Cardinals work in replacements with Kennard, Murphy on COVID-19 reserve
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday there were no additional positive coronavirus cases on Arizona’s roster. With linebacker Devon Kennard and cornerback Byron Murphy being placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Monday, it’s a promising sign the team doesn’t have a spread of the virus.
“Every day you wake up and check your email and kind of pray,” Kingsbury said.
Now it’s on to replacing Kennard and Murphy, who, according to their head coach, will not be able to return before the Cardinals host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.
The timing of general manager Steve Keim last week swinging a trade to acquire Markus Golden from the New York Giants at least gives Arizona an immediate replacement of Kennard.
Golden, who posted 10 sacks last season, has 1.5 quarterback takedowns this year to go with 10 tackles, a pass defensed and a stuff. Because Golden played for the Cardinals from 2015-18 at the start of his career, the familiarity goes a long way into integrating him quickly.
“Knowing he’s a high-motor, high-energy, great locker room guy, based on his previous stint here, was huge,” Kingsbury said.
At nickel, backup cornerback Kevin Peterson has received reps in Murphy’s place and last year spent time inside for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Arizona also last week signed former Denver Broncos defensive back De’Vante Bausby to the 53-man roster, and Kingsbury said the 6-foot-2 corner might be in the slot mix.
“We’ll try to get him going this week in practice as well,” the head coach added.
The Cardinals could also lean more toward their personnel package of three inside linebackers that includes rookie Isaiah Simmons, but that could be more of a situational look.
Kingsbury said the team is hopeful Kennard and Murphy can return by next week’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
They have been doing well since coming down with coronavirus and are experiencing “minimal symptoms, if any,” said Kingsbury.
Amukamara still working back
The Cardinals signed veteran NFL cornerback Prince Amukamara to the practice squad on Oct. 13, and Kingsbury said that he is still “working his way into shape” having not been on an NFL team this season before landing with Arizona.
With Patrick Peterson, Dre Kirkpatrick, Murphy, Bausby and Kevin Peterson on the active roster, it appears that Arizona is keeping Amukamara on deck in case of any serious injuries as they embark on the second half of the year.