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Friday, August 20, 2010
Setting expectations for Cardinals' roster

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Cody00ss asked how many players the San Francisco 49ers carried on their 53-man roster at each position last season. That reminded me to look at the yearly counts I've maintained for each team in the division.

I'll start with the Arizona Cardinals, then hit on the other NFC West teams in order of 2009 finish.

The chart shows the Cardinals' roster counts by position as of Friday, with Week 1 counts for every season since 2003. This makes it easier to see how many players the team might cut at a position before the regular season.

Teams must reduce to 75 players by Aug. 31 and to 53 by Sept. 4.

Analysis: Coach Ken Whisenhunt took over before the 2007 season, so the three most recent seasons are the ones we should pay attention to more closely. The Cardinals' defensive scheme has made some of the front-seven counts difficult to quantify, particularly when former coordinator Clancy Pendergast was using hybrid looks. Adding the totals for defensive linemen and linebackers can provide a better idea of how many the team might keep up front. Also, some of the receivers are hurt, so that 10-man count at the position could be deceiving.