RM's Breakdown of Preseason Games 1 & 2

RugbyMuffin

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As life goes on, I can't play around with football as much as I used to, it
sucks. But I found time to write down what I saw from the Cardinals over the 1st two preseason games. From what I can see the roster is pretty much set and the team is playing almost exactly as I would imagine when looking at the roster on paper.

I believe Arians has done a good job creating a system in these first two games so that by the end of game 3 he will know exactly whom he wants on his final 53.

Sorry if my notes are a little confusing. I wanted to try and catch any movement in regards to the depth chart from the 1st to the 2nd game but there was very little.

Starters:

Offense:

QB: Carson Palmer

- Obviously, Palmer had a nice game versus the Texans. The 1st drive of the offseason we very nice. Good plays with John Brown, Andre Ellington, he hit Rob Housler for a huge gain, had a great pass to John Carlson that got called back, hit 1st Down Jaron Brown for a 1st and goal, and then threw a TD pass to Fitz that was just stealing. Against the Vikings Palmer looked more like Palmer. Had an solid drive to open up the game but had a few bad throw, which could have been attributed to the poor interior blocking from the line against the Vikings.


RB: Andre Ellington, Jonathan Dwyer*

- Ellington showed a little bit in the Vikings game, with a few decent runs, and a nice catch on a wheel route (he runs the route to deadly perfection).

- Dwyer was not 2nd on the depth chart versus the Texans, but he was against the Vikings, and for good reason. I think he has, thusfar, put himself as the 2nd guy on the depth chart. Had a nice short yardage TD run versus the Texans.


TE: Jonathan Carlson, Darren Fells*, Robert Hughes*

- The very 1st play of the offseason had Fells and Hughes on the field.

- Carlson was used out of the fullback position a few times in the Vikings game.


WR: Larry Fitzgerald, [Michael Floyd - inj.], John Brown, [Ted Ginn, Jr.] Jaron Brown

- Against the VIking Jaron Brown kept the pressure on Ted Ginn, Jr. With a great catch and impressive run off a screen, but also had a drop on a ball right in his hands.


Offensive Line:

LT: Jared Veldheer

- Haven't noticed him, which is great! This space is usually filled with rage about Levi Brown.

LG: Ted Larson - Jonathan Cooper - Earl Watford

- Jonathan Cooper was embarrassing in his 1st game back, was man handled, and beat with speed. Got knocked all over the place in the run game. Something not right there.

- With Cooper hurt, Watford started at LG against the Vikings, and did OK. K9 had a good recview of the game, and where Watford struggled was pulling to his right which is an absolute "not acceptabel" in this offense. Thus why there is talk of Larson starting at this position. Very dissapointing for both young guards.

OC: Lyle Sendlein, Ted Larson

RG: Paul Fanaika

RT: Bobby Massie

- The unit as a whole has shown the ability to give very good protection in the passing game, but with the constant flux of changes to the interior line, the run game is suffering. The line is driving the opposition back but there is no blocking at the 2nd level on a consistent basis.

- The second offensive possesion in the Vikings game was an absolute train wreck. Either Watford got beat three times, very badly, or one of them was Paul Fanaika, but Palmer was just getting crushed.


Offense Overall:

- Against the Texans, they made it look easy. The run game was a concern, but the passing game was on point.

- Against the Viking they moved the ball well, but the Viking put up a lot more resistance than the Texans, and created a lot of pressure on the interior of the line.



Defense (The same for both the Texans and the Vikings for the most part):

DE: Darnell Dockett*, Frostee Rucker

NT: Dan Williams

- Stayed in for extra work versus the Vikings. I think it was more conditioning than punishment.

DE: Calais Campbell

- Campbell came out on fire against the Vikings with a TFL and good pressure on the QB.

OLB: Sam Acho*, [John Abraham - rehab]

- Sam Acho is who he is at this point in his career. He doesn't get great pressure, but plays well against the run. If he cannot rush the passer then I never understood why they didn't try him at ILB. Like I said he is who he is at this point.

ILB: Kevin Minter*, Kenny Demens

- Minter looked pretty good against the Texans. He has to refine his game, but he looks to be the part of a 2nd round pick. Faster, and quicker than I thought he would be. Too bad he is hurt.

- With Minter hurt, Demens started against the Vikings. Was immediately beat by Kyle Rudolph in coverage.

ILB: Larry Foote

- Playing solid but is no Washington or Dansby. Missed a sure sack and let Matt Cassel run for 28 yards. He then redeemed himself on a good run blitz for a TFL later on.

OLB: Matt Shaughnessey

CB: Patrick Peterson

CB: Antonio Cromartie

FS: Rashad Johnson

- Johnson is a better player this year than last, his tackling seems to have improved. Had a nice tackle on the 2nd Viking possession against the run.

SS: Tony Jefferson

NB: Deone Bucannon, Jeraud Powers

- Welcome to the NFL Deone Bucannon, while you pick up your jock, that was Kyle Rudolph who blurred past you in the redzone early in the Vikings game.

Defense Overall:

- Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Texans were not ready for this game, and our defense made them look like it. 3 and out on the first Texans drive, with Jefferson almost picking off a pass, and Jeraud Powers making a good pass defense.

- As you will see below, a few starters came off the field after the 1st possession by the Texans offense, but a majority stayed in for the 2nd possession in which they picked off Fitzpatrick off a Kevin Minter tip, the ball was hauled in by Justin Bethel.

- This defense showed some of its warts against the Vikings. The tight ends ran all over us, and there was little to now pressure at times, especially on a couple 3rd downs. They lucked out that Rudolph dropped an sure TD pass early in the game.



Depth Players:

Offense (Game still in the 1st quarter):

QB: Drew Stanton

- He may not be the shiny new penny, but Stanton didn't leave the door open, not even a crack, for any player to be concidered for taking his place. He stuggled a little bit in his second possesion against the Texans with a bad throw here and there, but still didn't hurt the team. His drive before the end of the half versus the Texans was very nice, a couple nice completions to Golden, Fells, and John Brown. Then had a 45 yard play to Walt Powell. Against the Vikings Stanton had a bit more trouble, but it was behind a line that was in shambles and patch worked. He still made some good plays against the Vikings, like his 35 yard pass to Jaron Brown, and made a really nice, and well placed pass to Darren Fells for a TD. Stanton tried to make something in the 2 minute drill against the Vikings but drops, poor protection and penalties made it impossible.

RB: Stepfan Taylor (Texans), Jonath Dwyer (Vikings)

- Guy is the classic, If you need 3 yards, I'll get you 4, if you need 5 yards, I'll get you 4, type back. Runs with great power, but slow, and doesn't realize his game is north/south. Against the Vikings he had a handfull of 2 yard and 3 yard runs.

- By the time the Vikings game rolled around Dwyer moved ahead of Taylor on the depth chart, and played pretty well against the Vikings. He brings more to the table running the ball than Taylor.

TE: Darren Fells*, Rob Housler, Robert Hughes*, Troy Niklas (2nd Quarter)

- Rob Houlser: Definately not the #1 TE on this team right now and is fighting Fells and Hughes for playing time. I didn't see Housler in the Vikings game, till mid way through the 2nd quarter.

- Darren Fells got blown up by Clowney during the Texans game, he did even touch him, and it happened again a little later on in the game. He blew a few blocks against the Vikings. It looks like he has a bad habit of lunging at guys and that leaves him open to getting badly beat by the defender. He also had a drop that was right in his hands, and could have been a TD. Fells is very inconsistent but shows promise. Though all above is negative he is doing some good things out there, and is a big, tall guy that creates match up problem. The touchdown catch he had against the Vikings was just unfair.

WR: John Brown, Jaron Brown, [Tedd Ginn, Jr. - inj.], Walt Powell Brittan Golden

- Tedd Ginn, Jr.: Will be out 4th reciever & battle Jaron Brown for playing time. He only play in the Viking game and had one catch.

- John Brown and Drew Stanton tore up the Texans together, eventhough the biggest play was off pass interference, the line gave Stanton time, and Brown's speed caused the penalty. Not to mention John Brown showed that he could also run with the ball in his hands off a nice screen against the Texans. Stanton also hit Jaron Brown for a nice touchdown. Though John Brown showed he was human with a drop that was right in his hands versus the Texans. John Brown again was effective against the Vikings, but again had another drop that was in his hands, and could have been a TD.

- Jaron Brown, just keeps making plays with the limited touches he gets, he is such a great role player for this team.

- Walt Powell......Let me tell you about Walt Powell. He has no business making this roster because why carry 6 wide recievers, but he is making it impossible to cut him. He has been making catches when given the opportunity (like Jaron Brown last year), and he is very good on special teams, too good to cut. He also, had a nice catch on a poorly thrown ball against the Vikings.

- Brittan Golden is doing everything a person can do to make an NFL team except be on a team where the top 6 guys could start most places. There are teams that really need some recievers (NY Jets) and I cannot see why they haven't looked to get Golden, whom is practice squad eligible.

Offensive Line:

LT: Nate Potter (Inj vs. Vikings), Bradley Sowell (played in place of Potter against Vikings)

LG: Jonathan Cooper* (Texans), Watford (Vikings)

- Cooper stayed in a long time verus the Texans, got hurt, and was shakey throughout. Got blown out in a running play as well that resulted in a loss.

- Watford play a lot of the 1st half of the Viking game but played poorly, so much tho, that Larson is now penciled in as the starter for the 3rd preseason game.

OC: John Estes

RG: Earl Watford (Texans), Phillip Blake (Vikings)

- Phillip Blake is not doing anything that would want you to make him an NFL starter, but he held his own against the Vikings, and is making a push to make the roster this year. He is a G/C guy just like Larson. I liked Phillip Blake as a late round pick during his draft year, so I like seeing that he is playing up to his potential.

RT: Max Starks (got hurt early in the 2nd half against the Vikings), Kelvin Palmer (played in place of Starks against Vikings)

- The unit as a whole said something about the depth on this team, since they played against the Texans starters and held their own. Max Starks seems like he has a little left in the tank if he can stay healthy. Nate Potter looked like Nate Potter, which wasn't too bad, but says that Bradley Sowell is on his way out. Earl Watford looks like a 4th round pick.


Defense:

DE: Frostee Rucker (came in on 2nd possesion [Texans & Vikings]), Ed Stinson (1st Quarter Texans, 2nd Quarter Vikings)

- He is making it look like a man amongst boys out there, as he should. Was very effective against both the Texans and the Vikings. He is going to soften the blow in regards to losing Dockett.

NT: Bruce Gaston (1st Quarter Texans), See Dan Williams above (Vikings), Christian Tupou (1st Quarter Vikings)


- Too bad Gaston has been dinged up. A lot of positive talk coming out of camp on this kid, he came in early against the Texans but got hurt.

-Tupou has been marginally servicable at the NT position, but is going to be hard pressed to make the roster.

DE: Kareem Martin (came in on 2nd possesion [Texans & Vikings])

OLB: Marcus Bernard (1st Quarter Texans & Vikings)

- Had a highlight, one handed INT, and looks to be the player we saw last year, got pretty good pressure on the QB. Good depth.

ILB: Kenny Demens (1st Quarter Texans & started against Vikings)

- Had two great special teams tackles in the 1st half of the Texans game.

ILB: Lorenzo Alexander (1st Quarter Texans & Vikings), Glenn Carson (Late 2 quarter Vikings)

- Looks slow, and his awareness at ILB is lacking. No enfluence on special teams either.

OLB: Alex Okafor (1st Quarter Texans & Vikings)

- He has not made a splash play yet, but he is showing promise in what is really his 1st year. Showed he can create some pressure, and get penatration from time to time. Against the Viking he had a nice TFL, and showed the ability to create some, not a lot, of pressure on the QB.

CB: Justin Bethel (came in on 2nd possesion {Texans & Vikings])

- Justin Bethel is going to push players for playing time this season, he looks really good against solid competition this offseason. Against the Vikings he had a really nice special team play to start the game off.

CB: Bryan McCann (1st Quarter Texans), Jerraud Power (1st Quarter Vikings)

- This is one of Mitch's boys, and he played pretty well. He may make this roster, obviously has the inside track right now. McCann also had a nice coverage play late in the 2nd quarter of the Vikings game.

- Powers was beat a few times when in the starting position during the 2nd quarter of the Vikings.

FS: Curtis Taylor (1st Quarter Texans & Vikings)


SS: Deone Bucannon (1st Quarter Texans, Vikings), Anothony Walter (2nd Quarter Vikings)

Defense Overall:

- Against the Texans they had a nice 3 and out, and kept the Texans out of the end zone.

- Against the Vikings this unit gave up a HUGE play, against the TE of course, for a big play touchdown. There is just no replacing the skill set of DWaste. Too bad he is a waste.



Camp Players:

Offense (Game still in the 1st quarter):

QB: Logan Thomas (2nd half - Texans), Ryan Lindley (2nd half - Vikings)

- We have to pump the brakes on Logan Thomas first. This is a preseason game versus a terrible Texans team, so don't go crazy over his analysis. Thomas is everything that he has been advertised as. He has a CANNON of an arm, strongest I have seen from a Cardinals QB. His size and athleticism make you want to say he is Big Ben with better straight line speed. His accuracy is the biggest issue. While his numbers were great this throw were not accurate per NFL standards. But, he had a couple nice drives, and made a heck of a play on his TD pass. Very promising.

- Lindley is what he is. Unfortunately, he is not a rookie so there is really nothing that I can say about potential and promise. No doube he had a good drive in the 2nd half against the Vikings, but he handed the ball off most of the time, and Walt Powell bailed him out on a good catch off a bad throw. When the pressure started to ramp up he started to wilt, he was horrible at the end of the game when the least amount of talent was on the field. He had the same opened eyed void look that I saw in the Jets game, and that is all I needed to see. If he is so good in the locker room, and the QB meeting room then he should think about coaching. He is not going to be traded, and he will be one of the final cuts to 53, if not one of the 15 guys cut Monday.

RB: Stepfan Taylor (2nd half Vikings), Robert Huges (2nd Half Vikings) Zach Bauman (2nd half Texans & Vikings), Damien Thigpen (Late in Game, Texans), Jalen Parmele (Late in Game, Vikings)

-Bauman is a solid back that may make the practice squad, but nothing special. I think he may be on the practice squad at the beginning of the year, but then replaced by someone with a littler more natural talent.

- Robert Hughes pounded away at the Vikings in the 2nd half with an array of 3 to 5 yard runs. Had a nice short yardage TD run, too.

TE: Darren Fells (Texans & Vikings), Troy Niklas (Texans and Vikings), Andre Hardy (Late in Game, Texans and earliy in 2nd half Vikings)

- Troy Niklas is still in awe of being in the NFL, a little time and confidence will be needed before we see what he can bring to the table.

- I hope Andre Hardy makes the practice squad, he has some athletic talent, and if he refined his game he could be a nice H-back type player for the Cardinals. He a few nice plays for the Cardinals and is a decent blocker.

WR: Brittan Golden (Texans and Vikings), Walt Powell (Texans and Vikings), Dan Buckner (2nd half Texans & Vikings), Mike Ozier (Late in Game, Texans & Vikings)

- Golden continued to make a case for the Lance Long award, and Buckner and Ozier had a nice catch or two. Did the same against the Vikings when getting passes from Ryan Lindley.

Offensive Line:

LT: Bradley Sowell (2nd half Texans & Vikings)

LG: Phillip Blake (2nd half Texans & Vikings)

OC: John Estes, Tommie Drahiem (mid 3rd Qtr, Texans, started 2nd half against Vikings)

- Drahiem made the most of his playing time, and had some nice blocks in the run fame.

RG: John Estes ( Texans and Vikings), Anthony Steen (Late in Game, Texans & Vikings)

RT: Max, Starks Kelvin Palmer (Late in Game, Texans, all of 2nd half against Vikings)

Overall offense:

The running game was nonexistent, but Thomas did a good job moving the ball and completing passes. The wide recievers showed there is depth at the position, and there is an offensive linemen or two that are making really good pushes to be on the practice squad.....none are tackles tho.

Defense:

DE: Ed Stinson (stayed on the field 2nd half, Texans & Vikings), Justin Renfrow (Late in Game, Texans & Vikings)

-Ed Stinson is holding his own, and against the Vikings had a nice play against the run. He is coming along and getting a lot of playing time.

NT: Christian Tupou (Late - 2nd Quarter Texans & Vikings), Anthony McCloud (Late in Game, Texans & Vikings)

- Anthony McCloud was cut 8/21/14.

- Tupou got blown back a few times against the Vikings in the 2nd half.

DE: Rotation of Rucker, Stinson, Renfrow, Tupou*

OLB: Marcus Bernard (stayed on the field 2nd half, Texans), Adrian Tracy (2nd half Texans & Vikings)

- Tracy had a nice play in the 2nd half of the Vikings game.

ILB: Glenn Carson (2nd half Texans), Keenan Clayton (Late 2nd Half Vikings

ILB: Desmond Bishop (2nd half Vikings), Jonathan Brown (2nd half Texans), JoJo Dickson (Late in Game, Texans)

- Bishop looked pretty good for a guy with maybe two practices under this belt. He still has speed, and was all over the field. It was against camp bodies, but he stuck out, thus showed he is a NFL talent, and not camp body talent. He would be on my final 53 as it stands today (and he is).

-Dickson is very athletic and had a nice safety but he is clueless what is going on.

OLB: Alex Okafor (stayed on the field 2nd half, Texans & Vikings), Derrell Johnson (mid 3rd Quarter Vikings)

CB: Justin, Bethel (stayed on the field 2nd half, Texans)Teddy Williams (Late - 2nd Quarter Texans), Brandon Sermons (Late in Game, Texans, 2nd Half Vikings)

CB: Eddie Whitley (2nd half Texans & Vikings), Jimmy Legree (Late in Game, Texans, 2nd half of VIkings)

FS: Orhian Johnson (2nd half Texans & Vikings)

SS: Anthony Walters (Late - 2nd Quarter Texans, Vikings)

- Walters has some decent talent. Had good pressure on a blitz right before the half against the Texans, and is making plays out there. Yet, as a 4 year vet he should be doing that against guys that are not going to be in the NFL this year. Played pretty well again verus the Vikings, he makes himself visable out there at least.

Defense Overall:

-There is not much to talk about when if comes to the defense in the second half of this game. The Texans are really bad, and the defense had a lot of 3 and outs

- Against the Viking's second unit our defense struggled against Teddy Bridgewater, whom there is a reason I liked him out of college. Bridgewater did what he does and in the clutch carved up our camp bodies twice, and one time with 1:11 left on the clock for a game winning drive. Our defense was just out matched by a good QB.

Special Teams

- Barring an epic meltdown Chandler Catanzaro, is going to beat out Jay Feely. They are both good with FG, and extra points but Feely cannot compete off kickoffs.

- Dave Zastudil looks to be in mid-season form, and Mike Leach is Mike Leach.

- Our coverage units need to get better, and our return game is as poor as it was last year.


See below for my Current 53 man roster prediction ( I know I have 54 but someone highlighted in pink will not make the team. Mike Leach is #53 by the way.

Also, see below for whom I think will be cut on Monday, and look out for my surprise cut, Lorenzo Alexander.
 

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iRobot

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That Kevin Minter tip was not Justin Bethel on the INT, it was Cromartie. Bethel is #28 now and Cro is #31. Nice notes!
 

Cards Czar

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I like your write up. On you attached 53 man roster you dont have the LS Mike Leach posted.?
 

seesred

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I have just about the same as you. Fells could up on practice squad. Lindley will be gone maybe on first cuts to give him him time to catch on with another team. Great write up thanks!

GBR
40
 

jbeecham

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How many O-Line guys do you think they'll keep? 8? 9?

I think if Larsen ends up starting at LG then it's only until Cooper is healthy enough to take over & then Larsen becomes the backup swing G/C. If Larsen is playing that well, then that probably means Starks is gone. I think Watford gets a chance for another year & then it's a coin flip for me on Potter/Sowell for the backup swing T.

Starters:
LT: Veldheer
LG: Larsen (eventually Cooper)
C: Sendlein
RG: Fanaika
RT: Massie

Backups:
G: Cooper
G: Watford
T: Sowell (mainly because he started at LT last season)
 

BigRedRage

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How many O-Line guys do you think they'll keep? 8? 9?

I think if Larsen ends up starting at LG then it's only until Cooper is healthy enough to take over & then Larsen becomes the backup swing G/C. If Larsen is playing that well, then that probably means Starks is gone. I think Watford gets a chance for another year & then it's a coin flip for me on Potter/Sowell for the backup swing T.

Starters:
LT: Veldheer
LG: Larsen (eventually Cooper)
C: Sendlein
RG: Fanaika
RT: Massie

Backups:
G: Cooper
G: Watford
T: Sowell (mainly because he started at LT last season)

Sowell is getting cut and Starks is staying. Sowell has been terrible this preseason.

Will be 9 OL
LT Veldheer/starks/potter
LG Cooper/Larsen
C Sendlein/LArsen
RG Fanaika/watford
RT Massie/starks/potter
 
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RugbyMuffin

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How many O-Line guys do you think they'll keep? 8? 9?

I think if Larsen ends up starting at LG then it's only until Cooper is healthy enough to take over & then Larsen becomes the backup swing G/C. If Larsen is playing that well, then that probably means Starks is gone. I think Watford gets a chance for another year & then it's a coin flip for me on Potter/Sowell for the backup swing T.

Starters:
LT: Veldheer
LG: Larsen (eventually Cooper)
C: Sendlein
RG: Fanaika
RT: Massie

Backups:
G: Cooper
G: Watford
T: Sowell (mainly because he started at LT last season)

I think Starks has played solid enough to prove he could be a back up. Nate Potter didn't look to bad when he was in.

Then you have Watford whom it matter on his value as a guard.

I think it will probably be 8 guys, and the Cardinals will cross their fingers hoping they can sneak a guy on the practice squad.
 
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RugbyMuffin

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No thoughts on Niklas, Rugby?

I think Troy Niklas is overwhelmed at the moment. The guy is a giant TE, but he is playing tentative, and without confidence.

I think he is going to get his feet underneath him, and then we will know what we have.

Haven't really noticed him yet, to be honest.
 

jbeecham

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I think Troy Niklas is overwhelmed at the moment. The guy is a giant TE, but he is playing tentative, and without confidence.

I think he is going to get his feet underneath him, and then we will know what we have.

Haven't really noticed him yet, to be honest.
Getting that cast off should help
 

jbeecham

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I think Starks has played solid enough to prove he could be a back up. Nate Potter didn't look to bad when he was in.

Then you have Watford whom it matter on his value as a guard.

I think it will probably be 8 guys, and the Cardinals will cross their fingers hoping they can sneak a guy on the practice squad.
Ok, so if they go with 8 & Cooper is starting then the backups are down to 3 of these 4 guys:

Larsen
Watford
Starks
Potter

Potter is probably more likely to make it onto the practice squad than Watford (just based off of being a 4th rd pick).
 
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jbeecham

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Interesting Tidbits from Urban's Blog:

- Mathieu said he wasn’t feeling sore and there has been no swelling. Arians said the status of Mathieu and fellow just-off-the-PUP defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu could still conceivably play Sunday against the Bengals

– Tackle Max Starks (ankle) will return to practice today and has a chance to play Sunday. Interestingly, Bradley Sowell — who had been struggling earlier in camp — has made “really good progress” the last two weeks. It is a battle between Starks and Sowell for the backup swing-tackle spot on the roster.

– Kenny Demens is the inside linebacker starter with Larry Foote while Minter is sidelined. Lorenzo Alexander has actually been working more at outside linebacker again, Arians said.

http://blog.azcardinals.com/2014/08/22/mathieu-hits-but-isnt-sore-b-a-talks-availability/
 

juza76

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QB: Logan Thomas (2nd half - Texans), Ryan Lindley (2nd half - Vikings)

- We have to pump the brakes on Logan Thomas first. This is a preseason game versus a terrible Texans team, so don't go crazy over his analysis. Thomas is everything that he has been advertised as. He has a CANNON of an arm, strongest I have seen from a Cardinals QB. His size and athleticism make you want to say he is Big Ben with better straight line speed. His accuracy is the biggest issue. While his numbers were great this throw were not accurate per NFL standards. But, he had a couple nice drives, and made a heck of a play on his TD pass. Very promising.

Great post overall. Definitely some great observations in here. But I have to strongly disagree with you on this above point (in bold). His throws were damn near pin point and the timing on his throws was spot on. He didn't make any throws to early or too late. He showed a slightly quicker drop than he had in the past and you could see him going through his progressions. His footwork was improved. Overall his mechanics were very sound and his accuracy was very much up to NFL standards.

No, I'm not going crazy over his numbers, I am very much tempering my expectations for him but what has me excited for him is the huge gains he has made in the fundamentals. He is still a project and has a long way to go, but if his first performance is any indicator of what is possible with him, then I think that should give us some glimmer of hope as to what he could develop into.
 
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RugbyMuffin

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Great post overall. Definitely some great observations in here. But I have to strongly disagree with you on this above point (in bold). His throws were damn near pin point and the timing on his throws was spot on. He didn't make any throws to early or too late. He showed a slightly quicker drop than he had in the past and you could see him going through his progressions. His footwork was improved. Overall his mechanics were very sound and his accuracy was very much up to NFL standards.

No, I'm not going crazy over his numbers, I am very much tempering my expectations for him but what has me excited for him is the huge gains he has made in the fundamentals. He is still a project and has a long way to go, but if his first performance is any indicator of what is possible with him, then I think that should give us some glimmer of hope as to what he could develop into.


Fair enough, but we are going to have to agree to disagree on the bolded part. Those passes may get there against camp fodder, not against the NFL elite.

He over threw three deep balls, and he threw at least two crossing patterns that were behind the receiver.

Don't get me wrong there were good passes too, that were on point, perfect, but consistency is the key here.

He has improved so much already, if he keeps it up there is no reason why the kid cannot play in this league.

But, IMO, it is the first step in a long process to get him ready to play the best of the best.
 

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Muffin-----that was a really good analysis of our first two games.

The one thing that stood out to me more than any other was the play of Logan Thomas. If he keeps his downside at the level that he played against the Texans, and he continues to progress from this level going forward, he has an upside that is almost limitless. This kid is smart, has great straightaway speed, has a huge arm, and appears to be dedicated to making improvement. Thomas even seemed to be able to adjust his throws a couple of times to put a little 'touch' on the ball, as he did on the touchdown throw.

He did a fair job with his reads against the Texans, and for a first game against live bullets, he seemed unfazed as he took command of his huddle. His eyes appeared to be clear and his thought process seemed to be in stride with what was happening on the field, as evidenced by his escape to throw the touchdown.

To me, his play in his first real test, was far above the level that most of us expected, given the clamor that followed him coming out of college in the draft. I really hope that we get to see another test pretty soon.
 
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RugbyMuffin

RugbyMuffin

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How many O-Line guys do you think they'll keep? 8? 9?

I think if Larsen ends up starting at LG then it's only until Cooper is healthy enough to take over & then Larsen becomes the backup swing G/C. If Larsen is playing that well, then that probably means Starks is gone. I think Watford gets a chance for another year & then it's a coin flip for me on Potter/Sowell for the backup swing T.

Starters:
LT: Veldheer
LG: Larsen (eventually Cooper)
C: Sendlein
RG: Fanaika
RT: Massie

Backups:
G: Cooper
G: Watford
T: Sowell (mainly because he started at LT last season)

I should take a minute to expand on the offensive line, since there are few questions on what my thoughts are.

LT: Jared Veldheer

Guy has been rock solid at LT. Any pressure I have seen from his side has been because a TE got toasted. I want to see a little more in the run game when it comes to Veldheer, but even then I couldn't tell you if it is more the guys around him, then him personally when talking about the run game. Regardless, point is, this guy is the LT, and there is no one close to his level on the roster.


LG: Ted Larson

For now this is the starting left guard. If he is half as good as the coaches say he is, it will be put to the test against a very good Bengals defensive line. I am speculating that Larson's advantage is his mental game, and his experience. He is a 6th round draft pick that play with the Bucs. So, I can see why he can beat out Earl Watford, but I feel this is a issue that Larson currently has the edge over Jonathan Cooper. Again, Sunday is going to be a huge test for Larson.


OC: Lyle Sendlien

Earned his spot last season, IMHO. I have been on this guy for years, but last year he finally looked like he could hold the point of attack, and that whatever was tipping off his snap is gone. He has been hurt this offseason but his resume speaks for itself.


RG: Paul Fanaika

Horrible player. So bad that no one has been able to take his position. :D Say what you will about Fanaika but we won 10 games with him at guard last year, and while he is not all world, he is at least consistent with his skill set. So far this offseason he has looked like he always looks. So, until one of the younger guys, "Get it". He is our right guard, and I am fine with it.


RT: Bobby Massie

Ah, the forgotten story of the offseason. Remember when the talk was about whether Massie was going to earn his spot this offseason ? He has put that to bed. He looks like a more polished version of the guy we saw in his rookie year. His play has been very solid all offseason. There is work to still be done in the run game, but he looks damn good in pass protection, every bit the athlete he as said to be.

Bench:

- Jonathan Cooper:

Call it hyperbole, call it what you will. 2013 = B, and so far 2014 = U. He has two more strikes and two more letters before this guy is a monumental failure of a draft pick (Warmack ain't doing much better, BTW). The guy I have seen out on the field is NOT the player we draft, NOT the player we saw in a promising offseason last season, and is what seemed to be regressing. Last year I watched Cooper hit people so hard he would take two guys out with one block. Quick off the ball, held his own at the point of attack, and was a monster. The weak willed, slow footed, and seemly overwhelmed player, who is hurt, AGAIN, is a shell of the guy we saw last year. He should NOT be starting and I credit the staff for making that move. He makes the roster more because of his draft position. Really, really disappointing offseason from Cooper, in an offseason where enough has gone wrong already.


- Max Starks:

We have just seen a little bit of Starks, but he is exactly what he was billed as. An over-aged pro whom knows the system, and gets by with technique and what ever he has left in the tank. He has been better than Sowell from what I have seen, and if there is any competition that I do see, it is coming from Nate Potter, IMO. Potter being hurt, has made him an after thought, but Potter was the first LT in after Veldheer in the Texans game. The only thing about Starks is that we have not seen him at the LT positioin yet, tho he is billed as a player that can play the left or right tackle position.


- Nate Potter

Speaking of Nate Potter, I can say the same for Potter that I can for Massie. Nate Potter is a 7th round pick so that is about the talent level you can expect from him, but like Massie, Potter has shown some polish to his game, and a little more of a mean streak. He is not going to out class, or out strength his opponent but he will battle, and use his smarts to his advantage. I have not heard about Potter being tried out as a guard anymore, but we know he can play both the left and right tackle position. He is definitely in the competition for a roster spot, regardless of what Urban says.


- Earl Watford

He is a 4th round pick with a lot of upside. Right now he looks to be on the edge of the roster looking in. He is practice squad eligible, so if he clears waivers (Cowboys might claim him, BTW) he would be a great guy to keep on the practice squad. K9 did a great job finding where Watford's problem areas are, and it is his inability to pull in the run game that is killing Watford. He has also been beat a few times, and beat badly in the passing game. The reason Watford was drafted was he was quick and athletic. So far the best he has shown is his power, and straight ahead blocking. Which are skills that can be found in a many number of players on this roster. He has to get his quickness up to where the Caridnals want it to make himself stand out.


- Phillip Blake

Who? Blake was signed to the Cardinals practice squad 3 years ago, and has obviously grown into a player that can play a depth role in the NFL. If you watch the games this offseason, he is on the field a lot. He is a guard, but can also play center. This offseason I have seen him at right guard and left guard. He has played every bit as well as Earl Watford, but again, can play center as well. Thus he has a shot at the roster, it is a small chance, but a valid chance none the less. He will definitely make our practice squad tho.


- Bradley Sowell

Good ol' shoe horn! I like Bradley Sowell because he was the guy that allowed the Cardinals to finally, finally, finally get rid of Levi "currently out of the league" Brown. Thus I am a fan of Sowell, and I am happy to hear that he is really battling down to the last minute in camp to try and make this roster. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. I don't know what the difference between this year and last year is. Maybe it is a matter of perspective where when he was the guy that got rid of Levi Brown, I gave him all the props I could, but a year later and with a NFL quality starting LT, he seems to be what he is. A undrafted player that will battle till he has nothing left to give, but there is no denying his skill is not where it needs to be. I could not justify Sowell playing either left tackle or right tackle over Veldheer, Massie, Potter, or Max Starks.


So where does that leave us ? I dunno. The battle is between Starks, Potter, Sowell, Watford, and Blake, in my opinion.

What really is making the decision hard is that there is talent at other positions that is making it really hard to keep 9 guys. Thus my breakdown here will be for 8 players on the final roster.

LT: Veldheer
RT: Massie

Swing Tackle: Starks

LG: Larson <- No I don't see Cooper getting his job back anytime soon.
RG: Fanaika

Swing Guard: Cooper

OC: Sendlein

Backup Center: *Watford*

** - I think they keep Watford, and if Sendlien goes down, Larson goes to center, Cooper to guard, and Watford to swing guard. If the line stays healthy Watford is inactive all season long.

Then send Potter, Sowell, and Blake through waivers and try to get them all on the practice squad.
 
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