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Prince Amukamara Adds To Cardinals' Cornerback Options

Notes: Jordan Phillips expected to play and attend funeral; Thompson working way back

Veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara is attempting to grasp the Cardinals' playbook quickly.
Veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara is attempting to grasp the Cardinals' playbook quickly.

The Cardinals are about to face an uptick in quarterback caliber, with Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, Cam Newton and Jared Goff on the schedule in the next couple of months.

As cornerback Patrick Peterson said on Thursday, "you can never have enough DBs," and Prince Amukamara is an intriguing option after the Cardinals signed him to the practice squad this week.

The 31-year-old Glendale product has practiced with the team the past two days as he tries to get up to speed quickly and become an option on the active roster. Amukamara, who was released by the Raiders at the end of the preseason, had Pro Football Focus coverage grades of 71.5, 76.2 and 69.6 the past three seasons.

"Prince is a smart guy, a veteran player," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. "Prince has been in a bunch of coverage schemes. It's basically terminology that Prince has to pick up. Once he gets that, he can play. And he's just a bright guy, such an experienced guy, that it won't take him long to get in the mix."

Peterson was the first cornerback taken in the 2011 draft, followed by Amukamara, who went to the Giants at No. 19 overall. Peterson said the pair has been friends since that time, and he believes Amukamara's big-game experience and mental prowess gives the Cardinals another option against passing offenses.

"Hopefully he can come in and contribute to this secondary," Peterson said.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has known Amukamara even longer than Peterson. The two met in 2006 when Fitzgerald presented Amukamara with one of the team's High School Player of the Week award for his exploits at Apollo High School.

"All the Arizona kids you sort of follow," Fitzgerald said. "I still remember meeting him under the awning there, outside of the practice facility. It's great to see the young kids grow into great professionals. He's put together a wonderful career for himself."


Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was worried that the NFL was going to force him to choose between playing against the Cowboys on Monday night or attending his father's funeral on Saturday.

However, he Tweeted that owner Michael Bidwill and the Cardinals have helped rectify the situation, which defensive coordinator Vance Joseph confirmed.

"He didn't want to choose between going to his dad's service and playing a football game," Joseph said. "I think we solved it, and it was the right thing to do for the kid. He wants to go see his family Saturday and play the football game on Monday. In my mind he was going to play the game, but I'm happy we solved it so he can do both."


Safety Jalen Thompson (ankle) has been designated to return from injured reserve, but the Cardinals don't have to activate him this week if he isn't ready to play. Joseph is not yet sure if he will be active against Dallas.

"He's been out for a couple weeks, so it takes time to feel your way back into it from a schematic standpoint," Joseph said. "Physically, he looked OK. We'll see how it goes with Jalen. He's back at practice, and if he's ready to go, he'll go. If not, we'll push it back one week."

Safety Chris Banjo (hamstring), who has missed the past two games, practiced fully on Thursday, as the Cardinals are much healthier at the position than they were a couple weeks ago.

The same cannot be said at outside linebacker, as Kylie Fitts (hamstring) and Dennis Gardeck (foot) did not practice and Devon Kennard (calf) was limited. Chandler Jones was placed on injured reserve Thursday, and the team signed outside linebacker Isaiah Irving from Denver's practice squad to replace him.

Guard J.R. Sweezy (elbow) and defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence (calf) also did not practice for the Cardinals.

For the Cowboys, defensive end Everson Griffen (not injury-related) did not practice. Pro Bowl linebacker Leighton Vander Esch reportedly practiced in full and seems on track to play for the first time since breaking his collarbone in the opener against the Rams.

Images of practice at the Dignity Health Training Center, presented by Hyundai.