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Before #CardsCamp, Keim’s notable camp signings

Posted by Darren Urban on July 19, 2017 – 10:02 am

As mentioned the other day, the Cardinals still have a vacancy on their 90-man roster. Bruce Arians, during an interview on Arizona Sports, indicated that the Cards could still re-sign veteran running back Chris Johnson, which has always been a possibility as long as Johnson remained on the market.

With all that in mind, a quick look at the notable veterans General Manager Steve Keim has signed in the days prior or during training camp while the Cardinals are at University of Phoenix Stadium:

2013 — T Eric Winston (started all season), LB John Abraham (led team in sacks), K Dan Carpenter (signed as competition to Jay Feely, lost battle.)

2014 — T Max Starks (eventually released at end of camp), DT Tommy Kelly (had a solid season as a replacement for the injured Darnell Dockett.)

2015 — TE Jermaine Gresham (has been team’s top tight end since), C Lyle Sendlein (started all season), RB Chris Johnson (played well before late-season injury.)

2016 — LB Donald Butler (released during final cuts), CB Mike Jenkins (was in line to start until tearing ACL).

Odds favor a couple more signings in this camp, necessary either because of play or injury. Whether they make a difference (see: 2016) we will see, but as always, the roster is churning.


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Catanzaro not only one to miss extra points

Posted by Darren Urban on December 8, 2015 – 10:00 am

The Cardinals have made it plain that they need kicker Chandler Catanzaro — who has missed three extra points this season — to convert the point-afters. The last two haven’t come back to bite the Cards, but they both looked like they could have (in a 26-18 win over Baltimore and a 19-13 win in San Francisco). While Cat Man does need to make those, the reality is this is exactly what the NFL was looking for when it pushed back the extra points to the equivalent of a 33-yard field goal.

This weekend, when nine extra points were missed around the league (none by Catanzaro), that notion was underscored.

Catanzaro has missed three extra points this season, but he’s not the only one. Another, in fact, is the kicker for the only team ahead of the Cardinals in the NFC standings: Carolina’s Graham Gano. (It should be noted that Catanzaro has tried the most extra points in the league at 45; Gano at 43 and the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski, who is 43-43, are the only others to try at least 40 so far.)

Jacksonville’s Jason Myers has missed six. (Not sure how he’s still employed, to be honest.) Buffalo’s Dan Carpenter has missed four. Seattle’s Steven Hauschka and Detroit’s Matt Prater — a couple of pretty good kickers — have, like Catanzaro, also missed three. A total of 14 kickers have missed at least two extra points this season.

Again, that doesn’t help the Cardinals if a missed extra point costs them at some juncture. But it’s where the NFL was headed when the rule was changed. And more will be missed.

CatMan


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Coop could come back this season

Posted by Darren Urban on August 26, 2013 – 1:20 pm

Coach Bruce Arians said today that the surgery on Jonathan Cooper’s fractured left fibula was a success and the Cardinals are holding out hope he can return later in the season. His status is yet to be determined in terms of injured reserve. The Cards will wait to make that decision until the end of preseason. They still have to make one more roster move by tomorrow to get down to the league-mandated 75.

Cooper’s best-case scenario in coming back is 10 to 12 weeks, Arians said. If he could return for the last six games or so, that would makes sense. Arians wants him to get real regular-season playing time this year if at all possible.

“We don’t want him to be a rookie again next year,” Arians said.

— To replace Cooper, Daryn Colledge will be moved to left guard. Paul Fanaika will move into the starting lineup as right guard. “(Daryn) is not as athletic as Coop, but he’s more than adequate,” Arians said of Colledge’s ability to do the job in Arians’ offense, when the left guard pulls often.

— The rest of the injuries aren’t nearly as bad. Arians described almost all of them as day-to-day, and the hope is that most will be OK by the time the Cards have to play in St. Louis for the opener. Defensive tackle Dan Williams re-aggravated the ankle he hurt earlier in camp, but he was not concerned about it. Running back Rashard Mendenhall has a knee sprain, he too is day-to-day although he won’t play in Denver. Tight end D.C. Jefferson (knee sprain) is going to try and play. TE Rob Housler has a high-ankle sprain, and is probably the most questionable of the bunch. WR Andre Roberts (quad) and LB Matt Shaughnessy (ankle) are “fine.”

— Arians said he cut K Dan Carpenter because he didn’t like the way he was kicking. Penetration was not a problem on Carpenter’s blocked field goal, Arians said — which leaves it to be too low of a kick by the kicker.

— Starters will probably play Thursday, but not much. QB Carson Palmer may not play, however.

— RB Ryan Williams will get the bulk of the work against the Broncos. Arians had no comment on the report the Cardinals were “shopping” Williams. “I’m shopping him as far as getting me some groceries,” Arians said with a smile.


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Cuts begin with Carpenter

Posted by Darren Urban on August 25, 2013 – 5:42 pm

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.


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Chargers aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 25, 2013 – 12:22 am

Ugly doesn’t even begin to describe what happened to the Cardinals Saturday night. If the Cards could have only left it at the stadium. If only a bad night for special teams or dropped passes or anything like that was the worst that happened.

But the long list of injuries the Cards had been avoiding – they only had five guys not able to play coming into the game, for goodness sake, and frankly, only Jeff King was among those guys who have a shot at the roster – came back hard. The most devastating is Jonathan Cooper’s broken leg. Here’s the guy who was drafted to jump start an offensive line resurgence. And now he could be out for the season.

There are lots of ways to look at this and we won’t know exactly what can happen with Cooper yet. There are options to put him on short-term, bring-’em-back IR if the prognosis goes the right way. But that doesn’t make it any easier to replace him. Do we get more Chilo? Do we get a Paul Fanaika-Daryn Colledge guard combo? Bruce Arians isn’t sure yet. There will be much brainstorming tomorrow, I am sure. But it hurts.

“To see a guy like that go down, a young guy trying to go out there and prove himself, that’s always hard,” Colledge said. “Especially with an offensive line that lost a lot of guys last year. We’re used to this, but it’s always hard to see a friend and a teammate go down. I know it hurts him. I know he’s probably emotionally distraught right now.”

— It can’t be easy for Cooper. It might not be easy for the Cards. MRIs are coming for all the other injuries, but the offense alone saw Cooper, Rob Housler (ankle), Andre Roberts (quad) and Rashard Mendenhall (ankle) leave the game. Scary.

— As for the game, not good. The Rashad Johnson lateral was bad. Funny, Arians actually praised the lateral linebacker Jasper Brinkley made to Patrick Peterson earlier in the game following an interception, saying it was a legitimate choice. Johnson’s lateral? “Absolutely asinine.”

Johnson knows that. He was upset after a pass interference call on teammate Jerraud Powers a couple of plays before and let his emotions ride the moment. “I just felt like we needed to make a play, which we did, instead of thinking of the situation we were in and playing smart football,” Johnson said. “Coach is always talking about ‘Cardinals beating Cardinals.’ That was a big Cardinals-beating-Cardinals play.”

— Powers was hit with three pass interference flags. He said he felt a couple of them shouldn’t have been thrown, but took responsibility for not adjusting to the way the officials were calling the game.

— Ryan Williams said he was “fine” after a pair of carries (for 10 yards) and a catch in his first preseason action of the season. I thought he looked aggressive for what little time he got. He needed to be. With Alfonso Smith coming out and looking good as Mendenhall’s backup, this running back battle is very interesting. Could the Cards keep five?

— Not a good night for the tight ends. Housler dropped a touchdown (Arians didn’t seemed all that concerned about it), while Kory Sperry and D.C. Jefferson also had drops. Jefferson’s miss ended up an interception.

— Not a ton learned in the kicking battle, since neither got much opportunity. Dan Carpenter had a field goal blocked on what looked like protection issues. Jay Feely made an extra point. Feely had both kickoffs.

— Arians wasn’t overly critical of Levi Brown’s play against Dwight Freeney because, well, it was Dwight Freeney. Nate Potter had his own issues, so it’s not like there is someone there that would step in.

— Michael Floyd made a nice catch in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.  Larry Fitzgerald’s one-handed catch to start the game was amazing. Other than that, a night to forget.


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Financial kicker in position battle UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2013 – 10:27 am

UPDATE: Carpenter’s 2013 salary is indeed lower($715,000 according to the NFLPA website), but an NFL source said he has bonuses significantly raise his price, essentially doubling his salary. Carpenter would make $75,000 for making the team, and another $40,000 every game he was active kicking — which translates into more than $1.4 million for the season if he were to kick all 16 games without adding in other potential incentives. That would make the financial comparison to Feely a wash, and clearly take that part out of the equation.

Bruce Arians said he wanted to have Dan Carpenter kick the first half on Saturday and Jay Feely the second half, assuming the opportunities pan out. This is a kicker battle that will go through the preseason finale in Denver, he added. That isn’t a surprise.

But as everyone knows, there are sometimes other factors besides performance that play into position battles. We already know the age difference (Feely is 37, Carpenter is 27). There is a chance money could play into this one. Considering Carpenter apparently had some options with where to sign, GM Steve Keim again seemed to come out ahead in Carpenter’s one-year deal. According to overthecap.com, Carpenter is set to make a salary of $725,000 and got a roster bonus of $110,000. Meanwhile, Feely is scheduled to make $1.5 million. If released, Feely would cost $250,000 of dead space, so the Cards come out ahead and certainly, it would save in some actual dollars spent.

And if Feely stays, it only costs the Cards $110,000 of dead money for Carpenter, which is easily digestible. That too is a scenario that could happen

The Cards have about $6.1 million in salary cap space, according to the most recent update by the NFLPA. That will morph after the cut to 53, since right now the only cap numbers counted are the top 51 and dead money. After final cuts, teams have to account for all 53 plus practice squad, injured list and dead money.

— Apropos of nothing, check out this insightful peek inside Bruce Arians’ offensive meeting from an OTA this summer, courtesy of Peter King. A great read.


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Peterson hits 60 offensive plays; Williams returns

Posted by Darren Urban on August 22, 2013 – 12:04 pm

Patrick Peterson has talked about playing offense before. At this point, it’s no secret. But the Pro Bowl cornerback revealed Thursday the number of plays in the Peterson offensive playbook has grown to 60.

“I didn’t know it was going to be this many,” Peterson said with a smile. “I am definitely getting my workload.”

But Peterson said he was on board with all the offensive work and relishes the chance. “The thing that intrigues me about the plays I am in there, I don’t go in just to get the ball. I can be in there as a decoy,” Peterson said. “I can be there to open up the field for other guys, to take the top off the coverage. That’s what I love about it most.”

Peterson knows the first concern would be that extra offense would take away from his defensive play. He insisted — multiple times — that wouldn’t be the case. “I’m positive,” he said. He referenced playing against St. Louis as a rookie, when the Rams ran a receiver on a go route three straight plays on him. On the fourth play, Peterson took back his famous 99-yard punt return.

Offensively, Peterson is “getting very comfortable. There are definitely things I can still learn. Playing offense on this level is very difficult from college and high school. There is a lot more terminology, a lot more reading, a lot more alignments, especially in this offense.”

— Coach Bruce Arians said RB Ryan Williams (knee) and TE Jeff King (knee) will both practice today. Obviously, it’s big news for Williams, who has been out since coming off the field with a sore knee July 28, the first Sunday of camp. Arians said both Williams and King could play against the Chargers Saturday depending on their practice, but it both cases it would seem like a long shot.

Williams is running out of time to show he deserves to be on the roster, which he has spoken about before (he was not available this morning.) Today would seem to be a big deal. King is in the same boat. King said the hardest part for him has been sitting out practice and watching his teammates because he misses the game. But he added he understands the livelihood component too.

“Anytime you miss time or a play … when I was a rookie (in Carolina) I had (offensive coordinator) Dan Henning, and he was cut from the same mold as Bill Parcells,” King said. “If you missed any time, you knew about it. Bruce has been great, but believe me, I know time is ticking.”

— The only other main injured guy right now is DE Frostee Rucker (toe).

— Arians said the kicking plan for the game is to have Dan Carpenter kick the first half and Jay Feely the second, “depending on the opportunities.” The kicking competition will go through the end of the preseason, Arians added.

— The game Saturday is officially a sellout. It will be broadcast live on ABC-15 locally.


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Feely ready for competition with Carpenter

Posted by Darren Urban on August 21, 2013 – 8:39 am

The Cardinals are about to sign free agent kicker Dan Carpenter, as first noted by Adam Schefter (nothing official yet from the team, but a player usually has to pass his physical and sign his deal before that happens). It’s not a surprise that Jay Feely would get some competition. Bruce Arians wasn’t happy with the short missed field goal the other night and there has been some talk Feely’s kickoffs aren’t always deep enough (although he seemed to do fine there against the Cowboys.)

Kicking in Arizona is an attractive option, given the weather and mostly indoor facility. Certainly Carpenter, who has kicked his whole career in Miami, is used to nicer weather. Still, the Packers want a kicker too. You have to wonder exactly what Carpenter was told about the situation here and Feely’s place to convince him to sign with the Cards. Was it just that this is wide open? It will be interesting to see how they break down opportunities in the next two games too.

Feely made 4-of-5 field goals last week, including a 53-yarder. He made a higher percentage of field goals last year than Carpenter. Carpenter is 10 years younger, so maybe that’s a factor. We’ll see how this plays out. The last time the Cards brought a veteran special teamer late in camp to challenge another veteran, Dave Zastudil ended up suddenly taking Ben Graham’s job at punter.

I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone either the fact that, when Carpenter, as an undrafted rookie, won a kicking job in Miami in 2008, the veteran he beat out was Jay Feely.

UPDATE: Bruce Arians wouldn’t comment because the news is yet to be official. Feely did talk about it.

“I’ve had competition my whole career and there’s competition whether someone is here or not,” Feely said. “You are always competing against every other kicker in camp and even guys who aren’t in camp. I’ve been there myself. This doesn’t change anything for me. I’m comfortable with what coach Arians told me and I will keep competing. I am happy with where I am at right now and progressing to get ready for St. Louis.”

Feely did not get into details of what he and Arians spoke about, but said he embraced the competition.

“I am proud of my performance over the last four years,” Feely said, noting that he was third in the NFL in field-goal makes over 47 yards the last four years, fifth in percentage at that distance and fifth in percentage from less than 47 yards. “I am happy with how I have performed the last few years and happy with my training camp so far.” Feely said he made a 57-yard field goal in practice Tuesday.

Feely called his 30-yard miss against the Cowboys “dumb,” saying he rushed it and should have just taken a delay of game to set himself. But he added he thinks his progression has been good in camp, including the last 10 days.

“I’ve been around long enough to know the job of management is always to get better,” Feely said. “To try to find someone who is better on the roster and your job as a player is to prove to them you are the best option.”


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Cards cut three

Posted by Darren Urban on August 19, 2013 – 10:17 am

The first official roster cutdown doesn’t come until next weekend, after the Cardinals play their third preseason game against the Chargers, but they released three players today: center Kyle Quinn, guard Scott Wedige and kicker/punter Will Batson. That brings the roster to 87. That first cut has to be to 75, so there may not be any hurry to fill those slots. Then again, allowing Batson to go might open the possibility of bringing in another kicker for the last couple of preseason games. Bruce Arians wasn’t happy Jay Feely missed a 30-yard field goal against Dallas — although Feely knocked home a 53-yarder — and there’s always a chance at competition.

It’s been a tough run for vet kickers of late, with Miami cutting Dan Carpenter and Buffalo cutting Rian Lindell. In both those situations, though, the team already had a young kicker in place who was competing. Batson was never going to unseat Feely. A change might be unlikely, but the Cards did make a special teams move at the end of the 2011 preseason, surprisingly bringing in Dave Zastudil late to go against incumbent punter Ben Graham. Zastudil ended up winning the job.


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