Dealing Cards: Banged up Cardinals want to finish home slate on a high note
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Cardinals held their final day of practice Friday as they prepared for their last home game of the season, which is Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Head coach Bruce Arians said this game is a good opportunity for some of the team’s younger players, “because they’re going to get a lot of playing time out of necessity.”
That’s where the Cardinals, at 5-7-1, are at right now.
They are a beat-up team, one that has suffered a good number of injuries that would likely be fretted over even more had they been positioned to make a playoff run. That’s not the case, however, so in some ways the number of key players lost at this point in some ways serves as an appropriate way to cap off a disappointing season.
Very little seemed to go right, and their record — and active roster — bears that out.
On the offensive line, which is set to have a couple of first-time starters, Arians said he’s as comfortable with the group as possible.
“Not being able to put them in pads and practices, like we should,” he said. “As comfortable as you can be.”
With all that seems to be working against them, however, Arians said he expects a solid game from his team, which on the surface does not seem to have much more than pride left to play for. That, however, should be enough, and nothing has happened this week to make him think that his guys have thrown in the towel. It’s never happened with past teams he has coached, either.
“I’ve never been on a group of guys that packed it in,” Arians said. “Everybody had pride and played to win.”
If nothing else, the Cardinals would like to finish their home slate with a victory. In a season that has not gone the way anyone wanted, one final home win would at least let some people have a nice thing to remember this team for.
“We’re looking to go out and play some dominant football on all three phases and give our fans something to look forward for the 2017 season.”
The final injury report of the week is here, and the only bad news for the Cardinals is not surprising as tackle D.J. Humphries will not play Sunday due to a concussion suffered last week in Miami. Arians said the second-year pro is still in the concussion protocol, and has yet to pass any of the baseline tests.
While Humphries is out, it appears safety Tyrann Mathieu will make his return. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice, and Arians said, “he looks really good.”
For the first time as an NFL, player, Scooby Wright will be active and able to play.
Signed by the Cardinals on Tuesday, the former University of Arizona star will be active Sunday, Arians said, and have a role on special teams.
“He can run down and cover kickoffs and he’s got some fire in his belly,” Arians said of what he saw from the linebacker over the last few days of practice.
A seventh-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, Wright was on the 53-man roster for the team’s first two games but was not active for either, and every week since then he has been on their practice squad.
The news that he will get to suit up and play in any capacity Sunday is welcome news.
“It’ll be exciting,” he said. “I’m just excited to go out there and play ball again, to be honest.”
Wright, who earlier in the week said being with the Cardinals was “a good opportunity,” said his parents will be in town from California, and many of his family and friends from around the Valley will be on hand to watch.
For him, it will be the culmination of what has been a pretty hectic week.
“Honestly, just been trying to catch my breath,” he said. “Got a phone call to move across the country; been here, had to pack. I’m enjoying it, though. It’s a good process, I’m happy to be here. Excited for the opportunity.”
Final thought on Floyd?
On Monday, it was learned Michael Floyd had been arrested on DUI charges. By Wednesday, the Cardinals had released him, though Arians had little (or nothing) to say on the matter.
Thursday afternoon, Floyd was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots, which would seem like a great spot for the receiver to land. Talented yet inconsistent, he is now with a team that has a great offense and a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl.
So, how does the coach think his former player will do with the Pats?
“I have no clue,” Arians said, before pausing. “I hope he does well.”