Cardinals will likely be without Chandler Jones on Sunday vs. Browns

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Chandler Jones
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Chandler Jones /

Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones could be kept out of this week’s clash with the Cleveland Browns due to a positive COVID-19 test.

It’s looking more and more like the Arizona Cardinals will be without Chandler Jones when the team takes on the Cleveland Browns this coming Sunday.

On Tuesday, the club announced that Jones had tested positive for COVID-19. It’s been reported that the 31-year-old has been vaccinated, so Jones would only have to test negative twice within a 48-hour period to get back on the playing field. But Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t confident that will happen.

"“Not counting on [Jones] this week. I mean, I hope so. But yeah, how I’ve seen it go so far, I think that would be a stretch.”"

So it appears that Arizona‘s defensive unit will have to generate a pass rush from someone besides Jones when they travel to Cleveland this weekend. Is there any defender on the roster who’s capable of such a task?

Arizona Cardinals will look to other sources for pass-rush help this Sunday

Of course, the player that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will look to the most during the clash with the Browns is none other than J.J. Watt. Through the first five contests of 2021, the 32-year old has yet to record a sack. Watt has totaled six quarterback hits, however, and the general feeling is that the veteran could be set for a breakout outing in week six.

Markus Golden, the 30-year-old who returned to the Cardinals last season, will be counted on to turn his play up a notch. Unfortunately, the former second-round draft pick has registered just two sacks, and three quarterback hits in his five appearances this fall. Golden seems to have lost a step or two in what is his seventh season in the NFL.

Dennis Gardeck was a pleasant surprise in 2020, tallying seven sacks and 10 quarterback hits in a backup role for the Redbirds. A couple of weeks ago, the 27-year-old was activated off of the injured-reserve list after he hurt his hand during a practice in early September. The Cards would love nothing more than to have some of the magic from Gardeck’s performance last year to resurface this coming Sunday against the Browns.

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Arizona is hopeful that Jones (who currently leads the squad with five sacks) will be able to return in week seven. Until then, some other individuals will need to pick up the slack. The Cardinals’ impressive winning streak could depend on it.