Cardinals Place Important Offensive Anchor on Injured Reserve

Getty Images Rodney Hudson during the first half of the preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys in 2021.

It truly never ends for the 5-0 Arizona Cardinals when it comes to injuries and now COVID-19. There used to be a time when luck was on the Cardinals’ side pertaining to injuries.

The Cardinals announced on October 16 that All-Pro center Rodney Hudson will be placed on injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least the next three games.

The three-time Pro Bowler has been a tremendous addition in 2021 and has yet to allow a single pressure according to olinestats.com. The veteran has also only missed one game since 2016. Hudson was already out against the Cleveland Browns so that guarantees he’s out versus the Houston Texans as well as a short week on Thursday Night Football with the Green Bay Packers.

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Center Max Garcia did a good job replacing Hudson against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half and will remain the starting center.

Also, the Cardinals activated offensive lineman Josh Miles and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips. Phillips signed a three-year $30 million contract in 2019 and hasn’t lived up to it yet, dealing with numerous injuries since.

Arizona has also elevated tight-end Ross Travis from the practice squad. Offensive lineman Danny Isidora and linebacker Joe Walker were also elevated from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements.

Additionally, tight end Richard Rodgers, who was signed to the practice squad this week, was released.

There are so many injury concerns for the Cardinals that we will get to. But first, more on the loss of Hudson.


Next Man Up

As previously written, Hudson’s absence can’t be overstated enough. This will hurt the Cards. At the same time, Kyler Murray still believes in the team with Hudson down.

“As a team, Hudson is a captain of ours, a guy that we look to, one of our leaders, the anchor in the middle,” Murray said. “Obviously, we got to hold it down while he’s out, that’s the mindset.”

This means that 29-year-old Max Garcia will have the replace Hudson. Garcia is in his third season with the Cardinals and has been in the league since 2015. He’s also played in 42% of the Cardinals’ offensive plays, lining up at right guard and center due to injuries. Garcia started at right guard against the Rams in Week 4 and was effective.

Even Garcia knows how tough that will be.

“I understand why he has been so valuable to offensive lines,” said backup center Max Garcia. “He’s like having a quarterback out there. You can’t replace someone like that.”

Garcia played extremely well against the 49ers. According to Pro Football Focus, Garcia played great as an offensive blocker with a 79.8 grade. Now, he’ll have to replicate that against the Browns who have a stingy defensive line.


Injury & COVID Updates

Arizona will not have edge rusher Chandler Jones or defensive lineman Zach Allen available against the Browns due to positive COVID-19 tests.

But what struck the Cardinals’ world on October 15 was almost the tip of the iceberg. Coach Kliff Kingsbury also tested positive as well as general manager Steve Keim and both will not be present with the team in Cleveland.

There is one positive to take away from the Cards’ decisions on October 16. Arizona didn’t elevate a cornerback, which could mean one or both of Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson have a chance of playing on Sunday. Murphy and Wilson were listed as game-time decisions on October 15.

That’s definitely a pair of starters to watch for heading into Sunday’s matchup.


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