With Sherman ailing, Cards bring back Maui’a

Posted by Darren Urban on November 1, 2011 – 5:06 pm

After rookie fullback Anthony Sherman went down early in Baltimore with a left ankle injury, the Cards were in a bind since they only had one fullback on the roster. Tight end Jim Dray was forced to play the position and it hampered the Cards’ use of certain packages. That was rectified Tuesday when the Cards went out and brought back fullback Reagan Maui’a, showing that Sherman is likely going to be on the shelf short-term.

To make room for Maui’a, the Cardinals waived defensive end Ronald Talley, although they signed Talley back to the practice squad and released defensive lineman Ricky Lumpkin to do so.

Maui’a actually played pretty well in the preseason, although Sherman’s play was also solid and he was also a draft pick. The Cards hope Maui’a can pick up where he left off — although will he reunite with running back Beanie Wells for any talent shows? Only time will tell.


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Fifth round goes to a fullback

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2011 – 11:19 am

The Cards went with UConn fullback Anthony Sherman in the fifth round. It’s a position they’ve been looking for since losing Terrelle Smith after the Super Bowl season. He’s considered a good blocker, even in pass protection, and a good special-teams player (important given the probable loss of Jason Wright). Sherman is 5-10 and 240. His Pro Football Weekly summary (which listed him as a fourth- or fifth-round pick): “A hardworking, assignment-sound fullback with starting-caliber toughness, physicality and blocking ability.” He’s also a guy who can catch passes.

Sherman called himself a “lunchpail player.” With Nehemiah Broughton coming off a third major knee surgery and the team looking to upgrade over Reagan Maui’a, it’s not a shocking choice.

“You gotta have a couple screws loose to be a fullback,” Sherman said. “I don’t know if everyone can do it, but there are a few of us doing it every day out here.”


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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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Cards bring back Maui’a

Posted by Darren Urban on September 14, 2010 – 11:50 am

The Cardinals made a roster move Tuesday, bringing back — yet again — fullback Reagan Maui’a and releasing fullback Jerome Johnson, who lasted all of a week. I’m not 100 percent sure they think Maui’a will be the answer but obviously they like him better than Johnson. The Cards didn’t start with a fullback alignment in the first game — using two tight ends instead — but Johnson did get a normal amount of fullback work in this offense (one pass thrown to him was errant and didn’t connect).


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Nothing official, but Cards making moves

Posted by Darren Urban on September 5, 2010 – 7:58 pm

The Cardinals haven’t been releasing any info officially today, but as the NFL churns after final cuts, the Cards have apparently done a couple of things, like cut CB Marshay Green, LB Pago Togafau and FB Reagan Maui’a and claim three players who were released: former Giants FB/LB Jerome Johnson, former Browns CB Brandon McDonald, and former Packers LB Cyril Obiozor.

Excellent work, Sando.

It looks like Johnson was a college linebacker who the Rams (last year) and the Giants converted to fullback. It will be interesting to see if that’s where the Cards want to go with veteran free agent fullback Tony Richardson (cut by Jets) out there and also fullback Owen Schmitt (cut by Seahawks). I could see them thinking about putting a claim in on Schmitt. McDonald had eight interceptions the past three seasons — which included 27 starts — and is the veteran cornerback the Cards were long expected to grab about this time. Obiozor was an undrafted guy last year who went from college defensive end to 3-4 linebacker on the Green Bay practice squad. He is a work in progress.

I am surprised about Green, if for no other reason, I thought he was ahead of fellow undrafted CB A.J. Jefferson, who remains on the team. Of course, Green is sub-5-foot-10 and Jefferson is 6-foot, and you always wonder if that impacts. I could see Green coming back to the practice squad.


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Bears aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 29, 2010 – 2:40 am

Life on the charter flight. I write this version of the Aftermath well after midnight Arizona time, sitting in the back of the plane as flight attendants Billi and Candice serve dinner and fullback Reagan Maui’a sits across from me, playing his ukulele at 30,000 feet.

But we must go on to the game. That’s what you’re here for.

— I don’t know exactly what Ken Whisenhunt was aiming for when he decided to start Derek Anderson this week over Matt Leinart, but whatever his intention, it worked. Both played well, and frankly, I don’t envy Whisenhunt’s decision going forward. Nothing was made easier Saturday night in the Chicago win, although Whiz was clearly feeling better about life than in the Tennessee game.

“I take my hat off to (the QBs),” running back Tim Hightower said. “A lot of people they can say whatever they want to about Matt, but he showed a lot. D.A., he played well, and when he had opportunities, he capitalized. But Matt came in and did his thing and he handled himself well.”

It was interesting that twice, Whisenhunt noted the quarterback choice will come down to chemistry with the team and how the QB handles things when he is in the fray – and that it won’t necessarily be about stats. Given that Leinart has completed 19-of-23 preseason passes and not turned it over, Whiz’s comments seem to pump the brakes on the idea Leinart could be the favorite. One of the issues swirling around Leinart for a while has been whether he is able to inspire the team.

“I don’t know what the decision will be made on,” Leinart said, smiling. “I feel like I have a great relationship with my guys, my team for four, five years now. Like I said, I can only control what I control, and that’s playing good football and being a leader. I have a great relationship with all my teammates and I don’t think it should be based on that because I feel like I am doing a good job in that department.”

— Arguably, the guy with the biggest stake in the quarterback position is Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. His thoughts on the QB controversy/competition? Fitz told this to ace beat man Kent Somers: “I’m just a hired hand, man. I’m just a pawn on the chess board.”

Something tells me Fitz has his opinions.

— Hightower ran the ball well (62 yards on eight carries). Beanie Wells didn’t have the greatest night. He gained 14 yards on eight carries, dropped a pass and, most crucial, fumbled the ball late in the second quarter inside the Bears’ 10-yard line when it looked like the Cards were going to drive for a TD. Replays seemed to show Beanie might have been down a split-second before losing control, but it wasn’t overturned, and Whisenhunt wasn’t happy considering Beanie’s fumbling issues as a rookie.

“That is something with Beanie we have made progress with and he obviously was criticized for not paying more attention to the ball there,” Whisenhunt said.

— Deuce Lutui logged significant time with the starting offensive line at right guard, although Reggie Wells started. Given all the talk about Anderson, Greg Toler and Daryl Washington moving into the starting lineup, you wonder if Deuce is next.

— All four guys who can play nose tackle – Bryan Robinson, Gabe Watson, Alan Branch and Dan Williams – logged time there by early in the second quarter. It’s beginning to look like the Cards could very well keep them all, and seven defensive linemen overall (Campbell, Dockett, Iwebema).

— Speaking of the defensive front, they again played well and sparked the overall good defensive night (four sacks and two picks of QB Jay Cutler and Mike Martz’s latest attempt to revive the Greatest Show on Turf, except on grass).

— I’m not sure Stephen Williams has had a bad day since training camp started. Anderson played well, but he owes a little something to the rookie receiver for coming up big in traffic.

— Awesome play to score your touchdown, Steve Breaston (pictured below). Oh, don’t ever leap like that in a preseason game again. Your legs looked like they were going to snap as you went up and over the goal line.

— QB Max Hall looked sharp at the end. And I’m beginning to think Max Komar will be the second rookie receiver to stick around, if they decide to keep six receivers. All he does is make plays. (UPDATE: Oops. Forgot Andre Roberts is a rookie. He will make it too).

— Offensive linemen David Moosman and Casey Knips haven’t gotten into a game yet. That doesn’t bode well with a cut of five coming Monday. And speaking of not boding well, the fact tight end Dominique Byrd didn’t play Saturday usually isn’t a good sign either.

Wow, I wrote a lot there. Might have to take Sunday off.


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Broughton probably done

Posted by Darren Urban on August 28, 2010 – 9:16 pm

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said fullback Nehemiah Broughton, who would have been the starter and probably the lone fullback on the roster, likely tore the ACL in his left knee. The team will do further tests, but if true, he is done for the season. It makes for a bind for the Cards. Do they keep current backup Reagan Maui’a? Do they bring back Charles Ali, who was the backup earlier in camp before getting hurt and cut?

UPDATE: The Cards can’t bring back Ali. He was released through an injury settlement, and the Cards wouldn’t be able to bring him back until October.


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Cards bring Maui’a back once again

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2010 – 7:58 am

Reagan Maui’a is back once again.

The fullback was released right before training camp when rookie linebacker Daryl Washington signed. The Cards already had Nehemiah Broughton and Charles Ali at the position and that was enough. But then Ali hurt his hamstring Friday and was going to be out “a couple weeks,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said Saturday, and that was too long for a team already short at the similar tight end position. So the Cards waived-injured Ali Monday morning and re-signed Maui’a, who was also with the Cards last camp, was cut, and then brought back this offseason.


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Have Cards Broughton in a fullback?

Posted by Darren Urban on May 26, 2010 – 4:41 pm

In the Kurt Warner years, a fullback wasn’t featured much of the time on offense, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. (I have to say, I had a soft spot in my heart for old I-45 a couple years ago — Terrelle Smith). Smith was gone in 2009, opening the spot for another veteran Dan Kreider. Krieder too is gone and the Cards are searching for his replacement.

They may have added him while Kreider was still on the roster. The team signed Nehemiah Broughton in January off the practice squad of the New York Giants, right after the regular season ended but while the Cards were still practicing (and would be for another two weeks). That was good enough to convince the Cards to keep him around.

“It’s a position that is hard to find guys,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Nehemiah has good size (at 6-foot, 255 pounds) and is very athletic. He came in and worked hard for us. I am excited to see how he develops because obviously, it’s a position where we need someone to do it. You are looking for someone to step up and he’s got a little bit of a leg up because of the work he did with us last season.”

Right now, fullback is one of the positions difficult to evaluate. That spot hits, and no one is hitting in shorts. Whisenhunt said the goal-line drills in Flagstaff are one of the proving grounds for those players. “I would like to see what happens in games, what happens in training camp when the pads go on,” Whisenhunt said

Broughton took almost all the reps in minicamp because Reagan Maui’a was hurt. Afterward, the Cards also brought in Charles Ali, who had been with the Browns most recently. The Cardinals figure to need a quality fullback, given the retirement of Kurt Warner and the assumed increase in the running game.

“I just want to play football and make this ballclub,” Broughton said. “Coaches make those decisions. … But I am very confident in my abilities.”


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Cardinals sign FB Ali

Posted by Darren Urban on May 7, 2010 – 1:26 pm

Continuing to mine one-time Browns (it’s probably not a coincidence guys like Derek Anderson and Rex Hadnot are here with Director of Pro Personnel T.J. McCreight having come from Cleveland) the Cardinals have signed fullback Charles Ali to a one-year deal Friday. The team needed another body at the position after talks to bring back Dan Kreider fell through. Ali joins Nehemiah Broughton and Reagan Maui’a on the roster as blocking backs.

At 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, Ali has been in the league since 2007, playing two years in Cleveland before going to Baltimore last season briefly after playing for New York in the UFL. The Ravens brought him back after the season. He was released by the Ravens in April.


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