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Cards cut three

Posted by Darren Urban on August 19, 2013 – 10:17 am

The first official roster cutdown doesn’t come until next weekend, after the Cardinals play their third preseason game against the Chargers, but they released three players today: center Kyle Quinn, guard Scott Wedige and kicker/punter Will Batson. That brings the roster to 87. That first cut has to be to 75, so there may not be any hurry to fill those slots. Then again, allowing Batson to go might open the possibility of bringing in another kicker for the last couple of preseason games. Bruce Arians wasn’t happy Jay Feely missed a 30-yard field goal against Dallas — although Feely knocked home a 53-yarder — and there’s always a chance at competition.

It’s been a tough run for vet kickers of late, with Miami cutting Dan Carpenter and Buffalo cutting Rian Lindell. In both those situations, though, the team already had a young kicker in place who was competing. Batson was never going to unseat Feely. A change might be unlikely, but the Cards did make a special teams move at the end of the 2011 preseason, surprisingly bringing in Dave Zastudil late to go against incumbent punter Ben Graham. Zastudil ended up winning the job.


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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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Cards cut to 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 31, 2012 – 4:52 pm

The key point anytime a team gets to the 53-man roster on final cuts is this: It’s never quite the final roster. That’s something to keep in mind when looking over the Cards’ cuts today, which leaves an unbalanced roster for now.

The team decided not to move tackle Levi Brown off of injured reserve, leaving 22 cuts to be made:

Injured reserve — RB Javarris James (knee), QB Rich Bartel (shoulder)

Waived-injured – LB Brandon Williams (shoulder), WR Stephen Williams (Achilles)

Released – CB Crezdon Butler, LB Antonio Coleman, S Blake Gideon, LB Clark Haggans, G Russ Hochstein, DT Ricky Lumpkin, LB Colin Parker, CB Larry Parker, WR DeMarco Sampson, TE Steve Skelton, RB Alfonso Smith, LB Quan Sturdivant, DE Ronald Talley, DE Everrette Thompson, TE Martell Webb, C Scott Wedige, WR Isaiah Williams, T D.J. Young.

So this is what we get out of this:

– The Cardinals cut Sampson and Stephen Williams, leaving five receivers and undrafted LaRon Byrd (pictured below) as No. 5.

– OLB Quentin Groves makes the cut but both Clark Haggans and Brandon Williams are out – you’d have to think another linebacker is on the way.

– Right now, the Cards have 11 defensive backs and nine offensive linemen, and you figure one or the other, if not both, will be trimmed down. All three OL draft picks are on the squad right now. The defensive backs will have to come down if you are looking for a place to cut to add at another position. In my guess at 53, I had guessed six WRs and eight OL, and the Cards took one from receiver to add to the line. And they took one of eight linebacker slots and added it to the 10 defensive back spots, so I was kind of close. We’ll see how it shakes out.

– Running back William Powell indeed makes the team too.

– This group probably won’t be the exact group that hits the practice field Monday. That’s the cold reality of the NFL.


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Spirited work, and a move at tackle

Posted by Darren Urban on August 13, 2012 – 6:47 pm

Quarterback Kevin Kolb was talking about how coach Ken Whisenhunt treats the players fairly, not overworking them usually. “We have to reward him with a better effort.”

Practice sure seemed more intense Monday afternoon after the Cards had a disappointing game in Kansas City. There was a scuffle between defensive lineman David Carter and center Scott Wedige and some various whoops and hollering, and the battling went all the way down to the late part of the two-minute drill, when Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson went up for a jump ball in the end zone and while it looked like Peterson had it at first, Fitz wasn’t going to give up the battle as they fell to the ground.

As for the offensive woes of late, answers are at a premium. “If we knew, maybe practice today would have been a little better,” Kolb said. “I’ve been a lot of places and you go through funks like this. To be honest a lot of time it happens in practice a lot when the defense, they know route concepts and stuff like that. You just keep pushing through, trust your keys and keep working hard.”

– The Cardinals made a move in the lineup Monday, with D’Anthony Batiste taking over as first-string right tackle from Jeremy Bridges, who then took Batiste’s place as second-string right guard. No way to know what it means yet — coach Ken Whisenhunt is next available at lunch tomorrow — but at a position where everyone was waiting for a Bridges-versus-Bobby Massie fight, it was an interesting development.

– Sitting out with injuries were FB Jared Crank (neck), CB Michael Adams (hamstring), WR LaRon Byrd (shoulder), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (undisclosed) and LB Paris Lenon (ankle).


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The work at the end of the week

Posted by Darren Urban on July 27, 2012 – 6:41 pm

I’m not a big fan of doing any play-by-play or recaps of practice, because in the end, it just doesn’t matter. Each play is a snapshot, with little or no context. But, with the Red-White practice tomorrow — which will basically be a series of drives, offense versus defense, with play calls like it’s a game — the Cards worked on red zone and two-minute drills today. It provided some highlights.

– Tight end Rob Housler made a couple of nice catches at the back of the end zone, one time banging into the pad on the lower upright. Michael Floyd couldn’t haul in a high jump ball in the end zone, but later in the two-minute drill caught a pass while tippy-toeing toward the sideline. DeMarco Sampson beat Greg Toler in the end zone for a touchdown.

– But on the defensive side, Patrick Peterson broke up one pass over the middle, while Kerry Rhodes managed to control a bouncing, tipped pass to finally nab it for an interception.

– Interesting that, in the two-minute drill in the defense’s dime package, the defensive backs were Rhodes and Adrian Wilson at safety, and then four cornerbacks: William Gay, Peterson, Michael Adams and A.J. Jefferson. Toler worked with the second dime unit. It’s early, but these are the things you notice.

– The second unit of the offensive line during the two-minute drill were, from left tackle to right tackle, D.J. Young, Senio Kelemete, Ryan Bartholomew, Chris Stewart and D’Anthony Batiste. Eventually, Bobby Massie was put in at right tackle, Batiste slide to right guard, and Scott Wedige at center. I’ve said it a few times, but I think the wait for Massie to start will be awhile.

– Running back Alfonso Smith blew up linebacker Sam Acho on a block during the two-minute work. Smith has worked hard to earn a spot on the team, which I think is pretty assured at this point.

– If you are coming to the Red-White, don’t forget to come early. All the details are here, but last year, there were about 13,000 fans on hand.


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With the undrafteds, the better Devil?

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2012 – 2:14 pm

There was plenty of pre-draft talk about Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict and where he might land (and for those who don’t know, Burfict was the one-time first-round candidate who ended up going undrafted and signing with the Bengals.) But for all of Burfict’s hype, many thought he wasn’t even the best linebacker at ASU. That nod usually went to Colin Parker, who was one of 17 undrafted rookie free agents the Cards came to terms with:

  • WR Stanley Arukwe, Troy
  • LB Broderick Binns, Iowa
  • WR LaRon Byrd, Miami
  • G Braeden Clayson, Idaho State
  • FB Jared Crank, Purdue
  • G Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech
  • DE Tevita Finau, Utah
  • S Blake Gideon, Texas
  • WR Tre Gray, Richmond
  • LB Marcus McGraw, Houston
  • LB Zach Nash, Sacramento State
  • CB James Nixon, California (Pa.)
  • DE Conrad Obi, Colorado
  • LB Paul Vassallo, Arizona
  • C Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois
  • WR Marc Wilson, St. Anselm

And, of course, Parker from ASU.

The list is heavy on linebackers, not a shock after the team did not draft one this past weekend. The number brings the roster total to 85 86 (since apparently I can’t add 69 and 17), leaving five four spots still open for additions, whether they are veterans or otherwise. Because of the rookie minicamp in two weeks, the Cards will also be bringing in a handful of other young players for tryouts, making sure they have enough bodies to run the practices and taking a looksee at some guys.


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