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Cornerbacks Under Spotlight As Patrick Peterson Begins Suspension

CB Chris Jones at practice on Monday.
CB Chris Jones at practice on Monday.

The way to a man’s heart is supposedly through his stomach, but not for Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Even though cornerback Patrick Peterson bought ice cream for the entire team at the end of training camp, Kingsbury categorized it as a small recompense for the predicament the Cardinals now face in their secondary.

“It was the least he could do since he’s leaving us for six weeks,” Kingsbury deadpanned.

Peterson’s six-game suspension for failing a performance-enhancing drug test began on Monday. Fellow starting cornerback Robert Alford (leg) was placed on injured reserve Sunday and cannot return for at least eight weeks.

The Cardinals’ cornerback trio for the foreseeable future is expected to consist of Tramaine Brock, rookie Byron Murphy and Chris Jones.

Murphy has never played in an NFL regular season game, and Jones, a 2018 undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, is expected to see the first defensive snaps of his career on Sunday against the Lions.

“Any time you lose your first two before the opener, you know it’s going to be something you have to work through,” Kingsbury said. “But I’ve said all along, Byron Murphy and Tramaine Brock have done really good things throughout camp. Chris Jones continues to ascend. So we’ll make it work.”

It’s unknown who will be the starting cornerback opposite Brock in the base defense, but Murphy and Jones figure to play together often in nickel packages.

“Me and Byron have grown pretty close,” Jones said. “Cool dude. He’s just as hungry as I am. We both take the field the same way, same mindset. We’re going out there to be the best we can be and hopefully help this team as much as we can.”

The Cardinals must try to keep in check Detroit gunslinger Matthew Stafford and a receiver corps that includes Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola.

“Playing the position, we automatically know everything is not going to be perfect,” Jones said. “We’re going against great receivers every week, so it’s not going to be a perfect game. They’re going to catch the ball. They get paid to catch the ball. We get paid to cover. Every once in awhile it’s going to happen, but how do you respond? If you give up a catch, stop them the next time.”

LIONS SIGN FORMER CARDINAL KANOFF TO PRACTICE SQUAD

The Lions signed former Cardinals quarterback Charles Kanoff to their practice squad on Wednesday, likely in hopes of boosting their strategic preparation for the opener.

Kanoff was with the Cardinals all offseason until getting cut Saturday. Kingsbury seemed unaffected when asked what Kanoff could share with the Lions’ coaching staff.

“Pretty much everything,” Kingsbury said sarcastically in a conference call with Detroit’s local media. “Whatever he says (is) exactly what we’re going to run in the game.”

CRABTREE STATUS FOR SUNDAY STILL UNKNOWN

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree logged a full practice on Wednesday, although it’s unclear if he will be active against Detroit. Crabtree signed with the Cardinals on Aug. 22 and is attempting to get up to speed mentally and physically.

“We like how he is progressing, but I don’t have an answer just yet,” Kingsbury said.

Linebacker Haason Reddick (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday. Reddick said he is taking things slowly to make sure there aren’t any setbacks from his arthroscopic surgery early in training camp.

“Whenever they feel like it’s time, I’m going to go out onto the field and ball out,” Reddick said.

Linebacker Ezekiel Turner (hand) was also limited, while rookie guard/center Lamont Gaillard (knee) did not practice. For the Lions, linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle), defensive end Trey Flowers (shoulder), defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (elbow), cornerback Rashaan Melvin (knee) and offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (ankle) were limited.

Images of the 53 players on the Cardinals' active roster as Week 1 approaches

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