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With Reported Alford Injury, Cardinals Have Familiar CB Issue

Veteran missed all of 2019 season after broken leg

Patrick Peterson has confidence he is primed for a big comeback year after a season marred by his suspension. The idea was that he and Robert Alford were going to tag-team that concept at cornerback after Alford's broken leg cost him all of 2019.

But now that Alford doesn't look like he'll be available -- the NFL Network reported Monday Alford tore his pectoral muscle in practice Sunday, and he was not around in the open portion of practice Monday -- coach Kliff Kingsbury is in a familiar albeit unenviable spot. Last year, it was Alford who was supposed to hold the fort at No. 1 while Peterson was suspended. When Alford got hurt, it fell to rookie Byron Murphy -- who did play more than 1,000 snaps but who coaches decided made more sense at the slot corner this year.

But that was with Peterson and Alford. If there isn't any Alford, a move would seem to be in order. The Cards liked their top three guys a lot. Beyond that? Kevin Peterson probably was the No. 4. Chris Jones was probably the No. 5. But the Cardinals might've thought about adding depth there anyway. Now it would seem important. Whether they can find someone worthy of a lot of snaps is a different consideration.

It's not just rough for Alford. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was hamstrung last year by injuries and other out-of-his-control issues, and his thought process when he arrived was to build a defense around two cornerbacks that could play press-man and free up the other guys. Cornerbacks like Peterson and Alford. Now he may have to make his defense work missing a piece. Again.

CB Robert Alford at a training camp practice in 2020