Back to practice in Flag

Posted by Darren Urban on August 14, 2011 – 7:19 pm

Sunday afternoon the Cardinals got back on the field for the first time since the Oakland game. It was, coach Ken Whisenhunt said during his lunchtime presser, a chance to go over the mistakes the Cards made against the Raiders.

What was noticeable in the work that just lasted over an hour (in the Walkup Skydome, after it rained — hard — most of the afternoon) was the intensity that crept in by the final 11-on-11 work.

“The energy was pumped up,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. “I think everybody knows where we are about to go this week.”

That’s Green Bay for those who aren’t sure, and the defending champs will be playing a game at Lambeau for the first time since winning the Super Bowl. Preseason or no, that’ll be a big deal. So it wasn’t a surprise when the volume got loud, when tight end Jeff King and linebacker Paris Lenon scuffled (tight end Stephen Spach as peacemaker and not instigator? Imagine that). The offense went crazy when running back Ryan Williams juked and broke an ankle or two (not literally, for anyone concerned) to get loose down the field. The defense did the same when safety Matt Ware came from centerfield for a nice on-the-run interception and return.

Some other moments/notes:

— Didn’t seem to be any changes on the depth chart. That’s not a shock right now. One game does not an evaluation make.

— RB LaRod Stephens-Howling did a good job blocking linebacker O’Brien Schofield on a blitz pick-up.

— RB Beanie Wells made a fantastic one-handed catch — left-handed — in traffic.

— CB Patrick Peterson did a good job ranging over to make a leaping interception at one point.

— Learning from mistakes was one thing QB Kevin Kolb kept stressing. He showed it tangibly Sunday. One play Andre Roberts beat Greg Toler deep on what looked like a skinny post, but Kolb didn’t get enough air under the ball and over threw Roberts. A couple plays later, same scenario, except Larry Fitzgerald was the receiver. This time, Kolb put it on the money.

— Speaking of Roberts, that he got open deep was to be noted, especially with all the wonder/speculation about the Cards “needing” a No. 2 receiver. Both Kolb and Whisenhunt said after the Raiders game Roberts got open deep a couple of times, just that the passes didn’t work out. That’ll be something I’m sure everyone will be watching going forward.

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Whisenhunt on Wilson: “We do expect for him to play.”

Posted by Darren Urban on August 8, 2011 – 12:30 pm

Here’s what you need to know about safety Adrian Wilson’s injury as of Monday: He tore a biceps tendon in his right arm. He will try to rehab it and will try to play at some point. The timeline will be determined by how Wilson responds but “we do expect for him to play this season.” Whisenhunt didn’t have a lot of details, and said it was going to be tough to guesstimate anything. Cornerback Patrick Peterson was telling reporters after practice Wilson told them he was going to be ready Week 1 against Carolina, but Whiz certainly wasn’t willing to nail anything down.

(Wilson, not surprisingly, is avoiding comment right now.)

Whisenhunt said he has been encouraged by the play of safety Rashad Johnson, who will fill in alongside Kerry Rhodes while Wilson is sidelined. Matt Ware would have been signed anyway, Whiz said, because there was a player who decided he didn’t want to play anymore (Kent Somers reported it was rookie safety Andrew Rich). Watching this develop now will be one of the more intriguing things as we approach the regular season. In the meantime, Wilson has already been a treatment demon — would you expect anything else? — and Whiz acknowledged he’ll probably have to be make sure Wilson doesn’t overdo it.

— CB Michael Adams had his minor knee surgery but Whisenhunt doesn’t want him trying to come back too soon. That was one of the things that hurt RB Beanie Wells last year.

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An even day, but Wilson hurt

Posted by Darren Urban on August 6, 2011 – 2:48 pm

The Cardinals’ Red and White practice was exactly how coach Ken Whisenhunt predicted — ups and downs for both sides of the ball. Quarterback Kevin Kolb made some nice throws, but he was also picked off three times.

Regardless, the biggest news happened when safety Adrian Wilson hurt either his bicep or elbow early on. He left, and Whisenhunt said Wilson will have an MRI. Whenever you are talking about biceps and MRIs, there has to be a fear there is a tear. Kent Somers already reported the Cards will bring back Matt Ware — which certainly doesn’t sound like the Cards expect Wilson back right away, anyway. Cornerback Patrick Peterson just tweeted out¬† that people should keep Wilson “in their prayers.”

That’d be a blow to a defense that, again, made some strides Saturday. Certainly it’d be a blow because of Wilson’s leadership. Rashad Johnson was running at safety with Kerry Rhodes after Wilson went out.

— Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said nose tackle Dan Williams is “not in shape right now. He’s one of the guys we are counting on so he is doing what he needs to do to help us.”

— Local law enforcement estimated the crowd at 13,000, and by my eyes, it was the largest Red-White crowd ever, including the camp right after the Super Bowl in 2009.

— CB Michael Adams sat out with a sore knee.

— Asked about the biggest challenge of camp, Kolb said “That we’re on the 12th installation and it’s my third day (of practice).”

— Beanie scores a touchdown in the goal line drill:

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Who is expiring?

Posted by Darren Urban on March 3, 2011 – 2:53 pm

Regardless of the status of the CBA, the Cardinals have a chunk of players whose contracts will expire whenever the league year ends. What that means for free agency is uncertain because the CBA will address those rules. But as an FYI, here is a list of the current Cardinals who will have their contract run out this offseason. If a player has an asterisk, he has at least four accrued seasons in the NFL:

  • FB Nehemiah Broughton
  • RB Tim Hightower
  • FB Reagan Maui’a
  • RB Jason Wright*
  • WR Max Komar
  • WR Steve Breaston*
  • WR Early Doucet
  • TE Ben Patrick
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • T D’Anthony Batiste
  • C Ben Claxton
  • G Alan Faneca*
  • T Brandon Keith
  • G Deuce Lutui*
  • C Lyle Sendlein*
  • DL Alan Branch*
  • DL Keilen Dykes
  • DE Kenny Iwebema
  • DL Bryan Robinson*
  • DT Gabe Watson*
  • LB Curtis Gatewood
  • LB Cyril Obiozor
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Michael Adams
  • CB Trumaine McBride
  • S Matt Ware*
  • P Ben Graham*

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Superstitions and change

Posted by Darren Urban on December 2, 2010 – 2:11 pm

So Ken Whisenhunt was asked today, even though he likes to keep for example his practice schedule the same, if he has looked at others areas he could change.

“Oh yeah, I have changed it up every week looking for a combination,” Whisenhunt said. “I am grasping for straws trying to find something that works. Just to be clear, when I say we are going to stay the same, I am talking about how we practice, when we practice, what the schedule is, those things. You have to have some type of consistency to come out of this. As far as anything else? I am certainly willing to try.”

Whisenhunt is a superstitious coach. Superstitions and change don’t often mesh. “People that know me know how superstitious I am and they know my routines,” he said. “For me to change it up is a real departure.”

Whiz said it would take him forever to note every superstition he has (and he noted many football coaches are like that). It comes down, he believes, as a stress reliever, “as far as what time you get up, how you come in to work, what type of clothes you wear, how you put your shoes on, what you eat, when you eat … I could keep going.”

Speaking of stress, Whisenhunt said he’s been thankful for the support he has gotten from many people, because these are unquestionably difficult times.

“As much criticism as there is, you don’t understand how much you beat yourself up,” Whisenhunt said. “We want to win, I like the excitement we have in our stadium, I like it when the fans are excited and proud about our team and it hurts when we aren’t performing.”

— WR Steve Breaston (knee) was limited Thursday after practicing full Wednesday. But three others — DE Calais Campbell (ankle, limited Thursday), LB Paris Lenon (knee, full Thursday) and S Matt Ware (shoulder, full Thursday) were upgraded. The rest of the injury report was unchanged.

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Beanie plays, Hayes expected to start

Posted by Darren Urban on November 7, 2010 – 9:35 am

Running back Beanie Wells will be active today for the Cardinals, while safety Hamza Abdullah gets his chance to face off with his brother, Vikings safety Husain as the Cards inactivate fellow safety Matt Ware. Linebacker Gerald Hayes is also expected to be in the starting lineup finally, with rookie Daryl Washington coming off the bench in a rotation.

For the Vikings, hobbled wide receiver Percy Harvin is active, despite his injury and fight with coach Brad Childress Friday.

Besides Ware, the inactives for the Cards include:

  • WR Max Komar
  • QB John Skelton
  • CB A.J. Jefferson
  • LB Clark Haggans (groin)
  • LB Reggie Walker
  • C Ben Claxton
  • NT Gabe Watson

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Beanie: “I’m playing”

Posted by Darren Urban on November 5, 2010 – 12:35 pm

Running back Beanie Wells indeed did more work Friday and said after practice, “I’m playing” as he gets through the swelling on his right knee brought on by an injection of lubricant earlier this week. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said barring any further swelling tomorrow — which is not expected — Wells should be fine to play Sunday. At this point, the only player I don’t think will be available is linebacker Clark Haggans (groin).

— Sometimes, it’s good to keep things light. Darnell Dockett has a speaker in his locker that he can attach to his iPod or iPhone or whatever he has. Today, as guys ate some lunch after practice, suddenly Denny Green’s voice popped up. First Dockett played a music remix of Denny saying over and over, “They were who we thought they were!” Then Dockett managed to find the entire rant on-line, playing it for the room while he chuckled.

— Interesting that there are only seven players left on the roster from that ’06 team that endured Denny’s meltdown (and, in fact, the Cards’ last trip to Minnesota): Dockett, Deuce Lutui, Gerald Hayes, Adrian Wilson, Gabe Watson, Matt Ware and Larry Fitzgerald.

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Ware, Iwebema sit

Posted by Darren Urban on October 10, 2010 – 11:36 am

The Cardinals’ inactives list is out, and safety Matt Ware (ankle) and defensive end Kenny Iwebema (knee) are both out today. That means the three nose tackles are all active — Bryan Robinson, Gabe Watson and Dan Williams — with Robinson’s ability to play defensive end as well. Cornerback Tru McBride is inactive for the first time too, benched for newcomer Brandon McDonald. The rest of the list:

  • WR Steve Breaston (knee)
  • WR Early Doucet (sports hernia)
  • QB John Skelton
  • C Ben Claxton
  • LB Alex Hall

Among the Saints’ inactives are defensive starters CB Tracy Porter and DE Will Smith and RBs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.

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Dockett: Play, not talk, does the talking

Posted by Darren Urban on October 8, 2010 – 12:44 pm

Darnell Dockett hasn’t had much to say recently — he has barely posted on Twitter and has avoided interviews — because right now, he doesn’t see a reason to talk.

“There is too much talking and not enough playing football,” the defensive tackle said. “That’s honestly how I have been approaching the last week — don’t talk about nothing and go play football, and maybe if people see me doing it they will do it too.”

Dockett said he knows if he doesn’t make the effort, someone (I assume he means fans and media) will talk about it. He noted that extra work can’t hurt him or anyone else, that when the day ends at 2:15 every day “it don’t mean you have to get off the field. I always feel every Wednesday and Thursday an extra¬† 25, 30 minutes adds up to a great season. The field is there, the weight room is there, the film is there, anything you need to do extra is there, and that’s obviously what it needs to be. We need to put more time in everything, the whole team.”

Dockett said he did see more focus this week.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the message has gotten across to the team that the best players have to play better. You would think Dockett would be in that group and Dockett, after a moment, agreed.

“I see a hell of an effort and that’s what I bring every game,” Dockett said. “I try to hold myself to a higher standard. I honestly don’t think he was talking to me, but I could be wrong … as a matter of fact, I’m not going to say I could be wrong because I would be wrong if I said that, so Im not trying to excuse myself. We made a lot of mistakes.”

— DE Kenny Iwebema (knee) and S Matt Ware (ankle) are questionable and will be game-time decisions. WRs Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are out for Sunday. DL Alan Branch (shoulder) and LB Paris Lenon (pelvis) are probable.

— Whisenhunt said there is a scenario where all three nose tackles — Bryan Robinson, Gabe Watson and Dan Williams — are active for a game, because Robinson can play end. That may be an option if Iwebema can’t go.

— Kurt Warner was back, taking in practice and getting ready for post-practice interviews as he and the FOX crew preps for Sunday’s TV broadcast.

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Ware, teammates, Twitter and free tickets

Posted by Darren Urban on September 23, 2010 – 9:07 am

In a quest to help some teammates elevate their Twitter followers — and, I suppose, his own list — safety Matt Ware is holding a Twitter contest this week. First, he wants to get as many people as he can to join Twitter pages of himself (@MattWare22), receivers Max Komar (@MDKomar22) and Stephen Williams (@SteveWill_14) and defensive backs Trumaine McBride (@TruMcBride) and Hamza Abdullah (@HamzaAbdullah21).

Then Friday, Ware will post a trivia question on Twitter, with the first to send the right answer receiving two free tickets to Sunday’s game against Oakland. Seems simple enough.

Oh, and if you are on Twitter and you’re not following me (@cardschatter), I mean, really?

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