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Working On The Roster

Posted Feb 21, 2013

Arians, Keim get to work on the roster as Cards settle in at Scouting combine

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians addresses the media Thursday at the Scouting combine in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS – Organizing the Cardinals’ roster is a fluid situation right now, general manager Steve Keim said, although that wasn’t really a shock.

But most of the meetings for Keim, head coach Bruce Arians and their staffs had to have evaluating the team have been done. The path has been set.

“There will be a few changes here and there along the way, but for the most part, we have a good understanding of where are with the roster situation,” Keim said as he talked Thursday at the Scouting combine.

There were hints here and there. Keim acknowledged the team has talked to agents of unrestricted free agents like safety Rashad Johnson, running back LaRod Stephens-Howling and cornerback Greg Toler. Johnson in particular was praised by Keim for his improvement this past season. Nothing, however, is imminent in re-signing any of them as free agency approaches.

Toler, in particular, is expected to receive interest on the open market.

“We feel like we’re headed in the right direction,” Arians said. “Free agency is going to take care of itself.”

Offense again was the thrust of most of the questions the Cardinals’ braintrust fielded, which made sense given the struggles of the unit last season and Arians’ offensive background. The quarterback position continues to be a work in progress – Arians reiterated there are still things to be sorted out on multiple levels –but Arians sounded bullish on the offensive line despite its problems.

The return of tackle Levi Brown from injury alone will help the line, Arians said.

“It’s not as near the dire straits everyone wants to make it out to be,” Arians said, while Keim wouldn’t rule out a move of Brown to guard, noting that he expected Arians to find a working combination of whatever best five offensive linemen the Cardinals end up with.

There won’t be changes at receiver, though. Arians said 2012 No. 1 pick Michael Floyd needs to improve fundamentally, but that his size and physical ability is impressive.

“To see him and Larry (Fitzgerald) across from each other, and Andre Roberts, that’s a nice group,” Arians said. “That’s one position we don’t have to worry about too much.”

The interviews with potential college draftees begin Thursday night. Keim said that he will continue to take in all the workouts – those don’t get into full swing until Saturday -- even with a promotion to general manager.

Keim made sure that wasn’t going to change when he accepted the job from team president Michael Bidwill.

“I let Michael know, ‘I’m a football guy. I need to spend time looking at our players, looking at other players, determining who our left tackle is going to be, not how many rooms we need at training camp,’ ” Keim said.

Arians good-naturedly lamented the inability – because of the collective bargaining agreement – to say much of anything to the players. Anxious to install his system, the window to the players doesn’t open for another six weeks.

Until then the Cards have to simply build the roster.

“I can’t wait for April to get here,” Arians said, “so we can start talking about football.”


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