Top moments for Cards in Arizona

Posted by Darren Urban on August 28, 2012 – 10:10 am

With the Cards embarking on their 25th season of playing in Arizona, the team is looking to the fans to come up with the list of their top moment (or moments) that the team has had since moving from St. Louis. Send your top choice — or, if you insist on multiple examples, rank them from best down — via e-mail to

We will have the results later in the season.

— Also, for those going to the game Thursday night, the team will be collecting backpacks as part of the sixth annual “Back to School Drive” to benefit the Hope Endures program. Backpacks will go to needy children. Fans can drop off their backpacks to volunteers at all University of Phoenix Stadium gates prior to kickoff.

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Always smart to have a Colledge plan

Posted by Darren Urban on August 27, 2012 – 3:52 pm

As the Cardinals try and straighten out the offensive line, left guard Daryn Colledge got a couple of reps at left tackle today in practice behind new starter D’Anthony Batiste. Colledge played there at Boise State for five years and for “six or seven” games when he played in Green Bay, but make no mistake — this would be an emergency situation and not a possible plan to play there from the outset.

“Hopefully some athleticism and some practice can take over if that situation arises, but hopefully that situation never happens,” Colledge said. “I’m working to be the best left guard as I can for this team and I feel that’s where they need me. If they need me (at left tackle) because someone goes down, we’ll cross that bridge then.

“It’s not necessarily riding a bike, but with a few practices, I could probably get myself out there and feel comfortable. I’m not here to threaten a job. I’m here to solidify myself at left guard and if there is an injury and they need me.”

Both of the Cards’ starting guards have tackle experience. Right guard Adam Snyder has played right tackle with the 49ers. But with both players, coach Ken Whisenhunt has made clear he wants them to play guard. And Whisenhunt (and Russ Grimm, for that matter) have long been believers in trying to fill a hole on the offensive line with a new piece if at all possible, rather than moving someone already on the line to a new position and then creating two (or more) “new” players on the line for the unit to get used to.

Besides, when the roster is trimmed to 53, and on game days when the Cards may have as few as seven offensive linemen active, the more everyone who is on the active roster can do increases significantly.


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Lindley gets the QB start against Denver

Posted by Darren Urban on August 27, 2012 – 11:30 am

Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t make a decision on who his starting quarterback will be when the regular season starts, but he did make a decision on who will start against Denver in the preseason finale — and it isn’t Kevin Kolb or John Skelton. It will be rookie Ryan Lindley.

In the last preseason game, it doesn’t make much sense — given who the Broncos will or, more importantly, won’t play — to play starters, Whiz said. Kolb and Skelton likely will sit out, in fact, with Rich Bartel coming in in relief of Lindley. William Powell, who leads the NFL in rushing, is going to get a start at running back (although Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams will each get a chance to play to knock more rust off). This is about getting some reps against defenders higher on the food chain for guys like Lindley and Powell.

One thing Whisenhunt made very clear: Lindley, regardless of his performance, is not in the mix to be a starter in the regular season. He was even asked about all the fans looking for Lindley to play if Ryan has a good game. Whisenhunt knows that influx of opinion is possible — but again, emphasized Lindley will not be starting when the games count.

The decision for the quarterback is coming, obviously, but Whiz still isn’t saying when. Practice this week remains part of the evaluation process between Kolb and Skelton, although with Lindley and Bartel needing reps to prep for this game, you have to wonder how much more evaluation Whisenhunt and the coaches really still need to make. (As I mentioned the other day in response to a blog comment, what Whiz is telling all of us and what he is really thinking aren’t necessarily the same thing.)

The depth chart was officially changed, with D’Anthony Batiste now the starter at left tackle and Bobby Massie at right tackle. Whisenhunt wouldn’t rule out the Cards adding a tackle through free agency or waivers, but noted that he liked how Batiste played.

It was a lot to digest, especially since the Cards still don’t have a QB announcement.

The players aren’t available until later this afternoon, with the team headed over to ASU’s Dickey Dome for practice first.

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Three straight openers against a rookie QB

Posted by Darren Urban on August 26, 2012 – 7:18 pm

With the news today that the Seahawks will start rookie third-round quarterback Russell Wilson at quarterback (over free-agent signee Matt Flynn, in a mild upset given that Wilson had been generating big buzz since the offseason), it obviously impacts the Cardinals. The regular-season opener is Sept. 9, when the Seahawks visit University of Phoenix Stadium. That will make Wilson the third straight rookie quarterback to make his debut against the Cardinals in the opener.

In 2010, the Cards opened in St. Louis, when Sam Bradford had some trouble with Adrian Wilson in his first NFL game. In 2011, Cam Newton ended up setting an NFL rookie record for passing yards in his first game. In the Cards’ favor, they ended up winning both games (17-13 against the Rams, 28-21 against the Panthers).

Now the defense will get a chance at Wilson, who, unlike Bradford and Newton, was not the first overall choice in the draft. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton will also get a chance at Wilson, who is under 6-feet tall, the reason he went in the third round. I’m sure it will be one of the storylines for the game in about a week (you know, after we get past the last preseason game, any forays into the waiver/free-agent pool by the Cards, and their own decision at quarterback.)

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Charity, food and the Cardinals

Posted by Darren Urban on August 26, 2012 – 1:55 pm

Over the next week or so, there are three upcoming events that allow fans to give some money to charity while at the same time, enjoying some meals with the Cardinals.

— Tomorrow is Larry Fitzgerald’s annual celebrity Servers Charity Dinner, which benefits Fitz’s foundation, and will be held at Morton’s The Steakhouse (15233 N. Kierland Boulevard) in Scottsdale. Cards players and coaches are among the servers there to deliver the meal to patrons. For more information, call 480-951-4440.

— On Sept. 3, Calais Campbell will host his own charity dinner for his foundation, out at Fleming’s in Chandler. For more information, you can call 303-596-9431 or go to

— Finally, there is the Cardinals’ own kickoff luncheon, which will be held at University of Phoenix Stadium this Wednesday (August 29) at 11 a.m. Not only is there food and a chance to meet the whole roster, but also a silent auction. For information, call 602-379-1691.

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Levi to IR and moves to get to 75 on roster

Posted by Darren Urban on August 24, 2012 – 3:56 pm

The Cardinals have trimmed their roster to the requisite 75 by cutting 12 players today, in addition to waiving injured fullback Jared Crank (neck) and running back Thomas Clayton (knee) and putting on injured reserve tackle Levi Brown, which officially ends Brown’s season. The Cards had until Monday to make the moves. The cut to 53 players must come a week from today, the day after the Cards close out the preseason with a game against Denver.

The 12 released were:

— DE Landon Cohen

— WR Gino Crump

— S Eddie Elder

— WR Tre Gray

— CB Marshay Green

— WR Jaymar Johnson

— FB Reagan Maui’a

— LB Marcus McGraw

— LB Zack Nash

— CB James Nixon

— K/P Ricky Schmitt

— LB Paul Vassallo

On a side note, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin was fined by the NFL $21,000 for hitting a defenseless player in the head/neck area, in this case, Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart. It’s a hefty sum for a guy who has yet to collect anything more than a practice squad paycheck in the league. (Kicker and NFLPA player rep Jay Feely informs us the fine is not collected unless Lumpkin makes a roster.)

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The plays will come for Fitz

Posted by Darren Urban on August 24, 2012 – 9:30 am

We all know what Larry Fitzgerald can do, including Larry Fitzgerald. And it’s preseason. But let’s face it, it was still good to see him get five catches against Tennessee. It was a glimmer of sanity while the offensive questions – like who will play quarterback and who will play tackle – linger.

But Fitz wasn’t worried, so I guess the rest of us shouldn’t.

“I’d rather have catches against Seattle anyway,” Fitzgerald said, noting the regular-season opener. “Those are the ones that count. Obviously I want to have touches but I’m not going to be complaining about preseason touches.”

The quarterback situation will obviously impact Fitzgerald, and his 80 catches last year were well below the normal standard he sets and about 20 less than he wanted. But whatever is going on offensively, including the possibility the Cards run a bit more to help the QB situation, everyone knows Fitz will ultimately be the guy the offense leans upon.

“It’s a long season,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ll be called on to work a lot when the time is right. We don’t gameplan (right now). I just stay on the same side and don’t do anything different. If I was by myself they were going to roll over on me (with a safety). I know Coach Whiz and (offensive coordinator) Mike Miller and (receivers) coach (Frank) Reich, they will find ways to free me up and I’ll make my plays.”

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Titans aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2012 – 10:39 pm

The story of the night tonight was John Skelton and Kevin Kolb, obviously. I think both players will still have their proponents and detractors, especially after adding in the offensive line issues. It sure feels like the game didn’t exactly clear up the picture, and it will be stunning now if a starter is named before the last preseason game.

But I am sure there will be much more QB talk, and I covered a lot of it in the game story. Besides, I’m quarterback-talked out. So here are some other things out of this game (which sometimes have to do with the QB, I will admit):

— The Cards wanted to take a look at D.J. Young at left tackle. Well, they looked, and it wasn’t pretty. They had to find out quickly if Young was viable. “That’s what you have to do,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, although he acknowledged Young probably didn’t play well. “You want to look at the tape, but that’s the way it seemed.” The offensive line looked better with D’Anthony Batiste at left tackle and rookie Bobby Massie on the right. We’ll see if the Cards go in that direction.

— Beanie Wells looked just fine back on the field, with six carries. He only gained 12 yards, and some of that was on him and some on the line that just didn’t look good early. “Beanie looked like it was his first night out there,” Whisenhunt said.

“I still have rust to knock off,” Wells said. “I have to pick my legs up a little more. It’s one of the reasons I needed preseason. I always need the preseason. I haven’t played football since Dec. 24. But it’s progress.”

Wells was sporting the aerodynamic bald look now that he was back on the field. Well, at least I tried to give him that option. Nope. Just the reaction after he got a bad haircut two days ago. “I’ve already got a sensitive hairline, so …,” Wells said. “I’m gonna be thinning out pretty early”

— Larry Fitzgerald got five catches for 91 yards as he finally made an impact. Not that he was worried about it. “It’s just preseason,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t gameplan.”

— Ryan Williams only had three carries but averaged five yards and Whiz was pleased with how he bounced back in game No. 2 for him. He certainly seems on pace to be ready when the bell sounds.

— Guard Daryn Colledge finally has an NFL reception (that’s him barreling through the defense below). And he’s converted 100 percent of his catches for first downs.

— Running back William Powell is leading the NFL is rushing this preseason. He had another 71 yards (on just seven carries) and has 231 yards on 33 carries (a 7.1 average) and three touchdowns. Yes, it’s against deep backups usually, but seven yards a carry is seven yards a carry. When you have the head coach bringing up your name, unprompted, in the postgame presser, that’s a good sign. It’s going to be a tough call between Powell and Alfonso Smith.

— Jamell Fleming saw some time at cornerback tonight with the first nickel package with William Gay playing the nickel role. Patrick Peterson didn’t have his best night, getting beat a couple of times by rookie receiver Kendall Wright. Defensively, though, the Cards were OK when turnovers weren’t putting them in bad spots. The Cards outgained the Titans, 410 yards to 217.

That’s it. It’s late and I have to be up in four hours to leave for the airport (no charter for me in the preseason, so …) Whiz will have an afternoon press conference tomorrow, and there’s a chance we will hear about most if not all of the initial cut from 90 to 75 players.

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Housler, Schofield sitting, Beanie starts

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2012 – 3:29 pm

Running back Beanie Wells is getting the start tonight in his preseason debut at running back, while tight end Jeff King will also get the start tonight as he returns. King’s appearance offsets the missing Rob Housler, who is sitting out with a bad hamstring. It’s a big night for Beanie, who is expected to get the same kind of work Ryan Williams had last week — which was eight snaps and five carries.

Also sitting out tonight are:

— CB Greg Toler (knee)

— FB Jared Crank (neck)

— S Rashad Johnson (abdomen)

— LB O’Brien Schofield (knee)

— LB Daryl Washington (death in the family)

— T Levi Brown (triceps)

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Wednesday before the Titans

Posted by Darren Urban on August 22, 2012 – 4:27 pm

Ah, Nashville. The last two times we were here, the story was always the quarterback. In 2009, Kurt Warner, last moment, decided his concussion wouldn’t let him play, and Matt Leinart almost had the game he needed – until Vince Young put together a 99-yard drive to finish the game and the Cardinals. The last time here was the beginning of the end for Leinart, the preseason week spent in Tennessee where Leinart was demoted from the first unit in favor of Derek Anderson and we all know how that turned out.

Some things never change. Quarterbacks are still front and center. John Skelton gets the start and ostensibly, the chance to put a stranglehold on the job. Kevin Kolb will play. Coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t given any indication this battle is over. This game will mean something. Ron Wolfley made a point the other day both on the podcast and his radio show that Kolb has probably been better in practice where Skelton has been better in games, which is why this is probably closer for coaches than fans (who don’t watch practice daily but watch the games.)

In any case, it looks like this game will only add to the quarterback legacy that Cards’ trips to Nashville have built.

— Watching Beanie Wells in a game for the first time will be fascinating. We’re on the precipice of the regular season. It looks like Ryan Williams is in good shape to be ready as expected. It’s time for Wells to make a similar step. It has been suggested Beanie runs with a limp. Some of that has to do with getting used to his brace and getting back on the field for the first time in a while. But those of us who have observed Beanie have always noticed what to me, at least, seems like an awkward gait when Wells walks quickly or runs half-speed, even when totally healthy. When he turns it up, it disappears.

— Larry Fitzgerald said he knew all along there probably wouldn’t be a choice at quarterback just yet. “You can’t just give guys one game. That’s not much of a competition,” he said. “We knew it would probably come down to the wire.”

— D.J. Young and D’Anthony Batiste get their chance to show what they can do at left tackle. Will one emerge? Maybe. Conventional wisdom seems to be that Batiste has a better shot than Young. There are more options than Batiste at right tackle, which could be Jeremy Bridges or even just sinking or swimming with rookie Bobby Massie (although the Massie move might be easier to deal with if Brown was still in the lineup). A savior isn’t coming, though. The Cardinals might pick someone up in free agency or the waiver wire, but again, anyone on the street is on the street for a reason. Chad Clifton is available, for instance, because he’s been injured and is 36. Anyone cut next week will be cut because there were at least two guys better than him on his previous roster. That’s reality.

(And a quick side note on the depth behind Brown, and the Cards being caught unprepared – you always want the best depth you can get on the roster, but I’m not sure you build a roster with the idea of a guy possibly going down with a season-ending injury. You’re counting on the starter to be there, especially a guy like Brown, who had played every game for the last four seasons. I think they felt Batiste/Bridges would have been fine as a Brown fill-in for a game or two.)

— Brown had his surgery, by the way. The Cardinals have to trim 15 players off the roster by Monday (although it may come as soon as Friday.) One of those moves, I would think, would be Brown’s move to injured reserve. I just don’t see them saving a roster spot for an end-of-season return. We will see.

— Left guard Daryn Colledge on losing Levi: “If anyone was (indestructible) I thought it would be Levi. Anyone who tears a triceps and just takes a knee (after the play) and talks about it, that’s a pretty studly guy to me. But anyone can go down on any play, that’s the hard part about preseason. We lose him in Week 14, that’s something, but lose him in Minus-Week 3, that’s one of the worst things that can happen.”

— Lots of questions about whether Quan Sturdivant is going to make the team, but it seems like a longshot with the way Reggie Walker has been playing. Your starters are Daryl Washington and Paris Lenon, and I think both Walker and Stewart Bradley have played well in the preseason. Four inside linebackers seems like enough. It’s been suggested that maybe the $3 million for Lenon might put him on the bubble, but the way he has performed and with his durability, I just don’t see him anywhere but the roster.

— Besides the first cuts that I mentioned earlier, final cuts must be made the day after the final preseason game, Friday the 31st.

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