Early last week, guard Daryn Colledge talked about how the offense had to play better, but that the defense was always going to keep the Cardinals in the game. Then came Sunday, what may have been the harshest way to demonstrate the point.
I’m not sure what the hardest thing to handle was for the Cardinals. The first stop that led to a punt giving the Cards the ball first in Minnesota territory, only to have the drive go nowhere? The following long drive into the red zone that ended with a fumble and no points? The gift interception at the end of the first half – why on God’s green earth were the Vikings throwing at that point anyway – only to have Jay Feely’s field goal miss? The pick-6 to start the second half that made it a two-score game?
“The plays that were there to be made were being made earlier in the year,” quarterback John Skelton said. “Now we are missing.”
It’s going to be hard not to re-play what could have been in the collective minds tonight.
– The Cardinals have now lost two games this season in which the opposing quarterback had fewer than 10 pass completions (the Rams’ game was the other.) That’s unheard of in today’s NFL. The Vikings ended up with a net of 43 passing yards.
– Those 43 net passing yards – and Christian Ponder’s 58 gross – were the fewest allowed in an NFL game this season, by the way. The Cards hadn’t allowed so few in a game since giving up 37 net passing yards to the Ravens in December of 2000 – a game the Cards also lost, 13-7, to the Trent Dilferific Super Bowl-bound bunch.
- The Cards had the ball for more than 10 minutes more than the Vikings, including holding the ball for more than 11 minutes of the 15-minute third quarter.
– LaRod Stephens-Howling had been off to the worst start of his career running the ball, but he was back on track Sunday. Yes, it was partly due to the Vikings’ defensive alignment, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment of his first 100-yard game. You figure next week’s game against the 49ers will be much more difficult, but considering where the Cards were when they lost both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, it’s a start.
– Guard Adam Snyder was limping around pretty good because of the quad contusion that sent him out of the game and brought Rich Ohrnberger in for relief. You know Snyder is going to badly want to play against his former teammates a week from tomorrow. We’ll see if he can recover in time.
– Adrian Peterson sure didn’t look like a guy who had ACL surgery less than a year ago. He looked like 2008 Adrian Peterson with his 153 yards on just 23 carries, ramping up to full speed seemingly as soon as he was handed the ball in the backfield.
– Larry Fitzgerald called the offense’s overall lack of production scoring “disheartening.” It seems like the Cards have had more issues this year getting Fitz freed up than ever before. The offense is missing that kind of playmaking.
– I know the TD came late, but Andre Roberts quietly had a productive day (7 catches, 103 yards).
– The one thing Kevin Kolb was doing really well when the Cards were winning – and what has gotten lost a bit when the Cards ended up on the wrong side of things a couple weeks ago and then again today with John Skelton – is the turnovers. They cost at least 10 points today, with the Vikings getting seven on the interception return and the Cards losing at least three on the red-zone fumble by Skelton. Many teams can’t afford turnovers, but for the Cards, that margin is even smaller. The Cards generated a pair of turnovers themselves, but couldn’t win the turnover battle.
That’s enough from 30,000 feet. The Cards will have an extra day to regroup for the 49ers. That game was always big. Now it’s probably something that will determine where they go the balance of the season.
UPDATE: The Cardinals aren’t going to work out quarterback Vince Young, despite rumors to the contrary.
Tags: Adam Snyder, Adrian Peterson, Andre Roberts, Daryn Colledge, John Skelton, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Rich Ohrnberger, Vikings
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Larry Fitzgerald has had a chance to be around former President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton before — because, you know, that’s how he rolls — but the Cardinals wide receiver and a handful of teammates got a few minutes in with both Wednesday night, an experience they weren’t going to forget.
Kicker Jay Feely (who has played golf with Bush, actually), linebacker Sam Acho, wide receiver Andre Roberts and former Cards quarterback Rich Bartel all joined Fitz at the debate/speeches by the former Presidents at the Deutsche Bank Financial Summit. Before the event, for about 20 minutes, the quartet even got to sit and chat with the Presidents, talking “sports and policy,” Feely said. And also about Acho’s background.
Fitzgerald went to Africa with Clinton in the offseason to help distribute hearing aids together. The subject came up and Fitzgerald pointed out to Clinton that Acho too had done charity work in Nigeria, adding that both of Acho’s parents do the same after being born and raised there before emigrating to this country. Acho’s father became a doctor, his mother a nurse practitioner. During the “debate” later in front of a couple of thousand people, Acho said, Clinton got a question about immigration in the U.S. and used Acho’s family as a perfect example of why it is important.
“I thought that was unbelievable,” Acho said.
The evening as a whole was fantastic, Feely said, because of the exchange of ideas.
“It was great listening and learning from them,” said Feely, who has talked about his own desire about getting into politics when his football career is over. “Whether you agree with one party or the other, you can learn from people. You have tremendous amount of respect for both men for what they have accomplished. I’ve listened to a lot of debates, there have been none better than that one. It wasn’t party politics. They both said things that wouldn’t necessarily go with their party line. They talked about solutions and answers.”
Hanging out with two Presidents wasn’t a bad deal either.
“To a certain extent, it feels larger than life,” Acho said. “I told Rich, ‘Man, these guys are going to be in stone.’ Look at Mount Rushmore. Yet we were sitting at a table with them and they are normal guys. They are unique. It was so cool to be in that environment. In 20 years I can tell my kids, ‘I was at a table with these guys, and I have pictures to prove it!’”
And the Presidents have jerseys to prove it as well (h/t to Feely on the picture.)
“It was fun,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve had a chance to be around those guys on several different occasions. It was a great experience. I was happy my teammates could come.”
Tags: Andre Roberts, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Jay Feely, Larry Fitzgerald, Rich Bartel, Sam Acho
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Nothing has changed for the Cardinals’ quarterbacks. Kevin Kolb is still going to be starting, and he took up his weekly residence under the tree for his press conference Wednesday. And John Skelton is still answering questions about his ankle.
Skelton has been practicing fully for a few workouts now, but his status remains a popular topic.
Skelton figured his ankle health, percentage-wise, is in the 90s. “It’ll probably be like this for a while, until I really give it time to rest and settle down,” Skelton said. “I guess if need be, yes, I could play Sunday.” Skelton, not surprisingly, said he was frustrated. “You’re a football player, so you want to be out there playing football,” Skelton said. “Not riding bikes and in the training room and such. (But) injuries are part of the game. It’s how you come back from them, how you deal with them.”
Kolb, meanwhile, said the Cardinals’ offense remains confident even with the poor showing in St. Louis. “The plays are there,” Kolb said. “For the most part, we’ve been making them all year. We have a lot of talented guys on both sides of the ball and we have faith in them.”
– Coach Ken Whisenhunt, not surprisingly, said LaRod Stephens-Howling’s kick return duties will probably change now that the Cards need him more at running back. “It doesn’t matter to me who’s back there doing it,” Whisenhunt said, knowing William Powell and Andre Roberts can do it. “Will it affect (Stephens-Howling)? Probably it will, but if we needed him to go back there and do it I wouldn’t have any problem with that.”
For what it’s worth, the Cards’ depth chart did officially change this week, with Powell listed as No. 1 kickoff return man and Roberts No. 2, with Stephens-Howling not listed.
Tags: Andre Roberts, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, William Powell
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Maneuvering through a short week is difficult. The flip side, of course, will be Friday, and Saturday and Sunday and the extra days off. That could really benefit the Cards as banged up as they have been.
But they have to get through Thursday first. And truthfully, those benefits would feel a little bit better with a victory in St. Louis.
“(A short week) is pretty tough, but I think everyone in this locker room feels the same way – we’ve put together four decent games and are in position to be 4-0 and have an opportunity to play on national TV in front of the masses,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “I think guys are relishing the opportunity.”
I do get the sense that the vibe is better for this Thursday game than it was back in 2008, for the Thanksgiving game in Philly. Back then, it didn’t feel like anyone was relishing anything. It showed on the field. This team is in a different place. We’ll see how it plays out on the turf.
– Andre Roberts has four touchdown catches – that’s the most of any receiver in the NFL right now. He’s a long way from training camp of 2011, when every “name” receiver that popped up as available quickly was linked to the Cardinals. Roberts has become a real weapon – he has been since midseason last year – but as usual, downplays his situation.
I asked him if he thought he had crossed some kind of threshold as a player. “I don’t know if it is a threshold,” Roberts said. “I just try to make the best out of my opportunities. When it comes my way, I want to make the most of it.”
– The steady play of Kevin Kolb and the clutch play late in the Miami game obviously plays well with teammates. But it’s also about a settling of the position. That’s all the rest of the Cards ever wanted was to find a player who was effective. They don’t care if it is Kolb or John Skelton.
“I’m pleased it’s not become an ordeal in the locker room,” center Lyle Sendlein said.
– It will be interesting to see who is playing cornerback across from Patrick Peterson. Will Greg Toler stay there after finishing the game at the spot? Does William Gay, who struggled, go back? If Toler gets more time, given that Gay stayed at nickel last game when that happened, it looks like rookie Jamell Fleming will be the one losing defensive snaps. Toler was the starter last year before he got hurt. I’m sure he’d like to regain that spot for good.
– The Rams are not the same team they were. They barely lost to the Lions and had they won that game, Jeff Fisher’s bunch would be 3-1. “This team is not sitting here with aspirations of going to the Super Bowl, because I think those things are unrealistic at this time of the year,” Fisher said. “Realistic goals are improving, accepting the next challenge, and doing whatever it takes to try to win the next game.” It’d be a big feather in the cap to beat division rivals Seattle and Arizona in back-to-back home games. The Cards will be tested to make sure that doesn’t happen.
– As I mentioned before, the Cardinals could make some headway with their struggling running game. They need to. Ryan Williams figures to get more carries. St. Louis has always been a place where Cards’ runners can get healthy, stats-wise.
– Speaking of guys who pop in St. Louis, Adrian Wilson is one. Against the Rams, he has six career interceptions and 7½ career sacks. Plus he is coming off a strong game, even if his diving interception (below) was eventually eliminated. Wilson thought the Rams, in 2001, might draft him with multiple high picks. They didn’t. He remembers.
Bring on Thursday night.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Andre Roberts, Greg Toler, Jamell Fleming, Jeff Fisher, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Lyle Sendlein, Rams, Ryan Williams, William Gay
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A short week starts in as good of a way as possible. Let’s put it that way.
What do you say? Even coach Ken Whisenhunt’s opening statement acknowledged there was so many areas to correct that he wasn’t going to try and hit on them all. But the Cards won. I’m not sure how – it was hard to believe the Hartline 80-yard score wasn’t a backbreaker, and the Dolphins certainly thought it would be – but it wasn’t.
Kevin Kolb had a couple of shaky moments. But being down on the field, to see that dart he threw to Andre Roberts for the game-tying touchdown, it looks even more impressive up close. On fourth down, no less … just another step forward. No he can’t throw the end-zone pick. He knows it, Whiz knows it, we all know it. But he overcame it. So did all the Cards. Unreal.
– The Cardinals missed Darnell Dockett today, sitting with an injured hamstring, but safety Adrian Wilson returned with a vengeance after missing one game. Wilson had a team-best 10 tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, a forced fumble, three pass deflections and almost had an incredible diving interception until replay stole it from him. With everything that happened today, it’d be easy to lose sight of that performance. But you can’t.
– Patrick Peterson had a miserable night returning punts. He averaged just 4.5 yards a return. He was charged with three fumbles, two on one return (although he fortunately recovered them all). He fair-caught a punt inexplicably at his own 3-yard line, and thank goodness for Dave Zastudil it didn’t hurt the Cards.
“I was pressing a little bit today, the ball was dropping a little faster,” Peterson said. “I was trying to hurry up and get the ball in my hands and try and take off. I wasn’t patient today. I definitely wasn’t myself in the punt returns, but that won’t happen again. I told the return team, that’s my fault. We’ve got 12 more games to get to the end zone and make it right.”
– The Cards got everyone involved in the passing game Sunday. Fitz was targeted 15 times – 8 catches for only 64 yards, but a score – and Michael Floyd even had four grabs. Roberts has played excellent football, with 118 yards. Now, Kolb can’t get sacked eight times. Some of that was him holding the ball, and some was the offensive line. Rookie right tackle Bobby Massie was overwhelmed by Cam Wake in the first half, although he did better in the second half (Wake still had 4½ sacks.) Mostly, though, when there is time, I still think Kolb looks pretty good in the pocket.
– That end-zone pick, though. Can’t happen. “A terrible decision, a terrible throw,” Kolb said. He understands.
– William Gay was picked on a lot at cornerback. He stayed in playing nickel, but Greg Toler was taking snaps as the guy opposite Peterson in both base and nickel. Jamell Fleming was the odd man out in nickel.
– The flip side of the pass game: Ryan Williams doesn’t look like he is part of the no-huddle package, which the Cards used a bunch Sunday. The Cards had 15 rush attempts and, with sacks added in, 56 pass plays. Williams finished with just 26 yards on 13 carries. If you would have told me that would equate to a win, I don’t think I would’ve believed you.
– Kicker Jay Feely got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a kickoff that was downed in the end zone to start the second half. It could have been bad, but the Cards forced a punt. Feely said the Cards had planned to use him to help block on a Dolphins blocker if he was used a certain way. On a kickoff, Feely is allowed to hit the player in the back if necessary. Feely did and was flagged.
“The ref said, ‘Well it’s a touchback, you shouldn’t have done that,’ ” Feely said. “I said ‘I didn’t know it was a touchback, I was running to the block.’ I was just glad they didn’t get a score.
– That’s 500 wins all-time for the franchise.
– There were mistakes, obviously, but Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill looks like the real deal to me (and yes, I’m looking at you John the Draft Guy.)
– The Cardinals, per Elias Sports Bureau, are now 10-214-1 all-time when trailing by at least 13 points at halftime. That underscores the occasion.
– The last time the Cards came back down at least 13 points at the half was Sept. 12, 1999 at Philadelphia. Heck, that was before I was covering this team. (h/t to Mark Dalton and Randall Liu for those last two goodies.)
– Brian Hartline’s 253 yards receiving was not an all-time high for a Cards’ opponent. Anthony Allen had 255 against the Cards in 1987? Don’t know Anthony Allen? Well, he was a replacement player during the 1987 strike, crossing the picket line in that game against the then St. Louis Cardinals. He was done when the regular players returned, but actually made the Redskins the following year.
– Gotta keep propping punter Dave Zastudil. Nine punts for a net of 47.3? Seriously? So, so huge.
A wild game. Now comes a trip to play the Rams where the Cards have dominated but where the Cards usually have had a week to prepare. Not as much time now – but it’s so much easier after a win.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Andre Roberts, Bobby Massie, Brian Hartline, Cameron Wake, Darnell Dockett, Dave Zastudil, Dolphins, Greg Toler, Jay Feely, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Tannehill, Ryan Williams, William Gay
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The defense is dominant. But before we get too far away from one of the key storylines from today’s game, here’s a nod to Kevin Kolb. The quarterback keeps downplaying what it meant today to beat the Eagles, but the man is human. You can only imagine, with everything he’s been through – the guy wasn’t even going to be playing two weeks ago.
“We wanted to come out and play hard for him because we knew what it meant for him,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “He made the throws, he scrambled when he needed to and he did a great job commanding the huddle. In the huddle, he was very demonstrative. He really wanted it. He was calling guys to reach down and dig deep and make plays. He really doesn’t talk all that much in the huddle, but today, you could tell he was actually trying to motivate.”
Someone wanted Kolb to reflect on the past three games. He wouldn’t bite. “I want to stay focused,” Kolb said. “Because I’ve done it in the past, you know, tried to foresee the future and every time it comes up and knocks my legs out from under me.”
The questions are going to be there and no, I don’t know what happens at quarterback. You’d have to think Kolb will stay as the starter even if John Skelton’s ankle is healthy. I don’t anticipate any big announcement – that’s not really coach Ken Whisenhunt’s style – but that’s my guess tonight.
– There was a lot of preseason concern about how much pressure the Cards could get with their outside linebackers. O’Brien Schofield and Quentin Groves each had a sack, Sam Acho had a play that would’ve been a sack if Michael Vick hadn’t decided to intentionally ground the ball, and the three totaled six QB hits. Not a bad day’s work.
– Safety Kerry Rhodes has had two excellent games in a row. Played well in New England, and then today he looked like, since Adrian Wilson was sitting out, he was going to suddenly take up the mantle as the guy who drilled everyone. He did it back-to-back plays on tight end Brent Celek, and later tagged Vick for the James Sanders fumble return.
“Everyone else is making plays, so why not me?” Rhodes said. “I have to make a couple myself.”.
– James Sanders and Rashad Johnson stepped up in Wilson’s absence. Reminded me of last year when Johnson and Richard Marshall filled in well for Rhodes
– Daryl Washington won’t win NFC defensive player of the week, I don’t think, because Calais Campbell won it last week. But he’d have an argument after his two sacks and the way he harassed Michael Vick all day. So I’ll say this: Has a team ever looked better in a two-week stretch of re-signing two players to big contract extensions. No worries about either one flaking out after getting paid.
– The PatCat got a snap Sunday. Four-yard Patrick Peterson running loss. It can’t always be productive, I guess.
– Kolb has played two games plus the end of the other without an interception. “With our defense and our style of play, not turning the ball over is a big key,” Kolb said. “It’s OK to punt. We don’t like it, it’s never been in my game, but to have that mentality, sometimes it’s OK.”
– It was so important for Ryan Williams to bounce back like he did. Not only did his 83 yards on 13 carries look good, but it softens the blow if Beanie Wells is out. We’ll see how Wells’ toe is this week. Williams does, as Whisenhunt noted, need to grab that 3rd-and-1 pitch and just drive upfield and make sure he gets the one yard, rather than look for a big play and get stuffed.
– Speaking of stuffed, I felt back for LaRod Stephens-Howling. He was in the game with Wells down and Williams suffering from cramps, and the Eagles knew the Cards just wanted to run it into the line late and burn clock, and the Hyphen’s stats took a beating. Eight carries, minus-14 yards. Talk about taking one for the team.
– Darnell Dockett said his hamstring will be OK, but jeez, that would be a tough loss if he were to miss a game. Dockett shrugged. “Every now and then, even the Hulk gets wounded.”
– Long snapper Mike Leach recovered the Eagles’ fumble punt today, which is why you need someone athletic enough to get down in coverage at that position. It’s not just about putting your head between your legs and throwing.
– Michael Floyd, welcome to the NFL. A highlight-worthy TD catch and drawing a 15-yard penalty on DRC? Nice production.
– Fitz had a good game, but what does he tell Andre Roberts about the 50 yards Roberts lost on Fitz’s block in the back penalty that Roberts may not have even needed. Roberts ended up with a 29-yard reception instead. “I cost my closest friend on the team a 70-yard play,” Fitz lamented. Ah, after all that time Roberts spent with Fitz’s jet skis on the lake this summer, I’m sure Roberts will forgive him.
I had just turned 4 the last time the Cards were 3-0. I wasn’t living in Arizona yet, even though I’ve lived here most of my life, and their move to the Valley was a long way away. At some point, the Cardinals were going to get to 3-0 again. Raise your hand if, on Sept. 8, you thought it was going to be this season.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Eagles, James Sanders, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Michael Vick, Mike Leach, O'Brien Schofield, PatCat, Quentin Groves, Rashad Johnson, Ryan Williams
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As well as the defense played – and make no mistake, the Cards would have been in huge trouble if the defense didn’t play the way it did – the way Kevin Kolb played when he came in in the fourth quarter was clearly the story Sunday. He airmailed his first throw well over Fitz’s head in a toss that looked like every ounce of adrenaline being pumped into one pass. But after that he was sharp, everything the Cards hoped he’d be. And that was his lone drive, save for his lone kneeldown at the end. He felt like the equivalent of a comic or rapper who just had the perfect finish, and then dropped the mic and walked off stage.
Kolb certainly didn’t act that way after – “To win a game in that fashion, the way the preseason went, I’ll definitely enjoy this evening,” Kolb said – you know he has to be feeling pretty good inside. The guy is human. Any one of us criticized to the level that he’s been criticized, redemption is always sweeter.
Of course, that’ll last a week, and he’ll start in New England, a brutal test, and he’ll have to put up or shut up again. But that’s in a week. Right now, it’s good.
– Everyone wondering about the relationship between Kolb and John Skelton, people talking about Kolb blowing off Skelton when he came off the field hurt in the Hall of Fame game or Skelton somehow acting happy when Kolb made mistakes in Tennessee are just foolish. When Skelton got hurt, it was Kolb on the field crouched down with the doctors, talking to him at that moment. Again, both guys desperately want to be the starter. But it isn’t personal, it’s why Kolb was never going to be a problem as a backup, and why there was genuine happiness for Kolb’s success in the locker room afterward.
– Skelton’s ankle sprain means he’ll be down a little while, I’d think. Ryan Lindley becomes the backup in that case. You’d think they’d sign someone. It can’t be Rich Bartel – since Bartel was put on IR before being released on an injury settlement, he can’t sign with the Cards for six weeks (at least, that’s what he tweeted.)
– Kolb will need the running game. The Seattle defense is good, but for Beanie and Ryan Williams to combine for 23 yards on 15 carries? Ouch. Wide receiver Andre Roberts was the Cards’ leading rusher with his lone end-around for 15 yards. LaRod Stephens-Howling even vultured the lone touchdown with his one-yard run on third down.
– The run game is what made coach Ken Whisenhunt’s answer to a good day from the pass protection – one sack despite the fears of two new tackles – tempered. “They brought a lot of pressure today, and we didn’t run the ball good enough, so how can you judge a line?” Whisenhunt said. “Based on protection? In that they did well. We didn’t run the ball very well. We have to get that fixed.”
– It’ll be interesting to see how bad the shoulder injury is to Jamell Fleming, but Michael Adams had a very, very good game in his place. He had three tackles and three passes defensed, including a pair of impressive breakups on that final drive. “Like any other day’s work,” said Adams, who probably wouldn’t have played much other than special teams if Fleming hadn’t gotten hurt. “When your number is called, you go out and make plays. Today I was able to make plays. I’m living for today. I don’t know if I’ll see tomorrow.”
– The timeout fiasco wasn’t good. The officials admitted later they basically gave Seattle four timeouts. Here’s an explanation from a guy who knows his stuff. I fall in the it-is-what-it-is camp.
– Two sacks for Paris Lenon, his career high (and he’s below, belting Seahawks QB Russell Wilson). “I just played within the scheme,” he said. He had a very good game and showed why he is such an important cog. Daryl Washington had a very good game too, and Reggie Walker got a ton of playing time – while Stewart Bradley was relegated to special teams.
– Calais Campbell with yet another blocked field goal, after three last year. Huge Sunday, since without the block, the Seahawks are down just one late and easily kick a field goal to win (unless, of course, Campbell would have blocked that one – which is always possible.)
– Tight end Todd Heap came up huge in the winning drive, with two big catches. Larry Fitzgerald didn’t have a gigantic game, but Kolb found him twice on that drive too. Obviously the Cards want him to get the ball more often, although they were so bad in the third quarter, there were hardly any snaps.
– After Adrian Wilson’s interception, he gave the ball to Patrick Peterson for a return attempt at the end of the first half. It was a far cry from in Seattle last year, when Peterson made a pick at the end of the half and Wilson implored him to get down and not risk a fumble. Wilson seemed to have forgotten that. “I know my role, and my role isn’t a runner with the ball,” Wilson deadpanned.
That’s it for tonight. It was a grind for the Cards, but they won, and it’ll make for a much better week than the alternative.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Calais Campbell, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Adams, Paris Lenon, Patrick Peterson, Reggie Walker, Rich Bartel, Ryan Williams, Seahawks, Stewart Bradley, Todd Heap
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Every NFL team must have it roster cuts in by Friday afternoon. To be exact, by 6 p.m. Arizona time. I expect the Cardinals – and coach Ken Whisenhunt – to have announced them before, since Whiz will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. that day. Until then, though, this is a guess at how this 53-man roster shakes out.
Whisenhunt made it clear the other day that this last preseason game does matter when it comes to a spot or two on the roster, and I believe that. It means trying to approximate who will be on the roster before that last game is somewhat fool’s gold. I’m certainly not Nostradamus here. Last year, for instance, I had Ben Graham holding off Dave Zastudil for the punter job. I was very wrong. And this only holds for as long as it might take for the Cards to claim/sign a guy or two over the weekend, which would obviously change things. That always happens.
But it’s fodder to chew on until Friday, speculation upon which this time of the NFL schedule is built around. So with apologies to those I miss on, and with a nod to old school Letterman, this is only an exhibition and not a competition, so please, no wagering.
QB – (3) John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley. No, we don’t know the starter yet. But it’s hard to believe that with everything Lindley has shown as a rookie he doesn’t get the nod over Rich Bartel (who is one of the best guys you’ll meet and someday will be a very good coach.)
RB – (4) Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell. This is one of the sticking points. Powell has had a good preseason, but as I have mentioned many times, I think Alfonso Smith has as well. It may come down to how Powell looks Thursday night. Will I be shocked if Smith is the choice instead of Powell? Nope.
FB – (1) Anthony Sherman. The Sherminator running unopposed. It’s like a boring political “race.”
WR – (6) Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, DeMarco Sampson, LaRon Byrd. This is a close one, in my mind. The top four are obvious. I think Sampson has had a good camp and he can play special teams. Byrd versus Stephen Williams may just be about Byrd’s upside. I’m not sure Byrd would make it to the practice squad but — given some other positional issues, like, at say, offensive line – I’m not sure either if the Cards may try and keep just five receivers and use the practice squad for relief.
TE – (4) Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray. Given the injury history of, well, all of them, I think the Cards play it safe and keep four guys around again.
OL – (8) D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobby Massie, Rich Ohrnberger, Jeremy Bridges, Senio Kelemete. This is a very difficult one from the outside looking in. The Cards might keep nine linemen, given their . Has Kelemete shown enough, even as a draft pick? Would Nate Potter be possible given the tackle issues? Where might a free agent or waiver claim fit in? I could see Potter, D.J. Young and/or center Scott Wedige as practice squad material too.
DL (6) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Vonnie Holliday, David Carter, Nick Eason. Seems fairly cut and dried at this position, one of the few like that.
LB – (8) Sam Acho, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, O’Brien Schofield, Stewart Bradley, Reggie Walker, Clark Haggans, Brandon Williams. This is another spot that might come down to the Denver game. The backup outside linebacker spot figures to have two places for three guys: Haggans, Williams, Quentin Groves. Groves made some plays early. Williams plays some special teams and has been higher on the depth chart.
DB (10) – Patrick Peterson, William Gay, Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Rashad Johnson, James Sanders, Greg Toler, A.J. Jefferson. Usually, the Cards wouldn’t keep more than nine defensive backs, and that’s still possible. With 10, Bethel is a special teams keeper despite being a raw DB. Michael Adams is the odd man out there, but it will not shock me to see Adams stick around either and maybe someone like Jefferson out. Watching the reserve defensive backs closely in the finale, because I think that will be part of the equation.
ST – (3) Jay Feely (K), Dave Zastudil (P), Mike Leach (LS). Never should have doubted Leach’s return.
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Darnell Dockett, Early Doucet, Lyle Sendlein, Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans, Reggie Walker, Adrian Wilson, Greg Toler, Rashad Johnson, Mike Leach, Jeremy Bridges, Roster, Kerry Rhodes, Nick Eason, Paris Lenon, Jay Feely, Dan Williams, Daryl Washington, Andre Roberts, O'Brien Schofield, John Skelton, Jim Dray, A.J. Jefferson, Kevin Kolb, D'Anthony Batiste, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Williams, Rob Housler, Sam Acho, Anthony Sherman, David Carter, DeMarco Sampson, Jeff King, Daryn Colledge, Stewart Bradley, William Powell, Todd Heap, Vonnie Holliday, Dave Zastudil, Brandon Williams, Adam Snyder, William Gay, James Sanders, Michael Floyd, Jamell Fleming, Bobby Massie, Senio Kelemete, Justin Bethel, Ryan Lindley, LaRon Byrd, Rich Ohrnberger
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The Cardinals won’t have a handful of players tonight, most of whom were expected. RB Beanie Wells (knee) still isn’t ready to go, and guys who got hurt this week — CB Greg Toler (knee) and LB O’Brien Schofield (knee) most notably — are also sitting. WR Andre Roberts is not playing, but I don’t know why that is. Roberts was practicing all week. Rookie receiver LaRon Byrd unfortunately also won’t play with his bad shoulder.
The rest of the sitting list:
– CB Michael Adams (hamstring)
– RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (groin)
– FB Jared Crank (neck)
– LB Paris Lenon (ankle)
– TE Jeff King (quad)
RB Ryan Williams will indeed get his first chance to play since last season’s patella tendon rupture, 364 days since he got hurt. Williams is expected to start. That’d be a fun way to get going tonight.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Greg Toler, O'Brien Schofield, Ryan Williams
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The Cardinals put out their first official depth chart of the season today. This stuff is fluid given certain competitions, but they have to make someone No. 1 and No. 2 and so on. There are no shocking developments, but:
– Kevin Kolb is listed as the No. 1 QB right now. John Skelton is the No. 2.
– Jeremy Bridges is the No. 1 right tackle over Bobby Massie, and as I have said many many many times, I expect that to be the case for a while.
– With Jeff King still rehabbing his quad, Todd Heap is the No. 1 tight end, Rob Housler No. 2.
– Behind Fitz is DeMarco Sampson and then Stephen Williams. At the other receiver spot, it officially goes Andre Roberts, then Early Doucet, then Michael Floyd.
– William Gay is the No. 1 right cornerback across from Patrick Peterson. Greg Toler is listed as Gay’s backup, with Michael Adams listed as Peterson’s backup.
– Brandon Williams is Sam Acho’s backup, with Clark Haggans as O’Brien Schofield’s backup at OLB. Quentin Groves is behind Haggans.
– With the large roster, the only second team rookies (no starters) are LG Senio Kelemete, FB Jared Crank and Massie. (And the Cards are incredibly unlikely to keep two fullbacks.) T Nate Potter is third-string, Floyd is third-string, S Justin Bethel is third-string and, with the large amount of veteran cornerbacks, Jamell Fleming is technically fourth-string behind Gay, Toler and A.J. Jefferson (although he will be on this roster, no doubt.)
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Andre Roberts, Bobby Massie, Brandon Williams, Clark Haggans, DeMarco Sampson, depth chart, Early Doucet, Greg Toler, Jamell Fleming, Jared Crank, Jeff King, Jeremy Bridges, John Skelton, Justin Bethel, Kevin Kolb, Michael Adams, Michael Floyd, Nate Potter, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, Quentin Groves, Rob Housler, Sam Acho, Senio Kelemete, Stephen Williams, Todd Heap, William Gay
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