NFC West: Elliott Vallejo

LaBoy, Anderson named inactive

January, 3, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cardinals and Falcons will be without a couple of pass rushers for their wild-card game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry will start in place of Travis LaBoy, who will miss a third consecutive game after suffering an ankle injury.

LaBoy was among the players Arizona named inactive moments ago. Tight end Leonard Pope, cornerback Eric Green, offensive lineman Elliot Vallejo, offensive lineman Brandon Keith, defensive tackle Alan Branch and receiver Early Doucet are also inactive for Arizona. Brian St. Pierre is the third quarterback.

Stephen Spach and Ben Patrick are the tight ends for Arizona. Gabe Watson should be rested at nose tackle after sitting out the regular-season finale. Having him active meant placing Branch on the inactive list. Also, with Anquan Boldin back in the lineup, the Cardinals named Doucet among their inactive players.

Inactive for the Falcons: cornerback Glenn Sharpe, safety Eric Brock, linebacker Tony Gilbert, tackle Wayne Gandy, center Alex Stepanovich, tackle Quinn Ojinnaka and defensive end Jamaal Anderson. Anderson's status is most significant. Chauncey Davis starts in place of Anderson.

In another lineup change, Todd Weiner will start at left tackle for the Falcons in place of rookie Sam Baker, who has been injured. Weiner began his career with Seattle in 1998. He's a smart and experienced player. but also an older one. We'll have to see if the Cardinals can get pressure around the edge on his side.

A rush at Cardinals camp

July, 27, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Cardinals have finished practicing in windy and mostly sunny conditions at Northern Arizona University.

Afterward, Anquan Boldin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed autographs longer than anyone. Boldin might prefer signing a new contract at this point, but for now he's working under a deal with three years remaining. A strained hamstring kept him from practicing, but we did see Boldin participate in resistance jogging while a long rope tethered him to cornerback Marcus Brown, who is also injured.

Arizona's defensive speed, heightened as the players practiced without full pads, made life difficult for the passing game at times Sunday. The ball was on the ground quite a bit.

I watched the one-on-one pass-rush drills closely, taking notes as to which players appeared to win or lose each battle. My scorecard showed pass rusher Travis LaBoy winning all three of his matchups, two against undrafted rookie tackle Peter Clifford and one against undrafted rookie tackle Thaddeus Coleman. Coleman is 6-foot-8 and his height seems to work against him. Defenders maneuvered under him.

Veteran pass rusher Chike Okeafor unofficially went 2-2, beating starting right tackle Levi Brown and rookie seventh-round tackle Brandon Keith. Brown and Keith accounted for Okeafor's defeats. Line coach Russ Grimm was clearly pleased when Brown, his starting right tackle, locked out the smaller, quicker Okeafor in a rematch. Okeafor's spin move can be tough to handle.

I had second-round draft choice Calais Campbell at 1-1, both against veteran backup guard Scott Peters. I had a harder time determining a winner in three of Campbell's other matchups (two against backup tackle Elton Brown, one against undrafted free-agent guard Charlton Medder). Calais appeard to get too high on a spin move to the inside. Peters snatched him in mid-spin, putting an abrupt end to the matchup.

Peters dominated rookie fourth-round defensive end Kenny Iwebema in one matchup. Iwebema beat Peters another time. Iwebema also handled Coleman, getting under him. Starting left tackle Mike Gandy had the upper hand against veteran pass rusher Bert Berry, the only time I saw either starter participate in these drills. Tackle Elliot Vallejo won both of his matchups with veteran backup Joe Tafoya.

Defensive end Darnell Dockett and guard Deuce Lutui, both starters, collided in what was probably the most physical matchup. I wasn't sure if there was a winner, but the force of their impact made a distinct sound.