What a difference a year makes. After having only nine players on reserve/COVID-19 for the entire 2020 season, the Cardinals have reached that number already this year after placing six players on the list Thursday.
The good news is that AllCardinals has learned from a league source that all six, including three starters on the offensive line, have been deemed high-risk contacts and weren’t the result of positive tests.
The six players are center Rodney Hudson, right tackle Kelvin Beachum, right guard Justin Pugh and wide receivers Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson and Isaac Whitney.
Hudson, Beachum, Isabella and Whitney both were not on the practice field Wednesday, while Pugh and Johnson practiced Wednesday, but were absent Thursday.
What isn’t clear is why the four players that didn’t practice Wednesday weren’t placed on reserve that day, although it’s likely the team discovered their status too late for the 1 p.m. Pacific time deadline to report transactions to the league.
Training camp began for rookies last week and cornerback Lorenzo Burns was placed on reserve/COVID-July 23. Added to the list Wednesday were guard Shaq Calhoun and wide receiver Rico Gafford.
Of the 24 players league-wide placed on reserve Wednesday, 22 were for positive tests. It’s possible that Calhoun and Gafford tested positive considering the latest six players are all either offensive linemen or wide receivers.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the target date for Hudson’s return “looks like” Aug. 2, but that there are varying dates for other players.
When asked if he’s concerned about having there starters out, Kingsbury said, “Not at all. For us, this early in camp when you’re not even in pads, to get the young guys reps, we think is huge. So it's been good to be able to slide those young guys in and see what they can do early.”
While the players on reserve can’t practice or be around other players, they are able to participate virtually in meetings.
Through Thursday, there have been 64 players placed on reserve/COVID with 51 for positive tests and 13 high-risk contacts. Of the 64, five have already been activated.