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Cardinals Know 2021 Trip To Dallas Features Much Different Cowboys Than 2020

Notes: Hudson, Conner, Moore, Baker among those who miss practice

Linebacker Jordan Hicks waits before a play against the Cowboys in Dallas in 2020.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks waits before a play against the Cowboys in Dallas in 2020.

Kliff Kingsbury was happy following the Cardinals' "Monday Night Football" victory over Dallas last year at AT&T Stadium.

With the Cardinals struggling and searching for answers on a three-game losing streak, Kingsbury would love to see similar results in Round Two at Dallas Sunday.

"We all need to continue to improve and play better," Kingsbury said. "So, I think as a team, it's a great opportunity to play one of the hottest teams in the NFL and one of the best teams in the NFL in the premier stadium of the league. You can't ask for much more."

Kingsbury knows the 2021 version of Dallas is nothing like the 2020 version they dominated on primetime, especially when backup quarterback Andy Dalton – now in Chicago – started for the injured Prescott. The Cardinals won the game, 38-10.

The Cowboys, winners of four consecutive games, is second in the NFC this season with a solid chance to finish atop the conference. Quarterback Dak Prescott, one of the best in the league, is back after missing the 2020 matchup with an ankle injury. They have Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, one of the best running back combinations in the NFL, in the backfield. Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons and second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs have helped transform the defense.

"I don't think (last year's game) will play in this at all," Kingsbury said. "They've done a great job this year. (Defensive coordinator) coach (Dan) Quinn is a tremendous defensive coach. They have their new additions and draft picks. Obviously, having Dak is a huge deal. So, I would say it doesn't have much bearing on what happens on Sunday."

Linebacker Jordan Hicks said the Cardinals have reviewed some film from last year but are mostly focused on what has occurred this season.

"I think you watch it," Hicks said. "We'll use it in film study, but the big one is this year. (We watch) the games they've played recently and how they've played teams with similar defenses in the past this year. It's all a part of it. You try to get as much information as possible and see how they try to attack you."

WESLEY'S FIRST TOUCHDOWN

Early in the third quarter of the Christmas loss to the Colts, Kyler Murray lobbed a pass down the left side and connected with wide receiver Antoine Wesley for a 24-yard touchdown. The score gave the Cardinals the lead and marked Wesley's first career touchdown.

It's a nice accomplishment for Wesley, who played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech and is growing more comfortable within the offense. With DeAndre Hopkins out for the season, Wesley has received more opportunities and has been productive. But Wesley is quick to mention he is not the five-time Pro Bowler.

"Hopkins is one of the best in the nation," Wesley said. "I don't try to be like Hop, but I try my best to make sure I make the same plays."

TWO CORNERBACKS SIGNED TO PRACTICE SQUAD

The Cardinals signed cornerbacks Nate Brooks and Isaiah Johnson to the practice squad.

Brooks came out as an undrafted rookie with the Cardinals in 2019 before being released, and has spent time with the Patriots, Ravens and Titans, playing in four career games. Johnson, a one-time fourth-round pick of the Raiders, played in 14 games last season.

The Cardinals need cornerback help with Robert Alford on IR and Marco Wilson unlikely to play Sunday with a shoulder injury.

INJURY REPORT REMAINS LONG

The Cardinals opened the week with a long DNP list at practice.

Wilson, Defensive lineman Zach Allen (ankle), safety Budda Baker (ribs), offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum (rest), running back James Conner (heel), tight end Demetrius Harris (shoulder), offensive lineman Rodney Hudson (illness), wide receiver Rondale Moore (ankle), and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (knee) did not practice.

Running back Chase Edmonds (back), tight end Zach Ertz (hamstring), and safety Deionte Thompson (shoulder) were limited,.

Kingsbury said Wilson is unlikely to play on Sunday but hopes Hudson can return. Conner and Moore will likely be game-day decisions.

For the Cowboys: defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (foot), offensive lineman Tyron Smith (ankle), wide receiver Malik Turner (calf) were limited at practice.

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