Cardinals long snapper Aaron Brewer covers a punt in Philadelphia earlier this season.
There were many possibilities, so no, long snapper Aaron Brewer didn't necessarily expect to be the first – and possibly the only – Cardinal to return to the active roster from injured reserve this season.
But he was officially elevated Friday and will play Sunday in Washington for the first time since breaking his left forearm in Philadelphia on Oct. 8 and going on IR Oct. 10.
"I mean, I practiced and did everything as if I were going to (return)," Brewer said. "That was out of my control. But I might be the first long snapper in history to be brought back from IR."
The move was a foregone conclusion, set into motion last week when Brewer returned to practice and cemented when the Cardinals released fellow long snapper Justin Drescher – originally signed to take Brewer's spot – earlier this week.
Teams are allowed to bring back two players from IR in a season, but it is doubtful the Cardinals are going to use their second slot. There had been hope for another player, particularly running back David Johnson or quarterback Carson Palmer, but at this point neither has even been able to practice and with so little time left in the season, it may not make sense.
Coach Bruce Arians has said multiple times he did not think anyone else would be coming off IR.
Both Johnson and Palmer had said they had hope to return. Palmer too will head into an offseason in which he is expected to at least consider retirement as he weighs his decision to play again in 2018.
"I don't know what the status of his injury is," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "You want him to be healthy, regardless of whether he comes back or not. If he is healthy enough to come back, Carson is a tough guy and loves to compete, loves being out there playing. If he is able, I'm pretty sure he would."
For now, the Cardinals only have Brewer back on the field.
"I'm excited to be back with (punter) Andy (Lee) and (kicker) Phil (Dawson), and excited to play the game that I love," Brewer said.
RED ZONE GETS WEIRD FOR CARDS
Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin would like to avoid a repeat of last week, in which the Cardinals won despite an inability to reach the end zone. Three of the field goals came after the Cardinals got
to the red zone.
Since Blaine Gabbert took over at quarterback, the Cards have been a roller coaster with their red-zone trips. Against the Texans and Rams, the Cardinals were 2-for-2 in red-zone TD trips in both games. Against the Jaguars and Titans, the Cards had four red-zone trips with no touchdowns.
"It's always something," Goodwin said. "A breakdown in protection, somebody didn't run the right depth in a route. There are so many little things that go into not executing in the red zone. It's weird, man. You get down there, and they you start to stall down there. We have to execute. That's what it boils down to."
JOHN BROWN OUT AGAIN
Wide receiver John Brown (toe) will miss Sunday's game, the fourth straight game he has missed as his disappointing bounceback season goes on. As expected, guard Earl Watford (ankle) will be also be out, as will linebacker Gabe Martin (hamstring).
Arians said tight end Jermaine Gresham has been fighting the flu all week and the Cardinals are trying to get him ready to play.He is questionable, along with defensive linemen Corey Peters (ankle) and Josh Mauro (ankle). Both safeties who missed some time earlier in the week – Budda Baker and Antoine Bethea – are fine, Arians said.
For Washington, linebacker Zach Brown (achilles/hip) and safety Montae Nicholson (concussion) are out. Linebacker Ryan Anderson (ankle), wide receiver Ryan Grant (ankle), wide receiver Maurice Harris (concussion), defensive lineman Terrell McClain (toe), tackle Morgan Moses (ankle), center Chase Roullier (hand) and tackle Trent Williams (knee) are questionable. Williams didn't practice all week.
Images of key players for the Cardinals' Week 15 opponent