NFL Nation: Max Komar

Devin Hester active for Bears

December, 25, 2011
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Chicago Bears will play their top rivals Sunday night without their top two running backs and appear to be bracing for limited duty from receiver/kick returner Devin Hester.

Hester is active but the Bears also have receiver Max Komar in uniform for the first time all season.

Matt Forte (knee) and Marion Barber (calf) are inactive, as expected. Kahlil Bell is expected to get his second NFL start.

The Bears also deactivated rookie quarterback Nathan Enderle, meaning that deposed starter Caleb Hanie is the only quarterback available to play in relief of new starter Josh McCown.

The Green Bay Packers will have linebacker Desmond Bishop (calf) in uniform for the first time since Thanksgiving Day. Meanwhile, defensive end Mike Neal (shoulder) is in uniform, but the Packers announced that Howard Green will start for Ryan Pickett at left defensive end and that C.J. Wilson will start at right defensive end.

The team also confirmed that T.J. Lang will start at right tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith will start at left guard.
The highest-profile kicker in the NFC West enjoys stimulating thought with provocative statements.

Jay Feely offered more fodder Thursday on the Doug Gottlieb Show.
On his Arizona Cardinals acquiring Kevin Kolb: "You can't underestimate how important it was in trying to re-sign Larry Fitzgerald after this year. He is the face of the franchise and one of, if not the best receiver in the NFL -- exactly the kind of guy you want to build around. Obviously, if they didn't have a quarterback of the future in place, the likelihood of trying to re-sign Larry Fitzgerald after this year would greatly diminish."

Getting a younger quarterback with a long-range future was critical, Feely said, in part because Fitzgerald would want to envision himself building a rapport over several years. Feely expects the Cardinals to sign a slot receiver to complement a group featuring two younger receivers he mentioned by name, Max Komar and Stephen Williams.

Feely also offered thoughts on Carson Palmer's decision to stay away from the Cincinnati Bengals while demanding a trade. Feely, as a Cardinals union rep, would seem more inclined to side with Palmer under the circumstances. That was not the case.
On Palmer's demands: "People may see this as naive. My own personal view, though, is when you sign a contract, you should honor that contract. And I completely understand that the owners don't do that. Because I signed a three-year deal with Miami, went down there my first year, had the best year of my car, set the franchise record for field-goal percentage and got cut after that season when they cleaned house. ...

"Part of signing a huge deal is, you are embracing that franchise, embracing all the problems that existed. I had no problem with Lebron James as a free agent wanting to go somewhere else. ... When you sign that deal, when you accept all that money, when you accept the huge signing bonus that you get, you are accepting everything that goes along with being the face of the franchise and the quarterback of that team, the leader of that team and the face of that city."

I'm with Gottlieb in leaning more toward Palmer's side on this one simply because Palmer's frustrations with the Bengals appear justified.

NFC West Week 16 decisive moment

December, 28, 2010
NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

The Arizona Cardinals were dangerously close to blowing another fourth-quarter lead.

They had done so spectacularly during narrow defeats to Minnesota (27-24) and Tampa Bay (38-35) earlier in the season, and it was happening again in Week 16.

The Dallas Cowboys had turned a 21-3 deficit into a 26-24 lead at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals faced fourth-and-15 from their 19-yard line with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Larry Fitzgerald's 100-game streak with a reception was in danger of ending. Rookie quarterback John Skelton had completed only 8 of 20 passes for 132 yards.

Moments don't get much more decisive. Either the Cardinals would improbably complete a pass for at least 15 yards or they would lose the game.

Skelton's 26-yard strike to Fitzgerald gave the Cardinals a chance. Skelton followed up with a 6-yard pass to Tim Hightower and a 19-yarder to Max Komar. Two clock-stopping spike passes stood as Skelton's only incompletions after the fourth-down play.

Jay Feely's 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining won the game for Arizona.

"On that last drive, it got pretty shaky there for a while on fourth-and-long," Skelton told reporters after the game, "but Larry ran a great route, found a soft spot in the defense and I was able to hit him. That one play got the momentum going for the rest of the drive."

Rams' Karney, Cards' Watson inactive

December, 5, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals named some healthy contributors inactive Sunday.

The Rams sat down fullback Mike Karney for a second consecutive week even though Karney was available to them. Brit Miller is getting some snaps at fullback in the base offense. Miller also offers more on special teams. The Rams have sometimes moved a tight end into the backfield for blocking help, although their preferred choice in that role, Mike Hoomanwanui, is inactive with an ankle injury.

The Cardinals named defensive lineman Gabe Watson inactive after their defensive front struggled badly against the San Francisco 49ers last week. Defensive end Calais Campbell, inactive with an ankle injury last week, is active Sunday. Watson had been active for the previous three games.

Also inactive for Arizona: receiver Max Komar, cornerback A.J. Jefferson, safety Hamza Abdullah, cornerback Marshay Green, linebacker Reggie Walker and center Ben Claxton. John Skelton is the third quarterback.

Also inactive for the Rams: safety Michael Lewis, cornerback Jerome Murphy, linebacker Bryan Kehl, guard John Greco and defensive tackle Darell Scott. Scott has been injured. Defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo, inactive against Denver, is active for this game.

Hitting key points on MNF inactive lists

November, 29, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Wide receiver Steve Breaston is active for the Arizona Cardinals despite his questionable status on the injury report.

Teammates Calais Campbell and Greg Toler, both starters on defense, will miss the Cardinals' game against the San Francisco 49ers. Both were named inactive. Alan Branch starts for Campbell (injured ankle) at defensive end. Michael Adams starts for Toler (foot) at right cornerback.

Toler had struggled some before suffering the injury. Adams is tenacious, but he lacks size.

Breaston will play despite a knee injury. Versatile running back LaRod Stephens-Howling is also active for the Cardinals. A hamstring injury sidelined him against Kansas City last week. Stephens-Howling has dynamic skills as a kickoff returner. The Cardinals use him as a running back and wide receiver on offense. He's particularly useful to them on second down, often with fullback Jason Wright and three wide receivers.

Inactive for the 49ers: kicker Joe Nedney, cornerback Tramaine Brock, cornerback Williams James, linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, left tackle Joe Staley and tackle Alex Boone. David Carr is the third quarterback. Barry Sims starts at left tackle for the 49ers. He was steady in relief last season, but perhaps a bit rusty against Tampa Bay last week. His matchup against the Cardinals' Joey Porter could be worth monitoring.

Inactive for the Cardinals: receiver Max Komar, safety Hamza Abdullah, cornerback Marshay Green, linebacker Reggie Walker, center Ben Claxton, Campbell and Toler. John Skelton is the third quarterback.

Making sense of major Week 10 injury news

November, 14, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers announced their list of inactive players for Week 10 without making waves.

The situation was much different in Arizona, where the Cardinals named defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (shoulder) and running back Beanie Wells (knee) inactive against Seattle. The Seahawks named left tackle Russell Okung inactive, no surprise but a significant development nonetheless.

A look at NFC West inactives:

Arizona Cardinals: Wells, Dockett, receiver Max Komar, cornerback A.J. Jefferson, safety Hamza Abdullah, linebacker Cyril Obiozor and center Ben Claxton. John Skelton is the third quarterback. Paris Lenon is starting at linebacker despite an ankle injury. Alan Branch starts for Dockett. Branch has played well this season; he had two sacks against the Seahawks earlier this season in a breakout game for him.

Seattle Seahawks: Okung, receiver Brandon Stokley, fullback Michael Robinson, guard Mike Gibson, receiver Golden Tate, nose tackle Colin Cole and defensive lineman E.J. Wilson. Gibson provided quality depth on the offensive line. Ruvell Martin is active at receiver while Stokley and Tate recover from injuries.

St. Louis Rams: cornerback Justin King, cornerback Quincy Butler, safety James Butler, tight end Fendi Onobun, linebacker David Vobora, guard John Greco, receiver Danario Alexander and defensive end Eugene Sims. The Rams are thin in the secondary, as usual, but the 49ers aren't likely to spread the field with wide receivers all afternoon, either.

San Francisco 49ers: receiver Kyle Williams, quarterback Alex Smith, cornerback Tramaine Brock, linebacker Keaton Kristick, linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, tackle Barry Sims, tackle Alex Boone and receiver Jason Hill. The 49ers are keeping four wide receivers active, the minimum. They are healthier at tight end.

Steve Breaston inactive for Cardinals

October, 24, 2010
SEATTLE -- The weather forecast calling for rain at Qwest Field has proved more accurate than reports suggesting Steve Breaston would likely return from injury to start for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7.

Breaston was named among the Cardinals' inactive players minutes ago. Rookie Andre Roberts starts in his place. Receiver Stephen Williams is also inactive. He has a back injury. Arizona's active receivers include Larry Fitzgerald, Max Komar, Early Doucet and Onrea Jones.

Also inactive for Arizona: safety Hamza Abdullah, cornerback Trumaine McBride, center Ben Claxton, linebacker Alex Hall and nose tackle Gabe Watson. John Skelton is the third quarterback.

Doucet's return from injury should help Arizona deal with Breaston's continuing absence. Breaston did provide a deep threat, however, and the Cardinals could miss his ability to strike downfield. Seattle has one fewer top-flight target to worry about defending, welcome news for the Seahawks as they play without starting corner Kelly Jennings.

Personnel report: Cardinals spread field

September, 13, 2010
The Arizona Cardinals' rumored conversion to a conventional running team following Kurt Warner's retirement remains just that: a rumor.

Though inconsistent Sunday, quarterback Derek Anderson was most efficient operating from the four-receiver personnel groupings Warner favored. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 164 yards, one touchdown and a 104.9 rating from this wide-open grouping. This seemed improbable because the Cardinals, who managed a 17-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams, traded Anquan Boldin and lost receiver Early Doucet to an injury during the game.

Undrafted rookie free agents Max Komar and Stephen Williams comprised half of that four-receiver grouping once a groin injury sidelined Doucet in the second quarter. The Cardinals used four-receiver personnel twice on their winning touchdown drive, producing a 27-yard gain and a 21-yard touchdown. Anderson completed 6 of 8 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown from four-receiver personnel in the second half.

Arizona largely ignored its double-tight end groupings. I see two reasons for that.

One, Beanie Wells wasn't active, depriving Arizona of its best pure runner. Wells has been quite effective from double-tight groupings. Two, the Rams lost their third and fourth cornerbacks to injury during the second half, making it tougher for St. Louis to cover. Also, coach Ken Whisenhunt has said the Cardinals will not necessarily abandon their spread offense just because Warner isn't around to run it any longer.

The chart breaks down Anderson's passing numbers by personnel group.

For download: A two-sheet Excel file featuring sortable Cardinals offensive play-by-play and production summary by personnel group. My rushing totals for Arizona's Tim Hightower exceed official totals by 4 yards, presumably a product of how the league accounted for the fumble he lost following a 4-yard gain.

Source: I chart personnel live during games and double-check potentially confusing plays on video afterward. I did this for every NFC West game last season and have charted personnel from NFL games for more than 10,000 plays over the last five years. The idea is to figure out how teams use running backs, receivers and tight ends in combination across situations. I've got the Rams information from Week 1 as well and will go through the San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks game as time permits.

Tate, Roberts validate WR disclaimers

September, 12, 2010
ST. LOUIS -- Receiver Golden Tate, a second-round draft choice from Notre Dame, was a star of Seattle Seahawks training camp, at least early.

Fellow receiver Andre Roberts, a third-round choice for the Arizona Cardinals, once appeared likely to earn a role in a receiving rotation without Anquan Boldin, among others.

Tate and Roberts were both named inactive Sunday, another reminder that rookie receivers can face difficult transitions to the NFL. Roberts fell behind after suffering a shoulder injury early in preseason. Tate faded.

And yet the Cardinals have two rookie wideouts active Sunday (Max Komar, who is expected to return punts, and Stephen Williams). The Rams have one, fourth-round choice Mardy Gilyard. It's possible for rookie receivers to earn playing time, but strong performances early in camp should always come with disclaimers. It's typical for rookie receivers to flash early in camp, then fade from relevance once exhibition games begin.

Offenses require more precision and attention to detail from receivers once the games begin. Tate was rough around the edges, even when he was making big plays in practice. The physical demands of the position can also wear down rookies. Receivers do more running in practice than other position players.

Beanie Wells among Cardinals' inactives

September, 12, 2010
ST. LOUIS -- Injured running back Beanie Wells wasn't expected to play Sunday after not practicing all week. Sure enough, Wells was among the players named inactive.

Tim Hightower will start at running back, which would have happened anyway, and Hightower will probably get more carries than usual. This marks the second consecutive season an injury suffered before the opener will affect Wells' snap counts. The ankle injury he suffered in camp as a rookie made him play catch-up.

Also inactive for Arizona: receiver Andre Roberts, cornerback A.J. Jefferson, cornerback Brandon McDonald, linebacker Cyril Obiozor, center Ben Claxton and nose tackle Gabe Watson.

The Cardinals will have two rookie receivers active and Roberts, a third-round choice, is not one of them. The undrafted Max Komar appears likely to return punts. Fellow undrafted rookie Stephen Williams is active as a receiver.

Watson's inclusion on the list reflects his standing behind rookie first-round choice Dan Williams as the primary backup to Bryan Robinson.

Definitive look at NFC West turnover

September, 8, 2010
Roster turnover is a leading topic for discussion in Seattle following the release of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in particular.

I've addressed the subject in depth across the division -- first May 26 and again July 30 -- and it's worth another look now that teams have reduced to 53 players for the regular season.

This time, I'm going to break down the changes by position, listing players no longer on the active roster at each main position group (with new players in parenthesis). Departures outnumber replacements because some players finished last season on injured reserve, meaning they were not part of the 53-man roster.

Some players no longer on the active roster remain with the team (they could be suspended, deemed physically unable to perform or part of the practice squad).

St. Louis Rams (34 off roster)

Defensive back: Eric Bassey, Quincy Butler, Danny Gorrer, Clinton Hart, Cordelius Parks, David Roach, Jonathan Wade (added Kevin Dockery, Jerome Murphy, Darian Stewart)

Defensive line: Victor Adeyanju, Adam Carriker, Leger Douzable, Leonard Little, LaJuan Ramsey, James Wyche (added Jermelle Cudjo, Fred Robbins, George Selvie, Eugene Sims)

Linebacker: K.C. Asiodu, Paris Lenon (added Na'il Diggs, Josh Hull)

Offensive line: Roger Allen, Alex Barron, Ryan McKee, Mark Setterstrom, Phillip Trautwein, Eric Young (added Renardo Foster, Hank Fraley, Rodger Saffold)

Quarterback: Kyle Boller, Marc Bulger, Keith Null, Mike Reilly (added Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Thaddeus Lewis)

Running back: Samkon Gado, Chris Ogbonnaya (added Keith Toston)

Special teams: Ryan Neill

Tight end: Randy McMichael (added Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun)

Wide receiver: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Brooks Foster, Jordan Kent, Ruvell Martin (added Mark Clayton, Dominique Curry, Mardy Gilyard)

Seattle Seahawks (33 off roster)

Defensive back: Jamar Adams, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson (added Kam Chancellor, Kennard Cox, Nate Ness, Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond)

Defensive line: Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding, Nick Reed, Darryl Tapp, Craig Terrill (added Kentwan Balmer, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, Dexter Davis, Junior Siavii, E.J. Wilson)

Linebacker: Leroy Hill, Lance Laury, D.D. Lewis (added Matt McCoy; note that Hill is suspended for the first regular-season game)

Offensive line: Trevor Canfield, Brandon Frye, Walter Jones, Damion McIntosh, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto (added Stacy Andrews, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ben Hamilton, Russell Okung, Chester Pitts, Tyler Polumbus)

Quarterback: Mike Teel, Seneca Wallace (added Charlie Whitehurst)

Running back: Justin Griffith, Louis Rankin, Tyler Roehl, Owen Schmitt (added Quinton Ganther, Michael Robinson, Leon Washington)

Special teams: Kevin Houser, Jeff Robinson (added Clint Gresham)

Tight end: John Owens (added Chris Baker, Anthony McCoy)

Wide receiver: Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (added Golden Tate, Mike Williams)

Arizona Cardinals (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Ralph Brown, Bryant McFadden, Antrel Rolle (added A.J. Jefferson, Trumaine McBride, Brandon McDonald, Kerry Rhodes)

Defensive line: Jason Banks (added Dan Williams)

Linebacker: Monty Beisel, Bertrand Berry, Cody Brown, Karlos Dansby, Gerald Hayes, Chike Okeafor, Pago Togafau (added Paris Lenon, Cyril Obiozor, Joey Porter, Daryl Washington; Hayes can return from the physically unable to perform list after six games)

Offensive line: Mike Gandy, Herman Johnson, Reggie Wells (added Alan Faneca, Rex Hadnot)

Quarterback: Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Kurt Warner (added Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton)

Running back: Justin Green, Dan Kreider (added Jerome Johnson)

Special teams: Neil Rackers (added Jay Feely)

Tight end: Anthony Becht (added Jim Dray)

Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Sean Morey, Jerheme Urban (added Andre Roberts, Stephen Williams)

San Francisco 49ers (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Dre' Bly, Walt Harris, Marcus Hudson, Mark Roman (added Phillip Adams, Tramaine Brock, William James, Taylor Mays)

Defensive line: Kentwan Balmer, Derek Walker

Linebacker: Scott McKillop, Jeff Ulbrich, Matt Wilhelm (added NaVorro Bowman, Travis LaBoy)

Offensive line: Tony Pashos, Chris Patrick, Cody Wallace (added Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati)

Quarterback: Nate Davis, Shaun Hill (added David Carr, Troy Smith)

Running back: Thomas Clayton, Glen Coffee, Brit Miller, Michael Robinson (added Anthony Dixon, Brian Westbrook)

Special teams: Shane Andrus, Ricky Schmitt

Wide receiver: Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Brandon Jones (added Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler)

The first chart shows how many players are back -- at least for now -- from Week 17 rosters and injured reserve lists. Seattle has the fewest number back with 26.

The second chart shows how many players each team has shed since Week 17 last season. This counts players who were on injured reserve. Teams with lots of players on injured reserve had more players to lose.

Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Leonard Little, Jerheme Urban, Owen Schmitt, Josh Wilson, William James, Justin Green, Raheem Brock, Derek Anderson, Walt Harris, Tony Pashos, Darryl Tapp, Sam Bradford, Mark Roman, Dan Kreider, David Carr, Ralph Brown, Lawrence Jackson, Isaac Bruce, Charlie Whitehurst, Chris Clemons, Shaun HIll, Junior Siavii, Leroy Hill, Kevin Dockery, Matt Leinart, Chike Okeafor, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rex Hadnot, Brian Westbrook, Bertrand Berry, Dominique Zeigler, Eric Bassey, Eric Young, D.D. Lewis, Brandon McDonald, Nate Burleson, Alex Barron, Ryan Neill, Samkon Gado, Kyle Boller, Brit Miller, Patrick Kerney, Clinton Hart, Quincy Butler, Michael Robinson, Arnaz Battle, Ray Willis, Leger Douzable, Jerome Johnson, Trumaine McBride, Glen Coffee, Brooks Foster, Monty Beisel, Renardo Foster, Mansfield Wrotto, Shane Andrus, Donnie Avery, Karlos Dansby, Alex Boone, Marcus Hudson, Leon Washington, Troy Smith, Adam Carriker, Cody Brown, Kurt Warner, Cordelius Parks, Jeff Ulbrich, Chris Ogbonnaya, Neil Rackers, Pago Togafau, Scott McKillop, Randy McMichael, Kentwan Balmer, Lance Laury, Sean Morey, Mike Gandy, Mike Reilly, Brian St. Pierre, Ruvell Martin, Mark Clayton, Ben Hamilton, Anquan Boldin, Marc Bulger, Nate Davis, Chester Pitts, Cory Redding, Antrel Rolle, Matt McCoy, Brandon Jones, Alan Faneca, Chris Baker, Anthony Davis, Keenan Burton, Hank Fraley, Joey Porter, David Roach, Phillip Trautwein, Tyler Roehl, Jason Hill, Taylor Mays, Mark Setterstrom, Travis LaBoy, A.J. Feeley, Brandon Frye, Craig Terrill, Keith Null, Cody Wallace, K.C. Asiodu, Jordan Kent, Kyle Williams, Quinton Ganther, Stacy Andrews, James Wyche, Reggie Wells, Victor Adeyanju, Jonathan Wade, Seneca Wallace, Thomas Clayton, Paris Lenon, Deon Grant, Kerry Rhodes, Fred Robbins, John Owens, Bryant McFadden, Matt Wilhelm, Steve Vallos, Gerald Hayes, Jeff Robinson, Herman Johnson, Walter Jones, Mike Williams, Justin Griffith, Jason Banks, Jamar Adams, Anthony Becht, Na\'il Diggs, Damion McIntosh, Tyler Polumbus, Derek Walker, Louis Rankin, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Cyril Obiozor, Mike Iupati, Kevin Houser, Dan Williams, Russell Okung, Golden Tate, Anthony Dixon, Anthony McCoy, Mardy Gilyard, Earl Thomas, A.J. Jefferson, Kennard Cox, Andre Roberts, Walter Thurmond, Rodger Saffold, George Selvie, Daryl Washington, Jerome Murphy, Navorro Bowman, E.J. Wilson, Mike Hoomanawanui, John Skelton, Nate Byham, Eugene Sims, Jermelle Cudjo, Ricky Schmitt, Dominique Curry, Fendi Onobun, Kam Chancellor, Dexter Davis, Phillip Adams, Stephen Williams, Thaddeus Lewis, Chris Patrick, Clint Gresham, Danny Gorrer, Darian Stewart, Keith Toston, LaJuan Ramsey, Roger III Allen, Ryan McKee, Ted Jr. Ginn, Tramaine Brock, Trevor Canfield

Rounding up known NFC West moves

September, 3, 2010
I'll provide a separate file breaking down each NFC West team's roster moves once they meet the 53-man limit.

In the meantime, a few odds and ends:

Arizona Cardinals

Traded guard Reggie Wells to Philadelphia; released tight end Anthony Becht; released linebacker Steve Baggs; released linebacker Monty Beisel; apparently informed receiver Max Komar he made the initial 53-man roster; apparently did not tell quarterback Matt Leinart about his status to this point; scheduled a news conference for 6 p.m. ET (but nothing significant on Leinart is expected at that time).

San Francisco 49ers

Released running back Michael Robinson, released fullback Brit Miller; released fullback Jehuu Caulcrick; released receiver Jason Hill; released receiver Kevin Jurovich; released offensive lineman Cody Wallace; released defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell; released tight ends Tony Curtis and J.J. Finley; released linebacker Bruce Davis; released cornerback Karl Paymah.

Seattle Seahawks

No known moves to this point; Seattle waited until Saturday to announce its cuts last season.

St. Louis Rams

No known moves to this point; the Rams also waited until Saturday last season.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Thoughts and observations after watching the Arizona Cardinals relocate their Sunday practice indoors to avoid rains at Northern Arizona University:

  • Offensive line coach Russ Grimm's selection to the Hall of Fame raises his profile among Cardinals players who might have known he played without knowing he was one of the great guards. Grimm and Pro Bowl defensive lineman Darnell Dockett spoke for about 15 minutes at one point during practice. Grimm was sharing pointers based on his knowledge of the game and personal experiences. The two shook hands about 10 minutes into the conversation as if they were finished, only to quickly reconvene and continue. I'll have more on this subject another time.
  • [+] EnlargeCardinals
    AP Photo/Matt YorkRain forced the Cardinals and their defensive line to practice indoors on Sunday.
    Defensive tackle Alan Branch, facing a make-or-break season is obviously lighter. He even led teammates in sideline-to-sideline runs before practice. I caught him stopping about 5 yards short of the sideline on one of the runs, though.
  • It's tough for the offense to function sometimes with Dockett blowing up plays. He drove right guard Reggie Wells into the backfield on one play, sending Wells flying into quarterback Matt Leinart, who hit the FieldTurf surface at the 16,000-seat Walkup Skydome. Dockett expanded his offseason training regimen to include pushing his Cadillac for 30 to 40 feet at a time, with 2-minute breaks between sets (former Seattle Seahawks tackle Walter Jones used to push around a pickup truck as part of his training). Dockett said it's "no sweat" matching up against 340-pound offensive linemen after pushing around a vehicle weighing several thousand pounds.
  • Second-year safety Rashad Johnson might be making a conscious effort to become more physical, something he must do to challenge for playing time. The Cardinals practiced in pads and Johnson took advantage of the opportunity to hit. He tagged receiver Onrea Jones on one play when both met at the ball.
  • Stephen Spach made a one-handed grab to beat new Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes for a 35-yard touchdown up the left seam.
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not yet full strength following knee surgery, coach Ken Whisenhunt said. It was obvious between plays because Rodgers-Cromartie sometimes moved with a limp. But he was very active and ran well when plays were live. Learning to play through injuries and at less than full strength can be difficult for some young players. I thought that was a challenge for Rodgers-Cromartie late last season.
  • The first-team offensive line, from left to right: Levi Brown, Alan Faneca, Lyle Sendlein, Wells, Brandon Keith.
  • The second-team offensive line, left to right: Jeremy Bridges, Rex Hadnot, Ben Claxton, Deuce Lutui, Herman Johnson.
  • Lutui weighs about 360. I would have guessed 345 to 350. He's a big guy and he can hide weight. He did not appear sloppy to me. The Cardinals would like him to play in the low 340s.
  • Keith looks the part at right tackle. He appears strong. I didn't see the Cardinals hold full-speed pass-rush drills, however. The offensive and defensive lines took a break lasting perhaps 15 minutes at one point during practice.
  • A long-term extension for Dockett remains a possibility this season, Whisenhunt said. The Cardinals want to reward him.
  • The Cardinals think Faneca still has something left even though the Jets ate millions in salary to remove Faneca from their roster. Dockett and Whisenhunt both said they've seen good things from Faneca. "Very athletic," Dockett said.
  • For a minute, I thought the Cardinals had an elite new prospect at safety, but Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson was wearing No. 9 instead of his usual No. 24. He wore No. 9 in high school and recent returned to have his jersey retired.
  • Beanie Wells, Steve Breaston and Charles Ali were among the players I saw drop passes. Breaston couldn't make the grab on what would have been a long touchdown pass.
  • Rookie receiver Max Komar made the best catch of the day, snatching a pass while lying on his back.

I'm looking forward to spending the next few days at Cardinals camp. I'll have more observations Monday.




Thursday, 9/18
Sunday, 9/21
Monday, 9/22