NFL Nation: Ronald Talley

When the Arizona Cardinals' injury report came out late Wednesday, the list of limited players was long.

Only rookie linebacker Kenny Demens (hamstring) didn't practice but that was expected. Limited, however, were linebackers John Abraham (shoulder), Daryl Washington (knee), Jasper Brinkley (groin) and Kevin Minter (hamstring), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (groin), wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring), safety Rashad Johnson (finger) and defensive end Ronald Talley (wrist).

Left guard Daryn Colledge (shin) practiced in full.

A few players stood out on the report. Washington played in his first game of the season Sunday and was all over the field. As long as that knee doesn't bother him, he can continue to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Cardinals fans -- and players -- never like seeing Fitzgerald on the list. He was hampered by his hamstring during the Detroit game earlier this season.

On Monday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Dockett "was not close to being himself" in Sunday's 22-6 win over the Panthers. The Cardinals' training staff initially expected Dockett's groin injury, which caused him to leave the Tampa Bay game, to be a two-week injury but he returned in just a week.

Johnson returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time since losing the tip of his left middle finger Sept. 22 in New Orleans. He practiced with a splint wrapped in black tape.
TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has joked all week that Daryl Washington’s return was like trading for a Pro Bowler.

Washington
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.
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Only one person besides Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson may know how effective he could be without the tip of his left middle finger: Ronnie Lott.

Lott, the former San Francisco 49ers safety, decided to have the tip of his left pinky finger cut off in 1986. Johnson’s circumstances were different but, like Lott, when he returns to the field, he’ll still have to learn to play without part of a finger.

Johnson, who didn’t practice Thursday, is still day-to-day for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. He rated the pain at a 6.5 out of 10, still high but better than where it was Sunday and Monday, he added.

Whether Johnson plays Sunday will be determined by his pain tolerance, Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. When asked about Johnson’s effectiveness if he plays Sunday, especially with his hand wrapped up, Bowles wasn't sure.

“I have not had a finger cut off so I think you’d have to ask Rashad -- either Rashad or Ronnie Lott,” Bowles said with a laugh. “I obviously don’t know the answer to that question.”

Bowles also said the defensive line misses Dan Williams, who is not with the team in Sarasota while his family grieves the loss of his father, Thomas, who died Friday in a car accident.

“I think they miss him mentally and emotionally,” Bowles said. “But (backup nose tackle Alameda) Ta'amu has come in and done a good job. Just a tragic situation right now. You try to survive until he gets back.”

In other injury news…

The only change to the Cardinals’ injury report was RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe) practiced fully. LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) did not practice. WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and DE Ronald Talley (wrist) fully practiced.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald returned to the practice field Friday but is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald
Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians confirmed Fitzgerald’s participation in practice and then evaluated his star receiver.

“Looked fine,” Arians said. “Looked good.”

Fitzgerald was limited again but went through drills and ran routes at full speed during the open portion of Cardinals’ practice. He tweaked his left hamstring during practice on Sept. 11, and then left Sunday’s game against Detroit late in the third quarter.

In other injury news…

RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe) is also questionable. Arians said Mendenhall hurt his toe against Detroit. The coach said it’s not quite turf toe but “it’s damn close.” LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) will not play Sunday. TE Rob Housler (ankle), LB Lorenzo Alexander (biceps) and DE Ronald Talley (wrist) all practiced and are listed as probable.
The Arizona Cardinals' defensive line depth is taking shape with Frostee Rucker joining Matt Shaughnessy among free-agent additions this month.

Rucker, 29, agreed to terms on a one-year contract, the team announced.

Rucker, 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, played 50 percent of the Cleveland Browns' defensive snaps across 16 starts last season. He had four sacks.

The chart shows stats for Rucker and Shaugnessy along with those for the Cardinals' defensive linemen last season.

The Arizona Cardinals' contract agreement with Oakland Raiders unrestricted free agent Matt Shaughnessy adds quality depth to the team's line rotation, presumably behind Calais Campbell in particular.

Shaughnessy, 26, played about two-thirds of the defensive snaps for the Raiders last season. He was a third-round choice (71st overall) from Wisconsin in 2009. A shoulder injury sidelined him for much of the 2011 season after Shaughnessy collected a career-high seven sacks in 2010.

As Kent Somers noted, Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour pointed to Shaughnessy's injury as the No. 1 reason Oakland's defense faltered in 2011.

"I think he's the best (end) in the NFL against the run," Seymour said at the time, according to the San Jose Mercury News. "It was a big blow for us when he went down. It messed up our rotation a lot. Guys that weren't normally in there were trying to understand what we were trying to do."

The chart ranks the Cardinals' defensive linemen from 2012 by snaps played. I've added Shaughnessy to the list for reference.

Arizona Cardinals cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
8:44
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Most significant move: Clark Haggans failed to make the cut after five-plus seasons with the Cardinals. He could always re-sign at some point if the Cardinals need depth at outside linebacker. He'll be cheaper at that time, given that veteran contracts become guaranteed once a player is on the roster for Week 1.

For now, though, the Cardinals are moving forward with Quentin Groves as a primary backup behind starters Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield at outside linebacker. Brandon Williams was thought to be part of that mix as well, but the Cardinals waived him with an injury designation, citing a shoulder problem. Williams will revert to injured reserve unless the Cardinals reach an injury settlement with him. A settlement would allow Williams to sign with Arizona or another team once he's healthy.

It's a good sign, ultimately, that Arizona feels good enough about its outside linebackers to proceed without the 35-year-old Haggans. After a certain point, every team should develop enough young depth to threaten older, declining players. In this case, however, I'm not sure Arizona has a viable replacement for him. Groves showed promise, but he has zero sacks over the past three seasons.

Onward and upward: None of the players released by Arizona jumps out to me as someone sure to catch on elsewhere. That is because the Cardinals found a way to keep 11 defensive backs, including all their best corners. Had A.J. Jefferson or Michael Adams hit the market, both would have attracted interest. The same would have been true for Greg Toler, most likely.

Crezdon Butler, Antonio Coleman, Blake Gideon, Russ Hochstein, Ricky Lumpkin, Colin Parker, Larry Parker, DeMarco Sampson, Alfonso Smith, Quan Sturdivant, Ronald Talley, Everrette Thompson, Martell Webb, Scott Wedige, Isaiah Williams and D.J. Young were released. No big surprises there. Haggans could catch on somewhere.

Quarterback Rich Bartel landed on injured reserve, as did running back Javarris James. Stephen Williams was waived/injured with an Achilles' injury.

What's next: The Cardinals could use help at offensive tackle and outside linebacker. They decided against designating Levi Brown as a player eligible to return from injured reserve later in the season. That means Brown will not return from his torn triceps until next season. D'Anthony Batiste heads toward the season as the projected starter at left tackle. Another candidate, Young, struggled during preseason and received his release Friday.

The Cardinals are paying for missing on 2009 second-round choice Cody Brown, an outside linebacker. They're counting on Acho and Schofield to carry the full load, but there's little depth behind them. Schofield must prove he's durable in a full-time role after recovering from a career-threatening knee injury.
A few thoughts on known contract offers for restricted free agents in the NFC West:
  • The Hyphen: The Cardinals announced a second-round tender for running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, meaning any team signing Stephens-Howling would have to give Arizona a 2012 second-round choice if the Cardinals declined to match the offer. Stephens-Howling was a seventh-round pick. The fact that Arizona values him at a second-round level reflects well on him, and on the team for drafting him.
  • Amendola valued: Jim Thomas' report of a second-round tender for Danny Amendola suggests the Rams' new staff wants to keep the slot receiver. Amendola caught 85 passes in 2010, then suffered a season-ending elbow injury in the 2011 opener. He is 26 years old, has a good rapport with quarterback Sam Bradford and can contribute in the return game.
  • Secondary values: Arizona safety Rashad Johnson and cornerback Greg Toler received original-round tenders. That means Johnson would fetch a third-round pick and Toler a fourth-rounder. The knee injury Toler suffered before last season suppressed his value.
  • No Max Hall: The Cardinals retained rights to exclusive-rights free agents Rich Bartel, Alfonso Smith, Ronald Talley and Brandon Williams. They made no offer to Max Hall, a forgotten man in the team's quarterback race. Hall was once a player the Cardinals liked for his toughness and leadership, but his days in Arizona appear finished.
  • 49ers' LB depth: San Francisco had only two RFA candidates, linebacker Larry Grant and receiver Brett Swain. The team has made no announcement on its tenders, but Grant appears likely to receive an original-round offer, pegging his value to a seventh-round pick, Matt Maiocco notes. Grant played extensively on special teams and filled it pretty well at linebacker when Patrick Willis was out. The 49ers should be able to match any offers, or they could look for depth in the draft. Looks like Swain is head headed for free agency.
  • Seahawks have three: NFL Players Association records show Seattle extending a $1.26 million tender to kicker Steven Hauschka, allowing Seattle the right of first refusal. Guard Mike Gibson and cornerback Roy Lewis are the team's other RFAs. Lewis' agent said he has not yet received word from the team, which has until Tuesday to make RFA offers.

Looks like I've finally made it through a blog post without mentioning -- wait, who wrote that headline?
SEATTLE -- It's looking like the Arizona Cardinals' offense will run through quarterback Kevin Kolb to an even greater degree in Week 3.

Running back Beanie Wells, who suffered a hamstring injury in practice Friday, is among the Cardinals players named inactive against Seattle. Receiver Chansi Stuckey, quarterback John Skelton, running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, tackle D'Anthony Batiste, tight end Jim Dray and defensive end Ronald Talley are also inactive.

Chester Taylor will start in Wells' place. Stephens-Howling, slowed by a hand injury, could have helped in a situational role if active, but he does not project as an every-down runner.

Taylor and Alfonso Smith are the only halfbacks active for the Cardinals. Fullback Anthony Sherman is also active.

The Cardinals' depth at running back was already thin even when Wells was available. I did not expect the Cardinals' ground game to gain significant traction against Seattle's run defense in this game. Those expectations are firmer now.

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