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If Needed, Alex Boone Ready For O-Line

Posted Sep 14, 2017

Notes: Goodwin looks for Wetzel improvement; "Must-win" in Indy?; Brown still sidelined

The Cardinals' original starting offensive line in Detroit will have at least one change -- and maybe two -- in Indianapolis.

A.Q. Shipley and Alex Boone recently went to dinner at Fleming’s, a pair of old friends using a social outing to better prepare for what’s ahead.

“Just two guys having dinner talking about the offense,” Boone said.

Any little thing to help the offensive line, which may very well need Boone to play this week amid injuries and a rough opener in Detroit.

Starting left guard Mike Iupati had already been dealing with a triceps injury late in the preseason before coming out late against the Lions, and didn’t practice for a second straight day Thursday. If he can’t play, Boone would step in, which would be a second replacement offensive lineman. John Wetzel already is playing left tackle with D.J. Humphries dealing with a knee sprain.

“That’s why we brought (Boone) here,” offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin said. “Savvy vet, played a lot of football, has played left guard. I like Boone. The attitude he brought to the room has been great, it’s been awesome, and I feel comfortable with him.”

Boone, signed just last week, said he was ready to play if needed.

“I don’t think I have a choice, do I?” Boone added. “I mean, in this league, does anybody really care if you’re not ready? So I guess it’s better to be ready than not ready.”

Goodwin also thinks Wetzel will be ready too, after a poor game in Detroit. Wetzel had been practicing at multiple positions last week, but has been able to get all his work in at left tackle prepping for the Colts.

“It better help him a lot, alright? It better help him a lot,” Goodwin said. “You saw what you saw, I saw what I saw. We were not pleased. He knows, and he’s not pleased. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is out there, you have to hold up. If you are playing the pivotal spot of left tackle, that’s the money side of the protection, you have to hold up.”

NEEDING TO WIN IN INDY

The Cardinals continued to talk about how much better they need to play after the season-opening loss. Quarterback Carson Palmer had taken the blame for the shortcomings, but Goodwin said Palmer shouldn’t shoulder all of it.

“We didn’t run the ball very well, we didn’t catch the ball very well,” Goodwin said. “He can’t take all the blame. That was an offensive failure.”

It puts the Cards is a tough spot, trying to avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole that often is difficult to get out of when it comes to any postseason hopes – although different players see it differently.

“I feel like they are all must-wins,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “It’s not a baseball schedule. We only have one a week and 16 of them scheduled.”

Said cornerback Patrick Peterson, “There is definitely such a thing as a must-win in Week Two. This is one of them.”

NIKLAS JOINS THE INJURY LIST

Tight end Troy Niklas apparently hurt himself at practice this week, a Thursday addition as limited with a hip problem. That’s not ideal, since tight end Jermaine Gresham didn’t practice for a second straight day because of a rib injury. Ifeanyi Momah is the only other tight end on the roster.

[READ: CARDINALS STILL WAITING ON SMOKE]

Linebacker Karlos Dansby (shin), who sat out Wednesday, practiced full Thursday. But wide receiver John Brown (quadriceps) remained sidelined again. Defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (calf) was again limited – defensive coordinator James Bettcher said he was “trending in a positive way” – as was money linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle).

For the Colts, there was a laundry list of players hurting. Cornerback Vonate Davis (groin) and center Ryan Kelly (foot) are both unlikely to play, and linebacker Antonio Morrison (elbow), safety Darius Butler (hamstring) and linebacker Anthony Walker (hamstring) also sat out. Wide receiver Chester Rogers (hamstring), guard Ian Silberman (lumbar) and tackle Jeremy Vujnovich (ankle) were limited.

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