The Arizona Cardinals were missing three key offensive weapons at practice on Wednesday among six total starters absent as the team started its preparations for its Week 13 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.
Wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Michael Wilson and tight end Trey McBride were among the six Cardinals that did not suit up for Wednesday’s session.
Brown has been dealing with a heel injury, but was able to play through it on Sunday, when he caught six passes for 88 yards in the Cardinals’ 37-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Brown was clearly less than 100% despite playing in the game.
“It’s one of those things that you just need to toughen up, and I was able to,” Brown said to AZCardinals.com. “Didn’t get the results we wanted, so it was unfortunate.”
Brown has been Arizona’s top receiving threat this season. He is first on the team in targets (98), catches (51), receiving yards (574) and receiving touchdowns (4).
Wilson, a third-round rookie out of Stanford, has developed into a quality second wide receiver, but he has been sidelined since Nov. 12 with a shoulder injury. He also did not practice at all last week, and with Arizona’s bye coming up in Week 14, the Cardinals may choose to wait a week to bring the young wide receiver back into the fold.
Without Wilson, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch have stepped into bigger roles, but the pair of 5-foot-7 slot receivers do not have Wilson’s size or strength.
Tight end Trey McBride has actually been Arizona’s second-leading receiving target this season, and he also missed practice on Wednesday.
McBride is dealing with a groin injury, and is a new addition to the Arizona injury list. He played on Sunday and hauled in seven catches for 60 yards against the Rams.
The second-year tight end took over as the starter after Zach Ertz went down with a season-ending injury and has responded well. He is second on the team in targets (65), receptions (48) and yards (521).
Without McBride, veteran Geoff Swaim and rookie Elijah Higgins are the next tight ends on the Cardinals’ depth chart. Swaim is primarily a block. Higgins is a rookie that has just three career catches.
Also missing from Cardinals practice on Wednesday were a trio of defensive backs: starting cornerbacks Antonio Hamilton (groin) and Starling Thomas V (ankle) and starting strong safety Jalen Thompson (ribs)
Rookie Kei’Trel Clark and third-year man Marco Wilson are the backup outside cornerbacks. Backup strong safety Joey Blount was limited with a knee injury. Andre Chachere is the other backup safety.
In addition to Blount, defensive end Kevin Strong was also limited with a knee injury.