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No shock: Dockett, Heap, Hyphen out for Dolphins

Posted by Darren Urban on September 30, 2012 – 11:34 am

The doubtful players all are sitting today for the Cardinals, which includes defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (hamstring). It also includes running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip), tight end Todd Heap (knee) and tight end Jim Dray (knee).

That mean safety Adrian Wilson is playing, as is fullback Anthony Sherman — although new signee Reagan Maui’a is active as well as a reserve because Dray is out.

Quarterback John Skelton (ankle) also is still out. Ryan Lindley remains Kevin Kolb’s backup.

Guard Senio Kelemete and wide receiver LaRon Byrd are the Cards’ only “healthy” scratches. Reggie Bush is playing for the Dolphins.


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Dockett doubtful, Maui’a returns

Posted by Darren Urban on September 28, 2012 – 12:04 pm

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.


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Beyond Beanie

Posted by Darren Urban on September 26, 2012 – 3:01 pm

Now that Beanie Wells is out for at least eight weeks (seven games, because of the bye) after suffering a severe turf toe injury, the Cards must find a way to move on in the backfield, and they are beat up. Now only is Wells out, but LaRod Stephens-Howling (groin) and fullback Anthony Sherman (hamstring) both sat out Wednesday’s practice. Everyone waiting to see William Powell is going to get a chance, and we’re also going to see Ryan Williams with a pretty big role (I talked to Williams and will have more in a homepage story later).

I know there will be some Beanie backlash — I’ve already seen some — but if you are hurt you are hurt, and if you are hurt enough to go on IR, it’s serious. Coach Ken Whisenhunt called it a 6-to-8 week injury. It evens things out a little for the Miami game, since Reggie Bush is iffy because of his own knee injury. Wells has a torn ligament, and it’s hard to push off. There was a reason he hit the ground on his final carry. He just couldn’t go.

(Here’s a great explanation of the turf toe injury from Kent Somers.)

— Even backup fullback Jim Dray (knee) had to sit out Wednesday. The Cards are beat up a little — it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with this week, and then next week when it’s short before playing a Thursday night game in St. Louis. (Here’s the full injury report.)

— Quarterback John Skelton was limited and said he is doing much better, but still isn’t all the way back. No decisions have to be made yet.

— Whisenhunt will appear on tonight’s “Inside the NFL” show on Showtime. It begins at 9 p.m. Arizona time.


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Skelton indeed inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2012 – 8:29 am

As expected, quarterback John Skelton (ankle) is inactive today, with Kevin Kolb getting the start and rookie Ryan Lindley one heartbeat away, as it were, as the backup. The inactive list doesn’t contain any surprises. Cornerback Greg Toler is active today, with tight end Jim Dray being sat down. The rest of the list is such:

— WR LaRon Byrd

— RB William Powell

— LB Jamaal Westerman

— G Senio Kelemete

— T Pat McQuistan


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A guess at the 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 29, 2012 – 4:59 pm

Every NFL team must have it roster cuts in by Friday afternoon. To be exact, by 6 p.m. Arizona time. I expect the Cardinals – and coach Ken Whisenhunt – to have announced them before, since Whiz will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. that day. Until then, though, this is a guess at how this 53-man roster shakes out.

Whisenhunt made it clear the other day that this last preseason game does matter when it comes to a spot or two on the roster, and I believe that. It means trying to approximate who will be on the roster before that last game is somewhat fool’s gold. I’m certainly not Nostradamus here. Last year, for instance, I had Ben Graham holding off Dave Zastudil for the punter job. I was very wrong. And this only holds for as long as it might take for the Cards to claim/sign a guy or two over the weekend, which would obviously change things. That always happens.

But it’s fodder to chew on until Friday, speculation upon which this time of the NFL schedule is built around. So with apologies to those I miss on, and with a nod to old school Letterman, this is only an exhibition and not a competition, so please, no wagering.

QB – (3) John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley. No, we don’t know the starter yet. But it’s hard to believe that with everything Lindley has shown as a rookie he doesn’t get the nod over Rich Bartel (who is one of the best guys you’ll meet and someday will be a very good coach.)

RB – (4) Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell. This is one of the sticking points. Powell has had a good preseason, but as I have mentioned many times, I think Alfonso Smith has as well. It may come down to how Powell looks Thursday night. Will I be shocked if Smith is the choice instead of Powell? Nope.

FB – (1) Anthony Sherman. The Sherminator running unopposed. It’s like a boring political “race.”

WR – (6) Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, DeMarco Sampson, LaRon Byrd. This is a close one, in my mind. The top four are obvious. I think Sampson has had a good camp and he can play special teams. Byrd versus Stephen Williams may just be about Byrd’s upside. I’m not sure Byrd would make it to the practice squad but — given some other positional issues, like, at say, offensive line – I’m not sure either if the Cards may try and keep just five receivers and use the practice squad for relief.

TE – (4) Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray. Given the injury history of, well, all of them, I think the Cards play it safe and keep four guys around again.

OL – (8) D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobby Massie, Rich Ohrnberger, Jeremy Bridges, Senio Kelemete. This is a very difficult one from the outside looking in. The Cards might keep nine linemen, given their . Has Kelemete shown enough, even as a draft pick? Would Nate Potter be possible given the tackle issues? Where might a free agent or waiver claim fit in? I could see Potter, D.J. Young and/or center Scott Wedige as practice squad material too.

DL (6) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Vonnie Holliday, David Carter, Nick Eason. Seems fairly cut and dried at this position, one of the few like that.

LB – (8) Sam Acho, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, O’Brien Schofield, Stewart Bradley, Reggie Walker, Clark Haggans, Brandon Williams. This is another spot that might come down to the Denver game. The backup outside linebacker spot figures to have two places for three guys: Haggans, Williams, Quentin Groves. Groves made some plays early. Williams plays some special teams and has been higher on the depth chart.

DB (10) – Patrick Peterson, William Gay, Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Rashad Johnson, James Sanders, Greg Toler, A.J. Jefferson. Usually, the Cards wouldn’t keep more than nine defensive backs, and that’s still possible. With 10, Bethel is a special teams keeper despite being a raw DB. Michael Adams is the odd man out there, but it will not shock me to see Adams stick around either and maybe someone like Jefferson out. Watching the reserve defensive backs closely in the finale, because I think that will be part of the equation.

ST – (3) Jay Feely (K), Dave Zastudil (P), Mike Leach (LS). Never should have doubted Leach’s return.


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Washington questionable; Butler out

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2011 – 12:41 pm

Linebacker Daryl Washington (calf) missed practice for a third straight day but he is listed as questionable for Sunday. Same goes for running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand) and wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring), who missed practice but are questionable.

The only two players already out are tight end Jim Dray (pectoral) and cornerback Crezdon Butler (ankle), who hurt himself in practice Thursday and it could be serious.

Everyone else is healthy enough to play, including linebacker Joey Porter (knee) and punter Dave Zastudil (calf).

And with that, it’s time to head downstairs and hop on the bus. Time to fly to D.C.


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The page long since turned, and after practice

Posted by Darren Urban on September 9, 2011 – 12:47 pm

The Cardinals are ready to play the Panthers — it’s been a long time coming to get to a game that counts. No one wants to relive 2010, but frankly, with so much roster turnover and a training camp behind them, there isn’t a strong sense of putting 2010 in the rear view because it’s already there.

“That’s gone,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It’s kind of hard to talk about last year when you’ve got 51 new guys plus. You talk about last year and they’re like, ‘What are you talking about? We sucked?’ Yeah, we sucked. So OK. Let’s move on. We’re going to be better this year. That’s our goal.”

— More on this later (full story here) but Adrian Wilson said he hasn’t thought much about returning from his torn bicep because “technically I never played. It’s not like I was hurt in the first preseason game.” That may be true, but having him in the starting lineup is important, even if it’s been clear since the end of Flagstaff camp that he would probably be on the field against Carolina.

— Whisenhunt wouldn’t say who his No. 2 quarterback will be Sunday. John Skelton is still nursing his sore ankle, although he has been practicing. Skelton is listed as questionable. Regardless, Whisenhunt cautioned that whatever QB decision is made this weekend, it didn’t necessarily mean it was long-term.

— Tight end Jim Dray (pec) is out for Sunday. Cornerback Michael Adams (knee) is questionable, as is Skelton. Everyone else on the injury report is probable. For the Panthers, two key starters — linebacker Jon Beason (ankle) and tackle Jeff Otah (knee) are listed as questionable.


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Captains named and getting healthier

Posted by Darren Urban on September 8, 2011 – 2:12 pm

The news that many seemed to be (anxiously) awaiting has been revealed: Team captains were announced Thursday, with mostly repeats. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and center Lyle Sendlein were named on offense for the second straight year. Kicker Jay Feely gets the nod on special teams. And on defense, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and safety Adrian Wilson were joined this year by a surprise — linebacker Paris Lenon. It shows the respect Lenon has in the locker room, since the captains are voted on by the players.

(UPDATE: You can read more about the captains choices right here.)

Injury-wise, the Cards are in good shape. Only two players failed to practice fully: tight end Jim Dray, who sat out with his pectoral strain, and cornerback Michael Adams, who remains limited after knee surgery. The Panthers did downgrade star linebacker Jon Beason to DNP as he continues to battle a bad ankle.


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Peterson and Horton promises plus post-practice

Posted by Darren Urban on September 7, 2011 – 2:22 pm

Cornerback Patrick Peterson is the starter now, and he has also been tabbed as the Cards’ top punt returner — which he said to him was just as important. Peterson established in college he was a dangerous return man, and he is confident that facet of the game isn’t much different. “Guys get down there the same, guys tackle the same,” Peterson said. “It’s all about me getting down and making plays.”

Of course, teams stopped punting to Peterson after a while. “It’s probably a little bit too early for that,” Peterson said.

“But I remember when I first started punt returning at LSU, I told the punt return team, I promise you, by the sixth game, they will stop kicking it to me,” Peterson said. “By the sixth game, sure enough, they stopped kicking it to me.

“I didn’t make any promises here — yet.”

— Defensive coordinator Ray Horton was reminded about his introductory press conference promise that’d he blitz the first play, and he was asked if that had meant preseason or regular season. Horton said everyone would have to watch Sunday. After a pause, he added, “We’re going to pressure. That’s what we do. I don’t care if (the Panthers) know it. We’re coming after them.”

— CB Greg Toler, whose injury opened the door for Peterson to start, said he will have surgery Thursday to repair his torn ACL. “I had my pity party for two days,” Toler said. “Now it’s time to start the comeback.”

— Tight end Jim Dray (pectoral strain) was the only Card not to practice. Cornerback Korey Lindsey was limited because of illness, and a handful of guys coming back from dings were also limited: QB John Skelton (ankle), TE Rob Housler (groin) and CB Michael Adams (knee). Star linebacker Jon Beason (ankle) was limited for the Panthers.


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3’s a charm for A-Dub as Cards return

Posted by Darren Urban on September 5, 2011 – 1:27 pm

On Labor Day, the Cardinals were out laboring as usual. The group was much smaller thanks to cuts — it was the first practice with less than 80 guys. That was one thing notable. (The other thing was safety Adrian Wilson changing up his practice jersey number again. This time, it was the No. 3. I was thinking maybe, because he has three kids? Nope. “I’m the third-best safety of this generation,” he said. “I’ve got to do better.” I’m guessing he was referencing Polomalu and Reed? Not sure. Regardless, he finds ways to find haters — that drives him.)

During the early open portion of practice, almost everyone who had been banged up had a helmet and looked ready to go back into the fray — QB John Skelton (ankle), CB Michael Adams (knee), WR DeMarco Sampson (hamstring), TE Rob Housler (groin). The only one who didn’t look like he’d be doing much was tight end Jim Dray (pec strain) but it’s early. We will get a sense of where everyone is Wednesday with the first injury report.

The Cards didn’t have new running back Chester Taylor yet; all the new arrivals were busy getting physicals and taking care of paperwork, so they won’t practice until Wednesday.


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