As minicamp arrives

Posted by Darren Urban on April 29, 2010 – 11:24 am

It feels like we were just here, prepping for minicamp, waiting for Beanie Wells to arrive from the airport for his introductory press conference, wondering what Fan Fest would be like coming off a Super Bowl appearance. The years certainly zoom by.

But this minicamp, for so many reasons, seems more intriguing that most. Many years there is a storyline or two that excites; in 2006, Matt Leinart’s first time on the field, last year it was about Beanie. But for sheer number of important and interesting topics to follow, this one may reign. A few of the key things to pay attention to starting tomorrow (minicamp is two practices Friday, two Saturday, one Sunday morning):

Lining up on offense: Adding Alan Faneca to the offensive line mix has really made that unit tops to watch. Faneca will be in there, that much seems obvious. How will Levi Brown do moving to left tackle from the right side? Who is the right tackle — Reggie Wells? Brandon Keith? Jeremy Bridges? Can Herman Johnson make a play? Does Deuce Lutui sign his tender and force the Cards to keep him on the field? Where does Rex Hadnot fit? Offensive line coach Russ Grimm told me “we will play the best five.” Who will that be?

Small-school corners: DRC is already a lock, hailing from Tennessee State. Now the other starting corner is probably going to be Greg Toler, from Saint Paul’s in Virginia. Toler did well in short stints as a rookie, but he has to prove he can hold up. And with Bryant McFadden gone, who steps up as a nickel guy?

Those inside ‘backers: Can Daryl Washington show something early? Will the pressure of replacing Karlos Dansby fall to Paris Lenon? And what about a guy like Ali Highsmith — can he make a run at playing time while Washington grows up in the NFL?

Oh yeah, there’s the quarterback: It’s Leinart’s time to take control of the QB position. But Derek Anderson has a little something to prove too, and he’s probably anxious to show that outside of what had become a toxic situation in Cleveland. Anderson should push Leinart. The Cards really need Leinart to respond in a good way.

There are other things to watch too, like how Dan Williams looks at nose tackle, or if Andre Roberts can outperform unknowns like Ed Gant, or even what the outside linebackers look like with Joey Porter and possibles such as Stevie Baggs and Mark Washington.

(And fans obviously can take a look at the public Saturday practice at Fan Fest; click here for all the details).

Football is here again.


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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.


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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.


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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

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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

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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

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Warner active for game, Gandy out

Posted by Darren Urban on December 6, 2009 – 5:04 pm

The Cardinals just announced their inactives and Kurt Warner is active, so he will start tonight against Minnesota — as expected. T Mike Gandy (pelvis) is out, so Jeremy Bridges will start on the left side.The other inactives tonight for Arizona:

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

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Urban among inactives

Posted by Darren Urban on November 22, 2009 – 12:33 pm

For those wondering if Early Doucet has surpassed Jerheme Urban on the depth chart, Urban is inactive today for the Rams’ game after not playing a snap last week. TE Stephen Spach is the choice to sit at that position (along with Dominique Byrd) as Anthony Becht stays in the lineup and Ben Patrick returns from injury.

The other inactives:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • S Rashad Johnson
  • LB Chike Okeafor (back)
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • OL Brandon Keith

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Friday before the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on November 13, 2009 – 5:15 pm

It’s been a long week, but here we are to the end, with the second half of the season about to begin. It’s been an odd first half too – the Cardinals are 5-3, and yet, there isn’t that joy you’d think would come with such a record or first-place standing.

“Last year we were excited to be 5-3 and this year we are disappointed to be 5-3,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, “because we have had opportunities to be better than we are.”

That’s true, although the players who were around for the more difficult (*cough*DennyGreen*cough*) years aren’t about to complain. “I was hoping we’d get to this point eventually,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, with safety Matt Ware adding “I’d rather have it be this way than the other way.”

Me too. No denying that. Can’t imagine being the writer for stlouisrams.com right now (Hang in there, Nick).

Anyway, the Seahawks are coming in, the Cards are trying to right their issues at home (more on that in a story I’ll post tomorrow) and it’s time to take control of the NFC West.

— I expect a lot of passes Sunday. From the Seahawks because they can’t run the ball – I read one story from Seattle that pointed out their yards-per-rush is the team’s worst since 1984, when their top back was an on-his-last-legs Franco Harris after the other Curt Warner blew out his knee. Matt Hasselbeck threw it 51 times last week. Not that you wish ill will, but since Hasselbeck is already hurting with his old ribs injury and now a sore arm, I will not be shocked with a Seneca Wallace sighting at some point.

— The Cards will run for sure, after 182 rushing yards a week ago. But Larry Fitzgerald seems like he has raised his level of late and I think it’s safe to say (a healthy) Anquan Boldin is, uh, motivated to have a big game.

— Will the roof be open? Whisenhunt called it a game-day decision. The temperature works. The Cards, with the noise trapped inside, always had a lot of success with the roof closed. But I guess, given the road success this season (and the home defeats) you could argue trying the other way. We’ll see.

— With Mike Gandy iffy with his pelvic injury and veteran Jeremy Bridges slated to fill in if needed, I’ve had a lot of fans ask me what the deal is with Herman Johnson and Brandon Keith. Simple – neither is ready on the level of Bridges. Yet. Gandy is going to be a free agent at the end of the season and we could be (probably are?) looking at an Antonio Smith-Calais Campbell thing going on. Whisenhunt said Johnson remains raw and, don’t forget, he played guard in college and the Cards want to use him at tackle. Keith is further along, although he’s been working at guard and Whisenhunt said the Cards envision him as a tackle.

— For all the gnashing of teeth regarding the offense’s perceived ups and downs, Kurt Warner is on pace for 32 touchdown passes – which would eclipse the franchise record of 30, set by Warner last season.

— Safety Antrel Rolle, during a part of practice Friday when he wasn’t needed, took a ball and stood on the south goal line and threw a bomb toward teammate Karlos Dansby – and it landed on the other 25-yard line. There’s no question Rolle has got an arm.

— Fitz, talking about whether Beanie Wells will get that “big” breakout game: “They are splitting carries. If you were to give the ball to Beanie 30 times or Tim (Hightower) 30 times, they would have 100-yard games. But when you are just getting 12 carries, 15 carries and trying to keep guys healthy and keep balance, sometimes it is going to be difficult to have those really big games.”

— It looks like the Cards will be without linebackers Gerald Hayes and Chike Okeafor, both of whom are battling back problems. They showed, with Ali Highsmith, they can get away with not having Hayes like last week. But it will hurt to not have Okeafor as a pass rush option; as I said, I think the Seahawks will throw a lot and the Cards could use a rotation of fresh rushers.

Or maybe Rolle, Adrian Wilson, Bryant McFadden and DRC can just make sure no one catches the ball.

B4SeaBlog


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Anquan inactive against Bears

Posted by Darren Urban on November 8, 2009 – 9:46 am

The Cardinals have announced their inactives for Sunday’s game and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (ankle) is inactive today against the Bears, as is starting linebacker Gerald Hayes (back). It’s a little bit of a surprise Boldin isn’t going, but now we see what Early Doucet can do. Boldin looked OK in practice and when I watched him warm up earlier today (pictured below). The others on the inactive list:

  • QB Brian St. Pierre
  • S Rashad Johnson
  • OL Herman Johnson
  • OL Brandon Keith
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • TE Dominique Byrd

AnquanBearsBlog


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