CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 23: Running back Chester Taylor #29 of the Chicago Bears reacts after scoring a one-yard fourth quarter touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

NFL Roster Cuts: Cardinals Sign Chester Taylor And Two CBs Off Waiver Wire

The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran running back Chester Taylor and to add depth at cornerback picked up two players off the waiver wire. Corresponding cuts have not yet been announced.

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Chester Taylor's Role Still Uncertain, Whisenhunt Likes 10-Year Vet's Experience

The Arizona Cardinals look like they are done tweaking their 53-man roster in preparation for Week 1 of the 2011-12 NFL season. Of course, you never know what might happen and there's certainly going to be changes as the season moves along due to injury and / or performance. For now, however, coach Ken Whisenhunt seems satisfied with where things are.

Whisenhunt spoke after Monday's practice about the addition of veteran running back Chester Taylor.

"He's a veteran player that's been very productive in the league. I've seen him for a number of years. We'll get him in here and see what his role will be. Whether he's a third down back or a first and second back, those are roles he's done in games and done very well."

Taylor is coming off a down year with the Bears in which he only ran for 267 yards despite playing in all 16 games. Whisenhunt sees his general place on the team as veteran who can work with the younger backs in a role similar to Jason Wright last season.

Whisenhunt remains impressed with Alfonso Smith and will likely use him on special teams. Smith was praised for his work ethic and pass protection.

The two cornerbacks signed, Korey Lindsey and Crezdon Butler, are players the team had scored highly on various player evaluations. Both will come in and provide depth for a position that's probably the weakest group on the team in terms of talent and experience.

Rookie Quan Sturdivant didn't make the cut because, according to Whisenhunt, he simply wasn't in the top eight linebackers. The team hopes to get him back at some point so they can continue to develop him.

For more on the Cardinals roster moves, visit Revenge of the Birds.


NFL Roster Deadline: Predictions For Cardinals Final 53-Man Roster

The Arizona Cardinals will use their final preseason game to evaluate several players on the bubble of making the final cut down to the NFL mandated 53-man roster. The deadline is Saturday, September 3 but we expect the decisions to be made on Friday after the game against Denver.

We've identified two key battles to watch during Thursday's game. The final linebacker job could come down to Quan Sturdivant and Reggie Walker and the last cornerback job could be between Marshay Green and Fred Bennett. A couple of other guys to keep an eye on include WR Stephen Williams, OL Floyd Womack and the battle between FB Anthony Sherman and Reagan Maui'a although we think both will eventually make the team.

We've gone through each position group in detail, now here's our final predictions for the Arizona Cardinals 2011 53-man roster. Obviously, the roster is a living thing and will change throughout the year but it's got to start somewhere and here's what we think it will look like.

Quarterback (Three)

This one's pretty simple. Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Rich Bartel will make the roster. Skelton and Bartel could flip back and forth between the backup job but the ankle injury to Skelton will likely give Bartel the edge to start the season.

Running back (Three)

Beanie Wells is obviously the main man in the backfield for the Cardinals. LaRod Stephens-Howling will make the team and Alfonso Smith should make the roster as well unless the team isn't pleased with his performance in Thursday's final preseason game and/or a better option for a backup become available.

Fullback (Two)

The battle between Reagan Maui'a and Anthony Sherman is too close to call. The team is more committed to running the ball this season and either of these guys is unlikely to clear waivers if cut. Look for both to make the roster.

Wide receiver (Six)

Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Andre Roberts are locks. DeMarco Sampson, Stephen Williams and veteran Chansi Stuckey will likely get the last two spots. If the team decides to carry a fourth running back or an extra offensive lineman they could drop Williams and go with five wides. The strength and depth at tight end lets the Cardinals save a spot here but it could go either way.

Tight End (Four)

With Todd Heap, Jeff King and Rob Housler all but assured roster spots, the final decision will come down to Jim Dray and Stephen Spach. Dray is more versatile and therefore more likely to make the cut. It is possible that Spach makes the team as well in place of wide receiver Stephen Williams. It's unlikely, but possible.

Cornerback (Five)

The loss of Greg Toler has hurt the depth here and moved Al Jefferson, Patrick Peterson and Richard Marshall into the top spots. Michael Adams is reported to be returning from injury soon so he should make the team. The final spot should go to newly signed Fred Bennett but Marshay Green could possibly win the job as well. The battle between Green and Bennett could come down to the wire.

Safety (Five)

Veterans Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes will have a lot of work keeping the young cornerbacks playing right. Hamza Abdullah and Rashad Johnson provide depth with Matt Ware making up the final spot. Ware's spot, however, is far from secure.

Defensive Line (Six)

The defensive line looks solid with Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell providing talent and experience on the outside while Dan Williams and David Carter could share time at tackle. Behind those four, veterans Vonnie Holiday and Nick Eason provide solid depth.

Linebackers (Eight)

Linebacker is another strong position on the defense. Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington should start with Sam Acho, O'Brien Schofield and Stewart Bradley all providing dynamic options off the bench. The final spot comes down to rookie Quan Sturdivant and three-year pro Reggie Walker. The is another battle that could come down to a final tough decision.

Offensive Line (Eight)

The starting five seems set with Levi Brown (LT), Daryn College (LG), Lyle Sendlein (C), Rex Hadnot (RG) and Brandon Keith (RT). Duece Lutui, Jeremy Bridges and Ben Claxton should fill out the position but it's very possible that Floyd Womack also makes the team and takes a spot from either a wide receiver or even one of the fullbacks.

Special Teams (Three)

Long snapper Mich Leach, kicker Jay Feely and punter Ben Graham round out the 53-man roster. No surprises here.


NFL Roster Cuts: Linebacker A Position Of Depth For Cardinals, Will Rookie Make Roster?

The linebacker position for the Arizona Cardinals includes solid veteran options, exciting young players and is, on paper, a position of strength. But while there are seven obvious choices to make the roster, there is a final battle underway to make the 53-man roster when the NFL cut deadline comes around on September 3. 

We'll start with the guys who are going to make the team. Veterans Joey Porter and Clark Haggans are a lock at both outside linebacker positions. Haggans is a great leader and solid, if not flashy, presence. Porter is coming off a down year and after restructuring his contract is promising to comeback with a vengeance. We'll see if he can deliver.

If Porter or Haggans can't get it down, there's two talented young players waiting right behind them. O'Brien Schofield is in his second year and has shown flashes of his incredible talent but he is still struggling to learn the system and game at the NFL level. He's a guy who could come on strong in the second half after he's had more time to absorb the schemes so his mind is free to unleash his speed. 

Rookie Sam Acho is a gifted player and extremely smart. He's another guy who could continue to improve as the season wears on. Both Schofield and Acho should see reps immediately which will allow them to both develop and save wear and tear on the veteran starters.

Inside we'll likely see Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington. Washington has the potential to have a breakout season in his second year as a pro. His combination of speed and aggression is a joy to watch. Backing up these two is veteran Stewart Bradley. Bradley could very well find himself starting at some point. In essence you have a three-man rotation here.

So, that's your seven locks for the linebacker position. Porter, Haggans, Schofield and Acho on the outside and Lenon, Washington and Bradley inside.

That leaves one job left which will come down to Reggie Walker and Quan Sturdivant. Walker is a three-year NFL vet who played in 18 games for the Cardinals over the last two years. Sturdivant is a sixth-round pick from this year. Out of a rookie class that's excelled overall, Quan is the only guy who's not stood out. 

Walker and Sturdivant will both likely play big minutes in the fourth preseason game. One of them will likely win the job based on what happens in the game. My prediction is Walker.


2011 NFL Roster Cuts: Not Many Surprises On The Cards D-Line

As the final cuts to 53-man rosters approach, SB Nation Arizona takes a look at the Arizona Cardinals' defensive line. There aren't a lot of suprises to be found, but there is some suprising depth.


2011 NFL Roster Cuts: Cardinals Playing It Safe At Safety

As the day to set NFL 53-man rosters looms, its seems fairly clear what safeties will remain with the team when the season starts. Four players appear to be locks. A fifth will make the team if the Cardinals keep five players, which could happen. The star of the group is making a fast recovery, it seems, from what many thought was a serious injury.

The Cardinals don't lack experience at this position, and the heart and soul of the unit and the defense as a whole is the man known as A-Dub, 11th-year veteran Adrian Wilson. He's working hard to return from a torn biceps injury that has cost him the entire preseason schedule and most of training camp, but if Wilson isn't ready for the regular-season opener, that could open the door for another safety to make the team.

The locks to make the roster are Wilson, fellow vet Kerry Rhodes and third-year player Rashad Johnson, who's had some good moments in the preseason. Hamza Abdullah, with seven years in the NFL, is right there with that group.

The safety on the bubble is Matt Ware, who has been with the Cardinals for six seasons and was brought back when the seriousness of Wilson's injury became known. Ware has also been a good special teams player, but he could be the odd man out if the Cardinals enter the season with four safeties -- which would presumably mean that Wilson is ready to play. If Wilson isn't ready, the Cardinals could keep five safeties including Ware.

Rookie Jared Campbell's days could be numbered. He's the only other safety currently with the team.

With Ware's ability on special teams and vast experience, plus being cautious with Wilson for at least another week, the Cardinals appear likely to go into the season with five. 


2011 NFL Roster Cuts: Todd Heap Leads Strong Group Of Tight Ends For Arizona Cardinals

With the 53-man roster having to be determined by Saturday, Sept 3, the Arizona Cardinals have many difficult decisions to make. 27 players will have to be cut from the team. At some positions, the decision is fairly straight forward while other make it a little harder. 

The tight end position is pretty easy at the top, a little less so at the bottom. 

The position has been a huge weakness for years. The talent and the offensive schemes made it so that in 2009 41 percent of plays were without a tight end in the game. Last year was 36 percent without a tight end. To keep things in perspective, no one else in the league was over 25 percent. 

It is different now. 10-year veteran Todd Heap signed with the Cardinals. He becomes automatically the best player at the position that the team has ever had. Jeff King was another signing that is solid. They will be on that final roster and will get significant playing time. 

Rookie Rob Housler was drafted in the third round of  the 2011 NFL Draft and has been impressive. He is still a bit of a project at the position, but Ken Whisenhunt has been pleased and surprised at the grasp he has had with everything. He will be on the roster and figures to play at least a little as his size and speed will create mismatches. 

The question regarding the position that remains is how many tight ends the team will keep. writer Darren Urban told me that he believes that the team will keep four. In that case, the final spot is a battle between veteran Stephen Spach, second year player Jim Dray and undrafted rookie Stephen Skelton, who is also QB John Skelton's younger brother.

Whisenhunt loves the type of player Spach is. He is edgy, plays hard and blocks well. He has had a few injuries. Dray is still developing in blocking and can catch the ball okay. He is a contributor on special teams. Skelton has the build and some talent there. 

Skelton will not make the squad, but could return on the practice squad. The decision will be tough, but the final spot will go to Dray, if for anything else because he plays on special teams. That will leave Spach on the outside. 

Heap, King, Housler and Dray. Those will likely be the tight ends that will start the 2011 season with the Arizona Cardinals.


2011 NFL Roster Cuts: Beanie Wells Takes Center Stage As Featured Back

The Arizona Cardinals' running game begins and ends with power back Beanie Wells, who this year looks like he's finally ready to step into the role as lead ball carrier for the Cards. It certainly didn't look that way only a few months ago. Now the team's roster is soon to be pared down to 53, and Wells is firmly entrenched as one of the final group.

In April, the Cardinals already had Tim Hightower and then drafted Ryan Williams, a sure sign that Wells wasn't cutting it and he'd have to step up and work even harder for more carries in a crowded backfield. 

In the past month, however, the landscape changed dramatically. Hightower was dealt to Washington, elevating Wells to the top of the depth chart, and then Williams suffered a torn patellar tendon in the preseason game at Green Bay and had to go on injured reserve.

Wells, entering his third NFL season, has survived, and as the final roster cutdown day looms, the Cardinals also have LaRod Stephens-Howling as a situational back and Alfonso Smith, when his hamstring is better. The club seems to like Smith's potential, but don't be surprised if the Cardinals add another running back released by another team this weekend.

The truth here is, there isn't really much to cut from running back and fullback for Arizona, as Williams' injury and the Hightower trade have lowered the number of players at those positions in training camp and one cut was already made at fullback this week.

After a decent rookie season in 2009 followed by an overly disappointing 2010 in which he rushed for only 397 yards in 13 games -- he missed the first three with a torn meniscus, another source of dismay for fans -- Wells has looked like a much tougher runner in practice and in the preseason. 

"I'm very pleased with how (Wells) has taken that load and worked hard to become a better back. He's come a long way since two years ago and I respect that. Hopefully, he'll have the season that will show everybody how hard he's worked," coach Ken Whisenhunt said about Wells this week.

Beyond Wells, Stephens-Howling likely makes the 53-man squad because he offers a different look, and because he is an electrifying return specialist with proven ability to make big plays. Smith should be the last running back on the roster barring a change of heart by the coaches and a move to bring in a more experienced player. William Powell, a rookie from Kansas State, is a longshot.

At fullback, it's veteran Reagan Maui'a and rookie Anthony Sherman, both who figure to make the final roster since Sherman can be a valuable special teams player, as he has shown in the preseason. This position should take on a bigger role than in year's past as the team looks to run the ball more and we've even seen passes going to the fullbacks in short yardage situations to mix things up.

They are the only two fullbacks remaining on the current roster, and most teams keep two although Whisenhunt said recently that it would depend on how a few other things shake out. Both have looked strong in camp and preseason games which would make it difficult to pick one over the other.


NFL Roster Cuts: Larry Fitzgerald Leads Unproven Arizona Cardinals Wide Receivers

Across the NFL, teams are preparing for final roster cuts that will get them to their final 53-man roster. The Arizona Cardinals are naturally one of these teams. At some positions there is not a lot of question. At quarterback, we know that Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Rich Bartel will be the guys on the roster. At running back, Beanie Wells, Alfonso Smith, LaRod Stephens-Howling and someone else will round out the position.

At the wide receiver position, there is more uncertainty at the end of the roster, although the top is very clear.

We already know that Larry Fitzgerald is the top dog. His new $120 million deal only confirms this. Second-year player Andre Roberts and fourth-year guy Early Doucet are the other players that are a lock for the roster. However, which of the two will be the number two guy that starts with Fitz is not perfectly clear. It looks like it will be Roberts, but that situation is still fluid.

With Max Komar getting hurt and being waived/injured, we know he is out. That leaves returner Stephen Williams, seventh-round draft pick DeMarco Sampson, free agent signee Chansi Stuckey, and camp invitee Isaiah Williams to battle it out for the final spots.

The question is whether the team will carry five or six receivers. Typically, it would be six, but if they go with four tight ends on the squad (which is highly likely), they may only go with five.

If they go with six, it should be easy. Isaiah Williams will be the guy on the outside. If only five, then it gets interesting. Stephen Williams has had a strong camp, but did last year and was completely unproductive during the season. Stuckey has a brand new contract, but not a ton of guaranteed money. Sampson has been a gem, but when the regular season starts, who knows if it will translate into on-field success. He also has been hampered by a hamstring injury recently.

My guess is that they will go with six and that will leave Isaiah Williams off the squad. He could be brought back to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

We may know as early as Friday what wil happen. If there are any injuries in Thursday's game, that will change things, as well.

Regardless of who makes the roster, it has the appearance that, no matter who makes it, it will be a more talented corp of receivers than in 2010. Of course, that might just because the starting quarterback is not Derek Anderson, John Skelton, or Max Hall.


2011 NFL Roster Cuts: Cardinals Quarterback Depth Chart Led By Kevin Kolb

Roster cuts for NFL teams is fast approaching and by Saturday the Cardinals must pare down their numbers to the final 53-man roster. The Arizona Cardinals have been, in a word, dynamic at the quarterback position since Kurt Warner's retirement after the 2009 season. Unfortunately, dynamic means "always changing" rather than explosive or exciting.

After a 2010 season that found Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton and Richard Bartel under center for Arizona, consistency has been returned through the acquisition of Kevin Kolb from the Philadlephia Eagles.

Kevin Kolb is the unquestioned starter for the Cardinals, bringing chemistry with Larry Fitzgerald and a strong arm to the mix. As the starter, Kolb looks to make his mark in the NFL with the first true starting opportunity of his career. In 2010, he was overrun by Michael Vick, losing his job while injured. There will be no such concern going into 2011.

For backups, John Skelton and Richard Bartel both seem destined to make the Cardinals 53-man roster. Skelton was a fifth round pick in 2010 and, while dealing with an ankle sprain suffered in the second preseason game, is my choice to be the backup quarterback going into 2011.

Bartel, a former UFL standout, has looked good during his preseason appearances and is an insurance policy should both Kolb and Skelton get injured. Against San Diego, Bartel completed 8 of his 10 pass attempts for 76 yards and a touchdown. Despite being against the bench players, Bartel has shown that he can compete under the right circumstances.

Next, we take a quick look at the quarterbacks who, baring a shocking surprise, will not be on the roster come Sunday.

Former Brigham Young star Max Hall was placed on the injured reserve this week after it was discovered that he would need season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Hall had previously been "waived-injured" and had cleared waivers. It was unlikely he would have beaten out Skelton or Bartel even if he hadn't injured his shoulder during the last week of training camp.

Replacing Hall on the depth chart was former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle, who doesn't figure to make the team. He has yet to make an appearance in preseason play, and is squarely behind Kolb, Skelton and Bartel on the depth chart. 


Arizona Cardinals Roster Moves: Toler To IR, Komar And Others Waived

The Arizona Cardinals, like every other team in the NFL, have until Tuesday to reach the 80-man roster limit. The Cardinals didn't waste any time as they announced a series of moves that get them to that goal. The easy decisions were to place CB Greg Toler (knee) and RB Ryan Williams (knee) on the injured reserve. Both are done for the season with significant injuries. 

In addition to Toler and Williams, the team injury-waived WR Max Komar (knee) and S Tommy Irvin (ankle). They also released six players including FB Charles Ali, WR Daiveun Curry-Chapman, LB Curtis Gatewood, LB Duke Lemmens, and Tackles Eric Mensik and Jason Speredon.

None of the cuts made are surprising. If the Cardinals want to pick up any additional players that get waived from other teams such as RB Chester Taylor, they will have to make a corresponding cut. The Cardinals will also probably be keeping a close eye on any cornerbacks that might enter the free agent market. With the loss of Greg Toler, the team will likely need additional depth at that position.

The next roster cut will come by September 3 and bring the roster down to the final 53 players. For more on NFL roster cut deadlines, visit SB Nation.

For more on the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.

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