Three under-the-radar moves: Cardinals

June, 8, 2012
6/08/12
1:18
PM ET
A look at three potentially significant under-the-radar offseason moves for each NFC West team, continuing with the Arizona Cardinals:

1. Cornerback shuffle. Former Pittsburgh Steelers corner William Gay is working with the starting unit during organized team activities. Arizona signed him to a modest deal after losing Richard Marshall in free agency. Gay played for Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton previously. He should fit the defense. Third-round corner Jamell Fleming has been the Cardinals' best rookie during organized team activities. Arizona could wind up cutting a cornerback who once projected as a starter. Patrick Peterson, Gay and Fleming have job security. A.J. Jefferson, Greg Toler and Michael Adams could be competing for two spots. Jefferson and Toler have been starters. Adams knows how to win a roster spot as an underdog. He's a good special-teams player and sound tackler.

2. Naming John McNulty as QB coach. The stakes are sky-high for the Cardinals at quarterback this season. Former QB coach Chris Miller made his coaching debut in 2009 and, as a former player, was probably an ideal sounding board for then-starter Kurt Warner. The landscape has changed dramatically since then. McNulty brings college coordinating experience, organizational skills and an emphasis on mechanics to the role. He's a professional coach, not a former pro player making the transition to coaching. The Cardinals are banking on McNulty to challenge Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. They are asking him to help develop rookie Ryan Lindley for the future. McNulty coached the Cardinals' receivers previously. Coach Ken Whisenhunt considered him to be a rising talent, one reason the Cardinals blocked Tampa Bay from interviewing McNulty for its opening at offensive coordinator.

3. Re-signing Levi Brown. There are some parallels between this move and the San Francisco 49ers' decision to bring back Alex Smith a year ago. Both players were disappointing as high first-round draft choices. Both cited unfinished business when deciding to return. Both players' teams easily could have moved in another direction. But Arizona, like San Francisco, might have been worse off in the short term. Brown, like Smith a year ago, re-signed after finishing the previous season relatively strong. Arizona had a tough enough time trying to replace its right tackle this offseason. Replacing both of them probably would have set the team back.

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