Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Cardinals place Branch, Johnson on injured reserve

The Arizona Cardinals made a number of roster moves Tuesday to account for the losses of Chris Johnson and Tyvon Branch.

Through the first four weeks of the season, the Cardinals haven't been able to catch a break. 

On Tuesday, that trend continued for Arizona, as it place veteran running back Chris Johnson and offseason free agent acquisition, safety Tyvon Branch, on injured reserve.

Both Branch and Johnson suffered severe groin injuries during Sunday's game against Los Angeles, as Johnson was injured on a run play while Branch re-aggravated his groin injury while defending against a Rams' pass attempt.

Branch and Johnson join tight end Troy Niklas and cornerback Mike Jenkins on the team's injured reserve list. Niklas was placed on injured reserve last week after suffering a wrist injury while Jenkins was placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL during the preseason.

Johnson's injury marks the second straight season he's been placed on injured reserve, as he suffered a foot injury last December that forced the Cardinals to place him on injured reserve. Johnson has primarily served as the team's No. 2 running back this season behind starter David Johnson, but was the starter at the time of his injury last year.

The Cardinals also decided to part ways with veteran punter Drew Butler Tuesday, as the team reached an injury settlement with Butler less than a week and a half after he suffered an Achilles' injury against Buffalo. Butler's injury forced Arizona to sign former New York Jets' punter Ryan Quigley last week, and Quigley handled the punting duties and held for field goal attempts Sunday against Los Angeles.

Arizona was among the league's worst teams in punting average and net punting last season, and Butler had the worst averages of any punter in the league during 2016 prior to his injury.

With three spots coming open on the team's 53-man roster Tuesday, Arizona signed running back Kerwynn Williams who spent the preseason with the Cardinals and elevated quarterback Zac Dysert and wide receiver Brittan Golden from the team's practice squad.

Dysert won the Cardinals' competition for the de facto third-string quarterback job behind backup Drew Stanton following the preseason when he and Aaron Murray battled for the job. Dysert was activated to the active roster in the event that starter Carson Palmer is not cleared to play this Thursday in San Francisco.

Palmer suffered a concussion on a sack during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Rams, and Stanton finished the game with two interceptions on the team's final two drives. 

Williams played in five regular season games with the Cardinals in 2014 and played in six regular season games with Arizona in 2015. The former undrafted free agent out of Utah State has 388 career rushing yards on 80 attempts, a 4.9 yards per carry average.

Golden played all 16 games with the Cardinals last season as a special teams asset, and nearly made the active roster out of training camp as Arizona's sixth receiver. After being cut and clearing waivers, Golden spent the first four weeks of the season on Arizona's practice squad. 


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