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Never forget — skill wins out

Posted by Darren Urban on August 21, 2013 – 2:14 pm

Bruce Arians was talking at lunch about some of the moves the team has been making and noted that new wide receiver Mike Thomas had a résumé none of the other young receivers did. He also noted Thomas had speed, something the Cards are always looking for at wideout. Arians was asked again later how important that résumé was. Arians didn’t hesitate.

“That should help him, (but) the deciding factor though was speed,” Arians said. “He does have the résumé, But if he were slow and had that résumé, he probably wouldn’t be here.”

You need a total package. The Cards had undrafted rookie Robby Toma, who seemed to catch everything thrown his way. But he didn’t have the speed, he didn’t have the size and he definitely didn’t have the experience. Robert Gill had the speed but he didn’t have the experience, he struggled catching the ball of late and before that, he was battling a bad hamstring too often. Those were the reasons those guys were cut Wednesday. And it’s a reminder you need to total package to stick around.

Besides, at 87 players, the Cards have to slice 35 more guys before the regular season, not including anyone else they claim/sign. A lot of the current guys are going to have to go.

— WR Andre Roberts (ankle) was back at practice Tuesday. Arians said the Cards will take it slow with him.

— Arians still has hope TE Jeff King (knee) will be able to practice some this week and maybe play in Saturday’s game.

— If Roberts is down, it is Jaron Brown and Kerry Taylor the next in line — not Thomas — to get the bulk of the work in the game. With Patrick Peterson and Rob Housler as receiving options, I think the Cards keep at most five receivers. There’s a lot on the line for Brown/Taylor/Thomas. The other young guys will get more work in the preseason finale.

— Arians won’t have a lot of time to evaluate Thomas, but that’s a reality of the situation. “There are guys you claim off the waiver wire where you get one day and they have to play on Sunday sometimes,” Arians said. “That’s the hardest part of coaching, get a guy on Tuesday and have to play him Sunday.”

— Arians said he hopes to play Daryn Colledge about 10 snaps at center against the Chargers. “Ten to 12, all in one good long drive for a touchdown,” Arians added.


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A close battle among the corners

Posted by Darren Urban on August 13, 2013 – 5:09 pm

Coach Bruce Arians said he thought cornerback was among the closest battles on the roster and that’s not surprising. The depth of experience there is better than the Cardinals have had in a few seasons. Assuming everyone stays healthy — and Javier Arenas left practice early Tuesday with some sort of injury — it will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

Jamell Fleming finally got back on the field after dealing with a hamstring problem. Justin Bethel is too valuable of a special teamer to let go, but he’s still learning the cornerback position. Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Powers are locks. I’d think vet Antoine Cason is too, especially with Cason running as cornerback in nickel when Powers slides inside. One interesting name this week was Bryan McCann, who was singled out by Arians as having a good camp. If McCann really is in the mix, there are a ton of decisions that have to be made.

— And again, I’d expect a possible trade at the end of the preseason for guys they don’t want to keep here, a la A.J. Jefferson last season. At least get an extra 6th- or 7th-round pick.

— Because the Cards are off tomorrow, I don’t expect an Arenas injury update until Thursday.

— Among Tuesday’s highlights: WR Robby Toma made a beautiful one-handed catch on the sideline to beat Tyrann Mathieu. Cason, covering “wide receiver” Peterson, made an interception as Peterson went down and Cason basically had to climb over Peterson’s prone body to grab the ball. (Those two are both in the highlight package below.) And Peterson finished the session by slicing in front of WR Kerry Taylor during the final two-minute drill against the second-unit offense, sticking out his hand and having the ball stick there like it was flypaper for the drive-killing interception.

— Sitting out Tuesday was S Jonathon Amaya (knee), S Rashad Johnson (knee/ankle), RB Ryan Williams (knee), TE Jeff King (knee), TE Kory Sperry (ankle), DE Frostee Rucker (undisclosed), LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), DT Ricky Lumpkin (ankle), DT Dan Williams (ankle) and LB Dan Giordano (PUP – toe.). RB Andre Ellington returned to practice limited.


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Making plays, and not, in practice

Posted by Darren Urban on August 6, 2013 – 5:15 pm

Nothing super exciting today, other than a chance to talk to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter on the Cardinals Daily Report (below). But here are some notes and observations:

— Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Tyrann Mathieu forced a fumble, punching a ball lose after a catch by tight end Jeff King. It’s going to be very interesting to see him in games because over the last week or so, Mathieu has been a playmaking machine.

— We’ve mentioned Jaron Brown, Charles Hawkins and Robert Gill as receiving options, and after the depth chart came out it was clear Kerry Taylor had made inroads as the No. 4 receiver. Someone who hasn’t been mentioned (and I will admit I didn’t think we would be) is recent rookie signee Robby Toma out of Notre Dame. He’s not big, he’s not real fast. But it’s tough not to notice him catching almost every pass thrown to him.

— Veteran safety Yeremiah Bell made a very impressive diving interception — he fully laid out to grab it — against Ryan Lindley. Who says being 35 has to hinder athletic plays?

— (By the way, both the Bell pick and the Mathieu play are caught in today’s highlight package you can see here.)

— Bell said he hadn’t expected QB Ryan Lindley to throw the pass. It’s been a rough stretch for Lindley, and now Arians is talking about keeping only two QBs. It’ll be very interesting to see how Lindley does in preseason games.

— Drew Stanton did hit Andre Roberts with a long touchdown pass at one point.

— RB Andre Ellington left practice early on Tuesday with what looked like some sort of neck issue. It didn’t look serious (he walked off the field fine) but he did not return.

— Those sitting included DT Ricky Lumpkin (ankle), RB Ryan Williams (knee), LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), G Daryn Colledge (leg), WR Robert Gill (hamstring), WR Kerry Taylor (hamstring), TE Kory Sperry (ankle), CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Alex Okafor (ankle), DT Dan Williams (ankle) and LB Kenny Demens (not sure on his injury).

— Just when Arians was asked about a lack of scuffles in camp, there was a scuffle. Guard Scott Wedige and defensive end Ronald Talley got into it a little bit after one play, but teammates quickly broke it up. Perhaps they were all warning the pair about Arians’ rule against camp fights.

— Officially John Abraham is listed third on the depth chart at linebacker. But as proof as why the depth chart is dangerous, Abraham — as he has been since he showed up — is running first unit nickel as the right side pass rusher. Matt Shaughnessy is on the left, with Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell in the middle. The linebackers are Reggie Walker (with Dansby out) and Jasper Brinkley. The corners are Patrick Peterson and Antoine Cason on the outside, with Jerraud Powers as nickel slot. Bell and Rashad Johnson are the safeties.

— Random note: Prior to Tuesday’s roster moves (which are unlikely to impact the salary cap anyway), the Cardinals had $5.76 million in salary cap space.


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Powell out as Cards make roster moves

Posted by Darren Urban on July 23, 2013 – 3:05 pm

As #CardsCamp closes in, the Cardinals are adjusting their roster to get ready for stadium workouts. The team hasn’t officially announced moves yet, but the NFL’s official transactions release noted the team cut three players Tuesday: running back William Powell, tight end Kyle Auffray and wide receiver Michael Rios. Rios was cut with a non-football injury, and the undrafted player from Marist missed most of the offseason work with some sort of foot injury.

The same list has the Cards also signing former Notre Dame wide receiver Robby Toma, who was in for a tryout Tuesday. As with the cut players, nothing official has been announced by the team.

If you are scoring at home, that would mean the Cards have a pair of open roster spots right now (not including the one being saved for unsigned Jonathan Cooper, who officially is not taking up a spot until he inks a deal.)

UPDATE: And now it is official via the team. Rios was indeed waived because of a foot problem.


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