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New starting OL with Snyder out; Heap still down

Posted by Darren Urban on October 29, 2012 – 4:10 pm

The Cardinals will have a change in the starting offensive line for the first time this season, with right guard Adam Snyder sitting out with his quad injury, sending Rich Orhnberger into the lineup against the 49ers on “Monday Night Football.” Ohrnberger did a decent job in relief of Snyder in Minnesota after Snyder got hurt.

Tight end Todd Heap (knee) also remains sidelined for a sixth straight game.

The rest of the inactive list for the Cardinals is:

— QB Kevin Kolb (ribs)

— CB Greg Toler (hamstring)

— WR LaRon Byrd

— LB Jamaal Westerman

— G Senio Kelemete

And in case you missed it, the roof will be open tonight as well at University of Phoenix Stadium, the first time this season.


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Heap remains inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on October 21, 2012 – 8:38 am

Tight end Todd Heap remains inactive with his bad knee today against the Vikings, on an inactive list that is filled up with injured players.

Only guard Senio Kelemete is a healthy scratch. Sitting out are QB Kevin Kolb (ribs), S Kerry Rhodes (back), CB Greg Toler (hamstring), FB Anthony Sherman (knee), and LB Reggie Walker (concussion). Rashad Johnson is starting in place of Rhodes, while Regan Maui’a is starting in place of Sherman.

The Vikings have all their key players available who were on the injury report, including RB Adrian Peterson, DE Jared Allen and WR Jerome Simpson.

— Also this morning, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the Cardinals are expected to work out free agent QB Vince Young this week. If true — and I haven’t heard anything about it — it’s an interesting turn. Young, given his background and recent play, wouldn’t have been a guy I’d think the Cards would consider as an option.


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Heap still sitting, Skelton to back up Kolb

Posted by Darren Urban on October 14, 2012 – 11:30 am

Tight end Todd Heap remains sidelined today with his bad knee, while quarterback John Skelton is active today for the first time since hurting his ankle and will back up starter Kevin Kolb. The Cards do have tight end Jim Dray back to help at tight end.

Injuries are a big reason for a chunk of inactives today. Linebacker Reggie Walker (concussion), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and cornerbacks Michael Adams and Greg Toler (both hamstrings) are all out. Also sitting out is QB Ryan Lindley — natural with Skelton back — and guard Senio Kelemete.

That means wide receiver LaRon Byrd will be active for the first time in his NFL career. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is active.


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Dockett in, Heap and Hyphen out

Posted by Darren Urban on October 4, 2012 – 3:59 pm

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is indeed active for tonight’s game, but running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip) and tight end Todd Heap (knee) remain out. That means William Powell and Rob Housler, respectively, will still play big roles. But having Dockett back should give the defense — coming off an uneven performance against the Dolphins — a boost.

John Skelton (ankle) will also remain inactive for the Rams. Ryan Lindley is still Kevin Kolb’s backup.

The other inactives for the Cards:

— WR LaRon Byrd

— FB Reagan Maui’a

— G Senio Kelemete

— TE Jim Dray (knee)


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No shock: Dockett, Heap, Hyphen out for Dolphins

Posted by Darren Urban on September 30, 2012 – 11:34 am

The doubtful players all are sitting today for the Cardinals, which includes defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (hamstring). It also includes running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip), tight end Todd Heap (knee) and tight end Jim Dray (knee).

That mean safety Adrian Wilson is playing, as is fullback Anthony Sherman — although new signee Reagan Maui’a is active as well as a reserve because Dray is out.

Quarterback John Skelton (ankle) also is still out. Ryan Lindley remains Kevin Kolb’s backup.

Guard Senio Kelemete and wide receiver LaRon Byrd are the Cards’ only “healthy” scratches. Reggie Bush is playing for the Dolphins.


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Adrian Wilson inactive, as are Heap, Skelton

Posted by Darren Urban on September 23, 2012 – 11:30 am

This one is a blow to the Cardinals: Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson, who had been listed as questionable for the game with ankle and groin issues, is inactive for today’s game against the Eagles. The ankle had already had Wilson on the list but the groin problem cropped up sometime this week in practice. Rashad Johnson starts in Wilson’s place. Tight end Todd Heap (knee) is also out for today.

Kevin Kolb is starting at quarterback today. John Skelton (ankle) remains inactive, and for those wondering, Kolb’s wife is not expected to give birth today so Kolb shouldn’t be going anywhere either.

The rest of the inactives:

— WR LaRon Byrd

— RB William Powell

— G Senio Kelemete

— T Pat McQuistan


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Bridges headed to IR

Posted by Darren Urban on September 2, 2012 – 7:49 pm

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Cardinals apparently have lost a potential offensive tackle to a season-ending injury.

After everything the Cards have been through losing left tackle Levi Brown (who is on injured reserve and is done for the year), veteran offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges tweeted out tonight he had tore ligaments in his thumb, needs surgery and is himself headed to injured reserve. Bridges actually began training camp as the starting right tackle on the other side from Brown. He was demoted in favor of D’Anthony Batiste and then, when Brown went down, Batiste actually migrated to left tackle and rookie Bobby Massie took over as starting right tackle.

Still, Bridges is (was) a valuable component. He could play every position but center (and if you ask him, he’d probably say he could play center too). He was the catch-all as a backup and valuable in the locker room as a smart, veteran guy. He had a bit of nasty in him, which helped.

In theory, the Cards can use the same “bring-back” IR rule on Bridges if they want, but they would have to keep him on the active roster through the first game. Then the Cards could make him the one guy they could bring back later in the season from IR. If Bridges indeed goes on IR this week, he will definitely be out for the season (and, as a non-starter, he may not be the guy the Cards would want to use up their special spot upon.)

The Cards already had an extra lineman on the roster — usually they have eight, but they had kept nine — but two backups are fifth-round guard Senio Kelemete and seventh-round tackle Nate Potter. Those guys might have to grow up very quickly. Potter is the only backup tackle. Adam Schefter tweeted out the Cards worked out Cowboys castoff Pat McQuistan, who has been in the league since 2006, today as well. The Cards are definitely having to juggle around some pieces now.


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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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Wednesday before the Broncos

Posted by Darren Urban on August 29, 2012 – 10:25 am

It’s an early entry for the “Before” version of the Broncos game, because later today I’ll put out my best guess at what the 53-man roster will look like on Friday. I know — I’m sure you are all waiting with bated breath. There isn’t much to say before the final preseason game. We can talk about the final 53 and fighting for spots, but there are only a couple of roster holes you figure are still being determined (and really, it might not even be that many.)

— I wouldn’t want to have a post without mentioning the quarterback decision. I had one of those crazy thoughts as I was drifting off to sleep last night, a “What if” – as in, “What if coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to announce his QB in the postgame presser after the Denver game?” It won’t happen, I know, but that’d be one heck of a way to do it. Instead, I expect a press conference Friday since final cuts have to be made that day. That makes sense as a time he could do it. (Maybe I’m just wishing and hoping so I get a weekend off.) Either way, the decision is coming, which is good. I’m sure everyone is tired of talking about it. I know I’m ready for it to be over.

— There are three areas where you really wonder if this game will determine some spots. One is reserve offensive line – specifically, whether draft picks Senio Kelemete and/or Nate Potter have shown enough to nudge out a veteran. Another is defensive back, where you have a lot of choices and not a ton of spots. The other is running back, where William Powell gets his shot to play early, and we see if that is enough to unseat Alfonso Smith for a place on the roster.

— Peyton Manning is not expected to play against the Cardinals Thursday night. But the Broncos do have another quarterback that will generate interest, with rookie Brock Osweiler slated to come in after starter Caleb Hanie.

— With Dave Pasch off to be ESPN’s voice for the first game of the rest of Penn State’s life, Paul Calvisi will team with Ron Wolfley for the TV broadcast tomorrow night on ABC 15. It’s like Cardinals Underground, without me.

— The Cards are taking part in a backpack drive again this year, collecting new or gently used backpacks for needy kids. The program benefits the “Hope Endures” organization. Backpacks can be dropped off at UoP Stadium gates before the Broncos game.

OK. I’m off to the annual Kickoff Luncheon with the team. I’ll opine on the roster later. The preseason is almost over.


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Friday before the Hall of Fame game

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2012 – 5:09 pm

It’s time to go to Canton.

From the day it was announced back in February, the Cardinals have looked forward to this weekend. As usual, it seems both that training camp just started and that camp has been going on for weeks rather than less than two. But the games are here, as the Cards and Saints begin the NFL preseason schedule Sunday night at 8 p.m. in Ohio (5 p.m. in Arizona). It’s an extra game. That’s good and bad. One more chance for guys to get hurt, one more chance to spread around some playing time.

Watching the quarterbacks will be interesting but not definitive – I mean, I guess it could be definitive depending on what happens, but that’ll only happen with an injury – because I would like to see both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton in a game to see if it looks much different. They spent the offseason working on fundamentals, and with Kolb in particular, he’s had his time to prep that he didn’t get last year.

Another thing I want to see is just how much attention the NFL Network pays to the Cardinals. The Saints have had one mess of an offseason. Hopefully that’s not all the crew talks about.

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt will have to juggle his running backs. Beanie Wells is still on the PUP list. Whisenhunt officially said Ryan Williams won’t play, although that seemed likely all week with Williams taking a couple of days off from practice to rest his rehabbed right leg. Javarris James has his abductor strain, and William Powell got hurt in the night practice Wednesday – something in his leg, I believe, although I wasn’t able to find out exactly what – and I would think is unlikely to play. That leaves LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith and newcomer Thomas Clayton (who barely was able to practice.) Maybe the Sherminator will be unleashed.

— Speaking of not playing, I don’t expect safety Adrian Wilson to go with his calf injury. It’s minor, but again, five preseason games. The first means nothing. (Besides, how many series will the starters play? Two at the most? What would Wilson really be missing?)

— It’s time to break in the newcomers. Wide receiver Michael Floyd is obvious, and so is cornerback Jamell Fleming. But drafted offensive linemen Bobby Massie at right tackle and Senio Kelemete are important. Those guys are supposed to be on the roster and be able to play if there is an injury (and Massie, in theory, could still start). This is the first test. Massie has looked better as camp has gone on. I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched Kelemete much yet.

— There won’t be gameplanning, but I remember how Aaron Rodgers ripped up the defense in the preseason last year. That was early, early, early in the defense’s understanding of the scheme. Now they get Drew Brees (even if it might only be a series). Let’s see how the Cards handle a high-powered passing attack.

— Individually, the passing would play well toward the Cards’ cornerback battle, right?

— If you don’t get NFL Network, the game will be televised locally in Phoenix on Ch. 5 KPHO.

— I’ll be with the team Saturday night when they get a private tour of the Hall of Fame, and we will have a story sometime before the game. This should be a pretty cool trip.


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