Four players did not practice at all this week, and all four are doubtful to play Sunday against the Dolphins, including defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. (The other three are running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, tight end Todd Heap and tight end/fullback Jim Dray). Not having Dockett would be a blow to the defense, obviously. Coach Ken Whisenhunt called Dockett, Heap and Hyphen game-day decisions, but realistically, it’s going to be tough. “I’m not a doctor, I don’t think he could play. He hasn’t taken a snap,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said.
Horton reiterated his unit is still leaving plays on the table. That allows the group to stay humble at this point.
— Eagles defensive end Jason Babin was fined $15,750 for his horse-collar tackle against Stephens-Howling in the game last weekend. There was no flag thrown on the play.
— The Cardinals needed a fullback with the injuries to Anthony Sherman (hamstring) and Dray (knee), so they brought in Korey Hall this week. That lasted two days.
The team announced Friday Hall has been placed on the reserved-retired list, with local favorite Regan Maui’a once again getting the call to replace him. I just saw Hall in the locker room yesterday heading to meetings, so obviously something changed to make him apparently choose to retire and/or leave after just signing.
This makes eight different times Maui’a has signed with the Cards all told, starting in 2009. Maui’a was with the Cardinals for a while in training camp last month. Maui’a played in 15 games in 2010 and three games last season for the Cards, having spent training camp with the team for all or part of 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Tags: Anthony Sherman, Darnell Dockett, Dolphins, Jason Babin, Jim Dray, Korey Hall, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Reagan Maui'a, Todd Heap
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We’ve seen the progress Kevin Kolb has made at quarterback, comfortable in the pocket, waiting for things to develop. Apparently his on-the-way-daughter is going through her progressions the right way too.
Kolb, who’s wife is expecting the couple’s third child, headed off to the hospital after practice Thursday. The baby is apparently on its way. It’s not the perfect scenario as Kolb declared it — right after Monday meetings before a Tuesday off day — but it’s close. Even if it means Kolb will miss some time Friday, he should be prepared for the Dolphins Sunday and there shouldn’t be any kind of conflict. Certainly, the official due date of Oct. 4 — next week, the day the Cards play in St. Louis — won’t be in play.
Everyone can breathe a little easier. Kolb had said he hoped he wouldn’t have to make a choice between playing and baby, and it looks like he won’t.
— A quick injury update: FB Anthony Sherman was upgraded to limited Thursday, but the other four players who sat out Wednesday were still sitting Thursday, including DT Darnell Dockett. Defensive backs Michael Adams (hamstring) and S James Sanders (calf) were added to the already lengthy report as limited. Of the six players listed as limited yesterday, the only change was P Dave Zastudil upgraded to full.
For the Dolphins, RB Reggie Bush (knee) was upgraded to limited and Dolphins beat man Ben Volin said he expects Bush to play. Former Cardinals DB Richard Marshall, battling back problems, may have a harder time getting on the field.
Tags: Dolphins, Kevin Kolb
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The always-morphing Peyton Manning story continued Friday as bits and pieces leaked out and everyone tried to analyze what it all meant when nobody with the initials P.M. was actually making comments.
As of this writing – it seems like things will be changing often, or at least be seen through a changing prism – Manning is in Denver. (You can see the photo and everything.) The Denver Post and ESPN are both reporting that, and also reporting that the Cards will get a visit from Manning while he is out West.
Some stories make it sound like the Broncos, Cards and Dolphins have the visits and are the final three. Another said Manning is just doing due diligence in order of convenience. But if Manning really wants to make a decision in the next few days (as another report said) then he can only visit so many places.
Who really knows?
A quick signing makes sense for teams to be able to move on with the rest of the business for building toward 2012. It seems odd that Manning would sign somewhere without throwing for a team, but maybe he’s already figured he’ll let a team protect itself in the contract for that possibility (and maybe he’s so sure he’ll be back he doesn’t even see that as a risk.)
But at this point, The Courtship of Peyton is a living, breathing thing.
Tags: Broncos, Dolphins, free agency, Peyton Manning
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The National Football Post reported that coach Ken Whisenhunt interviewed Dolphins assistant head coach/secondary coach Todd Bowles for the vacant defensive coordinator job while both are in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl. Bowles has a history with Whisenhunt — they were teammates on the Redskins in 1989 and 1990. Bowles was a defensive back for eight seasons in the league. He was also part of Bill Parcells’ staff in Dallas (and Whisenhunt has Parcells’ ties from his time coaching the Jets; remember coaches from his initial staff — like Todd Haley and Maurice Carthon — are from the Parcells’ tree and coached with Bowles in Dallas. Bowles was also on the Jets’ staff with Whisenhunt).
All that said (and even though the report lists Bowles as “an extremely strong candidate” for Arizona), I don’t believe anything has significantly changed. Whisenhunt had already said he was going to interview candidates this week but given the timing, it’s difficult not to think the possibilities in Pittsburgh (whether it is Keith Butler or Dick LeBeau or someone else) remain at the top of Whisenhunt’s list (or who knows, maybe even a Packers’ assistant). Why else would you have waited for an assistant on a team that didn’t make the playoffs (like the Dolphins)? If a playoff doesn’t work out, I could see Bowles (who obviously has been working with a 3-4 system).
Tags: coaching staff, Dick LeBeau, Dolphins, Keith Butler, Ken Whisenhunt, Steelers, Todd Bowles
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So I listened to Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland say at the combine this of free safety Gibril Wilson, who struggled last season: “We have our evaluation of Gibril Wilson. We know what kind of player he’s capable of being. I think he’s going to be a very good player for the future. He was disappointed in his play last year. I think he can play better. We’ll just have to see. I think he will.”
Sounded like a guy who was going to get another chance. Um, nope. His agent tweeted Wilson is being released today.
What does that mean for the Cards? Well, it makes me think the Dolphins are confident they have a shot at Antrel Rolle. And that Ireland apparently thought Wilson would be a “very good player” somewhere besides Miami.
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Dolphins, free agency
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Well that didn’t take long. The National Football Post is reporting Karlos Dansby will be on a plane to Miami tonight, ostensibly to be ready to sign one of the first free-agent deals. Will Dansby land in Miami? He certainly has been long linked to the Dolphins. I don’t think he’d fly all the way out there if he didn’t have a pretty good idea what kind of cash they’d offer. And Dansby is one of those free agents who figures to be off the market rather quickly.
UPDATE: Or maybe he’s not going at all.
And so it begins.
Tags: Dolphins, Karlos Dansby
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The next two weeks will heavily impact the direction of the Cards’ offseason, given that the annual Scouting Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in a couple of days and then free agency begins at the end of next week.
— The Cards want to keep LB Karlos Dansby and Dansby has insisted he hasn’t closed the door on the Cards. But in this depressed free agent market (thanks to the ongoing labor issues) Dansby could be considered the top free agent available in the entire NFL (especially with the glut of Julius Peppers’ bashing). Dansby was never going to get the franchise tag and given the circumstances, he won’t be getting the transition tag either.
— Antrel Rolle and the team have talked contract, but this close to Rolle’s magic date — he’s due that giant $4 million roster bonus next week — I expect him to be released into the open market. What that means is anyone’s guess. The Cardinals believe Rolle would like to come back, but again, it’s all relative when it comes to dollars. Could the Dolphins — and Miami is home for Rolle — come calling for big bucks given their issues with current free safety Gibril Wilson? Might the Giants, who had all kinds of secondary issues, choose to siphon away the guy who sealed their fate this past season? Someone else?
One of the other problems in the Rolle situation: When you’re talking numbers with a guy, I don’t see how the Cards can want to jump him over the deal Adrian Wilson just signed last season (I wouldn’t think Adrian would be all that excited about that either). Does that automatically set a ceiling for Rolle?
— The Cards are also going to have to give tender offers to their restricted free agents in the next week or so. The key RFAs for the Cards (assuming an uncapped year, which seems a foregone conclusion) are wide receiver Steve Breaston, center Lyle Sendlein, guard Deuce Lutui, tight end Ben Patrick and nose tackle Gabe Watson. There are slight differences in salary for RFAs this season now that guys might have three, four or five years of experience, but here’s how I think it’ll shake out: Breaston will get the first-round tender ($2.396 million) and the other four will get the second-round tender. In all cases, the Cards have the right of first refusal to match any offer another team gives, and that team would have to surrender the tendered draft pick if the Cards didn’t match.
But because of the rules changes, those second-round tenders could mean different things in terms of salary. For Sendlein (undrafted) and Patrick (seventh round), it would be $1.684 million. For Watson (fourth round), who has played four years, it would be $1.759 million. For Lutui, however, it could be two different salaries, since he was a second-round pick. He could get the same $1.759 million Watson would get in that situation, or the Cards could give him the salary for players who are tendered to their original draft round — $1.176 million — since a team would still have to give up a second-rounder for him.
— And then, of course, there is the combine itself, as the Cards begin to sort through their potential draft picks up close and personal.
It’s going to get interesting.
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Ben Patrick, Deuce Lutui, Dolphins, free agency, Gabe Watson, Giants, Karlos Dansby, Lyle Sendlein, Steve Breaston
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With it being the offseason, it was inevitable there would be speculation on whether or not Anquan Boldin would/will be traded. It’s probably inevitable that much of the speculation would emanate from Miami, where the Dolphins need a receiver and near where Boldin grew up in Pahokee, Fla. The Miami Herald had a reporter at the Cards-Saints playoff game specifically asking Boldin if he would ask for a trade this offseason and now comes this buried note that the Dolphins would likely be willing to offer a pick for Boldin. Of course, if you read the note, it is more about the Dolphins not wanting to chase Brandon Marshall rather than love for Boldin (at least right now).
But if the Dolphins, who are picking 12th, are only willing to give up a third-round pick (or even later), as has been rumored, that may be tough to get a deal done. I can’t believe there wouldn’t be another team willing to give up at least a second for Boldin.
I do think there is a good chance Anquan is moved, though. We all know the contractual reasons why it could happen. But there is also Steve Breaston. Breaston is a restricted free agent and while I think he’ll simply be tendered an offer rather than get a long-term deal right now (given the CBA unknowns), I do think the Cards will seriously think about allowing him to move up the food chain. That can’t happen with Boldin around.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Dolphins, Steve Breaston, trade
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The players are streaming back this morning and there is another hour-plus practice today with the Cardinals getting back into a groove following the bye. There isn’t a whole lot Cardinal-related going on yet, but otherwise …
— So if you’re with the Buccaneers, there’s got to be a part of you that is hoping with then 2010 schedule comes out in April you see a trip to Glendale in Week Two of the season. Yes, it could mean a loss, but it could mean so much more. Why? Well, the Dolphins played the Cardinals in Week Two of 2008 after losing their opener and were whacked by the Cards, 31-10. The Dolphins went on to win 11 of their final 14 games. This year, the Jaguars lost their opener and then were whacked by the Cards, 31-17, in Week Two. They have followed up with two big victories within their division. So it stands to reason that if you are a Florida team and the Cards run you off the road in Week Two, it’s a harbinger of good things, right? (And yes, Tampa Bay is already set on the Cards’ list of opponents in 2010. The Cards have home games against Tampa, New Orleans, Denver, Oakland and their “matching” NFC East finisher; they have road trips to Atlanta, Carolina, Kansas City, San Diego and the “matching” NFC North team).
— No, no one was expecting the Rams to be very good this season. But to see the 49ers dismantle them yesterday, well, I think the Niners have proven they are for real, especially in context of the NFC West.
— Early byes don’t have to hurt. Last year, six teams had byes after three games. Two were doomed for non-bye reasons: Seattle (injuries) and Detroit (just a mess). The other four did just fine: New England (missed the playoffs but went 11-5) and playoff teams Indianapolis, the Giants and aforementioned Miami.
— Good stuff from Peter King on Pat Tillman looking back into NFL prospects before his death. I knew about the part where he could have gotten out of the Army early and that he could have been on an NFL roster (Seattle, in case you’re wondering, is where former Cardinals defensive backs coach Larry Marmie, who coached Tillman, was and still is, in addition to the Ferguson connection). I agree with Dave McGinnis in the article about Tillman being great on special teams. Even if Tillman had returned to the Cards in 2003 and never joined the Army, he would have likely been beaten out as a starter by Adrian Wilson. But I always thought Tillman would have evolved into a long-term Bill Bates/Steve Tasker/Ron Wolfley/Sean Morey type star of special teams.
— Finally, props to the man behind Cardinals Underground/Big Red Rage and everything Cardinals radio, Jim Omohundro, for slaying the competition with his bowling game of 242 last week. I told him I’d give him a shout-out.
Tags: 49ers, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Jaguars, Jim Omohundro, NFC West, Pat Tillman, schedule
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