Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Four defensive linemen out for Arizona against Buffalo

Arizona is without rookie defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche for Sunday's contest in Buffalo.

The Arizona Cardinals' most surprising roster move following the preseason was the decision to keep nine defensive linemen on the team's 53-man roster, but so far, head coach Bruce Arians hasn't had the opportunity to show off the team's depth within the unit.

The Cardinals had three defensive linemen inactive for their first two contests and on Sunday morning, Arizona announced four defensive linemen are among the seven inactive players for the team's week three battle with the Bills.

First round draft choice Robert Nkemdiche is the most notable inactive player for the Cardinals, as he was limited in practice this week due to an ankle injury that kept him out of action for a large chunk of the preseason. After an underwhelming opening week against New England, Nkemdiche missed last Sunday's game against Tampa Bay after he tweaked his ankle on Friday. 

Earlier this week, Arians said Nkemdiche hasn't had enough practice reps for him to be able to make an impact, but Nkemdiche's week three absence means Arizona will have kept its first round draft pick inactive for 18 of the last 19 games as second-year player D.J. Humphries essentially took a redshirt season in 2015 as he sat out all of last year.

Aside from Nkemdiche, defensive linemen Xavier WilliamsOlsen Pierre and Frostee Rucker are out Sunday, with Williams and Pierre being healthy scratches. Rucker was held out of practices this week with a knee injury.

Right guard Evan Mathis did not make the trip to Buffalo, so for the first time this season, rookie offensive guard Cole Toner and journeyman offensive tackle John Wetzel are both active. With Mathis out for Sunday, reserve offensive lineman Earl Watford will make his third career start for Arizona. 

Sunday's game is the first of five trips to the eastern time zone for Arizona this season, but one of only three trips in which the team is playing outdoors. Two of the team's road trips this season come against teams who play with domes, so with a trip to Buffalo coming in September, the Cardinals largely miss the opportunity to play in bad weather. 

The Cardinals are also fortunate as the team will not face Bills' receiver Sammy Watkins, who is inactive for Sunday's game with a foot injury. 


CardinalsSource Top Stories