After Practice: Philon Move Puts Defensive Line In Spotlight

When last we saw him in a Cardinals uniform, Darius Philon had stood up Chargers running back Austin Ekeler near the goalline, allowing linebacker Jordan Hicks to strip the ball away and recover a fumble. That concluded the only series from the Cards' starting defense, and now, it concluded Philon's time with the Cardinals.

Philon's release Saturday, less than 24 hours after the news broke of his arrest for aggravated assault, was not big surprise. But it does put the Cards in a position where they have to think hard about what to do on the defensive line. Zach Allen was already going to play a big role, but it was going to be off the bench. Now he will have to start, alongside Rodney Gunter and Corey Peters, and given that the unit is about rotating players, losing Philon in a football sense hurts.

Veteran Terrell McClain feels like a lock to make the roster now. Sterling Bailey has a good shot. Does Michael Dogbe or Miles Brown, raw rookies, slip in? Kliff Kingsbury said the Cards will have to address the depth situation there. There may have been all that talk about Michael Crabtree last week possibly signing, but defensive line may have jumped to the top of the position-most-needed list.

As for a low-key Saturday practice:

-- Cornerback Byron Murphy (foot) did some individual drills but wasn't working during 11-on-11 or 7-on-7.

-- There's no way to know yet if Murphy's absence had anything to do with it, but Patrick Peterson remained out working with the starting unit at cornerback, where he has been all camp.

-- Safety Budda Baker had a leaping interception of Kyler Murray on a pass intended for Larry Fitzgerald early in practice, but later did something to his foot or ankle during a play. He came out and didn't return the field, although he was walking around OK in the locker room after. In his place, Rudy Ford was his initial replacement, but rookie Jalen Thompson also got some reps with the first team next to D.J. Swearinger.

-- Speaking of Swearinger, he wanted it known on the first pass play of team work -- a nice Murray-to-Damiere Byrd throw just over cornerback Robert Alford -- he would've made the play. Swearinger pulled up coming from the middle of the field, but emphatically and slowly gestured to the fans "no catch" with his arms. Swearinger definitely looked like he would've been there.

-- Peterson later had a pick of Murray, but Murray ran over to the sideline post-play to have a quick conversation with Kliff Kingsbury after there obviously was some sort of miscommunication.

-- Cornerback Tramaine Brock went up for a beautiful leaping pass breakup of a bomb to Fitzgerald, while Brett Hundley and Trent Sherfield -- who hooked up for a 22-yard TD in the Chargers game -- did it again from 44 yards out over the defense.

-- Near the end of practice, Peterson entertained fans (and teammates, in particular, fellow punt returner Pharoh Cooper) by catching seven straight punts and holding each ball as the subsequent one was kicked. Sure, Peterson stretched the rules of the game by lodging one under his jersey behind his back, but he had one between his legs and five others in his arms before attempt No. 8 fell to the ground. Then Peterson jogged over to the sideline and signed autographs.

DE Darius Philon
DE Darius Philon

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