Arizona Cardinals cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2010
9/03/10
6:20
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Biggest surprise: The Cardinals parted with tight end Anthony Becht even though rookie Jim Dray didn't seem to show a great deal through most of camp. Becht became a valuable blocker in the Cardinals' two-tight end sets last season. Stephen Spach's improved health this offseason lets him step into the role. Dray's ability to contribute on special teams also gave him an edge over Becht. Releasing outside linebacker Cody Brown stands as a surprise only because Brown was a second-round choice in 2009. Every other second-round choice from last season was still with his original team as of Friday morning. The move was less surprising based on Brown's contributions. I once thought Herman Johnson might develop into a starting offensive lineman, but he reported to camp overweight and the Cardinals let him go. Their depth on the line gave Johnson less margin for error.

No-brainers: Veteran insider linebacker Monty Beisel had started during part of preseason and the Cardinals are lean at the position after placing Gerald Hayes on reserve/physically unable to perform. But Beisel wasn't the answer at the position and keeping him on the roster for Week 1 would have guaranteed his salary. Rookie Daryl Washington looks like he'll be starting at linebacker sooner rather than later. The Cardinals have also been pleased with veteran Paris Lenon. Reggie Walker also survived the first wave of cuts.

What’s next: The Cardinals still must release three players to conform with the 53-man limit. Matt Leinart's future remains in limbo. Coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters Friday that he wasn't prepared to make a decision on that front just yet. The Cardinals have four quarterbacks on their roster: Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton and Leinart. That situation should shake out in the coming days. Whisenhunt said he needs to figure out whether Leinart could fit as a backup if the team decided to name Anderson its starter. "It's not so much a question of Matt and his ability to play football as it his how he fits with our team," Whisenhunt said. Update: Here's my take on Leinart, who was released Saturday.

Cardinals players cut:
QB Matt Leinart
LB Stevie Baggs
TE Anthony Becht
LB Monty Beisel
LB Cody Brown
DE Jeremy Clark
DE John Fletcher
CB Trevor Ford
WR Ed Gant
OL Herman Johnson
WR Mike Jones
WR Onrea Jones
CB Justin Miller
OL Jonathan Palmer
OL Tom Pestock
FB Charles Scott
WR Isaiah Williams

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