Breaking down the first 53-man roster

Posted by Darren Urban on September 2, 2017 – 5:57 pm

The Cardinals have a roster. I expect it to change by Sunday night, but as usual, we will see. There is a possibility they look at signing veteran punter Andy Lee, who was cut Saturday by the Panthers and who has a history as a holder for Phil Dawson. They could grab an outside linebacker, because they only kept three thus far. The likelihood is that T.J. Logan will go on IR too, so that’ll quickly create an opening.

In the meantime, some thoughts on the roster as is:

— The numbers breakdown:
QB 3
RB 5
WR 6
TE 3
OL 9
DL 7
CB 4
S 5
ST 3

— Other than Logan on the roster (I did not know a player could not be put on IR immediately and be able to return later in the season, so that was a new one for me) this was basically what was expected at running back. Chris Johnson was let go as Andre Ellington seemed to find his rookie vibe. Ellington can catch the ball better and ultimately, I think that was a big thing.

— The receiving corps ended up being the six most likely candidates, but someone will end up on the practice squad. My guess would be Carlton Agudosi, but Bruce Arians likes how Chris Hubert gets open too.

— The offensive line may have delivered the most surprises, but then again, Arians was happy with his starters plus John Wetzel and the rest was up in the air. I thought Cole Toner would be the swing guy but instead, the Cards kept C Daniel Munyer (who they liked, obviously) and T Ulrick John, as well as rookie T Will Holden. G Dorian Johnson, the fourth-round pick and the only choice not to make the roster, really struggled in camp and preseason and it cost him a chance to stick.

— The Cards only have three outside linebackers. I’d guess Cap Capi will be a practice-squad candidate, and they very well could find an outside linebacker somewhere as a cut from another team. Philip Wheeler was the guy who beat out Scooby Wright as a fifth inside linebacker. Wright could be practice squad. He does well on special teams but his athletic limits hurt Wright on defense.

— Matt Wile is the punter. Will that change?

— Rudy Ford makes it as safety over Harlan Miller. Ford has a lot of speed, and that shows up when he plays center field on defense and on special teams.

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41 Responses to “Breaking down the first 53-man roster”

  1. By Marlin on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    When we drafted Dorian Johnson, a number of primary sports media people in the area said he had a chance to start as a rookie. so much for the local sports media experts.

  2. By D on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    One more change to my prior post of players to add. I forgot they could add another player when TJ goes on IR, so my choices would be,

    Punter A Lee
    Guard A. Boone or J. Greco
    OLB. A. Ayers or S. Calhoun
    WR J. Kerley

    Cut- punter, Wheeler, Munyer

  3. By Eric G on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    Darren, I know this is not a position typically talked about, but the cards are the cards. Any insight as to why Wile won over Leone? Leone seemed to have the better stats, avg and net. Was it hang time?

    Not gonna lie, thought scooby would make the team. A little surprised he didn’t. Shocked at Dorian being cut.

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Eric G —

    RE: Punter

    I didn’t look at the final stats, but watching all the preseason games, I know I thought Wile was a little better. He also can kick off.

  5. By Don on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    Dorian really surprised me, not because he did anything to earn a spot but because he was a 4th round pick who many felt would have been a 2nd-3rd round if it were not for health concerns. I understand the numbers but did Chad Williams do anything to earn his spot? I’m hoping Dorian, Wright, Capi and Iron head can make it to the PS

  6. By CARDS62 on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    WOW I wonder what C. Williams our 3rd round pick showed them at WR that D. Johnson 4th round pick at guard did not show them? I did not see much out of either of them but I have to say I am very surprised that Johnson was cut. I am not mad as you have to trust your coaches, but I am surprised. Keim is an ex offensive lineman and drafting lineman seems to be his hardest position to draft.

    I would have to think we go with an OLB when we place Logan on IR. Maybe Cap or Scooby comes back. I watched the first 4 preseason game and do not remember Phillip Wheeler flashing. What can you fans tell me about him?

    Say today is the worse day of the year to be a coach in the NFL.

    Go Cards!

  7. By Eric G on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    Nevermind, especially if we sign lee, who I’d be ecstatic about

  8. By Joe Cardea on Sep 2, 2017 | Reply

    I was really surprised to see Toner and Johnson cut. Especially since they kept 9 offensive lineman. I assumed if one of them got cut it was to keep another linebacker like capi or Harlan Miller at safety, not to keep two other lineman. I bet Iupati’s injury is worse then we’ve been told and they couldn’t keep developmental o-linemen. Darren, any whispers?

  9. By Darren Urban on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Joe —

    RE: Iupati

    I don’t think the injury is serious. All along I thought they could keep 9 OL, I just thought one might be Dorian.

    And don’t forget, the roster isn’t set yet. Let’s see what it is Monday.

  10. By shannon robinson on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    I’m pleased to welcome the Cardinals 53! The OLine decision to keep 9 guys tells us they are redshirting Will Holden for next year. Is there concern Iupati might need more time to heal? Wetzel and Ulrick John are two tough guys who don’t make a lot of mistakes. Only Coach Goody and Zimmer know the choice of Munyer over Toner. Hopefully Cole comes back as a PSquad signing. Dorian just dropped off the radar as if he was hurt and now we know there were problems – where hope meets the road. I think the ILB decisions are also insurance if Buc needs more time.Those gaping holes in the second level run plays can’t be tolerated and Bynes and Wheeler will plug just by seeing where to be and finishing. So Protect Palmer and stop the run. Andy Lee will be here, it just makes veteran sense. Thank you Steve Keim and a Tip of the Cardinals’ Wing to BA for going through this gut wrenching time for us Cards’ fans!

  11. By Darren Urban on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Shannon —

    RE: Dorian

    Johnson was not hurt. Not sure where you got that from.

  12. By mitchaz on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    * Cap Capi—we will see today whether another team saw in Capi what we fans saw in him. If he clears waivers, then I hope the Cardinals sign him to the PS. I thought he played as fundamentally strong as a 34 OLB can play, setting the edge, making strong tackles, dipping and ripping his way to the QB and picking up his man in coverage like on the hard to read “submarine bootleg, TE across the formation” trick play the Falcons tries to run to his side that he prevented a TD on.

    * Cole Toner—maybe he winds up in New England. He’s their type of smart, versatile lineman.

    * Andre Ellington—because he doesn’t play STs, will he even be active on game days? Still can’t believe he’s on this roster. Did he even have one breakaway run this pre-season?

    * The curious case of Dorian Johnson. Darren, do you have a sense of what happened with Dorian?. Right away the coaches nixed any notion that he could compete for the starting RG spot, which felt strange seeing as Evan Boehm is a converted center who only starter two games. In one on one drill early in camp Dorian was showing very good pop, balance, hand placement and leverage. Watching him versus the Broncos he was consistently driving his man 4-5 yards downfield, albeit versus their 3rd stringers. This guy was a 1st Team All-American.What is so weird is that the coaches never gave him a chance to play with the 2nd string. Why not? It’s not like Kaleb Johnson was lighting the world on fire, either. What a colossal miss on a 4th round draft pick when they could have drafted LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, RB Tarik Cohen, WR Josh Reynolds, QB Joshua Dobbs, RB Marlon Mack, DT Carlos Watkins, LB Jayon Brown, TE George Kittle, CB Damontae Kazee, etc.

    * Daniel Munyer—what’s so amazing about his making the team is that no one close to the team predicted him making the roster, and now not only has he made the roster, he will be one of the 7 OL to dress on game days as the backup center, while John Wentzel backs up the tackles and guards.

    * Philip Wheeler—late reads, looks out of shape, not a reliable tackler, and he makes the roster over Capi, one of the only players on the roster who tackles with a passion and regularity? And who can be a stud on STs?

    * Scooby Wright—there should be a place for him on STs. He should be the Cardinals’ version of Nate Ebner, the Patriots’ designated STs dynamo.

  13. By carlsonchemist on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for your transparent perspective regarding the 53-man roster. Like many other Cards fans, the final 53 roster threw me at least two curves. Once I gave myself enough time to recover from the emotional shock, I reminded myself that the roster of 89 players was watched closely by a team of qualified coaches on a daily basis…something that fans were not privy.

    There’s talk about Coach Arians (Palmer and Fitzgerald) retiring after this season. I believe Coach Arians has a terrific relationship with Michael Bidwell and that Michael has the utmost respect for Coach Arians (Coach of the years twice in 4 years).

    I remember Coach Arians stating publicly that he would never leave the Cardinals organization adrift when they had no competitive QB’s (after Neil Lomax, only Jake Plummer proved to be real) after he retired. I firmly believe Coach Arians desperately wants to be remembered as the only Coach to win a Superbowl.

    As such, in the here and now, I choose to support Coach Arian’s surprising decisions. I just hope that Coach Arians hasn’t out-thought himself when making these decisions. In my opinion, it’s the responsibility of his subordinate coaches to ensure that he doesn’t out-think himself, and I believe he’s surrounded himself with excellent talent.

    It will be easy for us fans to point to mistakes made in the releasing and signing of new players as the season progresses. Coach Arians will write his name in history based upon his decisions. But make no mistake, nobody, but nobody is in a better position to make these difficult positions…and that includes devoted Cardinal fans.

  14. By Joe Cardea on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Looking at the 53 man roster it is interesting to note what positions the Cards won’t pursue players for (separate from practice squad, just looking at the 53 man roster). I assume we won’t add any QB’s for example. I doubt RB. Nor TE or WR. I think they either have pretty good players, options to improve aren’t that great, or they cut players they could have kept if they weren’t satisfied with the 53,i.e. WR. So on offense look for o-line? On defense, inside linebacker is good as is safety. CB is actually good. They need depth at OLB and while I lke the d-line it isn’t like there isn’t room for improvement. So on defense OLB and d-line. Of course superior players cut for cap reasons throw this reasoning off. So maybe a punter swap and a OLB for TJ Logan’s spot. And swap a 0=lineman for another or add a d-line in exchange for o-line?

  15. By aschatte on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Compared to the Patriots and Hawks, who have made some amazing trades this off season and in the past few days, I really dont see what have we done to build a team that can challenge the top sides…We cant just say we have had a great Draft in 2017 and we havent made any kind of trades or signed players who we can say can make a world of a difference for this team. Nevertheless, I still count on this team to win 9 games at least, anything less wont be surprising and anything more than 9 wins would be ideal. The roster is not finalized yet so hopeful players like Scooby/Capi/Toner/Hubert/Dorian to the PS.

    At this point, once can only hope we can improve from 2016 but realistically we dont seem have a team that can win a SB as of now, maybe some surprising additions to the squad in the coming days could change things. Our schedule is relatively much easier than 2016 – hopefully the team can surprise me like they did in 2008/09

  16. By faster on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    looking at the roster, i`m ambivalent.
    wishing for a trade?
    gabbert for ealy?
    and holding my thumbs, that capi and johnson slide trough the waiver and land on the practice squad.

  17. By shannon robinson on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Darren, I wasn’t very clear. I just noticed Dorian played less and less and later in the preseason games as if he was hurt. Rather it turns out Dorian was inept or some people said slow to get outside, I just didn’t see it. He is very smart and thoughtful. I guess he was one who had never blocked NFL type running plays so it must have been a transition he didn’t learn fast enough. I’d like him to be on our PSquad. I don’t begrudge the draft pick because I don’t know how else you really know.

  18. By Darren Urban on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Shannon —

    RE: Dorian

    He is back on the PS. But his issue right now is playing strong. Coaches want to see more of it.

  19. By Leesters on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    I hope Jeremy Ross? #15 gets on the practice squad. He reminded me sooo much of Boldin. I like the idea of polishing up a mini-Q like that.

  20. By Richard S on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Such as it is with an athletes life. Either find yourself in a position where you could make a real good living for a few years or else go back to Kurt Warner’s old job of stocking the shelves. College athletes need to hit those books so they are prepared for a decent living on the outside world and the athletes who made the roster to watch your money as there are people out there who’d like to take it. .

  21. By faster on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply


    how long is the waiver wire open?
    at the moment no claims were reported for cards cuts?

  22. By Darren Urban on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Faster —

    RE: Waiver

    No one claimed any of the Cards’ cuts, that is correct.

  23. By Richard S on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Glad to see Momah made the roster. I remember him in last years pre-season games before he got hurt and thought the Cards have a new weapon.

  24. By mitchaz on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    The question is: what player will be added when T.J. Logan is placed on the IR?

    Cap Capi?

    Cole Toner?

    Ironhead Gallon?

    Jeremy Ross?

    * With Dorian Johnson signed to the PS, all of the 2017 draft picks are on board.
    * As for the 2016 draft, R. Nkemdiche, B. Williams, E. Boehm, H. Miller remain, sans both 5th round picks, M. Christian and C. Toner.

  25. By creditcard on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Couple observations:

    1. The coaches are closer and more knowledgeable about the players than the media.
    2. The Cardinals were truly using the preseason to “test” certain players. The plays the Cardinals chose during preseason were very vanilla. Basically those plays tested players speed, strength, quickness etc..
    3. The Cardinals also gave the appearance of playing possum. Saying great things about certain players, while not mentioning anything about other players they really had an eye upon.
    4. Other teams (such as Denver )have nice pool of potential players that will be available for PS candidates. I am in hopes the Cards will select a couple of players from other teams for the PS.
    5. There is only 1-ball used during a game; thus you cannot have an entire roster filled with ‘play makers’. A team also needs support players, the tacklers, blockers, special team fanatics.

  26. By Scott H on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Just a thought….we kept 3 QB’s, one being Gabbert, who could probably be a starter on at least a few teams right now. Now, IF we are intent on keeping Gabbert for what he might offer in 2018, then I am totally OK with that. However….

    Take a look at what is taking shape in Philly. I’m pretty sure they only kept 2 QB’s ( if not accurate, my bad ) and one of them is Nick Foles who is still hurt, hasn’t played a down in camp or pre-season. That would seem to mean that they have nothing behind Wentz right now. Nothing. And that is hardly ideal. So….

    Could either Gabbert OR EVEN STANTON be a player that the Cards can dangle right now in a trade? It seems to be a position of strength that we can deal from right now and a position of need for another team right now.

    So….any thoughts?

  27. By Cardinale on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Maybe after we put T.J. Logan on IR we can sign Capi to the 53! Also cutting Wile for Lee. Tell Chris Johnson, Wile, and Ross to stay in shape in case of injuries…

  28. By NJAzCardsFan on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Darren- Any inside info on why Capi was cut and not re-assigned to the PS?
    Is Valle- TE going to fill a spot on the PS. Or are the Cards going after a FA? 3- TS’s seem a little to be taking a chance with 2 of the 3 current TE’s injury prone

  29. By Darren Urban on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    NJAZ —

    RE: Capi/Valles

    1) While Capi did some nice things in preseason games, and I thought he had an outside chance to make the initial 53, at least until they could find another OLB, obviously they disagreed. As for the PS, unfortunately, I think Capi has a limited ceiling.

  30. By mal on Sep 3, 2017 | Reply

    Dare run-

    Who is Tie Ran Mat Toe?

  31. By Darren Urban on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Mat Toe

  32. By mitchaz on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply


    Can you ask around for info about why Cap Capi was cut. The tape doesn’t lie. Was there a personality or team chemistry issue?

    Sad to see him go to the Giants’ PS.

  33. By Darren Urban on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    Mitchaz —

    RE: Capi

    I’ll ask but I think people are making him out to something he may not have been.

  34. By Chris G. on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    Glad to see the Cardinals keeping up the unique name trend. We may have lost an Ironhead and a Gump, but we picked up an Obum Gwacham. Welcome to the Bird Gang.

  35. By Ditship on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    Hey Darren I know who the Cards are eyeing with that final Roster Spot….


    Just kidding I just know you love you some DWASH.

    So happy the season is starting. GO CARDS!

  36. By mal on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    Good move, Darren. In your last Quick Slant episode somebody double-stacked Lisa’s box.

    Somebody finally got a clue!

    But she’s gonna have to get hazard pay, tho, working at those heights.

  37. By faster on Sep 4, 2017 | Reply

    ha, obum gwacham was on my draft list, sixth or seventh round, don`t remember, but strange, how things develope.

    and the one open roster spot, is there a trade imminent? or a veteran signing?

  38. By Scott H on Sep 5, 2017 | Reply

    D –

    RE: Your wish list

    Signing Andy Lee – Done!

    Good luck with the rest of your wishes!

  39. By Scott H on Sep 5, 2017 | Reply

    D –

    RE: Your wish list

    Damn, man, you’re on a roll! First Lee, now Boone!

    You go, boyeeeeeeee!

  40. By Dale Kmetz on Oct 1, 2017 | Reply

    I feel sorry for Carson Palmer. He has no offensive line whatsoever. They just stand there like limbless tree idiots. We need a new offense line.

  41. By Dale Kmetz on Oct 1, 2017 | Reply

    I feel sorry for Carson Palmer. We have no offensive line whatsoever. Our offensive line stands there like limbless tree idiots. We need a new offensive line.

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