Cards feel the cost of injuries

Posted by Darren Urban on December 17, 2014 – 10:55 am

The Cardinals are not the most injured team in the league, although there has been little argument they have been undercut by the players they have lost. In the NFL, of course, anytime you lose a starting quarterback, that automatically puts you near the top of the list.

Quantifying that compared to other teams in virtually impossible. There are dozens of ways to look at it. But here is one. has compiled a list that adds up the salary cap hits each team have sitting on injured reserve, and, no surprise, the Cardinals have landed in the top five. The Cards are fourth, with eight IR’d players taking up $28.8 million in cap space. The three teams ahead of them: the Giants with $34.7M, the Rams at $30.6M and the Bears at $29.9M. The Giants are there in part because they have a whopping 22 players on IR. The Rams have one less player on IR than the Cards, but with QB Sam Bradford’s huge contract ($17.6M himself) the total is slightly ajar.

The eight Cardinals on IR: Carson Palmer, John Abraham, Darnell Dockett, Troy Niklas, Ed Stinson, Dave Zastudil, Andre Ellington and Eddie Whitley. That total doesn’t include linebacker Matt Shaughnessy, who was out eight weeks when he was on IR/designated to return.

You can argue that the money could be weighted — the Bears, for instance, just put wide receiver Brandon Marshall on IR — but the overall totals do speak to the “importance” of the players on IR, because you figure the guys with the highest cap numbers are usually the most crucial.

As for the full list of walking wounded Cards, here are the guys who have missed games this season because of injuries, with the total games they have sat out thus far:

DT Dockett (14)
LB Abraham (13)
P Zastudil (12)
LB Shaughnessy (8)
QB Palmer (8)
TE Niklas (7)
DT Stinson (5)
S Tyrann Mathieu (3)
LB Alex Okafor (3)
LB Glenn Carson (3)
WR Larry Fitzgerald (2)
LB Desmond Bishop (2)
DE Calais Campbell (2)
RB Stepfan Taylor (2)
G Paul Fanaika (2)
RB Ellington (2)
DE Frostee Rucker (1)
TE Rob Housler (1)

We’ll see if the final two games bring any more surprises.


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28 Responses to “Cards feel the cost of injuries”

  1. By 'ZonaFan on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    I saw a quote from B.A. recently that said part of players getting healthy was “wanting to heal.” Do you know what exactly he meant by that?

    Just saying, but I’ve never been able to ‘heal faster’ from an injury/illness just because I wanted to… If that were the case, I would just ‘will myself’ to be healthy every time I had some type of injury or illness.

    Maybe he was talking about putting time in to rehab, etc.

  2. By Darren Urban on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Zona —

    RE: Heal

    Obviously, you can only heal as fast as you heal. I think that was just a coach making a comment. They want those players back ASAP. But it can take time.

  3. By rod on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks Darren for doing that for us.

    It makes me feel better to know we aren’t the most injured, that helps with the “snake bit” feeling. We can do it!!

    GO CARDS!!

  4. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Darren: do you get a chance to watch practice? any sense of how the 2 most important men in our lives are handling their preparation? Ryan and Logan, of course…sure hope Logan comes in early for a few plays, knock the nerves loose.

    The timing of losing Drew had silver linings: 1) we had the lead when went down 2) Ryan got his feet wet last week 3) he had 9 days to prepare 4) the home field advantage this week… and …

    GO Cards.

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: Practice

    The only part of practice open to us is special teams at the beginning.

  6. By Andrew on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    I believe BA was probably referring to the fact players are competitive and want to come back from injuries before they are ready. Lengthening the process.

  7. By D on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Amazing. Then you think about the two RB’s that were cut, the TE who retired, D. Washington…Keim and CO have been juggling the roster all year…BA should be coach of the year. This winning should help this offseason when it comes to keeping their own players and in free agency..word among players will spread..

  8. By Eric G on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply


    Could mean that players want to play hurt or return before they are healthy enough to return. In other words, players have to want to heal could mean that players have to be willing to let themselves heal over time and sit out rather than try to play through injuries.

  9. By Big Wooly Mammoth on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Zona and Darren –

    Re: Heal

    Yes, that was just a coach talking. It seems to me that BA has made it pretty clear that he wants guys be tough and play through pain. Ellington was doing it when he could. R. Williams couldn’t do it, and it became an issue. I think this is what he was referring to.

    Anyway, great season! Remarkable what they have done despite injuries.

  10. By Cody Zarr on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply


    I don’t think he was implying you can will your body to recover from anything faster than physical limitations. I think it more likely he was attempting to illustrate that people who really want to heal faster may take better care of themselves or perhaps put more effort into the healing process or physical therapy required to help the body along. I imagine a lot of these players get really banged up through the course of the year and some will look at an injury as a chance to take a break, similar to what a certain tight end was accused of by our front office a few years back.

    It’s hard to believe any player in the NFL would have trouble motivating themselves back to the field, but I’m sure it happens, and perhaps that’s what he was touching on as well. Not in an accusatory manner of course, but just answering the question as posed by the media.

  11. By JayJay on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    We have reached the end of the line for “next man up”. BA seems to have to see it first hand to realize a player sucks. I remember when BA got here he called Levi Brown an “elite” lineman. It was like wtf? Same thing with Lindley, We have all seen how awful he is. It’s nice that BA puts faith in guys but at a cost of us losing this crucial game.

  12. By robert on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    hard to see how we are going to score 17 points. I predict we need two turnovers, average close to 4 yards per run and throw the ball deep at least 6 or 7 times..they are going to put 8 or 9 men in the box and now without Cooper, man i think our luck just runs out. And they better not let Wilson make even one play with the run

  13. By georgiebird on Dec 17, 2014 | Reply

    Here’s my take on injuries: Great coaching trumps injuries

    Led by BA, the Cardinals probably have one of the best, if not the best, coaching staffs in the NFL. Unless a team is losing a top 2 or 3 QB, things can be done to make up for the loss of most guys and that starts with coaching. Let’s face it, each NFL roster is populated with guys from the same colleges and the heights, weights and speeds of all these guys are virtually the same- position by position, team by team.
    The best player on the Cards (at full strength), in my estimation, is Veldheer who is probably a top 4-5 LT in football. He is followed closely by CC and Cromartie. Even Palmer was not a top 5 QB although he was having a very good year. Stanton has some mobility qualities that Palmer doesn’t.
    Through great coaching that encompasses evaluation, training and preparation, the Cardinals have been able to bring players in to replace the IR guys and keep the performance level high.
    a note-
    1) In 2014, the Vikings lost the best non-QB player in the NFL in AP. This year, the Vikings are playing better football than in 2013. There are examples like this all over the NFL. And the Bears with just about the highest paid QB and many offensive weapons is having one of the worst years in their history

  14. By Richard L on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Looks like our Total Games Lost from injury is 88 so far this year. I suspect by the end of the year and with the Adjusted Games Lost report which takes into account injured but playing stats we will be somewhere in the 100 to 120 AGL.

    I know some on the blog think that Arians is putting all his faith in Linley but as I read between the lines with his comments about Thomas and his set of plays it tells me he is preparing Logan just as much as Linley, each with their own set of packages. If Ohio State can shut out Wisconsin with a 3rd string quarterback who’s to say the Cards can’t shutout Seattle. I think this is the type of motivation to raise everyone’s game.

  15. By Richard L on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, is Kerwynn Williams injured? I read he was limited at practice with a knee injury. Can you provide more details?

  16. By Darren Urban on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Richard L —

    RE: Kerwynn

    I don’t think it’s anything serious. Running backs get beat up, though.

  17. By Lee W. Flanagan on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Even though offensively the Cardinals have been struggling, they are due for a breakout game. “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut” I believe that this will be that breakout game.Just watch.

  18. By Eric G on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply


    Just who would be your solution instead of Lindley? Should Arians bring in a guy that NO OTHER TEAM WANTS, that doesn’t know the system and has never thrown a pass to any of the receivers? Really?

    Fact is, Lindley is the best option of the only two options we have. There is no one else. .

  19. By much.faster on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    just read this:

    “It’s just regular stuff,” Carroll said. “There’s not a quantity amount here. We just work at figuring it out. They can’t both play at the same time and they can’t both be out there, so we just defend the guy that’s on the field.”

    regular stuff? where is carroll wrong?

  20. By Scott H on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –

    I kinda forgot about Abraham…is there any feel as to whether he is planning to return next season? I know he contemplated retirement. IF he plans to continue playing football, is he in the Cardinals plan for 2015?

  21. By Darren Urban on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Abraham

    He is a free agent. I would doubt he will be back.

  22. By Scott H on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply


    Seriously, dude???

    You say what you say about Arians…yet, he is the first name on ANYONE’s list for 2014 Coach of the Year candidates. Gee…I wonder what it is that YOU see that somehow seems to elude the rest of the world.

  23. By Scott H on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Hey, what about the guy helping Ellington off the field? Can he play? Get that man a uniform!

    Sorry, folks, just a little team-ravaged-by-injuries humor.

  24. By Scott H on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Not related to this or anything else for that matter, but has anyone been paying attention to the LOUSY season the Titans are having under none other than Ken Whisenhunt? Man, what a mess. 2 WINS??? Well, if they brought Whiz there to ensure they would have the first pick in the 2015 draft, then….mission accomplished! But I think they had higher hopes than this.

  25. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H,

    So the Titans end up with the first pick and land Marcus Marriota ?

    Of course the last two drafts in round one they got a guard (who actually plays) and Taylor Lewan, a beast of a tackle, not to mention landing a very good center in Schwenke along with vets stars in Roos and Levitre.

    They have two young fast receivers in Hunter and wright and a nice looking rookie RB in Sankey, and a TE who has 52 catches for 800 yards.

    So losing all their games and getting the number 1 pick, so you can add Marriota to the mix, while having 32 million of cap space in 2015 and virtually no dead money sounds like Whiz is in a very good position.

    I’m just saying, there are two ways to look at it.

  26. By Scott H on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Always 2 ways to look at everything. But my counters would be –

    1 Marriota is no different than any other college QB in that he may not translate to the NFL as well as the “experts” say he will ( can anyone say RGIII? ), and

    2) What about Locker? Or Mettenberg? Do they just cast these guys aside for ANOTHER first round pick on a QB?

    Not every Andrew Luck actually turns out to be Andrew Luck.

  27. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 18, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Locker can’t stay healthy and is a FA next year. Metenberger is a 6th rounder who has flashed, but when you have a chance to get a franchise QB, you don’t hesitate.

    Sure there are guys who are top QB picks that struggle. But do not forget, the reason the team can pick them is because they were really bad the year before. So, many times, a top QB comes into a bad situation.

    I think in the Titans situation, you have some good Olineman, a solid TE, and some young fast receivers. Marriota would walk into a good situation.

    I wish the cards could land Marriota.

  28. By Scott H on Dec 19, 2014 | Reply

    JTDG –

    I hear ya. Hey, I wish we could draft him, too!

    Hate to say it, but I think what is NOT so good about the Titans “situation” right now is the head coach.

    I certainly don’t argue the premise that when you get a chance to draft a franchise QB, you take him. BUT look how many guys over the years who were THOUGHT OF as franchise QB’s who were just plain gone after a few seasons.

    When you swing and miss on a “franchise” QB, it can set you back years. Scary…

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