Considering intriguing camp battles

Posted by Darren Urban on July 18, 2014 – 4:17 pm

This isn’t necessarily about starters, since I have already addressed that directly. But the battles of training camp aren’t always about who plays first or the most. Sometimes it’s about roster battles and depth and who plays more than who. Some competition will come seemingly from nowhere — going into camp last season, no one would have guess Paul Fanaika would have gotten into the mix, but the Daryn Colledge injury helped that come into focus — so there will be other players to watch.

But for now, here is some of the competition I will be watching:

Guards Earl Watford, Paul Fanaika, Ted Larsen and Anthony Steen. Larsen has been backing up Lyle Sendlein at center while Steen, who can also back up both spots, didn’t do anything in the offseason recovering from injuries. Someone will be the starting right guard. The Cardinals would like for Watford to step up. It very well could be Fanaika for a second straight season. Watford should be on the roster regardless, so if he’s not starting, that will be a spot that must be won. The Cards likely will only dress seven on game days, making those swing interior guys valuable.

Tackles Bobby Massie and Bradley Sowell. OK, everyone knows this one. It doesn’t make it any less intriguing. Like Watford, Massie is the guy the Cardinals would like to win the job. But he’s got to win it. Sowell isn’t going away without a fight. Sowell, however, can be a valuable game-day backup since he played left tackle all last season and can play the right. That’s a one-for-two guy on your bench.

Cornerbacks Justin Bethel and Jerraud Powers. With Tyrann Mathieu still hurt, Powers is an important piece in nickle coverage to start the season. But when Mathieu gets back, can Bethel — who got so much love for his potential this offseason — find a way past Powers on the depth chart? Bethel still has much to prove. Powers has his limitations, but his smarts make him a favorite of Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians.

Inside linebackers Ernie Sims and Kenny Demens. Sims has the experience, but he also has the reputation of struggling the past couple of seasons, which is why he finds himself bouncing around the league. The Cardinals have been intrigued with Demens since his (undrafted) rookie year last year, when he spent most of his time on the practice squad. Sims came in late and is trying to catch up. Losing Daryl Washington sent a lot of things into flux at inside linebacker. One of these guys are vying for a depth role probably behind Kevin Minter, Larry Foote and Lorenzo Alexander.

Kickers Jay Feely, Chandler Catanzaro and Danny Hrapmann. This is another obvious one. Still it’s one to watch. It’s definitely a subject that seems to get the fans riled up — and looking around the league, it’s a position that tends to do that with the fan base, for whatever reason.

Running backs Robert Hughes, Jalen Parmele and Zach Bauman. Arians came out praising Hughes. He figures to be the top choice as the fourth running back behind Ellington, Dwyer and Taylor. But Parmele is another big guy who has played in the league and could sneak his way into the spot instead. What will be interesting is if the Cardinals want less of a bruiser as a fourth, like a Bauman, considering Dwyer is a big back and Taylor is more of a between-the-tackles guy too.

Wide receivers Jaron Brown, Walt Powell and Brittan Golden. The top four receiving spots are taken. Fitz is Fitz and Floyd is Floyd. Ted Ginn will have a role, as will third-round pick John Brown. Brown flashed last year but again, he’s got competition. He’s bigger than Powell and definitely Golden — Golden would seem to be in trouble given the arrival of Brown and Ginn — but Powell is a draft pick and that usually ends up playing a role if it’s close.

Quarterbacks Logan Thomas and Ryan Lindley. It’s hard to believe that, barring a meltdown, Thomas doesn’t find a way on to the roster. But you never know, and both players figure to get plenty of playing time in the preseason to let any battle play out in front of us.



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Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Considering intriguing camp battles”

  1. By luke on Jul 18, 2014 | Reply


    Couldn’t the Cardinals write down Logan Thomas as a Te and have him be the 4rth string Qb while he grows?

  2. By Rusty Dusty on Jul 20, 2014 | Reply

    Luke —

    Why would they do that? The birds already look to have 4 TE’s on the roster as it is. Having a guy you used a pick on switch positions while he develops doesn’t make sense.

  3. By D on Jul 18, 2014 | Reply

    I would not be shocked if Sims is cut in training camp and Demens is one of the backup ILB

  4. By Andy Kw on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    I would be really disappointed if Dave Zastudil doesn’t make the Pro Bowl this season. For the passed 2 seasons, he has been playing at an elite level. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves
    For camp battles, I would be happy if Hughes beats Bauman. Bauman is young and if he doesn’t make the roster this year at 21yrs old, he will have a stronger chance next year.

  5. By br in nc on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    Agreed, I think a year on the practice squad will do him a world of good, even if he has a good camp and preseason he needs that practice squad time plus Hughes seems to have caught the coaches eye, BA has praised him numerous times, Unless Bauman blows the doors off of our defense in training camp and opposing defenses in preaseason I don’t think we have to worry about another team signing him off our practice squad, because if they do then they are obligated to keep him on their final 53 man roster the entire year if I’m not mistaken, and a team signing a player from another’s practice squad is a rare occurance because of that rule, unless a team is just wiped out by injuries at a specific position, as well there is a reason Bauman went undrafted, he will require some polishing and coaching up, and even then he may never make an NFL roster (I truly hope that one day he is on our final roster and a huge success as an NFL RB) but he will need development.

  6. By clssylssy on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    Was shocked at the Cardinals preseason rating at #11, thought we would be have made the top ten and believe us to be better than the Panthers, who we beat last season and who have no receivers only Cam and their front seven. However, it seems analyst are not as impressed with our defense this year, and while I like Carson Palmer and believe him to be as good as Phillip Rivers and on the upswing of his career, most feel our weakness on offense still lies with our o-line and Palmer, I am a little concerned about our defense having let Dansby go, knowing that Washington wouldn’t be around at the very least for four-six games and with Mathieu likely to miss some important games at the front of the season(Chargers and 9ers); that situation turned out much worse than the worse case scenario and any decline in our defense I’ll put on Keim (seems he didn’t really have a backup plan in place). Justin Bethel made the ProBowl and has showed himself to be a “standout” in earlier OTAs (according to BA) so I would think he would have earned a roster spot and so don’t quite get where your’re coming from with Bowles and BA now favoring Powers (I do think BA likes to play headgames as we’ve seen in the past) although certainly Powers is better than many others in the league and our secondary is rich with talent at Corner.
    Last season the Cards missed the playoffs because of games lost in the first part of the season and it seems we are in the same situation again this year unless Keim is able to find some magic between now and preseason. We have to be able to win our home games so until we are able to start with the same force we finished with last season, I’ll remain a little worried and maybe even skeptical. I know we have a lot of raw talent on defense but there is no substitute for knowledge and the experience of knowing the lay of the NFL real time landscape!

  7. By br in nc on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    First and foremost, pre- preseason rankings (before training camp even begins) are pretty much worthless, they make for an interesting read and debate on boards such as this one, plus it ensures the “experts” ie…writers, who wrote the article get paid and the article fills space and sells advertising and that is about it! One major factor is major injuries that occur in training camp, plus rookie performance, nobody knows what kind of performance any team will get from their rookies, they have never taken an NFL snap!
    As far as SK having a backup plan, that is ludicrous to expect SK to have a crystal ball and be able to predict that Dwash was going to “play” theCardinals the way he did, he straight up lied to the front office, the fans, and most of all his teammates, and the time of year the suspension came down all the free agents had been picked through and the draft was complete, its not like SK & BA can go on their XBOX and create a player to step in for Dwash and everything is “good to go” with a press of a button. No sir, I cannot agree with you blaming anyone other than the GROWN MAN who prefers the Devil Lettuce over a multi-million dollar career!! As for Dansby, he took the ridiculous money that Cleveland offered, Cleveland is now stuck paying out a four year contract, I agree with the Cardinals front office on not overpaying for one player, besides the Cardinals made an offer that was very close to the Browns in money, just not length of contract…smart move by Mr Kiel!! O-LINE, specifically the right side is a concern, and has been a concern, but you cant fix every weakness in one draft, or free agency (if you look at the impact that a big name free agent actually has on a team, most are minimal, there are exceptions, but they are usually few and far between and most of the time they are QB’s!) The Cardinals are a work in progress for sure, but I believe for the first time in decades it is a positive work in progress and both SK&BA have a clear vision and will succeed in turning the
    Cardinals into a respected and feared NFL football team that is a serious contender every year!! As for Carson Palmer, we know what we got in him, the Guy throws for over 4k yards all the while standing behind patchwork O-lines, and he made drastic improvements as the season went on and he figured out BA’s complex offense. If our O-line can give him a second to a second and half more time in the pocket…mark my words, Carson will lead us very far and deep into the playoffs and he will be in contention for MVP (and I’m talking league MVP, not team MVP!)

    But hey, we could always give Graves a call to see what he is doing and we could go back to “

  8. By br in nc on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    Sorry, I got to close to the “post” button before I was DONE!!!

    ***could always go back to “THAT”***

  9. By Coach K on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    If Cards stay healthy, I think we easily make playoffs as Wild Card. My dream ending is us hosting the superbowl against the Cardinals East, the Pittsburgh Steeler’s. So it is written, so it shall be done! Yul Brenner

  10. By Scott H on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    I would agree that it is hard to see the Panthers ranked higher than the Cardinals RIGHT NOW. Sometimes, you never know what the view of the person making the rankings is. Does it look back at what was or forward toward what might be? If you’re looking back, OK, put the Panthers ahead of the Cardinals. Knock yourself out. But if you are looking forward…yeah, I struggle to put the Panthers ahead of the Cardinals. Cam Newton has to be able to throw to SOMEONE other than Greg Olsen and right now, I don’t see anyone there ready to step up and be what Steve Smith has been all these years. Whatever. Can’t worry too much about what others think.

    There was recently a ranking of the head coaches on and I was glad to see Arians come in in the top half of the league. After what he did for the Colts and Cards the last two seasons, he ABSOLUTELY need to be at least that high. Yet, he was ranked BEHIND Jeff Fisher. Interesting. Fisher is a VERY high quality head coach, but…he hasn’t achieved in St Louis what Arians has with two different teams over the last two seasons, has he? No, he has not. Then again, Chip Kelly took the Eagles to the playoffs last year and was ranked behind Arians. The next guy might put Arians in the top 10. The next guy after him might have him outside the Top 20. All depends on your view.

    Timing had so much to do with the whole Washington – Dansby thing and that did NOT work in the Cardinals favor. Such a shame, too. Dansby was long gone by the time a decision was passed down for Washington. Really pisses me off that that decision could not have been made BEFORE free agency. Who knows what might have happened ’cause that would have made Dansby’s position even stronger, but…I wonder what the Cardinals would have done about Dansby if they knew Washington was not gonna be here.

  11. By NYCardinals212 on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply


    Geez man! Cheer up. Its just one ranking by one group of “experts”. I’m sure you could find a hundred more written by people with equal “expertise”, but Training Camp hasn’t even started yet. Just trust your gut. I’m sure you’ve seen more Cardinals games than these “experts” — who might watch a handful each season, if even that many.

    Its July. Nobody knows nothin’. I don’t care how much they think they know.

  12. By the way! Dr. G. on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    clssy – How are you able to finish with GO CARDS, START STRONG with the pessimistic analysis you write? I am not saying some of your take is wrong, but I would like to see you “let go” of the harangue on the Dansby “let go.”

    If Keim offered what the Browns did, the books would take a serious hit long-term and every money man in the league would chuckle. And you say there is no back up plan… Au contraire… When the bell rings in September, you will see a backfield that will replace Dansby and #58 very well. These were not the last 2 LB’s on the planet. And just so you know, you may plan for #58 to be gone for 2015 as well…Keim anticipates this…. not a cut, but otherwise.

    We need to believe that Keim and BA can roll with the punches in this league. In recent years, the QB problem caused some tears. Last year it was Levy, Cooper and Mathieu; this year it is Dansby and #58. Next year there will be unforeseen things… This is the nature of this volatile league. Keim and BA will get things done…they must; and they will…. Mikey likes them! They are well chosen to git’er done. Against all odds, they proved it in YEAR ONE!

    I know you are a long time fan, and need to realize now that there are many more positive things than negative with the Cards. Some of the experts rank us as high as #6 in the league this year. I am very optimistic though other teams in our division are preparing for battle as well…

    I cannot recall a more positive position for the Cards overall, even when Warner was here. The outlook casts a blinding light!

    Be well… fellow fan…

  13. By Jimmy on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    Honestly I am amazed Lindley is still around after that 2012 NY Jets fiasco game. He has shown nothing the whole time, pre season games are no measure of success. At least Skelton went 6-2 in 2011 with some big close out wins, especially SF. Kind of sad what happened to Skelton last year with Cinci, SF and the Titans, I think Chicago should have given him a shot instead of Jimmy Clausen. Logan Thomas is completely green so who knows. Hype seems to precede any form of reality. The litmus test for a QB is how he plays in a REGULAR season game, Lindley has yet to show a decent regular season game, the chance of him getting in is near impossible. Most teams carry two QB’s now, I see LT on the practice squad in 2014 and Lindley gone.

  14. By Dynosoar on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    As to being rated #11, someone a couple years ago on this forum said it best –

    “If the Cardinals were the only NFL team, the pundits would state we were the worst #1 team in history.”

    I’d like to see us win all home games and all NFC West games. Do that and I’m satisfied.

    With that said – home field for the Super Bowl would be AWESOME!

  15. By drummer-1 on Jul 19, 2014 | Reply

    I wonder what team clssylssy was watching last year… What head games has B.A played with anyone?

  16. By tyman on Jul 20, 2014 | Reply

    Jerraud Powers is the most underrated player I think we have on the team by far…
    Slow start to last season, but came up big at the end.

  17. By rod on Jul 20, 2014 | Reply

    No matter how good Logan does in preseason folks are going to say it’s against third stringers but it still will be interesting if he lights it up. That’s what I’m most intrigued by. The other main focus is Minter, everybody keeps worrying so much about the middle linebacker spot, telling you now, Minter will not disappoint, and with the additions to the secondary he won’t be called on to drop into coverage as much as Washington and Dansby.

  18. By Scott on Jul 20, 2014 | Reply

    The Cardinals are the best team in the NFL and we WILL play in our own stadium for the super bowl

  19. By the way! Dr. G. on Jul 20, 2014 | Reply

    drummer-1 – – I am not in defense of anyone who does not need it, but BA has indeed developed an obvious tactical penchant for being cute and ambiguous with accuracy in some of his statements and answers… I would list a number of them for you, but apparently you have not followed this blog, and do not want to take the time.

    I love the guy for his development of the team, but as I previously wrote, he needs to follow the example that Keim sets when it comes to the press and avoid random statements.


  20. By br in nc on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    Wow!! Logan Thomas makes Ryan Lindley look like a kicker in that picture, and if my memory hasn’t failed me, Lindley is not exactly a tiny human being!!! What a physical specimen!

  21. By red bird of death! on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    I’m still bummed out that D Wash screwed us this season the guy was one of my favorite players in football period, I hope one of these guys really steps up and gos beast out and blows minds this season.

  22. By the way! Dr. G. on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    Clssy – – We are aware that your proclivity to stir up controversy is notable. You have admitted to this some time ago. Now, you do not need defense because you are entitled to your opinion, but I have become to understand your PAST perspective since the Cards moved here. You ((and some of us, too)) had become accustomed to the same ole Cardiac Cards with not much to cheer about.

    The only few bright spots were Jake taking out the Cowboys in the playoffs, or watching a particular play in a game though we may have lost. I too, got caught up in criticizing my own team purely because of the business side of things. I thought sometimes we were the AAA team for the league, esp. when Aeneas got away when I wore his jersey. That was simply awful… I could go on…..

    The reason I capped the word PAST? Well, the past is the past; we need to try to really believe that what we saw in 2013 is for real. There is a different business plan – there is a different coaching plan – there is a new stadium – there is a new fan attitude – no more home games for the visitors – and a happy new staff……. I ask you to join my newly generated optimism… This is not “hope and change that never comes! THIS COMMODITY AS A WHOLE IS THE REAL DEAL! Win, lose, or draw, they are doing the right things. This is NOW !
    …be well….

  23. By SeattleRules on Jul 21, 2014 | Reply

    I see the Cards coming in third this year, they need a better run game. Hats off to beating us at home last year, revenge of sorts for the 58 – 0 drudging in 2012. I think Skelton had his career ruined by that game after beating us twice, Peyton Manning did not do so hot against us in the Super Bowl either !

  24. By the way - Dr. G. on Jul 22, 2014 | Reply

    SeattleRues – Is it so lonely that you have no blog in Seattle that you must post here in AZ? You must be a closet Cards fan!!! Don’t try to stir things up here.

    When we vanquish your team this year, we will simply ignore you and your tears!

  25. By SeattleRules on Jul 22, 2014 | Reply

    By the Way,

    You post what you like and I will do the same, this is not N Korea or China. This is a blog not a love fest.

  26. By Hammy on Jul 22, 2014 | Reply

    I think the only two real big camp battles are Right tackle, Right Guard and Inside Linebacker. I really hope Demens can solidify that spot because he is rangey and has good speed as well. Washington is a boob and if our interior Defense struggles this year, it would be because of him being selfish again!

    As far as Right tackle, if Big Bobbie Massie doesnt take control of this battle, we need to look to ship him out to another team for a low round draft pick.

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