The key point anytime a team gets to the 53-man roster on final cuts is this: It’s never quite the final roster. That’s something to keep in mind when looking over the Cards’ cuts today, which leaves an unbalanced roster for now.
The team decided not to move tackle Levi Brown off of injured reserve, leaving 22 cuts to be made:
Injured reserve — RB Javarris James (knee), QB Rich Bartel (shoulder)
Waived-injured – LB Brandon Williams (shoulder), WR Stephen Williams (Achilles)
Released – CB Crezdon Butler, LB Antonio Coleman, S Blake Gideon, LB Clark Haggans, G Russ Hochstein, DT Ricky Lumpkin, LB Colin Parker, CB Larry Parker, WR DeMarco Sampson, TE Steve Skelton, RB Alfonso Smith, LB Quan Sturdivant, DE Ronald Talley, DE Everrette Thompson, TE Martell Webb, C Scott Wedige, WR Isaiah Williams, T D.J. Young.
So this is what we get out of this:
— The Cardinals cut Sampson and Stephen Williams, leaving five receivers and undrafted LaRon Byrd (pictured below) as No. 5.
— OLB Quentin Groves makes the cut but both Clark Haggans and Brandon Williams are out – you’d have to think another linebacker is on the way.
— Right now, the Cards have 11 defensive backs and nine offensive linemen, and you figure one or the other, if not both, will be trimmed down. All three OL draft picks are on the squad right now. The defensive backs will have to come down if you are looking for a place to cut to add at another position. In my guess at 53, I had guessed six WRs and eight OL, and the Cards took one from receiver to add to the line. And they took one of eight linebacker slots and added it to the 10 defensive back spots, so I was kind of close. We’ll see how it shakes out.
— Running back William Powell indeed makes the team too.
— This group probably won’t be the exact group that hits the practice field Monday. That’s the cold reality of the NFL.
Tags: Alfonso Smith, Antonio Coleman, Blake Gideon, Brandon Williams, Clark Haggans, Colin Parker, Crezdon Butler, D.J. Young, DeMarco Sampson, Everrette Thompson, Isaiah Williams, Javarris James, Larry Parker, Levi Brown, Martell Webb, Quan Sturdivant, Rich Bartel, Ricky Lumpkin, Ronald Talley, Russ Hochstein, Scott Wedige, Stephen Williams, Steve Skelton
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The Cardinals avoided overtime Thursday night (thank goodness). And now the fun begins.
Final cuts are in a matter of hours, coach Ken Whisenhunt will have a press conference at 2 p.m. Arizona time. So, in the interest of getting some sleep, some highlights and thoughts from the preseason finale to tide you over until the real news tomorrow (which should be cuts and possibly could include a starting QB choice):
— Injuries probably didn’t make roster picks, but they might have cemented them. Rich Bartel was 4-for-5 before leaving with a right shoulder injury, although the way rookie Ryan Lindley performed, Lindley was probably always going to be the pick. He’s got a lot of upside. If Javarris James was in the mix at all at running back, that ended when he tore his ACL on Omar Bolden’s 103-yard kickoff return. That’s just unfortunate.
— If I had to do my 53-man roster over, I might change a couple of things. Or at least seriously consider it. Now I’m finding it hard to believe outside linebacker Quentin Groves doesn’t stick around. The other backup outside linebacker choice then would come down to Clark Haggans or Brandon Williams. In the secondary, undrafted rookie Blake Gideon got a ton of playing time, and while Rashad Johnson and Adrian Wilson sat out, I start to wonder if Gideon could have a chance to slip on the roster, in place of Johnson, maybe? And there is little question there is a decision coming between A.J. Jefferson, Greg Toler and Michael Adams. There will be some drama tomorrow.
— Ryan Williams did not play as Whiz took a long look at both William Powell and Alfonso Smith as they battle for a roster spot. Powell had 18 yards on nine carries, Smith five on five, and neither really stood out Thursday (although Powell did have a nice kickoff return late.)
— I thought Beanie Wells looked very good in his start. He had 35 yards on seven carries, although he said he needs to get better. “I have to get my leg drive and get my feet under me,” Wells said.
— LaRon Byrd had a couple of nice grabs among his three catches for 47 yards and if he didn’t solidify his spot, it’ll be because the Cards only keep five receivers. But if they keep six, he’s in, I’d think.
— Michael Floyd had an amazing touchdown catch for his first in the NFL. Ball bouncing around, Floyd grabbing it while he was hanging parallel to the ground and holding on as he crashed to the turf. “That was a much more acrobatic circus catch than I ever could have made,” fellow wideout Larry Fitzgerald said. Methinks Fitz is a bit modest, but no matter. It was a great play.
— The Cards have to be thrilled with what Lindley showed, especially for a rookie and a guy they picked in the sixth round. He had a couple of clunkers (although his one interception was a mistake by receiver Isaiah Williams, who didn’t pick up a checked call at the line, and the other pick was called back with a penalty). Bhe threw the TD and threw some darts and maneuvered the Cards to a late tying drive thanks to a 56-yard bomb to Williams (pictured below). The Cards couldn’t get it in the end zone, but again, Lindley looks like he has a potential future.
— Lindley had some decent protection early with the starting offensive line (although rookie right tackle Bobby Massie did have a couple of hiccups on an early drive with a holding penalty and to get beat for sack.) Will I be surprised to see the Cards pick up an offensive lineman via waivers as teams cut? Absolutely not.
— Whisenhunt said the Cardinals haven’t ruled out using the new IR rule – which allows players with major injuries to return later in the season without taking up a roster spot – on tackle Levi Brown. The Cards will talk more about Brown’s prognosis to return. The decision has to be made by Friday afternoon.
In fact, most of the news will come down Friday afternoon. So with that, I’ll say goodnight.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Adrian Wilson, Alfonso Smith, Beanie Wells, Blake Gideon, Bobby Massie, Brandon Williams, Clark Haggans, Greg Toler, Javarris James, LaRon Byrd, Levi Brown, Michael Adams, Michael Floyd, Quentin Groves, Rashad Johnson, Rich Bartel, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Williams, William Powell
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It’s a story told many times: Man is in man coverage, man sees tight end stay into block, man reads quarterback’s eyes. End-zone interception.
OK, maybe not many times. And it certainly hadn’t been told on the NFL level yet for undrafted rookie safety Blake Gideon before the preseason opener. But Gideon did all that, making a pick that — for a guy well down on the depth chart — can hopefully garner some much needed attention. But he, and all the other players fighting for spots need more.
“When you make those plays, it gets you a gold star in your box, but you have to keep getting those,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “This league is about consistency, and being able to do it all the time.
“It does get the attention. You’re like, ‘Wait a minute, Blake Gideon, great read, good interception, big time in thegame.’ Can he consistently do that? He’ll get more reps now because you want to see what he can do.”
Gideon knows. “You are trying to do something to stand out,” he said. “Whenever it comes time for the roster to be reduced, if something about you stands out, coaches will be thinking about you. I made a couple of plays. Now it’s being consistent with it. There are four more preseason games.”
The reps are so few and far between in practice for a guy like Gideon or receiver LeRon Byrd, another undrafted prospect, that there are plenty of times in games where they encounter a situation that they simply haven’t had a chance to rep out in practice. Making a memorable play for Gideon is about more than just getting props from teammate and fellow former Texas Longhorn Lyle Sendlein (pictured below).
Whisenhunt said he never quite gets to see the lower-tier players as much as he wants. “You go into games and think you will play players a certain amount of plays and think you’ll get a chance to look at a lot of guys maybe you wouldn’t see in a normal situation and then things change,” Whisenhunt said. Practice is better the coach said, because it’s more structured, but again, with 90 guys in camp, reps are limited.
That’s why a signature play — or two — is necessary.
Tags: Blake Gideon, LeRon Byrd, Lyle Sendlein, training camp
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There was plenty of pre-draft talk about Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict and where he might land (and for those who don’t know, Burfict was the one-time first-round candidate who ended up going undrafted and signing with the Bengals.) But for all of Burfict’s hype, many thought he wasn’t even the best linebacker at ASU. That nod usually went to Colin Parker, who was one of 17 undrafted rookie free agents the Cards came to terms with:
- WR Stanley Arukwe, Troy
- LB Broderick Binns, Iowa
- WR LaRon Byrd, Miami
- G Braeden Clayson, Idaho State
- FB Jared Crank, Purdue
- G Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech
- DE Tevita Finau, Utah
- S Blake Gideon, Texas
- WR Tre Gray, Richmond
- LB Marcus McGraw, Houston
- LB Zach Nash, Sacramento State
- CB James Nixon, California (Pa.)
- DE Conrad Obi, Colorado
- LB Paul Vassallo, Arizona
- C Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois
- WR Marc Wilson, St. Anselm
And, of course, Parker from ASU.
The list is heavy on linebackers, not a shock after the team did not draft one this past weekend. The number brings the roster total to
85 86 (since apparently I can’t add 69 and 17), leaving five four spots still open for additions, whether they are veterans or otherwise. Because of the rookie minicamp in two weeks, the Cards will also be bringing in a handful of other young players for tryouts, making sure they have enough bodies to run the practices and taking a looksee at some guys.
Tags: Blake DeChristopher, Blake Gideon, Braeden Clayson, Broderick Binns, Colin Parker, Conrad Obi, draft, James Nixon, Jared Crank, LaRon Byrd, Marc Wilson, Marcus McGraw, Paul Vassallo, Scott Wedige, Stanley Arukwe, Tevita Finau, Tre Gray, undrafted rookie free agents, Zach Nash
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