Arizona Cardinals: Daryn Colledge

Starter: Eric Winston, Paul Fanaika, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Bradley Sowell

Backup: Nate Potter, Mike Gibson, Earl Watford, Bobby Massie

Injured: Jonathan Cooper

Under contract in 2014: Fanaika, Sendlein, Colledge, Cooper, Sowell, Potter, Watford and Massie

Cash committed in '13: $21.8 million

Cap committed in '13: $19 million

Recap: Like the rest of the Cardinals' offense, the offensive line started the season out with much work to be done. It allowed 23 sacks in the first eight games and then 18 after that. Relying on three veteran anchors -- Winston, Sendlein and Colledge -- head coach Bruce Arians added two young, inexperienced players to the mix in Fanaika and Sowell and by the midway point of the season they were all in sync. But that wouldn't have happened had Arizona not traded left tackle Levi Brown after Week 4 and promoted Sowell to a starting role. The Cardinals' offensive line was ranked 32nd by Pro Football Focus, but it performed better than the critics said during the final eight games. The line will get younger in 2014 with Colledge already released and second-year player Jonathan Cooper assuming the starting left guard job.
With free agency approaching in less than a month, teams are in crunch time when it comes to figuring out who is worth keeping for 2014 and who isn’t. And it all comes down cap room.

The Arizona Cardinals got some breathing room last week when star receiver Larry Fitzgerald restructured his mega deal, giving Arizona about $10 million in cap space to work with during free agency, which officially begins at 2 p.m. MT on March 11.

Until then, Arizona will be working around the clock to determine if players still under contract in 2014 are worth keeping.

Here’s a look at the all the Cardinals’ cap numbers for 2014 that are more than $2 million:

QB Carson Palmer - $12 million

DE Calais Campbell - $11.25 million

DE Darnell Dockett - $8.75 million

WR Larry Fitzgerald - $8.6 million

G Daryn Colledge - $7.275 million

LB Daryl Washington - $6 million

CB Patrick Peterson - $5.864 million

CB Jerraud Powers - $4.75 million

C Lyle Sendlein - $4.125 million

DE John Abraham - $3.375 million

LG Jonathan Cooper - $3.3 million

WR Michael Floyd - $2.72 million

QB Drew Stanton - $2.67 million

LB Jasper Brinkley - $2.2 million

NT Dan Williams - $2.185 million

S Rashad Johnson - $2.133 million

All Cardinals ready to play vs. 49ers

December, 27, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz. – If there is one game all season anyone on the Arizona Cardinals’ roster didn’t want to miss, this is it.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said “basically” everybody practiced Friday leading up to Sunday’s game against San Francisco. Linebacker John Abraham (groin), guard Daryn Colledge (back) and safety Rashad Johnson (ankle) were all limited Friday and are listed as questionable.

Everyone else practiced in full and is probable, including quarterback Carson Palmer (ankle and elbow), linebacker Daryl Washington (ankle), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (finger).

“It looks like we’ll be full-go and ready to play,” Arians said. “It’s a big game. It’s fun to have the last one count. That’s what we wanted all year, for this game to matter and it matters.”
TEMPE, Ariz. – The NFL’s active leader in sacks may be stuck at 133.5 until next season.

Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham will be a game-time decision because of a groin injury that has sidelined him from practice this week, coach Bruce Arians said.

Abraham
“It’s pretty sore,” Arians added.

While Abraham may be out, Arizona could get back safety Rashad Johnson from a high-ankle sprain he suffered against Tennessee. Johnson practiced Thursday for the first time in two weeks and “did very well,” Arians said.

Backup quarterback Drew Stanton practiced in full but was added to the injury list because of a knee issue. Linebacker Daryl Washington was also added to the injury report with an ankle injury.

Guard Daryn Colledge (back), Johnson and Washington were limited.

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder), tight end Rob Housler (groin), running back Rashard Mendenhall (finger), quarterback Carson Palmer (right elbow/ankle), tackle/guard Nate Potter (ribs) and linebacker Matt Shaughnessy (groin) were upgraded from limited to full.

Cardinals' offense saves defense

December, 15, 2013
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It got repetitive last season.

The defense would always be there, following behind the offense with a broom and dustpan cleaning up their weekly mess. That clearly didn't work out well, especially if the defense also had a bad game. Just look at Seattle, when the Seahawks took it to the Cards, 58-0.

This year, it's different for the Arizona Cardinals. The offense is more than capable of not just holding their own but putting the defense on its back when necessary, as was the case Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

[+] EnlargeCarson Palmer
Don McPeak/USA TODAY SportsIn the Cards' OT win at Tennessee, Carson Palmer threw for 20 completions, 231 yards and one TD.
Arizona's pass rush was stagnant and the secondary was working through communication issues that accompany a new rotation. All the while, after recovering from a slow start, the offense was steady and effective, scoring 30 points in the Cardinals' 37-34 overtime win. The other seven came on an interception return by Antoine Cason.

"The defense bailed us out before and this week we got the opportunity to save them," left guard Daryn Colledge said. "It's going to take everybody on this team to win the games we need to."

But it doesn't always happen that way.

The difference this season is the Cardinals are making plays when they need them most, and on Sunday they didn't come in chunks. Quarterback Carson Palmer threaded two passes to running back Andre Ellington that took advantage of a wrinkle in the passing game. He hit Ellington deep for 26 yards in the first quarter and then in the third for 38 yards.

While Palmer went to Larry Fitzgerald six times throughout the game for 49 yards, two passes in the fourth quarter kept a drive going that eventually put the Cardinals up by 10. All night, the offense was slow and steady, not turning the ball over, which has been an Achilles' heel for them all season.

And it saved Arizona.

"They did a good job with that," linebacker Daryl Washington said. "They had our back this game, which we expect that. But, I think defensively we have to do a better job starting a game fast."

In a reversal of roles, the defense let the Titans back in it in the fourth quarter after it went into a prevent defense. And it almost prevented the Cardinals from winning.

Arians said Todd Bowles went through every play on his play list trying to find something that would work. But the offense, which also went conservative at Arians' direction because of the Cards' penchant for turning the ball over, watched from the sideline helpless.

Then, ironically, thanks to Cason's second interception, the offense moved easily on Tennessee's defense for a winning field goal in overtime.

"Good to get a win like this," Palmer said. "Last couple weeks we've kinda been cruising through the last quarter or so with big leads. It's good to get one in overtime when there's a little more pressure.

"We might have got a little too comfortable at the end of this one, but the important thing was defensively we stepped up and made the play."

The defense might be saying the same thing about the offense.

Cards target 3rd down with run game

November, 17, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's taken 10 weeks, but the Arizona Cardinals' offense is finally forming into what coaches and players expected it to be when they set out to install Bruce Arians' high-octane, high-yardage scheme back in April.

But there's a tempered excitement.

For as much as it's evolved, mainly because the running game has decided to wake up, the Cardinals' offense still gets snagged on third down.

“I think it's coming,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “I think one of the biggest things you gotta do is do a better job on third down. I think we had 3-of-10 last week, but a play here, [a] play there [and] we're over 50 percent on third down. That's the biggest area we're working on.”

Some players estimated that Arizona spends about half its practices on third-down situations and its production warrants the extra time. The Cardinals are ranked 31st in the league in third-down percentage, converting 31.5 percent this season.

Their 34 third-down conversions are less than four a game and the fewest in the league. Jacksonville, Arizona's opponent Sunday, has the next fewest with 36.

[+] EnlargeCarson Palmer
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesCarson Palmer and the Cardinals know they need to improve their production on third down.
But there hasn't been a common answer as to how to fix the Cards' third-down woes. Some inside the Cardinals' locker room say it's in the execution or getting all 11 players on the same page or paying more attention to detail.

Whatever the reason, it hasn't improved in 10 weeks and has been the difference between the Cardinals being inside the playoff picture with seven games left compared to looking at it from the outside.

Arizona's third-down scheme is different from the rest of the offense, quarterback Carson Palmer said. It usually features four or five receivers without a running back -- of Arizona's 108 third downs this season, only 13 were runs. And the scheme gets more complex depending on how far from a first down Arizona is.

“It's a make-or-break down,” Palmer said. “You don't get another opportunity. You see different coverages, you see a lot of different pressures, you see a lot of formations defensively. It's a completely different scheme.

“You have entirely different players, you have schemes that you don't run on first or second, so it's a completely different defense and scheme in itself.”

But what third down has that first and second downs don't is the pressure to get past the sticks. That has been an issue for the Cardinals, whose rookies have come up a half-yard or yard short of a first down throughout the season. As a blocking back on third down, rookie running back Stepfan Taylor said the need to recognize coverages, blitzes and defense is also greater on third down.

Palmer said there are “a million things that can go wrong,” but he chalks up the Cardinals' inability to convert to not being able to “out-execute” opponents.

But the third-down scheme gives him the ability to control the offense from the line of scrimmage.

“Most of the time it allows the opportunity for those guys to run numerous different routes based on coverage and leaves them a little bit of freedom,” left guard Daryn Colledge said. “Carson is free to just throw the ball he wants. Whatever he sees out there he has the ability to makes shifts and motions and change guys' routes to give him the best opportunity. For us, we need to get everybody on the same page and make sure we're blocking enough and give him the opportunity to throw those balls.”

With the running game finally hitting a stride, the Cardinals need to be better on third down to be considered a serious contender for the postseason. They've rushed for 201 and 97 yards, respectively, in their last two games, and that balance has allowed the offense to do more, such as play-action and bootlegs.

While the Cardinals can't find any answers as to why third down continues plague them, they also can't find a reason why the running game woke up Willie Mays Hayes style.

“I can't put my finger on it,” center Lyle Sendlein said. “We worked the same every week. I think a lot of it has to do with the better success on first down. And if we're able to get yardage on first down then it opens up a lot on second and third down. The previous seven games we weren't getting as much success on first down.”

As another option to eat yards, the running game has alleviated pressure from the Cardinals' passing attack. After throwing the ball 40 or more times in four of Arizona's first seven games, Palmer has just 18 and 32 attempts in his last two, respectively. Both, not coincidentally, were wins.

If the Cards get better on third down, their drives are extended which means more opportunities to put points on the board. And, at the end of the day, that's every team's goal.

For Arizona, its mission is 30 points per game. That's the sign the offense is firing on all cylinders, that it's finally hitting its stride. Through nine games, however, the Cardinals have yet to hit 30, topping out at 27 the past two games. The difference between 27 and 30 can be a converted third down or two. Since he was hired in January, Arians has said he wants the Cardinals to match their point total to their time of possession.

“If you're scoring 30 points a game, you're going to be winning a lot of football games in a season,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “I think that's a benchmark that we all are anxious to get past and anxious to do, but we have to continue to get better in third downs.”

With the running game having turned the corner, the only hurdle between the Cardinals and them having the type of offense Arians has always envisioned is converting on third down. If they can consistently reset the down marker, Arizona has the potential to make a run in these final seven games.

If it can't and is forced to punt or settle for field goals, a .500 record will be the standard in Glendale.

“I feel like we're taking steps in the right direction to have a great second half of the season” Colledge said, "and peaking at the right time to make us competitive in December."

#CardsMailbag: Week 11 vs. Jaguars

November, 16, 2013
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Welcome to #CardsMailbag, a weekly installment that allows you to ask Josh Weinfuss questions throughout the week via Twitter @joshweinfuss. He'll answer them every Friday. Make sure to use the hash tag: #CardsMailbag

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals rookie guard Earl Watford was on the field during the open portion of practice Thursday, two days after he was in a car accident.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians ended his Wednesday news conference by saying Watford was rear-ended Tuesday en route to the practice facility for treatment on the team’s day off. Watford missed practice Wednesday, but was back Thursday working with the offensive line and on kickoff returns.

Watford was competing for playing time at left guard while Daryn Colledge was out with a lower back injury. But Colledge, who also missed Wednesday’s practice, returned to the field Thursday, as well.

Linebacker Matt Shaughnessy, who didn’t practice Wednesday, was back on the field with a brace over his left knee.

The only Cardinal to not practice during the open portion on Thursday was running back Rashard Mendenhall.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was short with his answers Friday, about 15 hours after Arizona lost 34-22 to the Seattle Seahawks. The poor play of the offensive line dominated his day-after press conference, but that's been the topic du jour for a few weeks running:
  • Arians said Daryn Colledge left the game after twisting his back, which popped out his S1 vertebrae. It was fixed on the sideline but gave him spasms the rest of the game. He expects Colledge to return by Wednesday.
  • Arians is hopeful WR Brittan Golden can return next week. He missed Thurdsay's game with a hamstring injury.
  • Patrick Peterson suffered a jammed finger and could be seen on the broadcast with fingers taped together on his left hand.
  • Arians didn't see any hesitation in DE Calais Campbell, who returned to the field four days after being carted off the field in San Francisco after suffering a bruised spine. "He had a great game," Arians said.
  • Arians said he doesn't usually praise players after a loss but that Campbell and LB John Abraham, who had two sacks, had outstanding games.
  • C Lyle Sendlein was the highest-graded offensive lineman.
  • S Rashad Johnson isn't playing tentative, Arians said, despite playing with essentially eight fingers because his left middle finger is taped to another finger during games.
  • Arians said Thursday was the first time in 20 years he didn't come out of a game with an "explosive" play, meaning 20 yards or longer. The Cardinals' biggest play was 19 yards.
SAN FRANCISCO -- By time the clock ticked past six minutes in the first quarter, the headlines had already been written.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer had just thrown his second interception before most of the seats inside Candlestick Park had a body in them. It was like déjà vu. Turnovers would again be the Cardinals' demise.

But by the end of Arizona's 32-20 loss, it wasn’t just the turnovers that let a crucial NFC West game slip away. Two fumbles, one each in the third and fourth quarters, ended any chance of the Cardinals pulling off an upset which would’ve left them alone in second place.

“We’re not going to beat anybody on the road turning it over four times,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “When we had the game in hand, going in to take the lead and [we] try to make too much out of something and we fumbled the football. Then we have a chance to get back in it, we fumble on second-and-1. And you’re not going to beat anybody that way with self-inflicted wounds.”

Now that their offense seems to have found its way during the 49ers game, if the Cardinals can figure out a way limit turnovers -- now up to 15 for the season -- they can become the team Arians has been talking up since minicamp.

Arizona was marching, down 22-20 late in the third, on the 49ers 31 and poised to take a lead when Larry Fitzgerald lost the ball just moments before he hit the ground.

"I am not going to sleep at all," said Fitzgerald, who said he was trying to score on that play. "I let my team down in that situation. I wish I could take it back."

Alfonso Smith coughed up the second fumble on his only carry of the game in the fourth when the Cardinals were trailing 29-20.

“[We’re the] best offense to shoot ourselves in the offense,” left guard Daryn Colledge said. “We have the chance to be a really great offense, and if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot like this we’re going to be just a mediocre offense.

“The potential’s there but we have to find a way to capture it.”
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is questionable for Sunday's game at San Francisco with a hamstring injury, head coach Bruce Arians said Friday.

Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald
Arians said it's the same left hamstring Fitzgerald tweaked Sept. 11, but the injury is in a different spot.

"We'll wait and see by game time," Arians said.

Fitzgerald was limited Wednesday and Thursday but practiced in full Friday. After seeing how the hamstring hampered him during the Lions game, Fitzgerald will be cautious Sunday.

This is just the latest setback for Fitzgerald, who has 24 receptions. That's fewest through the first five games of a season since 2004, his rookie year, when he had 22, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Fitzgerald hasn't lived him to his Hall of Fame standards in his last 21 games. He has just two games with at least 100 receiving yards during that span and has a total of 1,086 yards, far less than the 1,411 yards he had in 2011.

Other injury news"

Rookie LB Kenny Demens (hamstring) was also listed as questionable.

Listed as probable were LB John Abraham (shoulder), LB Jasper Brinkley (groin), G Daryn Colledge (shin), DT Darnell Dockett (groin), S Rashad Johnson (finger), LB Kevin Minter (hamstring), DE Ronald Talley (wrist), LB Daryl Washington (knee).
When the Arizona Cardinals' injury report came out late Wednesday, the list of limited players was long.

Only rookie linebacker Kenny Demens (hamstring) didn't practice but that was expected. Limited, however, were linebackers John Abraham (shoulder), Daryl Washington (knee), Jasper Brinkley (groin) and Kevin Minter (hamstring), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (groin), wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring), safety Rashad Johnson (finger) and defensive end Ronald Talley (wrist).

Left guard Daryn Colledge (shin) practiced in full.

A few players stood out on the report. Washington played in his first game of the season Sunday and was all over the field. As long as that knee doesn't bother him, he can continue to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Cardinals fans -- and players -- never like seeing Fitzgerald on the list. He was hampered by his hamstring during the Detroit game earlier this season.

On Monday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Dockett "was not close to being himself" in Sunday's 22-6 win over the Panthers. The Cardinals' training staff initially expected Dockett's groin injury, which caused him to leave the Tampa Bay game, to be a two-week injury but he returned in just a week.

Johnson returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time since losing the tip of his left middle finger Sept. 22 in New Orleans. He practiced with a splint wrapped in black tape.
Every week, What’s the Fuss with … will feature a unique off-the-field side of an Arizona Cardinal in a Q&A format. If you have an idea for a What’s the Fuss with … tweet Josh Weinfuss at @joshweinfuss using the hashtag #WTFwith.

Colledge
This week What’s the Fuss caught up with Daryn Colledge, who enjoys wine as much as he enjoys blocking defensive linemen. His wine company, Three Fat Guys, was the result of a night of drinking vino a few years ago with a couple of former teammates when he played for Green Bay. Bottoms up. Hope you like red.

How did Three Fat Guys Wine get started?

“I had a couple partners in Green Bay – guys I got drafted with, Tony Moll and Jason Spitz – and our families shared dinners and stuff like that. We were all really close and we got to talking one night about wine and all that kind of stuff. We [became] friends with Charles Woodson and Charles Woodson owns a wine company called Twenty Four. And we were at one of his wine events, and we met with his winemaker and we just had a conversation with him, just saying, ‘Hey, what does it take to produce a bottle of wine?’

“We thought of it as a good idea for Christmas, with the three of us to produce wine and we’d hand it out as Christmas gifts and stuff like that. And then we just kinda sat there thinking about it a little more and we’re like, ‘Why don’t we just make a venture out of it? Something to keep the families close together?’ And it’s just kinda grown since that. Started as a way for three families to stay close, and now it’s a profitable business.”

How big is the company?

“It’s not that big. We’re still pretty small. We produce about 126 cases a year. But we’re looking to expand to another varietal and maybe up our case load to 400, 500 cases a year.”

What kind of wine do you make?

“Cabernet.”

Strictly cabernet?

“Strictly cabernet right now for probably another year, and then we’d like to move into some whites and some other options.”

Were you a big wino before?

“My mom’s a wine drinker. I grew up around that culture, but I think the older you get and especially around the NFL, you get into a lot of events where there’s wine, you get to know people in that field.”

What kind of wine do you drink?

“I drink a lot of cab. I actually collect Italian wines. I drink a lot of Italian wines and such, but I’ll pretty much drink anything at this point in my life.”

Has your taste in wine become more sophisticated?

“The more you’re involved in the business and you start making your own wine and help blend your own wines, your taste grows and changes and your nose gets better. It’s one of those things, I like sampling new things and different things to kinda see what’s out there in the world. But my heart’s in cabernet and my heart’s in Italian wines.”

Do you want to retire to a vineyard?

“I don’t know about a vineyard, man. That’s an expensive business. I don’t know if I’ve played long enough or made enough money for that. That’s a whole 'nother level. I’ll continue to work my wine business as hard as I can, and hopefully when I’m done here I’ll have the opportunity to grow that business and see what it can really become.”
TEMPE, Ariz. – Daryn Colledge's streak of consecutive games played is in jeopardy this weekend.

The Cardinals’ starting left guard was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers with a shin injury suffered last weekend.

Colledge leads all active guards with 116 consecutive games played and is second among active guards with 85 straight games started, one behind Atlanta’s Justin Blalock. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the team will run more tests on the questionable players tomorrow.

“They look like they could all be available,” Arians said.

The other questionable players are S Rashad Johnson (finger), LB Jasper Brinkley (groin), DT Darnell Dockett (groin) and LB Kevin Minter (hamstring). DE Ronald Talley (wrist) is probable.
TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has joked all week that Daryl Washington’s return was like trading for a Pro Bowler.

Washington
Well, it took a trade to get Washington on the roster.

The Cardinals made their trade of tackle Levi Brown trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers official Wednesday afternoon. Brown’s vacated roster spot went to Washington, who returns from a four-game suspension.

Arizona also placed linebacker Vic So’oto (chest) on injured reserved and signed linebacker Marcus Benard. Benard played in 25 games from 2009 to 2011 with Cleveland, and spent the 2013 preseason with New England.

At practice Wednesday, linebacker Jasper Brinkley (groin), guard Daryn Colledge (shin) and safety Rashad Johnson (finger) did not participate.

“We’re going to still be iffy with [Johnson] today,” Arians said. “We’re going to take our time with that finger and make sure there’s no infection that could possibly happen.”

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (groin), linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) and defensive end Ronald Talley (wrist) were all limited.

“They’ll be fine,” Arians said.

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