Watford, Sendlein to start for Cardinals; Barkley joins team
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals have filled the last two starting positions that were up for grabs.
Earl Watford will be the right tackle and Lyle Sendlein will be back at center when the Cardinals open their season Sunday at home against New Orleans.
The winners of the final two starting jobs were revealed Tuesday by coach Bruce Arians after the Cardinals' first practice since the 53-man roster was determined.
Watford takes the place of Bobby Massie, suspended for two games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Arians said he expects Watford to remain the starter through the season.
''That's the plan right now,'' the coach said.
Arians also said that wide receiver Michael Floyd, out after dislocating three fingers and undergoing surgery to repair them, will practice on Wednesday.
Sendlein was released by the Cardinals in the offseason but re-signed a week into training camp.
He worked exclusively with the second unit through the preseason while free agent signee A.Q. Shipley played with the starters.
''Q didn't really do anything to lose the battle. I think he helped us a little bit more in the running game,'' Arians said. ''I think Lyle is a little bit more savvy in the pass protection, maybe. It was neck and neck.''
Sendlein said he would have liked to have had a few snaps to Carson Palmer in the preseason ''but I guess I've had enough of that in the past.''
Sendlein has been the Cardinals' starting center since late in his 2007 rookie season. He had a string of 81 consecutive starts at one point and started every game the past two seasons.
Wearing No. 9, Matt Barkley went through his first practice as Arizona's No. 3 quarterback after being acquired Friday in a trade with Philadelphia.
''I was a bit surprised, no doubt about that,'' he said. ''My heart kind of sank when Chip (Kelly) called. I've never faced that before, but once I kind of realized what was happening and the situation I was going to be in, I really could not be more excited to be here.''
Upon his arrival, Barkley was thrown into a complex offense.
''It's still kind of like reading Chinese right now,'' he said. ''...It will take me a little bit to get the hang of but it reminds me of my college system, and even what I did in high school.''
Barkley threw for 12,327 yards in his career at USC, the Pac-12 record until Oregon State's Sean Mannion broke it last season. The Cardinals sent a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the Eagles for Barkley, then made room for him by cutting Logan Thomas and Phillip Sims, who had been competing for the No. 3 quarterback job behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
Arians said he liked Barkley coming out of college, working him and Thomas out individually.
In Kelly's Philadelphia offense, Arians said Barkley was asked to do ''things that you didn't see him do in college, like moving around and being on the run and stuff.''
''The natural quarterback play that he was accustomed to at USC, he was very good at,'' Arians said.
Thomas, a fourth-round pick by Arizona out of Virginia Tech in 2014, was signed by Miami shortly after the Cardinals released him.
Arians said Thomas needs to work on ''processing information.''
''He had a really good ball game (against Denver last week), (it) just wasn't there every single day,'' Arians said. ''He's got a ton of talent and I wish him all the best.''
Watford was drafted in the fourth round as a guard out of James Madison in 2013. The Cardinals also practiced him at tackle, and Arians raved about the 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman throughout this year's training camp. Sunday will be Watford's first NFL start.
Massie, the starter at right tackle all of last season, was arrested on an accusation of driving under the influence at the Cardinals' practice facility the night before the Super Bowl.
''He decided to drive instead of use Uber,'' Arians said. ''It was a bad decision. We talk about it to our guys all the time. You pay for those actions and that's accountability.''
Notes: The Cardinals players elected six team captains: Palmer and Jared Veldheer for the offense, Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell for the defense and Justin Bethel and Mike Leach for special teams.
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