One guess at the 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 27, 2014 – 4:25 pm

The Cardinals have 75 on the roster now. By Saturday at 1 p.m. Arizona time, they must be down to 53. As always, we have a caveat whenever talking about that initial 53-man roster. I would be surprised if the Cardinals don’t claim at least one guy from waivers. Veterans don’t have guaranteed contracts if they are not on the Week 1 roster, so sometimes that’s a factor. If anything, GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians have shown many times the roster is a living, breathing thing subject to change at any and all times. That was apparent again today when the team signed Tommy Kelly, and news broke veteran James Harrison was going to visit. I can’t see Kelly signing and then being cut Saturday, but you never know.

Plus, the final preseason game can have some bearing on a couple of roster spots (Arians said it’d be about five.) And that doesn’t even include any potential injuries that could affect a guy who was going to make the team.

All that must be taken into account as I make my prediction at the 53-man roster (assuming no waiver claims, which I have already assumed will happen, so …):

QB (3): Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Logan Thomas. Ryan Lindley getting cut made this obvious, although it had been obvious for a while.

RB (4): Andre Ellington, Jonathan Dwyer, Stepfan Taylor, Robert Hughes. Jalen Parmele has been good on special teams, but I don’t see it. I could see the Cardinals searching for a back with some speed for the practice squad.

WR (6): Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, Jaron Brown, Ted Ginn, Walt Powell. Powell has played well enough that I don’t think they can sneak him on to the practice squad. I thought Brittan Golden had a pretty good camp too. He is practice-squad eligible, though.

TE (4): John Carlson, Rob Housler, Troy Niklas, Darren Fells. I could see Andre Hardy sticking on the practice squad too.

OL (8): Jared Veldheer, Ted Larsen, Lyle Sendlein, Paul Fanaika, Bobby Massie, Jonathan Cooper, Bradley Sowell, Earl Watford. This one is a tough one and the play of Sowell and Nate Potter in the finale could go a long way in making a decision on the backup tackle. I am also guessing that Watford, despite not being able to take hold of an available starting job for two straight years, gets another year. This is also one of those spots I’d think is vulnerable to a waiver claim.

DL (7): Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Frostee Rucker, Kareem Martin, Ed Stinson, Alameda Ta’amu, Tommy Kelly. This is one of those places that is tenuous. Kelly’s addition — he is with the team in San Diego, so does he play tomorrow? — adds another intriguing question. I’d guess a final spot will go to either him or Isaac Sopoaga. Can rookie Bruce Gaston make a push or is he practice-squad bound? The Cards are still seeking depth here, wherever they can find it.

OLB (5): Sam Acho, Matt Shaughnessy, John Abraham, Alex Okafor, Marcus Benard.
ILB (4): Kevin Minter, Larry Foote, Kenny Demens, Lorenzo Alexander. These two spots need to be seen in total, and nowhere else was more difficult to sort through. Alexander, I think, is one of those guys who survives because of his special teams work. Marcus Benard has pass-rushing skills that this team could use, but obviously, this leaves Desmond Bishop out. I’d think Thursday night’s game will be important for him. (UDFA Glenn Carson would be a practice-squad candidate). One thing I can’t get out of my head is Arians talking about keeping players at positions that are hard to replace if injuries hit. The Cards may want to stay deep at linebacker given the injury situation. None of this allows for a signing of James Harrison, of course, if that were to happen. This is the position I am least sure about.

CB (5): Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Jerraud Powers, Justin Bethel, Bryan McCann. I would think the final spot comes down to McCann or Teddy Williams. Williams seemed like a lock to me with his size and special teams ability, but McCann is pretty good on special teams too and Williams has had his ups and downs as a cornerback. Thursday night would seem to be a big game for both.

S (4): Rashad Johnson, Tony Jefferson, Deone Bucannon, Tyrann Mathieu. This is assuming Mathieu is close to contributing soon, but even if he isn’t, the Cardinals have a nice trio as Bucannon grows into this role.

Specialists (3): K Chandler Catanzaro, P Dave Zastudil, LS Mike Leach. Pretty straightforward. The Cardinals haven’t come out and said Catanzaro is guaranteed to stick around all season, but I’d think he’ll have his shot to prove himself in games that count.



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41 Responses to “One guess at the 53”

  1. By carlitos7000 on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    didnt see play gaston ??
    they are high on him that u considwrim him having an opportunity to make the team?

  2. By CreditCard on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    Alexander and Abraham have not shown me much this preseason. Abraham was totally handed last game (m/b curse of not being in practice). Alexander looks flat footed, and slow

  3. By CreditCard on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    Kelly signing … good. Harrison I’m not certain, but he would be in a familiar role — does he play special teams?

  4. By beardinals on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    I can’t imagine Golden passing through waivers. A good problem to have. There’s also been speculation about trading a WR which seems less likely with Kelley on board.

  5. By Dr. G. on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – – Can you venture a guess how many personnel changes there were last year during the “regular” season? Players who left and those who joined the 53-man team…. thanks…..

  6. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Transactions

    Year-to-year transactions right here:

  7. By BigAl on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, I think yer pretty spot on…However, there are four guys here that I would absolutely hate to lose! Honestly, they’ve got to keep Des Bishop on the roster…
    he won’t survive us on the practice squad…I like the T Kelly pick up but if it comes down to one of those two @ needed or short-handed/injured positions??? I think I’d go w/Des Bishop…man that’s a tuff call! Strange, but I also believe this year, there is more options available at the DL positions….not sure tho???
    Also between McCann or Teddy Williams haven’t they both had their “ups & downs?” In the Cinci game wasn’t it McCann who missed his blocking assignment on that first punt & almost made Ted Ginn the headless horseman?
    I still think we way overpaid Ginn! Maybe he should have signaled Fair Catch?
    Hate to lose Bruce Gaston but he might make it thru on the practice squad unless he plays crazy good in SD! Same for Britton Golden like him too! And would have liked to have seen more of Zach Bauman in the pre-games??? Where has he been? Sorry, but got to add loved the Stephan Taylor section last year…but he has not shown up at all in the games! Looks tentative???
    Some very hard choices coming up! Thanks Darren!

  8. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Big Al —

    RE: Bishop

    Bishop wouldn’t be PS eligible.

  9. By Joseph on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    The 1st position I disagree with is OL. Over the course of the year it’s been Nate Potter that BA keeps praising. I don’t see Sowell overtaking Potter. Potter can play more positions too.

    2nd is DL, can Kelly out perform Sopoaga? Sopoaga has no injury history as baggage like Kelly. Or are both insurance if Alemeda can’t hold up?

    3rd ILB, if Bishop can have a good game it’s more likely I think that Alexander is the odd man out.

    Just my thoughts on your choices as i agree with almost all of them.

    Thanks for the list.

  10. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 27, 2014 | Reply

    I would say you are probably 100%, but you are right, what does Harrison do to the mix if signed?

  11. By tyman on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Think that’s about right on.

  12. By hminus on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Bradley Sowell over Nate Potter?…BA indicated that Potter was smart & had a decent camp,whereas Sowell’s camp left much to be desired,most of the predictions look good,though i agree ILB looks a bit shakey,[would like to see Bishop make it too,]…so whats the deal Darren,do they have to cut players before putting them on PS,or can they put them there without cutting first…

  13. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    hminus —

    RE: Practice squad

    Players must be cut first and subjected to waivers before bringing them back.

  14. By Marlin on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    I like your 53. But, you have 7 defensive linemen (for a 3/4) and 8 offensive linemen (5 positions). I have to believe that they need more than just 1 backup offensive tackle. And don’t forget, Shaughnessy is a legit defensive end if they want to line him up there. I think they keep 2 backup tackles and put Ta’amu on Pup.

  15. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Marlin —

    RE: Tackles

    They could keep two tackles. That wouldn’t be shocking.

    As for PUP, once a player is off PUP he can’t go back. PUP isn’t an option for Mathieu or Ta’amu anymore.

  16. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Great analysis. Darren, although I was under the impression that Desmond Bishop was more of a sure thing “lock” to make the team (if there is any such thing as a “lock” with a late signing veteran). It will be very interesting to see what they do if JH is signed.
    Question, (this always baffles me) the Cardinals (assuming most teams as well) only keep 8 O-line players, 5 have to be on the field, yet they keep 7 or even 8 d-line players, when only 3 have to be on the field, same with LB’s keep 8 or 9, but only 4, a lot of times less LB’s on the field, seems your O-line is very thin, is it because of special teams play?? (that would be my best guess)?

  17. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    br in nc —

    RE: OL

    There is a chance they could keep nine. But BA only likes dressing 7 OL on game day. Not sure he wants to hamstring himself with two guys on the bench automatically for OL. Plus there will be OL on the practice squad. Heck, even Potter is PS eligible.

  18. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Does make some sense, and thinking about it, the defense rotates d-line and LB’s depending on the situation, almost every play (hell DB’s as well) so basically the defensive personnel are always changing numbers wise on every play, or almost every play. Whereas it usually always 5 guys, the same 5 hopefully, excluding injury, out on Offense, and the chances of more than 2 getting injured is a pretty huge #. Hopefully, nobody gets injured, but I do see the logic now. Thanks.

  19. By Rick Von on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    I think you have to find a spot for Desmond Bishop. He has played too well to let go.

  20. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Rick Von
    I’m with you on that one, as are many others. Those last 3-4 cuts have to be very tough decision. I wish the NFL would raise the roster to 55, just those 2 extra spots would make a lot of teams very happy! Maybe consider doing something like baseball does, for the last month of the season raise the roster limit to 58-60, teams would then be allowed to “call up” 2-3 players from their practice squad only, and teams that are out of playoff contention could get those young guys from the practice squad some valuable p5k?)laying/game time experience. They could double their salary for that later month, would go from $35k to $70k(or whatever double may be, I think I’m pretty close on the practice squad salary of $35k) That possible “call up” for the last month plus double salary would be a pretty sweet incentive for those practice squad players to bust their a$$’s during the season, In my humble opinion anyway. Plus money talks, and bull$*** walks!! LOL!

  21. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Good job, you have as much insight as possible here. (No breaking news) but fwiw, my top bubble guys, on your outside, in order:
    Golden, Bishop, Potter, Sopoaga, Golden, Teddy W.,

    Your inside, most at risk, in order:
    Sowell, McCann, Okafor, LoAlexander

    Love ’em all , can only keep half of them.

    Wonder if any OL camp sleepers that might bolster Practice Squad? Starks is out of shape, slow, and btw, hurt… dubious his relationship with BA can overcome his condition for later comeback. Could we see both Potter and Sowell cut and then added to PS?

    Is T Williams PS eligible? likely candidate?

    MNF did nice feature on Tom Pratt btw.

  22. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Patrick Hoog
    I just don’t think either Potter or Sowell make it through waivers to be put on Practice Squad, do you? I think somebody, probably more than one team would make a waiver claim, especially since both are “swing tackles”, and if I’m not mistaken (which I have been known to be more than once! LOL!) Potter can play Center as well, or maybe it is Guard, not Center??? Well, anyway my point that I am trying to make, both are versatile, and have starting experience, with a high upside, which will make it very difficult to sneak them through waivers.

  23. By Travis on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    When are we gonna see Harrison?

  24. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    I read he wasn’t taking a physical until tomorrow, and due to the game tonight in San Diego, the contract negotiations were still ongoing. Think I also read where he had a $3 million dollar contract with Bengals last year, wanna wager he isn’t getting that amount out of SK?
    They could be waiting until his contract becomes non guaranteed too? Do you or anyone know when that rule starts, is it the first day of week #1? As in this Monday 9/1/14 Or is it “after week #1 the first day being 9/9/14? (which is a Tuesday, due to MNF) I realize it sounds like nitpicking but huge difference in guaranteed and non-guaranteed contracts, and whether or not Harrison would wait especially if another team offers, and it falls into the guaranteed timeframe.

  25. By Itsallinthecards on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    I think the Cards need to find a way to keep Desmond Bishop. ILB is still a big concern and PFF had him ranked as a top 3 linebacker in all of football when healthy a couple of years ago. I think I’d cut Bryan McCann to keep Bishop.

    I know McCann is supposed to be a good special teams player but Jaron Brown and William Powell have played will in transition as well. McCann’s numbers on special teams haven’t stood out the last few years. He’s not eligible for the practice squad but maybe they can get Teddy Williams on the Practice squad in case they need to pull someone up later.

  26. By Scott H on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    BigAl –

    The Cards are just loaded at WR right now. Great problem to have. Can’t keep everybody. These Brown kids have just knocked it out of the park and they made it really hard for everyone else.

    Having a lot of tough choices to make is a good thing when the choices are among players you would hate to lose!

    At least we’re not choosing between Matt Leinart and Derek friggin’ Anderson, ya know? Remember those days? Could anything have felt more hopeless than THAT???

  27. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H,
    Probably breaking some kind of sacred Cardinal blog board rule, but here it goes…

    Max Hall
    Ok, sorry royal screw up, my bad, won’t happen again, sir!! 😉

  28. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    PS: New Domestic Violence standards & penalties today from R. Goodell sadly don’t bode well for DWashedUp.

  29. By br in nc on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    I know C. Taylor is not Practice Squad eligible, but if McCann or Teddy are (not sure with the new expanded eligibility ) I just don’t see them clearing waivers, Quite a few teams are hurting for DB’s, Dallas is in a huge hurt locker, just had there second DB (a safety) suspended 4 games, I think they will most likely cut him now, since he was an UDFA rookie this year, and had been banged up a couple of pre-season games, would not be surprised in the least if Curtis Taylor is claimed by the Cowgirls (6 year veteran who is/was on the bubble for last cuts from one of the better secondaries in the NFL)! Dallas and a few other teams are probably salivating about now! I wish I had the time/patience to research all the teams to get some insight as to who may show up on the waiver wire (as in good solid veteran releases)! Only reason I have a clue on the Dallas problem, I read the suspension headline and became curious about our old friend Ryan Williams…seems he is on the bubble, and looks to be the odd man out, last RB cut for Dallas, he did lead them in rushing (I know, not saying much in preseason) and they liked his pass catching abilities, but no experience (and struggling) on special teams looks to be his doom! There is my ex-Cardinal update, if anyone really cares. LOL!

  30. By D on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Can we all say now that T. Kelly is wearing a Card jersey that he was right about K. Kolb…

    If Bishop plays well tonight, I would keep 5 inside LB’s and put Watford on the PS.

  31. By hminus on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    If Potter gets cut w/the intent of putting him on the PS, think some team,[Seattle cough,cough,]will pounce on him immediately…but if Sowell is cut…i think his relative value is less & he would safely skate to PS w/o the threat of a claim…

  32. By DON CHRISTENSEN on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply


  33. By Dr. G. on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – – The transactions question was just to try to determine how much average activity could be expected on the 53-man roster during the “regular” season.

    Looking at the 2013 transactions from 9/8 to 12/29/2013, there were 44 player moves, ((close estimate)) 24 of those were practice squad only…20 affected the 53-man roster. I am expecting slightly fewer for 2014. So, some players who make the initial roster will leave, and some others will return or be added as new players… Injuries, performance, (some stupidity), and coach’s preference will play into this activity….

    Bottom line, the fans who support a player not making it now, may see them return later during the season. There were a few like that in 2013… Be well…

  34. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    br hm: Potter Sowell choice is a conundrum … can’t argue; so hard to know without being at practice. But neither was good enough to start after already having to play under fire… so, we’ll see.. I got no edge, maybe Urb does, i think he sees practice daily, so I’d defer. Just find it problematic keeping either but cutting Bishop, Sopoaga or Golden. I think Golden could be a 100+ catch receiver for a passing team… and yet is maybe 5th or 6th best on the team…

  35. By Andrew Pardue on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren, any word on Mathieu playing tonight??

  36. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Andrew —

    RE: Mathieu

    I do not expect him to play.

  37. By JohnnyBluenose on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    @ br in nc….just so you know, max hall is alive and well and is the third string quarterback for the winnipeg blue bombers of the canadian football league.

  38. By Dr. G. on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – – Can you post the Caliendo impersonation of Arians…..Pleeeeeease?

  39. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Caliendo

    Look for it sometime tomorrow.

  40. By Dr. G. on Aug 28, 2014 | Reply

    Darren and all – –

    Re Caliendo – – That will be good for national TV publication, I am sure…. Thanks…

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