Ta'amu still gunning for season opener

Cardinals nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu had knee surgery to repair a torn ACL in January.

Alameda Ta'amu was a key factor in the Cardinals' league-leading rushing defense before tearing his ACL.

Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Alameda Ta'amu had surgery to repair a torn ACL in early January. Seven and a half months later, he is preparing to come of the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, and he is still gunning to play in the team's regular-season opener Sept. 8 against San Diego.

"We'll find out today and they'll tell me what's going to happen after that, said Ta'amu, who was scheduled to undergo tests on Monday. "I might be back this week or maybe early next week."

Ta'amu's knee still looked swollen, but he insists that structurally it feels great.

"It's basically the mindset; not worrying about it," he said. "The more I worry about it, you end up getting hurt.

"Probably my biggest fear was jumping because I hurt it while I was jumping. During rehab, I was afraid to jump, but I've been doing it a lot and I feel good."

The Cardinals claimed Ta'amu off waivers on Sept. 1 and he contributed greatly to the team's No. 1 ranked run defense. Getting him back would be a boost for a defense that still is uncertain of safety Tyrann Mathieu's return to game-action and is still compensating for the loss of starting linebackers Karlos Dansby (free agency) and Daryl Washington (suspension).

MATHIEU RETURNS TUESDAY

Safety Tyrann Mathieu will come off the PUP list on Tuesday, a team source confirmed. The Cardinals are off Tuesday, so Mathieu's first practice would be Wednesday.

 

BISHOP SURPRISES

The Cardinals signed linebacker Desmond Bishop on Thursday. Two days later, he was playing in a preseason game.

"We had no plans on playing him," Arians said. "He had a real good workout in the weight room, and then we took him out before the game and ran the crap out of him and said, 'Dez, you want to play some?' And he said, 'Heck, yeah.'

"He'd already been through hell and back in two really hard workouts, and we were going to get him five or six plays. I think he ended up playing 12 or 15 (it was 15)."

Bishop has only played four NFL games since 2011 due to injuries, but Arians didn't see much proof of that.

"Not as much rust as I thought," he said. "I thought he flew around really, really well. He obviously is a bright guy to pick up some (of our) defense that quick."

Bishop will have to unseat one of the four inside linebackers ahead of him: Kevin Minter (highly unlikely), Larry Foote, Kenny Demens or Lorenzo Alexander.

LINE DANCE

Arians dropped a bomb Monday when he said that when center Lyle Sendlein (calf injury) returns on Wednesday, there's a good chance Ted Larsen will shift from center to starting left guard.

That means he'd jump in front of 2013 top pick Jonathan Cooper, who is still out with what Arians called a significant a toe injury, and presumable Earl Watford.

"Really quality player," Arians said of Larsen, whom the Cardinals signed as a free agent. "We loved him at left guard when we got him. To see him play center so well was really pleasing to know that he added to depth; quality depth."

Larsen took the news in stride. While he admitted he signed with Arizona believing he'd have a chance to compete for a starting job, he didn't sound like someone who was certain this new role would last.

"I've played all 3 positions inside. I'm ready to go wherever they decide to put me," he said. "That's part of the deal. If you're going to be a backup; if you're going to be that sixth guy, you've got to be able to play all three. That's something I've been forced to do in my time in the NFL, so it's something I'm ready to do."

INJURY UPDATE

Cooper (toe), inside linebacker Kevin Minter (pectoral), offensive lineman Max Starks (ankle), cornerback Teddy Williams (groin), wide receiver Michael Floyd (groin), cornerback Justin Bethel (thigh) and Sendlein (calf) all missed Monday's practice. All are expected back except maybe Starks.

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (undisclosed) also sat out practice.

QUICK HITTERS 

-- Roster cut-down dates are approaching. Teams must cut from 90 players to 75 on Aug. 26, and from 75 to 53 on Aug. 30

-- Arians on QB Ryan Lindley's performance Saturday at Minnesota: "Up and down. He was solid there on the first drive; missed some throws that he should make, especially down on the goal line on that last drive before the (final touchdown)."

-- Arians on Jay Feely's performance: "He was better. Being outside, (kicking) into the wind, he was fine. Our coverage units were terrible, but he has extended his kickoffs a little bit with the new techniques he's using." Arians said he may split the kicking duties this week against Cincinnati between Feely and Chandler Catanzaro. 

-- Arians said the starters will play no more than a half this week.

-- Arians hopes linebacker John Abraham will practice at some point this week. Abraham finally reported to camp on Friday

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