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Familiar Faces – Chargers/Cardinals

Posted by since1898 on August 23, 2013 – 4:41 pm

Antoine Cason, Rich Ohrnberger and Coach Ken Whisenhunt
FamiliarFaces

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One team isn’t realistic

Posted by Darren Urban on March 22, 2013 – 3:02 pm

Some quick tidbits as I try to sneak in a day off (because I just can’t leave you hanging):

– As painful as the decision to move on with Adrian Wilson was for the Cardinals, obviously the team was not alone. The perfect story is for the star player to come in and play his entire career with one franchise. Wilson wanted to do that with the Cardinals. You know Ed Reed and Brian Urlacher wanted to do the same and yet, Reed is now a Texan and Urlacher is looking for work unsure what options might come about. Wilson is now a Patriot. It just drives home what happens in the NFL. Those Ray Lewis storybook endings just aren’t realistic.

– In case you missed it yesterday, reserve center/guard Rich Ohrnberger signed a one-year contract with the Chargers to reunite with Ken Whisenhunt, who is San Diego’s offensive coordinator.

– Josh Weinfuss did a good piece on Honey Badger and how Patrick Peterson has taken Tyrann Mathieu under his wing as Mathieu tries to re-start his football career in the NFL. It’s been said a few times, but Peterson’s maturity at such a young age is amazing.


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Calm Whisenhunt talks about going forward

Posted by Darren Urban on December 10, 2012 – 11:46 am

The theme coming out of coach Ken Whisenhunt’s press conference today was that Whisenhunt wasn’t talking change. That doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any, I suppose, but there were no announcements or anything close to that Monday.

Whisenhunt, calmly answering all the questions you would expect, said again he wasn’t worried about his job. (At this point, I don’t expect anything in that regard before the end of the season, if it happens.) He said he talks every day with team president Michael Bidwill, but he didn’t say they have talked about his future.

As for his coaching staff, Whisenhunt wasn’t going to start analyzing their jobs publicly or speak on their future. He wouldn’t say he’d be making changes, but he wouldn’t say he wouldn’t either. “Out of respect to our players and coaches, they are all working hard,” Whisenhunt said. “It is easy to say, ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that.’ The number of hours these guys put in, it is unfair to them (to talk about it). … I don’t think that’s appropriate to talk about here.”

– Whether QB Kevin Kolb could be shut down the rest of the season would be “in part a medical decision.” Whiz said he knows what he has in Kolb and he has won. “The biggest thing you have to have … you know you will miss some games but you can’t miss a tremendous amount.”

– The Cardinals “have to look at all options” at quarterback this offseason, but given where we are right now, specifics were coming. Someone brought up Vince Young’s tweet that Young wanted a chance. Whiz declined to comment on that.

– Whisenhunt said center Rich Ohrnberger played with a knee injury yesterday and compared the situation to Lyle Sendlein playing with a knee injury a few weeks ago. We know what happened to Sendlein. Not sure what happens to Ohrnberger — Whiz said more info should come later — but that doesn’t sound like a good sign. If Ohrnberger is banged up, the Cards are down to rookie Scott Wedige at center, and he just signed when Sendlein went down.


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Heap, Toler remain out, Nelson playing for Packers

Posted by Darren Urban on November 4, 2012 – 9:36 am

The Cardinals’ inactive list is out for today’s game, with tight end Todd Heap still out with his bad knee. On the flip side, Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who didn’t practice all week because of a bad hamstring, is active today and listed as a starter. The Cardinals are also still without cornerback Greg Toler (hamstring).

Guard Adam Snyder (quad) remains out, no surprise, so Rich Ohrnberger will start at right guard. The rest of the Cardinals’ inactives:

– QB Kevin Kolb (ribs)

– LB Jamaal Westerman

– G Senio Kelemete

– WR LaRon Byrd


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Tradeless, and the tackles – UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on November 1, 2012 – 2:18 pm

The trading deadline came and went Thursday and the Cardinals — as well as most of the NFL — did not make a deal. Many were wondering about the Cards getting an offensive lineman in a trade.

UPDATE: General manager Rod Graves said in the end, while there were the normal amount of conversations with teams about trades over the past two weeks, “there was not enough interest to consummate a trade.”

“So many different factors come into play,” Graves said, noting medical history of the player, age, contractual situations and the coaches’ feelings on a particular player being able to fit in to the locker room and the system. “You don’t have a plug-and-play situation” in the NFL, Graves said.

– After practice, coach Ken Whisenhunt was talking about the two reserve tackles already on the roster: rookie Nate Potter and veteran Pat McQuistan (who can also play guard.)

Whiz said the Cards are feeling “a lot more comfortable” with McQuistan, who has been active on game days and serves as an important backup swingman now that Adam Snyder has been out and Rich Ohrnberger has been in the starting lineup. You still get the sense McQuistan is there for a reserve/just-in-case role. It might be different for Potter. Whisenhunt played question-and-answer with himself about the rookie today. Does Potter’s progress “mean he is ready to play in a regular-season game? At some point, you have to look at it,” Whisenhunt said, noting that Potter’s practices have been good and the rookie playing “is something we’re looking at doing at some point.”

Potter can play both right and left tackle, so I don’t know which side at which he’d get his first crack. Nor does that mean Potter is on the verge of playing, say, this weekend, necessarily. But he’s on the radar and clearly, the coaches have been evaluating him. Josh Weinfuss will have more on Potter — and rookie running mate Senio Kelemete — later this afternoon on azcardinals.com.


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Vikings aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on October 21, 2012 – 5:34 pm

Early last week, guard Daryn Colledge talked about how the offense had to play better, but that the defense was always going to keep the Cardinals in the game. Then came Sunday, what may have been the harshest way to demonstrate the point.

I’m not sure what the hardest thing to handle was for the Cardinals. The first stop that led to a punt giving the Cards the ball first in Minnesota territory, only to have the drive go nowhere? The following long drive into the red zone that ended with a fumble and no points? The gift interception at the end of the first half – why on God’s green earth were the Vikings throwing at that point anyway – only to have Jay Feely’s field goal miss? The pick-6 to start the second half that made it a two-score game?

“The plays that were there to be made were being made earlier in the year,” quarterback John Skelton said. “Now we are missing.”

It’s going to be hard not to re-play what could have been in the collective minds tonight.

– The Cardinals have now lost two games this season in which the opposing quarterback had fewer than 10 pass completions (the Rams’ game was the other.) That’s unheard of in today’s NFL. The Vikings ended up with a net of 43 passing yards.

– Those 43 net passing yards – and Christian Ponder’s 58 gross – were the fewest allowed in an NFL game this season, by the way. The Cards hadn’t allowed so few in a game since giving up 37 net passing yards to the Ravens in December of 2000 – a game the Cards also lost, 13-7, to the Trent Dilferific Super Bowl-bound bunch.

- The Cards had the ball for more than 10 minutes more than the Vikings, including holding the ball for more than 11 minutes of the 15-minute third quarter.

– LaRod Stephens-Howling had been off to the worst start of his career running the ball, but he was back on track Sunday. Yes, it was partly due to the Vikings’ defensive alignment, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment of his first 100-yard game. You figure next week’s game against the 49ers will be much more difficult, but considering where the Cards were when they lost both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, it’s a start.

– Guard Adam Snyder was limping around pretty good because of the quad contusion that sent him out of the game and brought Rich Ohrnberger in for relief. You know Snyder is going to badly want to play against his former teammates a week from tomorrow. We’ll see if he can recover in time.

– Adrian Peterson sure didn’t look like a guy who had ACL surgery less than a year ago. He looked like 2008 Adrian Peterson with his 153 yards on just 23 carries, ramping up to full speed seemingly as soon as he was handed the ball in the backfield.

– Larry Fitzgerald called the offense’s overall lack of production scoring “disheartening.” It seems like the Cards have had more issues this year getting Fitz freed up than ever before. The offense is missing that kind of playmaking.

– I know the TD came late, but Andre Roberts quietly had a productive day (7 catches, 103 yards).

– The one thing Kevin Kolb was doing really well when the Cards were winning – and what has gotten lost a bit when the Cards ended up on the wrong side of things a couple weeks ago and then again today with John Skelton – is the turnovers. They cost at least 10 points today, with the Vikings getting seven on the interception return and the Cards losing at least three on the red-zone fumble by Skelton. Many teams can’t afford turnovers, but for the Cards, that margin is even smaller. The Cards generated a pair of turnovers themselves, but couldn’t win the turnover battle.

That’s enough from 30,000 feet. The Cards will have an extra day to regroup for the 49ers. That game was always big. Now it’s probably something that will determine where they go the balance of the season.

UPDATE: The Cardinals aren’t going to work out quarterback Vince Young, despite rumors to the contrary.


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A guess at the 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 29, 2012 – 4:59 pm

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.


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Cards add running back, offensive lineman

Posted by Darren Urban on August 1, 2012 – 8:11 am

With Javarris James (abductor) ailing, Beanie Wells (knee) still on the PUP list and Ryan Williams — who rested Tuesday, sitting out practice as his rehab continues — still a question whether he will play Sunday in the Hall of Fame game, the Cardinals signed an extra back. Thomas Clayton, who has 29 yards on 15 carries in six career games with three teams, was inked Wednesday. The Cardinals also added guard Rich Ohrnberger, who was drafted by the Patriots in 2009.

To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released wide receiver Stanley Arukwe and waived-injured center Ryan Bartholomew.

Clayton was a sixth-round pick of the 49ers in 2007 out of Kansas State. He has spent time with the Browns, Seahawks and Patriots as well. I wouldn’t expect this to be any more than a let’s-get-through-the-next-game-or-two kind of move. Ohrnberger could be more intriguing given the uncertain depth on the interior line, but like Russ Hochstein, we’ll see how he fits in.


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