The news leaked out yesterday, that the Cardinals were going to be signing former Colts cornerback Teddy Williams, a player with a ton of speed. The Cardinals had cut linebacker Kenny Demens to make room for Williams on the roster. What hadn’t come out is that Williams was being signed as a wide receiver.
I’ll admit, the move raised eyebrows somewhat when I thought Williams was a cornerback. The Cardinals have a lot of them and I didn’t think any were doing that poorly — and to cut a linebacker to make room for another one didn’t make a lot of sense. But the idea of making Williams a wide receiver does make sense, because the Cardinals are continually looking for that burner who can take the top off the defense at deep routes. This will be another attempt in that area. Brittan Golden caught a 53-yard pass in his debut in San Francisco, but he’s battling a bad hamstring.
Now the Cards try Williams, who has the speed credentials (his Twitter handle is @Fast_Teddy.) He is a former track guy who did not play college football and originally tried to make it as a receiver with the Cowboys. That didn’t stick, nor did his attempt to play cornerback for Dallas. He did play in seven games last season for Indianapolis as a cornerback. He can return kickoffs as well.
Tags: Kenny Demens, Roster, Teddy Williams
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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.
Tags: Brittan Golden, Kerry Taylor, Orie Lemon, practice squad, Roster
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The Cardinals promoted Dontay Moch from the practice squad to aid with their linebacker woes, and today, they did more, signing linebacker Vic So’oto. So’oto has spent time with the Packers, Raiders and Redskins since arriving in the league in 2011. He’ll give them a body for now. Holdovers Matt Shaughnessy, John Abraham, Alex Okafor and Moch will be ahead of him on the depth chart. Officially, Okafor will be listed as the first-unit Sam linebacker, with Moch and So’oto behind him. At Will LB, Shaughnessy is first, ahead of Abraham.
The Cards also added linebacker Bruce Taylor to the practice squad. Taylor, an undrafted rookie, was with the Bengals in training camp.
Next week, the Cards will also get back linebacker Daryl Washington from suspension. Adding So’oto means they have filled the roster back to 53, meaning someone will have to be released to get Washington back and active.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Bruce Taylor, Dontay Moch, John Abraham, Matt Shaugnessy, Roster, Vic So'oto
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GM Steve Keim has said many times he will continue to churn the roster at the bottom if necessary, and I have no doubt that will happen. But there are also financial restraints in the form of the salary cap that have to be accounted for too when it comes to player moves.
Right now, the Cardinals are confirmed to have slightly more than $4 million in salary cap space. Most players (if not all) signed from this point forward will be for minimum contracts, and will have minimum impact on the salary cap (and if they are signed and another guy cut, it may end up a virtual cap wash.) With that small amount of space too, it limits contract extensions in season.
(In fact, as overthecap.com noted, it may be a slow year for in-season extensions across the league because of tight cap space.)
Who would be in line for an in-season extension? There are plenty of guys under one-year deals, but judging both by value and a potential future, of the players due to be unrestricted free agents after the season, I could see guard Paul Fanaika, tight end Jim Dray, tackle Eric Winston or defensive end/linebacker Matt Shaughnessy. That doesn’t mean they all will (or any of them, for that matter) or even that we are talking about giant contracts. But I wouldn’t be shocked. It’ll depend on how they play too.
Of course, the big extension everyone is expecting/waiting on is one for cornerback Patrick Peterson. The Cards can’t start those talks until the day after the regular season based on the CBA and Peterson’s need to be three years into his career (the 49ers have the same thing going on with Colin Kaepernick right now.) But he’ll be extended, probably to a pretty rich deal, and he’ll be the defensive cornerstone guy like Larry Fitzgerald has been the guy on the offensive side.
Tags: Eric Winston, Jim Dray, Matt Shaughnessy, Patrick Peterson, Paul Fanaika, Roster, salary cap
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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 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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Tony Jefferson still had his uniform on, his shoulder pads pushing out his grass-stained jersey. After his last showing of the preseason, getting five tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a special teams tackle while battling for a roster spot, he was left to … do nothing.
“I’m just going to leave that up to the coaches, whether I am a fit for the team or not,” the undrafted rookie safety said, noting he would be going back to watch his former University of Oklahoma teammates in their opener this weekend.
“I’m going to try and keep my mind off it,” Jefferson said. “Just wait. It’s a waiting game. Just like draft day.”
The wait won’t take long (which is why this aftermath is going to be pretty short and sweet.) Steve Keim said the initial 53-man roster will be set by noon Friday, and Bruce Arians will make it public at 1 p.m. No reason to overly analyze Thursday night, which will be old news soon enough.
Some thoughts on what is coming, in light on what happened in Denver with context through my initial 53-man guess:
– Obviously strong games for QB Ryan Lindley and RB Ryan Williams. Enough to be on the 53? It would make sense, yet you could easily see a scenario where they wouldn’t be. Williams, I suppose, still could be traded, although I don’t see him being simply released. Personally I’d like Williams to stay, but we’ll see. “We’re not cutting good football players,” Bruce Arians said. (Although he didn’t say he wouldn’t trade them.)
– Teams don’t have to be to 53 until Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. So they might still keep 54 or 55 tomorrow if a deal is percolating.
– Lindley is “light years” ahead of where he was, Arians said. “Early on he had trouble processing as the play was happening. Now he has a quarterback rating of (104) and that was with guys busting routes on him. I thought he played extremely well. He was very comfortable out there.”
– All that said, Arians still wouldn’t say if Lindley had made the team for sure yet.
– Speaking of trades, will a defensive back be dealt? I’ve said since the offseason I wouldn’t be surprised in a deal like the A.J. Jefferson trade of 2012.
– I thought rookie wideout Jaron Brown was already on this team. I feel even more confident in that now.
– Beyond Brown? Mike Thomas did catch a touchdown late but he probably should have caught a bomb from Lindley earlier. It would have been a tough catch but it was makeable – and it was the kind of catch that helps you make rosters. Kerry Taylor had a quiet night.
– Arians said TE Jeff King is headed for knee surgery. Not sure if that’s significant enough for injured reserve or not. With Rob Housler still trying to come back from an ankle issue, I’m thinking King won’t be on the roster.
– To my untrained eye, I think Jefferson flashed enough to make them want to keep him. Would it be in lieu of Jonathon Amaya? Other than Jefferson, I didn’t really think any of the defensive backs battling for the roster played particularly well Thursday.
– The lone injury was a shoulder problem for defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, unfortunate for a guy trying to make the roster. Ronald Talley, the man Arians has been talking up, seemed to make a couple plays. Wondering what that might mean for David Carter, who is on the bubble. Arians said he’d need to see the tape to really give decent analysis on the defensive line play in the game.
– In the locker room, Larry Fitzgerald pointed out the Cardinals logo rookie seventh-round tight end D.C. Jefferson has tattooed on his abdomen. Now that’s confidence in your ability to make the roster.
– I thought before the entire draft class still here (Ryan Swope already having retired of course) makes the 53. I haven’t changed my mind on that.
We’ll see. We’ll know in a little more than 12 hours.
Tags: Broncos, Bruce Arians, D.C. Jefferson, David Carter, Jaron Brown, Jeff King, Jonathon Amaya, Kerry Taylor, Mike Thomas, Ricky Lumpkin, Ronald Talley, Roster, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Williams, Tony Jefferson
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There was no not-playing-tonight list from the Cardinals, probably because it would have been so lengthy. Most starters aren’t playing by design, including QB Carson Palmer. One notable absence: TE Jeff King. Bruce Arians said this was going to be a big game for King and he is not in uniform. I assume it is knee-related. It does not bode well for King’s future, I wouldn’t think.
Only offensive starters were WR Andre Roberts, WR Michael Floyd and TE Jim Dray. Only defensive starters to play were LBs Karlos Dansby and Jasper Brinkley.
General Manager Steve Keim went on the pregame show with Jody Jackson. It’ll be a busy time for him, obviously. He said the Cardinals should be able to pare the roster down to 53 by noon Friday. That will include moving Jonathan Cooper to one of the injured reserve lists.
“The next 24 hours to 48 hours we are going to have a lot of meetings,” Keim said.
Big game for Ryan Williams, although Keim didn’t seem like someone who is ready to cut the running back loose. “We need more consistency,” Keim said. “He’s frustrated, we’re frustrated. … We still think the guy has some ability.”
Keim also said the team has already fielded some calls from other teams about trading for surplus defensive backs. A deal like that would not be a surprise.
Tags: Broncos, Roster, Ryan Williams, Steve Keim
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I saw a comment on Twitter earlier this week that predicting a team’s 53-man roster is a fruitless exercise, and that’s probably true. It’s impossible to know exactly how the front office/coaching staff is thinking, and that’s even before a final preseason game that could still tip the scales for one or two guys.
But we give this a shot. Keep in mind this is not necessarily the 53 I am saying the Cardinals should keep. It’s the 53 I think they will keep, based on what’s been said, how practices have gone, perhaps some finances in the mix. And it will be wrong somewhere, because that’s inevitable. The 53 is going to change from the first cut to the first full practice Wednesday too, because this team is going to get a guy – or two, or three – from other team’s cut lists.
QB (3) – Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley. There is a lot of talk about whether they keep Lindley. It is oh so tempting to shave off a third QB who in theory will never play. But you are also talking about doing it for another extra guy who likely wouldn’t be active either. Again, Bruce Arians has to decide if Lindley is worth dumping a fifth safety, for instance.
RB (5) – Rashard Mendenhall, Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington, Alfonso Smith, Ryan Williams. Ryan Williams is the wild card, of course. This is one of those that could be influenced by Williams’ performance Thursday night. He could be traded, maybe. Arians said he could keep five. There are a lot of possibilities here – Smith could be moved out and Williams kept. They have to feel Williams can stay healthy. That’s the key part of this equation. Do they give him one more chance?
WR (5) – Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Mike Thomas, Jaron Brown. I think Brown would have a tough time making it through waivers. He’s a big receiver who has had a good preseason. Kerry Taylor would be the odd man out in this scenario, which is a difficult choice. But Thomas has speed as his ally, and the Cards want some speed. This is also a position that could be impacted by other teams’ cuts. Charles Hawkins seems like the perfect practice squad guy.
TE (4) –Jim Dray, Rob Housler, Kory Sperry, D.C. Jefferson. I still think Jeff King has a chance at this roster but again, I think they want to see him playing in a game and I think they need to believe he can stay healthy. Jefferson is so raw, but he seems like one of those guys you will lose if you expose him to waivers. I definitely think the Cards will look for tight ends themselves on the waiver wire.
OL (9) – Eric Winston, Levi Brown, Nate Potter, Bobby Massie, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Paul Fanaika, Earl Watford, Chilo Rachal. Cooper will land on some sort of IR, and if he comes back later in the season, there will be another decision to make. The Cards will only keep seven guys active on game day. Mike Gibson has been working at backup center; Perhaps he makes a better choice than Rachal. Then again, Colledge has taken some snaps. Arians said this was one of the positions for which the last game could mean something.
DL (5) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Frostee Rucker, David Carter. Ronald Talley might be the swingman. It was interesting to hear Arians a couple of times bring him up in press conferences praising him. He is versatile. That said, the Cards could go with five knowing Matt Shaughnessy could be both end and linebacker. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up a defensive lineman on waivers, either.
LB (9) – Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, John Abraham, Matt Shaughnessy, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Minter, Jasper Brinkley, Reggie Walker, Alex Okafor. For now, Daryl Washington will not count against the 53-man roster because he is going to be suspended the first four games. When he returns, a move will have to be made, but there is time. Okafor is a raw draft pick. Walker is good on special teams. The question will be whether, upon Washington’s return, it means another linebacker leaves, or something else.
CB (6) – Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason, Javier Arenas, Justin Bethel, Jamell Fleming. It’s a lot of cornerbacks and they can’t all get on the field. But Bethel is great on special teams and Fleming can help there too. They have used Fleming a lot the last couple of games, trying to see what they have in him. We’ll see if it means a roster spot. Bryan McCann has been mentioned before too. Could he slip in after Thursday night?
S (4) – Rashad Johnson, Yeremiah Bell, Tyrann Mathieu, Jonathon Amaya. Another place where the Broncos’ game could impact the roster. Tony Jefferson didn’t play defense after his big game against Dallas. He seems like a practice squad candidate, but he will have a chance to play a lot. Safety might be another spot in which waiver wire could be used. Amaya is good on special teams and Arians has said more than once he will keep a few of those guys around.
Specialists (3) – K Jay Feely, P Dave Zastudil, LS Mike Leach. Now that Dan Carpenter is gone, none of these should change.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Roster
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The Cardinals have been making a few cuts here and there as camp has been going on so it’s not like they just started Sunday. But teams must get down to the 75-man limit by Tuesday and so this weekend came the first wave of massive roster changes. With it was one surprise, not so much that he was released but when. Kicker Dan Carpenter is out less than a week after arriving, solidifying Jay Feely’s spot on the team. Bruce Arians had said the kicking battle would go through the end of the preseason, but Carpenter had a field goal blocked and Kent Somers reported the Cards didn’t think Carpenter kicked well in practice.
The rest of the moves aren’t unexpected. Again, with the rosters expanding by 10 beginning with the 2011 season, most of these guys wouldn’t have even been on a team just a few years ago. The harder cuts are coming in a week, when the trim must go to 53.
The younger players will get a lot more playing time against the Broncos Thursday. The Chargers’ game was the “important” one to the starters. So it is interesting to note the play totals from Saturday. A total of 25 offensive players got at least 10 offensive plays in the game. A total of 27 defensive players did the same. Some of the names getting significant playing time are interesting. Defensive end Kenny Rowe got 19 plays. Defensive line swingman Ronald Talley, whom Arians has talked up quite a bit later, got 37 snaps. Rookie OLB Alex Okafor, who has had a quiet camp, got 27 snaps.
New wide receiver Mike Thomas only got two plays; I’d expect him to get much more time in Denver as the Cards try to decide if they should keep him. Safety Tony Jefferson, after playing well in the second preseason game, didn’t get a defensive snap Saturday.
My guess is that Arians and Steve Keim have a pretty good idea who the 53 will be (or at least, say 50 or 51 at this point).
– Oh, and because I know somebody will ask, nothing else has been said on Jonathan Cooper aside from what Arians said yesterday about the leg being broken. I’m sure we will get an update tomorrow when Arians talks before practice. That includes all the other injured players. Not sure how much starters will play Thursday in Denver, if at all.
Tags: Alex Okafor, cuts, Dan Carpenter, Jay Feely, Jonathan Cooper, Kenny Rowe, Mike Thomas, Ronald Talley, Roster
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