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You've Got Mail: Final Cutdown Week

Topics include waiver claim process, the O-line status and the best season to cover


We've nearly reached the end of the preseason. At the end of the week, the Cardinals will have forged their 53-man roster to start the regular season. So, after the Cardinals' starters played their final game of the preseason, and with those cuts coming, it's time for this week's mailbag. As always, click here to leave a question for next week's mailbag.

From Keith Kamakani via

"Darren, how does the waiver process actually work? Does operate on a 24-hour process? Someone cut on Tuesday is on waivers until Wednesday midnight? Someone cut on Friday is on waivers through Sunday? If we claim someone, does that put use at the end of the claiming list for that waiver time frame, i.e. it works like a fantasy football waiver?"

It does work on a 24-hour process. Weekends are no different than during the week. The cuts are official at 4 p.m. eastern each day (which, depending on the time of year, is either 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. in Arizona). Teams have 24 hours in which to put in a claim. If multiple teams put in a claim, the team highest in the claim order gets the player. If no one claims the player, he becomes a free agent.

Are they targeting anyone in particular? Not that I have heard. But I would not be surprised if they keep a close eye on cuts to come, whether it is a player who could be claimed off waivers or a veteran who they would need to sign as a free agent.

From James K via

"Michael Dogbe had impressive sack and made a play or two in each preseason game. Does he make 53-man or do we go practice-squad route, which could be risky?"

It does seem at this point the practice squad -- and exposing him to waivers -- could be a risk. But I think Dogbe has made a nice push to find himself on the 53-man roster, at least initially. Remember, if the Cards make waiver claims Sunday, they'll have to cut someone who originally made the 53-man roster on Saturday.

No. Not sure why there would be at this point. I would be stunned if there aren't plays in that direction come opening weekend. But the fact Murray has yet to turn the ball over I think is a good thing. He's making the right decisions.

From Jack Hills via

"Being a Cardinals fan since 1974 it's been great to have season tickets since 1989. My question is the same and is baffling: What's it going to take to develop a strong, aggressive and no-nonsense offensive line? Keim and staff need this to be a priority! Signed, Frustrated Cardinals Fan."

I understand the frustration. The offensive line has not been good the past two seasons, and there are reasons to doubt this year's group based on past injury history. I do think the line looked fairly solid against the Vikings. I'll be honest -- I'm not sure what 'no-nonsense' would mean in this regard. I think they need a line to be better than it has been. If -- if -- they are healthy, the Cards believe this group can be that.

I think the bulk of Johnson's work will come on running plays. I do think he has a chance to be heavily involved in the passing game, but ultimately, his main job will be running the football. The Cardinals need him to be effective in that area right away.

I agree that the O-line looked better than it has. The depth chart does give some pause. Yes, I think Cole will be first off the bench at guard or center. They will have rookie Lamont Gaillard on the roster. But at tackle if there is an injury, there are huge questions. I could see them trying to find a tackle on the waiver wire. I'm not sure Korey Cunningham has made the step forward they were hoping. Rookie Joshua Miles is raw. Cole I do not think is the answer, not at tackle. He could play there in a pinch.

From Stevie Henderson via

"One of the things that bothers me with all the doom and gloom about the Cardinals is that no one seems to acknowledge that comparisons with the Rams or Browns finally getting their QBs and being successful is a moot point right now. Both teams were bad so long that they had high first-round picks for many years before that. Then, when they got their QBs, they had talent and plenty of depth to surround him with. The Cards are not in that position. Would you say the Cards are likely to improve this year but are not likely to be really successful for another year or two when team chemistry with the current guys plus new players is solidified?"

It's always difficult to make direct comparisons to other teams. There are so many moving parts. You are right, there have been a lot of high picks. But the Browns haven't necessarily hit on all of them. Look at their roster -- many are gone. And certainly, the Cardinals' recent history of first-round picks hasn't helped the roster either, regardless of where they were taken. I've said this a few times -- to me, if the Cardinals can be competitive (unlike most of the time last season), have an offense that can score and Murray makes the proper strides as a rookie, the win-loss record isn't as important in year one.

From Will Tharp via

"Hi Darren, our defensive starters seem to be dwindling by the week as we near closer to the regular season. Also, the starters on D last week (the Raiders game) were taking a beating. Do you see us picking up some replacements and/or depth prior to Week 1? If so, who? Do you think our rookies such as Byron Murphy and Zach Allen can fill the gaps in the interim? Thanks for Cards Mailbag! Go Cards!"

Well, they picked up Clinton McDonald for the defensive line and as I mentioned earlier, I won't be surprised if there is a cornerback on this team Week One that isn't on the roster right now. I don't know if we are going to see any replacements in terms of the starting lineup, but with waiver claims, I absolutely could see moves for potential depth.

Any player picked up on waivers must stay on a team's 53-man roster for at least three weeks, and that seems like a big ask just to bring a guy in to pick his brain. I guess someone could add a Kanoff or Anderson to the practice squad if it came to that. But I'm not sure it would be that big of a help. Never rule it out, however.

From John White via

"I have to admit I'm a little nervous about the fact that the new head coach does not have a winning record in college! I have to ask, do you think Kliff Kingsbury will do well in the NFL? And if so what are the reasons you think he will do well?"

I don't know. I'll say that I don't know if his record really translates one way or the other to the NFL -- there have been plenty of winning college coaches who have failed miserably on the NFL level. But I think he has a chance to be successful. He knows what he wants offensively, I think his players have bought in at this point, and I don't think he's trying to be anything he is not. As Adrian Wilson noted, Kingsbury knows he still has things to learn. It's the guys who think they know everything that get into trouble.

From Chad Johnson via

"In the 20 seasons you've covered the team, which was the hardest season to endure and which season was the most enjoyable?"

For an entire season, it was hard to beat 2015, especially since I knew the year was being chronicled for "All or Nothing" and there were so many cool parts to that team. If Mathieu and Palmer hadn't gotten hurt in Philadelphia, I still think that team could've won a Super Bowl. But nothing was more enjoyable than January of 2009. That Super Bowl run, aside from getting married and having children, was the most amazing thing I've been through being on the inside.

As for the hardest season, the last year of the Whisenhunt era, especially after a 4-0 start, was pretty tough.

I think the main tangible advantage is that it's something Murray was used to, and one less thing -- in theory -- he'd have to change/learn on the NFL level. Obviously, I'm around this particular team all the time, but count me among those who don't understand what the Cards are doing differently than some of the examples from other teams around the league that have not drawn flags -- particularly the heated, quick claps by QBs desperately trying to beat the play clock. I do know this -- it has to be fixed. The Cards can't afford penalties like that in the regular season, even if they believe they are correct in their position with this whole thing.

From Mark Chance via

"As a lifelong Cardinals fan living in Tennessee I rely on your reports and your podcast to keep me up-to-date with what's going on. Great job, guys. I do have a concern with Steve Keim. As I watch other teams, including Tennessee, a lot of focus is put on the offense line and defensive line and as the old saying goes games are won and lost in the trenches. Yet both of these areas, year after year, are areas of opportunities for the Cards. Continuing to bring in players who are injury-prone clearly isn't the answer. While we can talk all day about scheme and that these games don't count, it does matter when your players are not winning one-on-one match ups. I would appreciate your thoughts."

I don't disagree that the lines are important. I don't disagree that there have been mistakes made in building those areas. I think the effort has been there. Clearly the Cardinals have spent money on the offensive line in particular. Veldheer, Iupati, Pugh. The Nkemdiche pick was supposed to bolster the defensive line. Peters was a good signing. But you are correct -- a lot is riding on players, especially offensively, that have to stay healthy and who have not in the past.

Caleb Wilson may be on the outside looking in, although I could see him as a top practice-squad candidate. (I have a story on Wilson posting later today.) I think the tight end room remains a mystery. I think Clay and Williams are in. Darrell Daniels plays a lot of special teams. It may come down to either Daniels or Ricky Seals-Jones, a receiver-type, for a third TE.

These are dangerous times for Colts Twitter and potential Colts mailbags. Slightly different situation though. We do know Andrew Luck lives in Indianapolis, however.

I will post my guess at the 53-man roster on Wednesday, prior to the Broncos game.