Due to his consistent availability, D.J. Humphries has been one of the Cardinals' most dependable offensive lineman.
But an active streak of 47 straight games will end Sunday after Humphries landed in Covid protocols on Thursday.
Through 16 games, the Cardinals have used eight different starting combinations on the offensive line. With Humphries, the Cardinals' only offensive player to start every game this season up until now, that number will increase to nine.
Kliff Kingsbury said offensive linemen Kelvin Beachum, Joshua Miles, and Josh Jones could replace the starting left tackle on Sunday, but no decision has officially been made yet. Beachum is the starting right tackle but he played left tackle his entire career before coming to the Cardinals. Miles is the listed backup to Humphries. Jones, who has mostly played guard this season, also has played right tackle, but he was a left tackle in college.
"We're working through it," Kingsbury said. "It will be a combination of those three guys, maybe multiple. We'll kind of see who is most comfortable there and go from there."
The offensive line did get Sean Harlow back Friday when he was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Harlow went on the list on Monday.
Aside from Humphries, the Cardinals have linebacker Markus Golden, linebacker Devon Kennard and corneback Breon Borders on the Covid list. Since the NFL and NFLPA agreed to shorten the isolation period from 10 days to five, players who tested positive earlier this week – like Golden – have a chance to return before Week 17 kickoff.
"It's going to be close," Kingsbury said. "We'll see. We just have to play that out and see where it stands."
HUDSON WILL PLAY
Center Rodney Hudson will also return Sunday after missing the previous two games on the Covid list. Kingsbury said he feels Hudson's conditioning is in a good place ahead of Sunday's matchup. Hudson did not have an injury designation Friday, indicating he will play.
"He's been good," Kingsbury said. "I thought we had a good plan; our strength staff did a good job bringing him along. And I thought he practiced at a high level. I'm sure there will be moments in the game where he's a bit tired, but that's just how it goes."
Kingsbury said running back James Conner (heel) and wide receiver Rondale Moore (ankle) remain game-time decisions on Sunday, adding if Conner missed his second consecutive game, he believes Chase Edmonds is fully capable of handling the load.
"I thought he played at a high-level last week, and I feel like that was good to get one back under his belt after missing an extended period of time," Kingsbury said. "We expect him to be even better (on Sunday) if he's called upon to carry the load."
Defensive lineman Zach Allen (ankle), tight end Demetrius Harris (shoulder), safety Budda Baker (ribs) and Harlow are all officially questionable as well. Cornerback Marco Wilson (shoulder) and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (knee) will not play Sunday.
The Cowboys do not have anyone with an injury designation for the game.
THE 'NEVER FOLD' HAT
Markus Golden has worn a black ski cap reading "Never Fold" on it during press conferences this year, a hat created through Golden's foundation. On Friday, linebacker Dennis Gardeck sported the hat.
After joking about what the message means, Gardeck said it's a team message they stand upon when facing adversity.
"It's emphasizing that we never fold," Gardeck said. "I have to do my own laundry and hang everything. No, I'm just kidding. It just means there's no quit in us. It's all fight – doesn't matter what's going on – we're going to stand on our ten toes and be ready for a fight."