Arizona Cardinals: The Final 53
Aug 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the second half of a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Thursday night 75 men came onto the field wearing a Arizona Cardinals uniform. 22 of them will be cut Saturday by noon eastern time. The final preseason game as always is a tryout for those on the roster bubble. Starters like Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, and the whole starting offensive line didn’t play a single snap in the game. I would hate to be a coach on this certain day knowing that you will crush a young man’s dream of playing in the NFL or a seasoned veteran who just doesn’t have it anymore. There is always that chance that the player will get picked up by another team or get put on the practice squad.
Ryan Lindley had a spectacular night throwing two touchdowns and 214 yards. Most people who are Cardinals fans would agree that this was his best performance as a Arizona Cardinal. Though it’s just the preseason he knew that his spot on the team is in jeopardy with coach Bruce Arians undecided about carrying three quarterbacks. Last night he made a viable case for sticking around. Arians said he is going to keep the “best 53 players.”
One player who was getting a lot of attention was Ryan Williams. All over twitter I saw tweets cheering him on and hoping that he could convince coach Arians to carry five running backs. Most importantly he looked healthy and as sharp as ever. He ran for 25 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries. As a matter of fact every single running back looked great tonight. Andre Ellington would have had a huge run if not for a holding penalty, and Stepfan Taylor ran extremely well finishing with 52 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Wide receiver is another position where it is going to be tough for the coaches to decide on who to keep with maybe one or two spots left open. Charles Hawkins, Jaron Brown, Mike Thomas and Kerry Taylor all made plays tonight. Brown finished the night with the best statistics, 71 yards and a touchdown on the night. Most of the yards came on a 55 yard bomb from Lindley. Hawkins made an incredible athletic catch near by two defenders and his own teammate. Thomas has had the least time to make an impression, but he has what coach Arians loves and that’s pure speed. Lastly Taylor in my opinion had the best camp of all of them. Maybe I’m biased because he’s a ASU alum but I really like his skill set.
Rookie safety Tony Jefferson made his case throughout camp and all four preseason games by making plays when given the opportunity. Tonight he recovered a fumble, hit Montee Ball behind the line of scrimmage, and almost sacked Zac Dysart, but ended up being a incompletion after Antoine Cason dropped the ball which should have been an easy interception. Against the Dallas Cowboys he had two interceptions.
GM Steve Keim and the coaching staff have a long day ahead of them with a flight back to Phoenix and meetings early in the morning. From what it looks like Arians will keep all five running backs. Out of the wide receivers I believe Taylor and Brown make the team. Lindley and Jefferson should also make the squad with Jim Dray, and Jeff King likely being cut. We will have our answers by noon some fans will be happy and some won’t, but that’s how business works.