Cardinals Add G Sweezy, DL Lawrence to Reserve/Injured
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed to reporters via a Zoom conference Saturday after practice that starting right guard J.R. Sweezy (elbow), outside linebacker Kylie Fitts (hamstring) and nose tackle Rashard Lawrence (calf) will not play against the Dallas Cowboys.
Each player did not participate in any of the team's Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday practice sessions after sustaining their respective injuries last Sunday against the New York Jets. Sweezy played 37 offensive snaps in the game pre-injury, while defensively Fitts played 34 and Lawrence 17.
"Sweezy will be out," Kingsbury said. "Rashard Lawrence will be out as well and then Kylie Fitts is out."
The absence for Sweezy and Lawrence will be longer than just this week, too, as the team subsequently announced their additions to reserve/injured. Each will be out at least three weeks as a result. For now, the club has not announced any corresponding moves to replace them on the 53-man roster. With Sweezy out, practice-squad guard Koda Martin could be a candidate to either be signed to the active roster or elevated in time for the game Monday night.
With Fitts out, the franchise's outside linebacker depth is even more dire after the loss of Chandler Jones (biceps) for the season. Dennis Gardeck (foot) missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and was estimated as limited Friday. He was observed participating during the open portion Saturday. Practice-squad outside linebacker Reggie Walker has his best opportunity of the season to be promoted, while the team signed Isaiah Irving off the Denver Broncos' practice squad to the active roster in Jones's place.
Jones has a roster exemption and likely won't be available Monday while going through the league's COVID-19 protocols.
Starter Devon Kennard, who has missed the last two weeks with a calf injury, was limited both Wednesday and Thursday and was observed practicing Saturday. Organizational expectations are that he should be available Monday against the Cowboys.
"Devon is feeling better," Kingsbury said. "Still hopeful that he can go Monday night and it'll be a rotation. We talked about it before; it's impossible to replace a guy like Chandler Jones, but it will be a group effort. (Outside linebacker) Haason (Reddick) and DK and Gardeck ... and take it from there."
Starting in Sweezy's place at right guard will be Justin Murray, who replaced him Sunday and contributed 38 snaps against the Jets.
“He did a nice job," Kingsbury said of Murray Monday. "We were impressed with the way he came in and got thrown in the fire last year and handled himself and continued to progress. And we've seen more progression this year through training camp. Being able to play inside, now I think he's found a home. He's athletic in there and did a nice job when he was called upon yesterday.”
Meanwhile, safety Jalen Thompson, who was injured two snaps into the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers and placed on reserve/injured, was designated for return this week and Kingsbury said he is close to being able to play.
"He's close," Kingsbury said. "We want to be smart with him, want to make sure he feels great and can do what he does out there. We're going to continue on the next couple of days and see where it ends up. I'm sure he'll be out there Monday night, trying it early and then we'll take it from there."
Any decision to activate him to the 53-man roster would have to be completed by 1 pm PT Monday, more than four hours prior to kickoff.
UPDATE** (3:30 p.m.): The Cardinals injury report revealed that Fitts is out while Gardeck and Kennard are questionable.
A surprising addition was that left tackle D.J. Humphries is also questionable with a back injury that could have happened late Friday or on Saturday. He was limited in Saturday's practice. Murray played tackle last season, so perhaps he could slide over while Max Garcia or Martin fill in at guard if Humphries is unable to go. Rookie Josh Jones or Joshua Miles might get a shot. It's also not out of the question that Kelvin Beachum could move to left tackle with Murray at right tackle.
As for Dallas, everyone that has been on the report the last few days is available. The Cowboys do have a crowded reserve/injured list though, which is populated by quarterback Dak Prescott, tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins and tight end Blake Jarwin.