TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have signed quarterback Chandler Harnish to a one-year contract.
Terms were not disclosed.
Harnish was a seventh-round draft pick out of Northern Illinois by Indianapolis in 2012. He split his rookie season between the active roster and practice squad with the Colts and was on the practice squad all of 2013.
Harnish spent last season on Minnesota's practice squad, appearing on the active roster but not playing against Green Bay on Oct. 2.
He threw for 8,944 yards and 68 touchdowns in four seasons with Northern Illinois.
Join us today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) for NFL Nation TV’s Spreecast 50 as we catch you up on the latest in free agency and offseason storylines, including the San Francisco 49ers cutting Jonathan Martin and bringing in a bevy of veterans for visits and the Atlanta Falcons getting fined $350,000 and losing a draft pick for piping in noise to the Georgia Dome during games.
Host Paul Gutierrez (49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined by four other NFL Nation reporters throughout the expanded show.
Jeremy Fowler (Cleveland Browns reporter) will give us the latest on Browns general manager Ray Farmer’s four-game suspension and what it means for the franchise, as well as provide an update on Johnny Manziel's rehab stint.
Meanwhile, Harvey and Wells will chime in with a co-Main Event to discuss lame duck coaches, from Marvin Lewis to Chuck Pagano.
The other co-Main Event features Rich Cimini (New York Jets reporter) and Mike Reiss (New England Patriots reporter) as they discuss the latest hissing match and tampering charges flying from the East Coast.
Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- With additions and departures comes a new season of change for the Arizona Cardinals.
When Arizona kicks off 2015, it will have a slew of new faces thanks to free agency and the draft. While the draft is still a month away, I can only predict the Cardinals' 2015 starters based on what’s happened in free agency.
Here are my predictions for what the Cardinals’ starting defense will look like next season:
Reason: Campbell, coming off his first Pro Bowl, is a lock to start. Peters was signed to be a versatile interior lineman who can play Dan Williams' old role if possible. Last season Rucker showed he was more than capable of being a starter, and when he was healthy, he was productive.
Reason: Coming off a breakout second season, Okafor will enter next season with high expectations. When healthy, Shaughnessy can be one of Arizona’s top defensive linemen and has shown his ability to corral the edge rushing game.
Reason: Entering his third season, Minter will be a starting inside linebacker when the opponent calls for it. In other words, if the offense runs the ball, Minter will be on the field. If not, Arizona will go nickel and he’ll be relegated to the bench. Weatherspoon was signed to be a three-down, sideline-to-sideline linebacker -- if he can stay healthy.
Reason: Obviously Peterson is one starter, but Powers wins the job over Justin Bethel because of experience.
Reason: Johnson and Mathieu make the most sense in a base defense. Johnson is a steady and sturdy presence in the deep secondary, and Mathieu’s ball-hawking skills makes it hard for the Cardinals to keep him off the field.
Coming Wednesday: Special teams
TEMPE, Ariz. – There were two players that Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians wouldn’t talk about during the NFL owners meetings: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, because he’s under contract with another team; and Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, because he’s still serving a suspension for at least a year.
“I really can’t even talk about Daryl,” Arians said. “He’s not even a part of our team, so there’s no sense in talking about him.”
Washington is approaching the 10-month mark of his suspension, which the NFL said would last at least a year when it banned him on May 30, 2014. On March 30, Washington can begin the reinstatement process, which will be decided upon by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Last week, Washington expressed his desire to have a “fresh start” when he returns to the NFL.
Since his suspension began, Washington has not been allowed to return to the Cardinals’ practice facility – one facet of suspensions that Arians strongly disagrees with.
Asked what he would change in the NFL’s approach to suspended players, Arians was staunch in his support of not removing them from an organized environment.
“I would definitely not isolate them from the only structure in their life,” Arians said. “You have to make sure they have structure in their life.
“Hopefully, that structure will help them overcome the problem – not turn them loose on themselves because obviously when they’re by themselves, they can’t handle it.”
TEMPE, Ariz. -- With additions and departures comes a new season of change for the Arizona Cardinals.
When Arizona kicks off 2015, it will have a slew of new faces thanks to free agency and the draft. While the draft is still a month away, I can only predict the Cardinals’ 2015 starters based on what’s happened in free agency.
Here are my predictions for what the Cardinals’ starting offense will look like next season:
Quarterback: Carson Palmer
Reason: This should be a given considering how much money the Cardinals invested in Palmer last season, only to see his season end two days later. By the time Week 1 comes around, Palmer will be fully healed. He doesn’t need a lot of time in training camp to get ready considering Arizona hasn’t tinkered with his targets.
Running back: Andre Ellington
Reason: Barring a major trade, Ellington will continue being Arizona’s focal point of the offense. He should be healthy to start the 2015 season after recovering from a serious foot injury as well as a hip pointer and hip flexor suffered last season. The Cardinals don’t have an option on their roster right now to unseat Ellington.
Reason: The chemistry between both Fitzgerald, Floyd and Palmer has continually grown over their past two seasons together. Fitzgerald will return with a new contract in the same inside slot role he played last season. Floyd, who didn’t have as productive of a 2014 as was expected, will continue being the outside threat. This was another no-brainer.
Reason: Even though Carlson had a case of the drops last season and Niklas spent most of the season injured, the two are the future at tight end for the Cardinals.
Backups: Darren Fells
Reason: The left side was solidified for years when Arizona signed Iupati during free agency. Larsen has played more consistently during the last few years than Shipley and right guard is Cooper’s spot to lose. But after a year of rehabbing and recovering physically and mentally from a broken leg, he should report to OTAs as healthy as he’s been in two years. Even with all his growth the last couple of years, Massie still has some work to do but he proved last season he’s more than capable at right tackle.
Coming Tuesday: Predicting the defensive starting lineup.
Welcome to #CardsMailbag, a weekly installment that allows you to ask me questions about theArizona Cardinals throughout the week via Twitter @joshweinfuss. I'll answer them every weekend during the offseason. Make sure to use the hashtag #CardsMailbag.
@joshweinfuss odds on signing AP (0-100 percent)
— Daniel Zink (@DanZink_Results) March 26, 2015
@joshweinfuss: Signing Adrian Peterson? 0.0 percent. Trading for him? 23.4 percent.
— Antonio Esquivel (@HoneyBucketHero) March 26, 2015
@joshweinfuss: I think they've already signed that veteran - or veterans - in linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and LaMarr Woodley. If Weatherspoon has a productive season, he can turn that into a contract similar to the one Antonio Cromartie recently signed with the New York Jets. Woodley might be able to cash in even more than Weatherspoon, in my opinion. If he can return to his double-digit sack totals, a big contract will be waiting for hm.
— Tacowrecker (@tacowrecker) March 27, 2015
@joshweinfuss: Good timing on this question. Head coach Bruce Arians discussed Deone Bucannon at the owners meetings last week and said he'll move back to safety, but will be able to play that hybrid linebacker position, if needed. He's too talented, too fast and too big to not be on the field in some capacity. His time at linebacker will depend on if Arizona signs anyone else for the position or if Daryl Washington returns from a suspension this year.
— KJ (@redheadwonder6) March 27, 2015
@joshweinfuss: I think so. He's the perfect fit for what Arizona is looking for when it comes to its pass rush. And the Cardinals have proved they're open to taking someone with a history off-field drug issues as long as they feel comfortable that the issues are behind the player (i.e. Tyrann Mathieu). Getting Randy Gregory at 24th would be a feather in Steve Keim's hat - even though it would raise the question of why so many teams passed on him.
Welcome to #CardsMailbag, a weekly installment that allows you to ask me questions about the Arizona Cardinals throughout the week via Twitter @joshweinfuss. I'll answer them every weekend during the offseason. Make sure to use the hashtag #CardsMailbag.
— Andrew James (@arffdodff) March 24, 2015
@joshweinfuss: Without sounding sarcastic, I honestly have no idea. Some players (Read: Peterson, Adrian) can come back in an offseason. Having written about knee injuries extensively the in last few years, I've learned that a lot of a player's recovery depends on the physiology of his knee. Most recoveries take about eight months, so that will put him 100 percent healthy - or a version of it - around July. But the problem I see with drafting Todd Gurley is his ability to pick up Bruce Arians' offense without being on the field for it. That's a lot harder said than done.
@joshweinfuss if the standoff between the Vikings and Peterson continues up to draft, do you see that ending Cards chances of a trade?
— Rickson (@Red_Ricks) March 24, 2015
@joshweinfuss: I think the longer this back-and-forth goes with the Minnesota Vikings and Adrian Peterson, the better the chances are that he stays a Viking. It's solely up to the Vikings if they want to trade him and, let's be honest here, would you trade him if you're the Vikings?
@joshweinfuss How much cap space do we have left and what Free Agents can we target with it? Assuming the AP trade is off table, for variety
— Austin Moore (@AustinArizona) March 24, 2015
@joshweinfuss: Ahh, for variety. My favorite kind of speculation. As of Friday afternoon, the NFLPA has the Cardinals with $13.9 million of cap room at 72 contracts. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Arizona's top 51 contracts give them about $9.6 million in cap room. Which free agents can the Cardinals target with that money? Any of those who are left. The best of the crop is gone, but as general manager Steve Keim said during the NFL owners meetings on Monday, the Cards are waiting for the second wave of free agency to begin, which includes players who come to the conclusion that they're not worth what they initially thought they were.
— Jared (@PhxHxC) March 26, 2015
@joshweinfuss: I think for the right price, Stevan Ridley would be a good fit with the Cardinals. However, as with Todd Gurley, Ridley's knee will be a concern. He tore his ACL and MCL in mid-October, which is likely why he hasn't been signed yet. If the Cardinals could get him for real cheap and stash him deep on the roster until he gets healthy, then maybe he might be worth signing, but overall I doubt Arizona will touch him because of the injury.
His one-year contract, signed on March 9, includes a $216,000 workout bonus, according to ESPN Stats & Information, but it’s all based on Ta’amu making weight. He can earn $36,000 at each of his six weigh-ins if he makes weight.
Weight was an issue for Ta’amu -- whom the Cardinals list at 348 pounds -- last season.
At the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Ta'amu’s weight was a factor in his decreased playing time in 2014. Ta'amu spent 2014 trying to get back in playing shape after tearing in ACL in Week 17 of the 2013 season.
“He really struggled with his knee. He was not the same guy,” Arians said. “He got heavy, basically ate himself out of a job. He was still not the athlete he was before, and hopefully with the brace off now and his weight down, he can be the guy because he can be a dominant force.”
Ta'amu’s base salary will be $660,000 in 2015, and with the $216,000 workout bonus and a $25,000 signing bonus, he could earn up to $901,000.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The regression in Arizona’s running game last season may end up being a blessing in disguise for the Cardinals.
As off-field issues and injuries kept chipping away at the backfield throughout 2014, coach Bruce Arians was forced to find ways to compensate. He tried different schemes and different players -- and sometimes different schemes for different players -- in hopes of discovering a secret recipe that would produce yards.
It was to no avail. Arizona had the second-fewest total rushing yards (1,308) and the lowest per-carry average (3.29) while using six running backs.
“There were some areas last year that we fell short in: running the ball in the red zone -- not so much goal line, but short-yardage situations,” Arians said.
But Andre Ellington playing injured -- and losing him in Week 13 for the rest of the season -- coupled with the loss of Jonathan Dwyer following Week 2 after he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, led to a series of changes, both in personnel and in Arizona’s scheme. With the additions of Kerwynn Williams and Marion Grice and the emergence of Stepfan Taylor, Arizona began running more zone schemes and pulling its guards.
“With Andre’s injury we changed a lot of things and as we lost backs we kept evolving as an offensive line in how we were trying to run the ball, because when you run the ball, it’s not just how they block, it’s what does the runner like to run?” Arians said. “What does he see the best? Is it a zone scheme? Is it inside zone? Is it outside zone? Does he like pullers? Does he like a lead blocker?
“As we were finding all these things out about our backs -- because we were bringing them in off the street, too -- you evolve as a running game, and it hurts your running game, there’s no doubt.”
With Williams and Grice, the Cardinals found some “rhythm” as an inside-zone team. With both backs currently in the plans for 2015 -- that could change if they draft a running back -- the Cards have backfield versatility and should be able to build off last season’s bright spots.
Arians said Grice could be an answer to the Cardinals’ red-zone issues. Arizona’s 57 yards on 39 carries in the red zone were the fewest in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Grice’s only touchdown of the season came in the red zone at Dallas.
“I like the ability that we have right now going into OTAs to explore some more options in the run game,” Arians said.
But those options don’t end with running backs.
While they now have an inside-zone chapter in their playbook, the Cardinals strengthened their run blocking through free agency by adding Mike Iupati at left guard and moving Jonathan Cooper to right guard. Cooper has been practicing on both the right and left sides the past two seasons, so “that will be an easy transition for him,” Arians said.
With Iupati joining tackle Jared Veldheer on the left side, the Cardinals’ run game likely will start leaning in that direction. And Arians, who said he has had an offense that ran mostly left just once in his career (in 2012 in Indianapolis), is OK with that.
“That’s two truckloads coming down there on a double-team,” Arians said. “They should be dominant and they do take a lot of pride in it.
“I don’t mind running left and I don’t mind [saying], we’ll tell you we’re coming over there [so] stop it. That’ll be my challenge to those two guys: Come up to the line and tell them we’re running right here. Stop us. That’s the attitude we want to have.”
And with Ellington healthy, the Cardinals’ rushing confidence will increase. Before suffering a season-ending hip pointer against Atlanta in Week 13, Ellington averaged 20.6 touches per game. Arians said his role in 2015 won’t decrease.
And Ellington’s role in the passing game may increase, which would add another element to the offense. Ellington’s foot injury limited his practice time last season, usually sidelining him at least on Wednesdays, and some weeks more than that.
“What really set him back is he couldn’t evolve as the pass-receiver because he couldn’t get the reps,” Arians said. “In games, he’d make a questionable decision when he had a two-way go and the quarterback’s back there holding the ball [and would] hit him on the back hip.
“I can think of three chances we had in Seattle for big plays and we weren’t on the same page because he couldn’t practice it and the quarterback couldn’t see him practice it. It was just gut it up for the game.”
Hindsight was 20/20 for Arians. After losing Dwyer to the non-football injury list, the Cardinals were without a big, bruising back who could get tough yards. Or so they thought. Arians regretted not playing Robert Hughes more last season.
As a fullback, Hughes had seven carries for 11 yards, but he caught eight passes for 140 yards.
“Every time he touched the ball, he made big plays,” Arians said. “Most of it was as receiver, but I’ve seen Robert run the ball so he could fit that role.”
Arians added: “Didn’t prepare him for it, either. Didn’t give him the ball enough in the preseason to see if he really could do it.”
But 2014 was a year of living and learning in terms of Arizona’s run game. A dismal showing won’t be forgotten, however. It’ll be studied and dissected, and should be the foundation for the Cardinals’ 2015 ground game plan.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A safety rule instituted earlier this week by NFL owners, which gives trainers at every game the authority to stop a contest if they think a player needs to be evaluated for a head injury, is being celebrated by some in the sports-medicine world.
Dr. Javier Cardenas, a neurologist in Phoenix who is the independent neurological consultant on the sideline for the Arizona Cardinals' home games, said the new rule is a major advancement for sports medicine.
"In my opinion, this is the biggest thing for sports medicine that has come out," said Cardenas, a Barrow Neurological Institute doctor who is on the NFL head, neck and spine committee. "Where else do you have a medical provider that actually is calling a timeout in any other sport? None. None. Huge for sports medicine."
Under the new rule, if the certified athletic trainer, who'll be sitting in a booth above the field as a spotter, sees a player who needs medical attention, he or she can use the official-to-official communication system to notify the side judge, who will then stop the game.
The purpose of the new rule is to allow Cardenas and other independent consultants at games throughout the league to evaluate players almost immediately after a big hit.
Here are details of the rule when the game is stopped for a medical timeout:
• The game and play clock will stop (if running) and remain frozen until the player is removed from the game.
• Both clocks will start again from the same point unless the play clock was inside 10 seconds, in which case it will be reset to 10.
• The team of the player being removed will have an opportunity to replace him with a substitute, and the opponent will have an opportunity to match up as necessary.
TEMPE, Ariz. – According to an ESPN NFL Insider, the Arizona Cardinals have had a successful free-agency haul thus far.
Mike Sando gave Arizona a B+ for its six key free-agent additions of defensive tackle Corey Peters, outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive end Cory Redding, guard Mike Iupati, center A.Q. Shipley and linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
As Sando wrote, the Cardinals wanted to add speed on defense and improve their running game.
“They seemed to have succeeded on both fronts,” Sando said.
Matt Williamson, an NFL scout for ESPN, said Arizona was high on his list of teams in free agency, but he still has some concerns about the group Arizona signed.
“My worry is that Iupati is more of a run-blocker while Bruce Arians' offense has a lot of deep drops,” Williamson said. “I do really like the Weatherspoon pickup. If Daryl Washington comes back, they are suddenly very athletic and versatile there with linebackers who do not come off the field -- something the 49ers enjoyed for years. Woodley was worth a shot. Peters is a decent player. Redding is decent. Shipley is OK. They got noticeably better and they were able to keep Larry Fitzgerald, which was good."
PHOENIX -- For the first time since 2008, the Arizona Cardinals will have a new starting center.
Who that will be is still undecided. But, as of now, it's a two-man race between Ted Larsen or A.Q. Shipley, who was signed by Arizona on March 11, a day before the Cardinals released veteran center Lyle Sendlein .
“That will be a good battle,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “We wanted some good competition. Ted played pretty much the entire training camp last year and was solid at center. I’ve had A.Q. I know what he is, and he’s exactly what I’m looking for as far as being the same as Ted: very physical, extremely bright, knows our system inside and out.
“He can walk in the first day and make all the calls.”
Neither Larsen nor Shipley have been declared the starter, Arians said. That’ll be determined over the next five months.
But both are versatile, Arians added, capable of playing center at guard. Whoever isn’t named the Cardinals’ center will be able to compete with Jonathan Cooper at right guard.
Shipley has started 19 games the past three seasons, including five last year in Indianapolis. He was the Colts’ starting center the four games before getting benched. After starting 31 of 60 career games before 2014, Larsen started all 16 games last season either at left or right guard.
When asked what Larsen, 27, and Shipley, 28, could provide that Sendlein, 31, can’t anymore, Arians referred to their age: “A younger set of legs that can maintain the long haul.”
Whoever wins the starting job will have to fill’s Sendlein’s reputation for being durable. Even though he played injured in November and December last season, Arians said, Sendlein started all 107 games he played in since 2008.
“I thought Lyle played well last year,” Arians said. “In November and December he was hurt and gutted it out but was not his best in those two months.
“We still would like to have him back and put him in that mix and compete.”
PHOENIX -- Bruce Arians was in one of his favorite settings Wednesday morning.
No, he wasn't on a football field. He was behind a microphone.
For an hour at the NFC coaches breakfast during the NFL owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore, Arians answered questions, mainly about the Arizona Cardinals. There were a few about his former teams, the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as some about former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
But in typical Arians' fashion, his answers didn’t disappoint. Here are the best quotes from the league’s most quotable head coach:
On whether Arians would be a different coach, in terms of what he says, if he was 42 instead of 62:
“Hell yeah. I don’t give a crap. I don’t think I talked any different back then. That’s probably why I didn’t get a head-coaching job. I think the truth is the truth, and some people just can’t take the truth.”
On Cardinals general manager Steve Keim receiving an executive of the year award Monday night:
“He was embarrassed as hell to go up and get his (award) the other day. I was like, ‘Dude, you got a cup. We can drink out of that.’”
On the difference between him as a coach at Temple and with the Cardinals:
“If I coached today the way I coached at Temple, I’d be in jail.”
“I don’t know if we’ll be able to shut them both up at the same time.”
On nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu not playing much in 2014:
“He got heavy, basically ate himself out of a job.”
“You trying to get me fired? That’s tampering, dude. I can’t talk about another player. I ain’t saying Jack about Adrian Peterson. I’d get fined for that.”
On the rule proposing what would’ve been a nine-point touchdown:
“I’m old school, man. I like the extra point the way it is. I like football. I like kickoffs. The game has been pretty good for a long time. I hate tinkering with the rules.”
On Arians seeing his former quarterback in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger:
“We talk all the time. I’m going to miss him next week. I’d like to get some of his money (from golfing). He took all my money last time on the golf course.”
On the Cardinals winning Super Bowl 50:
“That’s the goal every year. Last year it just happened to be in our stadium. It was easy to look a guy in the eye and say, ‘Who’s dressing in your locker?’ We don’t have that so I have to come up with a new line this year.”
On why he supported the Patriots' proposal to put more end zone cameras on the field to assist with replay:
“I don’t want the game right on Monday and Tuesday. I want it right on Sunday. I think everybody wants it right on Sunday.”
PHOENIX -- Let's say the radar shows a late summer storm is expected to pass by University of Phoenix Stadium in time for the sky to be clear and starry by the start of the second half of an August or September Cardinals' game.
Under the old rules, if the roof at the stadium was closed before the game, it couldn't be opened.
On Wednesday, however, the NFL's retractable roof policy was amended at the NFL owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore so the above scenario -- during any game until the conference championship -- can be changed. Under the new rule, in place for just one season, the Cardinals -- or any home team with a retractable roof -- can decide 90 minutes before kickoff to open the roof at halftime. However, specific weather parameters set by the home team must be met with 5 minutes left in the second quarter.
Those parameters, which are set 48 hours before a game, will include maximum and minimum temperatures and wind speeds and the likelihood of any precipitation.
If the weather matches the Cardinals' requirements to open the roof, it will be opened as soon as the first half ends.
If the Cardinals don't open the roof at halftime after saying they will during a meeting 90 minutes before the game, and the weather meets the criteria and Arizona received clearance, the amended rule says the team will be “subject to discipline by the Commissioner for conduct detrimental.”
The initial rule states that the roof could be closed at any time during the game “due to the development or anticipation of a hazardous condition that threatens the welfare of participants and/or spectators.” In that case, the roof would have to be closed for the rest of the game and can be closed while play is going on.
Arizona did not open the roof for a game last season. Since University of Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006, the Cardinals are 12-10 when playing under an open roof. The roof was open for Super Bowl XLIX in February.
The rule was submitted by the Indianapolis Colts.