Thoughts on the first depth chart

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2017 – 3:33 pm

The first depth chart is here, and mostly that means, dang, we are about to have a football game (and one week from Thursday, we will). This comes with all the same normal disclaimers — including the note that it was prepared by the media relations staff. Also good to note that rookies are always low when this first comes out, and indeed, in practice Budda Baker and Chad Williams, for instance, are running behind a handful of other guys. But they will be on the team, barring something unforeseen.

In fact, there aren’t any real surprises. Chris Johnson and Kerwynn Williams are listed as “co” No. 2 running backs, and that’s a good sign for Williams (although I expect CJ2K to have the job when it’s all said and done.) Olsen Pierre is ahead of Xavier Williams on the defensive line. The injuries of Elie Bouka and Jumel Rolle look like they’ve hurt their depth chart standing. And even though Harlan Miller is listed among the safeties, he’s done most of his work thus far at cornerback.

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An early look at the depth chart spots

Posted by Darren Urban on July 23, 2017 – 9:34 am

There is no official depth chart until right before the first game of the preseason (which, given that the Cardinals play Aug. 3 in Canton against the Cowboys, is sooner than normal anyway), but after the first practice of training camp, we get an idea at least of how the players are stacked for now.

Among the areas to note: The base defense and the offensive line.

On the line, the first unit was pretty plain during offseason work:
LT D.J. Humphries
LG Mike Iupati
C A.Q. Shipley
RG Evan Boehm
RT Jared Veldheer

The second unit lined up this way:
LT Ulrick John
LG Kaleb Johnson
C Cole Toner
RG Tony Bergstrom
RT John Wetzel

Interesting to see that rookie guard Dorian Johnson is not even second unit right now, considering so many have talked about him challenging Boehm for a starting spot. But realistically, it’s not a surprise. A lot can change over the five weeks of camp, but this is where they are right now.

Defensively, here’s how they lined up in base (first-second unit)

DT Josh Mauro           Robert Nkemdiche
NT Corey Peters          Rodney Gunter
DT Frostee Rucker     Olsen Pierre
OLB Markus Golden   Kareem Martin
ILB Haason Reddick   Gabe Martin
ILB Karlos Dansby      Scooby Wright
OLB Chandler Jones   Alani Fua
CB Patrick Peterson   Jumal Rolle
CB Justin Bethel         Brandon Williams
S Tyrann Mathieu       Budda Baker
S Tyvon Branch           Antoine Bethea

Things change in sub-packages — Bethea, for instance, is ahead of Baker at this point, on the first unit — but again, this will ebb and flow to a certain degree.

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The first depth chart, 2016

Posted by Darren Urban on August 8, 2016 – 11:19 am

The Cardinals’ first game is Friday night against the Raiders, so that means the first depth chart of the season was put out today. As always, it’s a preseason depth chart, and there is a ton of wiggle room in what it says and what happens once the games start and who plays on the field.

“It’s (in) invisible ink,” coach Bruce Arians said, laughing. “It ain’t even in pencil.”

That said, it’s always interesting to take a look at where the players are at this point.

— On offense, there is nothing really wacky. The starters, given what Bruce Arians has said about both A.Q. Shipley and D.J. Humphries, are as expected. Perhaps the only notable thing is that, as of now, tryout rookie Chris Hubert — who has flashed multiple times in practice — is ahead of veteran Brittan Golden at one of the wideout positions (behind Fitz and Jaron Brown.)

— On defense, even though Ed Stinson has been with the first-unit much of the offseason and camp, it is Rodney Gunter listed as a starter with Calais Campbell, and the now-injured Corey Peters as the starting nose tackle. Given the depth at the defensive line, the rotation will show starting means little since so many guys will be moved in and out.

— Brandon Williams, the rookie, is the starter at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. That’s not a surprise since Justin Bethel has been hurt for so long. Bethel hasn’t been on the field to play since the NFC Championship, although he should be close to a return.

— At safety, something to watch. The starters are the injured Tyrann Mathieu, and he is backed up by Tony Jefferson. The strong safety starter right now is listed as D.J. Swearinger, ahead of Tyvon Branch. Before the offseason, you would’ve thought Branch or Jefferson would be penciled in there, but it is Swearinger right now. As much as the Cards have had to figure out their cornerback situation, their safety spot — especially with rookie Marqui Christian making strides — is pretty strong. There might have to be a tough choice made there too, especially once Mathieu is considered healthy.

Here’s the whole chart:


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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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The first depth chart of 2015

Posted by Darren Urban on August 10, 2015 – 1:20 pm

The Cardinals released the first depth chart of the 2015 season, with their first preseason game coming Saturday night. As noted at the very top of the chart in the team’s press release, the chart is compiled by the media relations staff. It’s a useful tool, but it isn’t the end-all be-all in terms of what the Cardinals are doing on the field. Reading too much into it can be a mistake.

For instance, Tony Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu are listed as the starting safeties, while in practice it is Deone Bucannon and Rashad Johnson who have been running with the first unit. In the end, all four get a lot of snaps. Ifeanyi Momah is running first unit at tight end and has earned it — but will he stay there when Jermaine Gresham gets back into football shape? And with so many quality defensive linemen, it probably shouldn’t matter right now that, for instance, Matt Shaughnessy is running third team because that will all be sorted out as preseason games go by. Rodney Gunter is fourth-team in the deep unit — but barring something crazy, he’s going to be on this roster.

That being said, here’s a look at the depth chart:


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The first depth chart

Posted by Darren Urban on August 4, 2014 – 3:55 pm

The Cardinals released their first depth chart today. There are no real surprises. Newcomer Max Starks is ahead of Bradley Sowell for second-unit right tackle. John Abraham is still listed as a starter. Tony Jefferson is the starter at strong safety over Deone Bucannon. Ryan Lindley is third-team QB over Logan Thomas. But again, these battles are ongoing and we all know, for instance, Thomas and Lindley are essentially fighting for one spot that is basically even right now.

With this being so early in camp, my guess is not a lot will change on the chart. It’s meaning increases once we get to the regular season. Regardless, here is the whole thing:

Microsoft Word - AZ Depth Chart-2014

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Depth charts and number changes

Posted by Darren Urban on September 3, 2013 – 9:59 am

The first depth chart of the regular season — officially unofficial that it is — is out. Yes, the team puts one out but let’s face it, there is nothing making the coaches stay true to it, so as usual, there is a grain of salt aspect that must come with it. That said, Ryan Williams, after everything he went through in training camp, is still listed as the No. 2 running back behind Rashard Mendenhall. Stepfan Taylor is three, Alfonso Smith four, Andre Ellington fifth.

The rest of the chart doesn’t change much. Jim Dray is listed as a starter now with Rob Housler in the two-tight end sets. That’s no surprise. Dray has been the steadiest tight end the Cards have had. New tackle Bradley Sowell is listed as a right tackle, third on the depth chart behind Eric Winston and Bobby Massie. As always, you can view the whole chart here:

— The Cardinals had a handful of jersey number changes too, the most significant being veteran linebacker John Abraham’s ability to go back to wearing No. 55. That comes compliments of fellow veteran LB Karlos Dansby, who will take the No. 56 of the departed Reggie Walker. Also changing were Winston, who takes No. 73 from No. 65, linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who takes No. 52 from No. 54, and safety Tony Jefferson, who goes to No. 22 from No. 36.

UPDATE: The Cards filled out the final three spots on the practice squad with LB Kenny Demens (cut earlier this week), DT Anthony McCloud (cut by Minnesota) and WR Sam McGuffie (cut by Oakland).

— Don’t forget the first of weekly Tuesday chats today at 2 p.m. The link is right here.

— In case you missed it, here is a photo gallery from Larry Fitzgerald’s trip to Pitt last night to get his No. 1 jersey retired.


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The first depth chart

Posted by Darren Urban on August 5, 2013 – 1:42 pm

The Cardinals have released their first depth chart, and since coach Bruce Arians already explained what would have been the most noticeable move — LB Daryl Washington as third string, as the team prepares to not have him for the first four regular-season games — the rest of it kind of falls in line with how they have been practicing.

“I wouldn’t get too tied up with where anybody is at,” Arians said. “They might me listed as third in one package and be a starter in another package. I’m really not interested in answering a bunch of question where a guy is on the depth chart for this game.”

John Abraham is listed third at WILL linebacker behind Lorenzo Alexander and Matt Shaughnessy, but Abraham will be on the field in pass rush situations. Of that there is no doubt. Javier Arenas is listed as the No. 1 kickoff return man. Kerry Taylor is listed as the No. 4 receiver for now. Arenas and Antoine Cason are the backup cornerbacks to Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Powers. The rest of the lineup filters out pretty much exactly like they have been practicing in base looks on offense and defense.

Again, the whole chart is here.

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The first depth chart

Posted by Darren Urban on July 30, 2012 – 9:22 am

The Cardinals put out their first official depth chart of the season today. This stuff is fluid given certain competitions, but they have to make someone No. 1 and No. 2 and so on. There are no shocking developments, but:

— Kevin Kolb is listed as the No. 1 QB right now. John Skelton is the No. 2.

— Jeremy Bridges is the No. 1 right tackle over Bobby Massie, and as I have said many many many times, I expect that to be the case for a while.

— With Jeff King still rehabbing his quad, Todd Heap is the No. 1 tight end, Rob Housler No. 2.

— Behind Fitz is DeMarco Sampson and then Stephen Williams. At the other receiver spot, it officially goes Andre Roberts, then Early Doucet, then Michael Floyd.

— William Gay is the No. 1 right cornerback across from Patrick Peterson. Greg Toler is listed as Gay’s backup, with Michael Adams listed as Peterson’s backup.

— Brandon Williams is Sam Acho’s backup, with Clark Haggans as O’Brien Schofield’s backup at OLB. Quentin Groves is behind Haggans.

— With the large roster, the only second team rookies (no starters) are LG Senio Kelemete, FB Jared Crank and Massie. (And the Cards are incredibly unlikely to keep two fullbacks.) T Nate Potter is third-string, Floyd is third-string, S Justin Bethel is third-string and, with the large amount of veteran cornerbacks, Jamell Fleming is technically fourth-string behind Gay, Toler and A.J. Jefferson (although he will be on this roster, no doubt.)

Here is the entire depth chart.

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