Sorting through Thursday practice

Posted by Darren Urban on November 18, 2010 – 2:02 pm

The running back situation hasn’t changed much since yesterday. Jason Wright (concussion) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring) each sat out again. While Beanie Wells was limited, I will be shocked if he doesn’t play this weekend. That’s certainly how coach Ken Whisenhunt is talking. The question is whether the Cards are forced to activate Alfonso Smith from the practice squad if Wright and Hyphen can’t go, or if they risk going with two running backs (one of which has been dealing with a knee issue).

— Along those lines, Whisenhunt said he has not decided who the starting running back will be, nor the kick returner if Stephens-Howling can’t play.

— The other spot of concern is at cornerback, where starter Greg Toler, who was limited yesterday with a left foot injury, sat out altogether Thursday. Whisenhunt said it wasn’t serious  but it’ll be wait-and-see. Safety Kerry Rhodes also was limited today after having his back act up. Rhodes was already on the injury list because of a sore hand.

— DT Darnell Dockett is getting better, Whisenhunt said, but the test to see if his shoulder will hold up won’t come until the weekend. The full injury list, by the way, is here.

— WR Larry Fitzgerald, on going to Kansas City: “I already talked to Todd (Haley) this week and he said he was going to let us win this game, so I don’t know if this one will be too tough. It’s already in the works.”

(Yes, he was joking).

— As an FYI, former third QB Brian St. Pierre, who was without a job until last week when injuries forced the Panthers to sign him, has been named Carolina’s starter this weekend for a home game against Baltimore. Stunningly, St. Pierre will have more NFL starts than Matt Leinart (who remains third-string in Houston) since Kurt Warner retired. If you would have asked me Thanksgiving-time 2009 where the Cards’ three QBs would be at this time 2010, I would have whiffed big on all three.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 51 Comments »

Final draft thoughts

Posted by Darren Urban on April 24, 2010 – 3:26 pm

Well, I don’t think anything could have prepared anyone for today’s final day of the draft Cardinals-wise. Heck, when the O’Brien Schofield story came down — stud pass rusher who just ripped up his knee three months ago — I was just happy there was something interesting to write about. Then the Cardinals traded cornerback Bryant McFadden. Then they took a quarterback. Then we’re in the press room trying to find stats on CB Jorrick Calvin, not realizing at first he didn’t play in 2009. Even the last pick, Stanford tight end Jim Dray, had his own backstory — in 2007 covering a punt, he tore the ACL, MCL, LCL meniscus and hamstring in his left leg. Yikes.

Stories galore. But before I rush off to coach my son’s basketball game (yes, thank you NFL for hustling through this last day), some kibbles and bits I didn’t get to elsewhere:

— Calvin is intriguing. Coach Ken Whisenhunt even said the fact he didn’t play in 2009 probably helped the Cards wait until the sixth round to get him. You like the idea he took responsibility — “I had to live with the consequences,” Calvin said when he didn’t turn in an assignment and was flunked. “It was all my fault.” — and Whiz and Rod Graves sounded sure they knew what they were getting. It helped that Troy assistant coach Maurea Crain took part in training camp last year as part of the NFL’s minority coach intern program. They reached out to Crain and got all the info they needed on Calvin.

— That said, I wonder like everyone about cornerback depth. I do think Greg Toler was going to end up as the starter, so that part doesn’t concern me when it comes to the McFadden trade. And knowing McFadden was supposed to make almost $5 M catches your eye. Will they sign a vet? I think they will consider it. And this may end up being a situation where they nab a guy when final cuts come at the end of training camp too, a la Jeremy Bridges last year.

— The Cards sent both Mike Miller and Chris Miller from the coaching staff to work out QB John Skelton about 10 days ago. I was hearing his name connected with this team since the combine. I think they’ve liked him for a while. And he them. “In the back of my mind I always thought I would be a Cardinal.”

— I can’t see Brian St. Pierre signing now, though. I think the Cards get an undrafted rookie arm, but between Skelton and the work needed for both Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson, I don’t know how many reps a fourth QB would even get. And I don’t see anyone beating out the two vets and a draft pick for a roster spot either.

— Dray, on his injuries: “I knew coming back from a big knee injury like that, my way to get back on the field wasn’t going to be running double move routes or deep routes because my knee wasn’t up to that level. I knew I would have to come in right away and try to get back on the field blocking.”

— After listening to Schofield this morning, it’s tough not to feel good about the pick and what he’ll do to return to his pass-rushing ways. You look at the numbers — 12 sacks, 24 tackles for loss — and you can understand why the Cards took a chance. And coming back from ACLs isn’t the same as it used to be. I remember covering Kyle Vanden Bosch back in 2001-2003 when he blew out his knee twice and look how he turned out after he left. It takes so much less time to recover too. Whisenhunt pointed out that when he played in the 1980s, you put a guy in a cast for six weeks after tearing an ACL, and then going from there. Schofield was walking around the combine without a limp about a month after his injury.

OK, that’s all for now. I’ve gotta go. I’m sure there will be much more to talk about soon. I’ll monitor the comments on the blog, but otherwise, I’m off until Monday.

Unless the Cards make another trade … or news of their undrafted guys leak … who am I kidding. I’ll probably write again tomorrow.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 83 Comments »

Comings and goings

Posted by Darren Urban on April 5, 2010 – 9:20 pm

I was out this afternoon, while a couple of guys with Cards’ ties made the news:

— Kicker Neil Rackers signed with the Texans a few days after the Cards decided to go with Jay Feely. Interesting that Rackers is in a spot where he has to win the job. If he would have found a way to stay in Arizona, I am guessing he would have been virtually unchallenged. Now he has to beat out veteran Kris Brown (although after Brown’s tough year, it may not take as much).

— It comes as zero shock, since coach Ken Whisenhunt hinted at as much weeks ago, but Kent Somers talked to Brian St. Pierre and St. Pierre said he expects to come back to the Cards. My guess when the season first ended was that, if Kurt Warner retired, the Cards would have four quarterbacks in camp: Matt Leinart, a veteran free agent (Derek Anderson), St. Pierre and a rookie (maybe drafted, but possibly undrafted). That ideal seems to be falling into place.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog | 44 Comments »

Filling in the roster gaps

Posted by Darren Urban on March 24, 2010 – 1:47 pm

With the owners’ meetings wrapping up today and the pace of free agency slowing down, it may be a good time to look at where the Cardinals’ roster stands — and where there are holes that need to be filled by the time minicamp begins April 30.

This topic crossed my mind after writing yesterday about the signing of wide receiver Darren Mougey, who may or may not pan out but certainly isn’t been seen (at least as of now) as a replacement, whether it’d be Anquan Boldin or even Jerheme Urban. He’s just one of many receivers that will be on the roster this summer. Today, the Cardinals officially have 60 61 players on the roster, leaving 19 spots to be filled by the draft/undrafted rookies (which figures to total between 14 to 16, depending) and then some free-agent spots. There are seven veterans un-signed who could still return: LB Monty Beisel, FB Dan Kreider, QB Brian St. Pierre, S Matt Ware, K Neil Rackers, DT Bryan Robinson and WR Sean Morey (although I think Morey is more likely to end up in Seattle right now).

(On my 60-man count, I am including all the restricted and exclusive rights free agents who have yet to sign their tenders, because they eventually will.)

What spots need shoring up? The Cards need at least one more quarterback, and even if St. Pierre comes back, they need someone young, at least for camp. They need another receiver or two, although I am guessing whether they chase a veteran may depend on what happens in the draft. Remember, at that spot, a fourth receiver would likely need to play special teams and guys like Kevin Curtis or Torry Holt tend not to want to do such things.

The Cards definitely need to look at nose tackle, especially if Robinson doesn’t return. They need inside linebackers even if Beisel comes back (which I expect). They probably could use another young pass rusher at outside linebacker without knowing exactly what Cody Brown/Mark Washington/Stevie Baggs brings to the table. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get another cornerback — you can never have too many — and a return man is also needed if Steve Breaston is going to be the No. 2 wideout.

Numbers-wise, here is the current 61-man breakdown by position:

  • QB  2
  • RB  4
  • FB  2
  • WR  6
  • OL  11
  • TE  4
  • DL 9
  • OLB  6
  • MLB  4
  • CB  6
  • S  5
  • Specialists  2

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 107 Comments »

Boldin is inactive and “new” unis

Posted by Darren Urban on January 10, 2010 – 1:02 pm

The Cardinals’ receivers have come out for early warmups. Anquan Boldin is not among them. Fitz, Urban, Doucet, Breaston and Morey are all accounted for. No surprise. Inactives will be announced at 1:10 p.m. Boldin was always a long shot to play anyway. I will updated inactives when it’s time.

UPDATE: Boldin is inactive today with his bad knee and ankle. No shock. He just isn’t healthy enough to play. The other inactives come as no surprise, as the Cards are healthy enough to have their other main pieces:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • FB Nehemiah Broughton
  • S Rashad Johnson
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • DE Jeremy Clark
  • TE Stephen Spach

UPDATE II: There are no significant players on the Packers’ inactive list. The only player of any note is special teamer Derrick Martin. Also, the Cards have dumped the red-on-red today, going with red tops and white pants like earlier in the season.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 16 Comments »

Rolle, Berry to sit

Posted by Darren Urban on January 3, 2010 – 12:46 pm

With the Vikings crushing the Giants today (New York never really put up a fight) and the No. 2 seed possibility gone, the Cards are going to back off against the Packers today at some point. With that in mind, S Antrel Rolle (thigh) and LB Bertrand Berry will be inactive.

The rest of the Cards’ list:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • FB Dan Kreider (neck)
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • WR Sean Morey (concussion)
  • TE Ben Patrick (concussion)
  • DE Kenny Iwebema (concussion)

It also looks like the Cardinals will have a Saturday playoff game against the Packers, in all probability the early game. But of course, that’s not set in stone and won’t be until all the playoff matchups are set.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | No Comments »

Kreider inactive, as is Steven Jackson UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on December 27, 2009 – 12:45 pm

The Cardinals’ inactive list has one surprise — fullback Dan Kreider, who wasn’t hurt so I can only guess right now is out for strategic purposes (Beanie and Hightower playing together?). There is a bigger surprise for the Rams: running back Steven Jackson won’t play, taking away the Rams’ one weapon. UPDATE: Kreider woke up with a stiff neck today and was held out of the game as a precaution.

For the Cards, tight end Ben Patrick and wide receiver Sean Morey are both out with concussions, meaning receiver Jerheme Urban and tight end Stephen Spach are active for the first time in a while. The rest of the inactives:

  • K Neil Rackers (groin)
  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • OL Herman Johnson

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 4 Comments »

Fitz officially active today

Posted by Darren Urban on December 20, 2009 – 9:30 am

As expected all week, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is active for today’s game in Detroit. There were no surprises on the list, not with the knowledge kicker Neil Rackers (groin) and tackle Mike Gandy (pelvis) were already out. The others inactive:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • LB Will Davis (knee)
  • T Herman Johnson
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • WR Jerheme Urban

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | No Comments »

Gandy to start as inactives announced

Posted by Darren Urban on December 14, 2009 – 5:00 pm

The Cardinals have announced their inactives for tonight and there are no surprises. Left tackle Mike Gandy, as coach Ken Whisenhunt promised, will be available and he is expected to start. The full list of inactives:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • CB Greg Toler
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • LB Will Davis (knee)
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • OL Brandon Keith
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • WR Jerheme Urban

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »

The lament of St. Pierre

Posted by Darren Urban on December 9, 2009 – 7:01 am

Many days, Brian St. Pierre emerges from the training room and, when he changes, you can see a giant red patch across his lower back. It’s a tangible reminder to what he’s going through.

The Cardinals’ quarterbacks have been in focus of late. Kurt Warner and his concussion. Matt Leinart and his chance to start. But St. Pierre has his own storylines. He  was going to battle Leinart for the No. 2 QB job in the preseason, but his balky back all but ended that hope before he even played a preseason game. St. Pierre didn’t play well in the preseason, and he said his back was a big reason why. More concerning is that he said the back is still an issue.

“I am worried about it.,” St. Pierre said. “I have played through considerable pain in my life before but this is every day I am trying to fight through it. It’s better than it was in camp but I’m not taking hits either. I am just more disappointed because I couldn’t put my best foot forward in camp and I don’t know if people realized that. I was caught between a rock and a hard place.”

St. Pierre’s future is up in the air. His back could be an issue. More important for the guy who has played in one regular-season game since coming into the league in 2003, St. Pierre wants more of a chance. He’s a free agent again after the season, and, in something of an upset, SI’s Peter King named St. Pierre as one of the intriguing free agents of the upcoming offseason, comparing him to Matt Cassel.

“I wouldn’t even pretend to know about that,” St Pierre said. “I am just tyring to work through practice right now because I am hurting. It was disappointing for me because I felt they might have given me a chance. I don’t know how it will play out but I know I’m tired of being the third quarterback. It’s getting really old. You see some of the people playing (around the league), and it just makes you sick, to be honest.”

Tags: , ,
Posted in Blog | 18 Comments »
%d bloggers like this: