Arians: Cardinals are finally a team

Now that the roster's been trimmed to 53, Bruce Arians says the focus shifts from 'me' to 'we.'

Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Cardinals roster will never really be set in stone.

General manager Steve Keim said Tuesday on his weekly radio appearance that he plans to bring in four to five players every week in an effort to improve the bottom of the roster and keep players on their toes.

But with the roster down to 53 players and nine of the 10 practice squad spots filled, coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday the Cardinals are finally a team that can start focusing on those things teams focus on, like winning games, starting with Monday night’s season opener against San Diego at University of Phoenix Stadium.

"When we started in March, I never used the word ‘team,’ " Arians said. "It’s not a team; it’s 90 guys looking for a job. It’s all about ‘me.’ Now it’s all about ‘we.’ "

Arians said that was the message he drove home in his first meeting with the reduced roster.

"Find a role," he told them. "If you don’t know what your role is, come on up to my office. I’ll tell it to you real straight.’"

The Cardinals locker room is normally divided by position, with players of the same units sitting in the same area. But rookie wide receiver John Brown found himself in an unusual spot on Tuesday when he finally located his locker: right between quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton — and on the opposite side of the room from the other receivers.

"He’s over here in the suburbs with us," Palmer said. "He’s a guy that I like to be talking with through certain situations as practice comes up. He and I have had a great working relationship, and this gives us a chance to go over some things during practice that we can cover after practice."

Palmer didn’t say it, but it also affords him a chance to mentor Brown. Larry Fitzgerald has enough duties to worry about.

The Cardinals and Chargers each signed a player who the other team cut this week. San Diego signed QB Ryan Lindley; the Cardinals added linebacker Thomas Keiser. When asked if there was some gamesmanship involved in the latter pick-up, Arians laughed.

"Ryan probably knows a whole lot more about both sides of the ball than Tom does," he said. "(Keiser) knows how to rush the passer. I don’t know what he’s going to tell me about Phillip’s (Rivers) offense."

Kidding aside, Arians said he will make some adjustments to account for Lindley’s presence on the opposing sideline, but he added that both players were signed for their abilities, not to gain an edge on an opponent.

— Arians said all players went through a full practice on Tuesday.

— Palmer (offense), defensive end Calais Campbell (defense), punter Dave Zastudil (special teams) and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (special teams) were chosen as team captains for the season. Palmer’s election ended a five-year run for Fitzgerald as a team captain.

Gallery

— The Cardinals added defensive tackle Christian Tupou, running back Dominique Williams and wide receiver Kevin Cone to the practice squad. Williams came from the Vikings; Cone from the Dolphins.

— The Cardinals are experimenting with guard Earl Watford at right tackle to give themselves more flexibility on the offensive line.

— Fitzgerald said his knee problem is not serious and will not keep him from playing on Monday night against the Chargers.

— The National Football Post reported the Cardinals worked out former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Yawin Smallwood. The 6-foot-2, 246-pounder has 336 tackles over the past three seasons. The Cards already have 11 linebackers on the roster with the addition Sunday of Keiser, who the team hopes will help the pass rush.

— The Cardinals won’t have a practice with contact until Thursday. That practice will afford safety Tyrann Mathieu a chance to tackle and prove to Arians that he can play on Monday night, but it is interesting to note that Mathieu is still listed No. 1 on the depth chart.

— Arians said the decision to keep just eight defensive backs on the roster was due to their versatility. "We’ve got four or five guys who can play safety, corner, nickel, dime," Arians said. "It’s a good mix."

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