Injuries pile up for Cardinals at running back, elsewhere
Every position group for the Arizona Cardinals aside from quarterback, tight end, outside linebacker, long snapper and punter made an appearance on a lengthy Wednesday injury report.
And one of the smallest position groups has two backups injured.
Running back Chase Edmonds (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, and rookie Jonathan Ward was limited (shoulder). Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that Edmonds will be a game-time decision to play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.
“We’ll see how he progresses throughout the week,” Kingsbury said. “Obviously if you got two of those guys banged up, you’re gonna have concerns there. We’ll kind of see where it goes throughout the week and take it from there.”
If the running back room is thinned out behind starter Kenyan Drake, it could be an opportunity. For whom, well, we won’t know until later this week.
Ward has zero recorded offensive snaps but after two practice squad elevations was signed to the active roster earlier this year. So the Cardinals apparently like him, and that showed when he appeared in a two-back set on a play Sunday in a win over the New York Giants.
That snap was nullified by a penalty.
Ward, who went undrafted out of Central Michigan, has been a special teams contributor but could potentially step into a bigger role this week if Edmonds is out.
In college, his two 1,000-yard seasons his sophomore and senior years also saw him record more than 300 yards as a receiver.
If one or both of Edmonds or Ward is out, two Arizona State products in D.J. Foster and 2020 seventh-round pick Eno Benjamin might get the call. Foster has been a frequent practice squad call-up, but it sounds as if Benjamin is still a ways off from debuting in the NFL.
“I’m not sure how that’s going to look on Sunday. Obviously it opens up some opportunities with different guys,” Kingsbury said when asked about Benjamin possibly playing. “Eno’s progressed. He’s just got to keep working hard. He’s a guy who had a very illustrious college career.
“When the ball’s in his hands, he can definitely make things happen. We’ll definitely go through this week and see what his role is on Sunday.”
S Jalen Thompson unlikely to play
Second-year pro Jalen Thompson looked like a potential breakout candidate after massive growth during his rookie season, but instead a nagging ankle injury has cost him all but four games.
He injured the ankle on the first drive of the season opener and returned from the injured reserve to play in Weeks 9-11 before tweaking the same ankle.
It sounds doubtful he will be ready to play against Philadelphia.
“Still working through it,” Kingsbury said. “Not sure he’ll be available this week but hopefully before this regular season is over he can get back out there and start moving around again, but it doesn’t appear it’ll be this week.”
K Gonzalez also day-to-day
Kicker Mike Nugent stepped in for the injured Zane Gonzalez last week having not played this season and calmly nailed three kicks inside 40 yards.
Gonzalez’s back injury kept him out of practice again on Wednesday, and Kingsbury said the team has confidence in Nugent if the team must again turn to the 15-year veteran.
“He’s got a great approach. He’s been around this league … We feel confident in what he can do if called upon again,” the head coach said. “We’ll kind of see where it goes with Zane. It’s day-to-day still. I’m sure that will be sorted out later in the week.”
Not great signing day memories
Kingsbury joked that Wednesday’s national signing day didn’t bring back a lot of great memories for him.
As a high school player committing to Texas Tech in the late 1990s, the day didn’t include the cameras or the showmanship.
As a coach, well, recruiting to Lubbock, Texas, was and is not the easiest thing to do.
“I took a lot of tough Ls on national signing day. A hat was in the mix at times, but it was not selected very often,” Kingsbury said. “I’m very happy to be sitting here today.”