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Croyle signed as Cardinals' backup QB; Hall waived

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have shored up their depleted quarterback ranks by signing Brodie Croyle, in the process parting ways with Max Hall.

Hall, who partially dislocated his left shoulder in practice on Monday, was waived-injured, a move that could lead to an injury settlement with the second-year quarterback. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that would allow Hall to be re-signed at some point in the season if the team needs him.

"It's the only way we could potentially get him back," Whisenhunt said. "If we went straight injured reserve, then he wouldn't be able to come back and play for us this year. But the way I understand it, the way the rules work now, is that if we work out a settlement with him in whatever time frame, then we would have an opportunity later in the season to bring him back if we needed that."

The Cardinals also signed veteran punter Dave Zastudil, an indication the team is not satisfied with the performance of Australian Ben Graham, who has held that job for the past two seasons. Graham had a big season in 2009, averaging 47 yards per punt with 42 inside the 20-yard line and 17 inside the 10, and only three touchbacks. Last year, as the team went from 10-6 to 5-11, Graham's average dropped to 43.4 yards with 29 inside the 20 and 12 inside the 10. He had nine touchbacks.

"We weren't as good in a lot of areas last year, and that was definitely one of the areas that we weren't up to our standards," Whisenhunt said. "So that's the reason we have extra guys in camp. We're trying to look at that position and get the best player we can."

Zastudil, who started his pro career with Baltimore, is a 10-year NFL veteran, the last five with Cleveland. He spent last season on injured reserve with a knee injury. Zastudil has a career average of 42.7 yards in 113 games with 179 punts inside the opponent's 20.

Croyle participated in Wednesday morning's walkthrough and is expected to play some in Saturday night's preseason home opener against San Diego, because the only other healthy quarterbacks on the roster are starter Kevin Kolb and Rich Bartel. John Skelton has not practiced all week after spraining an ankle in last weekend's loss at Green Bay.

Croyle was the obvious choice to fill in because he spent the last five seasons in Kansas City, primarily as a backup, the last two under Todd Haley, who was Whisenhunt's offensive coordinator before going to the Chiefs.

"He was with Todd in that system so there's obviously some similarities there," Whisenhunt said. "As far as being able to get him in here in two days and have him potentially ready to play, we felt like that was the best opportunity for us to do that. You figure we've got two games in five days, so it would be very hard to get just any quarterback in here up to speed with the ability play, which could happen in those two games."

Hall, a high school star in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, made the Cardinals' roster as an undrafted rookie out of BYU a year ago, impressing the coaches with his quick grasp of the offense. When starter Derek Anderson faltered, Hall became the starter in week five, helping Arizona upset New Orleans. But he had a bad game the following week at Seattle, then was benched after two passes were returned for touchdowns against Tampa Bay.

Anderson returned, then Hall came back briefly before going down with the same injury he sustained this week. The rookie Skelton started the final four games of the year.

The Cardinals practiced Wednesday afternoon, and have a morning workout Thursday before heading down to the triple-digit heat of the desert.

Kolb said he wants to play into the third quarter against the Chargers, something Whisenhunt said probably would happen.

The Cardinals' new quarterback has been to University of Phoenix Stadium once, when he was a backup for the Eagles in their NFC championship game loss to Arizona in the 2008 season.

"I don't even know how to get out there," he said. "I have to look it up on my phone and get directions."

Kolb wants to use these next two home preseason games to get his pregame routine down.

"Game day you don't want any surprises," he said. "You want to just get there, be in the right mindset, and be ready to roll."

As for excitement in the waning days of camp, there wasn't much, other than Kolb, riding his Segway, narrowly avoiding what could have been a nasty collision with one of the multitude of skunks that roam the area.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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