Watford’s right tackle move

Posted by Darren Urban on September 1, 2015 – 12:18 pm

We’ve talked about, in this space, how the depth chart doesn’t necessarily mean much — especially in the preseason. Lorenzo Alexander was listed as a second-teamer last week, and we know how that turned out. But after Bruce Arians said Earl Watford was going to get a chance to start at right tackle Thursday night and Bradley Sowell was moved to left tackle, Watford then showed up as the first-team right tackle on the depth chart. Bobby Massie was second team, and Sowell was moved to backup left tackle (D.J. Humphries remains listed third-team right tackle).

“I’ve tried to put the negative stuff behind me and just be positive the whole way through, to fight my way and seize these opportunities,” Watford said.

Whether Massie might be unavailable for the start of the season — nothing official has been announced about Massie missing games — is beside the point for now. Maybe this is a one-game thing, but even Arians said that battle between Watford — drafted as a guard — and Sowell on the right side has heated up and then, you start wondering about the numbers. How many offensive linemen are the Cardinals going to keep? If you include Massie, there is a case to be made for 10 of those guys. That’s too many, really.

Watford, meanwhile, has kept his head down and continues to insist he just wants to work. There have been no bold proclamations. He knows, in his third year, he’s running out of time to make an impression to stick around. This camp, he has made an impression. He handled Khalil Mack pretty well Sunday. To see him possibly be a Week 1 starter at right tackle would be something of an upset thinking back to the spring — yet a good story.

“Everyone needs a little confident boost once in a while, right?” Watford said. “It was good to go out there and do well and put myself in this position to hopefully start.”


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47 Responses to “Watford’s right tackle move”

  1. By Dynosoar on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Speaking of surprising cuts and changes in depth charts.

    Punts in 2015 pre-season
    Butler = 4, Zastudil = 8
    ARI Total = 12, STL Total = 15, SEA Total = 17 and SF Total = 18

    Butler = 52, Zastudil = 51

    Butler = 46.3, Zastudil = 41.8

    Butler = 1, Zastudil = 1

    Punts returned
    Butler = 2 (50%), Zastudil = 7 (87%)

    Total return yards on punt
    Butler = 11
    Zastudil = 35 (divided by two, since Zasty had twice the punts = 14.5 yards)

    Neither has had a punt inside the 20.

  2. By Dynosoar on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    I’ve been thinking about our defense. At halftime against Oakland they’d allowed five field goals. If our defense had allowed five touchdowns, Cariel Brook’s 81 yard, game-changing interception would have been an comma and not an exclamation point.

    If this defense can do what it did against Oakland week in and week out, we’re the team we want to be, our offense will always be able to win us games and we “should” make a serious run through the post-season (and beyond… now that would be sweet.)

    Looking forward to the Saints.

    Up the havoc level!

  3. By Steve on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Nothing against Sowell personally but I do not trust him if he is out there at left or right tackle, he will get Palmer hurt if he sees extended action. Massie can’t come back soon enough in my opinion but in the interim Watford just makes more sense to open the season as the starting RT. Darren, is it fair to assume that the Cards took Humphries in the first round because they figured Massie would get suspended? Or would you venture to guess that Humphries was their guy regardless of Massie’s off the field issues?

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Humphries

    My speculation is that it was a little of both. Massie also due to be a FA after season; Can’t pay everyone on OL.

  5. By Brad oneill on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    The reality of the nfl is the d washes and massies will get extra chances while the watfords have a narrow window. Give me the guy without the outside issues for a neighbor and a teammate at least he isnt sitting out for stupidity. Massie use lyft brother its a lot cheaper than suspensions!

  6. By Dynosoar on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Last year none of us could wait for Zastudil to return and replace Butler. Only the cry for Washington to return and Gynn Jr. to be cut were louder.

    Here’s the data from the last two seasons. I found them interesting and feel better about keeping Butler. I know stats aren’t everything (unless you’re a baseball fan), but they do paint a more accurate picture.

    Was the differences due to the punter or special teams or the teams we played? Hmmm.

    My biggest takeaway, the number of punts are the same (78 to 79), but the punts returned is really different and it wasn’t due to out of bounds or touchbacks. What was it?

    2013 Zastudil 2014 Butler
    Punts = 78 Punts = 79
    Average = 45.7 Average = 42.1
    Long = 60 Long = 67
    Inside the 20 = 35 (44.9%) Inside the 20 = 34 (43.0%)
    OOB = 3 OOB = 5
    Touch Back = 6 Touch Back = 5
    Returned = 36 (46.2%) Returned = 26 (32.9%)
    Return Yardage = 321 Return Yardage = 246
    TDs = 0 TDs = 0

    This is my last Butler vs Zasty post.

  7. By jaime on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    who needs a punter when your offense will score every possession 🙂

  8. By AK on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Not to be picky, but I believe that Mack’s first name is Khalil.

  9. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    AK —

    RE: Mack


  10. By TucsonTim on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply


    Just one more; how many blocked punts? I seem to remember being afraid that Butler held onto the ball a little too long and he had some nasty blocked punts.

  11. By Dynosoar on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply


    I’d forgotten these.

    2013 Zastudil blocked punts = 0

    2014 Butler blocked punts = 2

    Man, Butler better not get blocked this year or these posts will light up.

  12. By Dynosoar on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Tuscon Tim and clssylssy,

    when I was growing up and began watching football in the 70’s, it seemed as if half the games we watched had a dirt, baseball diamond at midfield until November.

    I liked it.

    I do wish for a new stadium for Oakland. Not only because I want my A’s to have their own place, but so the Raiders can have a facility like ours, and hoping it’s in Oakland. I lived through the LA Raiders years and it never felt right.

    The St. Louis Rams works and even though I began a fan of the Cardinals while they were in St. Louis, I can’t think of a better place for them than in Arizona.

    The announcer’s comment about second base, that was awesome!

  13. By D on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    my guess on final roster for OL

    Veldheer, Larsen, Shipley, Cooper, Massie
    Watford Sendlein Iupati Humphries

    This OL final roster means two things:
    A) Hope like heck Veldheer doesn’t get hurt and plays all 16 plus games this year.
    B) Humphries should have stayed another year in school and won’t contribute this year if possible.

    Place Steen on the PS.
    Find a starting Center in the spring.
    Coach up the RB’s to improve on pass blocking.

  14. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    LoAl and Zasty were gutty, played thru injuries, rehabbed and were special team leaders (1 or both were Captains). Thanks and Godspeed to these great value added “special” teamers. Fare thee well.

  15. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply


    Is it unheard of that Humphries comes up with a mysterious injury and is placed on IR, therefore freeing up a roster spot for, say both Watford and Sowell?

    If that is possible, I would find a way to “red shirt” Humphries until he gets this figured out.

  16. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: IR

    Unheard of? No. But I will be surprised if that happened.

  17. By liquidchaoss on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Darren Urban, any whispers about bringing in another punter? Miami just released Brandon Fields, a pro bowler punter that is way better then anything the Cardinals have. Butler just cant be the answer

  18. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    liquid —

    RE: Punter

    I haven’t heard anything.

  19. By shannon robinson on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Really proud of Earl Watford and how hard he worked. Both Earl and Cooper were drafted at the same time and if they start week one next to each other that will be a huge accomplishment for Mr. Keim, Coach Goody and Coach Z! There’s also a tip of the Cards’ Wing to the men in the weight room. I’m rooting to see Cris Johnson run between them Opening Day. You can see with one eye that Earl looks really good – not like a guard who’s been moved outside. I think Sowell, Halapio, Sendlein, Anthony Steen and Watford are a good line. I really like our second level players like the red head from Alabama. I think they’re working Lyle into football shape….Get ready to run the ball, Thursday night will be a real treat.

  20. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    D: like it, except they might have to live with 8 if keep 5 TE e. g., noticed Crisp got cut tonite

  21. By NJAzCardsFan on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Darren- Who is winning the starting center battle…???

  22. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: Center

    I’ve said all along I thought Sendlein would eventually emerge. We will see. Arians said it’s still a tight battle.

  23. By Scott H on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    Can you clarify – if Simms is going to be placed on the PS, does he have to clear waivers first? Or, is that just when a player is released? Yes, I know – I should know this.

    Because there would be no way ( I would think ) that Simms wouldn’t be claimed by somebody. And the Cardinals HAVE to know that, don’t they???

    I would guess that Simms getting the start on Thursday suggests that the team is leaning toward him being the 3rd QB here. I wouldn’t think they would let him start so he could showcase himself for the rest of the league. But I would guess that WILL be the case for Logan Thomas.

  24. By Darren Urban on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Practice squad

    Sims would have to be cut first, yes. And yes, he’d have to clear waivers. And if a team claimed him, they’d have to put him on their 53-man roster for at least three weeks.

  25. By All Day on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t know about anyone else but I’m tired of the Pillip Sims hype. Yes he has scored on all his possessions but against Oakland Chris Colinsworth said future superstar. I don’t buy it. I wanna see him play against a defense like Seattles and then come talk to me. Thomas has looked a little shaky but I have more faith in him to win a game than sims. Also if CJ gets healthy I honestly could see him beating out Ellington to start. He’s never had an O-line/Overall offense as good as arizonas right now and I think he could do a a lot of damage.

    I’ll be interested to see what we do at the WR position. I’m impressed by Shipley.

    Heard Phil Taylor just got cut. When healthy he’s a good NT and a solid run stuffer. Also have liked what I’ve seen from Okafor he could total 11-14 sacks this year

  26. By clssylssy on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    The emergence of Earl Watford has to be one of the feel good stories of the season, if his hard work pays off with a roster spot–no guarantees in the NFL and I have seen some decision that were hard to believe through the years. For some reason, teams seem to have a hard time admitting when they were wrong about a pick, hanging on too long waiting for them to recover from an injury or just “catch on”. Hope Watford isn’t a casualty of “wishful thinking” as it seems we’ve already seen enough of that.
    I think Lyle Sandlein looks to be a much more consistent Center but the real competition will be between Thomas and Sims. I really like them both, and am leaning towards Thomas because he has a year in the league already and I think absorbed a lot of knowledge that we haven’t had the opportunity to see yet. I was especially impressed by his toughness and ability to recover from a hard hit to lead the drive for a win but have a feeling Sims might have done as well. Whoever “loses” the roster spot will be an excellent pickup for another team, just hope it’s not some toxic wasteland located in DC! After last weeks game I’m wishing we could keep them both as I still don’t have much faith in the offense’s ability to protect our QB.

  27. By Dobie on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    The way I see it they can’t let go Tomas or Sims they are both the future Palmer Stanton got one or two more tears Tomas and Sims have a lot of potential if they they get raid of them they will do great some place else

  28. By JohnnyBluenose on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Keim has tried to, not just improve our o-line, but make it one of the league’s best. We are not there yet. Not even close. He must be frustrated and disappointed with both Cooper and Humphries. Obviously I am not around the team so my opinion is based only on what I have read about Humphries but it seems like he is just happy to be a first round pick and accept the money that goes with it. He does not seem physically or mentally tough enough or mean enough to contribute much this year. It’s early and I could be wrong but I think our whole team would benefit from an attitude adjustment, an attitude and nastiness that former players like Adub and Dockett and Boldin had. Maybe we’re just too nice.

  29. By cards62 on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    I was hoping Humphries would work his way into the starting lineup as the season progresses, but it will take a miracle coaching job to get him ready to play this season. Had no idea the coaching at a major college like University of Florida is so bad. Humphries was high school all american and number one tackle prospect in the nation as a high school senior in NC.

    If we do not have any major injuries to oline this year by end of the season I think this will be our o line. Veldheer at left tackle,Iupati at left guard Cooper at center, Watford at right guard and Massie at right tackle. If Massie does not hold up slide the right side over and insert Lyle S. at Center.

    It would please me if we made another move to try and bring in another offensive lineman.

    Go Cards

  30. By liquidchaoss on Sep 1, 2015 | Reply

    Im not worried about Sowell at left tackle, because that is Veldheers spot, unless he goes down. Are you referring to the preseason game this week? Because the starters wont be playing at all. I am worried Sowell at right tackle, but it sounds like if Watford holds up this week, he will get the starting nod at right tackle. His play against Mack this past week is enough to win the starting nod at RT in my opinion.

    Sowell as a backup, well thats a different story. Usually your backups arent as good as the starters, so you have to expect some decline in play from them.

  31. By Eazy E on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    I loved the way Watford played at right tackle as they we’re experimenting with him in practice and now finally in games! Darren I wouldn’t say he was ”handling” Mack because he ate everybody else alive at RT and kind of got even Veldheer a couple times at LT, but he did give Mack the best blocking all night in Oakland. Let’s see him again in Denver even though guys like Von and Demarcus ain’t playing much at all, but if he does ok there, he should start pending the Bobby Massie suspension. Boy do we need to pray for Bobby’s suspension to get reversed or something like that!

  32. By Dynosoar on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Welcome my thumbs down friend, I was afraid you weren’t around anymore when I had 20+ thumbs up and 0 thumbs down. I was missing you and thought maybe you had left the site. I always get two thumbs down, so my other thumbs down friend is MIA. Where are you?

    Patrick Hoog,

    I appreciated you explaining your thoughts on my 53. Good insights as always.

  33. By clssylssy on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    While I have been worried about having the quality defense we had last year as well as constant 0-line issues, now I find myself stressing about special teams and whether our ST+defense will be enough to bail us out from our offensive woes! Spoon has played seven games in the last two years and “may” play against the Broncos and Greshem hasn’t done anything yet they are on the roster??? What’s so great about these guys that’s not available on the waiver wire or FA…I’m just not getting it and would love to be enlightened!

  34. By D on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Cards will be watching the waiver wire this weekend..I am guessing M. Jenkins in Tampa Bay could be a veteran CB that would interest them. TB actually is in decent shape at CB so he may get cut loose.

  35. By JohnnyBluenose on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    And in other news, the NO Saints have lost two cornerbacks to injury. That has to help our passing game, maybe the running game too. And Derek Anderson signed a contract extension at Carolina. How does that happen?

  36. By Scott H on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    OK. And do you see Sims clearing waivers if he is cut?? I’d be a little concerned about that. It’s not like every team in the league is 3-4 deep with QB’s. I’d be even more concerned if Sims plays well in the final pre-season game.

  37. By Darren Urban on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Sims

    He’s an undrafted rookie who would have spent no time on anyone else’s roster, so yes.

    I think Thomas has a better chance of being claimed.

  38. By Scott H on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Dobie –

    My man…for a 2-line entry, you certainly packed in as many typos as you could.

    First, it’s THOMAS, not Tomas. If he is really the future, the least you can do is spell his name right!

    Second, Palmer and Stanton got one or two more tears?? Well, I don’t know what they are so sad about but I am glad the tears are almost done. Palmer is our starting QB, we can’t have him cryin’ out there.

    Funny, but…c’mon, man! 🙂

  39. By Coach K on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply


    I think we are too hard on Humphries. I remember people complaining about Massie a couple years ago giving up sacks, etc. A few years later and Massie has improved tremendously. I think Humphries has been overwhelmed with the change of speed and power at the pro level. He simply needs time to catch up, don’t you agree?

    Also, Sowell simply has a hard time handling speed to power. He just does not have the feet to handle the speed. Watford on the other hand has great feet. He seems to handle the speed rushers better than Bradley.

    Finally, we need bigger bodies playing center. Sendlein needs to be the starter at center. we cannot have 6-1″ centers who are light in the pants collapsing the pocket in front of Palmer. Palmer does not like a crowd in front of him. He is deadly accurate if he can plant and take a step forward.

    Darren, do you think the Cardinals might sign a larger, more physical center after this final cut? I’m very concerned about the center position.

  40. By Darren Urban on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K —

    RE: Center

    I’ll never say never. But I expect the starting center to already be on the roster.

  41. By clssylssy on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    See the Raiders snatched up Lorenzo Alexander already! I have a feeling we are going to have some big regrets this season about losing big Dan Williams and Alexander, sure hope I’m wrong!

  42. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Always amazed at how everyone thinks there’s all this interest in our 3rd and 4th QB’s.

  43. By JohnnyBluenose on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    @clssylssy…we all liked Dan Williams, on and off the field. He was our #1 draft pick the same year we took DWash in round 2. But we cannot re-sign everyone. Larry, Carson, Patrick, Calais and others had to get paid. And, as effective as Williams is, he is not an every down player. At least he wasn’t on our team. He will do well in Oakland but I think we will be okay without him.

  44. By Scott H on Sep 2, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin S Mesa –

    It’s not that I think there is “all this interest” in our QB’s. It’s believing that of the 31 other teams in the league, ONE or TWO of them might be very shaky at the QB position and might just see something in a guy like Sims. And there are always injuries, are there not?

    All it takes is ONE team to be shaky at QB ( I’m sure there are several ) OR to have that injury that might make them claim a guy like Sims.

    And I don’t mean to leave Thomas out like he doesn’t exist. I just happen to favor Simms over him. And since last year showed that a 3rd string QB IS necessary, I’m pretty sure they want to keep one of these guys. If that is the case, then don’t play around with it. We may think another player is a lot more important than a 3rd QB right now. But if we were to lose Palmer and Stanton again ( hey, it happened last year ), our 3rd string QB is gonna be THE most important player on the planet then.

  45. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 3, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H — Understood, if we lose Palmer and Stanton again, the 3rd QB is important. But it doesn’t matter who that person is, we aren’t going to win with a 3rd QB. So it really doesn’t matter.

    I’ll be curious, out of the 32 NFL teams, how many keep 3 QB’s on their final 53. Remember, if we want to put a guy on the PS, a team that wants to claim a guy has to put him on their 53 for I think at least 3 weeks. So now that team is wasting a roster spot on a guy who’s not going to play (just as we would be). Most teams, I think, are only going to do that if they truly think the guy has the potential to be a QB of the future. Sounds like you believe Sims is better than Thomas, so let’s play the game with Sims. Assume he’s left off the 53. The Cardinals’ brass got to see him for an entire training camp; everyone else will only have gotten to see him for bits of 3 games and then a decent chunk of this last game. No one thought enough of him to draft him — not even with a 7th round pick. He’s 14-29 for 160 yards plus whatever he puts up tonight. Everyone in the NFL knows the Cardinals will need a QB in a couple years. So if the Cardinals let him go, that means they think he’s not QB-of-the-future material. He’ll have marginal preseason stats, and those will have been piled up against defenses compiled of backups and guys who won’t even be in the NFL in a week. I just don’t see teams chomping at the bit to grab the guy after they all passed on him in the draft, knowing that this means they have to use one of their 53 slots for him.

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