The Cardinals didn’t have head coach Kliff Kingsbury or quarterbacks coach Cam Turner. They didn’t have edge rusher Chandler Jones or defensive tackle Zach Allen. They lost Corey Peters to a positive COVID-19 test Sunday morning. Even General Manager Steve Keim stayed home while recovering from the virus.
The Cardinals, though, didn’t let COVID-19 or the Browns stand in their way Sunday.
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who shared head-coaching responsibilities with assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers in Kingsbury’s absence, admitted it was a “rough week.”
The Cardinals were prepared when Peters’ test came back positive the day of the game. Kenny Bell, the assistant to the head coach, suggested the team travel with an extra defensive lineman in case Allen’s positive test led to other defensive linemen testing positive. Practice squad defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter made the trip and was elevated to the active roster as a COVID-19 replacement.
Joseph said he was unsure how Peters would get back to Arizona but said Peters was “in good spirits and he is happy for the team.”
The Cardinals have had 20 players placed on the COVID-19 reserve list this year, along with four coaches and three staff members. They remain concerned that, even with enhanced protocols in place, the spread of COVID-19 might not be curtailed.
“I think everyone is nervous about the COVID issues,” Joseph said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “It is a moving target. Obviously, if you have one positive, there can be two or three more. I’m surprised there weren’t more. Right now it’s a moving target. We’ll see what the league gives us this week as far as protocols.
“It speaks to our young guys and our reserve players who can step up and play for us. Everyone is dealing with this. We had our bad stint right now, but it’s not going away.”
Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill called Kingsbury on FaceTime after the win, and Weinfuss reports Kingsbury is asymptomatic.
“He is fine,” Joseph said. “He is happy obviously and he is at home recovering.”