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.
Tags: Alfonso Smith, Andre Ellington, Cowboys, Dan Williams, Daryn Colledge, Jarrett Dillard, Jeff King, Kevin Minter, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Tyrann Mathieu
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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.)
Tags: Cordian Hagans, Dan Williams, Everrette Thompson, Josh Hill
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Cardinals, Dan Williams, National Football League, NFL, Padric Scott
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Nothing super exciting today, other than a chance to talk to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter on the Cardinals Daily Report (below). But here are some notes and observations:
– Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Tyrann Mathieu forced a fumble, punching a ball lose after a catch by tight end Jeff King. It’s going to be very interesting to see him in games because over the last week or so, Mathieu has been a playmaking machine.
– We’ve mentioned Jaron Brown, Charles Hawkins and Robert Gill as receiving options, and after the depth chart came out it was clear Kerry Taylor had made inroads as the No. 4 receiver. Someone who hasn’t been mentioned (and I will admit I didn’t think we would be) is recent rookie signee Robby Toma out of Notre Dame. He’s not big, he’s not real fast. But it’s tough not to notice him catching almost every pass thrown to him.
– Veteran safety Yeremiah Bell made a very impressive diving interception — he fully laid out to grab it — against Ryan Lindley. Who says being 35 has to hinder athletic plays?
– (By the way, both the Bell pick and the Mathieu play are caught in today’s highlight package you can see here.)
– Bell said he hadn’t expected QB Ryan Lindley to throw the pass. It’s been a rough stretch for Lindley, and now Arians is talking about keeping only two QBs. It’ll be very interesting to see how Lindley does in preseason games.
– Drew Stanton did hit Andre Roberts with a long touchdown pass at one point.
– RB Andre Ellington left practice early on Tuesday with what looked like some sort of neck issue. It didn’t look serious (he walked off the field fine) but he did not return.
– Those sitting included DT Ricky Lumpkin (ankle), RB Ryan Williams (knee), LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), G Daryn Colledge (leg), WR Robert Gill (hamstring), WR Kerry Taylor (hamstring), TE Kory Sperry (ankle), CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Alex Okafor (ankle), DT Dan Williams (ankle) and LB Kenny Demens (not sure on his injury).
– Just when Arians was asked about a lack of scuffles in camp, there was a scuffle. Guard Scott Wedige and defensive end Ronald Talley got into it a little bit after one play, but teammates quickly broke it up. Perhaps they were all warning the pair about Arians’ rule against camp fights.
– Officially John Abraham is listed third on the depth chart at linebacker. But as proof as why the depth chart is dangerous, Abraham — as he has been since he showed up — is running first unit nickel as the right side pass rusher. Matt Shaughnessy is on the left, with Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell in the middle. The linebackers are Reggie Walker (with Dansby out) and Jasper Brinkley. The corners are Patrick Peterson and Antoine Cason on the outside, with Jerraud Powers as nickel slot. Bell and Rashad Johnson are the safeties.
– Random note: Prior to Tuesday’s roster moves (which are unlikely to impact the salary cap anyway), the Cardinals had $5.76 million in salary cap space.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Andre Ellington, Antoine Cason, Calais Campbell, Charles Hawkins, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Daryn Colledge, Jamell Fleming, Jaron Brown, Jasper Brinkley, Jerraud Powers, John Abraham, Karlos Dansby, Kenny Demens, Kerry Taylor, Kory Sperry, Matt Shaughnessy, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Reggie Walker, Ricky Lumpkin, Robby Toma, Robert Gill, Ronald Talley, Ryan Williams, Scott Wedige, Tyrann Mathieu, Yeremiah Bell
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The Cardinals have four quarterbacks on the roster right now. It’s possible, Bruce Arians said, they could end up with just two.
Carson Palmer is the unquestioned starter. Drew Stanton is the unquestioned backup. And reality is Ryan Lindley is the third-stringer — Caleb TerBush isn’t really in the mix — unless Arians and the Cardinals go in another direction. Arians has been on teams “for a number of years” that have kept just two quarterbacks on the roster. He’d do it again.
“If it comes down to Ryan and another guy at another position, we’ll determine what’s more valuable to our football team at that time,” Arians said. “We’re going to keep the best 53.”
The Cardinals and Ken Whisenhunt tried it in 2007. That backfired. Matt Leinart broke his collarbone against the Rams five games into the season, and the team signed Tim Rattay to back up backup Kurt Warner. Then Warner had Julius Peppers fall on his left elbow early in the very next game, forcing Rattay on the field with just a couple of practices. Warner managed to play the rest of the season with a brace, but it was an issue that convinced Whisenhunt never to have fewer than three QBs on the roster going forward.
As for other current Cards’ news and notes:
– DT Ricky Lumpkin has a low ankle sprain, another blow to the ailing defensive line. Arians said the Cardinals will sign a defensive lineman or two, which are necessary with Lumpkin, Everrette Thompson and Dan Williams all out right now. ‘We’ll get a couple fresh bodies and coach real hard for two days,” Arians said. “We’ll see how good of a coach Buck (Brentson Bucker) is.”
– LB Daryl Washington missed the walkthrough while attending his latest court date for his assault case. He returned soon after and said nothing yet has been resolved and his next court date is set for October.
– RB Rashard Mendenhall will be back at practice. G Daryn Colledge will not play against the Packers. Arians said most injured guys are questionable. He still has hope that LB Karlos Dansby and WR Kerry Taylor (hamstrings) could play in Green Bay.
– Center Deveric Gallington, tweeted out he was going to sign with the Cardinals. The Cards have been searching to find more center depth. Gallington was an undrafted rookie out of Texas Tech who spent some time this offseason with the Raiders.
– The Cardinals, surprisingly, haven’t had one scuffle — or even had a hint of a scuffle — all through camp. It was suggested to Arians it could be air-condition-related. Arians smiled. “I do all the scuffling,” he said. More seriously, “We have a no fighting policy,” Arians said. “We don’t play the Cardinals. Normally you still have a (fight). I would think (being) outside it would draw more of that heat.”
Tags: Caleb TerBush, Carson Palmer, Dan Williams, Daryl Washington, Deveric Gallington, Drew Stanton, Everrette Thompson, Karlos Dansby, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Taylor, Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, Rashard Mendenhall, Ricky Lumpkin, Ryan Lindley
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It’s hard not to notice Patrick Peterson on offense (I’ll have more tomorrow on the subject). Every day there seem to be more plays using the Pro Bowl cornerback on that side of the ball. Friday, he caught a long bomb from Carson Palmer over Tyrann Mathieu and later completed a pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer said the Cards actually have a “pretty big package” in for Peterson on offense, and it certainly looks that way. Why not? He’s that good.
“If he wasn’t playing corner he’d probably be just as good of a receiver, H-back or Percy Harvin-type player,” Palmer said.
We all know Peterson doesn’t mind. The only concern would have to be Peterson getting tired playing so much offense when he’s needed on defense. Who knows, maybe that’s why GM Steve Keim collected so many experienced cornerbacks in the offseason — he wanted to give Peterson some leeway to get a blow if needed.
– OK, maybe I don’t think that’s why the Cards have their cornerbacks. Peterson is going to be on the field on defense, don’t worry.
– Palmer reiterated he’s still learning a good chunk of the offense, but it will come. He wanted to come to Arizona in part to learn Bruce Arians’ offense (check out this story here) and embraces the challenge of learning yet another new scheme after going through a couple between Cincinnati and Oakland the past few years.
“I’m very comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Palmer said.
– Along with Darnell Dockett, K Jay Feely was also absent from practice because of a personal reason.
– RB Rashard Mendenhall was fully dressed out for practice but for a second straight day was very limited, spending much of the time on a bike. The rest of the injury list remained static: G Daryn Colledge (calf), TE Kory Sperry (ankle), RB Ryan Williams (knee), CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Alex Okafor (ankle), NT Dan Williams (ankle/knee), TE Alex Gottlieb (hamstring), WR Robert Gill (hamstring) and TE Jeff King (knee.) (My mistake, I forgot LaRon Byrd, out with a concussion.)
Tags: Alex Gottleib, Alex Okafor, Carson Palmer, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Daryn Colledge, Jamell Fleming, Jay Feely, Jeff King, Kory Sperry, LaRon Byrd, Patrick Peterson, Rashard Mendenhall, Robert Gill, Ryan Williams
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It turns out nose tackle Dan Williams sprained his ankle and sprained his medial collateral ligament during practice Thursday, and while it will keep him out a few days, it isn’t serious and won’t require any kind of surgery — which, not surprisingly, brought a sigh of relief to Williams.
“I’m thinking torn something, ACL, that’s the first thing that came to my mind,” Williams said. “Besides the pain, I just started praying it wasn’t too bad. … I probably at first overreacted but once we got the MRI (results), I was relieved. I’m glad I’ll still be able to play this season.”
Williams actually took some of the blame on the play (below) because he said he was playing “too high.” Coach Bruce Arians said the ankle will actually need a little more time than the MCL. Williams said he wasn’t sure if he’d be available for the first preseason game in Green Bay. David Carter is expected to slip into Williams’ spot for now, although Arians said he will continue to shuffle multiple players.
“(Dan) has been having a great camp, running to the ball, putting pressure on the middle of the pocket,” Arians said. “He has been playing at a Pro Bowl-level at this camp. I would expect this not to set him back much.”
– RB Ryan Williams won’t be back yet. Williams said he is dealing with what he described as an “irritation of the fatty pad below the patella tendon.” It’s a normal issue, Williams said, noting teammates like Yeremiah Bell, Carson Palmer and Dave Zastudil have dealt with it in the past. His knee is fine. But Williams said rest is the only way to resolve the irritation and he does not have a timetable for a return.
– LB Karlos Dansby has a mild hamstring strain, and LB Alex Okafor has a sprained ankle.
– Arians said he thought the defense Thursday had “their best day but their worst day mentally.” Safety Tyrann Mathieu not only had two interceptions but punched out a fumble, and overall, Arians said, the defense was finally getting their hands on some balls. Previously, Arians had complained the defense wasn’t doing that enough.
– Arians said the camp for second-year tackle Bobby Massie has been “so-so.” Massie, who was replaced in the first unit by Eric Winston, has been giving good effort and is physically fine, Arians said. “His biggest problem is mental errors,” Arians added.
– DT Darnell Dockett has been excused from practice today and Saturday for personal reasons.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Bruce Arians, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby, Ryan Williams, Tyrann Mathieu
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The Cardinals featured their first real live tackling of training camp today, and on one of the first plays, a mass of bodies at the line of scrimmage after a run play ended with nose tackle Dan Williams down with some sort of leg injury. No word on what it was, but Williams — after first pounding the ground in apparent anger after it happened and he was still on the ground — eventually got up and walked under his own power. He was carted to the locker room, but he later walked on his own to the buses waiting to take the team back to University of Phoenix Stadium.
Williams had been doing well in camp and his weight was under control. It’s a big year for him, so it will be interesting to see if this is anything serious.
“Dan is a tough dude,” defensive lineman David Carter said. “You won’t know what it is until you see the X-rays and MRIs and stuff like that, but Dan is tough.”
UPDATE: Williams had his left knee rolled up on during the play. He is undergoing tests this afternoon to determine if there was any damage and if so, the extent of it. Looking at my photos, it looks like it was defensive linemate Darnell Dockett, making a play on ballcarrier Stepfan Taylor, who inadvertently ended up on Williams’ left knee as the play developed.
– Carter has been working most at nose tackle himself, the spot he likes to play more because he feels his quickness helps.
“Nose is what I played the last couple of years so I’m ready for it,” Carter said. “It gives me an opportunity to use my speed. I’m a natural nose tackle.”
– Rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu had his best outing of camp, making a pair of interceptions (no, neither was thrown by Carson Palmer) and a few pass breakups.
“Definitely,” Mathieu said when asked if it was his best practice thus far. “Anytime you get turnovers, put your offense in position to score, it usually turns into a win. … The game is slowing down. It’s still a little fast when I line up against Larry (Fitzgerald), the game is fast all of a sudden. But any other time the game slows for me.”
– LB Karlos Dansby ended up sitting out the practice. He was the only new player sidelined.
– The Cardinals, in a warm and (for Arizona) humid day, practiced a little less than two hours outside.
Tags: Dan Williams, David Carter, Karlos Dansby, Tyrann Mathieu
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Here’s one way to look at it, and a good one, from coach Bruce Arians when talking about gaining team chemistry in training camp: “This is not a time for chemistry. My philosophy is, we’re not the Cardinals yet. Now we are 90 guys trying to get a job. We’ll become the Cardinals when 53 of them are picked. Then we will be a team.”
Along those lines, since we are talking about guys winning jobs, here are some observations a few days into camp that could play into that:
– One cornerback who has made a lot of plays is Javier Arenas. It could turn into a nice pickup given the price to get Arenas — FB Anthony Sherman — was going to be released anyway. Arenas broke up a bomb to Patrick Peterson yesterday and fought Larry Fitzgerald into one incompletion today. He’s not perfect, of course, but given all the other cornerbacks, he’s just going to make cutdown harder. The fact he could be the kickoff return man also plays into his favor.
– I think CB Jerraud Powers has made some plays too.
– Michael Floyd has looked good. Not that it’s a surprise. It’s a continuation of what he did this summer.
– Bruce Arians noted that Paul Fanaika, the Arizona State product who signed as a tackle, has done well in transition to guard. Lo and behold, he’s second-string right guard, which means he’s starting while Daryn Colledge is sidelined with his leg injury.
– That also means fourth-round pick Earl Watford is pretty far down the depth chart right now. Watford looks the part but he’s raw. He’s got work to do and it will be interesting to see how he does in preseason games.
– Didn’t see tight end Jeff King, who sat out Sunday’s practice, at Monday’s afternoon practice. Not sure what it is. Maybe it is related to the knee issue he was rehabbing from this offseason. Alex Gottlieb is already nursing a sore hamstring. And then Kory Sperry left the field early in Monday’s work. Newly acquired Mickey Shuler was there but he had arrived so close to practice he wasn’t even wearing Cardinals gear yet, much less practicing. The Cards are thin at the spot right now. Rookie D.C. Jefferson got a ton of reps (along with Rob Housler and Jim Dray.)
– The defensive coaches continue to mix-n-match a lot of the lineups. One nickel package had four linemen, although John Abraham was on the right side standing up, with Calais Campbell at RDE/RDT (depending on if you’re counting Abraham as a linebacker or end), Frostee Rucker as DT/NT and Matt Shaughnessy as LDE. Reggie Walker and Karlos Dansby were the linebackers (although Walker was in for Jasper Brinkley, sidelined with a sore knee).
– The first-string base defense continues to include Campbell, Dan Williams, Dockett up front; Alexander, Dansby, Brinkley, Acho at linebacker; Powers and Peterson at cornerback and Johnson and Bell at safety. Tyrann Mathieu continues to get lots of reps, not only at safety but nickel cover corner too.
– Running back talk is always going to start with Mendenhall and Ryan Williams while Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington have impressed Arians too. But to me, Alfonso Smith is going to make it very hard to cut him loose. The guy competes and he’s looked good when he’s gotten chances. He may again run into a numbers game, but Smith has made an impression.
– Speaking of making an impression, the defensive linemen tend to do that when they hit the sled:
Tags: Alex Gottlieb, Alfonso Smith, Andre Ellington, Bruce Arians, Calais Campbell, D.C. Jefferson, Dan Williams, Earl Watford, Frostee Rucker, Jasper Brinkley, Jeff King, Jerraud Powers, Jim Dray, John Abraham, Karlos Dansby, Kory Sperry, Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Shaughnessy, Michael Floyd, Mickey Shuler, Paul Fanaika, Rashard Mendenhall, Reggie Walker, Rob Housler, Ryan Williams, Sam Acho, Stepfan Taylor, Tyrann Mathieu
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It’s that time of the offseason, when players scatter for some time away from the facility and so too does the author of a certain blog. Before that, however, I try and put on my analysis cap and attempt to project – sans injuries – who will be in the starting lineup come Sept. 8 when the Cardinals open the regular season in St. Louis trying to win their first game for a fourth straight season. This one is a little more difficult to sort out. By last year it was easier to get a sense of what Ken Whisenhunt wanted to do and who he wanted to do it with. No real way to know that with Bruce Arians yet.
For starters, he has said time and again judging players in shorts wasn’t enough to make any solid decisions – he said he knew how they could play soccer, for goodness sake – and so I’d expect training camp to be much more important than the past. The Whiz coaching staff, which generally stayed stable, knew very well what they were getting with holdovers. This staff is new and don’t know many of these players. Being unquestioned at your position is rare right now.
That doesn’t even take into account Arians’ desire to play young players. He clearly is much more willing to go with youth. He has also talked often about how the “starters” are more than just 11, especially on defense, thanks to the many packages a team has.
I suppose that’s all a roundabout way of saying this is my best guesstimate, and that’s all. We have defense today, offense tomorrow. There has been lots of speculation out there that the Cards may end up as a 4-3 team, and we’ll see how things are spread around, but they have been working in a 3-4 base the entire offseason.
Remember, this is only an exhibition and not a competition, so please, please, no wagering.
DE – Darnell Dockett. He will get more chances to get on the stat sheet. He will, probably, be used inside in certain packages and not just as a 3-4 end. He definitely is happier than he has been in regards to how he is being used. The Cards are counting on that showing on the field.
NT – Dan Williams. The team poked around potential free agents earlier in the offseason, and Williams came in to workouts needing to shed pounds. But he has, and Arians praised his condition last week. Like the ends, there is talk of Williams getting upfield and attacking more often. It’s so easy to forget he was a No. 1 pick, but the Cards need him to play that way.
DE – Calais Campbell. Had another very good year last season. He too sounds excited about his opportunities in Todd Bowles’ system, although he tends to be a little more muted than Dockett (who isn’t?) Has become one of the best in the league, period. At some point, it’d be nice to see him get a Pro Bowl nod.
ROLB – Lorenzo Alexander. This has been the spot for O’Brien Schofield, who recently told me camp was the place where jobs are won and lost. Could OB still make a starting run? Sure. But Alexander, wooed as a free agent partially on the strength of starting potential, is going to get his shot. I think, given his ability as a leader, he’ll end up there at least at first.
SILB – Jasper Brinkley. Brinkley was an early free-agent sign, but then the Cards drafted Kevin Minter. Minter is the kind of player who needs camp to show what he’s got. Arians thought he was getting too physical in the offseason. But I think Brinkley still holds him off at first, even if Minter pushes for playing time later this season.
WILB – Karlos Dansby. This is kind of cheating, because I don’t even have to factor Daryl Washington into this – Washington is suspended the first four games. When Washington returns, however, it will be very interesting to see how it plays out with him, Dansby, Brinkley and Minter. It’s been suggested Washington could end up outside in some scenario, but at no point in the offseason did Washington do any work there.
LOLB – Sam Acho. A very smart player and great in the locker room. He should start at the outset, but he needs to up his sacks to stay there. Otherwise they are going to start looking to upgrade.
CB – Patrick Peterson. Easiest position to peg.
CB – Jerraud Powers. The Cardinals did a good job building up depth at cornerback. Antoine Cason is slightly more established given Powers’ injury history, but Powers has an Arians connection from Indy and I think that will make a difference. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cason start, though. Another thing to chew on: With so many corners, is one traded before the season starts? You still have Javier Arenas, Justin Bethel, Jamell Fleming, Bryan McCann.
FS – Rashad Johnson. Tyrann Mathieu is going to play in some way, shape or form, including nickel corner sometimes. You just don’t see it any other way. But I don’t see Mathieu starting. Johnson is helped because he played strong safety last season. I can see Johnson moving to strong safety if Mathieu bullies his way into the lineup.
SS – Yeremiah Bell. Bell brings experience and he knows Bowles well from their days in Miami. He is a short-term solution, though.
Tags: Antoine Cason, Bryan McCann, Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, defense, Jamell Fleming, Jarraud Powers, Jasper Brinkley, Javier Arenas, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Minter, Lorenzo Alexander, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Sam Acho, Todd Bowles, Tyrann Mathieu, Yeremiah Bell
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