Jonathan Cooper won’t play this season. We’ve known that since August. And it has been easy to make the leap — given the injury — that the Cardinals will essentially have two first-round draft picks in 2014, with whomever they choose with their regular first-rounder and the return to the field of Cooper. There is no question that, for a guard, Cooper will have high expectations going into next year.
He knows this, sitting his his locker these days, eating lunch with teammates and finally free — mostly — of the boot he had been wearing since breaking his leg in the preseason.
“Yeah, there are (expectations),” Cooper said, “but, I mean, there always was. All I can do is go out and play to the best of my ability.”
It’s hard not to play a little what-if with Cooper. Had he stayed healthy, he would be the left guard. Daryn Colledge would have stayed on the right side and Paul Fanaika would be on the bench (and realistically, it would have been interesting to see what the roster makeup would have looked like too, because an available Cooper would have meant someone else would have to go.) The Cardinals think their offensive line would have been better, and that’s hard to argue. Then again, Cooper does not play left tackle, and his play would probably not have changed the Levi Brown/Bradley Sowell storyline much.
But he is a key piece. And as the Cardinals move forward to 2014, he is a (delayed) step toward reshaping the line, a line that needs to get better. As the Cardinals continue to figure out what lies in the future of the quarterback position, another possible year of Carson Palmer would be buoyed by better protection up front.
In the meantime, Cooper rehabs. He has been in the weight room a few weeks now, and while he is thrilled to be out of the boot he was forced to wear for so long (pictured below), it hasn’t completely disappeared from use. “Under certain circumstances I still wear it just to be safe,” Cooper said.
He’s also come to grips with watching his team from the sideline, and waiting to see just what kind of impact he can make on this offensive line.
“It was a definitely a lot harder early on when the injury was fresher,” Cooper said. “Now, I understand. I just have to prepare for next year and keep moving forward.”
Tags: Jonathan Cooper, offensive line
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Bradley Sowell gets his first start at left tackle for the Cardinals against a familiar face — Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who leads Carolina in sacks with three, was Sowell’s college teammate at Mississippi for three years.
“I’ve been trying to text him,” Sowell said. “I told him, ‘(Help me) keep my job for at least one week.’ “
That brought laughs from the surrounding media. It’s the calm before the storm with Sowell, who as the left tackle is immediately going to be under the spotlight. The expectations are probably tempered, given that Sowell came into the league undrafted and has been released once already. He played left tackle in college. That’s his natural spot (Cards teammate Bobby Massie was the right tackle for Mississippi at the time.) He knows coach Bruce Arians and offensive line coach Harold Goodwin from his rookie season in Indianapolis, and they know him.
Arians said Sowell, playing right tackle, struggled with then-Ravens’ pass rusher Paul Kruger in last year’s playoff game. But Arians said he talked to linebacker John Abraham and other vets who have gone against Sowell in practice and “they think he’s got a great future.”
It doesn’t mean the Cards or even Sowell have a good handle on how he will perform. There’s only so much you can learn as a lineman — defensive or offensive — in practice, where hitting is limited (although the Cards have been in full pads almost every Wednesday.) Sowell admitted he’s a guy who likes to go hard in practice, and that’s a fine line that must be walked in a sport where no one wants to get hurt during the week.
“I’ve been going against our first team guys (on scout team) so I am feeling pretty confident,” Sowell said. “I’m as ready as I can be, I imagine. I won’t know until I get out there, but all I can do is try my hardest and see what I’ve got.”
Sowell is comfortable in the offense, thanks to his season with Arians in Indy. At 6-foot-7, 315 pounds, he’s more of an athletic tackle than power guy. He admitted he was surprised he was cut from the Colts, but acknowledged it became a numbers game. With Arians and Goodwin in Arizona, this became a natural landing spot, and, given Levi Brown’s issues, it’s probably not a shock Sowell has entered the starting lineup.
“I know Coach Goody is going to find guys to bring in that fit the system well, that fit his coaching style well,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “It’s just comforting knowing that he hand-picked (Sowell).”
Tags: Bradley Sowell, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Colts, Harold Goodwin, offensive line
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Bruce Arians used the hot read on his first postgame comment Sunday.
“I wouldn’t have any other ending at Raymond James Stadium,” he said. “I’m kind of used to that.”
Of course, Arians was referencing both Sunday’s 13-10 come-from-behind win for the Cards over the Bucs and the Super Bowl he won with the Steelers back in early 2009, and yes, that picked at the scab of the Cards’ fans that remembered that painful ending all too well. Then again, it was nice for the Cards to avoid another painful trip to Tampa Bay. And goodness knows it certainly looked like it was going to be just that.
For a while it echoed the Cards’ last regular-season trip here, a seven-point loss in which the offense could do nothing. The Cards saw exactly what they expected this time out of rookie Mike Glennon. He completed some passes on them but for the most part, the Bucs’ offense did little. Not that they needed to.
But finally, the offense came around. Sure, Patrick Peterson had to play the set-up man – what in the world were the Bucs thinking letting a struggling rookie throw that deep in his own territory when the Cards had been doing next to nothing offensively? – and it’s always nice when your stars shine. Peterson two picks? Check. Fitz clutch TD? Check.
There will be frustration and concern, all rightfully so. Yet there is a world of difference between 1-3 and 2-2, and the Cards made sure they didn’t mess it up. Most, if presented with the possibility of 2-2 after four games – three being on the road – would take it. The Cards will.
– Peterson said the game changed as field position began to change in the second half. The offense didn’t score but at least it was getting yards. Meanwhile, the Bucs stopped moving as the Cards honed in on rookie QB Mike Glennon.
“(Being a rookie) definitely played into the thought process,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “They threw a little more early than I thought they would. He is a young quarterback and he made some young mistakes.”
– That included that game-turning pass thrown to Peterson. Glennon said he made the right read but just a bad throw. Peterson said he knew exactly what the route was and jumped the pass. Regardless, it changed the game.
– And yes, Peterson admitted that as a rookie, or even last year, he probably would have tried for a longer return on his final pick. But he got down because he just wanted to end the thing and get the Cards on their flight back to Arizona. A wise man.
– It was good to see Fitz get involved. Cause/effect? Sure seemed that way.
– The Cardinals will officially get Daryl Washington back. I’m pretty sure it’s as early as tomorrow. Peterson talked about how much more aggressive the Cardinals will be able to get with him in the lineup. I really think he will have a huge impact on the defense.
– The last time the Cards came back to win a road game where they trailed by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter? It was in Philadelphia, Sept. 12, 1999. The Cards were down 12 before coming back to win, 25-24. That’s the year before I started covering the team. The last time they won in regulation down at least 10 in the fourth quarter? That was 2003, with the infamous McCown-to-Poole Hail Mary pass to beat the Vikings, 18-17. That was 17-6 in the fourth.
– Rookie wideout Jaron Brown hadn’t looked sharp in his few chances this season, but he showed a lot by making that 19-yard sideline catch while being blasted by Bucs safety Dashon Goldson. Goldson was flagged (and could be suspended) and the Cards got the easy field goal attempt.
– Tyrann Mathieu got a couple of punt return attempts, but the Bucs kicked it away from him like they did Peterson. The first Mathieu return came after Peterson’s right arm went numb briefly, and he didn’t want to take a chance at fumbling a punt out there.
– The defensive linemen were huddled around after the game wanting to know how many yards the Bucs rushed for, and were disappointed when they heard 80 (on 31 carries). Of course, that was skewed by Goldson’s 22-yard fake punt. Doug Martin gained just 45 yards on 27 carries – 1.7 yards a tote – and that’s a good day’s work for the D.
– By the way, confirmed by Elias, there has only been eight times when a player had 25 or more carries and gained 45 or less yards since 1935. Only the second time it’s happened in a team’s loss. So again, a good day’s work for the D. Martin was a key Sunday.
– Arians wasn’t sounding overly concerned about Carson Palmer’s play. He did say he thought getting sacked on the first play didn’t help Palmer’s confidence. But “it’s not just him,” Arians said. “It’s 11 guys on offense. We have about eight of them playing in the first quarter the last two games.”
– I did think the pass protection was generally better in the game after a rough start. Palmer was sacked on that first play and then wasn’t sacked again.
– In their two wins, the Cards are a combined 2-for-21 on third-down conversions. Mind-boggling.
That’s enough from 35,000 feet. It’s been a long week.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Buccaneers, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Daryl Washington, Doug Martin, Jaron Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Glennon, offensive line, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu
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Pressure their quarterback, protect your quarterback from pressure. In a lot of ways, that’s what today’s NFL turns on each game.
The numbers from the Saints game were encouraging and discouraging at the same time in those areas.
Profootballfocus.com analyzed the game and noted that Carson Palmer was pressured on 13 of 39 dropbacks. You want it to be better, but in retrospect, it seemed like Palmer was pressured more than that (and it underscores some of the issues Palmer had himself throwing the ball.) On those 13 drops, Palmer was just 1-for-9 and was sacked four times. And all four sacks came without blitzing, on a four-man rush. (And as a side note, Palmer did not complete any of the four passes thrown more than 20 yards downfield.)
Arians said the offensive line will “just continue to work.”
“Crowd noise affects those guys and it couldn’t have been any louder,” Arians added. “They just have to continue to work on it. It will be a challenge (this week.)
On the other side of the ball, PFF noted the four sacks and charted three hits on Drew Brees and 16 hurries — all good numbers. Arians’ problem? It should have been better.
“Biggest thing defensively, we missed some wide-open sacks,” Arians said. “We had just running free that were unblocked. Didn’t get the sack. Drew got away, got the ball out. His yards rushing was huge. It’s hard to come up with blitzes where guys from free but we did it about four times in the game and got no sacks.”
Making more problems for the defense was missed tackles. PFF counted 14 missed tackles, the Cards’ worst total the year. That definitely has to change, quickly. The Cards got a little sloppy against the Rams and adjusted for the Lions’ win. Time to adjust again.
Tags: Carson Palmer, offensive line, sacks, Saints
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Bruce Arians wasn’t thrilled with his team’s practice Monday. It’s the third time the Cards have come back from an off day to a practice and the third time, Arians said, they have had a poor practice. The first two came outside in the heat in Tempe in full pads, so he was crediting that with the problem before now. But Monday the Cards were inside and Arians now sees it as a problem.
“It was the first practice where I thought we took a step backward,” Arians said. “Hopefully it was a good lesson for us. There were few mental errors but the tempo and speed of practice wasn’t quality.
“Now it’s a matter of learning how to practice after a day off. I noticed it early. Probably should have started the practice over.”
That’s a message I’d think will quickly be understood.
– LB Reggie Walker missed practice Monday with food poisoning. WR Andre Roberts sat out with a slight ankle sprain, and Roberts is expected to miss practice again today. The rest of the injury situation remains unchanged, Arians said. The players coming off injuries are day-to-day, he said, and that will be the approach of the team whether they play in the game Saturday.
– Arians said the team, once it is settled, will have a vote to see who the captains are prior to the first regular-season game.
– Arians reiterated that he has been generally pleased with his offensive line play. That confidence hasn’t changed since the time he showed up. “I told them, ‘Either you are going to be a woe-is-me group of guys or you are going to take this as a challenge and a slap in the face,’ ” Arians said. “They knew how talented they were, they knew who was injured and who wasn’t playing.”
– The potential roster breakdown in the secondary was discussed when Arians was asked about UDFA S Tony Jefferson. (Jefferson, he said, is at least in the discussion for practice squad, but no sure thing.) The breakdowns Arians kept giving was nine defensive backs — maybe six corners and three safeties, was one Arians example — which is interesting. You could make, with special teams involved, the case for 10. Arians did insist they will go short elsewhere if the players dictated such. “We’re not going to cut a good player,” Arians said.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Bruce Arians, offensive line, Reggie Walker
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The Cardinals did a good job hooking up on big-chunk passes Friday night in Green Bay. That was in no small part of the pass protection. From Bruce Arians’ scheme to Steve Keim’s personnel additions to the coaching of the line from Harold Goodwin and Larry Zerlein, the Cardinals’ line did a very nice job.
To that end, I re-watched the first portion of the Cardinals’ offensive line play. As Arians noted, it seemed like the quarterbacks stayed pretty clean. After a look back on the plays in which the starting offensive linemen played – which took the Cards through both touchdowns they scored – proved Arians (and most of us watching) right. Here are the plays and how they went. The starters were, from left tackle to right tackle, Levi Brown, Jonathan Cooper, Lyle Sendlein, Paul Fanaika and Eric Winston.
1st and 10, AZ 20 – Carson Palmer fades to pass, the Packers rush five. The pocket is perfect. LT Brown has no trouble dealing with Packers star Clay Matthews. Palmer hits Michael Floyd with an 18-yard throw.
3rd and 6, AZ 42 – After two runs, Palmer is the shotgun. The Packers rush four. Again, no pressure. Again, Brown deals easily with Matthews. Palmer launches a bomb to Andre Roberts. Despite no pressure, the ball is slightly underthrown and that allows the defender to catch up to Roberts. Roberts still had a chance to catch the ball.
1st and 10, AZ 1 – Brown had been called for a false start, but the Cards were so close to their own goal line after their defensive stand the penalty was officially for zero yards. Arians calls for a play-action pass. Left guard Cooper pulls to the backside, somewhat risky given the spot on the field. After the fake, the Packers end up rushing only three with two other defenders backing out quickly to guard against the short stuff. Amazingly, it is wide receiver Michael Floyd, asked to stay in for protection, who locks up with Matthews. Even better, Floyd handles Matthews to a draw. Again, Palmer has plenty of time and space. He drills a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald for a 17-yard gain.
2nd and 9, AZ 19 – After another run, the Cards run a middle screen to Fitz in the slot. The Cards allow some pressure on the four-man rush as center Sendlein and right guard Fanaika jump out immediately to try and get some second-level blocks. The Cards get a modest four yards on the play.
3rd and 5, AZ 23 – Another four man rush. Matthews tries to stunt by looping from the far right side all the way inside. The Cardinals do a good job watching him as he is passed off responsibility-wise from Brown to Cooper to Sendlein. Brown does a nice job catching defensive end B.J. Raji on the hard push after Matthews leaves his sight. Palmer throws another long pass to Floyd. It’s incomplete and it doesn’t matter anyway. Floyd is called for offensive pass interference.
1st and 10, GB 38 – Following a Patrick Peterson interception, Arians goes for the jugular. Packers rush four and bring a fifth blitzer on a delay. Tight end Rob Housler, staying in to block, is prepared for the blitzer. Brown, Cooper and Sendlein all handle their men one-on-one. There’s a late chip on Matthews by the running back to help Brown, but it didn’t matter at that point. Matthews wasn’t going to get there, and Palmer was already delivering a 38-yard touchdown pass to Roberts on his final play of the game.
2nd and 8, 50 – The Cardinals had gotten the ball back on a John Abraham strip-sack. A run on first down got two yards. With backup quarterback Drew Stanton in the game, Arians calls for a play-action pass. Cooper and Fanaika remain in the game with new center Mike Gibson, left tackle Nate Potter and right tackle Bobby Massie. Packers rush four. Cooper pulls to right to take the edge rusher, and he has trouble getting over to make much of a difference. Gibson also fails to pick up his inside rusher heading into the gap Cooper vacated at left guard. Still, Stanton steps up in the pocket slightly right had has plenty of time to fire to wide-open tight end D.C. Jefferson. Jefferson ends up dropping the pass when he is hit on a play that should have picked up another 15 yards or so.
3rd and 8, 50 – Stanton in shotgun. The Packers rush five – three up front, and bring two linebackers after a brief delay. Potter and Massie easily handle their responsibilities, and Stanton has the perfect pocket. He completes a long pass to wide receiver Charles Hawkins for a 36-yard gain.
2nd and 7, GB 11 – After a run, the Packers rush four. Massie is in trouble from the start and ends up falling down on the rush by defensive end Mike Daniels. But Fanaika manages to jump back to help get a chip on Daniels, giving Stanton enough time to step up and complete an 8-yard pass to Hawkins.
2nd and G, GB 1 – After a two-yard run, Stanton runs play-action with both teams featuring goal line packages. Pressure isn’t a variable as Stanton lofts a pass to an open Jefferson in the end zone. Not a great pass, but Jefferson also needs to find a way to make such plays.
3rd and G, GB 1 – Again, with the Packers committing to the line and surging forward with eight, Stanton takes a quick drop and renders the rush moot with a quick back-shoulder lob to receiver Jaron Brown, covered one-on-one in the end zone. Brown makes the one-yard TD catch.
Again, the run blocking will need to be improved and will also likely be aided when starter Rashard Mendenhall is on the field. But the pass protection certainly gave the Cardinals and Palmer something to be encouraged about as the season begins.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Clay Matthews, Drew Stanton, Eric Winston, Jonathan Cooper, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Mike Gibson, Nate Potter, offensive line, Paul Fanaika, Rob Housler
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The way Carson Palmer threw the ball Friday night was good. So was the way backup Drew Stanton did, for that matter. But what may have been the most promising of all for the Cardinals was the way the pass protection held up.
“There were some great pockets to throw in,” Palmer said.
This all has the usual caveats. It was the preseason. The Packers weren’t coming with a complex package. Yet that didn’t help a ton in the preseason last year when the Cards struggled. I thought the first unit (Brown-Cooper-Sendlein-Fanaika-Winston) did very well. The Cards are smart too. On a 17-yard Palmer-to-Fitz pass from their own 1 early in the game, Michael Floyd was in – and then stayed in the backfield to help with protection. Palmer was clean.
Palmer wasn’t touched in his short stint. Stanton was a couple of times (his lone sack was of the coverage variety) but he also Russell-Wilsoned himself out of trouble a couple of times. Everything tonight comes with the “It’s early in the preseason” sticker attached. But a team with consistent pass protection? That’s something to embrace.
– The running game wasn’t as effective. That will be something that needs improvement. But Bruce Arians was just thankful the Cards got through with just two healthy running backs. Rashard Mendenhall didn’t play, and Andre Ellington sat too. Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith was all the Cards had.
– The offense is going to get the spotlight. That’s natural after the season the unit had last year. But the defense, under scrutiny itself with the
Horton-to-Todd Bowles coordinator change, played well. Two turnovers led to two touchdowns, which is how Bowles wants it to go. And preseason or not, the Packers didn’t score, which is the best you can do.
“It’s a good starting point for us,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “I’m sure we didn’t play nearly as good as we could have, I’m sure there was a lot of mistakes on film. That’s football and the preseason. It does show us how good we can be.”
– You don’t want to go overboard on any player in the preseason. And a rookie has a long way to go. But what’s the No. 1 thing you want to see out of a player – especially a rookie? You want to see them , if they were showing you good things in practice, to show those things in a game. Tyrann Mathieu did that.
His stat line was gaudy: Two tackles, one for loss, a sack, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, a pass breakup, two special teams and a 26-yard punt return. He also thought he had a chance at an interception and didn’t look thrilled Packers receiver Myles White grabbed him to mess with that possibility. You don’t want to go overboard, but a very, very impressive debut.
– Patrick Peterson tweeted about his protégé: “Proud of my baby boy @Mathieu_Era doing great things in his first @NFL game. Can’t wait till Sept. 8
– Not to be outdone, though, Peterson made sure to get his own interception in his brief stint, leading to the Cards’ first TD.
– Arians said he gave the receiving corps a C grade. He poked fun at Andre Roberts a little for not catching the first bomb from Palmer (to be fair, it also hit off the DB) but Roberts atoned with his TD. Jaron Brown and Charles Hawkins did well, I thought, although Brown had a drop he can’t make and Hawkins fumbled the ball on a long reception (he got it back but the fumble probably cost him a chance at a bigger play.)
– John Abraham didn’t play much at all, but he managed a strip-sack of Graham Harrell in his brief time in the game. You sign a guy to rush the passer and you get that out of the gate. “Doing that just helps the team out and helps them see that I have a little something left,” Abraham said.
– The only injury reported by Arians was a hip pointer for rookie tight end D.C. Jefferson, who twice couldn’t hang on to passes he should have – including one in the end zone. Arians isn’t going to let him forget about that. He told the media about the hip pointer, and then added “that’s what happens when you drop big touchdowns.”
– Arians was irritated at the offensive issues in terms of substituting and getting lined up, something that really affected the younger players. That will have to be cleaned up. Timeouts were burned too often.
There’s probably more I could say, but it’s late, there’s a long plane ride ahead and I’ll have time to hit on more over the next few days. As Palmer said, “it’s a small step.”
Tags: Alfonso Smith, Andre Ellington, Andre Roberts, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Charles Hawkins, D.C. Jefferson, Drew Stanton, Jaron Brown, John Abraham, offensive line, Packers, Patrick Peterson, Rashard Mendenhall, Stepfan Taylor, Todd Bowles, Tyrann Mathieu
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Bruce Arians said he was still a long way from choosing his starting offensive line. At the same time, he said he did know “who the eight are. Or nine,” ostensibly the guys who will be on the roster for the offensive line. In other words, the pool he’ll have to choose from when it comes to those starters.
The question is, to which eight — or nine — is Arians referring?
The list mostly seems straightforward. Barring any roster moves, you figure Jonathan Cooper, Eric Winston, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Levi Brown, Nate Potter and Bobby Massie will all be around. That’s already seven. But at the same time, that’s four guys who basically only play tackle — Brown, Massie, Potter, Winston — and that may be too many for guys who couldn’t move inside if necessary. Someone may need to show some versatility. Or maybe they all don’t make it.
I think Earl Watford, as a fourth-round pick, makes this team, but he may be this year’s Senio Kelemete — he may have a hard time being active on Sundays.
Let’s say, for a moment, Arians is planning on keeping around all those tackles, maybe working some at guard. Let’s say he leans toward keeping nine offensive linemen. With Watford, that’s eight already. Who else? Vet guard Chilo Rachal? Guard Paul Fanaika, who has come on and has been working with the first unit with Colledge out with injury? Do you consider Mike Gibson, who can be a guard and center, the backup center or is Cooper — who played a little center in college — your default backup at the position should something happen to Sendlein?
Or perhaps the Cardinals will end up picking up someone off the waiver wire after final cuts. That, with this front office, does not seem far-fetched at all.
Regardless, it sounds like Arians and his staff, a week into camp, have already narrowed down their potential linemen quite a bit. It’s not a surprise. What it does do it reiterate, once again, how many roster decisions are made long before we get to the end of the preseason.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Chilo Rachal, Daryn Colledge, Earl Watford, Eric Winston, Jonathan Cooper, Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Mike Gibson, Nate Potter, offensive line, Paul Fanaika
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The Cardinals just got off the bus here in Tempe — they still had meetings and changed out in the locker room at University of Phoenix Stadium before coming to the facility to practice — and Bruce Arians met with the media before practice, so they can all hope on the bus and leave quickly when today’s outdoor practice is over. Some news and notes:
– Eric Winston’s ascension to the first-unit offensive line is just a start, Arians said. “We’re going to mix and match,” Arians said, noting that the line battles remain close and he wants to see how all of them work with starting QB Carson Palmer. Nevertheless, Arians added the Cards would like to settle on their starting offensive line in “seven or eight days” — which dovetails nicely with the Cardinals’ first preseason game in Green Bay in eight days.
– That said, Arians stressed, he wants to continue to build offensive line depth. That, in fact, is a bigger concern that the starting five, Arians said.
– Arians said C Lyle Sendlein has had a “fantastic camp” thus far. Important to note since center is the one spot that doesn’t seem to have any kind of intense competition.
– The coach said fourth-round pick G Earl Watford, who has been running third-string is getting better and the last couple of practices “have been a nice move for him.” He is cutting down on his mental errors. “When he gets his hands on you it’s over,” Arians said. “He’s just got to figure out who to get his hands on.” Watford’s development is key — you figure a fourth-rounder will be on the roster, but he’s got to be able to play if needed.
– Nothing new injury-wise, Arians said. RB Ryan Williams (knee) remains out one more day. G Daryn Colledge (calf) is “hopefully” a week away from practicing. It’ll be interesting to see if he can return for the preseason opener in Green Bay, although I don’t think the Cards will push it.
– The Red-White practice Saturday will be a normal practice, Arians said.
– There are officials at practice. Arians said he wants to have them a couple of times a week, at least with college officials.
Tags: Daryn Colledge, Earl Watford, Eric Winston, Lyle Sendlein, offensive line, Ryan Williams, training camp
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Now that everything’s official, Bruce Arians was able to talk about the new arrivals and moves yesterday. The most important thing: It’ll be Levi Brown versus Nate Potter for the left tackle job and Eric Winston (pictured below) versus Bobby Massie for the right tackle job. Arians didn’t see those players being tried at guard, either. At least not yet.
“We’ll allow that competition to go at tackle,” Arians said. “If it clearly cuts itself and we feel we have a better player that might be a guard, yeah, we’ll look at it.”
Can Potter dislodge Brown? And considering that Massie finished pretty strong last season, the right side should work out well one way or the other. Arians did say he didn’t see flip-flopping sides anymore. That is something for the spring, so that if a player was thrust into a new side as an emergency in a game he’d at least have an idea of how it works. But it isn’t going to be part of training camp.
– Arians talking about adding Winston and Abraham: “If someone is available who is a quality player and you can add him to your roster, why not?” The addition of Abraham definitely jacked up a lot of the defensive players. More on that in a bit in a homepage story.
– The loss of Ryan Swope bothers Arians because he liked Swope, but the coach said it was an injury and unfortunately “those things happen all the time.”
“I feel bad for him because he’s a great young man and I knew how much it meant to him,” Arians said. “You could tell it was eating him up. I jst wish him the best. I went through this with Austin Collie last year. There’s a time to stop.”
– About competition, Arians said all 22 starting jobs were available. Then someone reminded him that he might acknowledge quarterback and one wide receiver are set. Arians considered this. “Probably,” he said with a smile, and then a few seconds later, he added, “and one corner.”
– Please tell me you understood that meant Palmer, Fitz and Peterson.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Bruce Arians, Eric Winston, Levi Brown, Nate Potter, offensive line, Ryan Swope, training camp
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