Sunday, September 2, 2012
Cardinals at 53: Roster with practice squad*
By Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals drafted three offensive linemen and found spots for all of them on their initial 53-man roster.
That's good for a team that could use a youth infusion up front. It's unfortunate to the extent that Levi Brown's season-ending triceps injury made room on the roster for another young tackle, such as seventh-round rookie Nate Potter.
The Cardinals' starting offensive line was stable last season. The same players started every game at every position but right tackle, where Jeremy Bridges made six starts subbing for an injured Brandon Keith.
Arizona will have new starters at left tackle, right guard and possibly right tackle this season. The lineup has the potential to get younger if rookie Bobby Massie starts at right tackle.
The nine linemen making the initial cut: starting center Lyle Sendlein, starting left guard Daryn Colledge, starting right guard Adam Snyder, potential starting left tackle D'Anthony Batiste, rookie guard Senio Kelemete, guard Rich Ohrnberger, Massie, Potter and Bridges.
It's looking like Batiste and Massie will open the season as the starting tackles. Bridges provides an experienced alternative at either spot. Sendlein has started every game over the past four seasons, plus six playoff games. He would be the lineman most difficult to replace if lost to injury.
Arizona could be set up to lean more heavily on its ground game. Quarterback John Skelton remains unestablished. Questions persist at offensive tackle. The team has two talented running backs, four tight ends instead of three and five wide receivers instead of six. Then again, teams rarely use more than two tight ends at a time, and sixth receivers rarely factor.
While game situations can dictate run-pass ratios, a handful of teams were far more likely than Arizona to run on first down when the score was close (defined as a one-score differential or less). Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Houston were among teams running at least 60 percent of the time in these situations. Philadelphia, New Orleans, Green Bay, Detroit and New England -- all teams with top quarterbacks -- were below 48 percent. Arizona was at 53 percent.
This could be a storyline to monitor. As noted, game situations can override the best intentions. But with a defense that appears strong, Arizona might be in position to make a more run-oriented offense work.
Elsewhere on the roster, the Cardinals remain deep at cornerback even after trading former starter A.J. Jefferson to Minnesota. They still have Patrick Peterson, William Gay, Michael Adams, Jamell Fleming and Greg Toler.
Receiver is another position of strength even though Arizona kept only five, one fewer than in recent seasons. First-round pick Michael Floyd joins a group already featuring Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. Rookie LaRon Byrd is the developmental player among the group.
The chart shows roster counts for Arizona by position. The asterisk in the headline reflects unofficial counts for the practice squad. The Cardinals have not announced their initial practice squad. Their website does refer to a few possibilities, culled from media reports.
For download: This Cardinals roster features 27 columns of info for every player on the roster since roughly 2007. It also feature summary info comparing the Cardinals against league averages.