Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF Cardinals nab Veldheer
The Cardinals have signed LT Jared Veldheer to a 5-year, $35 million deal. The 26-year-old is the youngest of the top free-agent OTs. Veldheer missed most of last season with a triceps injury but finished 12th among 80 OTs in Pro Football Focus' 2012 rankings. He's a significant upgrade for the Cardinals -- and good news for the fantasy prospects of QB Carson Palmer, RB Andre Ellington and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF Cardinals D better than you think
In updating its signature DVOA stat with Week 9 results, Football Outsiders revealed that Arizona's defense now rates tops in the league at -19.1%. The stat measures situation-specific performance and adjusts for strength of opponent. According to FO, the Cardinals have played the 4th-toughest schedule of opposing offenses so far. The Cards sit tied for 10th in scoring defense through 8 games and are allowing just 3.5 yards per carry (3rd best in the league) and 6.9 yards per pass attempt (10th). We respect the unique analysis that FO does. We knew that Arizona was playing well on D this season but didn't realize just how well. The FO report motivated us to move the Cards a few spots up the Rest of the Way rankings. Keep an eye on them as a spot-starting option for the season's 2nd half.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF Cardinals add WR
The Cardinals have promoted WR Kerry Taylor from the practice squad. It's another sign that WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) is in danger of missing Sunday's game against the Lions. He'll be a game-time decision. Fantasy owners planning on using Fitz need to have a viable late-game alternative lined up.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF Cardinals lose 1st-round G
Cardinals G Jonathan Cooper suffered a broken leg in Saturday night's preseason game. The team won't rule him out for the season just yet, but it's unlikely we see the 1st-round pick until 2014. It's a significant loss for a thin unit. Offensive line play remains the biggest concern for guys like Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF add 2 rookie RBs
The Cardinals obviously weren't sold on their Rashard Mendenhall-Ryan Williams backfield combo. They added RB Stepfan Taylor in the 5th round of the draft, and then snagged Andre Ellington in the 6th. Taylor rushed for 1,000+ yards in each of the past 3 years at Stanford. He doesn't stand out in any single area, though. Taylor goes 5'9 and 214 pounds with 4.7 speed. Ellington is the more intriguing prospect. He's undersized at 5'9, 199 pounds but comes with legit big-play ability. He averaged 5+ yards per carry in each of his 4 seasons at Clemson. Ellington is also a capable pass-catcher, with 36 grabs over the past 2 seasons. We think he's capable of winning a change-of-pace role in Arizona's backfield.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF looking for a 3-down back
Cardinals HC Bruce Arians isn't part of the growing RB-by-committee sect. He prefers a 3-down back. “Backs by committee, one of them gets hurt you’ve lost half your committee or a third of your committee,” Arians said. “I like guys who can play every down.” That sounds like good news for RB Ryan Williams, who Arians has talked up this offseason. “I know Ryan can flat run the football...” the coach said back in February. “I know all about Ryan, and I love him.” RB Beanie Wells is still hanging around, but he doesn't feel like a part of this new coaching staff's plans. There's been talk that Wells could be cut this offseason. Williams, meanwhile, will have every chance to emerge as a workhorse in Arizona. We're still believers in the former 2nd-round pick's skill set. He just needs to stay healthy.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF pick 1st-time OC
Bruce Arians has brought along Colts OL coach Harold Goodwin to be his OC in Arizona. Goodwin has coached nothing but O-line since entering the league in 2004 with the Bears, so it's tough to know what he might bring in terms of philosophy. Arians has already indicated he'll call plays, however. So expect the Arians offense. Of course, the biggest thing missing for the Cards the past few years has been a QB. Improved play there will be the key to any fantasy success.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF hire Bruce Arians as HC
The Cardinals have hired Bruce Arians as HC. All 8 HC openings have now been filled. Arians started the 2012 season as Indy's OC. But he was thrust into the HC job with Chuck Pagano battling cancer. The Colts went 9-3 with Arians at the helm. Prior to arriving in Indianapolis, Arians spent the previous 5 seasons as Pittsburgh's OC. He's a passing-game guru but obviously has his work cut out for him in Arizona. We'll see what the team does with the QB situation this offseason. Arians' arrival should be considered good news for WR Larry Fitzgerald.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF fire HC Ken Whisenhunt
The Cardinals fired HC Ken Whisenhunt on Monday. Whiz led Arizona to the Super Bowl in 2008 but has failed to reach the playoffs in each of the last 3 seasons. His offense was completely undone by the lack of an NFL caliber QB. Whisenhunt should latch on elsewhere as an OC or maybe even a HC. The Cardinals are reportedly pursuing Andy Reid and Broncos OC Mike McCoy for their HC vacancy.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF out of Peyton Manning race
Cardinals HC Ken Whisenhunt threw up the white flag in his team's pursuit of QB Peyton Manning. "Acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us," Whiz said. “Since the end of last season we made it very clear that our plan was to head into 2012 with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, let the process play out and – like at every position - go with the quarterback who gives us the best chance to win." Arizona paid Kolb a $7 million roster bonus today, making him the heavy favorite to open the 2012 season as the starter. Meanwhile, Manning's decision is coming down to Denver, Tennessee, and San Fran.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF QB depth hurting
Cardinals QBs John Skelton and Max Hall both suffered injuries over the past few days. Skelton went down with a high-ankle sprain in the team's preseason game against the Packers this past Friday, while Hall dislocated his non-throwing shoulder in practice on Monday. Kevin Kolb is obviously locked-in as Arizona's starting QB, but Richard Bartell could be forced into backup duty if Skelton and Hall are still out when Week 1 rolls around.
Arizona CardinalsARI -DEF RB battle gets interesting
We were anxious to see Cardinals RB Beanie Wells in action on Thursday night behind the Cardinals re-tooled offensive line. But we came away with more questions than answers. Wells finished with 22 yards on 6 carries, including a beefy 15-yard run. However, he had 4 straight carries inside the Raiders' 8-yard line that resulted in 7 yards but no TDs. He didn't show the same power as he did on his 15-yard run earlier, which is mildly concerning. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt since its Week 1 of the preseason, but rookie Ryan Williams is officially in Wells' shadow. The rookie ran with power and balance in limited duty on Thursday. He finished with 21 yards on 4 carries, including an 11-yard scamper. He also added a 23-yard reception. He's elusive in traffic and has a little bit of that Jamaal Charles/Chris Johnson 2nd-level burst. This will be an intriguing battle for carries over the next few weeks.
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