The Cardinals need a spark. Maybe a pair of high-voltage personalities can do the trick.
Tight end Jermaine Gresham and defensive end Markus Golden practiced fully on Wednesday – the first time either of them have been able to do so since suffering their significant injuries, Gresham in the 2017 season finale, and Golden in Week 4 last season. Coach Steve Wilks is hoping both can make their regular season debuts on Sunday against the Bears.
Gresham, who is recovering from an Achilles injury, has the ability to both block and catch, two areas in which the Cardinals need improvement. Golden, coming off a torn ACL, led the Cardinals with 12½ sacks in 2016 and would boost to the pass rush.
Beyond their physical prowess, the boisterous duo would bring a surge of passion to their respective offensive and defensive huddles.
"That is a major plus when you are talking about a team that is 0-2, that needs a spark, needs some energy," Wilks said. "Those two guys definitely bring that, particularly Jermaine. Very vocal, high-strung guy. Loves to compete, is going to get his teammates going. And Markus is the same way. I can't wait to get those guys back out there, and hopefully it's this week."
The Cardinals don't have an overload of vocal leaders on offense, and left tackle D.J. Humphries – one of the biggest extroverts himself -- is eagerly awaiting the return of Gresham.
"Jermaine is just one of those guys you want to be on the grass with," Humphries said. "The energy he puts off, it's infectious."
If Golden and Gresham do play, Wilks cautioned that both would be on a limited snap count as they make their way back from serious injuries.
"You don't want to put too much on those guys," Wilks said.
NO ADDITION TO RECEIVER ROOM
Wilks said the Cardinals brought in a group of receivers for a workout this week – one of them was reportedly veteran Kendall Wright – but will not be signing any of them. The Cardinals receiving corps has struggled statistically but at this point will remain static.
"All year we're going to make sure we try to rotate the roster," Wilks said. "I don't want anyone to get complacent; I don't want anyone to get comfortable. Today was receivers. We just finished the workout and they looked good, but I can tell you we're not making the move."
Larry Fitzgerald led the wide receiver contingent with three catches for 28 yards against the Rams. Christian Kirk added four catches for 27 yards while Chad Williams and J.J. Nelson were held without a reception.
"Sam does a great job of throwing guys open, but we've got to create separation coming back for the ball," Wilks said. "We've got to create separation down the field. We've got to be able to take some shots and loosen the defense up. I think we're working on that."
FITZGERALD 'WILL BE READY TO GO'
Fitzgerald did not practice on Wednesday but Wilks was confident in his ability to play against Chicago. He left last week's loss to the Rams after aggravating a hamstring injury that had been bothering him for the previous 10 days.
"Larry will be ready to go on Sunday," Wilks said. "No question."
Linebacker Dennis Gardeck (ankle) and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre (toe) also did not practice. Safety Rudy Ford (ankle), quarterback Sam Bradford (not injury related), guard Mike Iupati (chest), defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (foot) and tackle Andre Smith (elbow) were limited. Smith missed the Rams game and Wilks said he remains day-to-day.
The only player on the Bears' injury report was defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson, who was limited with a forearm injury.
Some of the top images from the Cardinals' loss in Los Angeles