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Cardinals Backed Into Corner With Injured Secondary

Hamilton has experience as starter; potential additions possible

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton waits before the snap on a play against the Colts last weekend.
Cornerback Antonio Hamilton waits before the snap on a play against the Colts last weekend.

Antonio Hamilton Sr. has seen big-time receivers many times before – every day at practice, every year of his NFL career.

Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree when he was with the Raiders. Odell Beckam Jr. with the Giants. With the Chiefs, it was Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and then in Arizona, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Christian Kirk.

"I've just wanted to learn what I could learn from them to make my game better," the Cardinals cornerback said. "When I go out there (in games) I have all the confidence in the world because I have gone against the best guys just about every year I've been in the league.

"There is no sense of fear, or panic, when I get my opportunities."

It's the mindset every cornerback needs to have. It's the mindset the reserve Cardinals corners better have, since Hamilton and others are needed. Badly.

Byron Murphy remains the No. 1, but Robert Alford remains on Injured Reserve, and Marco Wilson could miss time with a bad left shoulder. That leaves Hamilton, and practice-squad pickup Kevin Peterson (who has started games in the past) and likely some additions.

Reports are that the Cardinals may sign veteran Bashaud Breeland, recently released by the Vikings, although the reports add Breeland tested positive for Covid and isn't an immediate option. Hamilton played with Breeland in Kansas City last season.

"Adding another piece to the defense only helps us," Hamilton said of the potential signing, "especially with his caliber of play and his level of experience."

Hamilton did say Wilson was doing well, and was hoping to play Sunday. Kingsbury said the Cards will evaluate Wilson through the week.

Earlier in the season, Hamilton beat out Rasul Douglas for playing time when both were on the practice squad. Douglas eventually left the practice squad to sign with the Packers.

"I thought (Antonio) stepped in and handled himself well," Kingsbury said. "We really brought him in as more of a special teams thought, initially, but he's earned himself these snaps on the field. He gets out there and competes and contests people."

The Cardinals also have Breon Borders, signed recently off the Titans' practice squad. But he has been inactive in each of his first two games, and he was put on the Covid list Tuesday. Jace Whittaker is a cornerback on the practice squad, along with Peterson.

Safety is set with two players having good seasons – Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson – but with a game against Cooper and the rest of the very good Cowboys receiving corps, the cornerbacks will be tested.

"When you're on the field, the standard is the standard," Baker said. "Guys came in – KP, Ham -- and played some good football. They'll defini9tely be getting reps this week and weekly, and we'll see how everything goes."

Hamilton, for one, is confident it will go just fine.

"That's why we all sit in the same meetings, why we all hear the same tips and reminders and go over the playbook.," Hamilton said. "Each and every individual, we prepare as if we're going to play. This is the NFL, you'll always one snap away from being out on that field."

Images of the Cardinals Cheerleaders from our Week 16 game against the Indianapolis Colts on Christmas Day.