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Cards promote RB Williams

Posted by Darren Urban on November 1, 2014 – 10:32 am

With Stepfan Taylor out with a calf injury and Robert Hughes more of a fullback in the way the Cardinals use him, it leaves only Andre Ellington and his you-can-never-be-quite-sure foot injury and Marion Grice as the only other running backs. So it wasn’t really a surprise that the Cards elevated Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad Saturday, releasing defensive tackle Bruce Gaston in the process.

It makes sense to bring up Williams, and you figure he will be active Sunday to give the Cards some leeway against the Cowboys. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Gaston, assuming he clears waivers, to return next week, whether it would be to the practice squad hole left by Williams or back to the 53-man roster. Taylor said his calf issue is week to week, so it’s TBD to see how long Williams lasts on the roster. Bruce Arians has said how much he likes the small (5-8) Williams and how he’s looks since being signed Sept. 18.

Of course, with the amount of carries being given to Ellington, the reserve running backs might not matter that much.


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The punter who won’t leave

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2014 – 5:18 pm

The Cardinals cut punter Drew Butler for a second time this week, and then Wednesday re-signed him again. This time it is to the practice squad, with the Cardinals letting defensive tackle Christian Tupou go from the practice squad. Tupou wasn’t needed once the Cardinals brought back/in Bruce Gaston from the Dolphins’ practice squad today to the Cards’ 53-man roster. Gaston, the undrafted rookie whom the Cardinals really liked in training camp before cutting him, replaced running back Jalen Parmele on the 53, who was unnecessary when Marion Grice was signed yesterday — taking Butler’s place on the roster.

Keeping all that straight?

Clearly, there is probably still some concern about Dave Zastudil’s groin injury, but having Butler (wearing No. 2 below) around is insurance (love that new 10-man practice squad to give a team some leeway with a practice-squad punter). I’d still guess Zastudil should be OK, but we’ll see. Bruce Arians said today everyone should be totally healthy come Monday save for a little uncertainty on quarterback Carson Palmer. But Palmer should be ready by Wednesday now that he’s throwing again, so there’s that.

– 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta said today he was not fined for his hit on sliding QB Drew Stanton.

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Keim: Roster could still change this week

Posted by Darren Urban on September 2, 2014 – 8:09 am

General Manager Steve Keim is still looking at his roster. That can’t be a surprise. He said this morning during his weekly appearance on Arizona Sports’ “Doug and Wolf” show that the Cardinals will bring in “four or five” tryout players on Wednesday — this week’s “Tuesday,” given the Monday night opener next week — to see if any are worth signing. That thing about none of the bottom five guys on the roster getting comfortable? That’s serious reality.

– Keim acknowledged it’s a little bit of a concern there are only eight offensive linemen on the roster, but that’s what the Cardinals have right now. Nate Potter hurt his shoulder so there was really no choice but to keep Bradley Sowell. Interestingly, Keim said the Cardinals will begin trying Earl Watford at right tackle a little bit and see if he can be a help there as well as both guard positions. This is a big year for Watford. At some point, the Cards are going to want to see him step forward when he gets a chance.

– It sounds like one of the roster spots came down to sixth-round pick wide receiver Walt Powell and undrafted linebacker Glenn Carson. Carson is on the roster; Powell made it for a day and then when the Cardinals claimed outside linebacker Thomas Keiser, Powell was cut. He did not make it through waivers, getting claimed by the Jets. “There was a time when Walt Powell did a few nice things (in camp), but when we looked at Glenn versus Walt, we felt Glenn outperformed him and earned a spot on this team,” Keim said.

– Keim was happy to be able to get Keiser, who provides a natural pass rusher, “one thing I felt we were missing.” That speaks again to the concern about individual pass rush ability (although Keim said he is happy where John Abraham is going into the season.) The Keiser move was long hoped for, as Keim said he had been targeted for a long time if he was released by San Diego. The Cards did not get him just for Chargers’ intel going into the opener, Keim said, and Keim added that he doesn’t think the Chargers — who only carry two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster — signed Ryan Lindley to the practice squad for such purposes either. The Chargers’ QB coach is Frank Reich, who had been on the Cards’ staff with Lindley.

– Only eight defensive backs is no big deal, Keim said, because of how versatile the eight guys are. Tyrann Mathieu, as noted last week, will get some contact this week and it’s stil a we’ll-see situation for Mathieu in the opener.

– Some teams see the practice squad for just practice help but Keim said he sees the practice squad as a developmental extension of the roster, for guys who can eventually get on and help with the 53. Keep that in mind when you see who is put there. The final four PS names should be released soon.

 

 

 


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Cards claim linebacker Keiser, cut Powell

Posted by Darren Urban on August 31, 2014 – 2:07 pm

The Cardinals got a player on waivers, claiming outside linebacker Thomas Keiser. Keiser was just released by San Diego – a team that just happens to be the Cards’ opponent for the opening game. To make room for Keiser, the Cardinals cut wide receiver Walt Powell. Powell now becomes a likely practice-squad addition.

It takes the Cards down to five wide receivers, but they now have 11 linebackers on the roster. That’s a healthy amount. That may be the only waiver addition by now. It doesn’t mean the Cardinals didn’t try to claim others, but right now, the waiver claim order is based on draft order, and at 20, there are a lot of teams players must get past before the Cardinals would be able to get them.

Keiser came in as an undrafted free agent with the Panthers in 2011 and has nine sacks in his career. The Stanford product (6-4, 260) forced a Logan Thomas fumble in Thursday’s preseason game.

The Cardinals also signed six to their 10-man practice squad: C/G Anthony Steen, T Kelvin Palmer, CB Jimmy Legree, LB Jonathan Brown, WR Brittan Golden and TE Andre Hardy.

UPDATE: In terms of ex-Cardinals, defensive tackle Bruce Gaston, who was a player the Cardinals would have liked on the practice squad, was claimed by the Patriots, where he will go right on to the 53-man roster. Quarterback Ryan Lindley landed on the Chargers’ practice squad, thanks to the new “veteran” exceptions.

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Practice squad now gets 10 — and vets

Posted by Darren Urban on August 19, 2014 – 2:02 pm

The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to expand the practice squad from eight players to 10 in a pact that right now only lasts for the 2014 and 2015 season. That’s good news for coaches who like having more players for practice and for general managers who like the possibility of keeping young talent around to develop. It also helps a team to have more players who are familiar with the system if a roster move is necessary during the season.

The new practice squad rule has also brought with it a couple of adjustments. Players can spend up to three seasons on the practice squad if eligible, and now a player has to be on a PS six games (up from just three) to have a PS year count against one of those three seasons.

Second, and the much, much bigger news, is that two players of the 10 may now have up to two accrued seasons in the NFL. Before, a player with at least nine games on the 46-man roster in a season was not practice-squad eligible. That means that almost every player who has come into the league since 2012 is eligible this season. In the most obvious current case with the Cardinals, that suddenly means that quarterback Ryan Lindley, who was not practice-squad eligible a couple of hours ago, now is eligible.

In Lindley’s case, I still don’t know if the Cards would want to keep him around. There are very few reps for reserve QBs once the season starts and the Cards are going to want to get rookie Logan Thomas as much work as they can. Having a fourth quarterback in the mix would make that tougher for both Thomas and Lindley. But you never know.

Practice squad players still have to clear waivers. That hasn’t changed, so if you think a guy can play, he may never make it through for you to put him back on your practice squad. But with the two-years-and-OK change, the pool for the squad just got really, really big. (Brittan Golden on the practice squad? Even Earl Watford?)


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Cardinals re-up practice squad players

Posted by Darren Urban on January 1, 2014 – 3:57 pm

The Cardinals have re-signed their practice squad players to futures contracts, according to the New Year’s Day NFL transactions list. That’s not a surprise as the Cards begin the process to building the offseason roster. A futures contract simply locks up the practice squad players — who would be free agents once the league year ends in early March — to contracts for 2014.

The players are:

– C Philip Blake (spent much of the season on practice squad injured reserve)

– WR Dan Buckner

– LB Kenny Demens

– C Tommie Draheim

– TE Darren Fells

– RB Robert Hughes

– S Orhian Johnson

– DT Anthony McCloud

– LB Kenny Rowe


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Kerry Taylor released

Posted by Darren Urban on October 8, 2013 – 2:07 pm

The Cardinals made a roster move Tuesday, and decided to release wide receiver Kerry Taylor and promote wide receiver Brittan Golden from the practice squad. Taylor burst out in his first game, making three catches against the Lions in a game where Larry Fitzgerald couldn’t finish because of hamstring problems.(Taylor even got a game ball after that performance.) But he was inactive this past weekend. Bruce Arians was already trying to figure out how to get Andre Roberts back in the mix. Now, the Cards clearly want to see what Golden can do.

There are open spots on the practice squad now, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cards put Taylor back on the practice squad, assuming he clears waivers.

The team also made practice squad moves at linebacker Tuesday, releasing Bruce Taylor and adding Orie Lemon. The Cards also released practice squad wide receiver Devon Wylie.

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Depth charts and number changes

Posted by Darren Urban on September 3, 2013 – 9:59 am

The first depth chart of the regular season — officially unofficial that it is — is out. Yes, the team puts one out but let’s face it, there is nothing making the coaches stay true to it, so as usual, there is a grain of salt aspect that must come with it. That said, Ryan Williams, after everything he went through in training camp, is still listed as the No. 2 running back behind Rashard Mendenhall. Stepfan Taylor is three, Alfonso Smith four, Andre Ellington fifth.

The rest of the chart doesn’t change much. Jim Dray is listed as a starter now with Rob Housler in the two-tight end sets. That’s no surprise. Dray has been the steadiest tight end the Cards have had. New tackle Bradley Sowell is listed as a right tackle, third on the depth chart behind Eric Winston and Bobby Massie. As always, you can view the whole chart here: http://www.azcardinals.com/team/depth-chart.html

– The Cardinals had a handful of jersey number changes too, the most significant being veteran linebacker John Abraham’s ability to go back to wearing No. 55. That comes compliments of fellow veteran LB Karlos Dansby, who will take the No. 56 of the departed Reggie Walker. Also changing were Winston, who takes No. 73 from No. 65, linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who takes No. 52 from No. 54, and safety Tony Jefferson, who goes to No. 22 from No. 36.

UPDATE: The Cards filled out the final three spots on the practice squad with LB Kenny Demens (cut earlier this week), DT Anthony McCloud (cut by Minnesota) and WR Sam McGuffie (cut by Oakland).

– Don’t forget the first of weekly Tuesday chats today at 2 p.m. The link is right here.

– In case you missed it, here is a photo gallery from Larry Fitzgerald’s trip to Pitt last night to get his No. 1 jersey retired.

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Moch highlights practice squad

Posted by Darren Urban on September 2, 2013 – 11:04 am

The Cardinals have picked five of their possible eight practice-squad players, including pass rusher Dontay Moch — an intriguing prospect and former third-round pick who has been limited to one regular season game in two seasons because of migraines, a broken foot and a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Moch would be a linebacker in the Cards’ scheme. He’s had 6.5 sacks the past two preseasons, so he has flashed. It makes sense as practice squad potential.

The Cardinals also brought back both their Taylors from the preseason roster — wide receiver Kerry and safety Curtis — to the practice squad, as well as linebacker Kenny Rowe. Rowe, like Moch, is part of the Cards’ perpetual quest to find edge rushers.

The other spot went to center/guard Philip Blake, recently cut by Denver.

There are still three practice squad spots left. One could go to linebacker Kenny Demens, cut yesterday by the team. Tackle Jamaal Johnson-Webb, cut by the Cards, ended up on the Bears’ practice squad.


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Two waiver claims add offensive, defensive linemen

Posted by Darren Urban on September 1, 2013 – 2:00 pm

The Cardinals ended up with two linemen today awarded on waiver claims: tackle Bradley Sowell (late of the Colts) and defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu (cut by the Steelers). The corresponding cuts were linebacker Kenny Demens (who is practice squad eligible) and cornerback Bryan McCann (which takes the Cards down to six cornerbacks).

Bringing in a nose tackle-type like Ta’amu is no surprise. The Cards had been looking for one behind Dan Williams. Adding another offensive tackle is interesting, since the Cards already have four on the roster. You have to wonder if they check out Sowell, see if he fits their bill, and then choose between him and another (Nate Potter, perhaps?) Sowell had also been used sometimes to line up as a tight end with the Colts — I’m sure in jumbo packages — so there’s that aspect. He played 10 games last year for the Colts, so offensive coordinator/O-line coach Harold Goodwin and coach Bruce Arians are both very familiar with him.

The release of Ta’amu was notable in Pittsburgh. He was a fourth-round pick in 2012 who didn’t have much of a rookie season after being involved in an auto accident after which he was placed on probation. The Cardinals now have six defensive linemen and 10 offensive linemen.


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