Some newsy quick hitters after Bruce Arians addressed the media today, the day after Daryl Washington’s return-to-action party:
– Arians sees Andre Ellington’s role at 30 to 35 plays a game. But that might top it out. Arians said he doesn’t see Ellington’s body type to hold up with a much heavier workload, and he emphasized Ellington will continue to get work as both running back and receiver.
– Stepfan Taylor is doing a “great job” on special teams. Ryan Williams, as we have said ourselves many times, doesn’t play special teams, Arians said. So Williams isn’t going to be active. I think that changes if there is an injury, but in the meantime, Williams will stay inactive, it looks like.
– The only injury from Sunday was a hamstring problem for linebacker Kenny Demens, which will likely sideline him this week, Arians said. Linebacker Jasper Brinkley (groin) and safety Rashad Johnson (finger) should return this week, the coach added. Arians said he didn’t want Johnson playing with a big “mitt” of a cast, but Johnson should be down to a small splint this week.
– He said Andre Roberts was playing inside early in the season when he was effective, and when tight end Rob Housler came back, Roberts went outside and became less effective. It’s something the coaches will look at.
– As far as Housler, he’s a “work in progress” Arians said. “He’s not on the same page as Carson (Palmer),” Arians added.
– Arians said there would be no change in the schedule to prepare for next week’s short week, which features a trip to San Francisco for Sunday and then a home game against Seattle a week from Thursday. The Cards won’t worry about Seattle until after San Francisco, Arians said.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Andre Roberts, Daryl Washington, Jasper Brinkley, Kenny Demens, Rashad Johnson, Rob Housler, Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor
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Both wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) were upgraded to limited practice today and will officially be listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in New Orleans. Questionable is a 50-50 designation, but if I had to guess, I’d guess both will be active for the Saints. Both looked OK during the open portion of practice (which isn’t necessarily full speed and isn’t in pads, so take it for what it is worth.) Also, both fall into that category of Bruce Arians from earlier in the week, when he said he’d let a player with a good résumé play even with no practice. Obviously both practiced and in both cases, both have proven themselves to Arians enough that I’d think he’d trust their judgment when it comes to this.
Mendenhall’s injury isn’t a turf toe, Arians said (Mendenhall suffered it during the game and played with it, Arians said). Arians said he didn’t remember the name of what exactly Mendenhall had, and even though it isn’t turf toe, “it’s damn close,” Arians said with a chuckle.
Of course, being active and playing doesn’t mean playing the whole game. We saw that with Fitzgerald last week. How much of an impact either can make is TBD. And this week, since the Cardinals have to get on a plane, we also don’t know if the flight could somehow aggravate either injury, which makes “questionable” a lot of sense.
Linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) is out for the game. The Cardinals did have tight end Rob Housler (ankle) practice fully for the first time Friday, so he is ready to play. He will be a welcome addition to the offense.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Kevin Minter, Larry Fitzgerald, Rashard Mendenhall, Rob Housler, Saints
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Larry Fitzgerald did not practice today. “I wanted him resting today,” coach Bruce Arians said. “I didn’t want him aggravating that (hamstring) again.”
“He wants to practice,” Arians added. “I’m not letting him.”
Fitz is going to be day-to-day, Arians said, but there sure seemed to be the underlying feeling Fitzgerald will end up playing Sunday. That’s the vibe Arians gave off, and every time Carson Palmer was talking in general about playing without Fitz — like in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Lions — he made it sound that Fitz will be there. Palmer said if he knew a guy was going to miss a game he’d prefer to work with the backup, for chemistry and timing reasons. But, he added, “that’s not the case with Larry,” Palmer said.
During the open portion of practice, Fitz still donned his helmet and went out and stood five yards away from a JUGS machine and was making catches — one-handed. Amazing how he was doing it, easily snaring the ball (with either hand) with it being shot out of that thing. Even injured Fitzgerald leaves an impression.
Here’s something else to remember with Fitzgerald. Arians was asked what his philosophy was in terms of playing players Sunday who didn’t practice during the week. “That totally depends on the player,” Arians said. “You better have a résumé. We fortunately have one that has a pretty good résumé.”
– Rookie linebacker Kevin Minter wasn’t practicing either, and Arians said his hamstring problem was worse than originally expected. Minter is “probably doubtful” to play in New Orleans, Arians said. Running back Rashard Mendenhall also wasn’t practicing during the part of practice open to the media. Not sure if that’s his knee or a hamstring or what, but Arians did not bring it up in his pre-practice press conference. The injury report will be out later today.
– The good news? Tight end Rob Housler was back and practicing full for his first workout of the regular season. Housler should give Arians more flexibility with his offense.
Tags: Kevin Minter, Larry Fitzgerald, Rashard Mendenhall, Rob Housler
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The Cardinals have changed up availability times for Mondays, so the players aren’t talking until later on, but a few notes from lunch with Bruce Arians:
– Rookie running back Andre Ellington continues to impress and it’s not like Arians only sees him has a third-down, change-of-pace guy. “This kid can carry the load,” Arians said. (And to clarify: “Can” carry it doesn’t mean he will. Rashard Mendenhall is the starter.)
– Of the seven game balls awarded for the Lions game, three went to special teamers: kicker Jay Feely, punter Dave Zastudil and Justin Bethel, who blocked a field goal and who has to be in the discussion as best gunner in the NFL. The others went to DE Calais Campbell, CB Patrick Peterson, WR Kerry Taylor and QB Carson Palmer.
– Palmer did have the pick-six interception, but Arians praised his leadership, especially late in the game with no Larry Fitzgerald and the offense struggling on third downs. “He sent the best signals (that) ‘We’re fine,’ ” Arians said.
– Arians was happy with the play of Taylor but he did not commit to keeping Taylor on the roster once Fitz returns to full strength. That, he said, will depend on injuries. The bottom five roster spots are always churning.
– The hope is tight end Rob Housler (ankle) will play this week. But it’s still we’ll-see mode, as it will be with the rest of the injuries. Arians said he wants to see where the Cards are Wednesday before talking about anyone else.
– Safety Yeremiah Bell actually was playing some linebacker Sunday (I can’t wait to hear from everyone who always wanted Adrian Wilson to do the same). It was part of the package to handle the Lions’ offense. “He played great,” Arians said. “We asked him to learn linebacker in two different fronts. I can’t say enough about the guy. He’s the ultimate pro.”
– Arians said the decision to stay back East after the Saints game came with the knowledge the team has back-to-back 10 a.m. Arizona time kickoffs. This will hopefully alleviate some of the issues with the early kickoff in Tampa.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bruce Arians, Calais Campbell, Carson Palmer, Dave Zastudil, Jay Feely, Justin Bethel, Kerry Taylor, Patrick Peterson, Rob Housler, Yeremiah Bell
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Bruce Arians said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be questionable for Sunday’s game with his hamstring issue. The injury happened Wednesday, when Arians said Fitzgerald “tweaked” the hamstring in practice. This was not a holdover from St. Louis. Arians did say he thought Fitzgerald was doing well today, albeit limited again. My guess is this will go all the way up until game time to see if Fitzgerald will be ready. Sorry, Fitz fantasy owners. I figure Fitz will do everything in his power to play, although you want to be smart — you’d rather miss one game than have it turn into 50-percent Fitz for four weeks.
Tight end Rob Housler (ankle) is out for the game. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) is also questionable.
Overall, though, Arians said he was pleased with a week of practice coming off of a hard loss in St. Louis.
“Today was almost too competitive,” Arians said. “(But) I’d rather say ‘Whoa’ than ‘Sic ‘em’ like I have before. Today was almost, ‘Whoa, slow down a little bit.’ “
Tags: Bruce Arians, Larry Fitzgerald, Lorenzo Alexander, Rob Housler
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It’s easy to think of the Lions and wide receiver Calvin Johnson and get locked in on him, but Bruce Arians tried to zoom out a bit when talking Wednesday about the Cardinals’ Sunday opponent.
“Everybody that they have is capable of beating you,” Arians said. “You can’t just look at one guy.”
Of course, Johnson is the guy people think of first. Patrick Peterson will not cover Johnson one-on-one all the time, Arians said, but he will do it some. That will likely work for Peterson, who cherishes these matchups (Peterson was not available during the media session today, so we’ll have more on this tomorrow.) Arians smiled with that assessment of Peterson, though. “You have to watch what you wish for sometimes,” Arians said.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz did say, if officials hadn’t overturned two touchdowns in the opener, Johnson would have come out much better than his four-catch-for-37-yard day. “If he has those two, it’s a Megatron game.”
– The ability of Detroit DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley will mean the pressure this week will be on the Cardinals’ interior line of Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein and Paul Fanaika, as opposed to the pressure the tackles were under in St. Louis, Arians said.
– This from Arians, which was important to note: He said newcomer tackle Bradley Sowell can play both sides. But he said Bobby Massie cannot play left tackle — which would be a reason, for all of you who have asked, why he has not been tried there. Arians did say he thinks Massie “has all the talent in the world.”
– Arians, asked for his evaluation of Suh’s reputation as a dirty football player, said he only thing he goes off of is the video. “When I watch tape I see a great football player,” Arians said. “All the rest of the stuff, I don’t have to deal with.”
– Arians said the only player sitting out of practice was tight end Rob Housler, whom Arians already said would probably miss the Detroit game. Some players will be limited today. We will see the official injury report later today.
Tags: Bobby Massie, Calvin Johnson, Daryn Colledge, Lions, Lyle Sendlein, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, Paul Fanaika, Rob Housler
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In what isn’t a surprise, running back Ryan Williams is indeed inactive today for the Cardinals. You figured one of the backs would be down. Since there is special teams aspects to the other guys, Williams was a natural choice. Defensive end Calais Campbell (quad) is active. In fact, tight end Rob Housler (ankle) is the only inactive based on an injury. Another interesting move: Bruce Arians has kept all three quarterbacks, including Ryan Lindley, active today.
Eight offensive linemen are active, but all three backups can give multiple looks: Nate Potter can play G/T, Mike Gibson can play C/G and newcomer Bradley Sowell not only could play T but also blocking TE. Jim Dray is the lone starting tight end. Andre Roberts will be a third starting wide receiver.
The other first-week inactives for the Cardinals:
– CB Jamell Fleming
– LB Alex Okafor
– DT Alameda Ta’amu
– T Bobby Massie
– G Earl Watford
Tags: Bradley Sowell, Calais Campbell, inactives, Milke Gibson, Nate Potter, quarterbacks, Rob Housler, Ryan Williams
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The Cardinals have named their captains for the season, and they really come as no surprise: On defense, it is cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. On offense, it is quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. And on special teams, it is linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and kicker Jay Feely. Center Lyle Sendlein isn’t a captain for the first time in a couple of years, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind. There had been a void since there really hadn’t been a quarterback to step into that role. Palmer is definitely that guy. The choices were made through a player vote.
– Tackle Nate Potter will start playing guard as well in practice. It’s something Bruce Arians has long hinted at, but Potter is just now starting out. The more you can do …
– Tight end Rob Housler remains day-to-day with his bad ankle. He’s getting better, Arians said, but the coach added the Cards do not want this to be a lingering problem and would rather have him miss time now and knock it out than deal with it long-term. We’ll see whether Housler does anything at practice today. Otherwise, the Cards are healthy.
– Arians had his line of the day, when asked if patience was needed when judging this team out of the gate. “No,” Arians said. “I have no patience.”
– The Cardinals are just getting out to practice now (media availability this season will be before practice on Wednesdays.) More bubble work today.
Tags: captains, Carson Palmer, Darnell Dockett, Jay Feely, Larry Fitzgerald, Lorenzo Alexander, Nate Potter, Patrick Peterson, Rob Housler
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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.
Tags: Anthony McCloud, depth chart, Eric Winston, Jasper Brinkley, jersey numbers, Jim Dray, John Abraham, Karlos Dansby, Kenny Demens, Larry Fitzgerald, practice squad, Rob Housler, Roster, Ryan Williams, Sam McGuffie, Tony Jefferson
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The Cardinals ran the longest, hardest Labor Day practice I can remember them having. Normally it’s a refresher, let’s-get-into-regular-season-mode-a-little kind of a work. But in this “bonus” practice, coach Bruce Arians said, the Cardinals ran a regular “Wednesday” practice in preparation for the Rams. And they did it outside, with the weather not terribly hot (at least when they were on the field.)
“Normal Mondays we don’t practice — we watch tape and work out a little bit, get the game soreness out, then come back on Wednesday,” Arians said. “So, this was a normal Wednesday. Our bonus Monday was like an extra Wednesday.”
– Tight end Rob Housler (ankle) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (ankle) were the only players not practicing. Housler remains day-to-day, Arians said and he said Mendenhall — who was wearing a brace — can play Sunday. “I did not let him go today, but he’s more than ready,” Arians said. “And Ryan (Williams) is full speed, so we’re fully healthy at running back.”
– Arians said he expects the whole practice squad filled out by Wednesday. There are three open positions.
– Arians called newly claimed Bradley Sowell an “excellent young tackle prospect.” Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu would have stayed in Pittsburgh, Arians said, if it hadn’t been for a numbers game.
– Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was at practice but had to leave a little bit early to catch a flight back to Pittsburgh. His Pitt Panthers number 1 is being retired tonight at halftime of the Florida State-Pittsburgh game.
– Practices, now, are officially closed after it is open for special teams and individual drills (for those looking for practice info). The depth chart — for instance, where all the running backs fall in the pecking order — is due out tomorrow.
– Also tomorrow: A return to the Cardinals Underground podcast (posted late afternoon), and the beginning of weekly Tuesday chats with myself. Tomorrow’s version will be at 2 p.m., although we will go 1 p.m. normally. The season is upon us.
Tags: Alameda Ta'amu, Bradley Sowell, Larry Fitzgerald, practice, Rashard Mendenhall, Rob Housler
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