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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Breaston inactive, Doucet plays, Roberts to start at WR

Posted by Darren Urban on October 24, 2010 – 11:34 am

Early Doucet is playing but Steve Breaston is not, now that the inactive list has been announced for today’s game. Interestingly, with Breaston and Stephen Williams (back) inactive, it is rookie Andre Roberts and not Doucet who will be starting with Larry Fitzgerald.

Nose tackle Gabe Watson is also back to inactive now that Kenny Iwebema is healthy again. The rest of the inactive list:

  • QB John Skelton
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Trumaine McBride
  • C Ben Claxton
  • LB Alex Hall

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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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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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Titans aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2010 – 11:29 pm

Obviously, the storyline coming out of Monday night’s game is the quarterbacks. It’s always the quarterbacks.

There’s nothing I can write to convince people who already believe Leinart is an epic fail that’s it could be otherwise. He connects with Stephen Williams on that bomb down the field – and Williams was easily open – everything is different. Leinart has his one bomb, the Cards move the ball a little, etc. But that didn’t happen, and it’s fair to argue it was on Leinart to get the ball there (coach Ken Whisenhunt did note Williams didn’t run the greatest route).

So where does that leave the Cards – and by extension, us?

Probably right where we were before. My guess is the Cards will break down the tape, see the Titans bringing the house (and Leinart under heavy pressure nearly every play), see the running game providing no support, and figure with a better game plan, Leinart would have been OK. Had Derek Anderson been awesome perhaps that’d change the dynamic, but aside from Anderson’s 37-yard pass to Williams – which was a nice pass – Anderson had a lot of the same issues and Leinart.

All I know is that I’m happy there is another game relatively quickly. Nothing been decided yet, and it takes games to push that progress.

Among the other things here late in Nashville:

— The defense looked solid early, forcing two three-and-outs to start the game. They just want to continue that. “It was decent, the thing is, the coaching staff was expecting us to sustain that passion we were playing with,” safety Adrian Wilson said. “I thought we did pretty well, but we have to do it every series.”

On the next drive, safety Kerry Rhodes took a bad angle on the Titans’ first big pass play (30 yards) and CB Trumaine McBride was beat on the next play for 28 yards, setting up the first TD. Still, the Cards are probably generally happy with where the defense is right now, especially when – again – game-planning is at a minimum.

— Linebacker Daryl Washington didn’t flash as much as the first preseason game. Who did? LaRod Stephens-Howling had some nice runs and he continues to look like a Pro Bowl special teamer. I thought linebacker Stevie Baggs made some plays, and the fact he afterward was lamenting the few assignments he missed is a good sign of focusing on getting better.

— I am interested in seeing what the analysis is on the offensive line. Very difficult to see what was happening since the Titans were bringing the kitchen sink early on. I don’t know what the assignments were or who was supposed to block who, but Tim Hightower lost four yards on his first three carries. One replay showed tackle Levi Brown looking to block someone but, given the circumstances, he couldn’t get his hands on anyone. Again, as Whisenhunt said, there were opportunities but the Cards couldn’t execute.

“This is the time of year where (coaches) are going to look to see who will win the one-on-one battles,” center Lyle Sendlein said. “When they are blitzing people, us up front, everyone has a man they have to block. Outside, you have to win routes and the running backs have to pick up players and the quarterback has to get the ball out.”

— Finally, the leap of Lavelle Hawkins over cornerback Marshay Green was ESPN’s top play of the night, but man, it’s hard to get on Green. It’s not like Marshay dove at the guy’s ankles and Hawkins went over. Green actually came almost all the way up on his 5-foot-10-ish frame and Hawkins still cleared him (Sure, Green could have extended his arms for the trip, but I’m trying to stay positive here). It was just a great individual effort. And made for a nice picture.

Talk to you tomorrow. (Today?)

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Whiz’s “feel” for his team

Posted by Darren Urban on August 20, 2010 – 1:15 pm

It seemingly came out of nowhere, coach Ken Whisenhunt’s decision to cancel Friday morning’s practice (he surprised the team with the news at their 7 p.m. meetings last night). But it was done with careful thought.

“One of the things I learned from coach (Bill) Cowher in Pittsburgh is you have to have a feel for your team,” Whisenhunt said. “There were many times with my time during my time with him and I thought after the fact how that was the right decision.

“I just sensed after Wednesday night, we ran 67 offensive snaps plus another 15 snaps of 7-on-7, so over 80 plays on that (artificial) turf, I knew it was going to be tough coming back out (Thursday) for the guys to get up for an afternoon practice, especially one in pads. They fought through it. It wasn’t our best practice but they did fight through it. That’s when I though, ‘It’ll be good to rest their legs, heal up their bodies, get some treatment, do some weightlifting.’ I just thought this was the right time.”

It was the last two-a-day scheduled day of camp. The Cards finish up their time in Flagstaff tomorrow with a lone morning workout, and fly to Tennessee Sunday morning. When it was all said and done, the Cards had just five days of two-a-day practices in Flag. The Cards will be in pads this afternoon.

— Whisenhunt said he has been pleased with the play of both Greg Toler and Trumaine McBride at the cornerback spot opposite DRC, and “we obviously feel a lot better about that position three weeks into camp than we did four months ago.” Whiz also said he likes “some of the young guys.” It’d be hard to think Whiz isn’t talking about undrafted rookie Marshay Green.

— As for inside linebacker, Whisenhunt clearly wants to see what Reggie Walker — who suffered a setback with his hamstring injury — can do. In my opinion, Walker still has a shot to start over Pago Togafau, if Walker can show some things. Then Whisenhunt gave veteran Paris Lenon a pretty nice endorsement: “Paris has been, I don’t want to say a surprise, but has performed very well and I am as pleased with Paris as anyone on our team, just from the standpoint of what he brings to the table. I thought from having played against him a couple of times that he was a good player, but I didn’t realize all the intangibles he brings to the table that makes him such a great fit for us.”

— Whisenhunt reiterated that he hoped quarterback Max Hall will play in Tennessee, adding “I intended to play Max last week.” But given what they are trying to do with Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson, I won’t be shocked if Hall doesn’t play again, or if John Skelton sits after his big first game.

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Inside for the afternoon, Fitz coaches

Posted by Darren Urban on August 17, 2010 – 6:01 pm

Larry Fitzgerald can’t practice, so he was out there coaching up the young receivers during this afternoon’s workout, which once again was in Walkup Skydome because of the rain. Even afterward, he was throwing passes to safety Hamza Abdullah on the sideline (in the picture below) as Abdullah worked on his interceptions. Fitz was reminding his teammates he was a quarterback once upon a time (not sure when, he had already broken out as gifted wideout in high school).

Anyway …

— The injury list remained the same. WR Ed Gant did practice, but WR Early Doucet (abdominal) is still out. So too were TE Ben Patrick (knee), LB Reggie Walker (hamstring, although Walker was running pretty good on the side), LB Gerald Hayes (back-PUP), LB O’Brien Schofield (knee-PUP) and S Aaron Rouse (neck). Rouse is banged up from the car accident; the Cards may have to figure out if they can hang on to him while he recovers.

— There was almost another injury of the freak variety when LB Pago Togafau was undercut by WR Onrea Jones as Jones tried to come up with a catch. Togafau was slow to get up, but he turned out to be OK.

— WR Stephen Williams had another fine showing. He was open deep on one play although the ball by Matt Leinart was slightly underthrown, allowing CB Tru McBride to knock it away. Williams also caught a nice 42-yard bomb from Leinart in the back of the end zone during the two-minute drill that looked close to good (although McBride informed me via Twitter after practice Williams was out).

— CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came in to break up what looked like a sure long gainer from Steve Breaston from Leinart a couple plays earlier.

— There were two tussles between LB Stevie Baggs and TE Stephen Spach. The first was a little more intense — facemask-grabbing and all that. At this point, it can’t be a surprise Spach gets in the middle of such things. It’s what he does (although he must do other things better too, because he started in the Texans’ game).

— Don’t forget I will be hosting a live chat tomorrow — Wednesday — at 1:30 p.m. Arizona time (4:30 p.m. EST).

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Fitz wants to practice; car accident sidelines Rouse

Posted by Darren Urban on August 16, 2010 – 6:25 pm

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wore a brace on his sprained right knee and he wasn’t thrilled. And while he is a multi-time Pro Bowler, he shook off the idea that he could afford to miss camp while he healed.

“It makes a big diference,” Fitzgerald said. “I play a position predicated on timing. We have a new quarterback and I need to be out there with him every single day, not just Sunday, but Monday through Saturday building our continuity.”

Fitzgerald said the injury is worse than the knee injury he suffered in San Francisco (which cost him no games). But he said this was a “minor setback.” He also said he wouldn’t set a timetable, only that he wanted to get back to practice ASAP.

“That’s what is frustrating, you work so hard in the offseason to get your body in shape and then something like this happens and you take a couple steps back,” Fitzgerald said. “It makes you count your blessings. It brings you back to earth and makes you refocus. It makes you be more cerebral, it makes you watch the splits and watch the coverages becasue you can run the routes. you learn from a different point of view.”

— A pair of Cardinals were in a minor car accident on the way up to Flagstaff today on I-17, when they were apparently behind someone whose tire blew. Safeties Rashad Johnson and Aaron Rouse were in the car. Johnson was OK and he practiced today (he actually made a nice play to jump one pass and dropped what should have been an interception) while Rouse was evaluated at Flagstaff Medical Center and then released. Rouse was then sent back to the Valley for further precautionary tests.

— The other Cards injured and sitting out were WR Early Doucet (abdominal), WR Ed Gant (foot), LB Reggie Walker (hamstring), TE Ben Patrick (knee), LB Gerald Hayes (back-PUP) and LB O’Brien Schofield (knee-PUP).

— The Cardinals had a short practice lasting a little more than an hour. The Cardinals put up a new depth chart for the week but it is officially unchanged; CB Trumaine McBride remains the starter over Greg Toler although Toler made a nice interception of Matt Leinart by jumping in front of rookie TE Jim Dray. After the play, Patrick was giving Dray advice on how to better run the route so Toler wouldn’t be able to step in.

— Leinart also threw a beautiful deep TD pass, some 45 yards, to Steve Breaston over McBride.

— With Fitzgerald and Doucet sidelined, rookie wideout Stephen Williams was running with the first unit.

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Whiz talks Texans

Posted by Darren Urban on August 12, 2010 – 12:16 pm

There was no practice this morning (and sorry, I’ll miss the afternoon workout with my brother getting married). So there wasn’t any action to speak of as coach Ken Whisenhunt had his final talk with the media before the preseason opener against Houston.

— Whisenhunt committed to little as far as the game. The coaching staff will discuss quarterback playing time tonight between Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson. Whiz wants Anderson to get some time with the starting offensive line.

— The game will dictate if both the other two quarterbacks, John Skelton and Max Hall, get in the game.

— Among the spots Whisenhunt said he’ll specifically be watching were linebacker (not the veterans as much as the guys battling for playing time/roster spots like Cody Brown), cornerback (obviously), offensive line and some of the young receivers. From Leinart, he’d like production but seeing Leinart be assertive and handle the huddle are more important (and are intangibles that will be hard to see from the stands).

— Whisenhunt mentioned receiver health. While only tight end Dominique Byrd (hamstring) is a guy Whisenhunt specifically mentioned as possibly sitting out (see what I mean by not committing?) I don’t know if Ed Gant — who has a walking boot on his right foot — can go. And after missing some time with a sore knee, I’d guess they’d be careful with Steve Breaston even if he does play.

— RB Beanie Wells, I would guess, will be out there. “I was proud of Beanie,” Whisenhunt said. “I know he was sore and he did what he said he was going to do, show up and practice (with bad ribs). He is working like he is working to get as many reps as he can.”

— Whiz was asked about using Adrian Wilson more at linebacker given the unknown at the position. “It’s easy to say move Adrian down, but there are a lot of intricacies that come with that particular position that you don’t want it to detract from his play.”

— Whisenhunt said cornerback Trumaine McBride caught the coaches’ collective eye this offseason with how he works and his experience, starting some games in the NFL, helps his cause. That said, the Cards are looking hard at everyone at the position, not just for the vacant starting job but for spots in the sub-packages.

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Back from Canton, back to work

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2010 – 12:26 pm

The Cardinals returned to practice after the weekend off — and the coaches are back from Russ Grimm’s induction to Canton (although not Russ quite yet; he’ll be back this afternoon). Among the highlights this morning:

— One tight end returns (Anthony Becht) just as another goes down (Dominique Byrd — hamstring). Coach Ken Whisenhunt did say Ben Patrick (knee) is coming along faster than expected. We’ll see if that really will mean anything down the road.

— DRC did pick off Matt Leinart this morning, but probably held Steve Breaston a little (or a lot?). Call it the reverse Fitz push.

— CB Greg Toler had another interception this morning. It’s good that he’s made some plays. Tru McBride is still running with the ones (he was back from his groin injury) but Toler seems to be making a push forward.

— WR Stephen Williams was on display again, catching a TD on an end zone fade from Derek Anderson in 7-on-7 and then grabbing a 50-some yard TD bomb from John Skelton on a purposely underthrown pass later.

— Leinart was optimistic on the first-team offense so far: “I think he have showed a lot of what we can potentially be.”

— Asked if he knew who No. 14 was on the team — it’s Williams — Leinart smiled and said, “The Playmaker!”

— Whisenhunt said LB Paris Lenon has distanced himself from the other middle linebackers and has shown “a lot of leadership.” That’s a good sign at a position where the Cards need good signs.

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