The other day, Bruce Arians was saying he was hoping Jonathan Cooper could come back this season. He didn’t want his first-round draft pick to be a rookie again next season. Turns out, that won’t be the case. The guard was put on the season-ending version of injured reserve Friday. Each team gets just one spot for the IR-to-return list each season, and Arians said the Cards felt it was smarter to hold it open than save it for the possibility of Cooper.
But either way, Cooper was going to be out the majority of the season. And as for the cuts Friday — the Cards still have seven moves to make, because linebacker Daryl Washington won’t count toward the 53 during his suspension — there were a couple of minor surprises. Defensive lineman David Carter was one, but he lost out in a battle with Ronald Talley. As I had noted a couple of times, Arians had turned up the compliments on Talley and his being “country strong.” It was tough not to notice. And indeed, when asked today about Carter, Arians said the strength was the difference.
“Talley’s strength at the point of attack and ability to play nose was better,” Arians said. “David has a lot of hustle, a lot of effort, but was struggling to hold the point.”
— The Cardinals still have seven defensive lineman, and there have been reports they are looking to find a nose tackle still. If that’s true, rookie Padric Scott still could be released and put on practice squad, for instance.
— Safety Tony Jefferson has been doing well in both games and practices, and the release of Jonathon Amaya probably means he’s going to stay, although Arians said Jefferson is “not through the woods yet.”
— Arians said he was “not totally, 90 percent sure” of the decision he is going to make on QB Ryan Lindley. I’ve said all along I thought he would stay, so I’m not going to change now. We’ll see.
— I found it interesting, after a training camp of talking about how inconsistent the young receivers are, Arians called both Jaron Brown and Kerry Taylor consistent. If there is a pecking order, I’d still put Brown over Taylor, and we will see what happens on the waiver wire.
— No word on Jeff King, but having knee surgery again certainly seems like King could be an IR candidate. If that came to pass, then the Cards only have six cuts to make.
— No draft picks cut yet, and with Rachal being cut it means Earl Watford is your top backup guard.
— The roster is built as of now like this: 7 DL, 11 LB, 7 CB, 4 S, 3 specialists, 11 OL, 5 TE, 5 RB, 5 WR, 3 QB. Obviously, a couple of positions seem out of balance — DL, LB, CB, OL for sure — and are places to look for the rest of the cuts. Which, according to Arians, should be done by noon Saturday.
And then we wait to see if/when/who the Cards pick up from other teams.
UPDATE: Later Friday, linebacker Reggie Walker tweeted out what sounds like his goodbye after being cut (nothing official yet):
— Reggie Walker (@Rwalk56) August 30, 2013
Tags: Bruce Arians, cuts, David Carter, Earl Watford, Jaron Brown, Jeff King, Jonathan Cooper, Kerry Taylor, Padric Scott, Reggie Walker, Ronald Talley, Roster, Ryan Lindley, Tony Jefferson
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It had been noticeable, after six years of watching John Lott gather the players at the outset of every practice and listen to him bellow instructions for a stretch, that the Cardinals weren’t stretching before their workouts since Bruce Arians arrived. The reason was simple. Arians wants his guys stretching on their own and being ready to practice when practice starts.
“I know this,” Arians deadpanned. “If a guy starts chasing you with a gun, you’re not going to stretch.”
Point taken. Obviously, players need to get loose (not that it can be that hard in 105 degrees right now) but Arians’ major point is that they should be professional enough to do it on their own. In the meantime, the Cardinals ended their minicamp today after a brief walkthrough. They were out there for about 30 minutes doing light work before backup kicker Will Batson was given the chance to boot a 48-yard field goal. Good, and the veterans saw the end of their offseason work. Miss, and practice would go on. Batson hit it, to the celebration of all (although I am really curious to know if it would have continued with a miss. We’ll never know.)
So here are some notes, thoughts and observations after an offseason of work:
— The Cardinals are pretty healthy, to which Arians was happy. “You cross your fingers every day,” he said, but rehabbing guys like Levi Brown and O’Brien Schofield had immersed themselves back into all the work by the time it was over. There were some dings but nothing that should be an issue by the time camp starts. That doesn’t include, right now, the very much unknown situation of rookie wide receiver Ryan Swope. Arians already said he was hopeful Swope would be ready for camp. I don’t know if anyone can know for sure right now.
— Arians said his guys have to be in better shape. He emphasized that should come if the players keep working. Carson Palmer already said that should be happening, and Larry Fitzgerald made it sound like he is expecting more Cardinals than ever before to show up at his Minnesota workouts (and also some in San Diego, where Palmer lives.)
— While I will take my pre-vacation guesstimates at lineups next week like I usually do, Arians clearly hasn’t set much in stone. That’s because football “is a noise-level game,” he said, and the noise level doesn’t exist in the offseason in shorts. Some things are guarantees as you would think, Palmer and Fitz and Peterson and Campbell and Dockett among them. But there is wiggle room for training camp upsets.
— We are far from setting a roster too. But some of the undrafted guys who made positive impressions include receivers Jaron Brown, Charles Hawkins and Robert Gill, nose tackle Padric Scott and tackle Jamaal Johnson-Webb. We’ll have to see if that can carry through training camp.
— Arians is going to spend a few weeks at his lake home in Georgia during his vacation, which for the coaches starts now as well. Arians will also be hosting his first charity golf tournament June 24-25 in Georgia. He made sure to invite anyone from Arizona who wants to come, so, if you are looking for something to do …
— Rookies will stay one more week with Lott. The veterans are out.
— Arians said recuperating quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens stopped by the facility. Arians isn’t sure that was the best thing given Kitchens’ health but “he wanted to see his quarterbacks.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Charles Hawkins, Freddie Kitchens, Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Jaron Brown, John Lott, Padric Scott, Robert Gill
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A total of 25 of the Cardinals rookies went to Phoenix Children’s Hospital yesterday to bring a little joy to the kids who are there. Thanks to the wonders of technology — and the enterprising PR person Stacey Dillier (@PCHPRgal on Twitter) who recorded this great piece of video goodness — you can see some of the rookies “playing backup” to patient Bethany, who decided to channel her inner Taylor Swift. The players are Jamaal Johnson-Webb (62), Padric Scott (62), Earl Watford (with the giant stuffed dog), Dan Giordano (48, sitting) and Jonathan Cooper (61).
Tags: charity, Dan Giordano, Earl Watford, Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Jonathan Cooper, Padric Scott
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I know everyone has been waiting, so here are the Cardinals’ undrafted rookie agreements for 2013:
— WR Jaron Brown, Clemson
— WR Dan Buckner, Arizona
— T Joe Caprioglio, Colorado State
— ILB Kenny Demens, Michigan
— OLB Dan Giordano, Cincinnati
— S Javon Harris, Oklahoma
— CB Josh Hill, California
— S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma (pictured below)
— T Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Alabama A&M
— ILB Korey Jones, Wyoming
— WR Javone Lawson, Louisiana-Lafayette
— WR Michael Rios, Marist
— NT Padric Scott, Florida A&M
— WR Tyler Shaw, NW Missouri State
— CB Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee
— CB Ronnie Yell, San Jose State
Tags: Dan Buckner, Dan Giordano, Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Jaron Brown, Javon Harris, Javone Lawson, Joe Caprioglio, Josh Hill, Kenny Demens, Korey Jones, Michael Rios, Padric Scott, Prentiss Waggner, Ronnie Yell, Tony Jefferson, Tyler Shaw, undrafted rookie free agents
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Some quick wrap-up notes after the draft, before I take my neglected sons to dinner:
— The Cardinals, obviously, did not take a quarterback. Keim admitted he had talked long about about subscribing to the theory he wanted to draft a QB every year. “I really still believe in that,” Keim said. So what happened?
“The difference is that our two draft choices came through free agency with Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton,” Keim said. “So we didn’t feel like that was a necessary move that we needed to make. Quite frankly, the way the board shook out, the quarterback at no point was the top player on our board. So it made the decision quite easy.”
That means Brian Hoyer and his potential $2 million salary is safe for now. I’d think a trade might still be possible for the Cards, but post-draft, it’d be tough. Of course, if the Cards were to sign an interesting undrafted rookie QB, that could change.
— Speaking of the undrafted rookies, that list will grow into the evening and names will leak. (I won’t be keeping constant watch; the official list will likely be released Monday.) Already, Oklahoma safeties Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson have tweeted out they are coming to the Cardinals. San Jose State cornerback Ronnie Yell tweeted the same as did Florida A&M defensive lineman Padric Scott. Tony Pauline reports the Cards also got Arizona receiver Dan Buckner. Keim said he expected to sign 15 undrafted rookies.
— The Cardinals want to get another nose tackle/defensive tackle. That didn’t present itself in the draft, so Keim said the Cards will not only look at it among the undrafted rookies but also with veteran free agents and possible cap casualties as we head toward training camp.
— The weekend gave the Cards some options at return men. They have Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Andre Ellington and maybe Stepfan Taylor.
— As for the overall haul Saturday? It’s always wait-and-see for me. I can’t get very emotional because it’s impossible to know. On the surface, I like getting the speed receiver Ryan Swope assuming he can stay healthy. I like adding fresh bodies to the running back room. I definitely like the possibilities of interviewing tight end D.C. Jefferson, assuming he can prove he can play. I hope Okafor can do some things as a pass rusher because that’s still a segment of the Cards’ defense that leaves some question marks. But that’s enough for now. We have a whole offseason to analyze.
Tags: Brian Hoyer, D.C. Jefferson, Dan Buckner, draft, Javon Harris, Padric Scott, quarterbacks, Ronnie Yell, Ryan Swope, Steve Keim, Tony Jefferson
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