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Posts of category  "Cardinals"

Veteran running back Chris Johnson is on a mission to prove to the Arizona Cardinals that it was a mistake to release him

The Arizona Cardinals must’ve had their reasons. Perhaps it was the fumbling by Chris Johnson that got him released by the club. Maybe it was the fact that the running back would soon be turning 32, an age that most playing the position are hitting a wall.

All of that mattered very little when Cardinals’ star David Johnson suffered a severe wrist injury during the season opener. The two to three month prognosis called for a roster move to be made. Right then and there, it was obvious who general manager Steve Keim would be calling.

“CJ2K” barely started getting acclimated to the everyday life of a normal person when he was summoned back to the nest. Any resentment that Johnson may have been carrying for being let go would have to be placed aside. The NFL is a business where personal feelings have no place.

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will lead his team against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. (Max Faulkner | Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will lead his team against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. (Max Faulkner | Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)
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The Dallas Cowboys, led by quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, meet the Arizona Cardinals, led by QB Carson Palmer, in NFL Week 3 Monday Night Football action at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on September 25, 2017 (9/25/17).

Here’s what you need to know:

Who: Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals

When: Monday, Sept. 25, 2017

Where: University of Arizona Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Time: 8:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Livestream: WatchESPN

Line: Cowboys -3

Cowboys notes: QB DAK PRESCOTT passed for 238 yards & 2 TDs last week. Has 14 TDs vs. 5 INTs for 96.7 rating in 9 career road games. Is 10-3 (.769) with 15 TDs vs. 4 INTs for 96.4 rating in 13 career games vs. NFC. * RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT has 785 rush yards (98.1 per game) & 8 TDs (7 rush, 1 rec.) in 8 career road games. Has 5 rush TDs in past 5 on road. Has 100+ scrimmage yards in 7 of past 9. * TE JASON WITTEN led team with 10 catches for 97 yards & TD in Week 2, his 11th career game with 10+ receptions. Aims for 4th in row vs. Az. with 5+ catches. Has 1,106 career receptions & passed HOFers CRIS CARTER (1,101) & MARVIN HARRISON (1,102) for 4th most catches alltime. Became 2nd TE in NFL history with 12,000+ (12,044) rec. yards (TONY GONZALEZ, 15,127). WR DEZ BRYANT had TD catch in Week 2. Has 5 TD catches in 10 career games vs. NFC West. Aims for 3rd in row with TD reception vs. Az. * DE DEMARCUS LAWRENCE had 2 sacks & FF last week, his 3rd career multi-sack game. Aims for 3rd in row with 2+ sacks. DT MALIEK COLLINS had FR last week. LB JAYLON SMITH led team with 10 tackles in Week 2. LB SEAN LEE had 7 tackles & PD in last meeting. Has 42 tackles (10.5 per game) in past 4 vs. NFC West. Since 2015, ranks 2nd in NFL with 290 tackles. Rookie CB JOURDAN LEWIS had 6 tackles & INT in NFL debut in Week 2.

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When the Cowboys visit Arizona of late, it’s provided quite the show. The last three times, it’s been decided at the very end.

* In 2008, the game goes to overtime, and the Sean Morey blocks a punt, with Monty Beisel recovering in the end zone for a 30-24 win;
* In 2010, on Christmas night, the Cardinals blew a 21-3 lead and then got a Jay Feely field goal with five seconds left for a 27-26 win;
* In 2011, Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey misses a 49-yard field goal on the final play of regulation and the game went to overtime. LaRod Stephens-Howling then grabbed a Kevin Kolb dump pass and raced 52 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Whether we’ll see that kind of drama Monday night is unlikely, but you can’t really know. This is a game where you figure to get a much better read on the Cardinals. No early start time to gum up the works, no road game. If the Cards are going to show more than they have, this is the time and place.

“The Cowboys are apparently ‘America’s Team’ so there will be a lot of eyes on this matchup,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said.

In a weekend in which I’m guessing a lot of eyes will be everywhere on the NFL after the President’s comments and the league-wide reaction to them, Cardinals-Cowboys will cap what will likely be an emotional weekend all around. A win would do wonders for the Cards’ emotion too.

— I like the concept from Frostee Rucker about the Cardinals staying together one way or the other when it comes to potential protest. The idea that sports can stay separate from where we are as a country, though, that’s long past.

— As expected, John Brown is going to sit again (so will D.J. Humphries), and so J.J. Nelson becomes important again. Not ideal that he’s listed as questionable, or that your speed merchant is dealing with a hamstring. If I had to guess, I’d think Nelson plays, but if he was limited all week, there has to be concern with how much he can do.

— It looks like the Cards finally get Deone Bucannon back. As for the questionable Mike Iupati, after the job Alex Boone did last week, if you aren’t sure, it makes sense to me to stick with Boone again.

— Speaking of Boone, there was some learning-on-the-fly last week. “I’m not even kidding, there was a play where I was like, ‘I have no idea what’s going on,’ ” Boone said. “Carson (Palmer) looked at me and told me and was like ‘SET, GOOOO!’ Hey man, trial by fire, right?”

–All this talk about offensive line play – the Cardinals certainly have had their share – there was a great quote by Browns stud left tackle Joe Thomas this week.

“As offensive linemen, we consider ourselves mushrooms because we get thrown in the corner of a dark room and people pile poop on us and then expect us to grow,” Thomas said. “So that is why we are mushrooms.”

I have not had a chance to run the mushroom analogy past any of the Cards’ linemen.

— One lineman who actually played tight end this week was rookie guard Will Holden, who played 15 snaps at tight end last week because Jermaine Gresham was hurt and he was a better blocking option in heavy packages than Ifeanyi Momah. Holden said he’d never played tight end before. Ever. In college, he came in for similar heavy packages but he played inside while they had another offensive lineman be the tight end.

“I felt fine,” Holden said. “It’s a little different view of the defense because you’re wider out and it’s a little harder to hear. But once you settle into the game, you’re just playing football.”

Holden said he was happy with his play, although he was willing to allow, smiling, that how well he did was “up for debate.” OL coach Harold Goodwin said Holden needed to finish blocks better. Holden probably won’t be needed this week now that Gresham is back, but it’s an option going forward.

— The last time the Cardinals hosted the Cowboys on “Monday Night Football” was 1995, when Larry Centers made his incredible leap, Buddy Ryan left before the game was over and cameras were capturing footage later used in the movie “Jerry Maguire.”

“Everybody loves Jerry Maguire,” Larry Fitzgerald said. “ ‘Show me the money.’ It’s what Monday night is all about.”

(Speaking of Maguire, it makes you think back to Rod Tidwell, right?)

— Bruce Arians, after the win in Indy, now has 42 victories as Cardinals head coach. It ties him with Don Coryell for second-most in team history (Ken Whisenhunt has the top mark with 49.) B.A. was asked what he thought of that.

“It was a bad team for a long time,” Arians deadpanned. Seriously, though, “to be even mentioned with Coach Coryell, that’s mind-boggling to me,” Arians added. “He was one of my great idols and watching that team play.”

— A random tidbit Fitz revealed this week, of which I have no recollection: He played special teams as a rookie. He was on punt return, as an outside blocker taking on the opposing gunner.

“I played hold-up guy,” Fitzgerald said. “I was pretty good at it too. Me and Nate Poole, we held it down out there.”

Poole, if you remember, was on the receiving end of the famous McCown-to-Poole TD pass in the last game of 2003 to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs and send the Cards from the No. 1 overall pick to No. 3. Probably got them Fitzgerald in the first place. Now that’s drama.

See everyone Monday night.

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Quarterback Carson Palmer gets the blame, but protection has been subpar in first two games

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer found a rhythm when he had a clean pocket against the Colts.
There are plenty of culprits in the Cardinals’ poor offensive start to 2017.

Quarterback Carson Palmer has been underwhelming. Injuries have shelved star running back David Johnson and explosive wideout John Brown. Turnovers and red zone struggles have hindered the output even when the offense has found a rhythm.

But the offensive line is pointing the finger at only one place.

“We take a lot of responsibility for how our offense works, if the production comes for us,” right tackle Jared Veldheer said. “We have to give Carson time and we have to open up lanes for the running backs to be successful. We’re conscious of that.”

After Palmer was sacked at a career-high rate in 2016, the Cardinals felt like there would be better line play this season. Through two games, that hasn’t been the case. Palmer has been sacked five times and the running game is only averaging 3.0 yards per carry.

The Cowboys come to town on Monday night with arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. For the outcome to go the Cardinals’ way, their group doesn’t have to be Dallas-like, but it must be much-improved.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is protecting Carson, not letting Carson get hit,” right guard Evan Boehm said. “He’s gotten hit way too much the last two games, and we know that.”

The Cardinals are unlikely to have D.J. Humphries at left tackle as he continues to recover from a knee sprain, but that wasn’t the issue on Sunday, as his replacement, John Wetzel, played well. Instead, it was Boehm and Veldheer who struggled.

“I’m not (satisfied), and they know it,” offensive coordinator and line coach Harold Goodwin said. “I’ve tried a new approach. I’m not screaming as much. Not as many curse words. But they’ve got to step up. And Jared knows it. Jared’s been playing right tackle enough that being over there should not be an issue any more. “

Veldheer a long-time left tackle, said he’s still scaling the learning curve.

“Every time you go out there, there’s just so much more to learn than when I was on the other side,” Veldheer said. “You become aware of something that carried over, it doesn’t work because it’s on the (right). One of those things is where I was putting my weight. Seeing that, I can focus on doing that, just basically learning.

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The roster Steve Keim has built makes the future look bright.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Amidst the recent struggles the Cardinals have had over the past 20 games, I am finding myself feeling very excited and encouraged about the emerging youth on this football team.

Steve Keim built the current roster in such a way that the younger players can bring much needed energy and enthusiasm to what is otherwise a veteran team. Here are some of the players (by position) to feel very encouraged about:

QB: Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert is only 27 years old and he brings a dimension that few of the recent Cardinals’ QBs have had — a combination of size, arm strength and above average mobility. If you saw how the Broncos beat up on the Cowboys with Trevor Siemien at QB, Siemien’s ability to bootleg and shift the pocket was superb and it kept the Cowboys’ defense off-balance and on their heels all afternoon. This is what Gabbert can bring to the Cardinals’ offense, if and when he gets his chance. Better yet, Gabbert has a superior skills set to Siemien’s. Had Gabbert grown up in the Broncos’ system I have no doubt that he would be considered one of the top QBs in the NFL today.

RB: David Johnson: Not only is Johnson one of the most dynamic combo running back the NFL has seen in recent years, he is thoroughly lovable as a human being. Ever kind and humble, Johnson is like the golden retriever who will do anything to bring a smile to your face. With Larry Fitzgerald on the verge of retiring, Johnson will now become the hard-working, modest face of the franchise, hopefully for the better part of the next decade.

T.J. Logan: Can’t wait to see him healthy. Logan’s speed and his aggressiveness are a formidable one-two punch. He is a home run waiting to happen in the return game and out of the backfield.

WR: J.J. Nelson: There is something magical about J.J. Nelson, not just because he has legitimate 4.28 speed, but because he has remarkable body control. BA said it best about Nelson…he’s a speed guy who can cut and change direction without losing speed or the ability to track the football.

Carlton Agudosi: The way he moves for a WR his size is stunning. It is amazing that Rutgers did not do more to maximize his skills. Tall, angular WRs are becoming quite an asset in today’s NFL. Look at what issues WRs like Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin are presenting to NFL defenses. The Cardinals might have one of their own in Agudosi, if they can develop him.

TE: Ricky Seals-Jones: Again, the combination of length and speed with Seals-Jones is akin to that of Agudosi’s. Seals-Jones was starting to emerge as a receiving threat the last couple games of the pre-season. His talent is unmistakable.

OL: Evan Boehm: Boehm is a blue collar, smart, take nothing for granted type of competitor. He works his tail off and gets good results. Has an excellent combination of a strong base and superb upper body strength.

John Wetzel: Give Wetzel an assignment and give him a week to prepare for it and he gets after it big-time. The thing i love about him is he is the best run blocking tackle on the roster and he has been making very good strides as a pass protector. Last week versus Jabaal Sheardand John Simon — Wetzel yielded 0 sacks and 0 QB pressures on 40 pass attempts. I think that for the past two years he has been one of the top 4-5 best offensive linemen on the roster and it’s now time to keep him in the starting lineup at either of the tackle spots.

DT: Robert Nkemdiche: This guy is a keg of dynamite. What was so encouraging about him in the pre-season was that not only was he starting to blow up his side of the line, he was showing an increased ability to locate the football and to finish off plays. Once Nkemdiche has a taste of success in the regular season games, he is going to be an at-times unstoppable force.

OLB/DE: Markus Golden: They call him “Junk” as in junkyard dog because Golden is the epitome of tenacity and relentlessness. He’s a better athlete than he gets credit for, imo. He’s got an inmate ability to out-muscle blocks and the short area quickness to change directions and find his way to the football. Here is a guy who leaves it all out on the field. Better yet, when BA said after week one that the offensive struggles kept the defense out on the field too long, which is why they tired at the end of the game, Golden wanted no part of that thinking. He said the defense should be able to handle any type of situation and, that it’s on them to get it done.

LB: Deone Bucannon: I still feel as if Deone Bucannon’s best football is ahead of him. Recently he’s been battling through injury and inconsistent play, but once he gets his feet back under him and once he starts trusting his instincts more regularly he is going to be a prolific playmaker. The thing about Deone is that he has always relished the physical aspects of the game

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Lamar Jackson
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson scrambles against LSU during the first half of the Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31 in Orlando, Fla.

John Raoux | The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE — This is not just another game. Saturday’s tilt between Clemson and host Louisville certainly has Atlantic Coast Conference implications. It could have national ramifications.

After a 2-0 start, the Cardinals have their first big game of the season when the defending national champion Tigers invade Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium in the national spotlight.

Clemson is also 2-0 coming into the contest. It is coming off a hard-fought 14-6 win over Auburn last Saturday.

“We feel great about this game,” Louisville senior running back Malik Williams said. “We feel like it is a rival. We just have to prove ourselves. Big game for us and this community.”

On its way to its first national title since 1981, the Tigers beat Louisville 42-36 in a wild game at Clemson last October. It was a game Louisville trailed 28-10 at the half before scoring 26 unanswered points to lead 36-28 with 7:52 remaining. Deshaun Watson, who was a first-round draft pick of the Houston Texans, rallied the Tigers with two fourth quarter touchdown passes.

“We’ve kind of got a chip on our shoulder from last year,” junior offensive lineman Geron Christian said. “It’s another big game.”

Unlike last year, when the Louisville-Clemson game featured the nation’s top two offensive weapons in Watson and Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the focus will be on Louisville’s offense vs. Clemson’s defense.

Led by Jackson, who has 255 yards rushing and 771 passing in the first two games, the Cardinals’ offense is ranked fifth in the country. Clemson has allowed just nine points in two games and Tigers defensive end Austin Bryant is the reigning national Defensive Player of the Week after his four sacks in the win over Auburn.

“They always have a great defense, real strong defensive front, fast linebackers and secondary and do a really good job of playing together and playing hard, so we’ve got a great challenge there,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “We’ll have to be able to mix the run and the pass and be balanced, not just count on one phase: running or passing.”

The Tigers have limited opponents to just over 118 yards per contest, including just 40 through the air.

“They’re very good up front,” Petrino said. ”They’ve got two big, physical defensive tackles, two really good guys on the edge. We played against two of their three linebackers last year that are really fast and slippery. They slip blocks and make tackles and they keep them free.

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The Arizona Cardinals have run into a depth issue at tight end to start the season

All seemed fine in training camp and the preseason for the Arizona Cardinals at the tight end position.  That feeling didn’t last more than one game into the new season.

Jermaine Gresham got injured against the Detroit Lions.  On Thursday he did not practice.  Then Troy Niklas all a sudden came down with an injury.  He too did not practice.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 10: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Arizona Cardinals tries to break the tackle of Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 35-23. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There was hope that the Cardinals would use the tight end more in the passing game this season with the questionable depth at receiver.  Gresham was re-signed in the offseason in the hopes of building on what he accomplished in 2016.

Gresham had 37 receptions for 391-yards and two touchdowns.  It was an improvement over his 18 receptions for 223-yards and a touchdown in his first season in Arizona in 2015.

Niklas has battled the injury bug pretty much since the time he arrived in Arizona.  Now he’s hurt again and you have to wonder about him going forward.

The Cardinals generally look for blocking first from their tight ends but they could become a huge part of the offense and the short passing game with the absence of running back David Johnson. After Gresham and Niklas is Ifeanyi Momah.They have Ricky Seals-Jones on the practice squad.  It sure seems like however that the Cardinals are not only worried about Gresham and Niklas this weekend but with what Momah and Seals-Jones can provide.

With that in mind, the Cardinals are reportedly bringing back Jim Dray.  You remember Dray. He caught all of seven passes in his first three seasons in Arizona.

In 2013, coach Bruce Arians’ first season in Arizona, Dray was a little more involved in the offense. He caught 26 passes for 215-yards and two touchdowns.  After that he moved on to Cleveland for two seasons.

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell

New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady is opening up about playing pro football at 40, his family life and his health. In a wide-ranging interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell, Brady also touches upon concussions, a topic his wife, retired model Gisele Bündchen, discussed with “CBS This Morning” in May.

“I don’t worry about ’em, no,” Brady told O’Donnell in the “CBS Sunday Morning” interview. “I mean, I’m not oblivious to ’em. I mean, I understand the risks that, you know, come with… the physical nature of our game.”

O’Donnell sat down with Brady at his TB12 Sports Therapy Center, near Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and she also conducted the first network television interview at his home outside of Boston. The quarterback shared details of his life at home with his wife and kids, his training and diet program, his business partner and body coach Alex Guerrero, and his new book, “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance,” which is published by Simon & Schuster (a division of CBS).

Brady is now 40 years old and in his 18th season. He’s been successful far longer than rival quarterbacks (having won five Super Bowls), and shows no signs of letting up. The quarterback told O’Donnell that this is not his last season, for sure. He hopes to be healthy and 45 before making that decision.

the-tb12-method-cover-tom-brady-simon-and-schuster-244.jpg
 SIMON & SCHUSTER

“I do wanna go out on my terms,” Brady said. “I do wanna go out playing my best.”

His strategy is focusing on something he calls “pliability,” which he says is lengthening and softening of muscles. Brady said the system has made him quicker now than when he started playing football.

Brady said the “The TB12 Method” is for anyone seeking to live a healthier lifestyle, not just elite quarterbacks.

“I think some people may be able to do some things better than I can,” Brady said. “Hopefully they don’t throw the football better than me, which is what I’m really trying to do.”

His thoughts about staying healthy and playing come at a time when there’s been a lot of discussion about the impact of concussions on players. Asked what impact studies about concussions will have on the NFL, Brady told O’Donnell, “I don’t know what the future is gonna look like, you know, and I’m not gonna pretend to predict it. And I’m gonna do everything I can to take care of my body in advance of the, you know, of the hits that I’m gonna take on Sunday.”

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New England Patriots running back D.J. Foster speaks with members of the media in the team’s locker room before an NFL football practice, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

TEMPE, Ariz. – The hometown kid is back.

One of the state’s most dominant high school football players who remained in-state to play his college ball, running back D.J. Foster now looks to make his mark on the team he grew up watching, the Arizona Cardinals.

A day after being signed off of New England’s practice squad, Foster found himself in a Cardinals uniform going through his first practice.

“It means a lot. It was great putting on that jersey,” he said Wednesday. “This is the team that I watched. Being a local guy, this is who I tuned in to watch every week. It’s definitely a blessing to be apart of this organization. I just want to come out here and work hard and help.”

The large smile across his face said it all.

After breaking nearly a half dozen state rushing records at Scottsdale Saguaro High School, including touchdowns in a game (10) and in a single season (60), Foster went on to excel at Arizona State, where he gained at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first three seasons.

Foster, however, went undrafted in 2016. He joined New England as a rookie free agent, picking the Patriots over the Cardinals and Texans.

In his first season, Foster appeared in three games, carrying the ball seven times for 24 yards and catching one pass for two yards.

“I enjoyed my time there,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for that organization. They taught me so much and gave me a foundation.”

Becoming a Cardinal “happened fast,” according to Foster, who said his agent called him and “within an hour I was on my way to the airport. I was excited. I’m definitely happy to be here and go to work.”

The Cardinals added Foster, 23, plus welcomed back veteran running back Chris Johnson this week to help soften the blow of losing David Johnson, who is expected to miss as many as three months after dislocating his left wrist in Week 1.

The Cardinals now have five running backs on the roster.

It may be too much to expect Foster to be active this week against Indianapolis, though head coach Bruce Arians called Foster “a pretty quick learner.”

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Chicago Bears tight end Dion Sims (88) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Scooby Wright, left, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

The Arizona Cardinals re-signed former University of Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright to the practice squad Wednesday.

Wright, The 2016 seventh-round pick by the Cleveland Browns signed with the Cardinals in December of 2016, but was cut to make way for the 53-man roster and signed to the team’s practice squad this year.

Linebacker Philip Wheeler was originally on the 53-man roster, but due to his contract situation, he was released by the team. If Wheeler would have suited up, his $695,000 contract would have been guaranteed. Wright was signed to take his place on the active roster on Sept. 8 prior to week one’s showdown against the Detroit Lions, but was inactive for the game.

The Cardinals flip-flopped that move on Monday by re-signing Wheeler and releasing Wright.

In five preseason games with Arizona, Wright totaled 18 tackles and forced a fumble.

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