Going into the final game, there are, according to coach Ken Whisenhunt, still roster spots to be won. So to make a guesstimate at the final 53 before the final preseason game leaves a big opening to make a mistake. Injuries can change equations too. But this is what we do — speculate. Realistically, a good chunk of the roster is long set. The battles not left open by injury are usually down to — at most — the final six or seven spots. Frequently less.
(And that’s from an outside perspective. Internally, I am guessing by now the list is even shorter).
Things like the practice squad come into play — if you like two guys equally, maybe one can be on the practice squad and the other on the roster, and both stick around. Of course, anyone on the practice squad has to be exposed to the rest of the league, so you don’t know who might snap someone up. Even once the roster gets to 53, of course, it could immediately change if, say, the Cards grab a player (running back) who has been released elsewhere.(On this list, I am not putting a fourth running back in, even though I think it’s probable).
So, with all those caveats, here’s is my opinion on how it could shake out:
QB — (3) Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Rich Bartel. Brodie Croyle just was here too late to make an impact.
RB — (3) Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith. Smith plays well on special teams. I think he’d stick around even if the Cards sign a fourth running back, which I think is a real possibility. And then the Cards would have to find a cut from elsewhere on the roster.
FB – (1) Anthony Sherman. Reagan Maui’a has had a good camp, but Sherman is a draft pick, he has impacted special teams and I think he has the right upside. You just can’t keep two fullbacks on the roster.
TE – (4) Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray. It’s a tough call between Dray and Stephen Spach. Dray did some good things on special teams and his youth may give him the edge. Would I be shocked if Spach stayed? No.
WR – (6) Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet, Stephen Williams, Chansi Stuckey, DeMarco Sampson. I think Sampson has done enough to make the team, and Isaiah Williams could be on the practice squad.
OL – (8) Levi Brown, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Rex Hadnot, Brandon Keith, Deuce Lutui, Jeremy Bridges, Ben Claxton. It’s possible they could keep an extra swingman like Pork Chop Womack, but usually the Cards have just seven linemen active on game days, and since Bridges can play both guard and tackle, they should be set there.
DL – (7) Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Vonnie Holliday, Nick Eason, David Carter, Kenny Iwebema. Iwebema is the man on the fringe, but he can play special teams. The Cards kept seven at this spot last year too. It could be a spot that gets trimmed for another position.
LB – (8) Joey Porter, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, Clark Haggans, Stewart Bradley, O’Brien Schofield, Sam Acho, Reggie Walker. I could easily see rookie Quan Sturdivant making it over Walker. But they may try to get the raw Sturdivant to the practice squad.
CB – (5) A.J. Jefferson, Patrick Peterson, Richard Marshall, Michael Adams, Marshay Green. Green had a rough end to the Chargers’ game, but the season-ending injury to Greg Toler might work to his benefit. Not sure there has been enough time for Fred Bennett to prove himself. This could be another battle where the performances against the Broncos resonates. The Cards could also search the waiver wire. In the past, the Cards have had only nine DBs, but injuries may force them to go to 10.
S – (5) Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Rashad Johnson, Hamza Abdullah, Matt Ware. With the uncertainty around Wilson’s biceps injury, keeping an extra safety — Ware, in this case — sounds prudent.
Special teams – (3) LS Mike Leach, K Jay Feely, P Ben Graham. After the way Graham punted last week, I think he’ll hold off Dave Zastudil. It’ll be interesting to see who punts Thursday night. That might be one of the spots that could still be decided.
Tags: cuts, Roster
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