The Arizona Cardinals host the Denver Broncos in their preseason finale, their fifth game because they were in the Hall of Fame Game. But for some players, this is the end of the line because on Friday teams will make final cuts, trimming their roster down to the 53-man roster teams go with in the regular season.
For this group of players, it is make or break time. Some will get signed to a contract, some will make it onto a team's practice squad and some will go home and have to do something else all season.
For Arizona, there are a few of such players that are on the bubble. In fact, there are a few who seem to be just on the outside of that bubble. They are the ones that in Thursday's game will have to do things spectacularly.to have a shot at the roster.
Who are these "outside the bubble" players?
QB Richard Bartel:
Bartel, whom the coaching staff adores, probably can see the writing on writing on the wall. The team has Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. The team then drafted Ryan Lindley out of Sad Diego State. What makes natters worse is that Bartel has not take a snap since the Kansas City game.
Bartel will play against Denver. But it is probably too late, This will be is swan song. Lindley was drafted of the team 'with the idea of developing a young QB.
WR Stephen Williams:
Williams was the darling of 2010 training camp. But he has done little since then. Now he has an injured Achilles and probably will not play, and undrafted rookie LaRon Byrd has emerge, much like Williams did two years ago.
Williams has the size, hands and speed to make it in the league, He just hasn't been able to make a big impact in any game.
TE Steve Skelton/Jim Dray:
Skelton went undrafted a year ago out of Fordham, where older brother John also played. Dray was a seventh round pick a while back. Skelton has made more of an impact as a receiver, but Dray is a big contributor on special teams. Skelton probably is the one outside the bubble right now.
CB Crezdon Butler:
Butler was picked up a season ago off waivers and then was lost for the season with a broken ankle. He hasn't made much noise, but he hasn't looked bad. However, the depth at cornerback means one or two players that could play meaningful snaps in the league will be out of a job here in Arizona.
RB Alfonso Smith:
Smith didn't do anything wrong. William Powell has just been great. Powell leads the NFL in preseason rushing yards and has had some big ones. Smith may have the edge in pass protection and familiarity, but since both he and Powell play on special teams, it seems that Smith is the odd man out in the backfield.
Come Friday afternoon, many of these players could out of a job. That is the worst part about the NFL. It isn't like baseball, where there are minor league teams. Even in basketball, there is the D-league. While there is the UFL and Arena ball, there isn't much out there for a football player to play football and do it for living.
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