Rouse released for Sun Devil wideout

Posted by Darren Urban on August 18, 2010 – 5:27 pm

The Cardinals, banged up at wide receiver and with three preseason games coming in an 11-day span, needed a wide receiver. And as unlucky as it is to get into a car accident that costs you practice time, there was always the chance safety Aaron Rouse would have been the odd man out anyway when a roster move was needed.

So it isn’t a shock that the Cardinals cut Rouse Wednesday to sign former Arizona State wide receiver Mike Jones. Rouse got hurt in the Monday accident coming back to training camp. Rouse was signed because of injuries at safety and now, the Cards are healthy at the position. Jones has spent time with the Texans and Seahawks since going undrafted in 2009. With Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and Early Doucet (abdomen) hurting, the Cards need someone who can take some reps. The team doesn’t want to overwork Steve Breaston either.

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Inside for the afternoon, Fitz coaches

Posted by Darren Urban on August 17, 2010 – 6:01 pm

Larry Fitzgerald can’t practice, so he was out there coaching up the young receivers during this afternoon’s workout, which once again was in Walkup Skydome because of the rain. Even afterward, he was throwing passes to safety Hamza Abdullah on the sideline (in the picture below) as Abdullah worked on his interceptions. Fitz was reminding his teammates he was a quarterback once upon a time (not sure when, he had already broken out as gifted wideout in high school).

Anyway …

— The injury list remained the same. WR Ed Gant did practice, but WR Early Doucet (abdominal) is still out. So too were TE Ben Patrick (knee), LB Reggie Walker (hamstring, although Walker was running pretty good on the side), LB Gerald Hayes (back-PUP), LB O’Brien Schofield (knee-PUP) and S Aaron Rouse (neck). Rouse is banged up from the car accident; the Cards may have to figure out if they can hang on to him while he recovers.

— There was almost another injury of the freak variety when LB Pago Togafau was undercut by WR Onrea Jones as Jones tried to come up with a catch. Togafau was slow to get up, but he turned out to be OK.

— WR Stephen Williams had another fine showing. He was open deep on one play although the ball by Matt Leinart was slightly underthrown, allowing CB Tru McBride to knock it away. Williams also caught a nice 42-yard bomb from Leinart in the back of the end zone during the two-minute drill that looked close to good (although McBride informed me via Twitter after practice Williams was out).

— CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came in to break up what looked like a sure long gainer from Steve Breaston from Leinart a couple plays earlier.

— There were two tussles between LB Stevie Baggs and TE Stephen Spach. The first was a little more intense — facemask-grabbing and all that. At this point, it can’t be a surprise Spach gets in the middle of such things. It’s what he does (although he must do other things better too, because he started in the Texans’ game).

— Don’t forget I will be hosting a live chat tomorrow — Wednesday — at 1:30 p.m. Arizona time (4:30 p.m. EST).

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More on the accident and Whiz tidbits

Posted by Darren Urban on August 17, 2010 – 12:17 pm

Safety Aaron Rouse is back in Flagstaff after his car accident yesterday but he will not be practicing after suffering whiplash. Safety Rashad Johnson, who was driving, said the car in front of him had a rear tire blow out. That car began to fishtail and actually flipped a few times in front of the Cardinals. Johnson — who had never been in an accident before — was able to avoid that car, but in the process hit another vehicle.

“It was scary,” said Johnson, who still practiced Monday. “I was lucky to walk out feeling OK without any side effects besides being a little spooked.”

Johnson said it was about 75 miles out of Flagstaff, so speeds were around the 75-mile-an-hour limit — the normal traffic, but awful quick when all of a sudden someone flips in front of you. Johnson said so many teammates ended up stopping he couldn’t even name them all, although Johnson got in the ambulance with Rouse as they went up to Flagstaff. “It was a freak thing,” Johnson said.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt knows it’s not an easy drive to Flagstaff from the Valley but “it can happen from our (Tempe) facility to our homes,” he said. Being cautious on the 100-plus mile drive is “something we talk about all the time.”

As for other things Whiz touched on at lunch:

— He said the rehab of linebacker Gerald Hayes (back) is progressing well and there is a hope Hayes can return soon. Whiz said he wouldn’t rule out Hayes coming back for the start of the regular season, but “I wouldn’t say it is probable either. The next couple weeks is critical.” Hayes has missed so much time, you’d think he’ll need a chunk of practice time before he is ready to play in a game.

— Wide receiver depth is sketchy right now. Ed Gant (foot) may come back this afternoon on a limited basis. Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and Early Doucet (abdomen) have also been out. Whiz said the team is hoping to make it through, but if the non-Fitz injuries linger, there is a chance the Cards will have to make a move.

— He said guard Alan Faneca is getting better in pass protection. “There has been a lot of talk about the demise of Alan Faneca, and I haven’t really seen that,” Whiz said. “Have I seen him get beat in one-on-one pass protections in camp? Sure I have. But Calais (Campbell) is becoming a pretty good pass rusher.”

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Fitz wants to practice; car accident sidelines Rouse

Posted by Darren Urban on August 16, 2010 – 6:25 pm

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wore a brace on his sprained right knee and he wasn’t thrilled. And while he is a multi-time Pro Bowler, he shook off the idea that he could afford to miss camp while he healed.

“It makes a big diference,” Fitzgerald said. “I play a position predicated on timing. We have a new quarterback and I need to be out there with him every single day, not just Sunday, but Monday through Saturday building our continuity.”

Fitzgerald said the injury is worse than the knee injury he suffered in San Francisco (which cost him no games). But he said this was a “minor setback.” He also said he wouldn’t set a timetable, only that he wanted to get back to practice ASAP.

“That’s what is frustrating, you work so hard in the offseason to get your body in shape and then something like this happens and you take a couple steps back,” Fitzgerald said. “It makes you count your blessings. It brings you back to earth and makes you refocus. It makes you be more cerebral, it makes you watch the splits and watch the coverages becasue you can run the routes. you learn from a different point of view.”

— A pair of Cardinals were in a minor car accident on the way up to Flagstaff today on I-17, when they were apparently behind someone whose tire blew. Safeties Rashad Johnson and Aaron Rouse were in the car. Johnson was OK and he practiced today (he actually made a nice play to jump one pass and dropped what should have been an interception) while Rouse was evaluated at Flagstaff Medical Center and then released. Rouse was then sent back to the Valley for further precautionary tests.

— The other Cards injured and sitting out were WR Early Doucet (abdominal), WR Ed Gant (foot), LB Reggie Walker (hamstring), TE Ben Patrick (knee), LB Gerald Hayes (back-PUP) and LB O’Brien Schofield (knee-PUP).

— The Cardinals had a short practice lasting a little more than an hour. The Cardinals put up a new depth chart for the week but it is officially unchanged; CB Trumaine McBride remains the starter over Greg Toler although Toler made a nice interception of Matt Leinart by jumping in front of rookie TE Jim Dray. After the play, Patrick was giving Dray advice on how to better run the route so Toler wouldn’t be able to step in.

— Leinart also threw a beautiful deep TD pass, some 45 yards, to Steve Breaston over McBride.

— With Fitzgerald and Doucet sidelined, rookie wideout Stephen Williams was running with the first unit.

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Roster moves, a sellout and a flight to Canton

Posted by Darren Urban on August 11, 2010 – 5:42 pm

It was a relatively quiet and low-key practice this afternoon. Matt Leinart looked good in the red zone including a strike for a touchdown, John Skelton looked, well, raw (two straight picks by LB Mark Washington and S Aaron Rouse). And Derek Anderson threw a beautiful over-the-shoulder deep ball to Larry Fitzgerald.

WR Steve Breaston (knee) remained out, as did DT Alan Branch (hip flexor). Wide receiver Ed Gant was added to the injured list; he was sporting a walking boot on his right foot.

On to the other news o’ the day:

— There will be no practice Friday morning in Flagstaff, so anyone thinking about attending this week, tomorrow afternoon is the last workout. The Cards will be back to work Monday afternoon at NAU following Saturday’s preseason opener in Glendale.

— That game against the Texans, by the way, is a sellout. So it will be broadcast on local TV (ABC-15).

— The Cardinals were forced to make a roster move by waiving-injured DL Keilen Dykes (torn tricep tendon) and signing undrafted rookie John Fletcher, who was with the Ravens briefly. It’s a tough thing for Dykes, who worked his butt off coming back from a torn biceps muscle in November. He’s a very good guy and was at the facility it seems every week this summer.

— Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan, the longest tenured active pro athlete in the Valley, will serve as honorary captain for Saturday’s game.

— Finally, a video has been posted chronicling the trip made by team president/pilot Michael Bidwill, owner Bill Bidwill, coach Ken Whisenhunt, and fellow coaches on their trip Saturday from Flagstaff and the team’s Red-White practice out to Canton, where they surprised Hall of Fame inductee Russ Grimm. Included are some in-flight anecdotes from Grimm’s cohorts on their Hall-bound friend.

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Another veterans’ day

Posted by Darren Urban on August 5, 2010 – 5:50 pm

With a hard practice Wednesday night and two more workouts tomorrow, the lone practice Thursday was a low-key afternoon for some. Safety Adrian Wilson, guard Alan Faneca and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were spectators. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took a lot of reps, but there seemed to be fewer for Early Doucet and Steve Breaston while the other wideouts got to show something. We saw more Darren Mougey and Stephen Williams than I can remember.

(And a quick aside — Williams continues to impress. He has to do it in preseason games, but at this rate, it’s going to be hard to keep him off the roster in my opinion.)

Matt Leinart had arguably his best practice. Derek Anderson seemed to struggle. Three more players were sidelined with aliments I am now trying to find out: DL Jeremy Clark, RB Alfonso Smith and WR Max Komar (although Komar was out last night too, now that I think about it).

Leinart completed a beautiful deep pass to Fitzgerald during the two-minute drill at the end of the game. Fitzgerald came down around the 10-yard line, and that was enough for coach Ken Whisenhunt, who decided to give the second units a chance. Anderson completed a fourth-down pass for a first down to Andre Roberts (who continues to bounce back from his poor Monday) and then threw a TD pass with just a few seconds left to Ed Gant when new safety Aaron Rouse took a bad angle in the end zone.

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Stuff from practice, like Dub’s new number

Posted by Darren Urban on August 4, 2010 – 1:45 pm

So much to talk about from this morning and lunch time. Let’s get to it, shall we?

— Practice was light this morning. That’s what happens when you have practiced heavy the previous two afternoons and you have a heavy practice planned in the evening, which the Cards do under the lights at Coconino High School.

— Remember the bad day rookie receiver Andre Roberts had a couple of days ago? Apparently Roberts doesn’t. Today he made a nice catch at the back of the end zone on a pass from Max Hall, snagging it while keeping his feet inbounds.

— On the injury list, linebacker Reggie Walker was back to work. Cornerback Rashad Barksdale has a left foot injury, and tight end Anthony Becht is nursing a mild back issue. Tight end Jim Dray (quad) is still sidelined. Safety Hamza Abdullah remains out with a bad hamstring, which is why the Cards brought in safety Aaron Rouse. The other day, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, starting safeties Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes actually had to take reps with the third-string defense because the Cards were short at the position.

— Former Cardinal defensive end Bertrand Berry was back at camp. He’s a media member now, trying to get started in the business. He came up to do a series of web pieces for about camp, beginning with a story on Clark Haggans and Joey Porter. “I’m just trying to learn the other side,” Berry said. Berry’s first video will be posted Aug. 6.

— Whisenhunt said the Cardinals were happy to get another chance at linebacker Pago Togafau, whom they lost off the practice squad last season. But it meant releasing Ali Highsmith because Whiz felt the team couldn’t get too heavy at the position. It hurts the Cards that two of the players hurt right now but counting against the 80-man roster are linebackers: Gerald Hayes and O’Brien Schofield.

— Speaking of inside linebacker, Whisenhunt has no thoughts right now on where they all stand. “I have to see more and get more information,” Whisenhunt said. “A lot will play out in the preseason games.”

— Finally, Adrian Wilson, once again, was sporting a new jersey number out at practice. The man who has made getting a different jersey number at practice a habit didn’t have the No. 9 (his high school number) on for the first time. Instead, he was wearing 5/53 — as in, a No. 53, but with the “3” blocked out on the front and back with trainers’ tape.

“Camp is monotonous,” Wilson deadpanned. “You gotta do something. I can’t grow a (expletive) beard.” He laughed when it was pointed out he did have some serious chin hairs, retorting, “I’ve had this for 30 years.”

Why a 53 with the 3 covered up? “Just wanted to feel like I was still a DB,” Wilson said. “Had the ‘5’ showing, but I had the ’53’ on the shoulder because I hit like a linebacker and cover like a safety. Know what I am saying?”

Indeed we do.

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Cutting Sheik, Highsmith among Cards’ moves

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2010 – 2:36 pm

Hurting your calf on the first step of the conditioning test of training camp is never a good thing. So it’s probably not a shock the Cardinals waived-injured defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi Tuesday, the man known as the “Iron Sheik” to his teammates and the happiest man in the NFL to me. The Cardinals also cut inside linebacker Ali Highsmith, who had been running second team, and brought back yet again linebacker Pago Togafau, who has been with the Cards a few times. Finally, the team released wide receiver Deryn Bowser to sign safety Aaron Rouse, a veteran who played with the Packers and Giants last season.

The Highsmith move is a bit surprising, given the Cards’ questions at the position. But he struggled last season and apparently isn’t working out. Interesting on the signing of Rouse — who struggled a lot for the Giants, which is why they chased Antrel Rolle — but there are injuries in the secondary. Safety Hamza Abdullah was sitting out with a bad hamstring, and cornerback Rashad Barksdale has some sort of leg injury too.

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