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Cardinals Practice Notebook: Zach Ertz is Here

The Cardinals took the practice field without several players due to COVID-19, but recently acquired tight end Zach Ertz was in uniform.

Zach Ertz took the practice field in his new Cardinals threads for the first time on Wednesday. 

The Cardinals officially acquired the veteran Friday morning to replace Maxx Williams, who is done for the season with a knee injury. 

Ertz was not eligible to play in last Sunday's game since he suited up for the Eagles on Thursday Night Football, but he made the trip and was on the sideline. 

"Being on the sideline, meeting the guys, traveling to Cleveland this past weekend I was exhausted, but it was so worth it," Ertz said after practice. "Because just being around the group, you feel the energy, feel the leadership on this team, and I'm just excited to be a part of it."

He will be ready to go for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. 

Practice notes

Cardinals still out

The Cardinals prevailed in Sunday's win over the Browns without head coach Kliff Kingsbury, defensive tackle Zach Allen, nose tackle Corey Peters or edge rusher Chandler Jones. They all tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

None of them were back on the field Wednesday. The three players are still on the COVID-19 reserve list.

The Cardinals have a game Sunday and then another the following Thursday. 

A two-week stint for Kingsbury, Allen or Peters could jeopardize not just one, but three games if they don't test negative twice on two consecutive days before.  

Murray and Ertz's rapport

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray sat next to Ertz on the team flight last weekend. They were able to talk about football and life to get to know each other. 

After practice, Murray said the two got extra reps to build the chemistry. 

"Him coming out to Cleveland when he didn't have to was big-time," Murray said. "I'm excited to have him, I know the team is, I think he'll be good for our locker room."

"It speaks volumes about him that he went out of his way to make me feel comfortable and welcomed here," Ertz said of Murray. "He didn't have to do that. But I think it just speaks about his leadership as the quarterback of this team."

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Ertz's connections in Arizona

Ertz was an Eagle for eight-plus years, but he has some connections in Arizona. 

He rehabbed in the Valley during the offseason, which is where he met edge rusher Dennis Gardeck. 

He has known left guard Justin Pugh for years as they were in the same draft class. He will actually be staying with Pugh for the time being while he finds a place to live.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks was Ertz's roommate on road games when the two were teammates in Philadelphia. Ertz said Hicks recruited him to Arizona hard and was pumped about the trade. 

In addition, Ertz's wife, professional soccer player Julie Ertz, is from Mesa. 

"This is home for her," Ertz said. "It's exciting to be back for her. Her family is ecstatic that we're here."

Roster move

The Cardinals signed tight end David Wells to the practice squad on Wednesday morning. 

He replaces cornerback Greg Mabin, who terminated his contract with Arizona to sign with the Tennessee Titans. He will be on their 53-man roster. 

Well has not played in an NFL game after going undrafted in 2018. He was in training camp this year with both the Patriots and Falcons and subsequently was on the practice squads of the Falcons and Colts. 

He was released from the Indianapolis practice squad Oct. 5.

Prater's award

Cardinals kicker Matt Prater is the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Prater made three field goals and four extra points without missing a kick Sunday. 

"Really good pro and still has excellent leg strength," special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said Tuesday. "That ball he hits from 51 in the game goes over the upright. I'm talking about vertical; it's good from a long way. So that's been one of Matt's talents and strengths for a long time."

Kingsbury's involvement

Kingsbury was not on the practice field with his big hat and sun glasses like usual, but he is still involved while recovering at home. 

"Obviously the offensive game plan he's built that this week," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said after practice. "It's been a bunch of virtual meetings with offensive staff and the entire staff."