Wednesday before the Broncos

Posted by Darren Urban on August 31, 2016 – 11:08 am

It’s an early edition of a “Before” post, but later today I will put up my guesstimate at the final 53-man roster — at least the one the Cardinals figure to have without knowing who is cut from other teams and who the Cards might try to claim on waivers or sign. Before then, there is a game to play.

It’s a different kind of game, since most starters won’t even be dressed. This game is about precious few rosters spots and the push to at least be asked on the practice squad (or trying to impress 31 other teams to pick someone up). Bruce Arians estimated the Cardinals have about 12 players fighting for about four spots. Impossible to know what we are talking about, but here are some of the positions/players that could be in that conversation:

Offensive line: Earl Watford as tackle/G Cole Toner/C Evan Boehm/T John Wetzel. Watford figures to make this team because he’s so versatile. And Toner has made a strong push to stay after seeming to be a long shot when camp opened. Boehm, as a fourth-round pick, will stick, but can he keep pushing to see if he gets playing time. Here’s the question: Can Watford show something at tackle so that, at least for now, he can back up there?

Secondary: CB Cariel Brooks/CB Harlan Miller/CB Ronald Zamort/S Matthias Farley. It was telling when Arians, asked about the cornerbacks beyond Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams at this point, only mentioned Brooks, who has put himself in a good place for the 53 especially given the Mike Jenkins injury. Can another cornerback step up? At safety, the Cards already have so many in play (Branch, Mathieu, Swearinger, Jefferson, Christian).

ILB: Chris Clemons/Lamar Louis/Donald Butler/Alani Fua/Gabe Martin. Technically, Clemons is listed as a safety but he’s basically been Deone Bucannon’s “moneybacker” backup. Do the Cards stick with the vet? Or is the youth of say, Martin make sense. Lamar Louis has been very good on special teams too. For these guys, special teams may be the place to watch.

There are others, but with everything done over the summer and camp and three preseason games, most decisions have already been made.

— The Broncos have already announced that their No. 1 pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch, will play the entire game Thursday. He’s their QB of the future. It’s something interesting even for Cardinals fans — and you wonder, had Lynch fallen to No. 29, if the Cards would have grabbed him.

— Arians isn’t sure cutting down the preseason will help the teams. Yes, injuries can happen, but he said doesn’t think two preseason games is enough to prep a team for the season.

“I think you have to build your roster, and the only way to build it is see these kids play,” Arians said. “The fourth preseason game is not for your starters. It’s for those guys who you build your roster on, build your practice squad on, the guys who need that week of work and that game. You’ll need them in November and December.”

— Arians isn’t worried about the leadership/knowledge lost in the secondary with the departures of Rashad Johnson and Jerraud Powers. Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Tony Jefferson have worked to fill that void. “All those guys making all the checks,” Arians said. “And with that, they’re not leaning on somebody. They used to lean on Rashad, so they wouldn’t study as hard.”

— Mathieu and John “Smokey” Brown have been cleared to play, but honestly, I’ll be surprised if either does play. As for Justin Bethel, with a sore foot, does he give it a try? He may just rest too. Arians said Bethel will have to play with a sore foot all season, but Bethel had already said he had to play with soreness last year as well.

— Final cuts won’t be announced until the weekend (they are due at 1 p.m. Arizona time Saturday). Until then, let’s finish up the preseason.



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7 Responses to “Wednesday before the Broncos”

  1. By TLT fka DTL on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Only concern for me is CB. We saw how ineffective Ellington was with sore foot last year, Bethel similar concern.

    Betting we keep 5 S and 4 CB, + Clemons as $$ LB…plus 2-3 CBs, 2 S on PS…probably stating obvious, so…

  2. By mitchaz on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    If we had to assume there will be no trades or waiver wire pickups—these are the 53 I would recommend:

    QB (3): Palmer; Stanton; Barkley

    Based on Stanton’s struggles the past two pre-seasons, I think it would be wise to keep Barkley and not risk losing him off waivers. I think Barkley can be developed into a solid #2.

    RB (5): David Johnson; Chris Johnson; Ellington; Taylor; Williams

    K. Williams could get claimed this year—4.8 ypc last two seasons. Trusting the continued health of CJ and Ellington would be a mistake. We have needed Williams the past two years and he has been an asset.

    TE (3): Fells; Gresham; Niklas

    I like Momah and the rookie UCFA Valles for the PS and think they will pass through waivers.

    WR (6): Fitzgerald; Floyd; John Brown; Jaron Brown; Nelson; Hubert

    I think Hubert has earned his spot and would like to see him used in punt returns over Andre Ellington.

    OL (8): Veldheer; Iupati; Shipley; Mathis; Humphries; Watford; Toner; Boehm

    BA only dresses 7 OL on game days—making it easy to keep T John Wetzel on the PS. I liked what I saw from T Clay DeBord (recently waived, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the coaches were trying to hide him) and think he could develop into another Swiss Army knife (T/G/C) utility lineman.

    DT (3): Peters; X. Williams; Bryant

    Not sure if Peters will hold up—he has yet to play anywhere close to how well he played early last year. Xavier W. is emerging and Red Bryant is the designated run stuffer in a division that features RBs Gurley, Hyde and Rawls.

    DE (5): Campbell; Rucker; Nkemdiche; Mauro; Gunter

    Ed Stinson is injured right now—could be a candidate for the IR. I think Olsen Pierre is a sleeper as an inside pass rusher—hope he passes through waivers and onto the PS.

    ILB (4): Minter; Bucannon; Clemons; Louis

    I keep hoping the coaches will try Mathias Farley at backup $LB, but Clemons is a good cover man at that spot. Louis’ 4 tackles last week and strong STs play won me over. Fua and perhaps Gabe Martin to PS. Butler has not inspired, imo.

    OLB (4): Golden; Jones; Martin; Okafor

    Not sure yet what Okafor will look like playing with his torn bicep. I think tristan Okpalaugo needs a little more grooming and can be kept of the PS until he’s ready. Riddick just hasn’t answered the bell.

    CB (4) Peterson; Williams; Bethel; Brooks;

    Very concerned about Bethel’s sore foot—he would be a huge loss on STs, which thus far, per usal, have not been anywhere near special. The coaches will have Pat P. matched up on the best receiver and BW on the #2, with safety help shaded to his side. Brooks is making strides and is good on STs. Brooks might wind up being a good slot CB versus smaller slot guys like Edelman.

    S (5): Mathieu; Jefferson; Swearinger; Branch; Christian

    Last year we lost S Harold Jones-Quartey off waivers and I am concerned we may lose Mathias Farley, thus hoping he will make it to the PS.

    ST (3): Butler; Canaday; Catanzaro

    I would like to see Steve Keim pick up a punter off waivers—was really disappointed to see the Panthers pick up Andy Lee. Canaday seems solid–but will Keim comb waivers for a more experienced one?

  3. By Scott H on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    I do NOT like the sound of Bethel having a sore foot all year. He was clearly not up to game speed against Houston and he may not play again this week? I mean….which is better for him at this point – more rest or more work to get up to speed? Which is better for the team?

    Gotta be honest, I think his overall skills as a CB are limited as it is. And now he’s physically limited, too??

  4. By lacardinalsfan on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Hey Urban,

    Been trying to get to the team shop and it will not connect. Is that something on my end or yours?

  5. By Darren Urban on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    lacardinals —

    RE: Team shop

    Send me an e-mail.

  6. By JohnnyBluenose on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H…..ditto

  7. By clssylssy on Sep 2, 2016 | Reply

    Gotta say, I agree with you on your assessment of Barkley, after last night’s performance. I think we are going to need him down the road and he won’t survive waivers in this QB hungry league. I have been steadfastly one of his biggest skeptics but his performance in the 4th preseason game was better than many starters around the league.
    The expectations for Williams have been unrealistic and I think in another year he could be what we need as a Corner. I put this failure squarely on Keim as there have been veteran Corners come available.
    I’m hoping we can sign some of these guys to PS but fear that being nearly last to pick up waivers won’t leave us with much.
    The best scenario would be trading for a Corner but that would probably entail losing somebody we need.
    Holding my breath and crossing my fingers…

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