Cards notebook: Starters might play next week
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt declined to name his starting quarterback at a Friday news conference at the team's practice facility. That makes sense. Whisenhunt needs more information.
And while he wouldn't commit to the unusual step of playing Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and his leaky offensive line starters in the club's final preseason game on Thursday against Denver, Whisenhunt's final quote of the day left the distinct impression that he is leaning in that direction.
"Normally, maybe you wouldn't play certain players or think about that," he said. "But it's important for us to get an assessment of where we are."
The club arrived home late Thursday night after its fourth preseason game (in Nashville, Tenn.). Most of the day was spent evaluating tape, going over corrections players had to make and trimming the roster to the requisite 75. With that in mind, Whisenhunt said he would take the weekend and perhaps longer before deciding how he would approach the quarterback situation and the rest of his starters.
"We've still got some practice days left," he said. "Since we're not game-planning, we've still got an opportunity to do some competitive practices with our defense where you get a chance to assess (the offense's) play.
"A lot of it is how they respond to their corrections from the game this week and the games before."
Whisenhunt took time to praise Kolb for the touchdown drive he led late in Thursday's first half and how he handled himself after a tumultuous week that included widespread media criticism and a jab from Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, who called Kolb "scared" after the clubs' preseason game last week.
"Kevin obviously had a lot going on," Whisenhunt said. "I thought he responded like a pro to us. He made some plays. He did a nice job. It was a good two-minute drive.
"The one thing we've got to get corrected, whether it's Jaymar Johnson or John Skelton or Kevin Kolb or Ryan Lindley, is we can't turn the football over. The reason we didn't win the game last night is because we turned the football over, and that's not going to cut it going forward."
Whisenhunt said he thought running back Beanie Wells (six carries, 12 yards) looked rusty in his preseason debut, but that was to be expected. Wells had off-season knee surgery and opened camp on the active PUP list.
He showed good power against the Titans and had no issues with the knee on Friday.
"It was a good first step," Whisenhunt said. "He'll get more reps this week in practice and he'll play more in this (Denver) game."
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D.J. Young's debut as a starting left tackle didn't go well, but Whisenhunt acknowledged it was a tough situation for Young, who was on the practice squad last season. The line seemed to settle down once D'Anthony Batiste moved into the left side and rookie Bobby Massie manned the right tackle spot.
Whisenhunt said he wants to get a closer look at that combination in the preseason finale while also giving rookie Nate Potter more looks. In spite of those combinations, Whisenhunt reiterated that veteran Jeremy Bridges is still a possibility on the left side to replace Levi Brown, who is out for the season after triceps surgery.
"You know what you have with Jeremy," Whisenhunt said. "You don't have unlimited reps in training camp or in preseason games. You need to look at other guys. Jeremy got a lot of reps early in preseason at tackle. D'Anthony we haven't seen a lot of. D.J. we hadn't seen a lot of, and Nate Potter.
"We're trying to find something out about our offensive line, so you've got to put them in positions to see how they handle it."
Despite his line's struggles, Whisenhunt couldn't resist a return jab at Titans coach Mike Munchak, who said after Thursday's game that he was afraid the Cardinals' quarterbacks were going to get hurt because of their shoddy protection.
I'm glad that Coach Munchak was worried about our football team," Whisenhunt said. "That was nice of him."
The Cardinals trimmed their roster to the required 75 by cutting 12 players on Friday. They also waived-injured fullback Jared Crank (neck), running back Thomas Clayton (knee) and officially placed left tackle Levi Brown (triceps surgery) on injured reserve, ending his season.
The Cards must make another round of cuts (to 53 players) the day after they close out the preseason with a game against Denver.
Former Arizona State safety Eddie Elder, University of Arizona linebacker Paul Vassallo and UA receiver Gino Crump were among those cut, while former ASU linebacker Colin Parker remains.
The other released players: DE Landon Cohen, WR Tre Gray, CB Marshay Green, WR Jaymar Johnson, FB Reagan Maui'a, LB Marcus McGraw, LB Zack Nash, CB James Nixon and K/P Ricky Schmitt.
Whisenhunt said TE Rob Housler (hamstring), S Rashad Johnson (abdomen) and RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring) were held out of Thursday's game as a precautionary measure.
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