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March madness

Posted by Darren Urban on March 11, 2011 – 9:30 am

A couple of days ago, I saw wide receiver Max Komar down in the weight room. “Just trying to get in a workout while I can,” Komar said.

We’ll see where the NFL labor talks take us today (today’s expiration of the CBA, negotiated last week as an extension, is 5 p.m. EST, or 3 p.m. Arizona time still 9:59 p.m. Az time, but 3 p.m. Az time is expected to be important when it comes to the union possibly decertifying). We’ll see if Komar will be around next week, or offensive linemen Levi Brown and Lyle Sendlein, who were working out together a couple of times this week too. But what makes someone stir crazy — like me — is the inability to talk about what we’re normally talking about right now. Free agent speculation (and, obviously, trades would be a bigger part of it too) that fuel March. Who is visiting? Who might sign? What are the pros and cons? These are the things that fill up a blog this month and, in a lot of ways, is what makes the offseason fun.

That’s all in a holding pattern, regardless of what happens in a few hours.


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Who is expiring?

Posted by Darren Urban on March 3, 2011 – 2:53 pm

Regardless of the status of the CBA, the Cardinals have a chunk of players whose contracts will expire whenever the league year ends. What that means for free agency is uncertain because the CBA will address those rules. But as an FYI, here is a list of the current Cardinals who will have their contract run out this offseason. If a player has an asterisk, he has at least four accrued seasons in the NFL:

  • FB Nehemiah Broughton
  • RB Tim Hightower
  • FB Reagan Maui’a
  • RB Jason Wright*
  • WR Max Komar
  • WR Steve Breaston*
  • WR Early Doucet
  • TE Ben Patrick
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • T D’Anthony Batiste
  • C Ben Claxton
  • G Alan Faneca*
  • T Brandon Keith
  • G Deuce Lutui*
  • C Lyle Sendlein*
  • DL Alan Branch*
  • DL Keilen Dykes
  • DE Kenny Iwebema
  • DL Bryan Robinson*
  • DT Gabe Watson*
  • LB Curtis Gatewood
  • LB Cyril Obiozor
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Michael Adams
  • CB Trumaine McBride
  • S Matt Ware*
  • P Ben Graham*

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Converting 4th with “out of it” Fitz

Posted by Darren Urban on December 30, 2010 – 9:24 am

I knew Fitz didn’t look right.

As I noted late Saturday night (Sunday morning) while writing my “aftermath” and watching the tape of the just completed Cards-Cowboys game, it looked like Larry Fitzgerald had taken a head shot (maybe helmet-to-helmet) on the first down play of that last drive. Originally, I thought Fitz had made a catch, but he dropped it, and the video showed him shaking his head and blinking his eyes after the hit. Turns out, Fitz indeed felt it.

“I don’t remember much from the end of the game, to be honest with you,” Fitzgerald said. “I took a shot and I was a little bit out of it.”

(Side comment in today’s concussion-concerned NFL: Yikes.)

Fitz never came out  of the game. I’m guessing he never said anything. A couple plays later, rookie Andre Roberts was the one telling Fitz where to go on fourth-and-15, one of the most important plays of the Cardinals’ season.

“I knew I had to run up the seam and I saw the ball and I just tried to make a play,” Fitzgerald said, breaking into a chuckle. “That’s pretty much all I remember, honestly.”

Quarterback John Skelton just remembered the fourth-down play as “do or die.” “It’s really your last chance … but we had a good play dialed up. Larry found a soft spot (in the zone coverage) and I think that one completion got the ball rolling for the rest of the drive.”

Indeed, the Cards moved the ball every play after that (save for two spikes to stop the clock). After the Cowboys had clamped down the first three plays, Skelton hit Fitz, scrambled for five yards, tossed a six-yard completion to Tim Hightower and after a spike, maybe made the most impressive throw of the drive, a laser off his back foot on the move under pressure to fellow rookie Max Komar for 19 yards.

But it started with fourth down.

“We shouldn’t have gotten to fourth-and-15,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That’s the first thing.

“It’s a tough situation, just about as tough a situation as you can be in. Having the lead the whole game, losing it, and then all of a sudden you’re at fourth-and-15 and you know if you don’t convert the game is over. To be able to move up in the pocket, make the throw, put it where he had to put it … it’s a good sign.”


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Anderson remains inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on December 19, 2010 – 9:30 am

Quarterback Derek Anderson (concussion) remains sidelined today, meaning the Cards will have just two QBs: Starter John Skelton and Richard Bartel. The rest of the inactive list looks familiar, including veteran linebacker Gerald Hayes on the bench:

  • WR Max Komar
  • CB A.J. Jefferson
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Marshay Green
  • C Ben Claxton
  • DT Gabe Watson

For the Panthers, cornerback Chris Gamble, who has fallen out of favor with coach John Fox, is inactive.


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Gerald Hayes, Derek Anderson both inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on December 12, 2010 – 12:46 pm

The Cardinals have put on the inactive list, and it carries one slight surprise: linebacker Gerald Hayes is out as a “healthy scratch.” So my thought Friday that Daryl Washington would get more defensive work comes true in a big way. Hayes has struggled of late, so I am sure they want to get Washington’s speed on the field. Quarterback Derek Anderson is also inactive (and not the third quarterback) due to concussion symptoms. So the Cards have just two QBs today.

The rest of the list for the Cards, who are wearing all-red today for the first time this season:

  • WR Max Komar
  • CB A.J. Jefferson
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Marshay Green
  • C Ben Claxton
  • DT Gabe Watson

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Toler, Campbell return to lineup

Posted by Darren Urban on December 5, 2010 – 12:47 pm

Defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle) is back in the lineup today for the Cardinals, meaning he will start again and putting DT Gabe Watson back on the inactive list. Cornerback Greg Toler (foot) is also back playing, sending CB A.J. Jefferson to the sideline.

The other inactives include:

  • WR Max Komar
  • QB John Skelton
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Marshay Green
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • C Ben Claxton

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Toler, Campbell inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on November 29, 2010 – 5:10 pm

Cornerback Greg Toler (foot) and defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle) are inactive for tonight’s game, no big surprise. Michael Adams and Alan Branch will start in their place. All the other guys listed as questionable this week are active and will play.

The rest of the inactive list for tonight:

  • WR Max Komar
  • QB John Skelton
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Marshay Green
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • C Ben Claxton

The key 49ers out are T Joe Staley, reserve CB William James and K Joe Nedney.


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Cards bring back Komar, promote Green

Posted by Darren Urban on November 23, 2010 – 11:55 am

The Cardinals shuffled the roster today, including making the expected move of putting linebacker Will Davis on injured reserve with his broken leg. The Cards also cut running back Alfonso Smith, who became redundant with the expected return of both LaRod Stephens-Howling and Jason Wright.

With two spots open on the roster, the Cardinals re-signed wide receiver Max Komar and promoted cornerback Marshay Green from the practice squad (and it will be interesting to see if Green manages to get some work with the Cards’ cornerbacks struggling). For now, the Cards will have an opening on the practice squad.


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With backs ailing, Cards activate Alfonso Smith

Posted by Darren Urban on November 20, 2010 – 10:43 am

The Cardinals have activated running back Alfonso Smith to the active roster from the practice squad, no shock given that Beanie Wells is dealing with an iffy knee, Jason Wright is coming off a concussion and LaRod Stephens-Howling missed practice all week because of a bad hamstring. All three of those backs were listed as questionable, and my guess is that things didn’t get significantly better Saturday — leading to Smith’s promotion.

To make room for Smith, the Cards released wide receiver Max Komar (although my guess is this isn’t the last time we see Komar in a Cards uniform).

Smith can play some special teams and could see some significant time there, depending on what happens with the active players on game day. After the Hyphen didn’t practice all week, I find it hard to see a scenario where he plays. And Wright has been steadfast all week he doesn’t want to take any risks with his head injury. “I need this brain,” Wright said earlier in the week. I do expect Beanie to play.


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Dockett, Beanie inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on November 14, 2010 – 12:45 pm

Well, this one is a blow: Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder) is inactive today, marking the first game Dockett has missed in his career. Dockett has been an ironman since arriving in the league in 2004. He usually does well against the Seahawks too. Not exactly what the Cards were hoping for in such a crucial  game. Dockett had played in 104 consecutive games.

Running back Beanie Wells (knee) is inactive again, no shock considering his lingering swelling problems and his relative lack of practice — in the last two weeks (six practices) he has sat out four and been limited twice. That opens the door for Tim Hightower, who now must be the guy even if he ends up with an early fumble (which cost him a chance to play most the game when the Cards and Seahawks last met). That means a bigger offensive role for LaRod Stephens-Howling — which sounds good, until you realize it probably takes The Hyphen off some special teams work and that does not help.

The rest of the inactive list:

  • WR Max Komar
  • QB John Skelton
  • CB A.J. Jefferson
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • LB Cyril Obiozor
  • C Ben Claxton

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