Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way, the Cardinals will have to protect themselves from Lindley's intimate and deep well of knowledge of their playbook, which he had to turn in after being cut on Aug. 26. He was signed to the Chargers' practice squad Sunday after spending about 20 months in Arians' system.
"It's definitely going to put a little wrinkle in our operation, I would say, because as a quarterback he knows everything that's going on," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "It's one thing to know it and another thing to stop it and know when it's coming.
"I don't think we're going to deviate from the plan much."
Quarterback Carson Palmer sided with Fitzgerald. Not a lot will change, mostly because the Cardinals' playbook is so deep, Palmer said. But once Arizona starts prepping for San Diego, it'll change the code words and a few other small nuances that Lindley would know.
"It's totally different when a quarterback goes," Arians said. "That hasn't happened very often."
While Arizona's signing of former San Diego linebacker Thomas Keiser appears to be an act of gamesmanship, Arians assured that it wasn't. The Cardinals need help with their pass rush more than they need a few secrets about the Chargers.
Even so, Keiser said Tuesday that the Cardinals' coaches haven't debriefed him on his former team. If and when they do, it may not help that much, Arians said.
"I think Ryan probably knows a whole lot more about both sides of the ball than Tom does," Arians said. "He knows how to rush the passer. I don't know what he's going to tell me about Philip's (Rivers) offense, but Ryan does know a lot about both sides of the ball."
Monday will be a rare meeting for both teams, since they played in the preseason finale on Thursday. But Arians said he couldn't glean anything from that game, which turned into an ugly tryout between third stringers on both sides.
Lindley, who was released by then, never took a snap under Arians, watching behind backup Drew Stanton as Palmer played in all 16 games in 2013. But with two training camps in Arizona's offense, Lindley has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of it. He also knows the intricacies of a very complex scheme.
Having a former teammate -- and a recent one at that -- take a wealth of information to another team is always dangerous and it'll help the Chargers in some regard, Palmer believes, but Arizona can't veer from its course because of Lindley.
"We do a lot so it's tough to get a beat on exactly what we're trying to do in a certain formation or a certain personnel group," Palmer said. "We're on the offense and Bruce is of the mindset that you play offense, you don't play defensively offensively. We are going to attack and we are going to do what we do and they have to counter.
"They might have a beat on a thing here or there but we have to stick with our rules and stick with what we have been doing and what we have been working on and we will be fine."
Quarterback Carson Palmer was voted the offensive captain, defensive end Calais Campbell on defense, and punter Dave Zastudil and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander on special teams.
“Over 20 guys got votes,” Arians said.
Palmer and Campbell won in a landslide, Arians added. After five straight years as a captain, Larry Fitzgerald will not wear the ‘C’ patch in 2014.
This was the first time since college that Zastudil was named a captain and it’s also the first time for Campbell. Palmer and Alexander were both repeat honorees, earning the patch in both of their seasons with the Cardinals. Alexander was named a captain for the fifth straight year, dating back to his last three seasons with Washington.
This was Palmer’s third captainship of his career.
“It’s a tremendous honor, as good of an honor as you can get in this game, being elected by your teammates and your peers,” Palmer said. “I don’t take it lightly. I am honored. I understand what it entails. I understand what it takes on the field, off the field, around the community, around the locker room.
“I’m just tremendously honored.”
When officers arrested Hall around 11:30 a.m. Friday, he was in possession of stolen items from Best Buy and Walmart, said a police spokesman, according to the Republic. He was also in possession of “personal use quantity of cocaine,” the spokesman told the paper. Hall was eventually released.
Hall played for the Cardinals in 2010 and 2011, going 1-2 as a starter in 2010. He’s a career 50-percent passer in the NFL, throwing for 370 yards, six interceptions and one touchdown. Hall started for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 2013 and was released this summer.
A three-year starter at BYU, Hall threw for 11,365 yards and still holds Mountain West Conference records in touchdowns thrown (94) and passing yards per attempt (8.22).
Hall began the 2014 season as the offensive coordinator at Gilbert (AZ) High School.
Then linebacker Karlos Dansby left in free agency, linebacker Daryl Washington was suspended for a year and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Couple that with issues at left guard and the Cardinals dropped in the first Power Rankings of 2014, debuting at No. 14.
Considering who the Cardinals lost, it’s a fair assessment to start the season.
There are a number of questions that surround this team, which was one of the surprises of 2013 in Bruce Arians’ first year as head coach. If the offense truly is “light years” ahead of where it was last season, as so many players have said it was and the defense can show Monday night that it hasn't missed too many beats without Dansby, Washington and Dockett, then the Cardinals could – and should – leap into the top 10.
Until then, the Cardinals need to prove they’re worthy of being ranked higher. This isn’t a team or a franchise that will often be given the benefit of the doubt.
@joshweinfuss From what I saw watching the preseason finale against San Diego, it didn't look like Kevin Minter is 100 percent healthy. But then again, I'm not a doctor. To me, it looked like he struggled to extend his arm and grasp players to bring them down. I agree with you, I think Minter and Larry Foote will be OK but the depth there is a major issue. Right now, there's only Kenny Demens and Desmond Bishop behind them. Granted, inside linebacker isn't a position that rotates much but an injury may be fateful for the Cardinals. Tommy Kelly to build depth on the defensive line as well as outside linebacker Thomas Keiser as a pass-rusher. I think with the depth they've built, the Cardinals will be able to run guys in and out, and keep them fresh. But it may take the rookies, Ed Stinson and Kareem Martin, some time to make an impact on the pass rush.
@joshweinfuss My question is at ILB. Is Minter healthy? I think he and Foote will be ok but depth and inexperience are concerns.— sacred reich (@SacredReich) August 28, 2014
@joshweinfuss I think once John Abraham regains his form, the rush off the edge will be back up to last season's standard. Matt Shaughnessy has looked good this offseason but remember, these guys are veterans, they've learned not to expend their energy during the preseason. The key to a pass rush though, is providing pressure up the gut of the offensive line, and that's where Arizona needs to improve most.
@joshweinfuss What is AZ's best bet at trying to acquire some help at OLB? The team has generated zero pressure throughout the preseason.— JohnnyV (@JohnnysFootball) August 29, 2014
@joshweinfuss I think at cornerback. Adding Antonio Cromartie opposite of Patrick Peterson solidified the Cardinals' corners as one of the best tandems in the league, if not the best. While most teams with one elite corner and another average or slightly above-average corner have to worry about matchup issues with the second corner, the Cardinals have two elite corners defending the top two receivers. That's hard to play against as an offense.
@joshweinfuss Aside from Veldheer at LT which position do you see as having had the biggest upgrade?— Tom Marshall (@aredzonauk) August 29, 2014
@joshweinfuss Very important. I think the Cardinals' hopes of making the playoffs will depend on how they play in the first games because the backend is so loaded. Going into the bye week 2-1 or 3-0 would give this team enough confidence to run off three or four wins in the five games after the bye. I think the Giants' and Niners' games will be a good gauge for the Cardinals to see where they are, but the bye is coming too early to really have an impact this season.
@joshweinfuss how important is it for the Cardinals to win at least 2 of their first 3 games against SD, NYG, and SF?— Edgar Valenzuela (@edgar_gumby) August 31, 2014
@joshweinfuss Abraham will definitely receive some sort of punishment but the severity of it will depend on if the commissioner will take into account his first two alcohol-related arrests, including another DUI in 2003. If he does, the commissioner could levy a pretty severe punishment on Abraham. And the reason it's taking so long is, in cases like these, the league tends to wait until the judicial process has finished and a case has been adjudicated. Then, after learning of those results, the NFL tends to make its decision.
@joshweinfuss what's the thought on what (if any) punishment John Abraham will receive and why is it taking so long?— Danimal (@Charliefan2013) August 31, 2014
Not surprising, one of the stats for Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer had to do with interceptions, which he threw 22 of last season. When Bruce Arians was hired in January 2013, he talked about having six "bullets" on his play sheet, meaning he wanted to take six downfield shots every game. As the season wore on, he didn't call as many long passes as he intended, but Palmer still led the NFL with 145 passes of 15 or more yards. He also led the league with 13 interceptions on such throws. While 13 seems like a lot -- especially when they account for 59 percent of his total picks -- they only amounted to about 9 percent of his passes of 15 yards or longer being intercepted. Still not a bad rate.
He also finished 17th in yards per attempt and 29thh in touchdown-to-interception ration on deep passes.
The Cardinals had Monday off, so those who cover them got a brief respite, as well...
Bob McManaman of azcentral.com writes about Justin Bethel's big play-making ability.
Kylie Gad of azcentral.com writes about seven Cardinals' favorite video games.
Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona writes about four Cardinals' most-anticipated games.
Kyle Odegard of azcardinals.com writes about Deone Bucannon getting ready for the season.
ESPN.com Arizona Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.
Week 1: San Diego Chargers
A late Monday night game is set up to benefit the home team. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will be the first quarterback to try to exploit Arizona's weakness at inside linebacker. After months of preparing, the Cardinals' defense will outmatch the Chargers' offense in their debut. Prediction: Win
Week 2: at New York Giants
Eli Manning could be the right recipe for the Cardinals to get their pass rush steadied, but coming off a short week and a cross-country road trip will be a challenge to the veterans, especially under the bright lights of New York City. Prediction: Loss
Week 3: San Francisco 49ers
Arizona will have a full week to prepare for the 49ers, and last season's Week 17 loss won't be far from the Cardinals' memories. The Niners will also be the Cards' first opportunity to face a top-tier tight end, for whom they drafted safety Deone Bucannon. Expect a lot of nickel and dime packages so the rookie can get his first taste of Vernon Davis. Prediction: Win
Week 5: at Denver Broncos
If there's one quarterback who can find Arizona's weaknesses on defense (inside linebacker and the pass rush) and exploit them, it's Denver's Peyton Manning. If there are two coaches who know Manning better than any duo in the league, it's Arizona's Bruce Arians and Tom Moore. It'll be a chess match. Prediction: Loss
Week 6: Washington Redskins
By Week 6, the Cardinals -- and the rest of the NFL -- will know which Redskins offense is showing up every week. Robert Griffin III will either keep wearing on a tired defense that would've faced four top-flight quarterbacks by then or he'll be a sight for sore eyes. Prediction: Win
Week 7: at Oakland Raiders
Carson Palmer gets his first crack at the Raiders on the field he despises. If he's not pumped for this game, Palmer won't be pumped for any this season. After five straight weeks of facing talented quarterbacks, the Cardinals' defense will finally get a reprieve. Prediction: Win
Week 8: Philadelphia Eagles
The Cardinals got down early last season in Philadelphia and nearly came back in the fourth quarter. If that happens this season, the Eagles might bury Arizona. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will be returning to the state in which he played his college football, and the Eagles might be running like a well-oiled machine in Year 2 under Chip Kelly by this point. Prediction: Loss
Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys
Like the Redskins, which Cowboys team shows up will decide who wins. But on the road at Dallas, in a stadium the team has never played in, the Cardinals will have to overcome more than football. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will be in for a long day regardless, with either Patrick Peterson or Antonio Cromartie awaiting him on either side. Prediction: Loss
Week 10: St. Louis Rams
The Cardinals' offensive line will have nine weeks to jell before facing the Rams' fearsome defensive line for the first time. Lining up Andre Ellington out wide should neutralize the pass rush, while Arizona's pass rush should impact a Sam Bradford-less offense. Prediction: Win
Week 11: Detroit Lions
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson won't be able to take advantage of Peterson's size anymore with Cromartie now an option to guard him. With Johnson partially neutralized, the Lions' passing game won't be as effective. For the second straight week, however, the offensive line will have its hands full. Prediction: Win
Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks
The last time Arizona played at Seattle, the Cardinals broke the Seahawks' home winning streak. The weather could start turning by late November, and it will be Arizona's first outdoor game since mid-October. Prediction: Loss
Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons
Back indoors, the Cardinals' secondary will have its hands full with another stout quarterback-receivers tandem. But the second straight road trip, and a cross-country flight, doesn't bode well for another conference win. Prediction: Loss
Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs will provide a good tuneup for the Cardinals heading into a brutal final stretch of games, the main difference coming at quarterback: Defending Alex Smith is more like preparing for Palmer than Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson. Kansas City will throw a tough defense and one of the top running backs at Arizona. Prediction: Win
Week 15: at St. Louis Rams
Another short week doesn't bode well for the Cardinals' veterans, but, with the second round of the NFC West beginning, the Cardinals will know what to expect. Arizona has lost all four of its Thursday night games, but this could be the one that ends that streak. Prediction: Win
Week 16: Seattle Seahawks
By this point the Super Bowl hangover will have set in, and the Cardinals will know how dire these last three games are. No matter how far removed from the playoffs they are, the Cardinals will play to win. Prediction: Win
Week 17: at San Francisco 49ers
The season finale could be the difference between making the playoffs or not for the Cardinals, but the same could be said for the Niners. Kaepernick, Davis and Frank Gore might be too much for a weary defense. Prediction: Loss
Predicted Record: 9-7
There wasn't much to say about Hill -- we all saw the dropped passes -- but Ryan chose to focus on the special-teams angle.
The Jets didn't see Hill as one of their top three receivers. If you're a No. 4 or lower, you'd better be a contributor on special teams. Rookie Jalen Saunders and Saalim Hakim made the team because of punt- and kickoff-return ability, respectively. Greg Salas isn't a core special teams player, but he can play on some units.
On Monday, the Jets picked up rookie wide receiver Walter Powell on waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. At Murray State, he was a prolific kick returner and a gunner on coverage units. The Jets, under new special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, have placed an added emphasis on the kicking game.
Ryan shrugged off the criticism aimed at him by Hill's agent, Alan Herman, who accused the coach of not supporting his client as he does with defensive players that struggle. Ryan held his tongue, saying it was a "tough situation for everybody." He said the agent is entitled to his opinion.
"Hey, I have skin like an armadillo," Ryan said. "I'll take whatever they throw at me."
Idzik said he was a bit surprised that Hill, a former second-round pick, wasn't claimed on waivers.
As for Patterson, the Jets provided no clarity whatsover. Idzik wants you to believe that Patterson's inflammatory statement, basically accusing the Jets of lying about the reason for his absence, had nothing to do with the decision to release him. If that were the case, why didn't they cut him immediately instead of handing down a one-week suspension? Truth is, they were willing to give him a second chance, but Patterson blew it by making a public stink.
But Idzik wouldn't acknowledge that.
"I don’t put too much weight on statements," Idzik said. "I’d rather hear the statement directly from the player. ... Suffice it to say, he had an open forum here to spill everything out, and we told him our views as well. In the end, it just felt appropriate that we move on from Dimitri. That was the best thing for the Jets."
Idzik, in a conference call with reporters, got flustered by the repeated questions about Patterson. After one follow-up, he paused for several seconds.
"We felt like it was good for our team to go forward, pure and simple," he said, explaining why they cut their most experienced cornerback.
Released by the San Diego Chargers during final roster cuts on Saturday, the Cardinals claimed Keiser off of waivers on Sunday. Like San Diego, the Cardinals run a 3-4 defensive front, so the transition shouldn’t be that tough for the Stanford product.
Keiser finished third on the Chargers with 4.5 sacks last season, but he was in a log jam at outside linebacker behind rookie second-round draft choice Jeremiah Attaochu, second-year pro Tourek Williams and ex-CFL standout Cordarro Law. Now, the Cardinals can use Keiser to help game plan for his former team, getting information about San Diego’s personnel and scheme.
The Chargers also can do something similar, getting information on the Cardinals from quarterback Ryan Lindley, a recent practice squad addition who was released by Arizona on Saturday.
Chargers seventh-round selection Tevin Reese cleared waivers and has not been added to an NFL team’s practice squad. Offensive tackle Mike Harris was claimed off of waivers by Minnesota.
According to the Chargers, receiver Vincent Brown cleared waivers and was placed on the team’s injured reserve list. Brown is close to being fully healthy, so look for an injury settlement and Brown getting a chance to play elsewhere soon.
A lot can still happen between Saturday night and "Monday Night Football," but here's my first stab at the Cardinals' depth chart for 2014.
Quarterback: Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Logan Thomas
Running back: Andre Ellington, Jonathan Dwyer, Stepfan Taylor, Robert Hughes
Wide receiver 1: Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Walt Powell
Wide receiver 2: Michael Floyd, Ted Ginn, Jaron Brown
Left tackle: Jared Veldheer, Bradley Sowell
Left guard: Ted Larsen, Jonathan Cooper, Earl Watford
Center: Lyle Sendlein, Ted Larsen
Right guard: Paul Fanaika, Earl Watford
Right tackle: Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell
Tight end 1: John Carlson, Darren Fells
Tight end 2: Rob Housler, Troy Niklas
Nose tackle: Dan Williams, Alameda Ta'amu
Defense end: Calais Campbell, Kareem Martin
Defensive tackle: Frostee Rucker, Tommy Kelly, Ed Stinson
Left outside linebacker: John Abraham, Alex Okafor, Lorenzo Alexander
Left inside linebacker: Kevin Minter, Kenny Demens
Right inside linebacker: Larry Foote, Desmond Bishop
Right outside linebacker: Matt Shaughnessy, Sam Acho, Glenn Carson
Left cornerback: Patrick Peterson, Justin Bethel
Right cornerback: Antonio Cromartie, Jerraud Powers
Strong safety: Tony Jefferson, Deone Bucannon
Free safety: Rashad Johnson, Tyrann Mathieu
Kicker: Chandler Catanzaro
Punter: Dave Zastudil
Long snapper: Mike Leach
LBU in AZ: Rookie linebacker Glenn Carson nearly had an interception Thursday night against San Diego, and even though he didn't come down with it, it was enough to keep him on the roster. Carson was among six outside linebackers kept and joined the NFL's active sack leader John Abraham in the group. Lorenzo Alexander was officially listed as an outside linebacker, which added depth to that group.
Teddy for Walt: Rookie Walt Powell was kept on the 53-man roster, a move that ended up being mildly surprising because the Cardinals kept just four cornerbacks. Powell finished training camp strong and looked impressive as a backup kick returner. With six receivers, Powell might lose the numbers game on Sundays but he's a viable backup.
What's next: The roster, as it is likely, won't be the same on Sunday or Monday or even for Week 1. Arizona might look to improve a few positions, including depth at both linebacker and defensive line -- meaning a rookie such as Carson might not be safe just yet -- and tackle.
Cardinals moves: RB Zach Bauman, LB Marcus Benard, C Philip Blake,LB Jonathan Brown, WR Dan Buckner, C John Estes, DT Bruce Gaston, WR Brittan Golden, TE Andre Hardy, CB Jimmy Legree, CB Bryann McCann, T Kelvin Palmer, T Nate Potter, RB Jalen Parmele, DT Isaac Sopoaga, G/C Anthony Steen, S Curtis Taylor, LB Adrian Tracy, DT Christian Tupou, S Anthony Walters, CB Eddie Whitley, CB Teddy Williams.
Teams are allowed just 14 padded practices per season, 11 of which have to take place during the first 11 weeks of the season. Though there is a maximum of one padded practice per week, teams can choose to have two padded practices in one week as long as it's in the first 11, according to the CBA.
"They need to have their pads on and play football," Arians said. "You really can’t do it at this time of the year anymore."
Cooper would benefit from added practice time in pads, Arians said, because he needs to knock the rust off not just the past two weeks off, but the last year, having missed all of last season because of a broken leg.
Even though Cooper was beaten badly on a first-quarter sack of quarterback Logan Thomas, Arians felt he progressed Thursday.
"He got a little bit better as the game went on," he said.
Minter, who was out with a pectoral injury, finished with four tackles while wearing a protective sleeve on his left arm, which Arians said didn’t affect his play.
"Rusty but he flew around good," Arians said. "He was a little bit late on a couple reads, but he flew around good. It was good to see him out there."
Even though Ta’amu didn’t record a tackle, he was active in the running game, Arians said. The Cardinals held the Chargers to seven rushing yards in the first quarter.
But Ta’amu needs to improve his conditioning before Week 1.
"He got tired too fast," Arians said. "He doesn’t get moved, but he needs to move a little bit better."
ESPN.com has confirmed, however, that Arizona released linebacker Marcus Benard, defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga and running back Jalen Parmele.
Cornerback Bryan McCann has also been released, according to his agent, John Biggins.
After final cuts last season, the Cardinals added two free agents who played significant roles throughout the season. Bradley Sowell became the Cardinals' starting left tackle and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu became Dan Williams' backup.
When cuts are finalized this season and the waiver wire starts buzzing, Arians and general manager Steve Keim will be refreshing the page as often as possible.
"You're always searching that waiver wire because there's always a diamond in there, if you can find it," Arians said. "The bottom five guys on the roster are never safe. You want to keep it that way. You're always churning.
"If there's one better and [they] bring something, especially in a role, because you're talking about role players now, if you can find a guy who fits a specific role to help your team, then you definitely go get them."
Arizona has already begun churning through free agents. The Cardinals signed Sopoaga last week and defensive lineman Tommy Kelly this week. Sopoaga was cut and Kelly looks like he'll make the team.
"Tommy did alright for jumping on the plane and jumping in there," Arians said. "He did fine, and look forward to seeing him out there some more."
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, free agent linebacker James Harrison won't be signing with the Cardinals despite a good visit with the team.
Only after Mathieu tackles in practice will Arians decide if the Honey Badger will play Sept. 8 against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mathieu returned to practice Aug. 20, almost nine months after suffering an ACL and LCL injury in Week 14 of the 2013 season.
It took him a day to progress from individual defensive back drills to working with the scout team, but he didn't engage in contact. Mathieu was held out of the final two preseason games.
Throughout the past week Arians has maintained that Mathieu wouldn't play in Week 1 if he didn't play Thursday night in San Diego.
"I wasn't kidding," Arians said. "We'll see how he tackles.
Asked who'll be the lucky teammate to take the brunt of Mathieu's hits next week, Arians was ready with an answer.
"That's what practice squad is for," he said with a laugh.
- Arians met with free agent outside linebacker James Harrison and said of Harrison: "he’s in good shape."
- Arians said tackles Nate Potter and Bradley Sowell looked "average at best" after both allowed "too much pressure" on Thursday. Arians went on to say he was disappointed in both.
- Safety Curtis Taylor did not break his arm, but Arians called it a serious hematoma.
- Cornerback Eddie Whitley broke his foot.
- Potter suffered a shoulder subluxation, which is a brief separation.
- Arians was pleased with how offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin called the plays Thursday night, calling the 40-year-old "extremely poised." Arians said the communication between Goodwin and rookie quarterback Logan Thomas was good, although Goodwin had to relay the plays two or three times before Thomas got it. But not having any delay-of-game penalties or 12-man-on-the-field penalties was "pretty solid."
- Arians thought Walt Powell's five returns for 140 yards were "OK" but were mostly a product of "some really good blocking."
- Arians said Thomas was "a project, just like we thought. (Has) ups and downs, ‘wow’ throws and 'oh sh-- throws.' And that’s what we thought he would be. I think he’s got a good future."