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Cardinals Switch Punters, Sign Scooby Wright

Posted Dec 13, 2016

Butler cut, Wile and Dysert promoted; Branch, Bucannon and John go to IR

The Cardinals promoted punter Matt Wile from the practice squad Tuesday, and released Drew Butler.

The Cardinals have a new punter and three fewer starters.

With three games left in the season, the team promoted Matt Wile from the practice squad Tuesday and released punter Drew Butler. It was a move set in motion last week, when Wile was brought in to the practice squad to compete at the position.

The Cardinals also signed linebacker Scooby Wright from the Browns' practice squad and promoted quarterback Zac Dysert from the practice squad to the active roster. That room was created when the team put the three starters injured in Sunday’s game at Miami on injured reserve: money linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle), right tackle Ulrick John (shoulder) and safety Tyvon Branch (groin).

The team also re-signed linebacker Reshard Cliett to the practice squad.

It currently leaves the Cards with one open roster spot and one open practice squad spot. More roster moves are expected this week. 

Wile punted alongside Butler last week in practice. Wile has appeared in only one NFL game – against the Cardinals for the Falcons Nov. 27. Signed as an injury fill-in by Atlanta, Wile’s two punts traveled 59 and 57 yards, and his net average was 52 yards.

Butler was actually coming off one of his better games, having averaged 47.2 yards a punt in Miami, although his net was 36.8. For the season, Butler averaged 42.2 yards a punt with a net of 35.6, numbers that are at the bottom of the NFL. Ryan Quigley, who was punting for the Cardinals after the team released Butler earlier in the season before re-signing him, also was at the bottom of the NFL with his numbers of 41.6 and 37.2.

Coach Bruce Arians said last week Wile’s promotion would hinge not only on his kicking but also his ability to hold on placekicks – a part of special teams that didn’t go well in Miami, with a missed field goal, a missed extra point and a blocked extra point.

Wright, a University of Arizona product, was a late draft pick by the Browns after Arians had already talked to him about coming to the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was on the Browns' roster the first two games of the season but inactive for both contests before being cut and added to the practice squad. Now he'll get a three-game tryout with the Cards.

Arians already said there was a chance tackle Givens Price will be elevated from the practice squad with John’s injury. He praised the work of newcomer Sio Moore, who eventually subbed for Bucannon. The Cardinals are hoping this week’s practice helps show safety Tyrann Mathieu is ready to return from a shoulder injury now that Branch is down.

The Cardinals are also waiting to see this week about the status of cornerback Marcus Cooper (back) and left tackle D.J. Humphries (concussion).

“We’re not going to put young guys in the game to see if they can play,” Arians said. “We’re playing to win, not evaluate for the future.”

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