The Cardinals made a roster move Saturday morning, releasing safety Ross Weaver. That Weaver was cut isn’t a surprise, since he was likely going to be in the batch that was included in the first round of cuts early next week as the team gets to 75. What it does mean is that the Cardinals are down to 87 on the roster, meaning they only have to pare 12 from the roster to get to the 75-man limit.
Again, teams don’t have to get to 75 until Tuesday but with a Thursday game and a Monday practice, I expect it to be earlier than that after the Cards play Sunday night.
That short week will make for an interesting couple of days, by the way. The Cards play in Oakland Sunday night and won’t get back to Arizona before midnight, and then have a practice beginning at 1:20 p.m. Monday. Granted, the vets won’t do much since they won’t play much if at all in the preseason finale, but still, it’s a short turnaround.
Tags: cuts, Raiders, Ross Weaver, Roster, training camp
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The Cardinals ended up with two linemen today awarded on waiver claims: tackle Bradley Sowell (late of the Colts) and defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu (cut by the Steelers). The corresponding cuts were linebacker Kenny Demens (who is practice squad eligible) and cornerback Bryan McCann (which takes the Cards down to six cornerbacks).
Bringing in a nose tackle-type like Ta’amu is no surprise. The Cards had been looking for one behind Dan Williams. Adding another offensive tackle is interesting, since the Cards already have four on the roster. You have to wonder if they check out Sowell, see if he fits their bill, and then choose between him and another (Nate Potter, perhaps?) Sowell had also been used sometimes to line up as a tight end with the Colts — I’m sure in jumbo packages — so there’s that aspect. He played 10 games last year for the Colts, so offensive coordinator/O-line coach Harold Goodwin and coach Bruce Arians are both very familiar with him.
The release of Ta’amu was notable in Pittsburgh. He was a fourth-round pick in 2012 who didn’t have much of a rookie season after being involved in an auto accident after which he was placed on probation. The Cardinals now have six defensive linemen and 10 offensive linemen.
Tags: Alameda Ta'amu, Bradley Sowell, Bryan McCann, cuts, Dan Williams, Kenny Demens, Nate Potter, practice squad, waiver claim
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The other day, Bruce Arians was saying he was hoping Jonathan Cooper could come back this season. He didn’t want his first-round draft pick to be a rookie again next season. Turns out, that won’t be the case. The guard was put on the season-ending version of injured reserve Friday. Each team gets just one spot for the IR-to-return list each season, and Arians said the Cards felt it was smarter to hold it open than save it for the possibility of Cooper.
But either way, Cooper was going to be out the majority of the season. And as for the cuts Friday — the Cards still have seven moves to make, because linebacker Daryl Washington won’t count toward the 53 during his suspension — there were a couple of minor surprises. Defensive lineman David Carter was one, but he lost out in a battle with Ronald Talley. As I had noted a couple of times, Arians had turned up the compliments on Talley and his being “country strong.” It was tough not to notice. And indeed, when asked today about Carter, Arians said the strength was the difference.
“Talley’s strength at the point of attack and ability to play nose was better,” Arians said. “David has a lot of hustle, a lot of effort, but was struggling to hold the point.”
— The Cardinals still have seven defensive lineman, and there have been reports they are looking to find a nose tackle still. If that’s true, rookie Padric Scott still could be released and put on practice squad, for instance.
— Safety Tony Jefferson has been doing well in both games and practices, and the release of Jonathon Amaya probably means he’s going to stay, although Arians said Jefferson is “not through the woods yet.”
— Arians said he was “not totally, 90 percent sure” of the decision he is going to make on QB Ryan Lindley. I’ve said all along I thought he would stay, so I’m not going to change now. We’ll see.
— I found it interesting, after a training camp of talking about how inconsistent the young receivers are, Arians called both Jaron Brown and Kerry Taylor consistent. If there is a pecking order, I’d still put Brown over Taylor, and we will see what happens on the waiver wire.
— No word on Jeff King, but having knee surgery again certainly seems like King could be an IR candidate. If that came to pass, then the Cards only have six cuts to make.
— No draft picks cut yet, and with Rachal being cut it means Earl Watford is your top backup guard.
— The roster is built as of now like this: 7 DL, 11 LB, 7 CB, 4 S, 3 specialists, 11 OL, 5 TE, 5 RB, 5 WR, 3 QB. Obviously, a couple of positions seem out of balance — DL, LB, CB, OL for sure — and are places to look for the rest of the cuts. Which, according to Arians, should be done by noon Saturday.
And then we wait to see if/when/who the Cards pick up from other teams.
UPDATE: Later Friday, linebacker Reggie Walker tweeted out what sounds like his goodbye after being cut (nothing official yet):
— Reggie Walker (@Rwalk56) August 30, 2013
Tags: Bruce Arians, cuts, David Carter, Earl Watford, Jaron Brown, Jeff King, Jonathan Cooper, Kerry Taylor, Padric Scott, Reggie Walker, Ronald Talley, Roster, Ryan Lindley, Tony Jefferson
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The Cardinals have been making a few cuts here and there as camp has been going on so it’s not like they just started Sunday. But teams must get down to the 75-man limit by Tuesday and so this weekend came the first wave of massive roster changes. With it was one surprise, not so much that he was released but when. Kicker Dan Carpenter is out less than a week after arriving, solidifying Jay Feely’s spot on the team. Bruce Arians had said the kicking battle would go through the end of the preseason, but Carpenter had a field goal blocked and Kent Somers reported the Cards didn’t think Carpenter kicked well in practice.
The rest of the moves aren’t unexpected. Again, with the rosters expanding by 10 beginning with the 2011 season, most of these guys wouldn’t have even been on a team just a few years ago. The harder cuts are coming in a week, when the trim must go to 53.
The younger players will get a lot more playing time against the Broncos Thursday. The Chargers’ game was the “important” one to the starters. So it is interesting to note the play totals from Saturday. A total of 25 offensive players got at least 10 offensive plays in the game. A total of 27 defensive players did the same. Some of the names getting significant playing time are interesting. Defensive end Kenny Rowe got 19 plays. Defensive line swingman Ronald Talley, whom Arians has talked up quite a bit later, got 37 snaps. Rookie OLB Alex Okafor, who has had a quiet camp, got 27 snaps.
New wide receiver Mike Thomas only got two plays; I’d expect him to get much more time in Denver as the Cards try to decide if they should keep him. Safety Tony Jefferson, after playing well in the second preseason game, didn’t get a defensive snap Saturday.
My guess is that Arians and Steve Keim have a pretty good idea who the 53 will be (or at least, say 50 or 51 at this point).
— Oh, and because I know somebody will ask, nothing else has been said on Jonathan Cooper aside from what Arians said yesterday about the leg being broken. I’m sure we will get an update tomorrow when Arians talks before practice. That includes all the other injured players. Not sure how much starters will play Thursday in Denver, if at all.
Tags: Alex Okafor, cuts, Dan Carpenter, Jay Feely, Jonathan Cooper, Kenny Rowe, Mike Thomas, Ronald Talley, Roster
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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.)
Tags: cuts, Eddie Elder, Gino Crump, James Nixon, Jared Crank, Jaymar Johnson, Landon Cohen, Levi Brown, Marcus McGraw, Marshay Green, Paul Vassallo, Reagan Maui'a, Ricky Lumpkin, Ricky Schmitt, Thomas Clayton, Tre Gray, Zack Nash
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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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Well, obviously I was off when I was coming up with my 53-man roster. I thought Lance Long cost himself a shot, I thought Aaron Francisco was ahead of Matt Ware, and I thought the Cards would want to keep a veteran like Victor Hobson over a rookie like Reggie Walker. I thought Elton Brown was in trouble and that Melvin Fowler would topple Ben Claxton in the battle to back up Lyle Sendlein.
Nevertheless, the list is in. It’s not final by any stretch, and we’ll get a better idea of what coach Ken Whisenhunt was thinking at his 3 p.m. press conference. One thing is for sure — Whisenhunt and his staff are always looking to develop younger players. It’s the only way to survive in this league, so even if, for instance, Walker is a tad below Hobson, he’s likely got more long-term upside. This roster also clearly rewards hard work. You need talent, of course, but you see young undrafted guys like Walker, Michael Adams, Long, even Stephen Spach and you see the kind of mentality Whiz wants in the locker room.
Tags: Aaron Francisco, Ben Claxton, cuts, Elton Brown, Ken Whisenhunt, Lance Long, Lyle Sendlein, Matt Ware, Melvin Fowler, Michael Adams, Reggie Walker, Stephen Spach, Victor Hobson
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In a couple of days, the Cards and coach Ken Whisenhunt will make their final decisions on an opening day roster (or close to it), trimming another 22 players from the current squad to 53. So that means I make my annual guesstimate on who is in, who is out, and who is truly on the bubble. This is never a foolproof thing; if there is a guy or two who pops available on the waiver wire the Cards want it changes the dynamics of what can happen, and that initial 22 can grow by a name or two to bring in newbies. That certainly happened on the practice squad last year, when the Cards went shopping for new names who weren’t around during training camp.
Again, this is my opinion, based on what I have seen and heard but still my opinion. And it doesn’t factor in what happens in Denver and if a guy wows a coach or two. Or if a guy gets hurt. It’s also just about the 53; for instance, undrafted rookie LB Reggie Walker doesn’t look like he will make the 53-man roster but he’s a guy who should end up on the practice squad. (Speaking of which, * will designate some PS candidates):
Brian St. Pierre
Ben Patrick (doesn’t count against the 53 during 4-game suspension)
Tags: Aaron Francisco, Adrian Wilson, Alan Branch, Ali Highsmith, Anquan Boldin, Anthony Becht, Antrel Rolle, Beanie Wells, Ben Graham, Ben Patrick, Bertrand Berry, Brandon Keith, Brian St. Pierre, Bryan Robinson, Bryant McFadden, Calais Campbell, Chike Okeafor, Clark Haggans, cuts, Dan Kreider, Darnell Dockett, David Holloway, Deuce Lutui, Dominique Byrd, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DRC, Early Doucet, Elton Brown, Gabe Watson, Gerald Hayes, Greg Toler, Herman Johnson, Jason Wright, Jerheme Urban, Karlos Dansby, Keiien Dykes, Ken Whisenhunt, Kenny Iwebema, Kurt Warner, Lance Long, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Leonard Pope, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Matt Leinart, Matt Ware, Melvin Fowler, Michael Adams, Mike Gandy, Mike Leach, Neil Rackers, Oliver Ross, Ralph Brown, Rashad Johnson, Reggie Walker, Reggie Wells, Sean Morey, Stephen Spach, Steve Breaston, Tim Castille, Tim Hightower, Victor Hobson, Will Davis
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The Cardinals had their final preseason practice today, and most of the talk was about the upcoming final cuts, which coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged was going to be tough — to the point where a few guys they would normally hope to waive to get to the practice squad isn’t going to work because other teams will likely pick them up.
On the injury front, Whisenhunt ruled out WR Anquan Boldin (hamstring), QB Brian St. Pierre (back) and WR Early Doucet (ribs) for the Denver game Thursday night. He also said RB LaRod Stephens-Howling is still suffering some symptoms from his concussion so his status is up in the air for the Broncos game.
I’ll have more later in a posted notebook, but for now, I need to get back to training for our site re-launch, which is coming Sept. 10.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Brian St. Pierre, cuts, Early Doucet, LaRod Stephens-Howling
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The Cardinals officially made their roster moves to get from 80 players to 75, including the release of safety/special teamer Keith Lewis. Undrafted rookie tackle Brandon Pearce was the only other straight release. Linebacker Cody Brown, as expected, was placed on injured reserve, ending his season, while two players were waived/injured: LB Pago Togafau, who broke his foot against the Packers Friday, and kick returner Michael Ray Garvin, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Both Togafau and Garvin could in theory eventually be brought back to the practice squad once they have healed (assuming they aren’t picked up by another team). Lewis’ departure isn’t a shock; the Cards were overloaded with reserve safeties. They still have rookie Rashad Johnson, Matt Ware and Aaron Francisco and there remains a chance either Francisco or Ware could be among the casualties of the final cuts at the end of the week (Johnson, as a third-round pick, isn’t going anywhere). CLARIFICATION: I had a couple questions about bringing someone like Garvin back. The Cards could bring him back to the practice squad or the roster, if he actually gets an injury settlement in the next five days. In that case, he would sit however long the injury settlement is (for example, two weeks of regular-season pay) plus another six weeks. Then Garvin could be brought back.
Tags: Brandon Pearce, Cody Brown, cuts, Keith Lewis, Michael Ray Garvin, Pago Togafau
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