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Nugent cut, Banks promoted

Posted by Darren Urban on January 2, 2010 – 12:09 pm

Well, Neil Rackers really must be OK, because the Cards cut kicker Mike Nugent today, making way for Rackers to get back on the field Sunday now that he’s recovered from his groin injury. In Nugent’s place, the Cardinals have promoted defensive lineman Jason Banks to the 53-man roster. Coach Ken Whisenhunt had already said Rackers was kicking this weekend, but in all honesty I thought as a precaution they’d keep Nugent around. Then again, that clears the way to inactivate a defensive lineman Sunday, should the Vikings win and make the game against the Packers basically meaningless.


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Fitz ready to go; Gandy, Rackers out

Posted by Darren Urban on December 18, 2009 – 12:41 pm

Larry Fitzgerald is officially listed as questionable with his sore knee, but the receiver said “I’m feeling good and excited for (Sunday),” and he continues to leave little wiggle room that he will do anything but play against the Lions. Now, coach Ken Whisenhunt isn’t quite as concrete, so we’ll see how that works out. The two both agree Fitzgerald has been progressing daily.

Left tackle Mike Gandy will not play, Whisenhunt said, meaning Jeremy Bridges will start in his place. Kicker Neil Rackers is also out, and Whisenhunt said he was pleased with the efforts of Mike Nugent in practice, going as far to say he was surprised Nugent didn’t already have a job. Given that Nugent’s downfall with the Buccaneers was a windy day in Washington, the Cards can feel good Nugent won’t have to deal with the elements for the rest of the regular season (or the rest of Rackers’ time off, whichever is less, right?).

Linebacker Gerald Hayes (back) returned to practicing full today as well.


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Cards sign Nugent, put Ware on IR

Posted by Darren Urban on December 16, 2009 – 11:15 am

As expected, the Cardinals signed kicker Mike Nugent today. Nugent was with the Buccaneers earlier this season and spent most of his career with the Jets, where he was teammates with current Cards punter Ben Graham. Nugent made just two field goals in six tries in Tampa, not a good way to keep a job. He’s been around 80 percent in his career before that though, and this will give Neil Rackers a chance to shut it down and rest his problem groin.

The corresponding roster move was a tough one, though. Safety Matt Ware, who hurt his knee against the 49ers, apparently won’t be able to come back as soon as the Cards had hoped. So Ware was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. There is now some pressure on rookie safety Rashad Johnson to step up his play. UPDATE: Ware just said he won’t be needing surgery, but the timing was such that the Cards — who needed the roster spot for the kicker — couldn’t afford to carry him on the active roster. These are the tough decisions teams must make this time of year.


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The kicking situation

Posted by Darren Urban on December 16, 2009 – 8:20 am

There have been a lot of questions about the kicking situation, so here’s what’s up as of this morning:

— Neil Rackers is battling a right groin injury and has been for a while now. He seemed to have it get worse in pregame Monday, and the reason Rackers’ kickoffs were so out of the ordinary and short was because the coaches told him to pull back so he wouldn’t create more problems for himself. He was hurting afterward and when I bumped into him Tuesday, he acknowledged he was pretty sore.

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team could have to sign someone for the short-term. Don’t be surprised to see the Cards ink former Jets and Bucs kicker Mike Nugent, although Whisenhunt said the team can wait until later in the week to make a move.

— To me, that makes sense. Having someone like Nugent or any other kicker would allow Rackers to rest at least a week if not a couple. Obviously, Rackers brings so much to the table outside of field goals and extra points — like his various weaponry on kickoffs, including onsides, and his ability to be an 11th tackler on the kickoff coverage unit — the Cards need him for the postseason.

— If the Cards did have to turn to an emergency kicker in a game, it’d be Tim Hightower, I believe. Punter Ben Graham, with his background as an Aussie Rules guy, doesn’t have a lot (if any) of placekicking experience. I don’t know how Hightower would do on kickoffs, but I’ve seen him enough to think he could kick extra points and shorter field goals.


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Rackers’ groin forces backup plan UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on November 26, 2009 – 8:33 am

With kicker Neil Rackers still nursing a sore groin, the Cardinals apparently will work out contacted veteran kickers Mike Nugent and Matt Bryant. There was the report of a tryout, but there was no tryout — just a backup plan in case Rackers worsens. Rackers is expected to play.

Rackers is a gutty guy and he’d have to be pretty bad to not go, I’d suspect. Plus, running back Tim Hightower works on his kicking weekly, so he can serve in a pinch. Rackers hurt his hamstring during warmups of the Carolina game but he got past that. Rackers seemed OK yesterday.

I’ll say this: Unlike any other position, you can usually bring in a kicker at the last second — Saturday? — and still have it work out without practice, so the Cards can afford to wait and see.


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