The Cardinals are done with the first day of their three-day voluntary minicamp. The tempo for the almost two-hour work in the afternoon was crisp. Coach Bruce Arians said there were fewer mistakes than might have been anticipated. The only player not there was Larry Fitzgerald, but Arians knew that he wouldn’t be and said Fitz would be back on Wednesday. A couple other tidbits:
– T Levi Brown and LB O’Brien Schofield weren’t taking part as they continue their rehab from 2012 injuries. Arians said there was no reason to push it. Schofield should be back soon. Arians just wants to make sure Brown is available by the Fall. Arians said he might consider putting Nate Potter at guard at some point, but there is plenty of time to figure that out. Arians said a player should be able to play either guard or tackle on the same side.
– QB Carson Palmer said 75 percent of the offense has been introduced to the players, although there is a long way to go to make it work in practice. This is the teaching/learning phase, clearly, although the pace of the workout was noticeably quick.
– With Schofield out (and for all we know, even if Schofield was available) it was free agent linebacker Lorenzo Alexander lining up on the outside with Sam Acho. Daryl Washington and Jasper Brinkley were the inside linebackers. The first string secondary was Jerraud Powers with Patrick Peterson at cornerback and Rashad Johnson and Yeremiah Bell at safety.
– Washington obviously won’t be able to play the first four games because of his suspension. Arians said it was too early to know who will be the starter in Washington’s absence. “We will get Daryl ready to start just like I did with Ben Roethlisberger (before his suspension in 2010) and whoever was taking his place in September was more than ready to,” Arians said.
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Daryl Washington, Jasper Brinkley, Jerraud Powers, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, minicamp, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Ssam Acho, Yeremiah Bell
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With the news, reported multiple places, that the Cards are a little more than $3 million over the salary cap about a month away from needing to get in compliance, general manager Steve Keim still has some maneuvering to do. Knowing now that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is sticking with the 3-4 base defense, the linebacker corps remains a crucial part of the equation.
What that means going forward is the question as free agency/cap compliance/the offseason gets closer.
Daryl Washington, the Pro Bowler and burgeoning star, isn’t going anywhere. He got his new contract last year and is the cornerstone of the position. But beyond that? The biggest part of the to-do list is got to be the other inside linebacker spot next to Washington. Paris Lenon is an unrestricted free agent, but he is also going to turn 36 in November. With a new staff, those are often the kind of players that are left to move on, or brought back later in the offseason. But Lenon has been playing, which in Stewart Bradley’s two Cardinals’ seasons hasn’t been the case. Bradley took a reduction in salary last season of 50 percent and still didn’t play much on defense at all, relegated to mostly special teams. Again, that could change with a new defensive coordinator, but up against the cap and with Bradley owning a $6.5 million salary cap number for 2013, his return under that deal doesn’t make sense. At best, renegotiation/pay cut would be coming, although the Cards may just part ways. UPDATE: I’m not sure why I forgot to mention Reggie Walker, who played solidly this season. Walker is under contract for another season and surpassed Bradley on the depth chart.
(That’s the dangerous part of this process, however. Bradley would still cost $3M of dead cap space if released, which is still a savings of $3.5M, but it’s not like it’s zero impact. The cap hit has always got to be considered with moving on from any player or trading him. Sometimes it can be spread out over a couple of years, but it’s still a hit of worthless space.)
O’Brien Schofield and Sam Acho, your outside starters, still have to prove themselves to the new staff too, although the decision to go with a 3-4 base helps both tremendously. They might have a much harder time in a 4-3 setup finding a place to play.
Tags: Daryl Washington, O'Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon, Reggie Walker, salary cap, Sam Acho, Stewart Bradley
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O’Brien Schofield was back in the locker room Wednesday after practice, getting around after ankle surgery on a motorized scooter that looked much more fitting for one of those older women on a late night TV commercial selling such things than a 250-pound NFL linebacker.
“At first it was frustrating because I couldn’t believe I got hurt again, but I tried to put it in perspective,” Schofield said. “This gives me time to get my shoulders right, my knees right and completely heal up.”
Schofield only had ligament damage – it was torn. There was no fracture, but he wasn’t going to be able to come back. Still, not fun considering the freak nature of the play, where teammate Darnell Dockett fell on his leg as both were chasing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the game at Green Bay.
Dockett, though, apologized, even if he didn’t have to.
“Dock has been good through this,” Schofield said. “He’s been hitting me up, checking to see how I have been doing. He put my number on the back of his helmet, which was cool. He told me when I started rehabbing, if there was anything I need, just let him know.
“It wasn’t his fault at all. It was a freak accident. The way he has been, I appreciate his generosity.”
Dockett downplayed his post-injury role.
“That’s my brother,” Dockett said. “I’m like that with all my teammates. If they need anything to get better, especially off of injuries and stuff, I want to help.”
Dockett said he was going to let Schofield use his personal hyperbaric chamber to help speed Schofield’s recovery.
“He’s a good player, he came back (from a bad knee) and had a freak accident,” Dockett said. “We were just trying to do the same thing at the same time. As a friend, as a leader, as a brother outside of football, anything I can do to help him get back. He would do the same for me.”
Tags: Darnell Dockett, O'Brien Schofield
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The Cardinals officially put linebacker O’Brien Schofield on injured reserve, ending his season, but the man they brought in to replace him on the roster wasn’t a linebacker. Instead, the Cardinals re-signed defensive end Ronald Talley, who was released by the team at the end of the preseason. The Cardinals already were carrying an extra linebacker after promoting Zack Nash recently, so numbers-wise, it’s not out of whack.
The Cardinals also lost cornerback Crezdon Butler off the practice squad when the Buffalo Bills signed him to their active roster. So the Cards brought back cornerback Greg McCoy to the practice squad, whom they had released from that spot recently to bring back Butler.
The team also officially announced the injury settlement with offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges, releasing him off of injured reserve. Bridges is free to sign and play with any team other than the Cardinals. In theory, Bridges could come back eventually, but I’m not sure that will happen.
Tags: Crezdon Butler, Greg McCoy, Jeremy Bridges, O'Brien Schofield, practice squad, Ronald Talley
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Earlier Monday, Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he didn’t know the status of linebacker O’Brien Schofield’s ankle injury and was waiting for an MRI. The news apparently wasn’t good. Schofield tweeted tonight his season was over.
“I’m out for the season. I’m sorry Cardinal fans. But I will be back and stronger then ever. This yr was just a preview of (what) is to Come,” was Schofield’s Twitter message.
UPDATE: Whisenhunt confirmed Schofield’s season-ending injury Tuesday.
Schofield got hurt after getting twisted up with teammate Darnell Dockett as the two were going after a sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (pictured below). Rodgers escaped, and now the freak play has sidelined Schofield.
It’s a blow to the Cardinals’ defense after they finally got Schofield in the starting lineup this season. Quentin Groves is the logical player to replace Schofield in the starting lineup. The Cardinals also have Jamaal Westerman and rookie Zack Nash, but you’d figure they will use the bye week to add someone to the roster. It’s also a tough blow for Schofield, who’s been dealing with injuries since he came into the league, most notably the ACL injury he suffered right before he was drafted in 2010. Schofield has worked hard to make himself into a viable starter in the league. While it’s uncertain exactly what happened to his ankle that would end his season, it sounds like it will be another long road to recovery for Schofield.
Tags: Darnell Dockett, O'Brien Schofield, Quentin Groves, Zack Nash
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With the bye week underway, the Cardinals have a slightly different schedule. Coach Ken Whisenhunt met with the media today but the players are off. They are in tomorrow (normally a Tuesday off day) for a practice and again Wednesday before being off Thursday through Sunday. But with this basically being the halfway break of the season, Whiz had some good tidbits coming out of his press conference:
– Nate Potter not only did “real well” at left tackle in Green Bay but he has likely earned the starting left tackle job. That is not a surprise. Whether he can keep it long-term — or, as I am already being asked, whether he could supplant the injured Levi Brown and have Brown move back to the right side in 2013 — are all questions that can’t be answered right now. Potter has had a good game and a good start is important. Let’s see how that plays out the rest of this season.
– That means two rookie tackles now, with Bobby Massie on the right side.
– Whiz talked more about making changes, but there wasn’t a lot of specifics. There won’t be either — even if Whiz does make changes, I’m sure they will stay fairly hush-hush for the sake of the Falcons’ game.
– Whisenhunt still doesn’t have a timetable on the return of quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs), although he said it would be “sooner rather than later.” Practicing right now for Kolb would be about managing the soreness, which is always something kind of important when you are talking about a QB who can and will be hammered by 290-pound linemen. The next home game, Thanksgiving weekend against the Rams, would be the six-week mark since Kolb’s injury. Possible? I have no earthly idea right now.
– There was no update on the ankle injury to linebacker O’Brien Schofield, although Whiz confirmed Schofield’s comment that he’d have an MRI today. If he has a John Skelton-esque ankle problem, that could cost him a game, although if you’re going to get hurt, doing it right before the bye is supposed to be the right time.
– Running back Beanie Wells can’t play again until the Nov. 25 Rams game, but he can begin to practice this week. “Just seeing him go through the process … I’m sure there will be some soreness in the toe,” Whisenhunt said. “I just want him to get started so he can have a good week of practice next week (before the Falcons) as well.”
Whiz said he expects the off time has also helped Wells’ knee, which did not seem right even before his toe injury. “He’s got to put the helmet and the pads on and actually do it from a football perspective to know for sure, but it appears that way, which is a big benefit,” Whisenhunt said.
– I’ve gotten a lot of questions on this, but yes, it appears the Cards have released or are about to release offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges. Bridges confirmed this on an Instagram account. Bridges had been on injured reserve after hurting his thumb in the preseason, so the only way he could be released would be through an injury settlement. If so, he is free to sign with another team, and he did indicate in comments he is hoping to play again. There has been no official word but that is not a surprise. The Cardinals did not make an official announcement when they injury settled with quarterback Rich Bartel earlier this season. (UPDATE: The move was confirmed Monday afternoon when the NFL released its daily transactions list.)
– Wide receiver Michael Floyd will continue to get more playing time, Whisenhunt said. That is not a surprise at all.
– On the run to LaRod Stephens-Howling run into the line on third-and-1 at the Green Bay 2-yard line that was stuffed, forcing a field goal: “There is no question a bigger body can help in that situation, but yesterday’s (issue) wasn’t because of LaRod,” Whisenhunt said. “It was because we didn’t block in the hole the right way. We weren’t physical enough at the point. That’s bad technique. That’s not the scheme, that’s the execution of the scheme.”
Tags: Beanie Wells, Jeremy Bridges, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Michael Floyd, Nate Potter, O'Brien Schofield
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I had tweeted yesterday that tackle Chris Williams, released by the Bears this week, was on the Cardinals’ radar. Today they brought him in for a visit. He also visited the Eagles and so there’s no way to know if his signing is a slam dunk, or even if the Cards want him after seeing him live and in person. One report out of Chicago suggests he could be OK in the right environment. Clearly, with the Williams interest and the bringing back of Pat McQuistan, the Cards are considering options with struggling tackles D’Anthony Batiste and/or Bobby Massie.
– Darnell Dockett was back to practicing fully Thursday, the first time he has done so since hurting his hamstring against the
Dolphins Eagles a few weeks ago. Linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who has been limited almost all season with his sore knee, was back at full for the first time Thursday as well.
– Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and defensive end Jared Allen sat out Thursday nursing ankle and groin issues, respectively, but both are expected to play against the Cardinals and reports are that some of the practice caution has to do with the fact the Vikings play the Buccaneers a week from today, so a short week is coming up.
– Running back William Powell gets some love from profootballfocus.com.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Chris Williams, Darnell Dockett, Jared Allen, O'Brien Schofield, William Powell
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It was basically a walk-through tonight, which is what is expected a day after playing an NFL football game. The Cards will practice late afternoon tomorrow, and midday Wednesday before flying out for St. Louis.
The Cardinals did have an injury report, although as coach Ken Whisenhunt noted earlier today, the truth about how banged-up players like Darnell Dockett really are won’t be known until tomorrow at the earliest. And even then I am guessing Dockett and others will be game-day decisions whether they will play.
Monday’s list is long. CB Michael Adams (hamstring), TE Jim Dray (knee), TE Todd Heap (knee), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip) and LB Quentin Groves (hamstring) did not practice. Dockett (hamstring) was limited, as was LB Paris Lenon (knee), LB O’Brien Schofield (knee), FB Anthony Sherman (hamstring), QB John Skelton (ankle), G Adam Snyder (elbow) and NT Dan Williams (foot).
For the Rams, among those on the injury report were RB Steven Jackson (groin) and T Rodger Saffold (knee), both of whom sat out.
Tags: Adam Snyder, Anthony Sherman, Dan Williams, Jim Dray, John Skelton, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Michael Adams, O'Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon, Quentin Groves, Todd Heap
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The defense is dominant. But before we get too far away from one of the key storylines from today’s game, here’s a nod to Kevin Kolb. The quarterback keeps downplaying what it meant today to beat the Eagles, but the man is human. You can only imagine, with everything he’s been through – the guy wasn’t even going to be playing two weeks ago.
“We wanted to come out and play hard for him because we knew what it meant for him,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “He made the throws, he scrambled when he needed to and he did a great job commanding the huddle. In the huddle, he was very demonstrative. He really wanted it. He was calling guys to reach down and dig deep and make plays. He really doesn’t talk all that much in the huddle, but today, you could tell he was actually trying to motivate.”
Someone wanted Kolb to reflect on the past three games. He wouldn’t bite. “I want to stay focused,” Kolb said. “Because I’ve done it in the past, you know, tried to foresee the future and every time it comes up and knocks my legs out from under me.”
The questions are going to be there and no, I don’t know what happens at quarterback. You’d have to think Kolb will stay as the starter even if John Skelton’s ankle is healthy. I don’t anticipate any big announcement – that’s not really coach Ken Whisenhunt’s style – but that’s my guess tonight.
– There was a lot of preseason concern about how much pressure the Cards could get with their outside linebackers. O’Brien Schofield and Quentin Groves each had a sack, Sam Acho had a play that would’ve been a sack if Michael Vick hadn’t decided to intentionally ground the ball, and the three totaled six QB hits. Not a bad day’s work.
– Safety Kerry Rhodes has had two excellent games in a row. Played well in New England, and then today he looked like, since Adrian Wilson was sitting out, he was going to suddenly take up the mantle as the guy who drilled everyone. He did it back-to-back plays on tight end Brent Celek, and later tagged Vick for the James Sanders fumble return.
“Everyone else is making plays, so why not me?” Rhodes said. “I have to make a couple myself.”.
– James Sanders and Rashad Johnson stepped up in Wilson’s absence. Reminded me of last year when Johnson and Richard Marshall filled in well for Rhodes
– Daryl Washington won’t win NFC defensive player of the week, I don’t think, because Calais Campbell won it last week. But he’d have an argument after his two sacks and the way he harassed Michael Vick all day. So I’ll say this: Has a team ever looked better in a two-week stretch of re-signing two players to big contract extensions. No worries about either one flaking out after getting paid.
– The PatCat got a snap Sunday. Four-yard Patrick Peterson running loss. It can’t always be productive, I guess.
– Kolb has played two games plus the end of the other without an interception. “With our defense and our style of play, not turning the ball over is a big key,” Kolb said. “It’s OK to punt. We don’t like it, it’s never been in my game, but to have that mentality, sometimes it’s OK.”
– It was so important for Ryan Williams to bounce back like he did. Not only did his 83 yards on 13 carries look good, but it softens the blow if Beanie Wells is out. We’ll see how Wells’ toe is this week. Williams does, as Whisenhunt noted, need to grab that 3rd-and-1 pitch and just drive upfield and make sure he gets the one yard, rather than look for a big play and get stuffed.
– Speaking of stuffed, I felt back for LaRod Stephens-Howling. He was in the game with Wells down and Williams suffering from cramps, and the Eagles knew the Cards just wanted to run it into the line late and burn clock, and the Hyphen’s stats took a beating. Eight carries, minus-14 yards. Talk about taking one for the team.
– Darnell Dockett said his hamstring will be OK, but jeez, that would be a tough loss if he were to miss a game. Dockett shrugged. “Every now and then, even the Hulk gets wounded.”
– Long snapper Mike Leach recovered the Eagles’ fumble punt today, which is why you need someone athletic enough to get down in coverage at that position. It’s not just about putting your head between your legs and throwing.
– Michael Floyd, welcome to the NFL. A highlight-worthy TD catch and drawing a 15-yard penalty on DRC? Nice production.
– Fitz had a good game, but what does he tell Andre Roberts about the 50 yards Roberts lost on Fitz’s block in the back penalty that Roberts may not have even needed. Roberts ended up with a 29-yard reception instead. “I cost my closest friend on the team a 70-yard play,” Fitz lamented. Ah, after all that time Roberts spent with Fitz’s jet skis on the lake this summer, I’m sure Roberts will forgive him.
I had just turned 4 the last time the Cards were 3-0. I wasn’t living in Arizona yet, even though I’ve lived here most of my life, and their move to the Valley was a long way away. At some point, the Cardinals were going to get to 3-0 again. Raise your hand if, on Sept. 8, you thought it was going to be this season.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Eagles, James Sanders, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Michael Vick, Mike Leach, O'Brien Schofield, PatCat, Quentin Groves, Rashad Johnson, Ryan Williams
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Every NFL team must have it roster cuts in by Friday afternoon. To be exact, by 6 p.m. Arizona time. I expect the Cardinals – and coach Ken Whisenhunt – to have announced them before, since Whiz will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. that day. Until then, though, this is a guess at how this 53-man roster shakes out.
Whisenhunt made it clear the other day that this last preseason game does matter when it comes to a spot or two on the roster, and I believe that. It means trying to approximate who will be on the roster before that last game is somewhat fool’s gold. I’m certainly not Nostradamus here. Last year, for instance, I had Ben Graham holding off Dave Zastudil for the punter job. I was very wrong. And this only holds for as long as it might take for the Cards to claim/sign a guy or two over the weekend, which would obviously change things. That always happens.
But it’s fodder to chew on until Friday, speculation upon which this time of the NFL schedule is built around. So with apologies to those I miss on, and with a nod to old school Letterman, this is only an exhibition and not a competition, so please, no wagering.
QB – (3) John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley. No, we don’t know the starter yet. But it’s hard to believe that with everything Lindley has shown as a rookie he doesn’t get the nod over Rich Bartel (who is one of the best guys you’ll meet and someday will be a very good coach.)
RB – (4) Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell. This is one of the sticking points. Powell has had a good preseason, but as I have mentioned many times, I think Alfonso Smith has as well. It may come down to how Powell looks Thursday night. Will I be shocked if Smith is the choice instead of Powell? Nope.
FB – (1) Anthony Sherman. The Sherminator running unopposed. It’s like a boring political “race.”
WR – (6) Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, DeMarco Sampson, LaRon Byrd. This is a close one, in my mind. The top four are obvious. I think Sampson has had a good camp and he can play special teams. Byrd versus Stephen Williams may just be about Byrd’s upside. I’m not sure Byrd would make it to the practice squad but — given some other positional issues, like, at say, offensive line – I’m not sure either if the Cards may try and keep just five receivers and use the practice squad for relief.
TE – (4) Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray. Given the injury history of, well, all of them, I think the Cards play it safe and keep four guys around again.
OL – (8) D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobby Massie, Rich Ohrnberger, Jeremy Bridges, Senio Kelemete. This is a very difficult one from the outside looking in. The Cards might keep nine linemen, given their . Has Kelemete shown enough, even as a draft pick? Would Nate Potter be possible given the tackle issues? Where might a free agent or waiver claim fit in? I could see Potter, D.J. Young and/or center Scott Wedige as practice squad material too.
DL (6) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Vonnie Holliday, David Carter, Nick Eason. Seems fairly cut and dried at this position, one of the few like that.
LB – (8) Sam Acho, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, O’Brien Schofield, Stewart Bradley, Reggie Walker, Clark Haggans, Brandon Williams. This is another spot that might come down to the Denver game. The backup outside linebacker spot figures to have two places for three guys: Haggans, Williams, Quentin Groves. Groves made some plays early. Williams plays some special teams and has been higher on the depth chart.
DB (10) – Patrick Peterson, William Gay, Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Rashad Johnson, James Sanders, Greg Toler, A.J. Jefferson. Usually, the Cards wouldn’t keep more than nine defensive backs, and that’s still possible. With 10, Bethel is a special teams keeper despite being a raw DB. Michael Adams is the odd man out there, but it will not shock me to see Adams stick around either and maybe someone like Jefferson out. Watching the reserve defensive backs closely in the finale, because I think that will be part of the equation.
ST – (3) Jay Feely (K), Dave Zastudil (P), Mike Leach (LS). Never should have doubted Leach’s return.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Adam Snyder, Adrian Wilson, Andre Roberts, Anthony Sherman, Beanie Wells, Bobby Massie, Brandon Williams, Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans, D'Anthony Batiste, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Daryn Colledge, Dave Zastudil, David Carter, DeMarco Sampson, Early Doucet, Greg Toler, Jamell Fleming, James Sanders, Jay Feely, Jeff King, Jeremy Bridges, Jim Dray, John Skelton, Justin Bethel, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, LaRon Byrd, Larry Fitzgerald, Lyle Sendlein, Michael Floyd, Mike Leach, Nick Eason, O'Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Reggie Walker, Rich Ohrnberger, Rob Housler, Roster, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Williams, Sam Acho, Senio Kelemete, Stewart Bradley, Todd Heap, Vonnie Holliday, William Gay, William Powell
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