A guess at the 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 28, 2013 – 4:33 pm

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.


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42 Responses to “A guess at the 53”

  1. By clssylssy on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Looks pretty good if that’s it!

  2. By Jim McFetridge on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Darren – Your reporting is outstanding! The very best I have seen going way back to my childhood as a fan & a player in the 1950’s & 1960’s. I hope Tony Jefferson makes it but the last few cuts will be influenced by the performances & the injuries in the Denver game. Love the new look Cards!

  3. By marc brock on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Lindley, Rachal, Sperry?? Whats the point? The TE position is laughable from top to bottom. Oh, I trust Keim will get it fixed by next season…

  4. By joe holst on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    nice. Safety and offensive tackle are the 2 spots that will make or break this team.

  5. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Good analysis. Agree, the final roster unknowable with waiver wire the x factor. And so we go into 2013. Giddyup Cardinals!

    PS: My 21 month old twins get up in am and sing “Card nals”… lol…

  6. By Steve on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Do you see G Senio Kelemete as a strong candidate for the practice squad?

  7. By Darren Urban on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Kelemete

    Kelemete is not PS eligible. He was on the active roster all season.

  8. By credit card on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Guessing I think the Cards will pick-up two players on the waiver wire, tight end and probably a defensive lineman.

  9. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    I think Ronald Talley not only should make the team, but will.
    I would argue he has had a better summer than Williams, Carter and Dockett.

    I see no reason to keep 5 RBs.

    Dumping Lindley , for say, Tony Jefferson makes sense. Yes, he could be inactive for gameday, but with a old safety starting, a future safety is needed.
    The question is, can Jefferson turn into a starter in a year or two? If you think it is posssible, then go with Jefferson.

    I dont keep 6 CBs.

    Id like to keep Kerry Taylor.

    6 wrs , 4 RBs, 5CBs and 2 QBs

  10. By DINO on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    BA should get keep Kerry Taylor over Jaron Brown.Kerry Taylor mentioned that he’s always wanted to play for the home team! To me that means passion ’cause he’s probably a fan! He’s got hands,hops,determination & the opportunity to play for his Cardinals! Which I think the fans are really digging at this point as well.I don’t see any disappointment arising from this young talent-just rewarding play making for us!

  11. By georgiebird on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    To judge any player on the last preseason game is a dangerous exercise. Denver has been known to play only 2nd, 3rd, & prospect players against us in the final preseason game. Recently, Denver’s non starters beat our starters thru half time of a preseason game.
    Hopefully, BA can pick the right “bubble” guys based on his eye for talent. Performance in this final preseason game should have very little bearing on who stays.

  12. By rio on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    cut powers unless he is real good at getting coffee and donuts.

    he just can’t cover.

  13. By NJAzCardsFan on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t see Williams getting cut if he has a good game against Denver. Mendenhall seems just as injury prone as Williams has been the last few years. Tough call to keep 4 or 5 RB’s.
    Any chance Ellington ends up on the PS… if no trades are made for Williams..??

    Has Mike Thomas made enough of an impression to make the roster….???

  14. By GACardFan on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Generally I agree with your assessment with two caveats.

    I do not wish to speculate who might be replaced but would really like to see Ronald Talley and Senio Kelemete stick around, like both these guys. Talley has had a great offseason and I think Kelemete has a lot to offer that is still in development.

    I also think it would be best to keep Ryan Williams if at all possible this guy might be the most talented back on the roster. If can get past his injury woes he could be what the doctor ordered. He has had time to learn the NFL game learn from other backs and good coaches and get accustomed to the life of the pro all while putting very little mileage on the tires. Wishing him the best and hoping he opens our eyes today.

  15. By sbrown on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, good job on you list of 53. still some hard decisions to make, as well as surfing the waiver wire for maybe a hidden gem or two.

  16. By Alex on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Go cards!!!!!!!!!!

  17. By Lifetime Fan on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Would Darren or someone mind explaining the active/on team distinction? I mean if you can only have 53 active on gamedays, and you can just inactivate some of the guys, like with the O-line here, they why can’t u just keep all 75 and make them inactive, besides finances of course?

  18. By Darren Urban on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Lifetime —

    RE: roster

    A team has 53 players available on Sundays. Only 46 can be named active for the game, meaning seven cannot play. Those players are named pre-game.

    As for why 53 than 75, those are the rules. Players don’t get paid unless it is the regular season. The more players mean more salaries.

  19. By Chris on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Thx Darren! Good work.

    I have never realized that we have so many LBs. most of them are pretty average IMO but still though question who to cut with Daryl coming back. Really though, don’t see anyone of them being cut.

    Walker might be too good on special teams.
    Brinkley played very well.
    Okafor is 4th rounder.
    Acho / Lorenzo are starters + value on special teams.
    Shaugnessy is versatile.
    Abraham their main pass rusher.

    That leaves Dansby left. Struggled against Chargers, but don’t see him getting cut either. Possibly Okafor? WOuld be a shock.

    Another reason why i don’t see keeping them both 3 QBs and 5 RBs

  20. By Corgon on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply


    do you think T.Jefferson could slip through the waiver? It was a bit surprise he went to undrafted and he had his moments in the preseason.
    And considering Tyrann can play CB as well, is there a real possibility that the Cards will cut Flemming to keep Jefferson?

  21. By Darren Urban on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Corgon —

    RE: T Jefferson

    Do I think he could slip through? Yes. I don’t know for sure, but remember, any player who is picked up must be put on that team’s 53-man roster.

  22. By dan on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t see either Charles or Tony clearing waivers.

  23. By monzz on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    I really can’t see keeping Lindley, he will not get any playing time, he is not the future of this team and never will be..Should Palmer get hurt and Lindley was made starting QB, the cardinals would not be competitive in the NFL, and the team will be like it was under Whiz N Punt headed for a fall. Please use that spot BA

  24. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    PS: Darren Urban deserves an award for the level of his writing this preseason. To wit, I submit one of his best yet “Seeking Wisdom Of Tom Moore”. It helps there are so many good stories to tell.

  25. By Andrew on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    I hope Tony Jefferson plays well enough to make the 53 man!

  26. By awesomest on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    i dont think they will keep 9 lineman with cooper out and that effects the qb or rb situation. ryan lindley is a waste of a spot because if he does get in its all over anyway.and ryan williams is undependable. i never heard or read what position williams played before he was converted to runing back the last 1.5 yrs in college. and i dont ever want to see a first round pick on a guy who played only 16 college games at his position.

  27. By Sootnic on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Most of these look like pretty good calls, to me. I wonder if they don’t cut Lindley in order to keep either Talley, whom they like, or another TE because every TE on the roster has gad issues in preseason.

  28. By Cecil on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren, Do You Think The Cards Would Sign Visanthe Shiancoe?

  29. By Darren Urban on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Cecil —

    RE: Shiancoe

    I think that would have happened by now if it was going to happen.

  30. By cardsuns on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren, could you please tell me what time tonight’s game is and what channel. I thought all the pre-season games were on ABC.

  31. By Darren Urban on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    cardssuns —

    RE: TV

    On ABC 15. Pregame at 5:30. TV charts are wrong.

  32. By cardsuns on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Oops sorry Darren just read your post before this post. The game in on ABC at 5:30. Thanks.

  33. By Timur Malik on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    You don’t think Padric Scott would have a shot at making the squad? He has been pretty good so far for a UDFA.

  34. By Darren Urban on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Timur —

    RE: Scott

    I see him as practice squad.

  35. By justin Gifford on Aug 30, 2013 | Reply

    Adam bice was the best center that played by far.

  36. By Dennis on Aug 30, 2013 | Reply

    Jefferson is much better than Amaya. jefferson is always around the ball and makes plays .Amaya, never hear his name called.

  37. By clssylssy on Aug 30, 2013 | Reply

    So far, IMO, Dockett has done nothing so far to justify a roster spot other than fill a space. If we can pick up somebody off the waiver wire, do you see Dockett as beng vulnerable? I have always liked Dockett but have been somewhat disappointed that his negative attitude has taken over and made him complacent, coping a bit of an attitude…he just doesn’t seem to feel the need to get the lead out and work. Perhaps it’s just part of a personna but still I don’t see how that could be a good things for the Cards. On the other hand, I could be wrong and wonder if anybody else has picked up on this?

  38. By KevinS on Aug 30, 2013 | Reply

    Cut Lindley and see who is available on waivers. They should have kept Skelton to compete with Stanton. Not sure what Stanton is like but he needs pushed.

  39. By Bgiles on Aug 31, 2013 | Reply

    Skelton’s in the closet,Lindley looks to have a much brighter future not skeered!
    Stanton on the other hand seems to be(skeered) ya can’t ever give up 30yds.when someone breaks through the line. Lindsey’s got my vote.

  40. By sbrown on Aug 31, 2013 | Reply

    Darren – great for sight on your 53 roster, now at 9:45 pm Sat, the current Cards roster only has five players on it that you did not have on your 53. maybe the big surprise is that they only kept 4 WR and 4 TE. Still could be looking at waiver list, I expect to see three or four players brought in for a look on Monday.

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