When the New York Giants welcome the Arizona Cardinals into MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon, they’ll also be welcoming the return of one of Arizona’s most notable “big-ticket free agent” signings.
ALL the latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Cardinals Activate Phillips & Peterson, Place Joseph on IR
Among a slew of roster moves ahead of the Week 14 contest, the Cardinals announced on Saturday that they have activated defensive tackle, Jordan Phillips, from Injured Reserve “in time to play against the Giants Sunday.” Phillips, who was inked to a three-year $30M deal this past March, has missed Arizona’s last four games with a hamstring injury.
Other moves include the activation of cornerback Kevin Peterson from IR, which corresponds with fellow cornerback Jonathan Joseph landing on IR with a neck injury. Defensive lineman Trevon Conley was released to free up space for the players returning from IR.
Cardinals Rule Out K Zane Gonzalez, Elevate Mike Nugent
Furthermore, the Cardinals have downgraded kicker Zane Gonzalez to out for Sunday’s game. Originally listed as questionable with a back injury, the placekicker has hit on 16 of his 22 field goal attempts this season, including a long of 56 yards. Veteran Mike Nugent, who spent the 2017 preseason as a member of the Giants, has been elevated to Arizona’s active roster to man the kicking duties in Gonzalez’s absence.
Joining Nugent as a practice squad elevation is tight end Seth DeValve, his second such elevation in as many weeks. The 27-year-old logged two snaps for the Cardinals in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams. His most prolific season to date came back in 2017 where he hauled in 33 of 58 targets for 395 yards and one touchdown as a member of the Cleveland Browns.
What the Return of Phillips Means for the Cardinals
The last time we saw the Arizona Cardinals take the football field, they were being gashed by the likes of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. The Rams totaled 119 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground against the Cardinals a week ago. On the season, Arizona allows 123.0 rushing ypg, 12th-most in the NFL. Over their last three contests, they’ve seen that average jump up to 131.3 ypg.
Over that same three-game period, the Giants rank third in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 161.0 ypg, thanks in large part to the ascending play of running back Wayne Gallman. The fourth-year pro is fresh off a career-high 135-yard performance against the Seattle Seahawks. He’s now rushed for at least 94 yards in back-to-back weeks and has totaled 428 rushing yards and six touchdowns since Week 7.
Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is hopeful that the return of Phillips will help mitigate the production of one of football’s most prolific rushing attacks over the past month.
“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,” 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,” he said. “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.”
Follow Heavy on Giants Facebook for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!
- Giants Place Another DB on IR; Add Versatile 1st-Team All-Big Ten Selection
- Seahawks Pro Bowler Slams Giants; Jamal Adams Gets Blunt
- Giants Final Injury Report: Latest on Daniel Jones & Blake Martinez’s Status
- Projected Pro Bowler Eyeing Exit From Giants?: Report