Injuries, arrest add to Arizona Cardinals' troubles
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) A bad season has gotten worse for the Arizona Cardinals, with a rash of new injuries and the arrest of a wide receiver.
Three players appear headed for season-ending injured reserve - safety Tyvon Branch (torn muscle in groin), inside linebacker Deone Bucannon (high ankle sprain) and right tackle Ulrick John (dislocated shoulder). It will be Branch's second trip to IR. He underwent groin surgery and was pulled off IR, appearing in two games before tearing a muscle very near where the first operation occurred.
In addition, left tackle D.J. Humphries - who was playing the best of the remaining offensive linemen - is out while undergoing the concussion protocol.
To add to the Cardinals' troubles, wide receiver Michael Floyd was arrested in Scottsdale early Monday on charges of driving under the influence, failure to obey a police officer and obstructing a roadway.
That followed a 26-23 loss at Miami on Sunday, a defeat that virtually sealed the Cardinals' fate as a non-playoff team. There's still a mathematical chance for them, but at 5-7-1, the reality is that a team that had embraced preseason predictions of a Super Bowl is out of the running for the postseason.
Coach Bruce Arians told the players as much in the locker room after Sunday's loss.
''Just being real,'' Arians said at his weekly Monday news conference. ''I wouldn't expect anything other than disappointment, but are you going to sugarcoat it? 8-7-1 might get you in, but probably not.''
Among Arians' chief challenges this week is to put together an offensive line for Sunday's game against New Orleans, Arizona's final home contest of the season.
If Humphries can't go, John Wetzel would be the left tackle. That probably means the Cardinals would bring undrafted rookie Givens Price off the practice squad and perhaps give him the start at right tackle.
''He's done a nice job of maturing on the practice squad,'' Arians said. ''We'll look at him.''
That's not exactly a strong group to try to protect Carson Palmer, who has been under siege by the pass rush and taken some vicious hits throughout the season.
''There's still guys there and we expect the same of them,'' center A.Q. Shipley said of the remaining linemen. He added, jokingly, that he ''might have to move out to left tackle this week. We'll see what happens.''
Floyd was having what Arians described as a ''very inconsistent'' season before he was arrested.
Scottsdale police said they received a report at 2:48 a.m. MST Monday of ''a man unconscious behind the wheel of a running vehicle'' at an intersection.
Floyd, who had three alcohol-related brushes with the law when he played at Notre Dame, was booked on the charges and released about 5 a.m.
Arians said he would continue to gather information about the arrest before deciding how to proceed.
Sunday featured another special teams meltdown for the Cardinals, and Arians mounted an unsolicited, spirited defense of special teams coach Amos Jones.
Arizona missed an extra point due to a bad snap. Chandler Catanzaro also missed a field goal try and had a conversion kick blocked and returned the length of the field for two Miami points. A punt return helped set up Miami's game-winning field goal.
''It's been a bad snap and hold and a kick or a punt all year,'' Arians said. ''Coaches don't do any of those things. There won't be any coaching changes. Let me make that perfectly clear today. They don't snap, hold and kick. Players do those things.''
Arians called Jones ''a hell of a coach.''
''I watch him prepare,'' Arians said. ''I watch him coach. It has nothing to do with (my) faith. I know the guy can coach. His players aren't playing very well. They're my players, so if I'm going to fire him, I'll fire myself.''
Arians said his five best special teams players are on injured reserve.
The Cardinals still have special teams ace Justin Bethel, but his play at cornerback has not been good. Injuries pressed Bethel into the lineup and he was repeatedly burned late in the game.
Arians called Bethel's play at cornerback ''a failure in progress.''
The coach said he expects professionalism and effort from his players the remainder of the season.
''You respect the process and you come to work,'' Arians said. ''I've been on a 3-13 team and a 7-9 team. You come to work every week. If you see guys cashing it in, you need to get rid of them.''
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