Powell out as Cards make roster moves

Posted by Darren Urban on July 23, 2013 – 3:05 pm

As #CardsCamp closes in, the Cardinals are adjusting their roster to get ready for stadium workouts. The team hasn’t officially announced moves yet, but the NFL’s official transactions release noted the team cut three players Tuesday: running back William Powell, tight end Kyle Auffray and wide receiver Michael Rios. Rios was cut with a non-football injury, and the undrafted player from Marist missed most of the offseason work with some sort of foot injury.

The same list has the Cards also signing former Notre Dame wide receiver Robby Toma, who was in for a tryout Tuesday. As with the cut players, nothing official has been announced by the team.

If you are scoring at home, that would mean the Cards have a pair of open roster spots right now (not including the one being saved for unsigned Jonathan Cooper, who officially is not taking up a spot until he inks a deal.)

UPDATE: And now it is official via the team. Rios was indeed waived because of a foot problem.

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Tight end options

Posted by Darren Urban on May 24, 2013 – 3:33 pm

A recent ESPN Insider article breaking down the holes remaining for each NFC West team marked tight end as the spot in which the Cards have a question mark. Some of that — much of that — has to do with the scheme of new coach Bruce Arians and the fact he likes to use two tight ends. Arians has made that abundantly clear.

The main focus will be the play of Rob Housler, in many ways. Arians has said, as Steelers OC, he considered Housler as a big wide receiver prospect when he was coming out for the draft. Does that color his perspective for Housler as tight end? Housler definitely has potential skills as a seam threat. He remains a work-in-progress as a blocker. This is a big year for him. Veteran Jeff King remains in the final year of his contract. He’s coming off recent knee surgery and hasn’t been practicing but the hope is he will be back soon (Veterans have next week off completely, and the final four OTAs take place the first week of June, when King could return.) Jim Dray played a little fullback last season when Anthony Sherman was hurt, has been good on special teams and has turned into a solid seventh-round pick from 2010. Those are your top three tight ends right now.

The Cards drafted D.C. Jefferson in the seventh round this year, and he certainly looks the part, especially of a pass catcher. But the former quarterback — he didn’t become a tight end until getting to Rutgers — is definitely raw at this point. And it’s tough to figure out if he can block yet given that the Cards aren’t in pads and in shorts. They also have holdover Kory Sperry, who was on the roster part of last season, and recent inexperienced signees Alex Gottlieb and Kyle Auffray.

There are a few tight ends still out there, but probably not an upgrade. Dallas Clark? The Colts let him walk away last year as Arians was coming in as offensive coordinator. Kellen Winslow? Injuries have robbed him of what he provided. Chris Cooley, again, another older player who may not have much left. It’s not like the Cards aren’t doing their due diligence on these guys and if they felt bringing someone in would be worth it, they would — could you doubt that after all the changes this offseason?

That said, I could see them adding someone later, after they get an offseason to sort out what they have.


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A visit, a signing and some money

Posted by Darren Urban on May 14, 2013 – 9:25 am

Some things to consider on Tuesday, as the Cardinals are set to unveil their complete team in on-field work for the first time as organized team activities begin later this morning:

— The one-year contract of Karlos Dansby calls for a salary of $1.25 million this season, according to the NFLPA. Kent Somers reports Dansby also got a $1 million signing bonus. That’s $2.25M (yes, I am sharp at math), which is obviously well below the $6M-plus Dansby had been originally scheduled to receive from the Dolphins before he was released. The Cardinals had approximately $8.5 $10.5 (forgot about the money cleared in the Hoyer release) million in cap space before Dansby (A $2.25M cap hit, obviously) and second-round pick Kevin Minter (who should count about $800,000 against the cap, and I’d figure he’ll slide into the top 51).

— One roster move already this morning. The Cardinals decided to sign tryout tight end Kyle Auffray out of New Hampshire, releasing undrafted rookie cornerback Prentiss Waggner. Again, with 90 on the roster (because all the unsigned draftees figure to sign sooner rather than later) the Cards will continue to cut for every player they sign.

— Could there be another potential veteran signee? Josina Anderson is reporting that tackle Max Starks is visiting the Cardinals today, including a physical. Don’t read too much into that — any vet is going to need a physical first, especially at the point in the career Starks is at. Starks has been available for a while and in the past, there was always a question of whether Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm would bring him in after working with him in Pittsburgh. Obviously, Bruce Arians also has worked with him given Arians’ Steelers ties and offensive coordinator (and offensive line coach) Harold Goodwin also worked with Starks in Pittsburgh. We’ll see if that develops. Starks has also talked to the O-line-needy Chargers.

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A “carry-a-big-stick-type of dude” at LB

Posted by Darren Urban on May 9, 2013 – 8:56 pm

Kevin Minter was the Cardinals’ second-round draft pick, an inside linebacker from LSU who very well could be starting from day one. But he was also taken about an hour before Tyrann Mathieu, who obviously was a much bigger story and has stayed that way. Even Thursday Minter was reminded of it, during his own press conference (which happened to come after Mathieu’s). Minter was asked how he felt about being drowned out by the Mathieu spotlight.

“It is what it is,” Minter said, shrugging it off. “Tyrann was amazing (in college). Even though I was obviously picked before him, the guy was a playmaker.”

Minter will probably be heard from himself sooner rather than later as a Cardinal. That would probably have been true anyway, but with Daryl Washington to be suspended the first four games of the season, the Cards are going to need Minter.

“I feel like I’m a great leader,” Minter said. “I’m not necessarily a hoo-rah type of guy. I’m more of a speak-softly-carry-a-big-stick-type of dude.”

That’s not a bad kind of person to plug into the middle of the defense (although Minter is just 6-feet tall, which you notice when you see him in person.) He probably isn’t going to garner the same kind of attention Mathieu will (few in the NFL draft will, to be honest) but Minter didn’t come across as the guy sweating the spotlight. What he did do a few times was talk about how anxious he was to start playing, which begins Friday with rookie minicamp.

“I’ve got to make my presence felt,” Minter said. “I feel like I’m going to do that in these coming weeks.”

— The Cardinals are bringing in just five players to rookie minicamp on a tryout basis: QB Caleb TerBush (Purdue), C Mark Pratt (Youngstown State), C Adam Bice (Akron), TE Kyle Auffray (New Hampshire) and CB Reggie Topps (Utah).

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