The Arizona Cardinals have made the mandatory roster cuts necessary before the Tuesday deadline. What do they tell us about where we are?
It’s an inevitability with each training camp that certain players who have participated up to a point won’t be able to make the Week One roster. The Arizona Cardinals made a number of roster cuts yesterday. The process of putting together a roster that’s fully prepared to face the grueling NFL regular season can sometimes be filled with difficult decisions for coaching staffs, but it’s a necessary part of the job.
The cuts the Cardinals have made allow the final picture of what the 2022 roster will become look a little clearer. With each passing day of camp and preseason game, those who are capable of making it in the NFL become apparent by setting themselves apart from those who aren’t. In the case of this team, that picture is starting to take shape, and it’s becoming clearer by the day where the strengths and weaknesses on this team lie.
Kingsley Keke had been playing defensive tackle for the Cardinals in training camp, but he was cut by the team in order to make mandatory roster size by Tuesday. With any hope, we can interpret this cut as evidence that a strengthening of the defensive line is taking place in the eyes of the coaching staff. The cynical view is that this was purely inspired by the necessary mandatory cuts and has no indication for the team’s defensive front.
Greg Long / Haggai Ndubuisi
A couple of offensive linemen were released. These cuts were Greg Long (center, guard) and Haggai Ndubuisi (tackle). It’s been observed so far in training camp that the Cardinals’ offensive line looks to be solid as we head further into the preseason schedule. The contract extension of D.J. Humphries signaled that this team is making the strengthening of the offensive line a priority for the 2022 season, so it’s good to see the team cutting the fat.
Breon Borders was cut by the team after having his contract terminated. It’s difficult to find the silver lining to this cut due to the fact that the Cardinals are already so thin in the defensive secondary. After Zaven Collins struggled in the first preseason game, the worries many fans have about this secondary weren’t relieved at all. But he still showcases a great deal of upside and figures to show improvements in his game. The Borders cut seems to merely have been mandatory at this point.
There’s reason to feel good about the cutting of running back Ronnie Rivers. The Cardinals running game in 2022 is shaping up to be very good. I’m feeling bullish on this aspect of the team at this point. I like everything I saw out of the running game in the preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals and have a lot of optimism that that strength is going to continue to be showcased in the remaining preseason games.
The Cardinals running back depth chart is just too deep, so the cutting of Rivers isn’t a bad thing for the team in the least. James Conner has yet to play a preseason down and already the running game looks good. It always seemed to me that Eno Benjamin was going to be capable of fulfilling a role as a solid number two back in the NFL, and now he’s just starting to get his chance to do so.
Add to that the presence of Jonathan Ward and Keaontay Ingram and you have something shaping up to be pretty special. But we know the Cardinals’ offense is capable of scoring points. What we don’t know is whether the defensive unit, particularly in the secondary, is going to be able to hold up on its end of the bargain to make this high-flying offense pay off for anything other than exciting television.
These cuts were mandatory in the end. And really, there seems to be quite a distance growing between the confidence warranted in certain aspects of the offense and the lack thereof in certain aspects of the defense.