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Dealing Cards: Nkemdiche ‘on busted assignment sheet too much’

TEMPE, Ariz. — Because the Cardinals are playing on Monday night, they had a rare Saturday practice.

Afterwards, head coach Bruce Arians gave his final update on the team and answered some questions for the final time before his team will take the field for an important home game against the New York Jets.

Here are some notes from the media session.

Injury update

The official injury report can be found here, but if you’re wondering, there isn’t much in the way of surprises. Defensive lineman Ed Stinson has been ruled out for the game with a toe injury, whereas guard Mike Iupati is listed as “doubtful” but was declared a game-time decision by Arians.

Iupati did not practice at all during the week, but that would not keep him out of Monday night’s game, according to Arians.

“If he can go, he can go,” he said.

Nkemdiche goes the wrong direction

Earlier in the week, Arians talked about how first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche had been practicing well and could possibly be in line for some snaps in Monday night’s game.

By Saturday, the tune had changed.

“We’ll see,” he said of Nkemdiche possibly being active and if his good play had continued. “It wasn’t as good as I was hoping.”

Asked what the first-round pick struggled with, Arians said he was “on the busted assignment sheet too much.”

That has apparently been the biggest problem for Nkemdiche, who missed time during training camp with a high ankle sprain and struggled in limited snaps in Week 1.

For a team like the Cardinals, with solid depth along the defensive line and no room for mental miscues, there is little pressure to throw the rookie out there.

As for how Nkemdiche can can get past being on the busted assignment sheet?

“Don’t get on it,” Arians said.

The man in the middle

Our own Craig Grialou wrote a story on the Cardinals’ likely guard pairing for Monday night, which will see Earl Watford on the right side and John Wetzel on the left in place of Evan Mathis and Iupati, respectively.

Near as anyone can tell, there is a good amount of confidence in each of them to do the job.

But what about the player who will line up between them? For center A.Q. Shipley, it presents an interesting change.

“It’s a little different,” he said. “Everybody’s got their own style of play, right? I think everybody’s got their own size and the way they step and do things like that, which, at the end of the day, it was nice getting used to those two guys (Mathis and Iupati) for a while.

“But I’ve played with Earl before, and John went in and did a good job last week. We’ll be ready to roll.”

Bullet points

– Arians was asked how QB Carson Palmer looked this week:

“Looked fantastic. Best he’s probably looked since August.”

The coach attributes Palmer’s improvement to the rest he got while being out with a concussion.

– On punter Ryan Quigley, who in two games has posted an average of 42.4 yards per punt, with a net of 37.2 on 13 boots:

“Been very good. I’m very pleased with the balls down inside the 20. The first week we didn’t do a very good job of that, but he’s done a really good job. His hang-time in Frisco was outstanding, and so far he’s been really good. Good job holding.”

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