Cardinals make 6 moves: Kennard, Murphy cleared of COVID-19

Nov 11, 2020, 9:35 AM

New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (5) dives for yardage while under pressure from Arizona Cardin...

New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (5) dives for yardage while under pressure from Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy (33) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in East Rutherford. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Arizona Cardinals announced six roster moves on Wednesday morning, and most of them were good news as far as the depth chart is concerned.

— The team activated outside linebacker Devon Kennard and cornerback Byron Murphy off COVID-19 reserve. They were placed on the list Nov. 2.

— Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph is signed after GM Steve Keim alluded to interest in him last Friday.

— Corner Kevin Peterson has been placed on IR with a concussion. That mean’s he’s out for at least three weeks.

— Defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence and guard J.R. Sweezy are designated to return from IR, meaning they can practice and the team has 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the Cardinals expected Kennard and Murphy to be activated in his Wednesday morning press conference. Their presences will be felt — Murphy’s especially.

Arizona’s 34-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins came with Patrick Peterson and Kevin Peterson starting at cornerback.

The team got into its nickel packages with newly signed De’Vante Bausby and undrafted rookie Jace Whittaker making their Cardinals debuts.

Arizona waived Bausby on Monday and he was promptly picked up by his former team, the Denver Broncos, on the waiver wire.

The Cardinals remain thin at cornerback as they await a return of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who missed the Miami game with a thigh issue.

With that, Joseph being signed to the active roster will give Arizona insurance, even with Murphy back.

“We’re always trying to look ahead and he’s a guy at a position that’s extremely hard to find,” Keim told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Friday. “He’s got a ton of experience in this league and his ability to play man coverage with natural anticipation is something — just from watching the film — he does a really nice job.

“Really good anticipating the ball from playing off, tackles and is a tough player.”

Joseph was released by the Tennessee Titans last week but produced 29 tackles, an interception and five passes defensed in seven games this season.

Also helping a depleted defensive group, Kennard returns to join Markus Golden and Haason Reddick at the top of the outside linebacker rotation. Lawrence’s potential return from a calf injury in the next few weeks gives the Cardinals another body inside, as the rookie fourth-round pick had carved out a backup role inside.

And on offense, Sweezy’s return from an elbow injury would allow him to slide back in at right guard. Justin Murray has filled in there the past three games.

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