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Cardinals Final Two Position Battles Ahead of Week 1

The Arizona Cardinals are still working through right guard and kick returners.

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told the media Monday that the Cardinals depth chart is solid except for two spots. 

He said late last week that the battle for right guard is still on, and he would not commit to rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore taking over as the No. 1 kick returner as of Monday after practice. 

Right Guard

The three-way race to the final starting spot on the offensive line began on the first day of OTAs. 

Justin Murray was the starter last season after he took over for J.R. Sweezy. Arizona drafted Josh Jones as a tackle in the third round in 2020, and after being in a limited role as a rookie, he has looked like a strong contender at right guard for more snaps this season. The Cardinals also signed veteran free agent Brian Winters.

"Still ongoing," Kingsbury said last Wednesday. "We're going to figure that out next week."

Arizona Cardinals tackle Josh Jones

Jones had the majority of first-team snaps during training camp and started Arizona's two preseason games. Murray and Winters were injured, which opened the door for Jones. 

He played tackle for Houston while in college, but can line up inside or outside. Murray is similar in that sense. 

Where Murray excelled was as a pass protector in 2020, but he struggled to open up holes for the run. 

Winters is 15 pounds heavier and more physical than Murray, which bodes well for run blocking. But, he has been penalized a lot throughout his career, including seven times last year. 

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Arizona led the league in flags in 2020. 

This has been the longest established position battle in the organization, and it may not conclude until the eve of Game 1. 

Kickoff/punt returner

Moore returned kicks at Purdue and has the profile to be effective in the NFL. He's fast, twitchy, strong and hard to take down. 

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore (85) during rookie mini-camp at the Dignity Health training facility.

He only returned one kickoff for Arizona during the preseason, as second-year running back Eno Benjamin saw most of the reps.

On punts, he received two in the second preseason game, but both were fair catches. 

Practice-squad wide receiver Greg Dortch handled the punt returns in the preseason opener.

It's certainly possible that different players will handle kickoffs and punts.

"That's for (special-teams) Coach (Jeff) Rodgers and coach Kliff to decide," Moore said Monday when asked about his special-teams role. "For me, I just go to practice and work my tail off and do what I can do."

Kingsbury added: "We're still working through that part of it to see what roles he's going to have offensively and then take it from there."