NFC West: Daryn Colledge

All Cardinals ready to play vs. 49ers

December, 27, 2013
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.

“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
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
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."
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
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).
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.

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?


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.

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.

Guards' time to shine vs. Lions' DL

September, 14, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – Last week, Arizona Cardinals guards Daryn Colledge and Paul Fanaika watched the team's tackles become the center of attention.

This week, it’s their turn.

Colledge and Fanaika will spend Sunday trying to prevent the interior of the Detroit Lions' defensive line from feasting on Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.

When you're talking about Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, it’s a job the tackles aren’t envious of.

“Those guys are talented, they make that whole thing go,” Colledge said. “If you’re forced to double-team them, (the) linebackers are going to make plays. If you’re forced to single them up, they got a chance to make plays themselves.

“So we have to neutralize the front.”

But Colledge and Fanaika might be on their own.

Last week, the Cardinals used a running back or tight end for support in pass-rush situations. This week, their main option to help the guards will be center Lyle Sendlein. The tackles won’t be able to cheat over, said left tackle Levi Brown.

“We don’t have the luxury of helping out,” Brown said. “We have enough work to do ourselves out on our sides. Usually, depending on which way the protection is going, the center will be able to help out the guard, depending on which way he’s going.

“The other guys will just have to widen their guy and allow the quarterback to step up.”

Like the Lions’ offense, their defense will make the Cardinals choose whom to focus on, which means either Suh or Fairley will be single-blocked on every play.

Suh had seven quarterback hurries and one hit Week 1 against the Vikings, according to Pro Football Focus, while Fairley had 1.5 sacks and a hurry.

“If you try to double-team Suh than you have to Fairley one-on-one, so you can’t double-team them both,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Our tackles had the tough job last week. Our guards have the tough job this week.”

Offensive-line coach Harold Goodwin said the pass protection won’t change much from Week 1, but will have an emphasis on technique in one-on-one blocking situations.

While Palmer had to step up in the pocket last week, he might be running for his life if Suh or Fairley break through.

“They’re both pretty good,” Goodwin said. “Obviously Suh is really good. So we got to do our best job as far as what we do with our protections and who has that guy’s help.

“We got to do a good job with that.”
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said he was pleased with backup tight end Jim Dray, who caught two passes for 21 yards Sunday in St. Louis with starter Rob Housler sidelined by an ankle injury.

“He made a couple of really tough catches, made a really nice run and broke a couple of tackles,” Palmer said.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Cardinals tried out tight ends Brett Brackett and Ryan Otten and receiver Raymond Radway on Tuesday. Since no announcement has been made yet, it’s unlikely the Cards signed any of them.

Palmer hinted that Dray's role in the offense may grow Sunday against Detroit.

“I think Jimmy has done a great job with his backup role,” Palmer said. “I think this week he is even going to expand on that a little bit.”

Depth chart changes: On the Cardinals’ latest depth chart, Nate Potter was listed as a backup for left guard Daryn Colledge, while recently acquired Bradley Sowell will back up Levi Brown at left tackle.

“We’re trying to get him some guard work now,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Bradley Sowell, we’re comfortable with playing both tackles.”

Arians said Sowell will not play at left tackle Sunday.

Suh’s reputation not a problem for Arians: Arians knows what he sees when it comes to Ndamukong Suh, who was fined $100,000 for an illegal low block against he Vikings.

“The only thing I evaluate is tape, and when I watch tape, I see a great football player -- high energy, high passion, disruptive three-technique,” Arians said. “All the rest of the stuff, I don’t have to deal with.”

Never too old: Palmer identified areas he struggled in at St. Louis and said he set out to improve them this week.

Palmer said he had technique issues stepping into throws, reading the coverage and getting himself out of trouble in the pocket. He watched relevant tape Monday and Tuesday, then came to work Wednesday with a few footwork drills he could do with quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens.

Minter to keep waiting: It’s not likely that rookie linebacker Kevin Minter will see the field behind Jasper Brinkley and Karlos Dansby on Sunday, or any game in the future.

“Only in the case of injury,” Arians said.

Minter participated in 17 special-teams plays against the Rams.

OC Goodwin learning from Arians, Moore

September, 6, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – A lot has been made about the Arizona Cardinals spending all offseason learning a new offensive scheme.

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin can relate.

Since he was hired in early February, Goodwin has been learning how to direct an entire offense, from the run to the pass, from the first string to the practice squad. Until this year, Goodwin had only been an offensive-line coach. He knew two things: pass protection and run blocking.

When new head coach Bruce Arians brought him on board in Arizona, he entrusted Goodwin with the keys to the Cardinals’ new offense, one that featured All-Everything receiver Larry Fitzgerald and would soon have a name quarterback in Carson Palmer. But there was one caveat. Goodwin wouldn’t be calling the plays.

“It’s still a work in progress for me as being the O-line coach trying to grasp that kind of stuff,” Goodwin said. “Every day I get more and more apt at being able to do it, and being able to see it and tell you what those guys are doing.”

[+] EnlargeHarold Goodwin
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliHarold Goodwin, in his first stint as an offensive coordinator, relies on the experience of fellow coaches Bruce Arians and Tom Moore.
For now, Goodwin is content being a sponge, watching and learning from two football geniuses. Arians was the mastermind behind a Super Bowl victory with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is known for his vertical passing game. Tom Moore, the assistant head coach, made Peyton Manning into who he is today.

“At the end of the (day), he’s still a great mind as far as the passing game,” Goodwin said of Arians. “I just throw in my two cents every now and then for the most part.

“Those guys are doing it because they’ve been doing it for along time.”

But Goodwin still gets his chance to mold the offense in his image. He said the majority of the work during the week is on his shoulders.

For now, however, Goodwin will continue to learn from two of the brightest minds in the game.

“At the end of the day,” Goodwin said, “in my belly, I’m still a line coach.”

  • The fact that Patrick Peterson will also be playing wide receiver this season isn’t a secret. But how the Cardinals will unveil Peterson on Sunday still is.

“I can’t tell you that,” Goodwin said with a smile. “He’s going to be in there some. Who knows? That’s up to coach (Arians) and what he calls. Obviously they’ve seen some stuff in the preseason, but they haven’t seen it all.”

  • Goodwin believes left tackle Nate Potter is good enough to make the transition to guard, which the second-year pro started doing this week at practice.

“Nate’s a good athlete,” Goodwin said. “It’s still a little bit of an adjustment to him, but I think he’s capable.”

  • The Goodwin family is a house divided these days. Harold’s younger brother, Jonathan, is an offensive lineman for NFC West rival San Francisco. But don’t expect a good-luck phone call. Harold hasn’t heard from his brother as his coordinator debut nears.

“I haven’t talked to him,” Harold Goodwin said. “He’s the enemy now.”

  • While he was in Indianapolis, Goodwin was impressed enough with tackle Bradley Sowell that when the Cardinals were looking for a little more stability on the offensive line, they turned to the former Colt.

“He knows the system because he was in it last year,” Goodwin said. “It’s still a little bit of a learning curve because he forgot a little bit, but for the most part you see him out there getting reps, so he knows most of it.”

  • With Potter now an option at guard, Goodwin said guard Daryn Colledge along with backup center Mike Gibson will be the “exchange guys inside.”

Potter answers backup guard questions

September, 4, 2013
Nate Potter knows an opportunity when he sees one.

When the Cardinals’ coaches came to him earlier this week wondering if Potter could also play guard, the second-year left tackle didn’t hesitate.

“Of course I’ll do it,” Potter said.

The Cardinals are all too familiar with an offensive line falling apart because of injuries. They saw it first hand in 2012, starting seven players over the course of the season. It happened again during Week 3 of the preseason, when rookie left guard Jonathan Cooper's season ended after he broke his leg. After a reshuffling of the 53-man roster, only three guards were left standing: starters Daryn Colledge (left) and Paul Fanaika (right), and rookie Earl Watford. The Cardinals had just one backup for two interior linemen. Until this week.

Enter Potter, who started practicing at guard in addition to left tackle earlier after the Labor Day weekend. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made the announcement during his Wednesday press conference.

“It’s a really easy transition for him,” Arians said. “He’s got the potential, and he’s smart enough to be a full-rotational guy. He plays both sides. He already knows how to play both tackles from the experience he got in the spring and now we’ll get him ready to play guard.”

Easy might be a stretch as of today, but Potter could make a career of being a swing lineman. It’s not the ideal job for anyone who had aspirations of being a starter in the NFL for years, but it could keep him employed.

Potter is young and agile enough to learn another position this early in his career, even if he hasn’t played guard since his not-that-long-ago days at Boise State.

“It’s been a while so it’s going to be an adjustment,” Potter said. “The more you can do the better. It’s going to be a learning experience and I still got a long ways to go because I just started but I’m excited to try it.”

This move is telling in more ways than just the Cardinals didn’t feel the need to add another guard. They could’ve simply done that. Instead they showed their fondness of Potter, a seventh-round pick in 2012, by trying to make him fit. Working Potter at guard was also something being thrown around early last year.

This will help the Cardinals decide who to keep active on game days. Arians has hinted toward seven active offensive linemen, but who the additional two will be is the biggest question mark. It’ll most likely be a combination of Potter, right tackle Bobby Massie and center Mike Gibson.

After earning his stripes by fire last season, Potter didn’t impress Arians enough during training camp to overtake Levi Brown at left tackle. With his snaps expected to be limited, this could get him on the field, especially if Colledge or Fanaika go down.

It won’t be easy for Potter, who will have to learn new blocking schemes and protections. Then there’s the footwork and body mechanics.

But his goal is to get “comfortable at everything.”

“Everything happens a little bit faster at guard so I got to get comfortable with that,” Potter said. “It’s going to take a little time but I started so it’s good.

“That’s how you stick around … the more you can do.”