NFC West: Brandon Pearce

Bigger names among Cardinals' moves

August, 31, 2009
8/31/09
3:12
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


It has become cliche for NFL coaches to lament how much tougher roster cuts will be this season given the team's allegedly improved depth. The moves Arizona made in getting to the impending 75-man limit were more significant than usual, largely because injuries played a role.

The team placed second-round choice Cody Brown on injured reserve, as expected, while waiving injured receiver Michael Ray Garvin (knee) and injured linebacker Pago Togafau (foot). Garvin and Togafau would be eligible for injured reserve or injury settlements once they clear waivers. Brown will spend the season recovering from wrist surgery.

The Cardinals also released veteran safety Keith Lewis, formerly of the 49ers, and tackle Brandon Pearce. Lewis seemingly had a shot at earning a roster spot, but the Cardinals got younger at safety through the draft.
Arizona Cardinals Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 2 4 5 2 8 5 6 7 2
Most 4 7 7 4 10 9 8 10 3
Average 3.0 5.3 6.0 3.2 8.8 7.7 7.0 8.8 2.8
Currently on roster
4 8 10 5 13 9 11 12 3

The chart compares the Cardinals' current roster counts by position to 0pening-day totals since 2003. The team must reduce to 53 players by Sunday.

Practice-squad report: Cardinals

August, 21, 2009
8/21/09
12:33
PM ET
Cardinals eligible for
practice squad
Pos. Perceived Status
Michael Adams
DB
Bubble
Jameel Dowling
DB
Likely cut
Wilrey Fontenot
DB
Likely cut
Rashad Johnson
DB
Keeper
Greg Toler
DB
Keeper
Alex Field
DL
Likely cut
Keilen Dykes
DL
Bubble
Cody Brown
LB
Keeper
Chase Bullock
LB
Likely cut
Will Davis
LB
Bubble
Ali Highsmith
LB
Bubble
Pago Togafau
LB
Bubble
Reggie Walker
LB
Likely cut
Trevor Canfield
OL
Likely cut
Ben Claxton
OL
Likely cut
Herman Johnson
OL
Keeper
Carlton Medder
OL
Likely cut
Brandon Keith
OL
Keeper
Brandon Pearce
OL
Likely cut
Elliot Vallejo
OL
Bubble
Tyler Palko
QB
Likely cut
Brian St. Pierre
QB
Keeper
LaRod Stephens-Howling
RB
Bubble
Chris Vincent
RB
Likely cut
Beanie Wells
RB
Keeper
Early Doucet
WR
Keeper
Ed Gant
WR
Likely cut
Michael Ray Garvin
WR
Bubble
Onrea Jones
WR
Likely cut
Lance Long
WR
Bubble
Steve Sanders
WR
Likely cut

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt's recent comments about LaRod Stephens-Howling highlight a subject likely to shape the team's plans for its practice squad.

What to do with a talented player who doesn't fit neatly into a general position, in this case, running back?

Stephens-Howling would be a prime candidate for the practice squad if the Cardinals did not initially make room for him on their 53-man roster. Specialist Michael Ray Garvin also could be a factor depending on how he recovers from knee surgery.

Quarterback Tyler Palko made an impression during the Cardinals' exhibition opener, but the team generally does not keep a quarterback on its practice squad. The need for an additional arm seems diminished with new quarterbacks coach Chris Miller sometimes throwing during practice.

Defensive end Keilen Dykes was making a strong push for a roster spot before suffering an injury. His status seems a bit less settled.

Receivers Onrea Jones and Lance Long could also be strong candidates for the practice squad if they do not land spots on the 53-man roster.

The chart shows all 31 current Cardinals players with eligibility, arranged by position.

NFL teams must reduce rosters from 80 to 75 players Sept. 1. They must reduce to 53 players Sept. 5. They can begin forming eight-man practice squads Sept. 6 at noon ET.

As the NFL puts it:

After 12 noon, New York ti
me, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free-agency credit or who were on the 45-player active list for less than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season(s). A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have gotten dramatically younger at running back this offseason. Edgerrin James and Terrelle Smith are gone, leaving Tim Hightower and Dan Kreider as the only current Cardinals running backs with starting experience.

The team kept three halfbacks and two fullbacks on its Week 1 roster last season. Nine other teams also kept more than one fullback for the opener.

Hightower, Chris Wells, Jason Wright, Kreider and Tim Castille entered camp as the likely choices for those spots, should the team keep five. LaRod Stephens-Howling would have to significantly liven up the return game to earn a spot, most likely.


Arizona Cardinals Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 2
4 5 2 8 5 6 7 2
Most 4 7 7 4 10 9 8 10 3
Average 3.0 5.3 6.0 3.2 8.8 7.7 7.0 8.8 2.8
Currently on roster
4
8 10 5 15 10 11 14 3

The chart provides a framework for how many players the Cardinals might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the 49ers.

Here's a quick look at which Cardinals players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com says the Rams' 2009 draft could hinge on whether the team made the right move with linebacker James Laurinaitis in the second round. Klutsarits: "If I were Billy Devaney, I would have gone with [Rey] Maualuga or even done something more daring and selected Eben Britton the offensive tackle from Arizona or Ron Brace the defensive tackle from Boston College. I believe all three of those players might have made a bigger impact than Laurinaitis will make. Time will tell. I hope I am wrong but keep those three names in mind to see how things will shake out."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch detects a defensive flavor to the Rams' first draft under coach Steve Spagnuolo. General manager Billy Devaney joked that Spagnuolo took over the draft. Said a grinning Devaney: "It was kind of a stealth [move]. [Spagnuolo] never said it, but then all of a sudden the draft's going on, and I said, 'This thing's starting to get away from us. We've got to get some offensive guys.'" That type of joking between coach and general manager suggests they have a good working relationship.

Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked staffers which NFC West team fared best in the draft. The 49ers' and Seahawks' ability to land 2010 first-round choices set them apart, although not decisively. Bill Coats: "I think it was Arizona, and mainly because it landed RB Beanie Wells with the 31st pick. For a team desperately in need of a quality ballcarrier, that was a real coup."

Lisa Goodwin of 49ers.com says the team honored Tony Wragge after the guard finished his college degree this offseason. Goodwin: "During this offseason, Wragge also participated in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurship Program at the Harvard Business School where he took classes on various topics including finance, real estate investments, tax law and overall personal finance analysis, among others. In July, Wragge is taking part in the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp program that helps prepares players for the spot in front of the camera after their career."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers are counting on Manny Lawson to improve as a pass rusher. Coach Mike Singletary: "It would be very easy just to go get a pass rusher or defensive end to appease someone, but I think it's very important for us to have someone who's going to actually upgrade what we already have. I feel very comfortable with Manny doing the things that he needs to do to get better. I think Manny is totally healed. I think he's been moving great. I think his confidence is going to be there."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says NCAA rules will prevent the Cardinals' first-round choice, Chris Wells, from participating in minicamps until June. Also, five players rehabbing from surgeries will miss the post-draft camp: Kurt Warner, Gabe Watson, Tim Castille, Matt Ware and Stephen Spach. The Cardinals' draft moves put Ware and the other backup safeties on alert.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind takes a closer look at the Cardinals' undrafted free-agent signings. On Memphis tackle Brandon Pearce: "Pearce is interesting only because he's an offensive tackle that played in a pass happy system and rarely gave up sacks. He's got good height but needs to add considerable bulk to his frame (6'6, 290), although some reports mentioned that he added 20 pounds of bulk before Memphis' pro day. Either way he'll have to get stronger as he's had very little experience as an in-line blocker."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Aaron Curry made a smashing first impression during his first news conference as a Seahawk.

John Morgan of Field Gulls reads between the lines in matching the Seahawks' pre-draft comments to their draft-day actions.

William P. Tomisser of Seahawk Addicts offers first impressions on Curry, Max Unger and the Seahawks' draft class. Tomisser: "Except for [general manager Tim] Ruskell's first year here when he only had a month to prepare for his first draft and to set up his draft board, every player from every draft made the team or practice squad in his rookie year (or was put on IR like longsnapper T. Schmitt). I think that once again, there's a very good chance of every pick being on the team come opening day."

Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts passes along a Detroit News tidbit about Michigan long-snapper Sean Griffin possibly signing with Seattle. Good eye, Mr. Steffes.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have announced the signings of nine undrafted free agents:

  • Chase Bullock, LB, Maryland
  • Reggie Walker, LB, Kansas State
  • Tony Davis, CB, Penn State
  • Jameel Dowling, CB, Hawaii
  • Michael Ray Garvin, KR/CB, Florida State
I've got some work to do in updating rosters. It's always fun to see how these additions affect rosters and which ones might have a chance to stick, although we won't have a strong idea until training camps, most likely.

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