Left tackle Nate Potter is inactive today because of his sprained ankle, putting D’Anthony Batiste back in the lineup for the first time since Potter replaced him during the Green Bay game prior to the bye week Nov. 4. That will make for an interesting matchup when he goes against 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith (19.5 sacks). Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) is also inactive, meaning tight end Jim Dray will fill in for the fullback duties.
Rookie guard Senio Kelemete is active for the first time this season, too.
Also inactive for the Cards today are:
– QB John Skelton
– WR LaRon Byrd (knee)
– G Mike Gibson (calf)
– WR Early Doucet (concussion)
– DE Ronald Talley (ankle)
Tags: Aldon Smith, Anthony Sherman, D'Anthony Batiste, Early Doucet, inactives, Jim Dray, John Skelton, LaRon Byrd, Mike Gibson, Nate Potter, Ronald Talley, Senio Kelemete
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Brian Hoyer is active as the backup quarterback today with John Skelton inactive against the Bears. Ryan Lindley starts, but Hoyer will be available if coach Ken Whisenhunt wants to play him. It’s not a surprise, but for Skelton to open the season as starter and now be inactive with Kevin Kolb also out is an amazing journey.
Safety Rashad Johnson (hamstring) will sit out, meaning Adrian Wilson could get extended time beyond his play in the base defense, although James Sanders is available. This, again, could end up being Wilson’s final home game with the Cards depending on what the Cards do with him this offseason.
– G Senio Kelemete
– OL Mike Gibson (calf)
– TE Kory Sperry
– WR Early Doucet (concussion)
– DE Ronald Talley (ankle)
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Brian Hoyer, Early Doucet, inactives, James Sanders, John Skelton, Kory Sperry, Mike Gibson, Rashad Johnson, Ronald Talley, Senio Kelemete
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Two of the four players in NFL history who have four punt return touchdowns in a season will be returning punts Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I think it’s going to be fun, having Devin Hester on one end and Patrick Peterson on the other,” Peterson said. “I believe that calls for a good show.”
Whether it actually produces anything remains to be seen. Both Peterson and Hester have been quiet this season on punt returns. Hester has averaged just nine yards on 34 tries, with a long of 44. His average is well below his career average of 12.3 yards a return. Peterson, of course, has also been slowed. He has an average of 8.6 yards on 47 tries (and has lost three fumbles). Neither Peterson or Hester has a touchdown this season.
Peterson has talked a few times about trying to break out on punt returns. But he is playing well at cornerback, and the always confident Peterson will not sway from his belief the big punt return will still come.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Peterson said. “At the end of the day the Arizona Cardinals drafted me to be a defensive back. The punt returns are a plus. When my opportunities comes, I will try my best and I want to break one. But teams now are so dialed in, when (number) 21 has the ball in his hands, bottle him up on the sideline and if you don’t, have all 11 hats to the ball.”
– Wide receiver Early Doucet (concussion) and newcomer offensive lineman Mike Gibson (calf) — who apparently got hurt in practice this week after re-signing — are both out Sunday. The Cardinals have a bunch of players questionable, although both safeties Rashad Johnson and James Sanders were upgraded to limited Friday. In addition to those two, the questionable list includes T Nate Potter, FB Anthony Sherman, LB Quentin Groves, TE Rob Housler, DE Ronald Talley and NT Dan Williams.
The Bears will be without LB Brian Urlacher. DT Henry Melton is doubtful. Questionable are NFL interceptions leader Tim Jennings, LB Blake Costanzo, WR Earl Bennett and T Jonathan Scott.
Tags: Anthony Sherman, Bears, Dan Williams, Devin Hester, Early Doucet, James Sanders, Mike Gibson, Nate Potter, Patrick Peterson, Quentin Groves, Rashad Johnson, Rob Housler, Ronald Talley
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As I was driving to work this morning, it occurred to me that there can’t be too many times when a team undergoes the kind of score swing from one week to the next that the Cardinals had these past two weeks. After losing in Seattle, 58-0, they beat the Lions, 38-10. That’s a swing margin of 86 points. So, with a hat tip to media relations stats guru Mike Helm, Elias was able to confirm that it was the biggest swing from week to week since 1968.
That year, the Lions opened the season with a 59-13 loss in Dallas and then followed up with a 42-0 home win over the Bears — a swing of 88 points. From blown out to blowout. The first part of that isn’t ideal, but better than back-to-back losses. (It actually happens more than I thought. The Giants blew out the Saints, 52-27, last week and then lost, 34-0, to the Falcons this week. Not in the same points ballpark, but the same concept.)
– Speaking of media relations mavens, VP Mark Dalton noted the last time safety Rashad Johnson scored a touchdown before Sunday was when he returned an interception for a 54-yard score while playing for Alabama Nov. 8, 2008 in a win at LSU. You know who also had a pick-6 in that game? LSU freshman Patrick Peterson. Too bad Peterson could complete the circle of life when he stumbled at the end of his interception return Sunday.
– Punter Dave Zastudil has 38 punts downed inside the 20-yard line with two games to go. He is on pace to eclipse the NFL record of 42, held by three players, including the Cards’ Ben Graham in 2009. Zastudil has been fantastic this season. Of course, he isn’t even leading the league, since Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt already has 41 downed inside the 20. It’s a race to the finish!
– The 25.5 sacks of defensive end Calais Campbell in his career already puts him in the top 10 in franchise history. I don’t know if he’s ever going to reach the top — Freddie Joe Nunn’s 66 is a long way away, especially for a 3-4 end — but if he stays consistent there is no reason to think Campbell doesn’t at least double his total over the next three seasons.
– The Cards flip-flopped their Saturday roster move, releasing defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin — they must expect Dan Williams and/or Ronald Talley back this week — and re-signing guard/center Mike Gibson.
Tags: Ben Graham, Calais Campbell, Dave Zastudil, Dustin Colquitt, Mark Dalton, Mike Gibson, Mike Helm, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Ricky Lumpkin
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The Cardinals made a roster move Saturday, promoting defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from the practice squad. It probably is helpful since DE Ronald Talley has been gimpy with a bad ankle and NT Dan Williams is hurting with a bad hamstring. but it also is likely a reward for working so hard this season. At this time of year, those things happen. To make room on the roster, the Cards cut offensive lineman Mike Gibson. Here had just signed earlier this week.
The Cardinals also plan to open the roof for Sunday’s game against Detroit, so dress accordingly.
Tags: Mike Gibson, Ricky Lumpkin, roof
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The inevitable happened Wednesday, with the Cardinals finally placing Kevin Kolb on injured reserve, ending his season and with it weeks of speculation of whether he could return from his nasty ribs injury. It also ended what looked like Kolb’s step forward in this offense after an injury-riddled disaster in 2011. Kolb was winning games in 2012, and had the meltdown of the offensive line not occurred right before the time Kolb was hurt, maybe we would have seen even more.
(Of course, the irony is that Kolb’s injury had nothing to do with the offensive line problems, just a blown handoff on which Kolb tried to run and paid the price.)
The Cards, to fill the roster spot, added offensive lineman Mike Gibson, who was with Seattle most of his four-year career before the Eagles released him in training camp this season.
It was pretty clear last week Kolb would not be able to come back from his ribs problem. Kolb proved he was the best quarterback on the team. But the reality is stark: The man acquired to be the team’s long-term QB last season played in just 15 of a possible 32 games because of injuries. Now, the injuries were serious – we’re not talking about skipping to nurse a sore hamstring or something, but instead torn ligaments in his toe and damaged foot, a serious concussion and now, ribs ripped from the sternum – but it’s tough to make an impression on the sideline.
It leaves much in the air for Kolb’s future in Arizona. No one has officially addressed it, but there is no way the Cardinals pay Kolb a $9 million salary in 2013 and a $2 million roster bonus in March. If he is going to stick around, the two sides will have to renegotiate, or Kolb will have to be released and test his wares on the open market, a la Levi Brown. I can still see a scenario where Kolb returns in 2013. But it’s no guarantee and whatever happens – if anything – with the coaching staff and front office will impact the thought process.
Kolb’s fourth-down touchdown laser thrown to Andre Roberts at the end of the Miami game that tied it up and forced overtime – a game in which the Cardinals won, the last one, as it turned out thus far – seems so, so long ago.
Here are a couple of quotes from Kolb today:
– Going on IR was “not a huge shock.” But “I wasn’t lying when I said, ‘I hope it’s next Monday, I hope it’s next Monday.’ ” He reiterated he would not have any surgery and let his ribs heal on their own.
– On the idea of the team wanting him to restructure his contract: “I’m not sure. If that time comes, we will have that discussion.”
– On staying in Arizona long-term: “I like the way this locker room is, the kind of guys in here. Obviously we have to make some adjustments. We all know that. My focus is being part of this team for a long time and getting this place back to an elite level. … People say certain things about this organization here, but my heart and soul is with this organization and I don’t want that to change. I really don’t.”
Tags: Kevin Kolb, Mike Gibson
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