Arizona Cardinals: Preseason Depth Chart – Week 1
By Erich Becker
A few surprises as the preseason is set to kick off this weekend
The Arizona Cardinals released the first preseason depth chart today as the team resumes practice after having Sunday off following the annual Red & White practice. The chart, as the team gear’s up for the Preseason opener against Kansas City this weekend has a few surprises, let’s take a look.
Airzona Cardinals 2015 Preseason Week 1 Depth Chart
You can see that Arians is standing pat that if you don’t practice, you don’t play, and newly signed players aren’t necessarily being brought in as starters. Newly signed TE Jermaine Gresham sits on the second string behind Ifeanyl Momah with Darren Fells topping oft-injured Troy Niklas. Lyle Sendlein immediately jumps into the second string at center following Arians comments that he wasn’t being signed to take over the starting job, although many, myself included, see him in that role as September rolls around.
Even though Michael Floyd is lost for the rest of preseason his position as the number two receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald is not in question and he’s followed by Jaron and John Brown who are just ahead of rookie J.J. Nelson who turned heads over the last few days of practice.
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Logan Thomas is still listed as the number three quarterback with Phillip Sims remaining on the fourth string. I would look for this to reverse itself as the preseason goes on with Sims getting a look in game situations, especially in Preseason Week 4 if he survives the 75-man cut.
The Arizona Cardinals are keeping a lot of running backs on the roster at the moment with the injuries to both Andre Ellington and David Johnson, Kerwynn Williams spot on the second string team is an indication of the way he played last season more than injury related, but look for him to be given every chance to prove himself on this team. Marion Grice’s position on the depth chart is curious, especially with flashes last year, but Stepfan Taylor and Robert Hughes have more experience on the team and in the system.
Things on the defensive side of the ball are where you would expect for the most part. Tyrann Mathieu’s position as the starting free safety was expected although Tony Jefferson beating out second-year Deone Bucannon is surprising, at least for such a high draft pick. The only other surprising thing is Rodney Gunter’s position in the fourth string, while he’ll get a lot of reps in the preseason to prove himself, Keim and Arians need him to really hit to quiet some of the critics on that draft pick.
Brittan Golden takes over returning punts and kicks followed by rookie J.J. Nelson, Patrick Peterson reappears as a punt returner, but only in an emergency role at this time it appears. Dave Zastudil returns from injury to spare us from another season of Drew Butler’s 20 yard punts, and for that we can only be grateful.