The Cardinals are bringing back seven of their eight practice squad players, signing them to “futures” contracts today (meaning they will be on the offseason roster once current deals expire March 4). The seven are:
- T Cliff Louis
- DL Jeremy Navarre
- G Tom Pestock
- LB Brandon Sharpe
- RB Alfonso Smith
- LB Pago Togafau
- WR Isaiah Williams
Tags: Alfonso Smith, Brandon Sharpe, Cliff Louis, Isaiah Williams, Jeremy Navarre, Pago Togafau, practice squad, Tom Pestock
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The Cardinals have put together a practice squad. Three newcomers are joining G Tom Pestock, T Herman Johnson and WR Isaiah Williams. RB Ian Johnson, cut by the Vikings, is best known for being the Boise State hero in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl who ended up proposing to his now-wife at University of Phoenix Stadium after the game. The Cards are also adding WR Tim Brown — no, not that one — who was cut by the Giants (and who played for receivers coach John McNulty when both were at Rutgers) and LB Curtis Gatewood, cut by the Redskins. Gatewood has bounced around with the Lions, Chiefs, Eagles and Steelers as well as an inside ‘backer. The Cardinals still have two spots to fill, although that is expected to happen sooner rather than later.
Oh, and it’s now official the Cards brought in the three waiver claim players: FB Jerome Johnson, LB Cyril Obiozor and CB Brandon McDonald.
P.S. Adrian Wilson and his foundation are hosting an ice cream social on tomorrow (Tuesday) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Cold Stone Creamery headquarters in Scottsdale. (9311 E. Via De Ventura). Stop by and help A-Dub help the less fortunate. For more info: http://www.adrianwilsonfoundation.org/
Tags: Brandon McDonald, Curtis Gatewood, Cyril Obiozor, Herman Johnson, Ian Johnson, Isaiah Williams, Jerome Johnson, practice squad, Tim Brown, Tom Pestock
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Deuce Lutui still has to fend off Rex Hadnot to stay the starting right guard, but Lutui is the guy for now, coach Ken Whisenhunt said. So everyone wanted to talk to Lutui after practice today, and while Deuce was holding court in front of the cameras, fellow O-lineman Jeremy Bridges nailed him in the face with a shaving cream pie.
(I think everyone should have known the “pie” was shaving cream, although Deuce admitted after, “I thought it was a cream pie until I started licking my lips.”)
It’s been a long offseason for Lutui, taking criticism from everyone because of his weight. He shrugged it off. “It’s not the first time I’ve been called fat before,” Lutui said. He insisted he was working out on his own and was thinking about other things, like working on his U.S. citizenship, so “It’s not like I was just standing in one place.”
“I came back in shape,” Lutui added. “Maybe not the weight they wanted, but I passed the condition test.”
He said he was surprised Reggie Wells was in his starting spot when he returned, but he kept working with the backups and the starters. Lutui played a lot in the preseason, deep into games unlike previous years, but he was OK with that. Now Wells has been traded and Lutui has his job back. “I just became that hungry dog, fighting to get my position back,” Lutui said, adding it helps him if he is in a constant battle to fight for his team. But he also never thought he’d be anything but a starter.
Among other things as the Cards returned to practice today:
— No injury report, because the Cards don’t need to put one out yet. Whisenhunt did say WR Larry Fitzgerald is still on pace to to return although he is working on his conditioning after missing so much time. I am guessing that won’t be an issue. RB Beanie Wells’s knee “is not 100 percent,” Whisenhunt added, and “we will see how he progresses during the week.” I still think Beanie plays.
— The Cards are slowly putting together their practice squad. None of the players reportedly claimed yesterday were here yet, but I still expect all three to show. G Tom Pestock, T Herman Johnson and WR Isaiah Williams were brought back to the practice squad, so there are five spots left. I still think CB Marshay Green is a possibility.
— Speaking of Green, Whisenhunt was asked what it was about fellow undrafted rookie CB A.J. Jefferson that kept him on the squad. Many, including me, thought Green was ahead of Jefferson. But Jefferson got the nod. It doesn’t hurt that A.J. is 6-feet, plus there were a pair of plays Whisenhunt noticed. One was Jefferson’s raw speed when he chased down a Redskins’ kick returner. The other was a deep pass Jefferson defended and “didn’t panic” on, which can happen with young corners. My guess is that Jefferson will still be a project.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Beanie Wells, Deuce Lutui, Herman Johnson, Isaiah Williams, Jeremy Bridges, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Marshay Green, Reggie Wells, Rex Hadnot, Tom Pestock
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Here are the players that have been reported as cut by the Cards so far; when coach Ken Whisenhunt meets with the media at 3 p.m. a full list is expected. Keep checking back here for updates.
Obviously G Reggie Wells was dealt. LB Gerald Hayes (back) was placed on PUP, meaning he’ll miss the first six weeks. And LB Mark Washington was waived/injured:
- TE Anthony Becht
- LB Stevie Baggs
- LB Monty Beisel
- T Herman Johnson
- T Tom Pestock
- LB Cody Brown
- DE Jeremy Clark
- DE John Fletcher
- CB Trevor Ford
- WR Ed Gant
- WR Mike Jones
- WR Onrea Jones
- CB Justin Miller
- G Jonathan Palmer
- FB Charles Scott
- WR Isaiah Williams
WR Max Komar tweeted he made the team, and QB John Skelton has also made the team. Matt Leinart hasn’t gone anywhere yet. Big surprise so far is Brown, given he was a second-round pick. Obviously he is a big disappointment, since the coaches knew what they had even though he didn’t play most of last year.
The Cards still have three moves to make by tomorrow.
Tags: Cody Brown, Herman Johnson, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Matt Leinart, Max Komar, Monty Beisel, Reggie Wells, Stevie Baggs, Tom Pestock
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It was the first fully padded practice this afternoon, and it was a doozy.
It started early on, when Larry Fitzgerald and Joey Porter took a turn battling each other on punt coverage on the outside, and a Fitz blow left Porter with a bloody lip (more on that in a later blog). But that was just a taste of the 11-on-11 battles to come.
The donnybrook came first. Darnell Dockett — he’s always in these things, right? — blew up Alan Faneca and both tumbled to the ground right in front of quarterback Matt Leinart. Leinart was moving away, when Dockett swiped at his ankle and tripped him. A no-no, and Leinart wasn’t happy. When he and Dockett stood up, Leinart went up to Darnell and spiked the ball at Dockett’s feet in irritation. Then suddenly, tackle Levi Brown was there, punching Dockett in the shoulder pads sticking up for his quarterback, and the scrum was on.
The next play, tight end Stephen Spach and linebacker Cody Brown mixed it up, with Spach grabbing Brown’s facemask. It didn’t get overly heated until linebacker Joey Porter saw it happen. “Don’t let ’em grab your (expletive) facemask,” Porter screamed at Brown. A little while later, it was the third unit’s turn, when linebacker Mark Washington and offensive lineman Tom Pestock went at it, exchanging punches.
And when it was over, it was over.
“That’s what teams do,” Dockett said. “You compete, and don’t take nothing from nobody. I like it. I like the intensity, but I love at the end we come together as a family.”
Said Porter, “When you have a good team, you can fight all you want to, but when you go in the locker room, we are all one family. We’re just trying to make each other better. Fights are going to happen. As long as you can control them, it doesn’t matter.”
(Yes, we have video, and it’ll be up later tonight. The picture below of Dockett and Levi is from a video still. UPDATE: Here is the video).
Dockett admitted he was “kind of dumb” for taking out Leinart’s foot. “I shouldn’t have done that,” Dockett said. “But when you get caught in the battle, the engine turns on and you don’t think about it. I’m not trying to hurt him but I am trying to go 100 percent every time I put my hand on the ground. If I am doing that, I am making my team better.”
Coach Ken Whisenhunt called it “typical” of training camp, but he said it was nice to see the players going hard.
“Emotions were running high,” Whisenhunt said. “When you get the crowd out here, things get revved up. You see that manifest itself in the chippiness.”
Dockett said he was proud of Levi Brown stepping in, saying it was what he expects.
“I patted him on the back and at the end of the day, that’s my family,” Dockett said. “It means something that he is doing it to me, but he better do it to another person if it is somebody else. As long as he does that, I’m happy.”
Porter said he barked at Cody Brown because a player can’t let an opponent get away with things. “You don’t have to accept that, even from a teammate,” Porter said. “My message was, don’t let that happen, especially in front of me.”
Whisenhunt thinks the Cardinals can be smart with the intense practices. Dockett thinks it’s the only way the Cardinals can get another NFC West crown.
“That’s what it’s all about. As much as you love your teammates, when you put the pads on, you have to try and kill them,” Dockett said. “That’s what it is all about. That’s the only way you can get better. You can’t come out and play 80 percent and expect to win a third divisional title. It ain’t going to happen. We have to treat (the offense) like they are the 49ers and they have to treat (the defense) like we’re the 49ers.”
Tags: Alan Faneca, Cody Brown, Darnell Dockett, Joey Porter, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Washington, Matt Leinart, Stephen Spach, Tom Pestock
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The Cardinals re-signed all eight of their practice squad players to “future” contracts, meaning all eight will be under contract heading into the offseason:
- WR Onrea Jones
- CB Rashard Barksdale
- LB Ali Highsmith
- WR Ed Gant
- DE Ryan Kees
- G Jonathan Palmer
- T Tom Pestock
- LB Mark Washington
Tags: Ali Highsmith, Ed Gant, Jonathan Palmer, Mark Washington, Onrea Jones, practice squad, Rashard Barksdale, Ryan Kees, Tom Pestock
Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »