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Cardinals Look At Some Rookies

Notes: Catanzaro's future, David Johnson needs 200 yards through air


Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams shoves Saints running back Mark Ingram out of bounds Sunday.

Nothing changes for the Cardinals, coach Bruce Arians said, even with the playoffs officially not available and two games remaining.

"Only to win," Arians said.

To the idea that the Cards would look at young players, Arians smiled, noting "most of them are playing. I don't know of any young guys that we could look at."

Drafted offensive linemen Evan Boehm and Cole Toner aren't part of that equation – Arians said neither is ready to play – but cornerback Brandon Williams and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche are.

Arians said Nkemdiche, the team's first-round pick, looked "explosive" against the Saints even if he didn't put up many stats. Nkemdiche's practices have been better for six weeks, the coach added, and he is staying off the mental error sheet.

Third-round pick Williams may actually be needed. Arians made clear last week that Justin Bethel's time at cornerback has not gone well, and with starting cornerback Marcus Cooper battling a back injury, Williams has played a lot the last two weeks – 57 defensive snaps, his most work since he started the opener against the Patriots.

"I thought Brandon played really well, competed well," Arians said, saying Williams has matured and learned the system.


Kicker Chandler Catanzaro has struggled this season, missing four extra points and six field goals.

Catanzaro has now missed nine extra points since the NFL moved the kick back last season.

But Arians said Catanzaro's issues this season have a lot to do with the rotating holders. Catanzaro has now had three different holders in 2016.

"That enters the psyche part," Arians said. "Having a son who had been a kicker in the NFL, the holder is more important than the snapper, especially if you are looking at a spot. You have to trust the guy."

Arians said he believes in Catanzaro going forward – "He's a talented guy" – but added that he does get down on himself too easily.

"His body language could improve," Arians added.


Running back David Johnson needs exactly 200 yards receiving the final two games of the season to reach 1,000 and that won't be easy. Arians admitted he'd be surprised if Johnson is able to get there given that the Cards will face the defenses of the Seahawks and Rams.

"I don't know if the other teams will allow it, but it's doable because every time he touches it he can take it to the house," Arians said.

Part of Johnson's problem is going to be an increase in double-teams, which the Saints threw at him more than expected Sunday.

"David is going to see that the rest of his career," Arians said.


General Manager Steve Keim said during his weekly appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 Monday that the patchwork offensive line held up against the Saints, and Arians too was encouraged. But with left tackle D.J. Humphries still in concussion protocol, Arians knows what is facing the line will be different in Seattle and Los Angeles the last two games.

"They'll have their hands full both times," Arians said. "Being on the road with arguably the two most disruptive players in (Michael) Bennett and Aaron Donald. We have our hands full when we have a healthy offensive line."

Some of the best images from the Week 15 game against the Saints

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