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Theory: How The Cardinals Picked Their 53

Arizona Cardinals Introduce Kliff Kingsbury - Press Conference Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

I believe that the Arizona Cardinals were so enamored by what they saw from the team during their back to back wins late in the season over the Browns at home (38-24) and the playoff-bound Seahawks (11-3) at CenturyLink Field (27-13) that they wanted to do everything they could to maximize the continuity of the roster.

When one examines the current 53 man roster, following yesterday’s cuts, look at the number of players who were on the Cardinals’ roster for the Browns and Seahawks wins---40 players in all---41 if you count Zach Allen’s return from the IR.

* denotes---players who were on the Cardinals’ roster when they beat the Browns and Seahawks

Quarterback (3)

Kyler Murray*

Brett Hundley*

Chris Streveler

Running Back (3)

Kenyan Drake*

Chase Edmonds*

Eno Benjamin

Wide Receiver (6)

DeAndre Hopkins

Larry Fitzgerald*

Christian Kirk*

KeeSean Johnson*

Andy Isabella*

Trent Sherfield*

Offensive Lineman (10)

D.J. Humphries*

Justin Pugh*

Mason Cole*

J.R. Sweezy*

Kelvin Beachum

Joshua Miles*

Max Garcia*

Lamont Gaillard*

Justin Murray*

Josh Jones

Tight End (3)

Maxx Williams*

Dan Arnold*

Darrell Daniels*

25 Offensive Players

Defensive Line (6)

Jordan Phillips

Corey Peters*

Zach Allen (IR)

Leki Fotu

Rashard Lawrence

Michael Dogbe*

Edge (5)

Chandler Jones*

Devon Kennard

Dennis Gardeck*

Kylie Fitts*

Haason Reddick*

Linebacker (5)

Jordan Hicks*

De’Vondre Campbell

Isaiah Simmons

Tanner Vallejo*

Ezekiel Turner*

Cornerbacks (4)

Patrick Peterson*

Byron Murphy*

Dre Kirkpatrick

Kevin Peterson*

Safeties (5)

Budda Baker*

Jalen Thompson*

Deionte Thompson*

Charles Washington*

Chris Banjo*

25 Defensive Players

Zane Gonzalez - K*

Andy Lee - P*

Aaron Brewer - LS*

12 New Players (former roster spots):

QB Chris Streveler---(Drew Anderson)

RB Eno Benjamin---(David Johnson)

WR DeAndre Hopkins---(Damiere Byrd)

T Kelvin Beacham---(Marcus Gilbert)

T Josh Jones---(Brett Toth)

DT Jordan Phillips---(Rodney Gunter)

DT Leki Fotu---(Zach Kerr)

DT Rashard Lawrence---(Jonathan Bullard)

LB De’Vondre Campbell---(Joe Walker)

LB Isaiah Simmons---(Cassius Marsh)

OLB Devon Kennard---(Terrell Suggs)

CB Dre Kirkpatrick---(Robert Alford)

How many upgrades, talent-wise, particularly at positions of need, do you see here?

Cardinals 38 Browns 24 Highlights

A Wonderful Day in the Special Teams Neighborhood---Mr. Rodgers

Jeff Rodgers is absolutely savoring his role as Assistant Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator.

For this year’s roster, it is clear that Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury gave Jeff Rodgers the authority to keep virtually all of his core special teams players, most notably (aside from the fair number of OL and DL involved):

Chase Edmonds

Andy Isabella

Christian Kirk

Trent Sherfield

Darrell Daniels

Tanner Vallejo

Zeke Turner

Kylie Fitts

Kevin Peterson

Jalen Thompson

Deionte Thompson

Charles Washington

Chris Banjo

Zane Gonzalez

Andy Lee

Aaron Brewer

That is an unusually high number of ST stalwarts.

Plus: (ST Newcomers: Chris Streveler, Eno Benjamin)

Have we Cardinals’ fans ever seen a roster emphasis on special teams like this?

Imagine then how far the Cardinals have come as an organization over the past 2-3 years with regard to how much emphasis it places on STs---ever since Coach Rogers took firm hold of the reins.

* Cardinals return all 5 of their top tacklers on STs last year: Dennis Gardeck (7 tackles, 2 assists); Zeke Turner (6 tackles, 2 assists); Charles Washington (6 tackles, 1 assist); Trent Sherfield (6 tackles, 1 assist) Chris Banjo (

* Per several reports on social media, the Cardinals are signing DT Angelo Blackson to the 53 man roster---and what is his forte? Blocking kicks.

* For the Cardinals to keep as many of the core STs players this year, it is a savvy move because (a) with active players on game days going up from 46 to 48 this season, this is a bonus for ST players; and (b) the Cardinals’ division rivals take a good deal of pride in their STs, and last season (per Rick Gosselin’s 2019 NFL Special Teams Rankings) the Cardinals had the highest ranking (#13) in the NFC West over the Seahawks (#16), 49ers (#19) and Rams (#20). That is good progress, my friends!

Cardinals 27 Seahawks 13 Highlights:

Summary:

The Cardinals understand that this season, if they can win the majority of their close games, then they could make the playoffs. Thus, they are trying to place equal importance on all three phases of the team and the roster (offense, defense, special teams).

Keim and Kingsbury Guessed Right:

0 Cardinals claimed off waivers---all are edible to be signed to the PS.

Practice Squad Signings (as of right now):

CB Jace Whittaker

RB Jonathan Ward

G Koda Martin

How Much the Cardinals Like Their Roster:

No waiver claims added this year (thus far), unlike the 5 they made last year after cuts (all good ones, btw).