In a season that is teetering on the edge the Arizona Cardinals have not been helped by their enormous injured reserve list
2016 was supposed to be the Arizona Cardinals’ year. A stacked roster had quite a few prognosticators predicting a Super Bowl for Bruce Arians’ team. But that was way before Arizona players started dropping like flies.
This season, the NFL has implemented a new rule concerning the injured reserve list. Each team is permitted to bring back one player after such player has sat out eight weeks.
Right now, the popular choice for who to bring back has been safety Tyvon Branch. The veteran was off to a fine start before suffering a groin injury. Besides being a sure tackler, he also provides above-average coverage skills.
Another popular choice is running back Chris Johnson, who also suffered a groin injury. However, starter David Johnson has workhorse ability, so unless he wears down he’ll be the man. It’s possible “CJ2K” will once again don a Cardinal uniform, but it probably won’t be this year.
The biggest loss of all to the injured reserve list is Jared Veldheer. The left tackle is the most important position on the offensive line, and the inexperienced John Wetzel is taking over. Carson Palmer may not feel so secure without the reliable Veldheer protecting his blindside.
The offensive line took another big hit with right guard Evan Mathis’ ankle injury. His trip to injured reserve not only ends his season but possibly his career as well. There’s been talk about the 12-year vet hanging up his cleats.
Wide receiver Jaron Brown’s season being over is significant considering that Michael Floyd has under-performed. Brown is bound to draw some attention on the free-agent market next offseason. He has good size, hands and speed and could certainly help a receiver-needy franchise.
Tight end Troy Niklas appeared to be turning a corner during the preseason. “Your wife’s favorite player” seemed prime to finally justify his being a former second-round draft pick. Unfortunately, a bad wrist ended his season, and his injury-filled time with Arizona may be over.
Other injured reserve occupants include CB Mike Jenkins, TE Ifeanyi Momah, ILB Alani Fua, and CB Elie Bouma.
As good as the Cardinals’ depth is, the roster has been ravaged. If they still somehow were to make the playoffs, it would be a testament to the coaching staff. One thing’s for sure, they certainly can’t afford any more additions to the injured reserve.