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Cardinals Friday Practice Notebook: Justin Pugh, Justin Murray Return

Three Arizona Cardinals offensive linemen are currently question marks for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Cardinals had a slightly fuller squad back at practice on Friday ahead of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams. 

Guards Justin Pugh and Justin Murray were in uniform during the open part of practice after missing the past two days with back injuries. 

However, they did not look to be 100%, as both simply leaned over and slowly jogged instead of kneeling and running during one of the Cardinals warmup exercises. 

"We'll see how they progress the next couple of days and get them out there Sunday pregame and see where it goes," head coach Kliff Kingsbury said after practice on Friday.

Right tackle Kelvin Beachum was still out with a ribs injury he sustained in Week 1, but Kingsbury said he has not ruled the veteran out. 

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was participating again. He was a full participant on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice due to a ribs injury. 

Running back Eno Benjamin was absent after he was limited on Thursday, having suffered a hamstring injury. 

Practice notes

Roster move

The Cardinals waived cornerback Luq Barcoo on Thursday.

The second-year defensive back was inactive for all three Cardinals games thus far after making the 53-man roster. 

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The Cardinals now have 52 players on the active roster, leaving a spot open to sign another player or activate an injured one. 

Conner faces college teammate Donald

Cardinals running back James Conner has never suited up against the Los Angeles Rams before. On Sunday, he'll face his college teammate from Pittsburgh, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, for the first time in the pros. 

"He's like a big brother to me, so I'm just looking forward to playing him," Conner said.

The veteran running back joked that he expects Donald to try to slam him, and that he's not surprised at all by the success the four-time Defensive Player of the Year has had. 

"There was no question about it," Conner said when asked if he knew in college that Donald would be great at the NFL level. "We couldn't even practice, do inside runs when he was there."

Different feel

The Cardinals played in the new SoFi Stadium last year against the Rams in Week 17, but there were no fans in the building. This time, there will be, and it will be loud if last Sunday was any indicator. 

"Last year, it was a good environment, one of the few places that didn't have fans and actually had energy with the new stadium, the music they play and everything," nose tackle Rashard Lawrence said. "So, it's going to be that times 10 and we're excited."

Kingsbury on McVay

Sean McVay took over as the Rams head coach for the 2017 season. The franchise had not seen a winning season for over a decade prior to that, but now Los Angeles has not won fewer than nine games under McVay. 

"I think the biggest thing that jumps out to me, immediately started winning a lot of games, playing at a high level," Kingsbury said. "The discipline with which his teams play with . . . he's just got it rolling. They believe in him."

Daily stat

The Rams' play-action rate dropped from 32% to 25% this season with Matthew Stafford at quarterback, per Next Gen Stats.