Cardinals Healthier Following Bye Week

The bye week allowed several Cardinals additional time to heal and the team is hopeful that will pay dividends down the line.

Like most teams, the Cardinals would have preferred their off week to come closer to midseason. But it was hard to argue with the timing on Wednesday, when every player participated in at least some of practice.

Seven players who were nursing injuries returned to practice, including three who could play important roles Sunday in Seattle.

Receivers Steve Breaston (knee) and Early Doucet (hernia) should fill the No. 2 and 3 jobs against the Seahawks. And inside linebacker Gerald Hayes, who spent six weeks on the physically unable to perform list because of back surgery, likely will be a spot player.

Hayes, a starter the past four years, will be worked back into the lineup gradually. It's doubtful he will play more than 20 or so snaps Sunday.

Eventually, however, he could assume his old job at the strong inside spot, with Paris Lenon moving to the weak inside position.

That would send rookie Daryl Washington to the bench, which would give the Cardinals enough depth to give both Hayes and Lenon rest during a game.

The return of Breaston and Doucet will have a more immediate impact. Breaston, a starter, has missed two games because of knee surgery. Doucet hasn't played since undergoing surgery the week after the opening game.

In the meantime, the Cardinals have used a rotation of rookies along with Larry Fitzgerald. Those young players -- Stephen Williams, Max Komar and Andre Roberts -- have improved, but the club has paid a price for having to rush them into action.

The Cardinals are ranked 31st in total offense and 30th in passing.

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