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Final Blow To Original O-Line: D.J. Humphries To IR; Cardinals Sign Joe Barksdale

Injured tackle D.J. Humphries talks with replacement Korey Cunningham last month during the Cardinals' game against the Raiders.
Injured tackle D.J. Humphries talks with replacement Korey Cunningham last month during the Cardinals' game against the Raiders.

For those counting at home, the number is now zero – as in zero Cardinals’ offensive linemen left playing in 2018 that were part of the original starting lineup heading into training camp.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries, who suffered a setback to his injured knee last week, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday to end his season. Replacing him on the roster is Joe Barksdale, who was released by the Chargers this week.

The team also added offensive lineman Rees Odhiambo Wednesday by signing him off the Colts’ practice squad.

Barksdale and Odhiambo become the latest possibilities to help an offensive line that has been decimated.

"We can't worry about what we don't have," coach Steve Wilks said after Wednesday's practice. "We've got to go play a football game."

Left guard Mike Iupati (knee) went on IR Tuesday. Right guard Justin Pugh went on IR Nov. 13 with a knee injury. Starting center A.Q. Shipley suffered a season-ending knee injury back on Aug. 4, early in training camp, and has been on IR since. Starting right tackle Andre Smith played so poorly he was released last week.

Wilks said shutting Humphries down was done in hopes he will not have to have major surgery. That is yet to be determined, Wilks added.

With Humphries done, rookie Korey Cunningham – who had already been playing in place of Humphries – will remain at left tackle. The downside there is that Cunningham will not have a chance to work on the right side, which was the plan once Humphries returned in preparation for 2019.

Will Holden, who just signed last week, is the right tackle "right now." Oday Aboushi (signed Oct. 23) and rookie Colby Gossett (signed Oct. 30) are the right and left guards. Rookie Mason Cole, who took over when Shipley went down, is still at center.

"We'll see how things go this week," Wilks said.

Not only are the top four linemen on IR, so too was the top reserve coming into the season. Tackle/guard John Wetzel has been on IR since Nov. 3 with a neck problem. Guard Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) is also on IR.

"It's a little different in the fact you have to grasp the offense so much faster, because we don't have the luxury of being here all year before being plugged in to play," Aboushi said of all the late-arriving pieces. "It's tough, but at the end of the day we are all professionals expected to go in there and perform. Whether that's extra meeting time with the coaches or spending more time in the playbook or asking more questions, whatever you have to do to be able to perform is what's expected. That comes with being in the NFL."

Barksdale was released after being a late scratch for personal reasons prior to the Chargers’ Sunday night game against the Steelers. He was a former starter at right tackle who had been in a reserve role for Los Angeles, so he could be a potential answer at right tackle. Holden also has worked at guard, so there are myriad ways the Cardinals can reconstruct the line for the final month.

Odhiambo, a one-time 2016 third-round draft pick of Seattle, is the second offensive lineman the Cardinals have signed from the Indianapolis practice squad this season, following Zack Golditch. Odhiambo started seven games for Seattle in 2017 before a hand injury ended his season. Earlier this season, he was signed to the Falcons’ active roster off the Colts’ practice squad, before being released and going back to Indianapolis.

"Everyone does their part," said Cole, who as a rookie is the longest tenured member of the starting line. "Playing center, you carry a little bit more of the (leadership) role, but Oday has been in the league for six years, and even the guys who aren't in the starting lineup have done a good job leading this whole group and bringing everyone along."

BAKER, BUCANNON SIT OUT

With so many moves to injured reserve this week, the Cardinals' injury report shrunk. Safety Budda Baker (knee) and linebacker Deone Bucannon (chest) sat out Wednesday, as did wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who got his normal rest day. Defensive end Markus Golden (knee) was limited.

For the Lions, running back Kerryon Johnson (knee), linebacker Devon Kennard (hip) and linebacker Trevor Bates (ankle) did not practice. Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (neck), fullback Nick Bellore (ankle), wide receiver Bruce Ellington (back), wide receiver Kenny Golliday (quadricep), wide receiver Brandon Powell (calf) and quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) were limited.

THREE ADDED TO PRACTICE SQUAD

The Cardinals filled out their practice squad Wednesday as well, signing wide receiver Malachi Dupre, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and bringing back defensive tackle Pasoni Tasini.

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