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Fifth round goes to a fullback

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2011 – 11:19 am

The Cards went with UConn fullback Anthony Sherman in the fifth round. It’s a position they’ve been looking for since losing Terrelle Smith after the Super Bowl season. He’s considered a good blocker, even in pass protection, and a good special-teams player (important given the probable loss of Jason Wright). Sherman is 5-10 and 240. His Pro Football Weekly summary (which listed him as a fourth- or fifth-round pick): “A hardworking, assignment-sound fullback with starting-caliber toughness, physicality and blocking ability.” He’s also a guy who can catch passes.

Sherman called himself a “lunchpail player.” With Nehemiah Broughton coming off a third major knee surgery and the team looking to upgrade over Reagan Maui’a, it’s not a shocking choice.

“You gotta have a couple screws loose to be a fullback,” Sherman said. “I don’t know if everyone can do it, but there are a few of us doing it every day out here.”


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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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Cards make final three moves

Posted by Darren Urban on August 31, 2010 – 2:56 pm

The Cardinals have made their final three roster moves today to get down to the mandated 75-man limit, and none are unexpected. Fullback Nehemiah Broughton (knee) was moved to injured reserve, ending his season. Linebacker O’Brien Schofield (knee) was moved to the injured/non-football list, which basically has the same rules as the physically-unable-to-perform list — he must sit the first six games, and then the Cards have until the ninth game to decide to put him on the active roster or move him to IR. Finally, the team waived/injured wide receiver Darren Mougey, who broke his hand last week in practice.

The Cardinals have to go from 75 to 53 players this weekend in getting ready for the regular season.


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Broughton probably done

Posted by Darren Urban on August 28, 2010 – 9:16 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said fullback Nehemiah Broughton, who would have been the starter and probably the lone fullback on the roster, likely tore the ACL in his left knee. The team will do further tests, but if true, he is done for the season. It makes for a bind for the Cards. Do they keep current backup Reagan Maui’a? Do they bring back Charles Ali, who was the backup earlier in camp before getting hurt and cut?

UPDATE: The Cards can’t bring back Ali. He was released through an injury settlement, and the Cards wouldn’t be able to bring him back until October.


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Williams, Grimm and Whiz

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2010 – 12:37 pm

Not only did we get coach Ken Whisenhunt for a lunchtime presser today, but also Russ Grimm — the man is going into the Hall of Fame this weekend — and newcomer Dan Williams. Bits and pieces from all (although I will have Grimm and Williams stories up later today):

– Williams passed his conditioning test, although Whisenhunt said he was told by Justin Casey — the Cards’ front office man who drove Williams up to Flagstaff — the Williams must have brought up the test “at least 25 times” on the two-and-a-half hour ride. Williams was fine, and he weighed in at 325 pounds, which is actually a little lower than his max allowed weight.

– Grimm is set to leave after the night practice tomorrow to go to Canton for the Hall of Fame induction. He has to stay through the game Sunday night, so he will have to return next Monday. I’m sure he isn’t thrilled having to be gone that long, but duty calls, and you’re only inducted into the Hall of Fame once.

– Whisenhunt said he likes the work he has seen from fullback Nehemiah Broughton and fellow FB Charles Ali is in the mix, but the Cards are also using tight end Dominique Byrd in the backfield some and Whiz likes how that has looked. If Byrd can do well there, it would go a long way toward helping him stick on the roster.

– Whiz, asked about Brett Favre, you know, if Favre really is retiring, what his thoughts were. “We talked about this last year,” deadpanned Whisenhunt. The coach talked about how much respect he has for Favre, noting “I know (retirement) is a decision he has to make. This game and this league will miss him if he doesn’t play.” Whiz was then asked if that meant he was one of those out there that thinks Favre still hasn’t made up his mind. Quipped Whisenhunt, “Like I said, we had this conversation last year.”


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For what it’s worth in June, offensive edition

Posted by Darren Urban on June 15, 2010 – 6:55 pm

OK kids. Here is part two – The Final Chapter — of my starting lineup blog guesses. Today is the offense, after I offered up the defense yesterday. There seems to be less in flux on the offensive side of the ball, so these are my thoughts of who will be on the field when the Cards go against the Rams in St. Louis Sept. 12:

WR – Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz had a big year with touchdowns but his yardage shrunk. With Anquan Boldin gone, I’d expect Fitz to look for more of everything.

WR – Steve Breaston. Breaston has proven he can be a good receiver in this league. Assuming Early Doucet stays healthy, the Cardinals will still be in good shape at wideout.

FB – Nehemiah Broughton. The position is open, but the Cards liked what they saw from Broughton late last season once they signed him. They will need a bruiser to help in what is expected to be a more prominent run game.

RB – Tim Hightower. Ahh, the most “controversial” of the starting calls. Will I be shocked if Beanie Wells is starting in St. Louis? No. Could Hightower start Game One and then have Wells move in? Sure. Might they stay Hightower-Wells all season as last year? Yes. Have I mentioned before it doesn’t matter? I am feeling pretty good in saying Beanie will have more carries and be the leading rusher. The other details are window dressing.

TE – Ben Patrick. This is a hunch. They like how Anthony Becht blocks, and I believe Becht will again play a role. I think Patrick would have been in a better spot last season had he not been suspended to start the regular schedule. Patrick can catch, Becht can block. A better, pretty interesting question is whether Dominique Byrd, Stephen Spach or even Jim Dray can find a way into the mix. But that’s for a blog on another day.

LT – Levi Brown. Since the day he arrived, Levi said he felt better at left tackle. Now he gets his chance to show it. Along with more running – the part of the game he is better at – the Cards hope Brown really blossoms.

LG – Alan Faneca. I know coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t guarantee anything when Faneca signed, but he’s going to be in the lineup and he’s going to be at left guard. The guy has made nine straight Pro Bowls.

C – Lyle Sendlein. I don’t know if Rex Hadnot can slip in here, but Hadnot was playing guard this offseason with Ben Claxton running second team. Again, Sendlein has always been a favorite of Russ Grimm. I think that makes an impact.

RG – Deuce Lutui. Here is the upset pick (and remember, this is my gut – not necessarily because I know it to be true). Reggie Wells will have a good chance to hold on to this spot and Lutui must prove he is a) in decent shape and b) not too far behind after missing all the offseason work. But Lutui is a guy this team wants around long-term and someone they were pleased with the second half of the season.

RT – Brandon Keith. This is what they have been grooming Keith for the past two seasons. Herman Johnson may have a spot on the line in the future, but this is where they see if Keith is ready. Considering how little Keith has played, I think that confidence level is remarkably high.

QB – Matt Leinart. Derek Anderson may be sitting in the background (yes, I’m playing off the photo below) but this is Leinart’s job to lose and his team to lead. No reason to hash and re-hash everything we’ve already said. We’ll see what happens. But Leinart will get his chance to show what he can do after his Warner tutelage.

OK, that’s wraps it up. Catch you all in a couple weeks.


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Have Cards Broughton in a fullback?

Posted by Darren Urban on May 26, 2010 – 4:41 pm

In the Kurt Warner years, a fullback wasn’t featured much of the time on offense, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. (I have to say, I had a soft spot in my heart for old I-45 a couple years ago — Terrelle Smith). Smith was gone in 2009, opening the spot for another veteran Dan Kreider. Krieder too is gone and the Cards are searching for his replacement.

They may have added him while Kreider was still on the roster. The team signed Nehemiah Broughton in January off the practice squad of the New York Giants, right after the regular season ended but while the Cards were still practicing (and would be for another two weeks). That was good enough to convince the Cards to keep him around.

“It’s a position that is hard to find guys,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Nehemiah has good size (at 6-foot, 255 pounds) and is very athletic. He came in and worked hard for us. I am excited to see how he develops because obviously, it’s a position where we need someone to do it. You are looking for someone to step up and he’s got a little bit of a leg up because of the work he did with us last season.”

Right now, fullback is one of the positions difficult to evaluate. That spot hits, and no one is hitting in shorts. Whisenhunt said the goal-line drills in Flagstaff are one of the proving grounds for those players. “I would like to see what happens in games, what happens in training camp when the pads go on,” Whisenhunt said

Broughton took almost all the reps in minicamp because Reagan Maui’a was hurt. Afterward, the Cards also brought in Charles Ali, who had been with the Browns most recently. The Cardinals figure to need a quality fullback, given the retirement of Kurt Warner and the assumed increase in the running game.

“I just want to play football and make this ballclub,” Broughton said. “Coaches make those decisions. … But I am very confident in my abilities.”


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Cardinals sign FB Ali

Posted by Darren Urban on May 7, 2010 – 1:26 pm

Continuing to mine one-time Browns (it’s probably not a coincidence guys like Derek Anderson and Rex Hadnot are here with Director of Pro Personnel T.J. McCreight having come from Cleveland) the Cardinals have signed fullback Charles Ali to a one-year deal Friday. The team needed another body at the position after talks to bring back Dan Kreider fell through. Ali joins Nehemiah Broughton and Reagan Maui’a on the roster as blocking backs.

At 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, Ali has been in the league since 2007, playing two years in Cleveland before going to Baltimore last season briefly after playing for New York in the UFL. The Ravens brought him back after the season. He was released by the Ravens in April.


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Notes from Fan Fest practice

Posted by Darren Urban on May 1, 2010 – 1:25 pm

Another Fan Fest on the Saturday morning of minicamp is over and with it, the third of five minicamp practices. The fan Fest crowd was big again — around 4,500 — and the practice fairly crisp. Some news, notes and thoughts:

– The Cardinals are hurting at fullback, with Reagan Maui’a nursing a bad groin, leaving Nehemiah Broughton as the lone healthy fullback. “We’re thin, and not from a physical standpoint,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The two guys we have out there definitely aren’t thin. … That’s obviously an area we have to address, just to have some depth. I feel good about who we have there, but when you only have two and one gets nicked up, it makes it kind of difficult.”

The Cardinals were considering bringing back veteran Dan Kreider, but Whisenhunt said that won’t happen.

– The quarterbacks looked good today. Clearly Derek Anderson and John Skelton have arm strength to put some heat on their passes. Whisenhunt said he wants to see how all the QBs react once the defense starts working in more blitzes and the like.

– Speaking of catching passes, linebacker Monty Beisel made an impressive and athletic leaping interception of Anderson, standing at the line of scrimmage and grabbing a missile before it got very far from Anderson. “We had a blitz coming and I was kind of messing around coming on a delayed blitz and he threw it up – it happened really quick,” Beisel said. “I had that one (Friday) when Matt threw me a layup and I dropped it. I had to come back and redeem myself.

The crowd certainly loved it.

– Larry Fitzgerald might be getting the bugs out. He got open deep on a bomb that was perfectly thrown by Matt Leinart, but Fitz couldn’t come up with the catch. Judging on what Fitz has done in the past, though, I’d bet the Cards would rather have a great bomb by Leinart and Fitz get the drops out of his system in April rather than Leinart have trouble getting it there and Fitz rescuing him with a great catch.

– I still don’t think it’s a big deal as I have said many times, so I am hesitant to even bring this up, but Tim Hightower is still running with the first string with Beanie Wells second. Again, Beanie is going to get a ton of carries this season, so it’s basically a moot point, but I know there are fans out there who want to know.

– Speaking of things people want to know, Whisenhunt addressed the progress of 2009 second-round pick Cody Brown. “He does not look anywhere close to be as lost as he was at this time last year,” Whisenhunt said. “He looks more natural than he did. He’s not a rookie. He hasn’t shown what he can do yet, but he’s much further advanced.”

It was suggested that Brown was still lost but not as lost. “That’s a great assessment,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s kind of in that limbo-land. He’s not a rookie but he’s not a vet.”

– As has become the custom, the Cards presented framed Pro Bowl jerseys to last year’s Pro Bowlers: Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson and DRC.


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After the second day

Posted by Darren Urban on April 23, 2010 – 9:56 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt made a joke earlier this week about the Cards taking “the best player available that fits the our need.” This year, he wasn’t kidding. Three picks, three players that just so happened to fit major holes, capped by the slot receiver/punt returner Andre Roberts in the third round. So after that (and the choice of LB Daryl Washington in the second round), some thoughts:

– There are clearly some of you out there less than thrilled about the Roberts pick. Know this — the Cards have been looking for a punt returning alternative for Steve Breaston for a while. Not because Breaston isn’t good, but because he has become that valuable as a receiver. Before Roberts, there wasn’t anyone on the roster that was a true candidate. The Cards also needed speed at receiver. Roberts has some of that as a former track guy. They needed a slot guy. Roberts does that. They needed another candidate as fourth receiver, since the leading in-house candidates were unknown quantities in Ed Gant and Onrea Jones.

Plus, Whisenhunt likes the idea of a guy from the Citadel. Don’t get him wrong. Roberts is here because of what he does on the field. But add that to surviving and thriving at a military school, well, Whiz likes that. His father attended the school and he knows what it is about (Whiz took a visit there before going to Georgia Tech).

– The last NFL player drafted from the Citadel? In 2005, the Redskins spent a seventh rounder on a fullback named Nehemiah Broughton — who just happens to be Roberts’ new teammate on the Cards. Of the 12 Citadel players drafted in history, six have been Cards at one point.

– The Cards have been big on the small schools. Roberts, TE Ben Patrick (Delaware), T Brandon Keith (Northern Iowa), RB Tim Hightower (Richmond), CB Greg Toler (St. Pauls) and DRC (Tennessee State) have all been taken since Whiz came aboard. “Because we have had success with those guys,” Whisenhunt said, “we may be a little less inclined to be scared of that.”

– I think the move to get Washington was important. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis loves the idea of Washington coming in to (eventually) fill Karlos Dansby’s shoes. Davis told a story of putting on a tape of a Clemson-TCU game, when running back C.J. Spiller (who went ninth in the draft to Buffalo) caught a swing pass and the only thing in the flat to stop Spiller was Washington. And there was 10 yards in between the two. Nevertheless, Washington “gets him down easily,” Davis said.

“It’s one play,” Davis siad. “But the athleticism …  if you start with speed and athleticism, which you can’t teach. T hen talk to him, he’s a classy young man and football means a lot to him. I talked for maybe two hours. I know he’s sharp enough to learn the NFL system.”

– By the way, the Cards have zero concerns about Washington’s size and/or weight. And the idea is, if Dan Williams and the rest of the defensive line succeeds as planned, Washington will have the space to use his skills to make plays.

– With three picks left, I expect serious consideration on two of them to go to offensive line and defensive back. But in terms of the offensive line, that’s why they signed Rex Hadnot and why they have groomed Keith. That’s why the re-signed Jeremy Bridges. Do they want to keep stockpiling? Yes. But just because some pundits (and some fans) see offensive line as this major need doesn’t mean the Cards do as well.

– If the drop of Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy proves anything, it’s how weak this QB class is considered. Because of that, I won’t be surprised to see the Cards get a rookie QB, but after the draft as an undrafted free agent.


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