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Cardinals Practice Notebook: Kingsbury on Ertz Trade; Hopkins and Hicks Return

Notes and quotes from the Arizona Cardinals final practice ahead of Sunday's battle with the Cleveland Browns.

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke with the media following Friday's practice, and naturally he faced a slew of questions about Zach Ertz.

The Cardinals traded for the former Eagles tight end before practice started. 

"I think it's great for our locker room to understand that we're going to do everything we can to try and win games," Kingsbury said. "This was a move we felt like, with Maxx going down, could help us and add to what we have going this season."

Arizona's starting tight end Maxx Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury, so the organization did not waste much time before finding his replacement. 

Practice notes

Game Statuses

Inside linebacker Jordan Hicks was back and working with the first team during the open portion of practice. He had missed two days with a toe injury. 

Kingsbury said that Hicks will be a game-day decision for Sunday against the Browns. 

He said the same thing regarding cornerbacks Marco Wilson and Byron Murphy Jr., who both returned to the practice field in a limited fashion on Thursday. Both were spotted on Friday during the open portion of practice.

Hopkins looking good

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was out for the first two practices of the week with illness, but he was back on Friday. 

Kingsbury liked what he saw, saying, "He looked good. He's a guy who is going to be ready to go on Sundays, you know that. But he had good juice, good energy and definitely trending the right way."

A guaranteed score

Halfback James Conner dropped into the press conference room after practice and received a question about his goal-line success. 

He has five touchdowns this season, and he has added an element to the offense as a physical goal-line back who can power into the end zone. 

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"I have a lot of pride being on the goal line and you only get a couple of chances so I get real excited when the ball is right there because I'm thinking seven," Conner said.

Conner said it's almost a guarantee that he will get into the end zone during those situations. 

His five scores have all come inside the 4-yard line. 

Zaven Collins feels ready

The Cardinals anointed Zaven Collins as the starting MIKE linebacker when he got drafted, but that has not happened. That spot still belongs to Hicks, and Collins has been learning from the veteran. 

But, with Hicks dealing with injury, there is potential for Collins to need to step up and take command. 

"With some of the packages we have, me and him are on the field at the same time," Collins said. "Continuously learning from him and then obviously being ready at any time because you never know when he's going to go down . . .  If I could take on more then I'm ready for it."

Collins played a career-high 52% of Arizona's defensive snaps last game. The Browns are a run-heavy offense, which should up his effect on the game even if Hicks is healthy. 

No Chubb

The Browns have the top rushing attack in the league and running back Nick Chubb is at the head of that. But he was reportedly ruled out for Sunday's game with a calf injury. 

Still, the Browns have a Pro Bowl running back to utilize in Kareem Hunt, who is a dynamic rusher and receiver. 

"Kareem Hunt is just as good as anybody in the league," Kingsbury said. "Nick Chubb is a tremendous player, and that's going to be a loss no matter what, but they plug one in that can do some special things."

Daily stat

The Cardinals allow the third-lowest success rate on power runs and have the sixth-highest stuff rate, per Football Outsiders. 

But, they allow the second most yards per rushing attempt in the NFL.