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Cornerback A Concern After Significant Robert Alford Leg Injury

Rookie cornerback Byron Murphy (33) works in coverage Thursday night in a 33-26 loss to the Raiders.
Rookie cornerback Byron Murphy (33) works in coverage Thursday night in a 33-26 loss to the Raiders.

Cornerback was already a position of concern with the Cardinals given that top cover man Patrick Peterson has to serve a six-game suspension to begin the regular season.

But the news got worse this week, after coach Kliff Kingsbury said fellow starter Robert Alford suffered a lower leg injury at practice Tuesday and will miss “an extended amount of time.”

Asked if that meant a significant chunk of the regular season, Kingsbury said “I expect that to be the case.”

Alford, who signed with the team in February after being released by Atlanta, had been solid in camp and while his natural role was to be a No. 2 to Peterson, he had looked sharp in his inevitable role as No. 1 while Peterson sat out.

Now the Cardinals are without both starting cornerbacks. Tramaine Brock was the likely man to team with Alford in place of Peterson. Kingsbury said between Brock, rookie Byron Murphy and Chris Jones, “we’ll see where we’re at.”

Given that the Cardinals will probably want to use three cornerbacks in nickel situations – unless safety Budda Baker were to drop in there and the Cards find another safety to use with D.J. Swearinger – Brock, Murphy and Jones may all play regardless.

“It’s an ongoing discussion,” Kingsbury said.

ANDY ISABELLA MAKES A SPLASH IN HIS FIRST GAME

Rookie wide receiver Andy Isabella didn’t get into the game offensively until late in the third quarter, in his first NFL action after missing last week with a knee injury. Playing with quarterback Charles Kanoff, Isabella was actually targeted four times in his short amount of time.

The second-round pick nearly came down with a contested catch about 20 yards downfield. Isabella later hauled in a 59-yard bomb with Raiders cornerback Joshua Holsey on his hip and finished off the touchdown.

“It was fun,” Isabella said. “We had a couple of missed opportunities at first that was a little frustrating. Me and (Kanoff) starting hooking up, and we’ll watch the film and hopefully have a better game in Minnesota.”

Isabella said he’s never really missed much time for injury in his young football career. But he said he thought he did a good job quickly getting back into shape, and he has two preseason games left to push for more significant playing time.

“He’s a guy who missed some extended time in camp and we thought he was really coming on,” Kingsbury said. “He’s getting back in that rhythm. It was fun to see him make that play tonight.”

JOSHUA MILES GETS WORK AT LEFT TACKLE

With the Cardinals trying to figure out their backup tackle situation, they made a switch with the second unit Thursday. While Korey Cunningham remained the second-string right tackle, rookie seventh-round pick Joshua Miles played left tackle instead of Rees Odhiambo.

Miles generally looked solid in his time in the game, as backup quarterback Brett Hundley led the second unit to points after the Cards had fallen behind, 26-0.

“We like his athleticism,” Kingsbury said of Miles. “He’s a conscientious young man, works hard, and has gotten better through the spring. I think (offensive line) coach (Sean) Kugler has done a nice job with his technique and fundamentals. He’s come on.”

CLAY SITS OUT

Tight end Charles Clay, who just came off the physically-unable-to-perform list this week but was mostly limited in practice, did not dress against the Raiders. Wide receiver Kevin White (hamstring) and safety Josh Shaw (shoulder) were also among those who did not dress.

Images from Thursday night's preseason game at State Farm Stadium

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