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Practice-squad report: Cardinals

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.