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Ifeanyi Momah Makes A Tough Cut

Notes: Tight end playing well; Weatherspoon's possible return; Sims to start in Denver

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Cardinals tight end Ifeanyi Momah absorbs a hit by Raiders safety Taylor Mays Sunday night. Momah righted himself and eventually gained 38 yards on the catch.


Ifeanyi Momah absorbed the shot from Raiders safety Taylor Mays – "It was a big hit, but I initiated it too," the Cardinals tight end said later – and his helmet popped up a bit, chinstrap coming up by his nose.

Without breaking stride, Momah fixed his helmet with his left hand while holding the ball with his right and rumbling for 38 total yards to set up what eventually became the game-winning touchdown.

If Momah, the wide receiver-turned-tight end, ever had questions about whether he'd make the 53-man roster, that play and the 16-yard catch-and-broken-tackle play right before should have sealed his confidence. Momah won't go there, though.

"With my past I know now never to be comfortable or complacent," Momah said. "Every day I wake up thinking, 'I've got to get better.' "

Momah was cut from the Eagles a couple of times, the Browns and also by the Lions, and he signed with the Cardinals this offseason only after appearing in the NFL's Veterans combine – coincidentally held at the Cardinals' Tempe facility.

From the start, Momah showed he could catch. As a new tight end, he still struggles with blocking, but coach Bruce Arians can live with the growing pains.

"He does not lack toughness to put his face in the fire and try to block," Arians said. "Get your ass kicked with dignity sometimes.

That's a receiver playing tight end and this is his first time. I'm very pleased with where he is at. He gives us a pretty solid weapon and he keeps showing up every day."

The tight end position has some uncertainty going into the final preseason game because of injury. Jermaine Gresham still hasn't played in a game after hurting his hamstring last week, and Troy Niklas is also out with a hamstring problem. Arians said Gresham is "iffy" to be able to play Thursday against the Broncos.

But Arians likes how starter Darren Fells has been playing – Arians said Fells was a bright spot with the otherwise disappointing first-team run blocking Sunday – and he likes the toughness of rookie Gerald Christian.

It's been hard not to notice Momah handling the rough stuff himself in Oakland, and now, the former journeyman may have found his landing spot.

"I feel I did pretty well this camp," Momah said. "There's a lot of stuff I can improve on, especially with the new position. It's going to be a journey and hopefully I'm here. I will keep working no matter what."

WEATHERSPOON MIGHT RETURN

Inside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said he was able to practice limited Monday with his troubled hamstring, although he stopped short of saying he would definitely be able to play Thursday against Denver.

"I feel I have time to get ready for whenever they need me," Weatherspoon said. 

Weatherspoon has barely practiced since training camp began because of the injury. He added he thinks he has a "good grasp" of the defense from a mental perspective, but acknowledges missing camp practices hasn't been ideal.

"A new free agent signing, you want to show people what you can do," Weatherspoon said. "When you are banged up you don't have a chance to do that."

There is also the hope running back Chris Johnson (hamstring) will also play in that game, Arians said. Johnson was limited in practice Monday. Nose tackle Xavier Williams hyperextended his knee late in Sunday's game and was limited Sunday, and Thomas is dealing with a sore ankle, Arians said. Running back Marion Grice, who was not mentioned by Arians, was riding a bike during the open part of practice.

THE PLAN FOR DENVER

The starters – most of them, anyway – will not play in the preseason finale against the Broncos, Arians said. That includes quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. Rookie Phillip Sims, who has led scoring drives on four of his six preseason possessions (and one of the misses was a blocked field goal), will start. Logan Thomas will play after Sims.

On the offensive line Earl Watford – whom Arians praised for his play against Oakland --will get the start at right tackle, while Bradley Sowell will start on the left side while Jared Veldheer sits out. Arians also praised the work of second-string center Lyle Sendlein in the yet-to-be-determined battle with current starter A.Q. Shipley. That rotation will remain the same, Arians said.

The top images from the Cardinals' third preseason game in Oakland



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