Cardinals almost set

The Associated Press

TEMPE Arizona's 53-man roster is set, and Coach Buddy Ryan announced his first Cardinals' practice squad Monday, but the revolving door is still open.

Ryan is searching for a third-string quarterback. He had free agents Alex Van Pelt and Jamie Martin work out Sunday and Monday, respectively, then said he was interested in Jay Schroeder if Schroeder would accept less than half of the $800,000 salary he made last season with Cincinnati.

During a briefing of reporters, Ryan said he recently gave running back Ronald Moore a pep talk.

And the coach drew chuckles discussing Chuck Knox, who will coach the Los Angeles Rams when the Cardinals open Sunday on the road.

"He was an assistant with Detroit, got fired and got the head job with the Rams," Ryan said. "That was a pretty impressive move. He took over a hell of a lot better team than he left."

Knox and Ryan once collaborated in a weight-loss commercial, and that touched another memory for Ryan.

"I don't know whether he lost any more weight or not, but he looked a lot worse. All you had to do is put a tulip in his hands. He'd be ready to be buried," Ryan went on.

The active-roster quarterbacks are Steve Beuerlein, Jim McMahon and Shawn Moore, but Ryan hedged his bets by putting Chris Swartz on the practice squad. Swartz, a free agent from Morehead State, was second to Beuerlein with 18 of 39 passing for 201 yards in the preseason.

Van Pelt played collegiately at Pittsburgh and was recently released by Kansas City. Martin, a Weber State product, was waived by the Rams.

The other three players on the practice squad were released Sunday, only two of them by Arizona. Ryan gave one development contract to wide receiver Kevin Knox, a former Buffalo Bills rookie from Florida State. The Bills drafted Knox in the sixth round.

Ryan said he liked Knox's size (6-foot-3, 195), speed and 38-inch vertical leap.

"He's not a burner, but he still beats people, and that's what you want to see," Ryan said.

Ryan also rehired cornerback Perry Carter, a rookie from Southern Mississippi, and linebacker Darryl Hardy, claimed on waivers from Dallas on Aug. 3, to round out the practice squad. NFL rules permit a five-man squad, and Ryan said he planned to add another young player.

Moore, a fourth-round draft choice from Pittsburgh State, started only nine games last season but still ran for 1,018 yards and nine touchdowns.

But he has been off-form in the preseason, averaging two-thirds of his 3.9-yard-a-carry rookie average at 75 yards in 29 attempts over four games.

"I want Ron Moore to be the Ron Moore of last year, and he hasn't been that so far, so hopefully he'll come around," said Ryan, who said he told Moore the same thing.

He dismissed suggestions that a change to a two-back set, ineffective line play, weight gain by Moore or fewer carries had anything to do with it.

"I just want productivity," Ryan said. "That's why they call them 'pro.' That's the reason they get the big bucks, to produce."

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