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Blogs

Some notes before the rainy practice

Posted by Darren Urban on September 25, 2013 – 9:13 am

The Cardinals are heading out to their first day of practice for the week and it is going to be a very wet one. The rain has not let up.

“Anybody got a boat we can borrow,” coach Bruce Arians said to open his press conference.

In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be raining. Not like this. But Arians said the Cards will make the best of it. In the meantime, here are some notes before I head out myself and try to take a few pictures:

– The Cardinals officially put LB Alex Okafor on season-ending IR with his torn biceps tendon. LB Kenny Demens has been promoted from the practice squad. The Cards also added WR Devon Wylie to the practice squad.

– Okafor said he possibly could’ve played with the injury but decided he has too much football left in his career to risk something like that, so he decided to get it taken care of.

– NT Dan Williams will not play Sunday. His father’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

– Arians said he doesn’t plan on using any inside linebackers on the outside. We’ll see if that can hold up given the circumstances.

– The Cardinals will face a rookie QB Sunday. The Buccaneers benched starter Josh Freeman today for draft pick Mike Glennon. That should benefit this injury-ravaged defense.


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Saints aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on September 22, 2013 – 5:59 pm

In the end, Sunday felt a little like the last time the Cardinals went to New Orleans, when Tim Hightower ripped off a 70-yard touchdown run on the opening possession and you were thinking, “OK, now, this will be interesting” and it really wasn’t. The Cards were more deliberate on their first drive this time around but the result was the same, and you were thinking, “OK now …” only the offense kept sputtering. There were too many trips without points to not have it end up adversely affecting the team.

A lot of those out there jumped on the defense, but sorry, I can’t see it. Did the unit finish? No. was there still too much poor tackling, leading to bad situations? Yes. But the defense was doing its job much of the game. Jimmy Graham proved too much – I wonder if the injuries (more below) might have impacted that – but the Cards weren’t giving up anything on the ground and had mostly stumped a pretty good offense. Eventually, though, the Cards’ own offense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

Now it’s on to Florida for the week. “We need to make sure it’s (good to be away),” QB Carson Palmer said. “We need to make sure this is a crisp week. We have a chance to get back to 2-2, a chance to play against Carolina at home, a chance to get a win against a team that is struggling a little bit.

“The veterans need to make sure this is work week. We are there to work.”

– Bruce Arians was not specific about the injuries suffered by the Cardinals during the game, but he sounded grim when he said “it’s not good.” Given that three defensive starters left the game in linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (foot), safety Rashad Johnson (finger) and linebacker Sam Acho (ankle), that wouldn’t bode well. Acho tweeted out a picture of himself in a boot saying “God has a plan.” Those aren’t usually the words spoken – even for someone devoted to his faith like Acho – by a guy who might miss a week. We’ll see.

– Palmer was pressured, too much according to Arians (although the Saints have a better pass rush than I gave them credit for.)  He didn’t look sharp regardless. The first interception was just a bad throw to tight end Rob Housler, Palmer admitted.

– Alfonso Smith got off to a great start, gaining 27 yards on three carries on the first drive, including a touchdown. He didn’t get another carry and played sparingly if at all on offense the rest of the way. Andre Ellington got a ton of work again behind Rashard Mendenhall.

– In the grand scheme, it didn’t mean much but the Cards, after scoring the opening TD, allowed the Saints to get one on their own first possession. “You score a touchdown you don’t like it answered with a touchdown,” Arians said.

– Larry Fitzgerald looked OK dealing with his hamstring. Led the team in catches and yards (5-64). The week of little practice seemed to make a difference.

– Who were the two guys most brought up during the week by the Cards as the ones to watch for? Graham and Darren Sproles. Who were the catalysts for the Saints? Graham and Sproles.

– Can’t discount Drew Brees and his ability to move in the pocket. He was sacked four times but he seemed to somehow escape about four others, turning them into gains either by running or passing. Those are always gut-punchers for the defense.

– A lot of this, of course, seems pretty trivial given the horrible news about Dan Williams. Arians said the team is keeping their collective thoughts and prayers with Williams. That’s all it can really do.

That’s it from Florida. We’ll have all the coverage out here for the week as the Cards will try to bounce back against the Bucs.


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Dan Williams loses his father

Posted by Darren Urban on September 22, 2013 – 8:32 am

In sad news, nose tackle Dan Williams lost his father after Thomas Williams was killed in a car accident. Williams did not make the trip to New Orleans and will not play today. Williams’ family was driving to New Orleans from Memphis to see the game. Williams’ mother and sister were also in the car and survived.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back Rashard Mendenhall will play, as expected. With Rob Housler active for the first time, rookie tight end D.C. Jefferson will be inactive for the first time. Newcomer Alameda Ta’amu will play in Williams’ place. Rookie linebacker Alex Okafor is active for the first time this season. Also inactive today:

– LB Kevin Minter (hamstring)

– RB Ryan Williams

– QB Ryan Lindley

– T Bobby Massie

– G Earl Watford

RB Mark Ingram is inactive for the Saints.


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Dan Williams questionable with family matter

Posted by Darren Urban on September 21, 2013 – 5:15 pm

Nose tackle Dan Williams did not make the trip to New Orleans because of a family matter and so is officially listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Saints. If Williams can’t go, it makes sense that the Cardinals would make newcomer Alameda Ta’amu active for the first time since picking him up on waivers.

 


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Arians the day after

Posted by Darren Urban on September 9, 2013 – 11:29 am

Bruce Arians just met with the media, and the locker room will be open in about 10 minutes. So, before then, some quick notes:

– Left tackle Levi Brown had some technique problems and needs to play better. But Arians said he didn’t think the offensive line play was “the end of the world.” He also said on two of the sacks Brown gave up a running back should have helped with a chip and went out into the pass pattern too early. Clearly, a change is not coming. But Arians is aware of it. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the most negative thing was the pressure on the quarterback and the sacks and the turnovers,” Arians said.

– The Cardinals got out the game “clean,” Arians said, although he said tight end Rob Housler (ankle) would probably miss another game.

– He thought the defense did well in a couple of key stands, especially after turnovers. Obviously the pass rush was a problem. He said he liked the push provided up front by Dan Williams and Calais Campbell. It was hard not to notice he did not mention Darnell Dockett, who did not seem to show up much Sunday. Pass-rush-wise, Arians said too many players forgot about the proper technique like going with power moves instead of speed they might not have had. “Don’t all of a sudden go rogue” and forget your strengths, Arians said.

– Clearly Arians wasn’t thrilled with kicker Jay Feely, who not only missed the 50-yard field goal but “was poor on kickoffs.” The early squib kickoffs of Feely were not planned, Arians said. But Arians also said the Cardinals were not planning on looking at any other kickers right now. “We looked at the best kicker” available, Arians said in a reference to Dan Carpenter. It’s also notable that Feely, as a vested veteran, is guaranteed his $1.5 million salary now that he was on the roster the first week.

– Arians said the Feely miss, and the other red-zone visit that resulted in a Feely field goal instead of a touchdown, ultimately were scoring opportunities that cost the Cards the game.

– Arians talked about how the Cards had correctable problems for the most part. After the loss, he said he was “disappointed? Yes. Discouraged? Not at all.”


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Two waiver claims add offensive, defensive linemen

Posted by Darren Urban on September 1, 2013 – 2:00 pm

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.


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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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Tweet of the day

Posted by since1898 on August 20, 2013 – 6:13 pm

 

BACK TO #since1898


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No new running backs and lunch notes

Posted by Darren Urban on August 12, 2013 – 12:31 pm

The running back health is improving. Rashard Mendenhall is back to practicing fully and Andre Ellington (concussion) has been cleared but will be worked back in slowly. Ryan Williams, said Bruce Arians, remains day-to-day with his knee issues. One thing is for certain: Arians said the Cardinals are not considering bringing in another running back, so the concern for numbers there (Alfonso Smith and Stepfan Taylor are the only ones to have avoided dings) can’t be that great.

Other stuff from Arians’ presser:

– WR Jarrett Dillard has a concussion. He’s out until he’s cleared. G Daryn Colledge (leg) will practice limited today and is expected to practice fully starting Tuesday. He is champing at the bit to return after serving as Twitter analyst watching the Green Bay game from home. “That was a tough spot to be in,” Colledge said. “It was hard. I want to be out there next week against Dallas.”

– Arians said he expects DT Dan WIlliams (ankle) and TE Kory Sperry (ankle) back next week, so neither sounds possible for the game against Dallas. TE Jeff King (knee) is day-to-day.

– Is the 5-foot-9 Tyrann Mathieu big enough to play free safety in the base defense? “No doubt,” Arians said. “He plays bigger than he is and plays faster than he is.”

– Arians said rookie linebacker Kevin Minter played “extremely well.” “Sideline to sideline he was better than I anticipated,” Arians said. “He’s a thumper, exactly what we are looking for as a middle linebacker. Really bright.”

– The young receivers made mistakes about 50 percent of the time, Arians estimated. Because of that, nothing has been sorted out yet there.

– Arians had the same thoughts on the close cornerback battle, even mentioning solid play not only from Justin Bethel but Bryan McCann. It’s why Jamell Fleming, who was finally back at practice Sunday following a hamstring injury, needs to get on the field, he said.

– Arians wants to play his starters at least 20 plays against the Cowboys, but he doesn’t want them to go the full first half. He also is happy to have the Cardinals going up against a 4-3 defense for the first time after spending an offseason and a first preseason game against mostly 3-4 looks.

– As for the many mental errors, Arians admitted he was disappointed in part because he thought many would be avoided after the Cardinals essentially had the young players with their second-field practice during the offseason just so they’d get reps. “I would have bought into some of these mental errors had they not got all that practice time,” Arians said.


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Cards add another D-lineman

Posted by Darren Urban on August 8, 2013 – 2:25 pm

The Cardinals added another defensive lineman to their ailing corps, claiming defensive lineman Cordian Hagans off of waivers after he was released by the Steelers. To make room, the team cut cornerback Josh Hill. Hagans was an undrafted rookie signed by the Steelers out of Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Cards have been short on the line with Dan Williams (ankle) and Ricky Lumpkin (ankle) are out. (They had lost Everrette Thompson to an arm injury too, although he has been waived injured.)


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