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 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.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Bobby Massie, D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, Daryn Colledge, Jamell Fleming, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Williams, William Gay, William Powell
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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.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Bobby Massie, Chad Clifton, D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, Daryl Washington, Daryn Colledge, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Matt Leinart, Paris Lenon, Quan Sturdivant, Reggie Walker, Ron Wolfley, Ryan Williams, Stewart Bradley, Titans
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Coach Ken Whisenhunt is planning for the first-unit offensive line to start the second half in Tennessee Thursday night. That’ll give more time for work at left tackle — D.J. Young will start as expected there but D’Anthony Batiste (who will start at right tackle) will slide over there for some time as well. Whisenhunt also talked about the possibility of someone else coming in later to play tackle — there is no question the free-agent market is in play here.
The playing time thing also means that John Skelton will get many more snaps — Whiz wants to even things out after Skelton played little last week. (UPDATE: Although after further review, Skelton has played 33 snaps, Kolb 32 thus far). But Whisenhunt repeated — again — he doesn’t have a timetable for making a call on the starting QB and it might not come before the final preseason game. “I don’t think there’s any pressure” to do it next week, Whisenhunt said.
— Whiz was pleased with how Ryan Williams looked at running back (eight snaps total) and he will play more this week. It depends on how much/if Beanie Wells plays this week, although Wells is expected to be out there.
— Running back William Powell has “gotten your attention,” Whiz said. It will be interesting to see if Powell can make a real push for a roster spot.
— Whiz still wants to cut down on defensive penalties. Offensively, he’s happy there hasn’t been a lot of questions about the run game. He took that to mean the run game has been good, and I would agree at this point — especially with limited Williams and no Wells so far.
Tags: D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Ryan Williams, Titans, William Powell
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It turns out T Levi Brown tore his right triceps, coach Ken Whisenhunt said Saturday, and the rehab time is usually three months. Brown isn’t necessarily done for the season but if Brown is put on injured reserve, he is done. Nothing is official, but if Brown doesn’t go on IR, it’d be an upset.
(There is a new possible PUP list that would allow a guy to come back later in the year, and Levi would be a candidate. But it has yet to be passed by the players association so it’s not an option. If passed, a player would have to be out for at least eight weeks.)
In the meantime, The Cards will look at D’Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young and rookie Nate Potter at left tackle the rest of the preseason. Jeremy Bridges is a possibility, but Whiz said the Cards already know what he can do on that side. The team will scan the free agent list too, but there was a reason they wanted Brown back this spring, because they didn’t like who was on the market, and the markets a lot more thin now.
Tags: D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, Jeremy Bridges, Levi Brown, Nate Potter
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Not only did the Cards win a game Friday night, but there was an awful lot going on beyond just an outcome. Some very, very good. Some potentially very bad. Whatever you want to say about Levi Brown, but if he is out for an extended period of time, it bodes poorly for the Cards. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has to look at the video, but asked specifically about tackles D’Anthony Batiste and D.J. Young after the game, the first things he thought of about both were plays on which they were beaten. Batiste, who started on the right side, would be a left tackle option. So would Jeremy Bridges. We’ll see.
— The Twitterverse was counting on the quarterback situation to be resolved tonight. Nope. Whiz made it clear he wants to see John Skelton in extended time in Tennessee first. Kevin Kolb started very well, but then it got worse. Some of that was blocking, some was field position, and I know many fans don’t care about that anymore.
— Center Lyle Sendlein was asked about the idea that Skelton seems to get a little better protection. It was awkward – I’m not sure he saw the question coming – but he answered it.
“I think it’s just pure chance,” Sendlein said. “It’s nothing done differently. We don’t block harder for one guy and not try as hard for the other guy. I think situationally we were backed up with Kevin a lot. With John we had some turnovers and short drives. It’s just pure chance.”
— Speaking of Kolb, Raiders defensive end Tommy Kelly took a shot at him after the game, calling Kolb “skittish” and “scared.” “He ain’t even trying to look at the routes no more.” Interesting analysis (although I’m not 100 percent sure how a lineman working hard getting to the QB can necessarily tell that on the field.) It’s a perception Kolb is going to be fighting going forward.
— With everything going on it felt like in my story I gave rookie Justin Bethel the short shrift. All he did was block a punt and return it for a touchdown and then block an extra point, giving him three blocked kicks this preseason already. He’s made the team. That seems a certainty. My cohort Josh Weinfuss will have more on Bethel Sunday in a story he’s working on, but clearly, that kind of special teams production won’t be overlooked.
— Ryan Williams looked very good in his return. He took his hits, he broke off a 15-yard run, and he scored a touchdown – which, as usually happens, ended with Larry Fitzgerald making sure he got the ball. “I totally forgot about the football, because you’re not allowed to do that in college,” Williams said. “Larry grabbed me and hugged me and said, ‘I’m proud of you and I’m glad we got you back.’ ”
A great gesture. I am guessing the football from the first touchdown that counts will mean even more.
— Rookie CB Jamell Fleming had a rough night, with a unnecessary roughness call hitting a receiver (questionable) and a pass interference (questionable). But as questionable as they were, they still count against you.
— Safety Rashad Johnson was out of uniform by the time the game ended. Not sure if he got dinged or what the reason was.
— Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart’s return was cut short after he left needing stiches on a finger. He finished 5-for-8 for 66 yards. “It felt really good to be out there,” Leinart said. “It was kind of weird at first just to be back, but it felt good.”
— The first-team defense was much better. It needs to be. The turnovers were a good start. “We didn’t tackle well or play with any emotion (the first two games),” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “We wanted to come out here and be emotional, just play like a kid and have fun.”
OK, it’s late. Whiz said he hoped to have more info on Levi tomorrow (later today I guess, less than 12 hours).
Tags: D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, Jamell Fleming, Jeremy Bridges, Justin Bethel, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Matt Leinart, Raiders, Rashad Johnson, Ryan Williams, Tommy Kelly
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Starting left tackle Levi Brown left Friday night’s game with a triceps injury. No way to know right now how severe — he was doubtful to return — but it could be a very big deal.
The last two Cardinals I recall suffering triceps injuries were tackle Oliver Ross and defensive end/linebackers Bertrand Berry, both in 2007. Both were lost for the season (Ross got hurt in the preseason, coincidentally, against the Raiders. Berry was hurt in November.) Until official word comes down, hope remains that Brown isn’t hurt that badly. But it’s tough not to think about it.
Brown’s backup is former undrafted youngster D.J. Young, who didn’t appear in a game last season, spending all but one week on the practice squad. The team could also use Jeremy Bridges at left tackle. Bridges played there a bunch in 2009 after Mike Gandy got hurt. For all the slings and arrows Brown has endured while playing, losing him would be a big deal. We’ll wait to hear.
Tags: Bertrand Berry, D.J. Young, Jeremy Bridges, Levi Brown, Oliver Ross, Raiders
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I’m not a big fan of doing any play-by-play or recaps of practice, because in the end, it just doesn’t matter. Each play is a snapshot, with little or no context. But, with the Red-White practice tomorrow — which will basically be a series of drives, offense versus defense, with play calls like it’s a game — the Cards worked on red zone and two-minute drills today. It provided some highlights.
— Tight end Rob Housler made a couple of nice catches at the back of the end zone, one time banging into the pad on the lower upright. Michael Floyd couldn’t haul in a high jump ball in the end zone, but later in the two-minute drill caught a pass while tippy-toeing toward the sideline. DeMarco Sampson beat Greg Toler in the end zone for a touchdown.
— But on the defensive side, Patrick Peterson broke up one pass over the middle, while Kerry Rhodes managed to control a bouncing, tipped pass to finally nab it for an interception.
— Interesting that, in the two-minute drill in the defense’s dime package, the defensive backs were Rhodes and Adrian Wilson at safety, and then four cornerbacks: William Gay, Peterson, Michael Adams and A.J. Jefferson. Toler worked with the second dime unit. It’s early, but these are the things you notice.
— The second unit of the offensive line during the two-minute drill were, from left tackle to right tackle, D.J. Young, Senio Kelemete, Ryan Bartholomew, Chris Stewart and D’Anthony Batiste. Eventually, Bobby Massie was put in at right tackle, Batiste slide to right guard, and Scott Wedige at center. I’ve said it a few times, but I think the wait for Massie to start will be awhile.
— Running back Alfonso Smith blew up linebacker Sam Acho on a block during the two-minute work. Smith has worked hard to earn a spot on the team, which I think is pretty assured at this point.
— If you are coming to the Red-White, don’t forget to come early. All the details are here, but last year, there were about 13,000 fans on hand.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Adrian Wilson, Alfonso Smith, Bobby Massie, Chris Stewart, D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, DeMarco Sampson, Greg Toler, Kerry Rhodes, Michael Adams, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Rob Housler, Ryan Bartholomew, Sam Acho, Scott Wedige, Senio Kelemete, training camp, William Gay
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As Larry Fitzgerald came off the field after the first minicamp practice of the week, he shook his head. “Feast or famine for me today,” he said, not happily. It seemed like any other summer workday for Fitz, even with the one obvious drop that left him less than thrilled. But that’s Fitz, the guy who caught a pass downfield and then sprinted all the way to the end zone just to finish, even as everyone else had moved back toward the opposite 20-yard line.
In a world where everyone has highs and lows, Fitz doesn’t want any lows. Don’t know if that’s possible, but he’s clearly efforting.
— Only one guy was missing from the mandatory work, and that was defensive lineman Nick Eason, excused to tend to family issues. Offensive linemen D.J. Young (knee) and Blake DeChristopher (back) are out, and running back Beanie Wells (knee) sat too. Everyone else worked at least some.
— Rookie guard Senio Kelemete (below) returned after missing all the OTAs. He couldn’t come because school was still in session. He kept his head in his playbook while he was absent. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he’s still far behind right now, no shock as a rookie.
The Cards go back on the field this afternoon.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Blake DeChristopher, D.J. Young, Larry Fitzgerald, minicamp, Nick Eason, Senio Kelemete
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With tackle Brandon Keith gimpy with a bad ankle — he sat out last week — the Cardinals made a roster move, releasing wide receiver Jaymar Johnson (re-signing him to the practice squad) and promoting tackle D.J. Young to the active roster. I don’t necessarily expect Young to play Sunday. This might have been one of those “Here’s a pat on the back and a full NFL week’s paycheck for working so hard this season” moves.
While cornerback Patrick Peterson is hurting with his left Achilles tendon injury, the Cards could have but didn’t replace him. Maybe that’s a hope he will still play. He said Tuesday he was “50-50″ to go against the Seahawks.
The Cardinals have had some games where three receivers have been inactive, so Johnson wasn’t going to have a good chance to play anyway.
If there is any chance Peterson can play, maybe this will be a reason he should — Fox is sending play-by-play man Sam Rosen to call the Cards-Seahawks game. Rosen has called four Cardinals games already this season, and in each of them, Peterson has a punt return for a touchdown.
Tags: D.J. Young, Jaymar Johnson, Patrick Peterson, practice squad
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