CINCINNATI – For a second time this season, the Cardinals have put their starting right tackle on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury.
Jordan Mills, signed as a free agent after the season began and who had started the past two games, was put on IR Saturday. Marcus Gilbert, who was the original plan as starting right tackle, tore his ACL in a practice leading into the season opener and was put on IR soon after.
Replacing Mills on the roster is tight end Darrell Daniels, whom the Cardinals promoted from the practice squad for a third time already this season.
Justin Murray, who had been the starter in the first two games of the season, now returns to that role.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury had praised both Murray and Mills for their fill-in work, and both had played in each of the last two games as the Cardinals continued to give them both snaps. Mills played 59 of the 75 snaps against Carolina, and then only 22 of 63 snaps last week despite starting – ostensibly hurting his knee at some point. Pro Football Focus had a 38.0 overall grade on Mills in his two games, struggles that probably helped keep Murray in the mix. Murray, who has a 50.3 grade on the season from PFF, graded better than Mills in each of the last two games.
Mills was limited in practice Wednesday but then didn’t practice Thursday or Friday and had already been ruled out for Sunday. The Cardinals are also unsure yet whether starting left guard Justin Pugh (shoulder) will be able to play Sunday. Pugh was limited in practice Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday.
With Mills’ trip to IR, the backup tackle role falls again to seventh-round rookie Joshua Miles, although Mason Cole – who would be Pugh’s fill-in if Pugh cannot play – has also taken tackle reps in practice.