The Cardinals made their final cuts this weekend, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the roster is set in stone. Several additions and subtractions occurred over the Labor Day weekend, enhancing certain positions while building depth at others. Ryan Knowles provides a look at the new additions to the 53-man roster and the practice squad.
Possibly the most confounding move was the release of FB Reagan Maui’a in favor of Jerome Johnson. Johnson, a linebacker at Nevada-Reno, saw preseason time with the New York Giants, where he failed to make the final cut. There has been talk of lining up TE Stephen Spach in the backfield for some formations, so the addition of Johnson may create a platoon at the position. It will be interesting to see how both players are utilized on the offense.
With the release of Stevie Baggs and Cody Brown, Will Davis was left as the only reserve outside linebacker. Enter Cyril Obiozor. Undrafted last season, the Texas A&M product was signed by Green Bay and made their practice squad before being elevated to the active roster for the final five weeks of the 2009 season. The Cardinals saw Obiozor in two of those weeks and must have liked what they saw; claiming Obiozor after the Packers waived him over the weekend.
Arizona is still thin at the position, but acquired additional insurance after signing Curtis Gatewood to the practice squad. Most recently Gatewood was with the Washington Redskins. The fact remains the Cardinals need to get pressure on the quarterback and quality backups for Joey Porter and Clark Haggans will help.
The Cardinals needed more experience in the secondary and the addition of Cleveland Browns castoff CB Brandon McDonald fits the bill. McDonald is an active play-maker, tallying 154 tackles and 8 interceptions in three seasons with the Browns. His ball-hawking abilities should come in handy backing up starters Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler.
Filling out the new additions are Fiesta Bowl legend, RB Ian Johnson (Minnesota Vikings) and WR Tim Brown (New York Giants). In addition to Gatewood, those two join offensive linemen Tom Pestock and Herman Johnson as well as WR Isaiah Williams as the first six members of Arizona’s practice squad.
The newcomers might not end with filling the two spots on the practice squad. CB Marshay Green is expected to fill one of the vacant spots once he clears waivers, with the last opening to be determined, However, with a surplus of players in the secondary, those resources might be redistributed to another position, such as linebacker.
To get an idea of coach Ken Whisenhunt’s philosophy on selecting players, you only need to hear his opinion of safety Hamza Abdullah fasting during daylight hours in his observance of Ramadan, which occurred during the preseason.
Whisenhunt pointed to Abdullah’s sacrifice as a “strong sign of character,” a mark in Abdullah’s favor towards him making the team. Whisenhunt has always favored high-character players and will continue to look for more as the Cardinals fill in their roster.
Follow Ryan Knowles on Twitter: @RyKno52
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