Friday before the Bengals, as camp ends

Posted by Darren Urban on August 22, 2014 – 4:25 pm

As cuts approach – down to 75 by Tuesday, down to 53 by next Saturday – it’s getting a lot clearer who will likely be around for the Cardinals. (I will have a post on my predicted 53 next week.)

But coach Bruce Arians made a great point Friday about the last few spots on that 53-man roster, and what the decisions can be based upon.

“It’s going to be hard. It’s going to come down to positions of strength and we have about four or five positions of strength,” Arians said. “You always have to measure those last five guys and what is harder to find if another injury occurs.”

The injury component is important. Maybe keeping an extra defensive lineman makes sense if you are already thin. I’d think that definitely could come into play at inside linebacker with Kevin Minter’s situation. It’s hard enough finding guys sitting around to fill in there. Maybe less so on the offensive line. We shall see.

— Arians said there are still players that could stave off getting cut Sunday through their play, especially if they shine on special teams. If you are looking for hints of who will make it through to at least the final preseason games, look for the players that flash in the “transition game,” as Ron Wolfley likes to call it.

— Not that Jaron Brown’s place on this team has been in much doubt after an impressive training camp and preseason, but this was General Manager Steve Keim’s comment about Brown on this week’s edition of the “Big Red Rage” radio show: “He may be one of the most improved players from year to year I’ve seen in my NFL career.”

Brown simply didn’t get the reps in college playing behind future first-rounders Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. He’s gotten that work now.

— I don’t know how much time linebacker John Abraham might play Sunday, if at all, but there is clearly little concern from either Abraham or the coaches that the veteran will be ready for the regular season. There is still a lot of talk about him getting into shape, and it lead to a funny exchange when Abraham was asked about his current weight.

“I didn’t check,” Abraham said. “I’ll let you know, though. Some time next year.”

Seriously, though Abraham said weight has never been an issue in his career and he doesn’t think it will be now.

— Arians has been happy with the progress of rookie defensive lineman Ed Stinson. Stinson isn’t someone who is going to fill up your notebook when you talk to him, but “of course when the head coach brings your name up in anything you are happy,” he said. “I just want to make sure I put my 100 percent effort in and show what I’ve got.”

— Keim said safety Tyrann Mathieu has been fully cleared and essentially, it will be up to Mathieu to decide when he can play in games again. “We’re not going to press him,” Keim said.

— Keim reiterated he thinks guard Jonathan Cooper, somewhere down the road, is going to be “fine” and he is reveling in the fact that neither tackle position has been a constant source of chatter this camp. That’s a nod to Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie.

“It’s been refreshing,” Keim said. “They don’t talk about the right or the left side. Both have had very good camps.”

— If you are going to the game Sunday (or any home game for that matter), don’t forget about the NFL bag policy instituted last year. Click here for more info.

— Arians acknowledged “I would be surprised” if an NFC West team was not the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Asked if he expected an NFC West team to win the Super Bowl, Arians didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

— Arians, as he opened his final press conference of training camp: “I know you guys are really upset of this being the last day here,” Arians said.

Then B.A. referenced the next practice-day presser, which will come at the team’s Tempe facility. If you recall, construction there means the famous “interview tree” is no more. “The biggest thing, I don’t want to see any tears when we don’t meet underneath that tree next week,” Arians said.

Camp is over. Bring on the Bengals.


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Posted in Blog | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Friday before the Bengals, as camp ends”

  1. By rod on Aug 22, 2014 | Reply

    I dig the picture of Ellington and Mathieu. Looks like a genuine moment.

  2. By patrick on Aug 22, 2014 | Reply

    What a crazy week for our Cardinals. I have been impressed with the leadership the team has demonstrated in handling all that has occurred in the last 7 days. Here’s to our Cardinals laying a beat down on the Bengals this Sunday and as I watch from a tavern in Prague, CR on what will be an early Monday AM, I will be wearing my Cardinal Red, and wishing a healthy outcome to all. BoooYAA..

  3. By Marlin on Aug 23, 2014 | Reply

    I agree with Patrick’s comments. This team shows a lot of maturity and character. Have some of that famous Prague ham with your Cardinals breakfast, Patrick.

  4. By clssylssy on Aug 23, 2014 | Reply

    Extremely impressed by the Packers defense and their entire depth overall. Many teams have begun cuts already and it would seem there will be some good talent out there for the taking. This is a bittersweet time of year as difficult cuts are made but also a great opportunity to pick up some talent, which Keim did such a good job in doing last season. As stated earlier in one of your articles in the message from BA to the team after Dockett went down, playoff teams are rarely made up of the same guys starting in the beginning of the season but rather the quality backups stepping up. OK, iit’s now Keim time to “read and react” and pick up some quality talent so the Cards can finish when it comes down to the best last men standing. The road to the Superbowl isn’t going to be a cake walk!

  5. By Scott H on Aug 23, 2014 | Reply

    I’d really like to hear something about Cooper that sounds a little more exciting than that “somewhere down the road” he will be fine.

    Really? That’s what we can say about Cooper right now???

  6. By Erni on Aug 23, 2014 | Reply

    What happen to Big Red Rage this week with Steve Keim?

  7. By Erni on Aug 24, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks. Big Red rage posted today.

  8. By br in nc on Aug 24, 2014 | Reply

    Off subject, horrible news out of Rams camp, Sam Bradford tore his ACL again, same one he tore last October. News like this scares the heck out of me, thinking maybe they are susceptible to reinjury due to trying to come back to soon? Bradford tore his ACL before Honey Badger and Ta’Amu, kind of get knots in my stomach reading about all these ACL injuries the NFL has been plagued with, I just hope our two are fully healed and aren’t trying to push their return. On the other hand it could just be Bradford has rotten luck! Hope he has a full recovery and is 100% ready to go for next year, if we are lucky we can watch DD in a Cardinals uniform, sacking Bradford next year!! I hate to see these kind of injuries happen to anybody!

  9. By Andy Kw on Aug 24, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Any chance the Cardinals claim DE Will Smith, released by the Patriots, off waivers?

  10. By Darren Urban on Aug 24, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Will Smith

    There’s always a chance. No idea.

  11. By Big Ken on Aug 25, 2014 | Reply

    There are no real good players on the first wave of cuts. It’s the second wave next Monday, will be those tough decision players that a team had to cut. Kiem has usually done his homework.

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