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This time, Branch helps

Posted by Darren Urban on September 4, 2009 – 4:39 pm

With final cuts today, there was much talk about the Cards’ roster makeup. The team kept seven receivers, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, in large part because Early Doucet’s broken ribs mean he is an unknown when he will come back. Since Anquan Boldin has been dinged and Steve Breaston has missed time, the Cards almost had to keep Lance Long around.

But keeping an extra player somewhere means going without. In the Cards’ case, it is the defensive line where Whisenhunt feels the team is thin right now. They have just six defensive linemen (when we are talking about the 3-4 alignment): starters Calais Campbell, Bryan Robinson and Darnell Dockett, and reserves Kenny Iwebema, Gabe Watson and Alan Branch. The team would have liked another end, but guess what? Branch, the nose tackle who was on the bubble coming into camp, has the ability to do both. He played some 3-4 end against the Broncos, and he was a big reason the Cards felt comfortable enough to stick with six on the defensive line.

“He did a pretty good job,” Whisenhunt said. “We talk about the fourth (preseason) game having an impact, that’s an example right there. What he did, it gives us more flexibility with a guy who can play inside or outside.”

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