NFC West: Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals Camp Report: Day 4

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
9:05
PM ET
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Arizona Cardinals training camp:

• He’s been one of the talks of camp, but Michael Floyd put his offseason improvement on display Tuesday. On one pass, Floyd got a step behind cornerback Patrick Peterson for a touchdown that sailed in just beyond Peterson’s reach. Floyd then hauled in another score over cornerback Justin Bethel. Earlier Tuesday, quarterback Carson Palmer praised Floyd’s size and his ability to overpower cornerbacks, which was the case Tuesday. Bethel is listed as 6-0 and Peterson 6-1, but Floyd played taller and bigger than the 6-2, 220 pounds he’s listed as.

• Arizona got a look at a few backups that were called upon in a pinch. With RB Andre Ellington (neck) and CB Antonio Cromartie (pectoral) out Tuesday, RB Stepfan Taylor and CB Jerraud Powers were inserted into their respective first-team spots. NT Christian Tupou (groin), who was already replacing Dan Williams, was replaced by a combination of players, including Anthony McCloud.

≺ Taylor filling in for Ellington was telling in terms of the battle for the second running back job. It’s between Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer, but with head coach Bruce Arians’ decision to run Taylor with the starters, it appears that he’s leading the backup running back race. The importance of winning the second spot this year is greater than past years because of Arians’ decision to use more two-back sets.

• Arians got what he wanted when it came to adding speed to the offense. On at least two occasions, Ted Ginn and John Brown had to slow down to haul in a Carson Palmer pass. That speed could be a blessing and a curse. Last season, Palmer had a knack for slightly underthrowing receivers, forcing them to come back for passes. Ginn and Brown will have to learn how to time their runs perfectly with Palmer’s passes.

• Rookie safety Deone Bucannon secured an interception that got the crowd riled up.

• Rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who Arians praised Tuesday morning for being perfect through camp, missed three kicks in row during the afternoon practice. The three he missed were end-over-end kicks, different from his regular kicks. By my count, Catanzaro went 7-for-10, missing field goals from 41, 47 and 48 yards.

• After Catanzaro came off the field, special teams coordinator Amos Jones pulled his young kicker off to the side for a short talk near a water cooler. By Catanzaro’s body language, it was clear he wasn’t happy with himself.

Cardinals Camp Report: Day 3

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
9:15
PM ET
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Arizona Cardinals training camp:
  • Another day, another injury. This time it was starting center Lyle Sendlein who was missing for the majority of practice. He suffered a left calf injury and was replaced by veteran offensive lineman Ted Larsen. Sendlein has been durable, missing just five games since his rookie season. Larsen is in his fifth season. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will address Sendlein's injury Tuesday morning when he meets the media.
  • One of the most asked questions leading into the first day with pads was whether or not John Brown would be as fast with pads on as he is without them? He answered that quickly, connecting with Drew Stanton for an 82-yard touchdown pass in which he outran safeties Rashad Johnson and Curtis Taylor.
  • A day after announcing he wasn't playing offense anymore, cornerback Patrick Peterson began Monday's practice going through foot drills with the quarterbacks and running short goal line routes during their warm-ups.
  • One of the lighter moments of practice came when punter Dave Zastudil hit tackle Kelvin Palmer for a touchdown pass on a fake field goal. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Palmer went airborne for the pass over a defender and came down for the score.
  • As the kicking competition continues, Jay Feely went 4-for-5 on Monday, making two kicks from 48 yards, and a kick from 45 and 46 while missing a 33-yarder. Danny Hrapmann made kicks from 33, 45 and 46 while missing a 48-yarder.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Christian Tupou didn't feel comfortable answering questions about his unexpected ascent up the depth chart. He hasn't even made the team, he pointed out.

Whether the Cardinals' second-year defensive tackle feels like the attention is warranted or not, he was thrown into the spotlight when starting nose tackle Dan Williams left Sunday's practice with a swollen left knee. Williams is expected to miss Monday, as well, and with Alameda Ta'amu on the physically unable to perform list while he rehabs his repaired right knee, Tupou has been thrust onto the first team as its nose tackle.

Tupou
"All I can do is give my best," Tupou said Monday morning. "I really don't know what I have to show specifically. I'll just give my best."

So far through camp, Tupou's best has been good enough.

But Tupou needs to put the humility aside for a few days. At stake is a spot on a 53-man roster. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the opportunity to get reps with the first team allows Tupou to display what he can do.

"He's shown very well so far," Arians said. "That's another guy we want to see in pads. He's shown up. He's got everybody's attention."

It's been a long-time coming. Tupou was signed by the Chicago Bears out of Southern California as a free agent in 2013. He spent time in Chicago's training camp and on its practice squad before he was elevated to the 53-man roster last November. He spent about a month-and-a-half there and played five games, notching three tackles.

He spent the postseason and offseason bouncing around the league from Indianapolis to San Francisco to Arizona on May 16.

Tupou is just humbled to be in an NFL camp. He downplayed the opportunity he's been given and even thought he shouldn't even be talking to the media. And he's trying not to be starstruck when he looks to his right and sees Darnell Dockett in a three-point stance and Calais Campbell to his left.

"That's not what the game is about," Tupou said. "I'm just focused about being assignment perfect, doing my best."
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was excited for the start of padded practices, which begin Monday afternoon.

"We were very fortunate yesterday," Arians said. "We were way too active to be in shorts. I was holding my breath a little bit yesterday, but it was an outstanding practice."

• Arians said nose tackle Dan Williams will have an MRI on his swollen left knee. Williams is expected to miss Monday afternoon's practice.

• With pads being donned Monday, Arians won't limit how much his players hit. "With the limited time you can hit now, you can't hit enough, in my opinion."

• Arians said he hopes to keep four tight ends, but the rotation will be "more tailored to what they do best."

• Arians won't "baby" tight end John Carlson because of his history of concussions.

• When it comes to using fullbacks, Arians would rather use a versatile tight end than a true fullback because defenses can't prepare for a tight end that can play both positions as well as they can for a fullback.

• Quarterback Logan Thomas will get more snaps than Ryan Lindley in practice because he's newer, Arians said.

• Arians isn't a fan of training camp fights. He'd rather buy his players boxing gloves -- like Bear Bryant used to -- than see them break their hands. But Arians said he won't fine players for fights, he'll just "cut them."
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson is not disappointed that he entered training camp without a contract extension.

Peterson
Peterson
Speaking to reporters for the first time during this year’s camp, Peterson said his side and the Cardinals are still talking as training camp enters its third day Monday. Peterson still has two years left on his rookie contract but extensions for the league’s top cornerbacks were a hot topic this summer.

Seattle’s Richard Sherman signed a four-year $57.4 million extension on May 7 and Cleveland’s Joe Haden received a five-year $68 million extension about a week later. Peterson is scheduled to earn about $2.9 million this year and $10 million next season.

The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro said he’ll leave the negotiations to his agent, Joel Segal, and the Cardinals’ brain trust.

“I’m here to play football,” Peterson said. “I’ve got two years left on my deal and I want to do the best I can to help this team win. I haven’t been to the playoffs since I’ve been here. That’s my first goal. That’s what I’m focusing on right now, just football, and we’ll see what the contract stuff, if it happens, it happens.

“If it don’t, I have to continue playing football.”

Cardinals Camp Report: Day 2

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
8:45
PM ET
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Arizona Cardinals training camp:
  • Nose tackle Dan Williams was conspicuously absent for the majority of Arizona’s practice Sunday. According to reports, he left practice with a swollen left knee. There’s no word on how serious the injury is. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians addresses the media Monday morning. In his place, however, Christian Tupou took snaps with the first team. Depending on the seriousness of Williams’ knee, Tupou could be Arizona's primary nose tackle because Alameda Ta’amu is also out while rehabbing a torn ACL.
  • While working on a side drill, running back Robert Hughes took snaps as a fullback -- the same position Arians said he doesn’t like using. Hughes, who signed with the Cardinals in the offseason after two years in Indianapolis, including one with Arians, is a strong possibility to be the Cards’ fourth back.
  • The coaching staff got a good look at Jaron Brown Sunday when he took three straight passes from backup quarterback Drew Stanton. He's part of five players competing for the fourth wide receiver job.
  • Without Jake Ballard at practice because of a thigh bruise, Rob Housler was working with the first team. It’s opportunities like these that Housler needs to prove himself after a disappointing 2013.
  • Tony Jefferson and Rashad Johnson have been the Cardinals’ first-team safeties.
  • When Arizona played its dime defense, nickel back Jerraud Powers and rookie safety Deone Bucannon joined the starting secondary of Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Jefferson and Johnson. Often in dime Sunday, Arizona wouldn’t use a nose tackle, opting for two down linemen and two outside linebackers, with just one linebacker, Larry Foote. Bucannon would start the play lined up next to Foote and, if needed, he’d drop back or out wide into coverage.
  • For the majority of practice, Arizona played two outside linebacker pairs. Matt Shaughnessy, playing in place of the absent John Abraham, played with Sam Acho, while Alex Okafor and Kareem Martin were usually on the field together.
  • Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is playing with the second team.
  • Rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro made all five of his attempts Sunday from 33, 40, 45, 46 and 47 yards.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cardinals coach Bruce Arians won't be rotating right tackles and right guards very much during training camp, a tactic used during offseason workouts to distinguish the better player.

Right tackle Bobby Massie and right guard Paul Fanaika separated themselves enough from their competition during organized team activities and minicamp to begin camp working with the first-team offense. It's both their jobs to lose, Arians said Sunday, but neither spot is guaranteed with Arizona donning pads for the first time in camp on Monday.

Massie
Fanaika
"If anybody goes and says they're starting, you're writing the wrong thing," Arians told the media. "They're lining up first today but the competition is still live. The other two guys are behind just because the other two guys won't let them take the job yet mentally. But physically that's a whole different ballgame.

"We're not going to shuffle a lot anymore," Arians added. "We've had plenty of time to do that and there's plenty of time to win or lose a job once we start hitting."

While Arians said Earl Watford is "more than ready" to compete with Fanaika, who started all 16 games last season, Fanaika hasn't given Watford an opportunity to overtake him.

"He's contending," Arians said of Watford, "it's just Paul is playing so well."

A lot of attention has been paid to the battle at right tackle between Massie and Bradley Sowell, who started 12 of 16 games last season at left tackle after Levi Brown was traded. Arians said Massie has "surpassed" Sowell "a little bit."

Massie, who admitted he struggled to learn Arians' offense last year, said he worked on eliminating his mental errors during offseason workouts. It's carried into camp and Arians has noticed, pointing out that Massie wasn't on Arizona's accountability sheet Sunday morning.

Spending last year learning the offense as Eric Winston's backup and studying on his own helped Massie. But his experience in 2012 helped even more. Massie allowed 13 sacks in his first eight games and none the second half of the season.

"I kinda had the mindset coming off 2012 and I finished a top 3 tackle in the league in pass protection, I was still coming off that kind of high," Massie said. "I felt I deserved the spot because of the way I played but obviously that wasn't the case and that showed. It was just a learning experience for me."

In the best shape of his career -- high school and college included -- Massie understands one person can undo all the work he's put in.

"I put myself in this position so the only person that can mess it up is me," he said. "So, I'm perfectly fine with it. Just play ball."

The one person who won't be fine with it if he's not starting in September is Sowell, who was unseated as the starting left tackle when Arizona signed Jared Veldheer on the second day of free agency. Sowell isn't worrying about not getting first-team reps, instead focusing on improving the reps he's given, which have been on the second team.

He knows, especially with the Cardinals putting on pads Monday, anything can happen.

"It is what it is," Sowell said. "You never know in this league and you keep battling until the end."
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he does every day during training camp, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians addresses the media after the morning walk-through. Here's a recap of what Arians discussed:
  • Arians
    Arians
    Tight end Jake Ballard will miss Sunday's afternoon practice with a thigh bruise, Arians said. Ballard is expected to return Monday.
  • Arians said Bobby Massie and Paul Fanaika have strong holds on right tackle and right guard, respectively, and they are their jobs to lose.
  • Patrick Peterson won't be playing offense this season, Arians said, and he'll be only a situational punt returner.
  • Arians said the most disappointing part of the Cards' first training camp practice Saturday was the number of mental errors by veterans on offense.
  • Arians was pleased with how rookie quarterback Logan Thomas performed in his first practice but said, “He still has to learn when to throw the ball extremely hard and when to throw it accurately. A strong armed, young quarterback has that problem. He gets all jacked up and wants to show it off.”
  • When asked if he's seen an arm as strong or stronger as Thomas', Arians said he had in former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre and former Cleveland quarterback Spergon Wynn.
  • Arians was impressed by linebacker Alex Okafor starting in the fourth organized team activity of the offseason. That's when Arians started thinking Okafor could have a significant role this season.
  • Linebacker Kenny Demens just has to keep playing like he has and he'll make the team, Arians said.
  • Arians wouldn't speak about John Abraham's absence but reiterated that the linebacker's absences are excused.
  • Arians also said rookie tight end Troy Niklas is “way behind” because of all the time he missed this offseason due to injuries.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Throughout his career, Carson Palmer has been teammates with some talented players.

He threw to Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh when the two were Pro Bowl receivers in Cincinnati. He had Darren McFadden line up behind him in Oakland. But Palmer said he’s never been part of a team as good as this year’s Arizona Cardinals.

Palmer
“I think this is by far the most talented team I’ve ever been on, top to bottom,” Palmer said. “You look at us from our returners, our specialists, our offense, our defense -- we’re a very, very talented group. Very fortunate to be as talented as we are.”

The Cardinals return four Pro Bowl selections and two alternates and feature a group of wide receivers that’s among the best in the league with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Ted Ginn. Add in a backfield featuring Andre Ellington, who led the NFL in yards per carry last season, and a tight end unit that’s 6-foot-5 or taller and Palmer might be on to something.

And that’s without taking into account a defense that was ranked first against the run, features Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie as its starting cornerbacks and Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell on the either edge of the line.

But with all that talent, the question becomes are the Cardinals good enough to get Palmer his first postseason victory?

Cardinals Camp Report: Day 1

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
8:50
PM ET
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Arizona Cardinals training camp:
  • Arizona’s first day of training camp provided a few highlight-worthy moments for fans but it finished without any major newsworthy events. The practice appeared to be injury free but we’ll know more Sunday morning when Cardinals coach Bruce Arians addresses the media. Watching camp this year will be like watching a Pro Bowl practices with the likes of cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Patrick Peterson matching up against receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Throughout Saturday, Cromartie showed no signs of a hip flexor injury, running stride for stride with Fitzgerald and denying the eight-time Pro Bowler a few catches. Saturday still featured its share of Fitzgerald catches.
  • During the first two days of media availability, offensive players have raved about how they feel “light years” ahead of last year. It showed throughout practice. Routes were clean and crisp, and quarterback Carson Palmer was hitting receivers in stride. On a few occasions, he gave individual direction before snapping the ball. There were also minimal interruptions by Arians and other coaches, a sign that the offense was executing at a higher level.
  • When safety Tyrann Mathieu emerged from the bowels of University of Phoenix Stadium, where he was going through a rehab workout, and walked onto the field about an hour into practice, the crowd gave its bigger cheer of the afternoon. The Honey Badger acknowledged it with a wave.
  • Right tackle Bobby Massie and right guard Paul Fanaika spent the entire practice working with the first team. Sunday will tell if Arians plans on rotating in Bradley Sowell at tackle and Earl Watford at guard, giving them both reps with the starters. Both lined up with the second team Saturday.
  • It was only Day 1 but some of the rookies looked like rookies in their first training camp practice. Logan Thomas began the day working ahead of Ryan Lindley as the second-string quarterback. Throughout the course of the day his accuracy declined, as some passes hit the ground short of the receiver toward the end of practice while others sailed high. The velocity on some of Thomas' passes at times was too much for some receivers to handle.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Seven months after he tore his ACL in Week 17, Cardinals nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu has his eyes set on a return.

Ta’amu said Saturday he’s between 65-70 percent healthy and is optimistic about returning for the Cardinals’ season opener against San Diego on “Monday Night Football.”

“It feels really good,” he said.

Ta’amu hasn’t tested his knee in a game-like situation, meaning he hasn’t practiced leaning on an offensive lineman. Conact drills may not begin until the second preseason game at the earliest.

But is six weeks enough time for Ta’amu to make up the remaining 35 percent?

He ran during the Cards’ conditioning test Friday, although he wasn’t competing against his teammates instead running under the watchful eye of a trainer.

“I just got to strengthen my knee up, make sure it’s strong enough so I can go out and perform,” Ta’amu said.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran linebacker Larry Foote only knows how to play three downs.

Foote
Entering his 13th season, and his first with the Arizona Cardinals, he’s not ready for that to change – regardless of what coach Bruce Arians has said. In June, Arians said he wasn’t sure if Foote, who turned 34 this summer, could play three downs, “but two downs for sure.”

“I mean, that’s why I’m here in camp,” Foote said Saturday. “I’ve always been a third-down linebacker. But you got to make that assumption when you see a linebacker 34 years old. I’ll show him.”

With Daryl Washington suspended for at least a year, Foote is the leading candidate to replace him next to Kevin Minter. In 2012, his last full season, Foote played 997 snaps, missing just 18. There’s no question in Foote’s mind he’s capable of doing it again.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve been doing it my whole career. I don’t know otherwise. I’m just here to compete and get a spot.”

Foote is coming off a biceps injury that ended his 2013 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers after just one game. Returning to form hasn’t been difficult, Foote said, but he’s looking forward to next week when the Cardinals put on the pads for the first time. He said he feels 100 percent as camp opened Saturday.

Since he was signed on May 7, 23 days before Washington was suspended, Foote has taken Minter under his wing, while tutoring him on how to be the quarterback of the defense.

“Just mental stuff … stuff that I know [from] the older guys, that [former Steelers linebacker] James Farrior passed on the knowledge and little stuff that coaches don’t see,” Foote said. “He’s open, he’s hungry. He’s a humble kid. It makes it easier being an older guy talking to a young guy that’s humble.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With another summer in the books, it’s that time of the year again. Football is back. The Arizona Cardinals report to training camp Friday and will have their conditioning test in the early afternoon. Camp starts in earnest Saturday with the first of five straight practices.

And with the beginning of camp comes a plethora of questions. Here are my top 10, and No. 1 should be no surprise:

When will defensive back Tyrann Mathieu return?

Mathieu
It is looking less likely that Mathieu will return during any part of training camp. He was put on the preseason physically unable to perform list, which means he can do everything with the team except practice. And as soon as he is able to practice during training camp or preseason, he is allowed to come off the PUP list. If that occurs, it likely won’t be until the final weeks of August. Arizona doesn’t want to rush Mathieu back. Any setback with his LCL could lead to long-term issues. The Cardinals are not in a rush, even though I have heard his rehab is ahead of schedule.

Will the offense be able to pick up where it left off?

Like any new season, there will be an adjustment period so new and old players can get used to each other, but that shouldn’t last very long. The Cardinals can make major strides during camp if the offense doesn’t digress much from where it left off in the final nine games of the season. They seem to have added the missing pieces, so all signs point to them building quickly on the foundation set in 2013.

Who will win position battles at right tackle and right guard?

Each battle has essentially come down to a two-man race. At right tackle Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie will continue to duke it out. Will the time away have helped either? Only the next month can answer that. Next to them, second-year guard Earl Watford will be pushing starter Paul Fanaika. The coaching staff knows what Fanaika is capable of, so Watford needs to impress during camp to win the job. Then there is the possibility of someone not on the roster now starting Week 1.

Who will replace linebacker Daryl Washington?

Washington
At this point there is really one legitimate option -- a linebacker by committee, leading with Larry Foote -- unless head coach Bruce Arians has changed his opinion that Foote is not a three-down linebacker. During camp, Foote, Ernie Sims and Lorenzo Alexander will be given an opportunity to earn the job, but rookies Glenn Carson and Jonathan Brown would have to really impress to find the field. As with right guard, there is the possibility of someone not on the roster now starting Week 1.

Can place-kicker Jay Feely keep his job?

Yes and No. Feely knows Arians isn’t afraid to try someone else out for the job. Arians loves competition, which is why he brought in two other kickers to push Feely. Danny Hrapmann is a journeyman, but rookie Chandler Catanzaro might have what it takes to outkick Feely. I wouldn’t be surprise if Catanzaro wins the job.

Can running back Andre Ellington carry a full load?

Ellington
Ask anyone who knows Ellington and the answer is yes. But in order for Ellington to succeed in that role as Arizona’s feature back, he needs to stay healthy. Arians said during the offseason that he wants Ellington to get 25-30 touches per game. A little ambitious, but we’ll see how he is used during camp.

How healthy are the injured players?

The list is long, but the first few days of camp will be telling. A lot of eyes will be on left guard Jonathan Cooper (leg) and left tackle Jared Veldheer (tricep). Cooper missed all of his rookie season with a broken leg, and Veldheer returned from a tricep injury for the final five games. Three linebackers -- Sam Acho (leg), Alexander (foot) and Alex Okafor (biceps) -- will also be returning to practice, and each of them has something to prove after John Abraham and Matt Shaughnessy filled in for them and flourished last season.

Are cornerback Antonio Cromartie's hip issues a thing of the past?

Cromartie
A hip flexor hampered Cromartie for the majority of 2012, but he claims he’s fine. In order for the Cardinals’ secondary to be as good as advertised, he needs to be as healthy as he says he is. A lot of attention will be paid to him in the first week of camp.

Can Carson Palmer cut down his interceptions?

Palmer tied for second-most interceptions in the NFL last season. Of his 22, 14 were in the first eight games when the Cardinals were figuring out Arians’ scheme. Logic would say the interceptions will go down, but Palmer has a penchant for underthrowing deep balls. With an improved knowledge of the offense and the lessons learned from last season, his interceptions should be reduced.

Will the defense regress without Karlos Dansby and Washington?

Arians came out this week and said it would not, but it will be tough for the defense not to regress at least a little. Not only is the veteran quarterback of the defense gone (Dansby), but so is its most athletic player (Washington). What they were able to do by covering sideline-to-sideline, helping plug the run and lining up in coverage might not be replaced by Kevin Minter and Foote, or whoever takes over for Washington. In place of the veteran Dansby setting up the defense, the inexperienced Minter will be charged with that role, at least for the time being.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The start of training camp isn't just about making the roster this season for some Arizona Cardinals. It's about playing for their next contracts.

Palmer
There are 18 Cardinals who will be unrestricted free agents after this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Of those, about three or four may not make the 53-man roster in August.

The most high-profile of the upcoming free agents is quarterback Carson Palmer, whose contract voids five days after Super Bowl XLIX. Linebacker John Abraham, nose tackle Dan Williams, linebacker Sam Acho and long snapper Mike Leach will be up for renewal after 2014, as will tight ends Rob Housler and Jake Ballard. Then there are the players who signed one-year contracts during the offseason, including kicker Jay Feely, cornerback Antonio Cromartie, running back Jonathan Dwyer and linebacker Ernie Sims.

While training camp won't be a deciding factor for 2015 for some, they need to get on the roster in 2014 first. Housler will be among the upcoming UFAs who'll be closely watched during training camp. With the additions of John Carlson and Troy Niklas, and with Ballard already on the roster, Housler could be squeezed out.

Cromartie isn't just playing for a big contract in 2015 from the Cardinals, he'll be using this season as a tryout for the rest of the league.

Tackle Bradley Sowell, nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, cornerback Teddy Williams and safety Curtis Taylor will be restricted free agents after 2014.

2015 unrestricted free agents:

OFFENSE:
QB Carson Palmer
RB Jonathan Dwyer
RB Jalen Parmele
TE Rob Housler
TE Jake Ballard
G Paul Fanaika

DEFENSE:
LB John Abraham
NT Dan Williams
LB Sam Acho
LB Keenan Clayton
LB Larry Foote
LB Ernie Sims
LB Marcus Benard
CB Antonio Cromartie
CB Bryan McCann
S Anthony Walters

SPECIAL TEAMS:
K Jay Feely
LS Mike Leach
I just got my hands on a digital version of the "NFL Record & Fact Book 2014," which includes a bevy of great information, but none more popular than the Arizona Cardinals' 2015 opponents.

As part of the rotating divisional schedule, next season Arizona will face both the NFC North and AFC North. The Cardinals will host two teams from each division and will face the other two teams on the road.

In addition to playing Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis home and away, Arizona will host Green Bay, Minnesota, Baltimore and Cincinnati. The Cardinals travel to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Arizona will also host the NFC South team that finishes in the same position as the Cards, and they'll travel to the corresponding NFC East team.

How Arizona has fared against its nondivisional 2015 opponents:

Green Bay

Last game: 2012, away, L, 31-17

Overall record against: 23-47-4

Minnesota

Last played: 2012, away, L, 21-14

Overall record against: 10-15

Detroit

Last played: 2013, home, W, 25-21

Overall record against: 26-33-5

Chicago

Last played: 2012, home, L, 28-13

Overall record against: 27-58-6

Baltimore

Last played: 2011, away, L, 30-27

Overall record against: 1-4

Cincinnati

Last played: 2011, away, L, 23-16

Overall record against: 4-6

Cleveland

Last played: 2011, home, W, 20-17 OT

Overall record against: 13-33-3

Pittsburgh

Last played: 2011, home, L, 32-20

Overall record against: 23-34-3

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