Running back Beanie Wells is getting the start tonight in his preseason debut at running back, while tight end Jeff King will also get the start tonight as he returns. King’s appearance offsets the missing Rob Housler, who is sitting out with a bad hamstring. It’s a big night for Beanie, who is expected to get the same kind of work Ryan Williams had last week — which was eight snaps and five carries.
Also sitting out tonight are:
– CB Greg Toler (knee)
– FB Jared Crank (neck)
– S Rashad Johnson (abdomen)
– LB O’Brien Schofield (knee)
– LB Daryl Washington (death in the family)
– T Levi Brown (triceps)
Tags: Beanie Wells, Daryl Washington, Greg Toler, Jared Crank, Jeff King, Levi Brown, O'Brien Schofield, Rashad Johnson, Rob Housler
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Another year in Flagstaff over. The Cardinals closed out with a lengthy morning session – going about 30 minutes over the scheduled end time prepping for the Titans. As usual, the team had their annual rookie show the last night. In what could have been predicted, receiver LaRon Byrd imitated Larry Fitzgerald in a skit, an impersonation Fitz insisted “it was not an accurate depiction of me at all.”
No one went after coach Ken Whisenhunt this year – Whiz surmised with a smile it was because after pushing the team so hard last week the rookies might have been a little gun shy to take him on – but then he added, “if you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t have fun.”
“It was a good way to end.”
– The Cardinals will indeed have Beanie Wells Thursday against the Titans. Whisenhunt said he liked how Wells did in practice this week – brief as it was – and will be treated in the game much like Ryan Williams was last week against the Raiders.
“I’m excited to see him in a game,” Whisenhunt said. “There’s no concern with him at all with his health.”
– Linebacker O’Brien Schofield sat out practice again because of his sore knee. Whisenhunt said the Cards will be conservative with Schofield and make sure it doesn’t become a bigger problem. I’d guess Schofield wouldn’t play Thursday. Safety Rashad Johnson (abdomen), cornerback Greg Toler (knee) and fullback Jared Crank (neck) also sat out. Guys like Early Doucet and Todd Heap, who missed practice yesterday, were back.
– Linebacker Daryl Washington will miss the game because of the death of his grandmother.
– The Cards aren’t going to miss dorm life or dorm beds, but they will miss the mild temperatures. Practicing in Tempe is a whole different world this time of year.
“When we come down the hill after this time I know they are in good shape because of the altitude,” Whisenhunt said. “Getting adjusted to the heat takes a little bit. We’ll make sure we go through our routine with the tents and the fans and hopefully they’ll adjust quickly.”
– Whisenhunt praised the big crowds during camp. “It seems like there were more people,” Whisenhunt said.
– A lot happened over the last month, between the ongoing QB battle to the Hall of Fame game to a side trip to Missouri to Levi Brown’s injury. That’s all in the rear view. The team goes to Tennessee tomorrow and the regular season will be here soon.
“It was a good camp,” Whisenhunt said. “But now we have to take the next step.”
Tags: Beanie Wells, Daryl Washington, Ken Whisenhunt, LaRon Byrd, Larry Fitzgerald, O'Brien Schofield, training camp
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The wait for a quarterback is going to continue. And the quarterbacks know this.
Both John Skelton and Kevin Kolb were unfazed today when it was relayed that coach Ken Whisenhunt said he didn’t see “any reason” to make a decision on the starting quarterback before the final preseason game. It makes sense, because in the past, Whisenhunt waited too, whether it was Leinart-Warner or Anderson-Leinart. But Whiz insisted the past had nothing to do with the present.
“As superstitious everyone thinks I am, I’m not doing it because that’s what we did before,” Whisenhunt said. “I just want to make sure we have enough situational evaluations of these players to make that decision.”
Both quarterbacks insist they aren’t anxious. That’s what they are saying. “I take it day by day,” Kolb said. That’s all they can do. It was pointed out by Kent Somers that the QBs have had a similar number of snaps (33 for Skelton, 32 for Kolb) and I’d think that would continue. So the debate will rage on for at least another week, in all probability.
– Tight end Todd Heap left afternoon practice early with a stinger. Linebacker Daryl Washington was absent with a death in the family. Sitting out practice were cornerback Greg Toler (knee), tight end Steve Skelton (back), linebacker O’Brien Schofield (knee), safety Rashad Johnson (abdomen strain), fullback Jared Crank (neck) and wide receiver Early Doucet (back).
Tags: Daryl Washington, Early Doucet, Greg Toler, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, O'Brien Schofield, Rashad Johnson, Steve Skelton, Todd Heap
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The Cardinals won’t have a handful of players tonight, most of whom were expected. RB Beanie Wells (knee) still isn’t ready to go, and guys who got hurt this week — CB Greg Toler (knee) and LB O’Brien Schofield (knee) most notably — are also sitting. WR Andre Roberts is not playing, but I don’t know why that is. Roberts was practicing all week. Rookie receiver LaRon Byrd unfortunately also won’t play with his bad shoulder.
The rest of the sitting list:
– CB Michael Adams (hamstring)
– RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (groin)
– FB Jared Crank (neck)
– LB Paris Lenon (ankle)
– TE Jeff King (quad)
RB Ryan Williams will indeed get his first chance to play since last season’s patella tendon rupture, 364 days since he got hurt. Williams is expected to start. That’d be a fun way to get going tonight.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Greg Toler, O'Brien Schofield, Ryan Williams
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Starting linebacker O’Brien Schofield missed practice Wednesday with a left knee injury. Yes, that’s the same knee he had reconstructed after an ACL tear coming out of college. But Schofield was working on the side with everyone else, and while I’m not sure he’ll play Friday against the Raiders, it didn’t look like a serious thing.
(Tight end Steve Skelton was also sitting with a back issue, along with LB Paris Lenon (ankle), CB Michael Adams (hamstring), FB Jared Crank (neck) and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (groin) still out yesterday.)
If Schofield doesn’t go, the depth chart gets shifted for the Raiders. Veteran Clark Haggans would start, presumably. But at some point, you’d figure to see one of the more intriguing names in camp: Quentin Groves. Groves is the former second-round pick who didn’t really make it as a defensive end in this league — he has just two career sacks and is going into his fifth season — but seems to make sense in the Cards’ 3-4 scheme. He flashed against the Saints in the Hall of Fame game as he tries to escape the disappointing years with both the Jaguars and Raiders.
“He had a good workout for us (in the offseason) and we felt like this was a chance for us to check a guy out,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It seemed like a good fit for his physical ability. He’s worked hard at it.”
Sometimes, he’s worked a little too hard (he was asked to take, well, let’s call it a break, at a recent practice after touching the quarterback in some work, which is always a practice no-no.) But the Cards are still in search of backup linebackers and if — and that’s definitely still an if –a former second-round pick can play anywhere near that potential, the Cards could wind up with a hidden gem.
Tags: O'Brien Schofield, Quentin Groves, Raiders
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The Cardinals put out their first official depth chart of the season today. This stuff is fluid given certain competitions, but they have to make someone No. 1 and No. 2 and so on. There are no shocking developments, but:
– Kevin Kolb is listed as the No. 1 QB right now. John Skelton is the No. 2.
– Jeremy Bridges is the No. 1 right tackle over Bobby Massie, and as I have said many many many times, I expect that to be the case for a while.
– With Jeff King still rehabbing his quad, Todd Heap is the No. 1 tight end, Rob Housler No. 2.
– Behind Fitz is DeMarco Sampson and then Stephen Williams. At the other receiver spot, it officially goes Andre Roberts, then Early Doucet, then Michael Floyd.
– William Gay is the No. 1 right cornerback across from Patrick Peterson. Greg Toler is listed as Gay’s backup, with Michael Adams listed as Peterson’s backup.
– Brandon Williams is Sam Acho’s backup, with Clark Haggans as O’Brien Schofield’s backup at OLB. Quentin Groves is behind Haggans.
– With the large roster, the only second team rookies (no starters) are LG Senio Kelemete, FB Jared Crank and Massie. (And the Cards are incredibly unlikely to keep two fullbacks.) T Nate Potter is third-string, Floyd is third-string, S Justin Bethel is third-string and, with the large amount of veteran cornerbacks, Jamell Fleming is technically fourth-string behind Gay, Toler and A.J. Jefferson (although he will be on this roster, no doubt.)
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Andre Roberts, Bobby Massie, Brandon Williams, Clark Haggans, DeMarco Sampson, depth chart, Early Doucet, Greg Toler, Jamell Fleming, Jared Crank, Jeff King, Jeremy Bridges, John Skelton, Justin Bethel, Kevin Kolb, Michael Adams, Michael Floyd, Nate Potter, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, Quentin Groves, Rob Housler, Sam Acho, Senio Kelemete, Stephen Williams, Todd Heap, William Gay
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Football Outsiders, via the ESPN Insider area, has put together NFL rankings of the 32 teams based on the quality of players each team has of players 25 years old and younger. The list does have influences beyond just age, among them whether the young players starting last season were doing so out of talent or just being an injury replacement, how much those young players impact the passing game (because that’s where the league is headed) and if a team has a talented young quarterback.
The Patriots are No. 1, the Lions No. 2 (two teams the Cards play this season). The Cardinals are 17th on the list. Unfortunately, NFC West rivals are higher. The 49ers are 15th, the Seahawks 12th. (The Rams are 24th.) As always, these are subjective opinions, but the analysis of the Cards reads:
“This all starts with CB Patrick Peterson. It’s not often you find a player with the talent to both cover No. 1 receivers and return punts at a high level, and we nudged Arizona up accordingly. With LBs Sam Acho and O’Brien Schofield having another year of NFL experience under their belt, odds are the Cardinals will generate a better pass rush than they did last season. Dan Williams had a down year, but he’s still one of the more physically gifted nose tackles in the game. The offense isn’t as settled, but what’s impressive is the sheer number of NFL-caliber players they can throw at you: QB John Skelton, WR Andre Roberts, WR Michael Floyd, TE Rob Housler and RBs Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling. We have to reward that quantity, even if most of that group hasn’t made a huge impact yet.”
Building through youth and the draft is the only way to really create any kind of sustained long-term success in this league. I am shocked, to be honest, that LB Daryl Washington — still 25 — is not on the list. Out of every young player the Cards have, I’d put Washington right below Peterson.
Schofield is also 14th on an accompanying list of under-the-radar top prospect list (players drafted in the third round or later.)
Tags: 49ers, Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Dan Williams, John Skelton, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Lions, Michael Floyd, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, Patriots, Rams, Rob Housler, Sam Acho, Seahawks
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Here’s one way to get a Cardinals’ fix on a Sunday not during football season: a Cards’ TV special.
“Arizona Cardinals: Season In Focus” will be an hour-long special aired on ABC 15 Sunday (that’s May 27) immediately after the telecast of the Indianapolis 500. That’s approximately 12:30 p.m. Arizona time, but I won’t pretend to be a race fan and guess the likelihood of it ending then. The special (Alert: necessary sponsor acknowledgement in 3, 2, …), presented by you Arizona Ford Dealers, will feature in no particular order:
– The voice of the Cards, Dave Pasch, sitting down with head coach Ken Whisenhunt to break down video of the members of the draft class (I have to say, this is the one I am looking forward to seeing);
– A feature about new quarterbacks coach John McNulty and how he wants to get the players at his position back to basics, working on technique and footwork;
– A feature on the journey back to the field for injured running back Ryan Williams;
– A feature on the work on and off the field of linebacker O’Brien Schofield;
– Some burning questions facing the Cardinals, as broken down by Paul Calvisi and Ron Wolfley;
– Oh, and a one-on-one interview between some guy who writes a blog for this site and newly signed defensive end Calais Campbell.
Again, that’s Sunday after the Indy 500. The boys in broadcasting — Tim DeLaney, Johnny Hayward, Richard Mendez — have worked hard on putting this together. It’s worth the time to watch. Yes, I understand some of you can’t see it, if you are out of state or busy. We do plan on putting up the segments on the site eventually, but it won’t be all at once.
Tags: Calais Campbell, John McNulty, Ken Whisenhunt, O'Brien Schofield, Ryan Williams
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Before the draft, it seemed — at least, in my opinion — the Cards had three areas that most warranted help: offensive line, pass rusher and receiver. The Cards took care of the latter right away with the Michael Floyd pick. They obviously hit the line hard with three choices, including potential right tackle starter Bobby Massie. But, sticking to their board — and perhaps revealing just how much they think of their young players — the Cardinals didn’t take a pass rusher. Didn’t take a linebacker at all.
Right now, the Cards have 14 linebackers on the roster. Six could be classified as outside linebackers, seven as inside guys and Stewart Bradley as a swing guy (although obviously guys can always move around.) Three of the inside linebackers are undrafted rookies (Marcus McGraw, Colin Parker and Paul Vassallo) and one is definitely untested (Quan Sturdivant.) But one the inside, Darryl Washington is established, Paris Lenon continues to outperform everyone’s expectations and both Bradley and Reggie Walker have shown they can fill in.
But it’s on the outside that will always get the attention. Young players usually have a ton of confidence that they will do the job as long as they get the opportunity, and that’s certainly the vibe you get from O’Brien Schofield when you talk to him. Sam Acho had seven sacks after barely playing the first five games, so he seems to be a potential game-changer. Both must up their games. And then what? Will Brandon Williams, signed late last season on to the practice squad after not finding a place with the Cowboys, surprise some people? Can the Cards find a diamond among free agent Antonio Coleman or undrafted rookies Zach Nash and Broderick Binns? (Clark Haggans could also still return.)
It’s not like the Cards didn’t sack opposing quarterbacks last year. As a team, they had 42, tied for seventh in the NFL. The Cards had an NFL-best nine different guys with at least two sacks. The way defensive coordinator Ray Horton does things, pressure by committee works and is much harder for which to handle. But developing those linebackers, especially the rushers on the outside, is one of the keys to any 3-4 scheme. After passing in the draft, development will be one of the things to watch at the position.
Tags: Antonio Coleman, Brandon Williams, Broderick Binns, Colin Parker, Darryl Washington, draft, linebackers, Marcus McGraw, O'Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon, Paul Vassallo, Quan Sturdivant, Ray Horton, Reggie Walker, Sam Acho, Stewart Bradley, Zach Nash
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OK. The three-day wait-and-write of the NFL draft is finally over. Before I scoot out the door, some quick hit thoughts/nuggets to tide you over until Monday (or until the possible undrafted rookies start getting leaked):
– The Cards didn’t take a linebacker or defensive lineman in the draft. That would seem to make it much more likely for veteran linebacker Clark Haggans and/or defensive end Vonnie Holliday to come back. General manager Rod Graves acknowledged that could still happen and made clear veteran free agents will not be ignored at this point.
“There are still opportunities out there for veterans (to be signed),” Graves said.
– Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean splashy veterans, not that there are any to sign. Vets signing now are going to be minimum, one-year deal guys. And I think the Haggans/Holliday thing makes the most sense.
– With 69 players on the roster, including the unsigned/tagged Calais Campbell, the Cards need to fill 21 roster spots. The vast majority will be undrafted rookies, but whatever that total is when it is finally announced Monday (and it should be Monday, but the list will have to be complete before they do let it out) will let you know if they are keeping spots open for vets.
– The offensive line got their influx of talent on the final day. I don’t know if Bobby Massie will be the right tackle starter — we all know how things go for rookies with this staff — but Levi Brown did start as a rookie at right tackle. I wouldn’t rule it out.
– Not taking a linebacker means a lot for Sam Acho and O’Brien Schofield, and in a good way. “I think they were the two high totals in sacks for our team at that position and when you have young guys doing that, you feel good,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, who added that Brandon Williams, whom the Cards picked up late last year, as flashed some potential.
– The basically unknown Justin Bethel (you know, aside from his leaping skills) is versatile. Bethel (pictured below at the combine) said he didn’t know what position he’d play, but the Cards listed him at safety. Like Richard Marshall, I think DC Ray Horton likes guys who are able to do both anyway. As Horton mentioned, the Cards play teams like the Packers and Patriots, teams that send an armada of pass catchers out most plays. The Cards need quality DBs.
– Interesting to hear about the scouting process. Horton said he specifically wrote down during the combine interview of new CB Jamell Fleming “very smart player.” With new guard Senio Kelemete, a two-time team captain, Whisenhunt noted how he was an “intriguing interview what he’s gone through in his personal life and how he stayed focused on school and football.”
Bottom line: They keep talking about how football intelligence and character matter. Sometimes talent trumps that, but it does factor in and does matter.
– I don’t know what will happen at QB. Not sure why everyone kept banging the Kellen Moore drum — every team in the league passed on him multiple times. He won, yes. But so did Matt Leinart. It doesn’t automatically mean anything on this level, and it certainly doesn’t make it any easier to see in the pocket when you are barely 6-foot. Maybe he shocks the world. The odds say he probably won’t. You take the kid — Lindley, in this case — who has tools in which you hope you can mold.
OK, that’s enough. Time to go home. Until next draft …
Tags: Brandon Williams, Clark Haggans, draft, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Ken Whisenhunt, Levi Brown, O'Brien Schofield, Rod Graves, Ryan Lindley, Sam Acho, Senio Kelemete, Vonnie Holliday
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