Haggans doubtful for Halloween

Posted by Darren Urban on October 29, 2010 – 12:42 pm

The Cardinals are expected to have one linebacker back and be missing another Sunday against the Bucs. Linebacker Clark Haggans is doubtful for Sunday because of his bad groin (Will Davis will start in his place). Meanwhile, it looks like Gerald Hayes will be back, although coach Ken Whisenhunt still wouldn’t 100 percent commit to it quite yet (Hayes has to be placed on the active roster, necessitating someone else being released).

— Hayes said he is just happy about the little things he can do in life — like bend over to tie his shoes — that were made difficult or impossible before he had his back surgery. Playing football again was important, but not the only important thing.

“I”m just happy I am healthy,” Hayes said. “Everyday things I am thankful for. … In the back of your mind you worry about (having it the rest of your life). But like any other gladiator, any other player out there, you go out and push through it and let the chips fall where they fall.”

— Hayes said it was up to the coaches how much he would play. Whisenhunt said Hayes wouldn’t play 60 plays or anything like that, but Hayes said he will prepare like he would play the whole game.

— O’Brien Schofield is still mentally “swimming” a bit, Whisenhunt said, noting the Cards had to re-run a play in practice today because Schofield didn’t do it right. But that’s to be expected, the coach added.

— LB Will Davis was added to the injury report with a sore knee and is questionable, but he is expected to play.

— Whisenhunt also said he didn’t have a favorite costume for Halloween.  “I’m scary enough without a costume,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s what my daughter’s boyfriends say.”

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Where there’s a Will …

Posted by Darren Urban on October 28, 2010 – 2:20 pm

Will Davis was a defensive end in college at Illinois. He’s been a linebacker since the Cards took him in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. His days as a D-end are long over. Kind of.

“I am out of that world,” Davis said, laughing. Then he reconsidered. “It’s kind of a rush end, it’s an end with sugar on top. That’s how I consider it.”

Davis will start if veteran Clark Haggans can’t go. And Haggans, who hurt his groin, doesn’t seem likely, although coach Ken Whisenhunt said Haggans has played in the defense long enough he could go without practicing all week. Not that Whiz has a problem turning to Davis.

“Will played 24 snaps in last week’s game and he played well,” Whisenhunt said. “That gives you confidence. Last year, when he got banged up (with a knee injury) at the end of the year, he was playing well then. So I have seen it twice. I think the light has come on for him.”

Davis said that when he got to the league, “I had never really heard about routes and things like that,. Now, the way game has slowed down for him is “crazy. Like night and day. Coach (Matt) Raich said he sees me evolving.”

“I feel like I am better equipped to start because of Raich getting with me to watch film,” Davis added. “I always practice like I am going to start. I am always trying to push Joey (Porter) and Clark.”

— Whisenhunt said WR Steve Breaston looks good and should play this week. LB Gerald Hayes also has a couple packages put in for him and “he’s pretty close to being ready to go.” Even with the injury to Haggans, Whisenhunt sounded less certain about activating LB O’Brien Schofield, because he is a rookie and hasn’t played yet. If either Hayes or Schofield are activated, however, that also means the Cards must make a corresponding cut on the roster.

— DE Alan Branch was added to the injury report with a sore back, and he was limited Thursday. He still should be available, I’d think. The rest of the Cards’ injury report stayed the same. Haggans was out and four guys besides Branch were limited: Breaston (knee), WR Early Doucet (groin), CB Greg Toler (back) and Porter (groin). I’d think all will be able to go.

— The Buccaneers’ injury report is long. C Jeff Faine (quad) is already out. Fellow offensive linemen Jeremy Trueblood (knee) and Keydrick Vincent (back) sat out again, although CB Aqib Talib (calf) went from sitting out Wednesday to practicing fully Thursday. DE Kyle Moore (shoulder), LB Geno Hayes (knee), WR Preston Parker (knee) and DT Brian Price (pelvis) also sat out.

— The game Sunday is officially a sellout, so the game will be televised on local TV. And don’t forget the Cards will be wearing for the first time in the regular season their alternate black jerseys.

— The Big Red Rage will be tape delayed on Sports 620 KTAR tonight because of the Suns broadcast, but it will be live at Marjerle’s at Chandler mall beginning at 6 p.m. as usual. Adrian Wilson’s guest will be Branch.

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No Hayes, Schofield this week

Posted by Darren Urban on October 23, 2010 – 1:34 pm

The Cardinals did not activate linebackers Gerald Hayes or O’Brien Schofield this week — the deadline to bring them off the physically-unable-to-perform list and the reserve/non-football injury list, respectively, was 1 p.m. Saturday — so neither will be playing Sunday in Seattle. It’s really no surprise. Schofield in particular wasn’t ready. Hayes certainly hasn’t had much practice time, not with back problems/surgery that had kept him off the practice field since before the playoff game in New Orleans in January. Waiting an extra week isn’t a surprise.

Still no word on receivers Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. They were going to be a game-day decision all along.

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Extra wideouts and DRC’s look

Posted by Darren Urban on October 21, 2010 – 2:17 pm

Nothing changed on the injury front for the Cards today. The injury report remains the same, and nothing has changed my opinion that WR Steve Breaston will play this Sunday but it feels a lot more wait-and-see for WR Early Doucet and LB Gerald Hayes. The same goes for Doucet, by the way. “You don’t want to go back out there too soon and have a setback,” Doucet said. “We’ll take it one day at a time. (Today) felt good. I wasn’t sore after practicing (Wednesday) and I am continuing my treatment. I am doing real good compared to most people who have had the surgery.”

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he doesn’t know the odd receiver out yet when Doucet and Breaston are for sure back (figuring Onrea Jones probably released, and then six WRs for five active spots on game day). “It’ll depend on the plan, where we see guys fitting in. It’ll be a week-to-week thing based on how they fit. It’s a good problem to have.”

— Whisenhunt, talking about Hayes’ return off the PUP list, said he once had to do the same during his playing career six weeks in. “You can think you are ready, but the game speed is something different.”

— Whiz said “it appears that way” when asked about QB Max Hall getting comfortable with receivers he hasn’t spent much time with in Breaston and Doucet. But those guys are limited, too. “But I think back to training camp, and Max has had reps with all these guys,” Whiz added. “I don’t see it being an issue.”

— Finally, there was this sequence during a media moment with cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. A reporter asked DRC if, given the crackdown on defenders for unnecessary hits, he would think twice about “administering a vicious hit.” DRC’s look to the side at the reporter was priceless, a very “are you kidding me?” stare. Personally, I stifled a chuckle. This is DRC we were talking about, with remnants of nail polish visible on his toes during the interview. DRC has played Pro Bowl football and is a good cornerback — but no one is ever going to confuse him with Adrian Wilson or Rodney Harrison.

Even DRC knows that. “Ain’t got to worry about that from me,” he said, shaking his head. Later, I wanted to clarify he was thinking the same as me. Yep. “That’s not me.”

So there’s one DB free from potential suspension.

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Wait and see with the returnees

Posted by Darren Urban on October 20, 2010 – 2:03 pm

The Cardinals were pretty healthy Wednesday. Everyone did a little something, including long-time rehabbing linebackers Gerald Hayes and O’Brien Schofield.

“Ben (Graham) point that out, that there was no one on the bike,” said wide receiver Steve Breaston, himself coming back from knee surgery. “That’s the first time in a long time, I think. I guess that’s a good sign.”

(Here is the injury report. Hayes and Schofield won’t appear because they are not on the active roster.)

That doesn’t mean anything is a lock for Sunday though. While it was good to see Breaston and Early Doucet back in pads, the way their respective injuries respond to practice will make a difference. Hayes could make an appearance Sunday, but it’s too early to tell. Schofield is unlikely to come back this week, I’d guess. It seems like the other banged-up Cards all have a good chance to be ready by the weekend.

The Cards had a lot of things going for them Wednesday. There was even a little rain, with the gray skies mocking a possible Seattle Sunday. “It was a little bit like a Seattle day today,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Good for us to practice in it.”

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Back to work Monday

Posted by Darren Urban on October 18, 2010 – 1:35 pm

The Cardinals were back at practice Monday to start up what will be the stretch run of 11 games. Plus, they are in an NFC West division that looks like it can be very interesting. Because there is no injury report, nothing official was said, although wide receiver Steve Breaston did return to practice and said there was “no doubt” in his mind he will play Sunday. Wide receiver Early Doucet is also hoping to play, although his status may be more wait-and-see. Injuries are always an iffy issue on a Monday like this anyway; because it isn’t a “normal” practice, the Cards usually err on the side of extra rest this early in the week.

Linebackers Gerald Hayes and O’Brien Schofield, because of the rules on their wait lists, can’t practice until Week 6 has concluded and the NFL still has Jacksonville-Tennessee tonight. If there was a 10 p.m. practice tonight, they could go. Instead, they will wait until Wednesday, although both are expecting to give it a try. Once they begin practicing (and technically, the Cards have three weeks to begin that process), the Cards have three weeks to decide whether to activate them to the roster (and release someone else).

Side note of the day:’s in-depth writer, Elizabeth Merrill, was on hand to report for an upcoming Max Hall story.

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Whiz makes it light this week

Posted by Darren Urban on October 11, 2010 – 11:51 am

Coach Ken Whisenhunt just held his day-after presser. Among the highlights:

— The Cardinals were promised by Whiz that they’d have a light week if they won Sunday. Then they did, so the only formal practice of the week will be Wednesday. Whiz is expecting to bring in the young players (he didn’t define exactly who that was) Thursday for some video work and maybe a little on-field stuff, but nothing like a regular practice. He does want to clean up the youthful mistakes and do some prep work for Seattle.

— The only injury of concern, he said, was linebacker Reggie Walker, who hurt his hamstring. Walker is getting further evaluation. Wide receiver Stephen Williams had an MRI and his back — hurt when he landed hard on a defender’s foot after leaping high in the air — should be OK.

— WRs Steve Breaston and Early Doucet will work on the side Wednesday. The Cards will see if they are ready to do work Monday, when the team reconvenes for work next week. Whiz will see where LB Gerald Hayes fits next week too when he is able to practice again off the PUP list (O’Brien Schofield is probably a couple weeks away, he said, even though Schofield can come back Monday himself). Whiz said he likes the idea of fitting Hayes into a linebacker rotation, especially to give some rest to workhorse Paris Lenon.

— Alan Branch continues to take some playing time from Calais Campbell, although Whisenhunt said he likes not only how Branch was playing but also how Campbell bounced back from a poor game in San Diego.

— Whiz commented on Jed York’s proclamation. I updated it right here.

— Whiz, on the 20 carries for Beanie Wells and the four for Tim Hightower: “It wasn’t anything I had planned on. It just kind of came out that way in the course of the game. It was something you looked at after the game and said, ‘Oh, OK, I didn’t even realize that.”

— Hightower, by the way, was the player who went the wrong way on the goal line play in which Max Hall tried to score, was crushed, and fumbled the ball to Levi Brown for the touchdown. Hall was going to go that way, but had to improvise.

— The Cardinals are only the second team in NFL history to score 30 points without a TD either rushing or passing. The Bears did it against the Packers in 1993.

— Hall is the second rookie QB in franchise history to win his first start. Georgo Izo did it in 1960, although Izo left early with a knee injury and the Cards trailing Dallas, 3-2. Izo completed 1-of-6 passes that day.

— I will be holding a live chat tomorrow at 11 a.m. Arizona time (2 p.m. EST), so keep that in mind.

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Beanie’s scope and other Friday notes

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2010 – 12:52 pm

Running back Beanie Wells did have minor arthroscopic knee surgery after he was hurt Sept. 2 in the preseason finale, coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged Friday, but it was never anything serious, the coach insisted.

“He cleaned it out, but it wasn’t like a normal procedure where you are down ‘X’ amount of weeks,” Whisenhunt said. “It was a day-to-day thing. It was something he had done in college and he played a week later.

“It was definitely something we wanted to check out, but it was never anything we thought was serious where it would keep him from playing on a week-to-week basis.”

Beanie told Kent Somers it was a torn meniscus. That explains Beanie’s will-he-or-won’t-he status of the past couple weeks, and why the Cards kept waiting to make sure swelling wasn’t a long-term issue. Wells will play Sunday barring something crazy, even though Whisenhunt shook his head when asked if he was 100 percent sure Beanie will play. “It’s a good chance,” Whisenhunt said. “Nothing is for sure yet. Anything can happen.”

— Beanie’s return allows the Cards to put LaRod Stephens-Howling back on special teams coverage. The Hyphen has not been able to play there in the first two games because the Cards couldn’t risk another running back injury. Having LSH back on special teams should be a huge boost in the coverage game. He was Pro Bowl-caliber last season.

— LB Gerald Hayes (back) can’t practice with the team until six weeks are up, according to PUP rules. That means it’s impossible to know if Hayes is truly ready to go yet. Whisenhunt said he is progressing well, but until Hayes can actually do football work, his future remains up in the air.

— Three Cardinals were fined after the game in Atlanta. S Kerry Rhodes was hit for $2,500 for contact with an official. S Adrian Wilson and NT Bryan Robinson each were fined $5,000; Wilson for a blow to the head and Robinson for a major facemask.

— Finally, Kurt Warner was back at practice Friday … to shoot some footage for “Dancing With The Stars.” I’ll have more on this in a bit. It was funny to watch Warner and his partner, Anna Trebunskaya, give some lessons to Larry Fitzgerald. Warner also was reunited with teammates like Wilson, who talked with Kurt and Anna for possible inclusion to next week’s show.

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Schofield thinks he’ll play UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on September 21, 2010 – 1:46 pm

O’Brien Schofield almost sounded, well, giddy.

“Oh, I’m playing,” the rookie linebacker said without hesitation.

Not yet, of course. Schofield, who blew out his knee in Senior Bowl workouts in January, is on the reserve/non-football injury list (and of course it was football, but it wasn’t NFL football – hence the list). That, like the PUP list, means Schofield can’t play the first six weeks of the regular season and has until nine weeks to figure out if he moves on to the active roster or to injured reserve.

Ask Schofield, and it’s not even a question.

“If I’m feeling 90-plus percent, I’m playing,” Schofield insisted. “I know they’re not going to throw me in the fire. I’m probably going to play special teams but once I get that game flow back, I’ll be ready to go.”

Schofield, whose surgery will be eight months past later this week, has gotten fitted for his knee brace and has already been doing some change of direction in side workouts. “I have already been going about 70 percent, so we’re going to bump that up,” Schofield said. “The doctors said my knee was great and on schedule for the comeback. It’s just a question of how I feel once I am able to start practicing, so I am very excited.”

The news, in fact, has served as motivation, with Schofield so close to a comeback. Then again, it is no lock the Cards put him on the active roster. Schofield is still too far out from playing to have a serious what-happens-now conversation with the coaches, who have told him when he returns, he’d better know the playbook.

“The only thing that’ll probably stop me from playing is not knowing what I am doing,” Schofield said. “I’ve been studying crazy with it. I’m just trying to get back into football mode because it’s been eight months since I wore a pair of cleats. Those three weeks of practice (I will get) will be very important for me. I have to take practice like it is camp for me and beat my body up a little bit so I am ready to go.”

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: Here are the NFI/PUP rules, which are a little more complex than I first noted: “The Club has from the day after the 6th week until the day after the 9th week to begin a 21-day practice period for a player on either list.  The Club then must decide prior to the expiration of that 21-day period whether or not to place the player on the Active/Inactive 53-man roster or keep him on PUP or NFI for the rest of the season.”  Conceivably, a team could begin that 21-day practice period on the day after the 9th week thus delaying your roster decision until the day after week 12. That could/would buy more time for Schofield to rehab.

The same rules apply for LB Gerald Hayes.

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A big but unsurprising “sit” list

Posted by Darren Urban on September 2, 2010 – 6:44 pm

The Cardinals are holding out the five players that had been expected to be held out: WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee), WR Andre Roberts (shoulder), RB Jason Wright (toe), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (concussion) and LB Gerald Hayes (PUP-back).

The Hyphen, by the way, not only got his concussion in the third preseason game, his previous NFL concussion as a rookie last year was also in the third preseason game. He is expected to be OK for the opener. “It’s your brain, and if its telling me not to go ahead or go on, I am definitely going to listen to my body,” Stephens-Howling said, adding that “we’ll get it right.”

The Redskins, on the other hand, are going to make sure everyone is right tonight. If there is a “name” on the Washington roster (that isn’t Albert Haynesworth), the guy is sitting tonight. McNabb, Grossman, Portis, Cooley, Moss, Orakpo, etc., etc. Thirty 29 players in all are scratches. (That’s a lot of work for the other 45 46 guys on the roster). It’s typical for coach Mike Shanahan, who used to do the same thing in all the preseason finales between the Cards and his Broncos.

Oh, and the Cards are wearing the black jerseys tonight, so they’ve got that going for them.

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