona a little different now, but I know they have another good one there waiting in the wings, so Ken will come up with something.

Me: Coach what are your thoughts on the Pete Carroll addition in Seattle and how will he change the division?

SS: Well, I don't know if it will change the division, but I have a lot of respect for Pete. When he was in the NFL the last time, he is a successful football coach. He did a great job at USC, so it will be another challenge having another great football coach to face twice.

Expired

Friday, 7:30 p.m. (EST)

Day two is wrapped up, and I am exhausted. I am going to share some tidbits and call the blog done for the night.

Vladimir Ducasse out of Massachusetts mentioned talking to three teams at the Combine on the night before the formal interviews. Those three were the Cardinals, the Steelers and the Bears. Ducasse is projected in the second round. Experts are concerned about his transition from the college level to the NFL.

Speaking of the O-line, Russ Grimm was pretty busy this week. He was quite the jokester with most of the kids I talked to. One in particular was Kyle Jolly out of North Carolina. I'll have more about their discussions and Jolly later.

Check out my story with local prospect Max Hall here.

You should also check out Chris Steuber's Combine Chat tonight, click here. I just keep using his name, so he'll continue to be my one reader.

I might have two because it looks like internet is working on my husband's ship. Hi! Happy Anniversary!

Tomorrow is a big day. I have to sort through a lot of audio and notes to give you guys, maybe just guy, more good info. Also, Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves take to the podium tomorrow. Too bad they put the coaches on a different podium than Tim Tebow was. They won't be able to feel his power. Whisenhunt may have been able to fix Arizona's tight end issues himself with a little Tebo-power.

On the podium theme, RB Joique Bell from Wayne State was pretty funny today. Reporters were waiting for Mike McCarthy to address the media and Bell jumped on stage and tried to conduct a press conference. By the time most of us figured out what he was doing, he was off the stage. But props for having a good time Bell.

On the agent front, WR Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State said when deciding who he wanted his agent to be, he said he went with the agent who represents the best player in the NFL: Larry Fitzgerald.

Crowd Surfing

Friday, 3:30 p.m. (EST)

As expected, the rock star otherwise known as Tim Tebow brought out the groupie in 80 percent of the media in the room. I haven't seen anyone move that fast in two days, except for sandwiches. Yes, Tebow has that certain "it" factor, but I got much more out of my side interviews with Central Michigan's Antonio Brown and Fresno State's Lonyae Miller.

I admit, I was going to try to get a picture of Tebow for my grandma, but the camera on my phone wasn't working. Yes, Tebow has grandma power.

John Crist of BearReport.com just said a media person asked for Tebow's autograph. Cardinal sin.

Go Long

Friday, 1:45 p.m. (EST)

A lot of the wide receivers and quarterbacks have made their way into the media room. Notre Dame WR Golden Tate drew the most attention. He kept our attention when he turned over his name tag and read off the teams he was scheduled for formal meetings with. Rumor had it that the NFL was doing away with that procedere. The rumor was the players only had the room and time on ther player cards. Basically, so they couldn't divulge the formal interviews with us blood-sucking media types.

He said: Last night he met with the Rams. Tonight he will be meeting with the Steelers, Patriots, 49ers, Dolphins, Cowboys, Packers and the Buccaneers.

Saturday night he's scheduled to meet with the Colts, Jets, Raiders, Lions, Panthers, Chiefs, Bengals and Ravens (list provided by Ed Thompson because I haven't listened to my audio yet).

Less popular were a couple of my table wide receivers, but I was able to get some mono y mono time with Chris Carter from UC Davis and WR Alric Arnett out of West Virginia.

Both were friendly players. Arnett actually has Santonio Holmes on his side (they are scheduled to workout together following the Combine) and respects Anquan Boldin for his on the field play, but also being from the same area in Florida. He respects all players or people who have gotten out of a tough area and made a name for themself. I'll write more on Arnett's path to the draft (sorry NFL Network)later. He's a good kid. I got both players numbers to catch up with them closer to the draft. Hopefully for each, there's a happy story on draft day.

Tebow Time

Friday, 9:55 a.m. (EST)

Apparently it will appear as if the circus is in town when Tim Tebow makes his way into the media room at some point today. I'll try to contain myself during this time and seek out a player or two at tables, which are the best interviews anyway. Two years ago at this time, I sat with RB Chris Johnson for about 20 minutes. The only other reporter I remember stopping by was our Ed Thompson. You never know who is going to be the next best thing since sliced bread.

Speaking of bread, I should have had breakfast at the hotel. Yes, the All-Star Comfort Suites also has free breakfast. But I overslept this morning, so I just grabbed a banana. But I dropped it on my walk over. Apparently the cartoons are accurate, they are slippery. My raisin, cinnamon type muffin is good. I thought they were out of coffee, but some nice gentlemen tipped the container for me. Tricks of the trade.

We're On His Tab

Thursday, 11:30 p.m. (EST)

Dinner time arrived quickly, which is a good thing because I was starving. I met the gang at The Ram. This nice shuttle-driver lady dropped me off (one more perk of the Comfort Suites) and picked me up. Dinner was good, company was good, football talk was good, arguing who has a radio face was good and the United States women's hockey team...not so good (sorry Joel Cox but thanks for dinner again)! The best part of the night was Chris Steuber's hawk eyes.

He spotted Ken Whisenhunt, Rod Graves & Co. who were dining in the bar area as well.

I moseyed on over. All the coaches were in great moods. What a day for Graves and Whisenhunt (for contract extension details, click here). We chatted about Indy weather vs. Arizona weather. They quizzed me on who was going to be the No. 1 overall draft pick. I told them I didn't know that I was more concerned with who they were drafting. They asked me who I thought that was. I think my answer was actually met with applause when I said, "The best available player on the board."

After a random and pleasant convo about my alma mater (Cal Poly Pomona, a school that doesn't have a football team) and former president Richard Nixon, I asked Graves and Whisenhunt when they'd be at the podium. They said Saturday. If you have any questions for the head honchos email azredreport@gmail.com, and I'll see what I can do. As Mike Sando said, I'll take full credit for your questions.

Still haven't written the Dorin Dickerson story. It better be darn good by the time I finish that one! I'll remember his name for quite some time. I lost track of time on this silly blog that no one is reading.

Comfort Suites, Too Comfortable

Thursday, 5:52 p.m. (EST)

My mom would yell at me if she read this. "Don't put your hotel..." And she'd yell her famous line, "Are you kidding me?" But I have to say, the Comfort Suites are perfect. It's a brand new hotel, so it's clean. There's a pull out couch, which would come in handy if I was a boy covering the Combine because all the boys share rooms. There's a fridge and microwave. I don't have anything to put in the fridge, but I did use the microwave last night. I have this weird neck pain thing. The doctor said to microwave rice in a sock. I swear it works. The staff is all friendly, especially Wanda, the front desk manager.

There are two problems though. One, it's too comfortable. I haven't managed to finish my Dorin Dickerson story. Secondly, despite its impeccable location, the weather in Indy is deceiving. When I walked to the stadium earlier, it was snowing and freezing. If I look outside and it's snowing, I figure it's going to be cold. On the way back to the hotel after Day 1 ended, the sun was shining. Beware; the wind makes it worse than before. I put my sunglasses on. They practically froze to my face. I still need to finish this Dickerson story, and then I'll venture back in the cold to meet the Scout.com/Fox Sports gang for dinner.

This blog is way too much fun. I have to get going. I need to send my good friend Michael Lombardo of SDBoltReport.com some Chargers material. I could write years of blogs about him! Despite questionable calls about women, at the end of the day, he's the best at whatever he does. I know, I've worked two jobs with him.

End is Near

Thursday, 4:10 p.m. (EST)

Day one ends in less than an hour. I doubt at this point, they'll bring anymore players in. It's been a good day. Spoke with several outstanding young men. Even got a number or two. For interviewing purposes, of course... Although Alabama TE Colin Peek has Matt Leinart-like dimples, I'll refrain from ranking the tight ends. Insert LOL here.

Enough about that, I am going to start transcribing my interview with Dorin Dickerson and publish a story quickly. I hope a good dinner is on the menu for tonight. After my banana nut muffin and coffee this morning, I haven't had anything to eat. I wasn't hungry when they hauled in the Combine sandwiches that you get sick of by Day 2. With hundreds of men, I was too late.

Gaining Speed

Thursday, 3:42 p.m. (EST)

The interviews steam-rolled in the past two hours. The tight ends led the group. Pittsburgh TE Dorin Dickerson stood out. He spoke with Russ Grimm. Dickerson enjoyed the encounter as Grimm was making jokes. A Dickerson pick would solidify the Pittsburgh-West theme. I'll have more on Dickerson later.

Basketball star turned tight end Jimmy Graham was also a notable interview. Surprised some people still don't know his story, it's a good one.

Podium Power

Thursday, 1:33 p.m. (EST)

Today has been surprisingly uneventful, but there's been a few players who have really impressed me. LSU's OL Ciron Black is one and Troy's Levi Brown is another.

Black not only looks like a football player, but he carries himself very well. He has gone up against big-time competition and played for a big-time program.

Brown, not be confused with the Cardinals Levi Brown, is taking the opportunity to throw this week as a lot of quarterbacks aren't. He's going to do everything teams want him to do.

"I have nothing to hide," Brown said.

Brown's interviews were a bit premature. The quarterbacks were suppose to be herded in tomorrow. NorthwestFootball.net's Doug Farr joked maybe Brown was turning into a OT. Now that would be confusing for Arizona!

Engineering Interest

Thursday, 12:28 p.m. (EST)

Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles took the podium. He was an impressive interview mainly because of his intelligent answers, mechanical engineering degree and his understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. He is a very likeable guy and will do very well in team interviews. We'll have more with him later, as I sift through 13 minutes of audio.

But one more thing.. He is most comfortable at tackle because that's where he has the most experience, but teams have liked him at guard and center as well.

Table-Hopping

Thursday, 12:15 p.m. (EST)

The NFL Combine kicked off with the kickers, literally. I table-hopped between Punter Scott Ravanesi and Matt Dodge's table. Both were well-spoken punters with soccer backgrounds. Dodge said he spoke with the Packers more than any other team.

Interesting note about Ravanesi: practically every big school in Illinois offered him a scholarship for baseball. He played shortstop.

I'll delve more into their high kicks a bit later.

San Francisco Keeps Eye on the Prize, Not Arizona

Thursday, 10:36 a.m. (EST)

Scot McCloughan and Mike Singletary were the first to take the podium today at the NFL Scouting Combine. Both fielded questions about the Cardinals and Kurt Warner's retirement. But Singletary said thinking the 49ers could take the division just because Warner is retired would be a grave mistake.

"It doesn't change anything for us," Singletary said.

Singletary thought it was the 49ers division before Warner retired. He wants to have that mentality every year.

For more info, read Combine: NFC West Watch by clicking here.

Time to Work

Thursday, 8:42 a.m. (EST)

Media are trickling in for the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine. I've been to the Combine once before. Back then it was at the RCA Dome. Digs were nice there but Lucas Oil Stadium definitely offers much more elbow room and an awesome atmosphere. All the bustle begins at 10 a.m. I'll have much more to report then.

Welcoming Committee

Wednesday, 5:19 p.m. (EST)

I arrived in Indy about an hour ago. Luckily Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm and Rod Graves got the message. They were there at the baggage claim to greet me. Alright, not really. Sharing adjacent baggage claims doesn't count, huh?

After I successfully picked up my baggage (yes, I overpacked), I headed to the hotel with the help of a taxi driver who had two empty venti Starbucks coffees and was still yawning. But the nice gentlemen got me here nice and safe. I didn't even have to ask for a receipt, which reminds me of when I was here a couple years ago. I had two different drivers complain about the Combine week. They complained the coaches and the rest of the gang were all cheap. They'd ask for a receipt, so they can write whatever they want on it and then not tip them. As a server in college, that's never an issue with me.

Back to the hotel, I have a view of Lucas Oil Stadium from my room, couldn't be better.

I am going to venture over to the Fox Sports NFL Combine House in about an hour. Fox Sports rented out a 5,000 square foot house with the promises of a whole lot of work and a little bit of play. Tonight, they'll dish out all the content to Scout.com experts Adam Caplan, Chris Steuber and Ed Thompson. Then we'll have an ice cream social.

I promise not to blog if I've had too much ice cream tonight.

Keep checking back, as I will have real Cardinals content starting tomorrow.

Ready to Take Flight

Wednesday, 10:48 a.m. (MST)

With just 30 minutes left on a short layover in Denver, I'll kick off this blog by sharing what's on the to-do list...

The media availability action kicks off tomorrow at Lucas Oil Stadium. The NFL Media-types herd top draft prospects into a media room, where hundreds of reporters will ask many of the same questions. What teams have you talked to? What will you bring to the team that drafts you? What do you want to work on between now and draft? What NFL players do you try to emulate?

My vow to you, the reader, is to try and ask other questions of these possible future Cardinals players or opponents. I can't promise I won't revert back to the tried and true question set, but I'll give it my all!

Here is this week's lineup:

Thursday- Offensive Linemen, Kickers, Punters, Long Snappers and Tight Ends.

Friday- Quarterbacks, Running Backs and Wide Receivers.

Saturday- Defensive Linemen and Linebackers.

Sunday- Defensive Backs

Please note that as much as I love covering the Combine, I won't be sticking around for Sunday's interviews. While the Cardinals could use some secondary help, it's my one-year wedding anniversary. My husband won't be home, as he is currently floating around in the ocean with unavoidable Navy drills. With that said, he should have some surprises planned anyway. No, that's not a threat.

Lucky for us all, Scout.com features plenty of willing and able writers who will share the defensive back wealth on Sunday.


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