NFC West: Victor Hobson

Catching up with the Cardinals' cut list

September, 10, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Cardinals Player Released on Cutdown Pos. Current Team Capacity
Aaron Francisco
DB Colts Active Roster
Onrea Jones WR Redskins Practice Squad
Trevor Canfield OL Cardinals Practice Squad
Keilen Dykes
DL Cardinals Practice Squad
Alex Field
DL Cardinals Practice Squad
Ed Gant
WR Cardinals Practice Squad
Wilrey Fontenot
DB Cardinals Injured reserve
Chase Bullock LB -- --
Tim Castille RB -- --
Jameel Dowling
DB -- --
David Holloway
LB -- --
Reagan Maui'a
RB -- --
Carlton Medder
OL -- --
Tyler Palko
QB -- --
Leonard Pope
TE -- --
Steve Sanders
WR -- --
Pago Togafau
LB -- --
Chris Vincent
RB -- --
Melvin Fowler
OL -- --
Victor Hobson
LB -- --
Rodney Leisle
DL x x
Oliver Ross
OL x x
The tough decisions teams face in reducing their rosters to 53 players sometimes aren't so tough.

I've gone through the initial NFC West cut lists -- those players released at the 53-man deadline -- to see which ones have returned to their teams or caught on elsewhere.

The chart shows results for Arizona.

Veteran safety Aaron Francisco signed with the Colts. Receiver Onrea Jones signed with the Redskins' practice squad. Arizona re-signed four players to its practice squad.

Four others -- Wilrey Fontenot, Chris Vincent, Carlton Medder and Pago Togafau -- were injured when the Cardinals released them. All but Fontenot have reached injury settlements, leaving the roster. Fontenot remains on injured reserve. Update: Fontenot has also reached an injury settlement.

Some veterans on the list might have an easier time finding work after Week 1. Rules require teams to guarantee salaries to some veterans who are active for Week 1 and then released.

Observations from Cards' exhibition game

September, 4, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Thoughts and observations from the Cardinals' exhibition game Thursday night against the Broncos:
  • Fitzgerald cares. The Cardinals' first-team offense made little apparent progress following an "embarrassing" effort a week earlier, but receiver Larry Fitzgerald showed the unwavering focus and professionalism that help maximize his talents. He ran after the catch the way he would have in a Super Bowl. Receiver Steve Breaston, meanwhile, couldn't even get lined up properly, drawing two penalties for illegal formations. This is a recurring issue for Breaston and one that gets annoying if you watch enough Cardinals games. He committed three such penalties during the 2008 regular season. Details matter.
  • Action for Toler. I was a little surprised to read coach Ken Whisenhunt's comments about how the Cardinals' rookie defensive backs, including cornerback Greg Toler, have a long ways to go. Toler competes. He battled hard against Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd, closing hard on the ball to break up a sideline pass. Lloyd did beat Toler for a long completion to the Arizona 1-yard line, but Lloyd used his left arm to push Toler past the play. It was a veteran move and one that worked, but Toler was there all the way. Officials flagged him for illegal contact on a deep pass in the third quarter. The contact was came early in the route as an act of aggressiveness, not panic. Toler was there all the way and nearly picked off the pass.
  • Updating Long. Receiver Lance Long didn't seem to make an emphatic statement in his quest to earn one of the final spots at receiver. Only Jerheme Urban played more than Long among Arizona receivers in the first half. Long finished the game with one reception for 9 yards. Officials flagged him for holding deep in Cardinals territory and it was a good call.
  • Playing time. First-half snap counts for the Cardinals' skill players broke down this way: Urban 20, Long 14, Warner 12, Stephen Spach 10, Breaston 10, Fitzgerald 10, Jason Wright 9, Beanie Wells 9, Sean Morey 8, Anthony Becht 7, Dan Kreider 6, Tim Hightower 6, Matt Leinart 6, Tyler Palko 6, Ben Patrick 4, Onrea Jones 4, Reagan Maui'a 2 and Tim Castille 1.
  • Wells catches naturally. The Cardinals' first-round choice made a reception out of the backfield for 12 yards, gathering the ball naturally and gaining several yards after the catch. It wasn't much to go on, but nothing about Wells seems to stand out as negative or limiting. We haven't seen enough to know for sure how he'll hold up in pass protection, a key variable for playing time.
  • Losing Pope. Tight end Leonard Pope's long-term future with the team appears shaky. The team could keep an extra player at the position while Ben Patrick serves a four-game suspension to open the season. Even that might not be enough for Pope, who did not play in the first half. When Pope finally got a chance, he showed zero tenacity while missing a block against Broncos defensive end Jarvis Moss. The early third-quarter play allowed Moss to tackle running back Chris Vincent for a loss.
  • Hobson shows. Cardinals linebacker Victor Hobson made a positive impression on a few plays. He was aggressive and put a big hit on the quarterback in the third quarter.
Cardinals Linebacker Age
Bertrand Berry
Chike Okeafor
Clark Haggans
Victor Hobson
Gerald Hayes
Karlos Dansby
Ali Highsmith
Pago Togafau
Chase Bullock
Will Davis
Cody Brown (IR)
Reggie Walker

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals figured injuries could be a risk for Beanie Wells when they made the Ohio State running back their first-round draft choice this year.

Wells had dealt with injuries throughout his college career.

The Cardinals couldn't have foreseen the injury that will end Cody Brown's rookie season before it begins. As Brown's agent suggested and as Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has now confirmed, the team will place Brown on injured reserve after the outside linebacker suffered a wrist injury.

Arizona was not necessarily counting on Brown to make a significant impact right away. But the injury does deprive the team of young depth at a position where the Cardinals are aging. Outside linebackers Chike Okeafor, Bertrand Berry and Clark Haggans are in their 30s.

Brown did not miss a game to injury during his final two seasons at Connecticut. He did miss part of the 2006 season after suffering a broken arm.

Posted by'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
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's Mike Sando

Ezra from Las Vegas writes: Mike, Do you think that Karlos Dansby might be more compelled to sign now that Leroy Hill has a contract, seeing as his agent works for Hill too?

I am hoping that he will, but I think that Dansby is significantly better than Hill, so his contract would need to be better. Or do you think Dansby still wants to leave the Cards because of what he said about making a splash?

I know if next year comes around, I would value Adrian Wilson over Dansby and tag him instead. Thanks, Ezra

Mike Sando: Dansby has much more leverage than Hill because he signed the one-year franchise tender, worth $9.678 million in his case, and the Cardinals did not select Aaron Curry in the first round of the draft.

The $9.678 million became guaranteed when Dansby signed the tender. That makes it pretty easy for Dansby to play out the 2009 season and take his chances in free agency. The Cardinals might have more incentive than Dansby to work out a long-term deal because doing so would help their salary-cap situation in the short term (although the team does not appear to be in desperate need of additional cap space).

Dansby had a better season than Hill enjoyed in 2008. While the gap between the players isn't enormous, the gap between their salaries will be significant. Dansby will make a much more money than Hill over the next two seasons. Hill erred in failing to sign the franchise tender, set at $8.3 million for him. The Seahawks used the error to secure Hill for a bargain price. Unlike Hill, who had lost all leverage, Dansby would never accept a deal that essentially allows the team to release him after two seasons without significant cap consequences.

(Read full post)

Posted by's Mike Sando

Arizona Cardinals Linebacker
Age Status
Chike Okeafor 32 Signed
Clark Haggans
32 Signed
Monty Beisel
30 UFA
Victor Hobson
29 Signed
Gerald Hayes
28 Signed
Karlos Dansby
27 Signed
Ali Highsmith
24 Signed
Pago Togafau
23 Signed

The Cardinals have re-signed four of their own unrestricted free agents after Clark Haggans accepted a three-year deal.

The other NFC West teams have each re-signed two UFAs.

Haggans, 32, provides depth and leadership at linebacker. He is also coming off a foot injury that ended his 2008 season early.

The chart lists the Cardinals' linebackers from oldest to youngest.

Chike Okeafor's ability to stay healthy proved important for Arizona last season. He started 16 games after missing the 2007 season. He previously had not missed a game since 2001.

Posted by's Mike Sando

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Cardinals have named running back J.J. Arrington active despite his knee injury. They also found a spot on the active roster for rookie receiver Early Doucet.

Injuries affected the Cardinals' game-day thinking in previous weeks. Travis LaBoy, Leonard Pope and Anquan Boldin missed games. They are back.

The players Arizona named inactive -- Eric Green, Tim Castille, Victor Hobson, Elliot Vallejo, Brandon Keith, Alan Branch and Jerame Tuman -- have generally not been significant contributors. Castille filled in as a tight end against the Panthers in Week 8, right before the Cardinals signed Stephen Spach, who is now on injured reserve.

Having Doucet active gives the Cardinals additional insurance if Boldin's hamstring becomes a problem. Arrington has mostly contributed in four-receiver packages and as a kick returner. The Cardinals haven't gone with four receivers nearly as much during the playoffs, in part because they have been leading those games much of the way.

Posted by's Mike Sando

TAMPA, Fla. -- The NFL prohibits teams from keeping more than 45 players active on game days. The system is designed to help teams with numerous injuries compete more evenly against healthier opponents.

I'm not sure the benefit outweighs the excruciating decisions coaches must make in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Eric Green, Tim Castille, Victor Hobson, Elliot Vallejo, Brandon Keith, Alan Branch and Jerame Tuman presumably enjoyed the Cardinals' Super Bowl experience this week. None is eligible to suit up for the game, however, thanks to the 45-man limit.

That doesn't seem right, especially in a Super Bowl.

Posted by's Mike Sando

CHARLOTTE -- The Cardinals named injured receiver Anquan Boldin inactive against the Panthers in their divisional playoff game.

Boldin's absence will likely affect the Cardinals' approach to this game, as discussed previously. Also inactive for Arizona: cornerback Eric Green, linebacker Victor Hobson, tackle Elliot Vallejo, tackle Brandon Keith, defensive tackle Alan Branch and tight end Ben Patrick. Brian St. Pierre is the third quarterback. If he plays, Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart could not return.

That leaves Stephen Spach and Leonard Pope as the active tight ends. Pope hasn't played much this season. He previously struggled with false-start penalties on running plays.

Inactive for Carolina: receiver D.J. Hackett, safety Quinton Teal, linebacker Adam Seward, guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, receiver Kenneth Moore, defensive tackle Darwin Walker and defensive tackle J'Vonne Parker. Matt Moore is the third quarterback.

Roided-out NFC West rosters: Week 17

December, 24, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals are down to three tight ends after releasing Jerame Tuman and signing linebacker Victor Hobson.

Stephen Spach has been getting more playing time at tight end since the Cardinals signed him during the season. The position is one the team could probably stand to address heading into next season. Leonard Pope and Ben Patrick have shown promise but not consistency.

Tuman has battled injuries. Hobson provides depth in the defensive front seven after the team placed Clark Haggans on injured reserve.

I've updated the 25-column roided-out NFC West rosters to reflect these and other recent moves. Download here.