The Cardinals have re-signed their practice squad players to futures contracts, according to the New Year’s Day NFL transactions list. That’s not a surprise as the Cards begin the process to building the offseason roster. A futures contract simply locks up the practice squad players — who would be free agents once the league year ends in early March — to contracts for 2014.
The players are:
— C Philip Blake (spent much of the season on practice squad injured reserve)
— WR Dan Buckner
— LB Kenny Demens
— C Tommie Draheim
— TE Darren Fells
— RB Robert Hughes
— S Orhian Johnson
— DT Anthony McCloud
— LB Kenny Rowe
Tags: Anthony McCloud, Dan Buckner, Darren Fells, Kenny Demens, Kenny Rowe, Orhian Johnson, Philip Blake, practice squad, Robert Hughes, Tommie Draheim
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The Cardinals have picked five of their possible eight practice-squad players, including pass rusher Dontay Moch — an intriguing prospect and former third-round pick who has been limited to one regular season game in two seasons because of migraines, a broken foot and a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Moch would be a linebacker in the Cards’ scheme. He’s had 6.5 sacks the past two preseasons, so he has flashed. It makes sense as practice squad potential.
The Cardinals also brought back both their Taylors from the preseason roster — wide receiver Kerry and safety Curtis — to the practice squad, as well as linebacker Kenny Rowe. Rowe, like Moch, is part of the Cards’ perpetual quest to find edge rushers.
The other spot went to center/guard Philip Blake, recently cut by Denver.
There are still three practice squad spots left. One could go to linebacker Kenny Demens, cut yesterday by the team. Tackle Jamaal Johnson-Webb, cut by the Cards, ended up on the Bears’ practice squad.
Tags: Curtis Taylor, Dontay Moch, Kenny Demens, Kenny Rowe, Kerry Taylor, Philip Blake, practice squad
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The Cardinals have been making a few cuts here and there as camp has been going on so it’s not like they just started Sunday. But teams must get down to the 75-man limit by Tuesday and so this weekend came the first wave of massive roster changes. With it was one surprise, not so much that he was released but when. Kicker Dan Carpenter is out less than a week after arriving, solidifying Jay Feely’s spot on the team. Bruce Arians had said the kicking battle would go through the end of the preseason, but Carpenter had a field goal blocked and Kent Somers reported the Cards didn’t think Carpenter kicked well in practice.
The rest of the moves aren’t unexpected. Again, with the rosters expanding by 10 beginning with the 2011 season, most of these guys wouldn’t have even been on a team just a few years ago. The harder cuts are coming in a week, when the trim must go to 53.
The younger players will get a lot more playing time against the Broncos Thursday. The Chargers’ game was the “important” one to the starters. So it is interesting to note the play totals from Saturday. A total of 25 offensive players got at least 10 offensive plays in the game. A total of 27 defensive players did the same. Some of the names getting significant playing time are interesting. Defensive end Kenny Rowe got 19 plays. Defensive line swingman Ronald Talley, whom Arians has talked up quite a bit later, got 37 snaps. Rookie OLB Alex Okafor, who has had a quiet camp, got 27 snaps.
New wide receiver Mike Thomas only got two plays; I’d expect him to get much more time in Denver as the Cards try to decide if they should keep him. Safety Tony Jefferson, after playing well in the second preseason game, didn’t get a defensive snap Saturday.
My guess is that Arians and Steve Keim have a pretty good idea who the 53 will be (or at least, say 50 or 51 at this point).
— Oh, and because I know somebody will ask, nothing else has been said on Jonathan Cooper aside from what Arians said yesterday about the leg being broken. I’m sure we will get an update tomorrow when Arians talks before practice. That includes all the other injured players. Not sure how much starters will play Thursday in Denver, if at all.
Tags: Alex Okafor, cuts, Dan Carpenter, Jay Feely, Jonathan Cooper, Kenny Rowe, Mike Thomas, Ronald Talley, Roster
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Darnell Dockett was asked if he would say hi to Ken Whisenhunt before Saturday’s game against the Chargers.
“Of course,” Dockett said of his former head coach, now San Diego’s offensive coordinator. “I have nothing against Coach Whiz. Wish him much success at San Diego. At the end of the day, it’s about the players on the field.”
Dockett and Whiz had butted heads at the end of last season, but time goes on. If Saturday’s game was in the regular season, if it meant something in the standings, Whisenhunt’s return to University of Phoenix Stadium would be a bigger story. It probably would help if there were some time and distance between his firing and now, too. But it’s tough not to notice too.
Patrick Peterson hasn’t forgotten he scored a touchdown on an interception in his first University of Phoenix Stadium game against the Chargers in the preseason of 2011. Reminded of that, Peterson said “hopefully I can get another pick-6 — especially on coach Whisenhunt.”
Peterson smiled. “It was a great two years with him. I’m happy for him he got another job. We miss him around here but we have a bunch of new faces that will help us turn the corner.”
Whisenhunt spoke to a couple of outlets in Arizona this week about his return trip, both with Kent Somers and Mike Jurecki. On Jurecki’s show (on Fox Sports 910 Phoenix), Whiz mostly talked about the support the fans gave him and the friends he made in the organization and said he wasn’t sure what response he will get in the stadium Saturday.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted it to but there are a lot of great memories,” Whisenhunt said. “I really don’t know. It will be different for me because it’ll be the first time I will be in the stadium where I am not a Cardinal.”
The holdover players will likely move over and greet Whiz before the game. That’s to be expected. From there, well, it is just preseason. Right?
“There will be a ceremonial dap or two, say hi,” guard Daryn Colledge said, “but then again I know he’ll have a mindset in making a point.”
As for the rest of the game – and the fact it is the “important” third preseason game on the slate:
— The starters are supposed to go into the third quarter against the Chargers. I don’t expect any surprises in the starting lineup and I’m not sure we’re going to get any changes before the opener, although Bruce Arians has not said for sure he’s settled on anything.
— Given the red-zone issues last week, that will be something very important to watch. The team worked on it again in practice Thursday and methinks the head coach needs to see progress in that area.
— The Cards were into practicing-like-it’s-regular-season-game-week mode this week, which makes sense going into the game where the starters will play the most. That included dressing linebacker Kenny Rowe in a red “93” jersey much of the week (the rest of the defense was wearing white) to know where pass rusher Dwight Freeney would be.
— Curious to see how much time Mike Thomas gets at receiver. He just showed up so he probably isn’t familiar with a ton yet. And Arians, earlier in the week, noted Jaron Brown and Kerry Taylor are next up beyond the “big three” receivers for playing time. Does Thomas have to wait to get much time, at least until Denver?
— Big game for Karlos Dansby, just in terms of seeing him on the field. Didn’t play the first two weeks, probably won’t play a lot against the Broncos. But he practiced all week and this will be a good tune-up.
— If this is the game in which the main players are going to get a lot of time, does that mean Patrick Peterson gets a few offensive reps? It’s going to be very interesting to see how much time on the offensive side of the ball he does get when games begin to count.
— Ryan Williams will likely be suited up. But again, if this is about the guys in the main rotation, Williams is going to have to cut in line to get much work. And you still have to wonder how much work he can handle with one practice in three weeks.
— Larry Fitzgerald turns 30 next week and is feeling the pinch of Father Time. If you didn’t see it, here’s my story.
— The Cardinals currently have 88 players on the roster. They must trim to 75 by Tuesday (although I’d guess their cuts will be before then. There will be practice Monday.) If you wonder about who is getting cut, keep an eye on the players who do not get a snap against the Chargers. If you are going to release someone, you don’t want them getting hurt.
— Once, as noted by Bob Glauber deep in this piece about Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez, reigning Super Bowl winning QB Phil Simms not only played in the fourth preseason game, but he played the whole game. As he noted, he’s not sure when the third game became the important one.
— Yet we do know, thanks to Denny Green, this game doesn’t count, but it matters. After all, who takes the third game of the preseason like it’s … well, you know.
Tags: Chargers, Darnell Dockett, Daryn Colledge, Jaron Brown, Karlos Dansby, Ken Whisenhunt, Kenny Rowe, Kerry Taylor, Mike Thomas, Patrick Peterson, Phil Simms, Roster, Ryan Williams
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