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Cards make final three moves

Posted by Darren Urban on August 31, 2010 – 2:56 pm

The Cardinals have made their final three roster moves today to get down to the mandated 75-man limit, and none are unexpected. Fullback Nehemiah Broughton (knee) was moved to injured reserve, ending his season. Linebacker O’Brien Schofield (knee) was moved to the injured/non-football list, which basically has the same rules as the physically-unable-to-perform list — he must sit the first six games, and then the Cards have until the ninth game to decide to put him on the active roster or move him to IR. Finally, the team waived/injured wide receiver Darren Mougey, who broke his hand last week in practice.

The Cardinals have to go from 75 to 53 players this weekend in getting ready for the regular season.


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Doucet to play

Posted by Darren Urban on August 28, 2010 – 4:25 pm

The Cardinals will use wide receiver Early Doucet tonight on about 10 plays as he works back from his abdomen injury, and the inactive players are expected: WR Andre Roberts (shoulder), WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee), WR Darren Mougey (hand), TE Ben Patrick (knee), LB Gerald Hayes (PUP-back) and LB O’Brien Schofield (PUP-knee).

Stephen Williams is still starting for Fitz, while LB Daryl Washington and CB Greg Toler will officially start.


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Receiving corps dwindling

Posted by Darren Urban on August 26, 2010 – 8:26 am

I noted yesterday wide receiver Darren Mougey hurt his hand at practice yesterday. Kent Somers found out Mougey broke his hand, which obviously, sidelines him (and probably cost him any chance of sticking around). The Cards were already going to be without receivers Larry Fitzgerald (knee), Early Doucet (abdomen) and Andre Roberts (shoulder) against the Bears and now this. I wouldn’t think the Cards want to expose Steve Breaston too much given the circumstances, so it’ll be interesting how the playing time is divvied up in Chicago. Besides Breaston, the remaining healthy wideouts are Stephen Williams, Max Komar, Onrea Jones (pictured below), Ed Gant and Mike Jones.

Anyone looking for the quarterbacks to distinguish themselves through the air, by the way, should keep in mind that, besides Breaston, the remaining healthy receivers have a grand total of zero NFL regular-season receptions.

“It’s a good opportunity,” quarterback Matt Leinart said. “It is tough with the timing (of the passing game), but with Larry and Early out, we are building our chemistry as we go. This will be good for us in the long run, that’s the positive for these guys. They are making plays. It’s tough as you go along so it’s tough as a rookie when you are thrown in the mix.”


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Another veterans’ day

Posted by Darren Urban on August 5, 2010 – 5:50 pm

With a hard practice Wednesday night and two more workouts tomorrow, the lone practice Thursday was a low-key afternoon for some. Safety Adrian Wilson, guard Alan Faneca and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were spectators. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took a lot of reps, but there seemed to be fewer for Early Doucet and Steve Breaston while the other wideouts got to show something. We saw more Darren Mougey and Stephen Williams than I can remember.

(And a quick aside — Williams continues to impress. He has to do it in preseason games, but at this rate, it’s going to be hard to keep him off the roster in my opinion.)

Matt Leinart had arguably his best practice. Derek Anderson seemed to struggle. Three more players were sidelined with aliments I am now trying to find out: DL Jeremy Clark, RB Alfonso Smith and WR Max Komar (although Komar was out last night too, now that I think about it).

Leinart completed a beautiful deep pass to Fitzgerald during the two-minute drill at the end of the game. Fitzgerald came down around the 10-yard line, and that was enough for coach Ken Whisenhunt, who decided to give the second units a chance. Anderson completed a fourth-down pass for a first down to Andre Roberts (who continues to bounce back from his poor Monday) and then threw a TD pass with just a few seconds left to Ed Gant when new safety Aaron Rouse took a bad angle in the end zone.


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In a scorcher, Cards resume

Posted by Darren Urban on June 7, 2010 – 1:05 pm

The Cards just got through their hottest OTA today as they begin their final week of offseason work prior to breaking for the summer. There were fewer reps than normal to account for the heat. Everything wasn’t exactly clicking and it may have been because of the weather. A couple of plays I noticed: Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dropped an easy interception on an underthrown bomb by Derek Anderson and Anderson missed a wide-open Tim Hightower on a wheel route down the field. Then again, Darren Mougey used his height advantage to snag a pass above cornerback Tru McBride and Stephen Williams made a beautiful diving catch on on play.

Guard Rex Hadnot, who tweaked his knee last week, was back as expected, as was linebacker Gerald Hayes (back). The Cards are scheduled to work out every day through Thursday.


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Spirited in so many ways

Posted by Darren Urban on May 20, 2010 – 1:43 pm

One of the keys to the summer workouts — like today’s organized team activity, for instance — is to make sure the focus stays put even late in the week, when the guys are ready to blast out of town for a long weekend. So it helps to have something on the line. The Cards had their intensity at the end today when coach Ken Whisenhunt pitted offense versus defense in third-down situations. The “winner” — whichever unit did its job more often — got out of running.

So there was whooping and hollering from the defense when cornerback Greg Toler broke up the first Matt Leinart-to-Larry Fitzgerald pass. And there was the same from the offense when Fitz made a wonderful one-handed grab on the sideline. There was a lot of arguing when a first down pass from Derek Anderson to Early Doucet might have come after a “sack” of Anderson. And there was an explosion of happiness from the red shirts when Money Mike Adams broke up the final pass to Andre Roberts. The coaches from the offense had to run too, which made it even more interesting.

“From the chemistry standpoint, it shows how quickly it is building with the team,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Guys are getting along. They’ve already put in eight or nine weeks and I think when they get on the field and are able to do football things, there is always a lot of excitement. I said (to the team) today, the question is can we sustain this over the next three weeks. Based on what I have seen, it looks that way. The tempo, the enthusiasm is good. Guys are competing. If that becomes our nature, then this will have been very productive for us in the long run.”

Other stuff from today:

– Among the other plays that stood out were a beautiful 40-or-so-yard bomb from Anderson to Doucet over Justin Miller and a John Skelton 20-yard lob into the outstretched hands of 6-foot-5 WR Darren Mougey in between double coverage by Miller and Herana-Daze Jones. After the latter play, the air was filled with yelps of “MOO-gee.”

– At one point early in the practice, WR Ed Gant made a catch as he headed for the sideline. He gained control and sprinted upfield to finish the play — even as he was about three yards out of bounds on the field closest to the team headquarters. “We playing on an expanded field?” linebacker Monty Beisel said, turning to Gant and adding, “Watch out for the building!”

– Former University of Arizona football coach Dick Tomey — whose son, Rich, works for the team in business development — was on hand to watch practice.

– Rookie nose tackle Dan Williams continues to work with the first-team dime unit.

– Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was clearly exasperated that his latest back-and-forth with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis caused a stir in some places, enough so that he put out this tweet right after practice: “Lol look people me and @VernonDavis85 are cool and been friends B4 the NFL and we will be after the NFL so yall stop taking shhh so serious.”

– WR Steve Breaston was sporting some very red gloves again and I figured there had to be a reason. An ability to get the attention of the quarterback easier, perhaps? Nope. Turns out that he got them from Adams. “I wore them a lot last year,” Breaston said, unsure why I was the third or fourth person to notice them today. “Maybe it’s because they’re clean.”


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Filling in the roster gaps

Posted by Darren Urban on March 24, 2010 – 1:47 pm

With the owners’ meetings wrapping up today and the pace of free agency slowing down, it may be a good time to look at where the Cardinals’ roster stands — and where there are holes that need to be filled by the time minicamp begins April 30.

This topic crossed my mind after writing yesterday about the signing of wide receiver Darren Mougey, who may or may not pan out but certainly isn’t been seen (at least as of now) as a replacement, whether it’d be Anquan Boldin or even Jerheme Urban. He’s just one of many receivers that will be on the roster this summer. Today, the Cardinals officially have 60 61 players on the roster, leaving 19 spots to be filled by the draft/undrafted rookies (which figures to total between 14 to 16, depending) and then some free-agent spots. There are seven veterans un-signed who could still return: LB Monty Beisel, FB Dan Kreider, QB Brian St. Pierre, S Matt Ware, K Neil Rackers, DT Bryan Robinson and WR Sean Morey (although I think Morey is more likely to end up in Seattle right now).

(On my 60-man count, I am including all the restricted and exclusive rights free agents who have yet to sign their tenders, because they eventually will.)

What spots need shoring up? The Cards need at least one more quarterback, and even if St. Pierre comes back, they need someone young, at least for camp. They need another receiver or two, although I am guessing whether they chase a veteran may depend on what happens in the draft. Remember, at that spot, a fourth receiver would likely need to play special teams and guys like Kevin Curtis or Torry Holt tend not to want to do such things.

The Cards definitely need to look at nose tackle, especially if Robinson doesn’t return. They need inside linebackers even if Beisel comes back (which I expect). They probably could use another young pass rusher at outside linebacker without knowing exactly what Cody Brown/Mark Washington/Stevie Baggs brings to the table. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get another cornerback — you can never have too many — and a return man is also needed if Steve Breaston is going to be the No. 2 wideout.

Numbers-wise, here is the current 61-man breakdown by position:

  • QB  2
  • RB  4
  • FB  2
  • WR  6
  • OL  11
  • TE  4
  • DL 9
  • OLB  6
  • MLB  4
  • CB  6
  • S  5
  • Specialists  2

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Signings and a new wideout

Posted by Darren Urban on March 23, 2010 – 10:27 am

Some small moves went down today. Tight end Ben Patrick and fullback Nehemiah Broughton each signed their one-year tender offers — Patrick was a restricted free agent, so he doesn’t have a chance to sign any offer sheets anywhere now — while the Cards also brought back safety Hamza Abdullah. They hadn’t tendered Abdullah, but bringing him back as depth potential isn’t a surprise, especially since Matt Ware remains unsigned.

The Cards also added a receiver to the roster, and he’s a local guy. Darren Mougey went to San Diego State but he prepped at Scottsdale Chaparral High School, which also produced center Lyle Sendlein (oh, and a certain azcardinals.com writer too). Sendlein was a senior linebacker calling plays for the Firebirds when Mougey was a sophomore safety. Later, Mougey became Chaparral’s quarterback in leading them to a state title, and went to San Diego State as a QB. But the 6-foot-6 Mougey was eventually moved to wide receiver for his last two seasons, when he totaled 66 catches for 805 yards and seven touchdowns. He was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted rookie last year but cut before the season started.

With Anquan Boldin and Jerheme Urban gone and Sean Morey potentially leaving for Seattle, the Cards suddenly need to think about the position. The only other wideouts behind Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are practice-squad holdovers Onrea Jones and Ed Gant.


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