The Cardinals officially announced all the moves swirling around over the weekend. Veteran free agent offensive tackle Pat McQuistan was signed to a one-year deal and reserve lineman Jeremy Bridges (thumb) was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. The team brought aboard outside linebacker Jamaal Westerman via waivers. And the practice squad is filled like this:
— LB Colin Parker
— CB Larry Parker
— DT Ricky Lumpkin
— TE Steve Skelton
— OLB Ricky Elmore
— T Steven Baker
— WR Gerell Robinson
— WR Isaiah Williams
Tags: Colin Parker, Gerell Robinson, Isaiah Williams, Jamaal Westerman, Jeremy Bridges, Larry Parker, Pat McQuistan, practice squad, Ricky Elmore, Ricky Lumpkin, Steve Skelton, Steven Baker
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I don’t expect any official word about who the Cards are adding to the roster until tomorrow — including practice squad — but because of the wonderful world of social media and the internet, news has leaked out about a handful of people.
— It came out yesterday that the Cards had claimed outside linebacker Jamaal Westerman on waivers after the Dolphins had released him. Westerman, 6-3 and 255 pounds, spent the first three years of his career with the Jets, and playing all 16 games last season he had 3.5 sacks. He signed with the Dolphins in March and was recently released. The Cards needed a linebacker, because they had only three outside linebackers on the roster after cutting Clark Haggans and Brandon Williams.
— The 49ers also claimed Westerman. When they didn’t get him, they are going to sign Haggans to fill their need for a reserve linebacker. That’s an interesting turn of events.
— There still isn’t any official word on the practice squad, but because of the Twitterverse, there have been a handful of names floating out there that are supposedly going to be on the Cards’ PS (which could begin to be put together yesterday). Included are former Arizona State receiver Gerell Robinson (cut by Denver), recently released defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin and linebacker Colin Parker, and offensive tackle Steven Baker, a 6-8, 310-pounder cut by the Colts. UPDATE: As AndyStandsUp pointed out in the comments, there was also a report that former University of Arizona outside linebacker Ricky Elmore will sign to the Cards’ practice squad.
UPDATE II: Tight end Steve Skelton is practice squad-bound too.
— Quarterback Rich Bartel, who had been placed on injured reserve with a bad shoulder, tweeted out he was throwing well, had passed a physical, and was actually going to be released.
Tags: 49ers, Clark Haggans, Colin Parker, Gerell Robinson, Jamaal Westerman, practice squad, Rich Bartel, Ricky Elmore, Ricky Lumpkin, Steve Skelton, Steven Baker
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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 night practices in Flagstaff — especially the first one, which this year means the only one — always brings with it a certain vibe. It’s usually at least a week into camp. By then, the offense and defense are tired of each other. Then coach Ken Whisenhunt pulls out the live goal line session at the end of the evening, and all heck breaks loose.
After Wednesday night’s battle, linebacker Clark Haggans was succinct: “What happens at Lumberjack Stadium stays in Lumberjack Stadium.”
It’s not so much what happens but how it unfolds, with both sides yapping at each other and trash talk of the highest order. It was heated when Kevin Kolb threw a bullet into the back of the end zone that Larry Fitzgerald and Justin Bethel each got a hand on, only to have to ball pop in the air so Fitz could grab a touchdown. It went back the defensive way when fullback Anthony Sherman, on a rare carry, had his helmet blasted off by linebacker Colin Parker. And then the emotion swung to the offense again when offensive coordinator Mike Miller and quarterback John Skelton conspired to fool the world — with Miller calling the exact same play for Sherman and telling Skelton to keep it for a naked bootleg without telling the offense.
“We get the best out of each other,” said tackle Jeremy Bridges, the king of the talkers Wednesday. “We get on each other’s nerves as you can see. It’s bragging rights amongst us. But in the big scheme of things, there will be a lot of people who will feel the wrath of Birdgang this year.”
Cornerback William Gay doesn’t play in the goal line package, but he was up in the defensive unit’s face after every play, like a boxing corner man pumping up his prize fighter.
“It’s the only thing that’s fully, fully live, tackle to the ground,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “Situation like that, you can’t let the other unit get the best of you.”
“No one ever wants to lose,” Skelton said. “You want to score a touchdown every time on offense and you don’t want to give up one on defense. It’s just pride.”
There was no official winner — Kolb said Whisenhunt called it a tie — but when Bridges was asked about who won, he didn’t miss a beat. “The Cardinals.”
(And yes, video will be posted later.)
— Kolb said his quad “held up fine” — he was not limited at all — but he knew everything else took a backseat to the part at the end. “The intensity was through the roof.”
— Safety Adrian Wilson and running back William Powell each came out of the practice after what looked like some sort of leg injury for each. Neither looked serious.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Anthony Sherman, Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans, Colin Parker, Jeremy Bridges, John Skelton, Justin Bethel, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Miller, William Powell
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Before the draft, it seemed — at least, in my opinion — the Cards had three areas that most warranted help: offensive line, pass rusher and receiver. The Cards took care of the latter right away with the Michael Floyd pick. They obviously hit the line hard with three choices, including potential right tackle starter Bobby Massie. But, sticking to their board — and perhaps revealing just how much they think of their young players — the Cardinals didn’t take a pass rusher. Didn’t take a linebacker at all.
Right now, the Cards have 14 linebackers on the roster. Six could be classified as outside linebackers, seven as inside guys and Stewart Bradley as a swing guy (although obviously guys can always move around.) Three of the inside linebackers are undrafted rookies (Marcus McGraw, Colin Parker and Paul Vassallo) and one is definitely untested (Quan Sturdivant.) But one the inside, Darryl Washington is established, Paris Lenon continues to outperform everyone’s expectations and both Bradley and Reggie Walker have shown they can fill in.
But it’s on the outside that will always get the attention. Young players usually have a ton of confidence that they will do the job as long as they get the opportunity, and that’s certainly the vibe you get from O’Brien Schofield when you talk to him. Sam Acho had seven sacks after barely playing the first five games, so he seems to be a potential game-changer. Both must up their games. And then what? Will Brandon Williams, signed late last season on to the practice squad after not finding a place with the Cowboys, surprise some people? Can the Cards find a diamond among free agent Antonio Coleman or undrafted rookies Zach Nash and Broderick Binns? (Clark Haggans could also still return.)
It’s not like the Cards didn’t sack opposing quarterbacks last year. As a team, they had 42, tied for seventh in the NFL. The Cards had an NFL-best nine different guys with at least two sacks. The way defensive coordinator Ray Horton does things, pressure by committee works and is much harder for which to handle. But developing those linebackers, especially the rushers on the outside, is one of the keys to any 3-4 scheme. After passing in the draft, development will be one of the things to watch at the position.
Tags: Reggie Walker, draft, Paris Lenon, O'Brien Schofield, Ray Horton, Sam Acho, Quan Sturdivant, Stewart Bradley, Brandon Williams, Antonio Coleman, Broderick Binns, Marcus McGraw, Zach Nash, Paul Vassallo, Colin Parker, linebackers, Darryl Washington
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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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