Christian Kirk ready to return; Cardinals tidy up backend of roster

Sep 2, 2019, 3:49 PM
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Wide receiver Christian Kirk #13 of the Arizona Cardinals calls for the ...
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Wide receiver Christian Kirk #13 of the Arizona Cardinals calls for the fair catch against defensive back Tarvarius Moore #33 of the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Two of the Arizona Cardinals’ most high-profile cuts over the weekend left questions for the special teams unit.

Pharoh Cooper became an odd-man out at receiver, but Arizona excluding him from the team also made the owner of the punt return job unclear. The kick return man also became an open-ended position with the release of running back T.J. Logan, who was picked up by his former coach Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“We’ll continue through the week and see how it shakes out,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said before Monday’s practice of both return decisions.

When asked about receiver Christian Kirk potentially returning punts, Kingsbury again said that hadn’t yet been decided.

But a more clear answer came later Monday, when Kirk said he was “excited” to be returning punts. He handled them last season as a rookie, at least until a broken foot ended his season after 12 games.

“I’m back to 100%, full speed and feel nothing with my foot,” Kirk said. “It’s kind of the last thing on my mind, trying to treat it as a fresh start.”

Kirk finished 2018 with 590 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He took 21 returns for 164 yards and fair-caught 17 more.

As for the kick return job, it’s possible that receivers Damiere Byrd or Andy Isabella could get looks there. Both bring sub-4.40-second 40-yard dash speed and took return reps throughout the preseason.

Cardinals yet to fill third QB job

Arizona appeared set at quarterback midway through the weekend with No. 1 pick Kyler Murray backed up by veteran Brett Hundley.

The physical tools of undrafted rookie Drew Anderson, a Murray State product, appeared to make him the favorite to land on the practice squad after he cleared waivers, and that happened as he officially re-signed with the Cardinals on Sunday.

It was short-lived.

The Cardinals released Anderson, along with rookie receiver A.J. Richardson, on Monday before signing offensive lineman Sam Jones, an Arizona State product.

Signs point to Arizona having come to an agreement with released Minnesota Vikings third-string quarterback Kyle Sloter, who tweeted Sunday that he was excited for his chance to join the Cardinals.

Sloter is a big quarterback (6-foot-5) but flashed mobility — and more importantly the ability to throw accurate passes on the move.

He went 6-of-7 for 102 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota’s Week 3 preseason game at Arizona.

Extra points

— Free agent addition Cassius Marsh and waiver-wire pickups Jonathan Bullard, Kevin Peterson, Charles Washington and Brett Toth were present on Monday. Toth and fellow offensive tackle Justin Murray, who was also a waiver pickup, will battle with rookie Josh Miles for backup tackle duties, Kingsbury said.

“I think the two tackles we brought in have to get caught up quickly,” the coach added. “I expect one of the two to be available for the game and Josh (Miles) as well.”

— Kingsbury said Arizona wanted to retain Logan on the practice squad but could not with Tampa Bay claiming him.

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Christian Kirk ready to return; Cardinals tidy up backend of roster