It's hard to imagine a more costly loss for the Arizona Cardinals than the one they suffered this Sunday in Miami.
Not only did Arizona nearly fall out of playoff contention with a 26-23 defeat at the hands of the Dolphins, the Cardinals suffered three key injuries as the team placed linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle), safety Tyvon Branch (groin), and offensive tackle Ulrick John (shoulder) on injured reserve on Tuesday.
Bucannon and John become the 12th and 13th different players the Cardinals have placed on injured reserve this season, while Branch's groin injury forced Arizona to place him on the list for the second time this season. Branch initially suffered a groin injury in week four against Los Angeles, and re-aggravated the injury Sunday in Miami.
Aside from losing three starters, the Cardinals elected to part ways with Drew Butler, releasing the veteran punter for the second time this season. Butler was released after the team's loss in Buffalo this year with an injury settlement, but was resigned in November prior to Arizona's loss in Minnesota.
With four roster spots open, the Cardinals filled three of them Tuesday as the team elevated quarterback Zac Dysert and punter Matt Wile from the practice squad while also announcing the signing of linebacker Scooby Wright off of the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.
Dysert spent the season leading Arizona's practice squad after failing to make the Dolphins' roster out of preseason camp, and has spent time with the Broncos, Texans and Bills practice squads at various points during his NFL career. Dysert is a product of Miami (Ohio).
Wile made his lone NFL appearance earlier this season for the Atlanta Falcons, as he filled in for the team's injured punter for a single week before being released. In that contest, which came against Arizona, Wile booted punts of 57 and 59 yards. Arizona signed him to the team's practice squad last week, and head coach Bruce Arians indicated that if Wile could learn how to hold field goals for kicker Chandler Catanzaro, then he would receive an opportunity to earn the team's starting punter job.
Wright was signed Tuesday off of the Browns' practice squad, where he has spent the duration of the 2016 season. Though Wright was a seventh round draft pick and recorded eight tackles in the preseason, he failed to make Cleveland's 53-man roster and was never elevated to the active roster for the 0-13 Browns during the regular season.
In the closing stages of the NFL Draft, the Cardinals had reportedly expressed interest in signing Wright as an undrafted free agent after the draft concluded, but Cleveland's seventh-round selection of Wright spoiled those plans.
With three of the roster vacancies now filled, the Cardinals have room to add one more player to the team's 53-man roster ahead of this week's matchup with the Saints.
At 5-7-1, Arizona's playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread, and the Cardinals could be eliminated as soon as this Sunday. Arizona hosts New Orleans at home on Sunday before finishing the season on the road against Seattle and Los Angeles.null