Cards bring in new cornerback

Posted by Darren Urban on August 6, 2010 – 8:49 am

The Cardinals have made a change in cornerback in their quest to find more depth. They have released CB Rashad Barksdale and picked up CB Trevor Ford, who played three games last season with the Packers. Ford is big (6-foot) and probably raw, coming from Troy (he was a college teammate of rookie CB Jorrick Calvin). Barksdale had struggled (even yesterday, he gave up a fourth-down completion to rookie Andre Roberts during the two-minute drill) and could never seem to really get himself into the hunt for playing time.

In the meantime, the Cardinals continue to search for depth at cornerback behind Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

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Stuff from practice, like Dub’s new number

Posted by Darren Urban on August 4, 2010 – 1:45 pm

So much to talk about from this morning and lunch time. Let’s get to it, shall we?

— Practice was light this morning. That’s what happens when you have practiced heavy the previous two afternoons and you have a heavy practice planned in the evening, which the Cards do under the lights at Coconino High School.

— Remember the bad day rookie receiver Andre Roberts had a couple of days ago? Apparently Roberts doesn’t. Today he made a nice catch at the back of the end zone on a pass from Max Hall, snagging it while keeping his feet inbounds.

— On the injury list, linebacker Reggie Walker was back to work. Cornerback Rashad Barksdale has a left foot injury, and tight end Anthony Becht is nursing a mild back issue. Tight end Jim Dray (quad) is still sidelined. Safety Hamza Abdullah remains out with a bad hamstring, which is why the Cards brought in safety Aaron Rouse. The other day, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, starting safeties Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes actually had to take reps with the third-string defense because the Cards were short at the position.

— Former Cardinal defensive end Bertrand Berry was back at camp. He’s a media member now, trying to get started in the business. He came up to do a series of web pieces for about camp, beginning with a story on Clark Haggans and Joey Porter. “I’m just trying to learn the other side,” Berry said. Berry’s first video will be posted Aug. 6.

— Whisenhunt said the Cardinals were happy to get another chance at linebacker Pago Togafau, whom they lost off the practice squad last season. But it meant releasing Ali Highsmith because Whiz felt the team couldn’t get too heavy at the position. It hurts the Cards that two of the players hurt right now but counting against the 80-man roster are linebackers: Gerald Hayes and O’Brien Schofield.

— Speaking of inside linebacker, Whisenhunt has no thoughts right now on where they all stand. “I have to see more and get more information,” Whisenhunt said. “A lot will play out in the preseason games.”

— Finally, Adrian Wilson, once again, was sporting a new jersey number out at practice. The man who has made getting a different jersey number at practice a habit didn’t have the No. 9 (his high school number) on for the first time. Instead, he was wearing 5/53 — as in, a No. 53, but with the “3” blocked out on the front and back with trainers’ tape.

“Camp is monotonous,” Wilson deadpanned. “You gotta do something. I can’t grow a (expletive) beard.” He laughed when it was pointed out he did have some serious chin hairs, retorting, “I’ve had this for 30 years.”

Why a 53 with the 3 covered up? “Just wanted to feel like I was still a DB,” Wilson said. “Had the ‘5’ showing, but I had the ’53’ on the shoulder because I hit like a linebacker and cover like a safety. Know what I am saying?”

Indeed we do.

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An afternoon in the sun

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2010 – 5:45 pm

So that’s what it’s like to have a practice outside.

There were a few drops early on but never anything to worry about, and generally the weather was great for Tuesday’s practice. With that as your mental background, some kibbles and bits about today:

— Apparently, it was veterans’ day. Tight end Anthony Becht, defensive lineman Bryan Robinson and linebacker Joey Porter all took the day off, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because of injury (Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t speak after practice so we weren’t able to ask about Tuesday’s new injuries, which included the walking boot on the left foot of cornerback Rashad Barksdale and whatever is wrong with linebacker Reggie Walker. Still out are tight end Jim Dray (quad), saftey Hamza Abdullah (hamstring), linebacker Gerald Hayes (back) and linebacker O’Brien Schofield (knee).

— Hayes was into it. At one point during running battles that included everyone but cornerbacks and wide receivers, the offense cracked some gains on a couple of plays. Hayes, watching intently along with Porter, screamed some not-safe-for-work words to his defensive mates, imploring them to crack down.

— Wide receiver Andre Roberts looked much better catching the ball today after yesterday’s struggles.

— Rookie Dan Williams’ first practice was about what you’d expect. He looked fine, but was definitely out of breath. It’s tough practicing in full pads for the first time since college at 7,000 feet.

— I have been impressed with RT Brandon Keith. I haven’t watched him every play, but I have yet to see him get beat and he just looks so solid. Darnell Dockett has been ripping things up, but on one pass rush during 11-on-11, Keith shut Dockett down.

— Finally, we had some fists-of-fury spillover from yesterday, featuring WR Larry Fitzgerald and CB Michael Adams. I’m not sure exactly what went down on the pass to Fitz that eventually fell incomplete, but someone was unhappy, and Fitzgerald lowered the boom on Adams with a big head slap that knocked Adams’ helmet off. The two suddenly squared off, with both daring the other to fight and Adams actually raising his fists in front of him like a boxer. Adams was quickly pulled away by teammates, and later, the two were made to hug it out.

“It was just a normal Fitz-and-Mike day,” Adams said afterward. “If Mike gets the better of Fitz … you can take it back to my rookie year, me and Fitz. We get into scuffles all the time. I get a little bit emotional at times. I guess it is that short man’s syndrome in me.”

Then Adams joked about Monday’s scraps, noting “I told Fitz yesterday I was going to start a fight today because everyone else was. I figure I’d try one.”

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Cutting Sheik, Highsmith among Cards’ moves

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2010 – 2:36 pm

Hurting your calf on the first step of the conditioning test of training camp is never a good thing. So it’s probably not a shock the Cardinals waived-injured defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi Tuesday, the man known as the “Iron Sheik” to his teammates and the happiest man in the NFL to me. The Cardinals also cut inside linebacker Ali Highsmith, who had been running second team, and brought back yet again linebacker Pago Togafau, who has been with the Cards a few times. Finally, the team released wide receiver Deryn Bowser to sign safety Aaron Rouse, a veteran who played with the Packers and Giants last season.

The Highsmith move is a bit surprising, given the Cards’ questions at the position. But he struggled last season and apparently isn’t working out. Interesting on the signing of Rouse — who struggled a lot for the Giants, which is why they chased Antrel Rolle — but there are injuries in the secondary. Safety Hamza Abdullah was sitting out with a bad hamstring, and cornerback Rashad Barksdale has some sort of leg injury too.

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Notes from the first practice

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2010 – 12:44 pm

We’ll keep some blog items coming, but here are a few key highlights after the first (quick — they were only on the field about 90 minutes) minicamp practice:

— Everybody but G Deuce Lutui was on hand. Lutui has yet to sign his tender offer. Only LB Gerald Hayes (back) and rookie LB O’Brien Schofield (knee) sat out. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was in the lineup, and while he didn’t look 100 percent, it was a great sign to see him playing after his playoff knee injury.

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt passed on talking about Lutui, but did talk about how important it was for the team to be together right now. QB Matt Leinart said he hasn’t talked much to his long-time teammate. “Obviously Deuce has been a big part of this team and we hope he comes in,” Leinart said. “But you’ve got to keep moving forward. Deuce understands that. Hopefully Deuce takes care of his business and we can get him back in here.”

— Leinart seemed at ease with his first chance to be the starter at this time of year in a couple of years. “My accuracy wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but for the first day, it was good,” he said. “This is fun. This is an opportunity I’ve been waiting for for a long time.”

— Some interesting lineup points from the first run-through (with an emphasis that this is still way early in terms of worrying about the depth chart). Michael Adams was running at starting cornerback across from DRC, with Greg Toler as backup. Whisenhunt again emphasized Toler would have to earn any starting job. Rashad Barksdale is backing up DRC for now. The first five offensive linemen, from left tackle across, were Levi Brown, Alan Faneca, Lyle Sendlein, Reggie Wells and Brandon Keith. The second unit from left to right were Jeremy Bridges, Rex Hadnot, Ben Claxton, Jonathan Palmer and Herman Johnson.

— The rookies, as usual, have to fight their way up. Dan Williams is behind both Bryan Robinson and Gabe Watson, although as Robinson noted, “I told (Williams), ‘If I’m playing a lot more than you this year, that means you’re not doing your job.’ ”

— New secondary coach Donnie Henderson has no problem making sure his point gets across, even if it is to DRC or Adrian Wilson. That’s for sure.

— Larry Fitzgerald, joking around about all the new faces at the beginning of the practice, yelled out to rookie tight end Jim Dray — who is wearing No. 81 — “I see you, Q!”

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Cards trade McFadden to Steelers, get Skelton

Posted by Darren Urban on April 24, 2010 – 10:07 am

The Cardinals have traded cornerback Bryant McFadden and their own sixth-round pick (195) for the 155th pick in the fifth round to nab Fordham quarterback John Skelton. I am sure there will be plenty of fans happy with this, and I know the Cards were looking hard at Skelton. Greg Toler is your starter now that McFadden is a Steeler again.

And here I thought taking injured LB O’Brien Schofield was going to be the big news of the day.

I know the Cards liked Skelton; he was probably the only lower-round quarterback they were really interested in. And they needed to trade into the fifth round to get him. The question is whether the Cards can find another cornerback going forward; they have signed Trumaine McBride in the offseason and have Michael Adams and Rashad Barksdale. But this puts some pressure on Toler to step up soon — and DRC has to be the leader of the corners now.

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