The Cardinals have a week left of training camp. The current week ended a little rough, with the Corey Peters and Mike Iupati injury news, but these things happen. And as harsh as it sounds, defensive line was probably the best position from which the Cardinals could handle losing a starter for the season. It’s just as Bruce Arians said, though, you don’t want a rash of injuries at the position.
We’ll see how Rodney Gunter comes out as starter. He’s a long way from between the orchard and the graveyard. He crushed Chiefs quarterback Aaron Murray in last week’s preseason opener and the day Peters got hurt in practice, with Gunter at defensive end, he knocked back tackle Bradley Sowell so violently that it drew “ooohhhs” from the defensive players watching the play.
— Running back Chris Johnson came off the practice field when the workout was over Thursday with a wrap on the back of his upper right leg. Don’t know what it means yet. Earlier in the day Bruce Arians said Johnson would get five or six carries against the Chargers Saturday.
— Much deserved praise came Tyrann Mathieu’s way when he had his interception-fest in practice last week. It’s worth noting safety Tony Jefferson came up with his fourth pick in five practices Thursday. I do not expect anything to change with his Madden rating, however.)
— Many, many requests, both in the comments here and on Twitter, for Daryl Washington information. Arians too was asked for answers, with the reporter noting that many fans — the “Birdgang” — had been wanting to know what’s up.
“Ask Daryl,” Arians said. “I’m not allowed to talk to Daryl. The league hasn’t notified me of anything, so I would ask the Birdgang to please call Daryl.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Chris Johnson, Corey Peters, Daryl Washington, Mike Iupati, Rodney Gunter, Tony Jefferson, training camp
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There is no new news on the status of Daryl Washington — I don’t know why it’s been so long, and no one I have talked to has answers, or is giving any — but there is news about his jersey No. 58. Undrafted rookie linebacker Edwin Jackson will now be wearing that number. That’s the reality of a preseason game coming up, a 90-man roster and a handful of jersey numbers already retired (and not that the Cards are necessarily moving on from Washington.)
The NFL has a rule that says two players on the same team cannot be on the field at the same time wearing the same number. This time of year, it’s not unusual for the Cards (or other teams) to give an offensive and defensive player the same number, since offense and defense wear opposite colors in practice. That doesn’t happen in a game, of course.
As of Saturday, the Cardinals had two sets of players sharing numbers. Running back Marion Grice and safety Harold Jones-Quartey each wore No. 23. Safety Brandon Person and running back Paul Lasike each were wearing No. 34. Because there was a good chance those players could end up on the field at the same time for special teams, multiple shuffles were in order.
That led to Jackson, who had been wearing 45 (and who had a big finish Saturday lighting up Lasike on a hit, pictured below), ending up with the linebacker-friendly No. 58.
The Cardinals could “unretire” one of their retired numbers, but that wasn’t going to happen. For a linebacker, the only options there were Pat Tillman’s 40 or Marshall Goldberg’s 99. (The Cards have five retired numbers: Tillman, Goldberg, 8 for Larry Wilson, 77 for Stan Maudlin and 88 for J.V. Cain. This the biggest reason why the Cardinals don’t retire numbers and instead use a Ring of Honor — NFL teams need jersey numbers.)
Once the Cardinals cut to 53, some jersey numbers inevitably will change again. That always happens. We’ll see where Jackson is at that point, and what happens with 58 then.
Tags: Brandon Person, Daryl Washington, Harold Jones-Quartey, J.V. Cain, jersey numbers, Larry Wilson, Marion Grice, Marshall Goldberg, Pat Tillman, Paul Lasike, Stan Maudlin
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No, there is nothing new — with training camp a tad more than two weeks away — when it comes to the status of suspended linebacker Daryl Washington. That nothingness was confirmed when Mike Jurecki was told by league spokesman Greg Aiello there was no change in Washington’s status. That is simply the only news — if that qualifies — as Washington’s suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy stretches toward 14 months. The original term was for at least a year, and he was suspended in late May of 2014.
Jurecki also reported that Washington had indeed applied for reinstatement (and later reported that came on May 8.) Obviously, he hasn’t been reinstated. Not sure if that means no decision has been made, or if it was denied. Aiello’s public comment does not clear that up. As for the NFL’s official policy on reinstatement, here are the words verbatim from the policy:
(e) Reinstatement Criteria: After the completion of the one-year banishment period, the Commissioner, in his sole discretion, will determine if and when the Player will be allowed to return to the NFL. A Player’s failure to adhere to his Treatment Plan during his banishment will be a significant consideration in the Commissioner’s decision. A Player seeking reinstatement also must meet certain clinical requirements as determined by the Medical Director and other requirements as set forth in Appendix B.
And there is this as well:
Set forth below are the procedures to be used when an application is received by the Commissioner.
1. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the Player will be interviewed by the Medical Director and the Medical Advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the Commissioner with regard to the Player’s request for reinstatement.
2. The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the Commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the Player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.
3. The Player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the Medical Advisor.
4. The Player will agree in a meeting with the Commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the Commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active Player.
5. All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the Commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.
While it says steps will be taken to “enable” the Commissioner to render a decision within 60 days, nowhere does it say a decision must be made in 60 days. In the meantime, no news means no news.
Tags: Daryl Washington
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Still no news on the Daryl Washington suspension front, although XTRA 910’s Mike Jurecki reported today that he actually has traded text messages with Washington and that the linebacker texted that he is “confident something will work out” for his return. Jurecki also reported Washington texted he was planning on being ready for training camp. Jurecki also said Washington told him he hasn’t gotten any word from the league about his reinstatement, so I would take that to mean Washington has indeed applied for reinstatement.
Again, Washington must first be reinstated from his current indefinite suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Once that happens, the league will address whatever punishment he might get for his assault conviction last year (which is now officially in the books as a misdemeanor.) The Cardinals also have to figure out what they want to do with Washington once all that comes to pass — it is still not a lock Washington will be welcomed back even once his suspension is lifted.
Tags: Daryl Washington
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The line in the release from an NFL spokesman was plain, sent out on May 30, 2014: “Daryl Washington of the Arizona Cardinals has been suspended without pay for at least one year for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.”
At least is a key phrase. We have passed the one-year mark. Many have asked me (many times) what the news is on Daryl Washington and where he stands. As of today, there is no news. He stands in the same place where he’s been since May 30 of last year. Suspended, awaiting reinstatement from the NFL. Mike Jurecki reported recently that Washington himself doesn’t know where his reinstatement is headed. (No one is saying if Washington officially applied for reinstatement, but it had been expected.) The Cardinals don’t have anything to say on the subject because, frankly, there is nothing to say until and if Washington is reinstated. Bruce Arians told azcentral.com the subject is “a waste of breath.”
But on the idea of whether Washington should be a Cardinal again, Arians added, “I think each and every guy has different circumstances. If he’s reinstated by the league, I know this — our players want him back in the locker room. That’s fine by me.”
We’ve discussed the other obstacles many times. Washington still could be punished for the assault plea he took in early 2014, before the current suspension. Until he is reinstated for the current suspension, there won’t be anything known about the other possibility. And of course, there are fences to mend, if not in the locker room or with Arians, then probably with the front office and ownership.
Few want to hear that it’s wait and see, but truly, it’s wait and see.
Tags: Daryl Washington
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Multiple reports point out that the Cardinals brought in veteran inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton for a visit. Sharpton, 6-feet and 230 pounds, played with the Bears last season in five games, and in five NFL seasons (drafted by the Texans) he’s only played double-digit games twice. But if he were to sign he’d give the Cardinals another body as they try to fortify a position that needs a boost.
The Cards just signed four inside linebackers in their undrafted rookie class. And they are still awaiting word on the status of the suspended Daryl Washington, whose status even if he is reinstated by the NFL remains very much up in the air. If Washington indeed applied for reinstatement when he said he would, you’d expect to hear by the end of the month or so whether the NFL has cleared him — at least in this circumstance. As always, there has to be the reminder Washington faces further punishment from the league because of his assault conviction.
Tags: Darryl Sharpton, Daryl Washington
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The NFL Network’s annual top 100 players list began to be revealed tonight, and the first 10 players included a Cardinal: Defensive end Calais Campbell.
It’s the first time Campbell has made the list (last year, Daryl Washington was named, as was Larry Fitzgerald and finally, Patrick Peterson.) There is little question the last year or two Campbell had a serious argument that he should have been in when he wasn’t. As for this year, Campbell clearly has mixed feelings.
“It’s a cool list to be on but I don’t feel they really get enough people to vote on it so I don’t know how accurate it is,” Campbell said. “But it is cool interacting with the fans and putting it on NFL Network and everyone likes to watch it. I just wish they did a better job getting more votes. Still it’s cool to be on the list and even if you are not it’s cool to watch it and see the other guys and see what people think of other players.”
It’s hard to argue the point about accuracy — as good as Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is, can he really be considered better than Campbell? (Campbell was 99th on the list, Vinatieri is 98th.)
Tags: Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL Network, Patrick Peterson
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Crunching the numbers heading into the draft, the Cardinals currently have 72 players on their roster. With eight draft picks (for now), that leaves room for 10 undrafted rookies to be signed to reach the roster limit of 90 going into offseason work. (Phase 2, which is the first step of on-field stuff during the offseason, begins next week.) This does not include suspended linebacker Daryl Washington; if Washington were to be reinstated by the NFL, the Cardinals would have to find a roster spot for him if they did not release him. I still think it’s hard to believe they would release him after just paying him a $5 million bonus installment he was owed, but we’ll see.
There is a lot of room to maneuver with the roster, however. If they Cardinals trade for more draft picks — or trade away some of them — then the number of undrafted guys could shrink or grow. There is also a possibility the Cardinals could cut players already on the roster to make room for more undrafted rookies if the Cards feel they have a chance to improve the bottom section of the roster. That happened last year when a few guys were cut right after the draft.
The roster churn never ends with GM Steve Keim. He’s proven that. But we’re almost to the point where we will know the vast majority of the Cardinals’ roster for 2015. That’s when the football actually starts.
Tags: Daryl Washington, draft, Roster, Steve Keim, undrafted rookie free agents
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There have been a lot of questions about the status of suspended linebacker Daryl Washington, and nothing can happen until he is reinstated. His agent told Kent Somers that request to the NFL is coming “in the next week or so,” which will start the clock on the NFL considering Washington’s future. That’s a small part of Kent’s comprehensive breakdown of what is facing Washington and the Cardinals next. It’s a good read.
Whenever Washington is reinstated, his contract picks up where it was essentially frozen last May when he was suspended — meaning in terms of his salary, he will play 2015 like it was 2014, and so on along this contract. Washington did just get paid the $5 million he was owed on his deferred bonus money from pre-suspension. And again, when and if Washington is reinstated, he still doesn’t know if there will be NFL punishment handed down for his assault conviction last year.
Tags: Daryl Washington
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Deone Bucannon was drafted as a safety, and then basically played linebacker all season. It was necessary because the Cardinals lost Daryl Washington and never quite found a linebacker replacement — so then-defensive coordinator Todd Bowles dropped the rookie into the mix in the nickel package as the new Washington.
Bucannon did pretty well in the role. But he sees himself as a safety and so do the Cardinals, and Bucannon will be a safety in 2015 — unless he isn’t.
“He’s going to play safety,” coach Bruce Arians said. “We know he can play dime linebacker. He’ll play safety until we find out we don’t have the other guy.”
What does that mean, exactly? Well, newcomer Sean Weatherspoon, if healthy, is a three-down linebacker. And there is still a chance the Cardinals will bring back Washington. If Washington does not return — or even if he does — the Cardinals could still draft another (speedy) inside linebacker. I don’t know if there is anyone out there left on the free agent market the Cardinals could sign for that role but it wouldn’t be unheard of for the position later in the offseason (Karlos Dansby, Larry Foote). Another factor: The Cards are flush at safety, with Tyrann Mathieu, Tony Jefferson and Rashad Johnson along with Bucannon.
“We know we have the flexibility because we have so many good, quality safeties,” Arians said. “He’ll still play (some linebacker) because we will still have that package. We like to have that much speed on the field.”
Tags: Daryl Washington, Deone Bucannon, Karlos Dansby, Larry Foote, Rashad Johnson, Sean Weatherspoon, Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu
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