The Cardinals are getting some help on the defensive line, with Jordan Phillips activated Saturday from Injured Reserve in time to play against the Giants Sunday.
The Phillips move is one of many the Cards made, including activating cornerback Kevin Peterson from IR. That was needed with fellow cornerback Johnathan Joseph landing on IR with his neck injury.
The Cardinals also downgraded kicker Zane Gonzalez, who showed up on the injury report as questionable with a back injury, to out for Sunday's game. That necessitated elevating veteran kicker Mike Nugent to play against the Giants.
To make room for the IR returns, the Cards released defensive lineman Trevon Coley. Tight end Seth DeValve joined Nugent as a practice-squad elevation.
Nugent has spent the season on the practice squad as a COVID emergency option. The veteran -- he came into the league in 2005 and actually kicked for the Cardinals as a Neil Rackers injury replacement in 2009 -- made 5-of-8 field goals and 15-of-16 extra points for the Patriots in four games in 2019. Gonzalez has struggled of late with pressure kicks, missing a potential game-winner against the Patriots two weeks ago and missing a field goal at the end of the first half last week against the Rams.
The return of Phillips is crucial to a defense that has struggled in the absence of both he and Corey Peters, who is out for the season.
"When you are missing one of your better defensive linemen (in Phillips), or even a Chandler Jones or a Corey Peters, you're missing that a team has to account for those guys," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. "You can kind of use those guys to free others up. When they are not accounting for a special pass rusher on first, second or third down, you can get a blend of protections that you can't dictate from a defensive perspective.
"When Jordan is out there, I know that center is going to slide to Jordan. He can go straight back. If Corey is in there, I know he'll slide to Corey. If Chandler is in, I know that tackle is kicking to Chandler. Those things you know and are guarantees when you have those bell cow rushers. Without those guys out there, it's tough to dictate or even predict what is going to happen."