Winston, Abraham and churning the roster

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2013 – 5:26 pm

At Denny Green’s first training camp in 2004, the roster was in constant flux. That was the camp in which Pete Kendall was axed as he came in to take his physical on report day, and a few weeks later, when the team spent an extra week in Prescott following their Flagstaff stint, there was a revolving door on the roster. I remember a couple of veterans being signed the first day in Prescott and getting released a day or two later, without getting in a game or anything (if memory serves, I think one was DE Joe Tafoya, who a couple years later re-signed and played some with the Cards.)

That’s what went through my mind Thursday with new players coming in and seeing O’Brien Schofield. He walked out on the field for the conditioning test — shaking hands with rookie linebacker Alex Okafor at one point — before going back to the locker room with someone from the front office. It didn’t look promising at the time for the fourth-year linebacker and it wasn’t — he was released on the day when tackle Eric Winston and linebacker John Abraham (along with the inexperienced LB Kenny Rowe) were added.

For those keeping track at home, by the way, the Cards have a pair of open roster spots still, after Ryan Swope was placed on the reserve-retired list.

It was a head-spinning day. The action all came from Steve Keim’s men upstairs, even while the players got in a conditioning test that was mostly a formality in this day and age when guys are always in condition. “It’s a cold business some days,” coach Bruce Arians said, and that was underscored Thursday.

— O’Brien Schofield is a good guy. Great in the locker room. A great story, after blowing out his knee in Senior Bowl practices back in 2010. Worked hard to rehab and to become an pass rushing force at outside linebacker. But he never was able to make that solid step forward, and when he suffered yet another serious injury last year when Darnell Dockett fell on his leg, and a new coaching staff came in, that doesn’t bode well for guys like Schofield. He’d be here if the Abraham signing hadn’t worked out. But with Abraham and Acho and Alexander and Okafor around as outside linebackers — and that doesn’t include Matt Shaughnessy, who spent the offseason working mostly with the linebackers and not the defensive line. The numbers were daunting, and Schofield found himself headed out.

— That Swope is now on the reserve-retired list because of concussions isn’t a shock. He suffered a concussion in an OTA early in the offseason and then was absent from the Cards’ facility. That’s never a good sign. Hindsight is 20/20, but as Keim said, the team knew the risk when they took Swope and decided at the time it was a good decision. They did have two sixth-round picks. Putting Swope on the reserve list does allow the Cards to keep his rights, interesting when Swope says in a statement that he plans to reassess his football career next year. Would he play again?

— Many props nationally for the Cards on getting Abraham and Winston. For the price, for this team. Arians said today talent was not going to be an excuse for this team, and while the other three teams in the division are impressive, Keim is doing what he can to get the Cards into the mix.

— Speaking of the division, Seahawks WR Percy Harvin is having hip troubles and coach Pete Carroll acknowledged surgery could be an option. Yikes.

— Winston, on Sirius XM NFL Radio, talking about his contract dealings with the Cards: “We started these conversations a while ago. Probably around, I would say, the end of OTAs and they kind of progressed through the summer and got to a point where we felt like it was right to go ahead and have a conversation. I flew into Arizona last week and we progressed on terms and we came to this point.”

I’m curious to see how the Abraham stuff came down too.

Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the roster churn continue. Interesting to hear Arians say he won’t make any judgements on the offensive linemen until Wednesday, when they’ve had some days in pads. Wednesday, the players are off. Would the Cards make more changes then?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Winston, Abraham and churning the roster”

  1. By JR on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, as we start the 2013 season, I just want you to know how much I value your coverage and comments about the Cardinals. I am a season ticket holder from Tucson, and the coverage of the Cardinals down here is almost non-existent. Thanks for what you do. jr

  2. By david on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Make a move for a safety and tight end.

  3. By samir on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Do you believe that schofield was not in good shape, or that he may have struggled in ota’s, and why would the cards not just release an undrafted rookie linebacker for example, what’s the reasoning of not waiting until preseason to access talent?

  4. By Darren Urban on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Samir —

    RE: Schofield

    Keim has been a part of the front office before now, obviously, and has watched Schofield since he was drafted in 2010. It’s not like they don’t know what they had in him.

  5. By shannon robinson on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Ryan Swope has never had any time to rest from his series of concussions. A full year off would make a tremendous difference for him. It is very possible after a full year of limited activity he might very well be able to play again. Our protocols in college rugby are a week off from contact on a first minor concussion. The second concussion requires a month off and then the third concussion requires six months to a year of rest. His description of his career doesn’t say much about the Texas A & M Training Room taking a stand to keep him off the field.I really liked Ryan Swope as the draft choice we made.

  6. By Eric G on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    I like the veteran signings. Let’s hope they can teach the youngsters a thing or three.

  7. By georgiebird on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    It’s amazing how the Cardinals can’t develop linebackers. Abraham may be able to help but Cardinals should never have been in a situation to need him. Probably the best Cardinals’ linebacker in the last 50 years was Ken Harvey and he did his All Pro work after leaving the Cards. Cardinals’ All Pro linebackers are a very rare breed.

  8. By Gilbert on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    It’s like Keim said in the blowout loss to Seattle last year ” ill make sure nothing like this ever happens again ” so be it. Good job for Keim

  9. By Cactusjeff on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Schofield couldn’t hold up against the run and tackles swallowed him up. They might call it 3-4 but this means the defense will have more of a 4-3 look. DD and CC will dominate. Last year they couldn’t stop the run nor could they run. BA knows this. I can’t stop thinking about how disruptive a healthy and rested CC and DD were at New England. They beat Brady at home without a NFL QB. This year could be special.

  10. By AzDesertRat1953 on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hate to see O’Brien Schofield go but, like Darren said, Keim knows the Player a lot better than any of us.

    One thing is for sure, there is no lack of Trying to build a good O-line and improve on the D.

    Pass Rusher and the AZ Cardinals was always like trying to mix oil an water together, in the Past.
    Now what do you suppose our D could do with a Pass Rusher on third downs? It would be like the Eagles game last year only two, three or four games like that.
    Cards D is going to be Better this year. Carson you and the Offence better be ready for what they Give you!

    GO CARDS!!!

  11. By Daniel on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Hello Darren

    Why haven’t cards signed Jonathan cooper yet?

    Is there any reason for that or?

  12. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Daniel —

    RE: Cooper

    I can only guess it’s a hangup on offset language.

  13. By Mr Robles on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Great pick ups but I hope we don’t lose a pass rusher like Vaden Bosch & Rice. So wish the best Scho really liked seeing you play for Az Best to you bro….bting my lip but hope it was a good choice oh oh great sky cloud picture that made my day for real!

  14. By Chris on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply


    I know you expect a 34 Defense (which i usually prefer) this season, but considering their offseason moves, personell would probably fit 43 better. (IMO)
    Dansby,Minter,D-WASH as LBs and CC, Dan WIlliams, DD, Shaughnessy (maybe Okafor)

    That would probably the formation, where the best players actually play. And their signings (Shaughnessy, Abraham, Okafor are all viewd better DEs than OLBs) look that way too.

    I´m sure coaches know better than me, but do u think Bowles is the type of DC that woul change the scheme so it fits the players? I think he is not as strong minded into a certain scheme like i.e. Ra Horton, so could u see a change coming? or would it be too late in offseason? (OTAs practiced 34 scheme)

  15. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Chris —

    RE: Defense

    I think it’ll be a hybrid look depending on the opponent. Obviously there will be plays where it is a 4-3. But the base is 3-4, it’s what they have practiced all offseason and I would be surprised if they changed now.

  16. By Lifetime Fan on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Nice moves, If Abraham can still play at a high level that is. Bring back Kerry Rhodes and this defense will have gotten better IMO, he straight up dominated a couple of games last year.

  17. By Andy Kw on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    O’Brien Schofield, you have been a beast since I watched you on the Arizona Cardinals team. Keep your head held high because you showed your aggressiveness on the field. With Ray Horton looking for some more linebackers, I expect you to find a job in Cleveland.

  18. By truths4all on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Schofield will be talking to Cleveland and Denver among other teams looking for rushing help. Sometimes the best development for a cut player is to move on to another team where their schemes makes the best use of your strengths and that was not going to happen here. Last season, Schofield looked good with DD doing the dirty work to create mis-matches for him and that was not going to happen this season.

  19. By Doug Woiwod on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    All I can say is, ” Lets get this party started”.

  20. By blake moran on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    we just gotta keep bulking up that oline. That is hands down the most important thing during these next couple weeks. the olines gotta protect or else palmer and the rbs wont be able to do anything

  21. By Papi1955R on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    I understand the flurry of comments about the Defense, but our Defense was NOT bad last year. Our Defense was EXHAUSTED last year. With our Offense’s inability to string together any drives, the Defense was on the field way too much. Comparing 1st and 2nd halves of games throughout the past season is like night and day. The most important players for our Defense to improve are our O-Line and Carson Palmer. A 30% increase on third down conversions by the Offense will yield us a Top 10 Defense.
    I played years of Rugby and agree with the other Rugger on this thread. The Texas A&M training staff and entire Athletic Department treated Ryan Swopes concussions in a Mickey Mouse manner. No Swope equals no Heisman trophy for Johnny Football and no BCS Bowl for the Aggies. Law suit pending.
    Also Kerry Rhodes was the best Free Safety in the NFC last year, and easily our best defender. With Training Camp starting, I’ve got to believe that the price is now right. I would hate to think the Cardinals and the NFL have blackballed him over his choice of “roommates”, but it is really starting to look that way.

  22. By Norm on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Will the Cardinals be able to recoup the Swope pick in any way? I would think the NFL has some sort of policy regarding this?

  23. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2013 | Reply

    Norm —

    RE: Swope pick

    I don’t believe so, but I’d have to check.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: