There have been two players that have been at the forefront of the "everyone needs to be a pro and play hard the balance of the season" for the Cardinals.
One is J.J. Watt, and the defensive end has played excellent of late in backing up his words.
The other is Budda Baker, except now the safety – and lone Cardinals Pro Bowler – appears done for the season after fracturing his shoulder during Sunday night's loss to the Buccaneers.
"I can't say enough good things about him," coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday afternoon during the taping of Cardinals Game Plan, his weekly TV show. "The performance that he gives each and every day in practice and in the games, he's on the sideline acting like it's a bruise or something and plays the entire game and it turns out it's a fracture. It tells you all you need to know about the type of teammate and person he is."
Baker played all 81 defensive snaps in Sunday's game. Earlier this season, Baker seriously sprained his ankle against the Seahawks, and yet played the following week against the Rams even after Kingsbury had declared him out early in the week.
The Cardinals have two road games left, in Atlanta and San Francisco. It'll be up to Watt – and others – to carry the torch with Baker out.
"It's (been) inspiring," Kingsbury said of Baker and Watt. "If guys who have done it all, made all the money they can make, been Pro Bowlers, been All-Pros, can do it each and every day in practice and sell out in a game when their team is out of playoff contention, why can you? And how can't you? They really set the tone in that locker room."
The Cardinals also lost long snapper Aaron Brewer, placing him on Injured Reserve and ending his season after he hurt his right pectoral muscle against the Bucs. To replace him on the roster, the Cardinals claimed cornerback Josh Jackson off waivers from the Steelers. Jackson had been with the Cardinals during training camp and the preseason.
Kingsbury did say there is a chance quarterback Colt McCoy could return this week if he comes out of concussion protocol.
"I'm not sure where that is going to be," Kingsbury said, "but that's our hope."
Trace McSorley "battled" in his first NFL start. He'll stay in the lineup if McCoy is not ready to play yet.
"It wasn't always perfect but he gave us a chance to win at the end," Kingsbury said of McSorley's performance.
There is an option of just letting McSorley finish out the season regardless of McCoy's status, but Kingsbury said he wants to give McCoy the chance to get back on the field.
"He brings a calmness, and he brings a great feel for what we are trying to do," Kingsbury said. "The leadership of getting people in the right spot, getting the right calls, checking the right plays, that's a comfort level we all have when he is out there. I'd love to get him some confidence and playing well a couple more times going into the offseason."
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Defensive lineman Trysten Hill, who was carted off the field with a knee injury, may not have had any serious damage done, Kingsbury said, but with two games left it becomes less likely he will be able to return.
Cornerback Marco Wilson, who left with a stinger after making two interceptions, will be day-to-day, Kingsbury said. Wilson has been dealing with a similar issue the past few weeks.
The top images taken by the Cardinals team photographer during the 2022 Week 16 regular season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, presented by Earnhardt Auto Centers.