It's the kind of news the Cardinals didn’t need. Injuries will sideline a starting receiver (Larry Fitzgerald), the starting right guard (Milford Brown) and the starting nose tackle (Kendrick Clancy) when the Chicago Bears visit in a week for "Monday Night Football."
Fitzgerald will be out at least two weeks, coach Dennis Green said, although he added it could be as much as four or five.
And for all the optimism brought about by the first start of quarterback Matt Leinart, life remains gloomy for the Cardinals.
With a 1-4 record for the fourth straight year, Green said, “We’re progressing in everything except the record.” Then the coach rattled off a laundry list of things the Cards aren’t doing well, including a drop-off in the passing game, a lack of a running game, an up-and-down run defense, an unproductive pass rush and inconsistent special teams.
“(The progress) is not showing up on the football field,” Green said.
In the end, of course, the field is the only place that matters.
It seems like a bad time to be facing the 5-0 Bears, especially for a team smarting from yet another close loss Sunday and increasingly frustrated that results are not showing on the scoreboard.
“It’s hard to lose,” safety Adrian Wilson said after the 23-20 loss to Kansas City. “We know what kind of beast we have to deal with next week. It’s not going to be a walk in the park.”
Now they have to bounce back short-handed.
Fitzgerald, who was hurt late in the first quarter Sunday, was limping noticeably Monday at the team facility. Green said Fitzgerald might have a slight tear in the hamstring. Brown (left ankle) and Clancy (right ankle) wore matching walking boots as they arrived for treatment, and both could end up missing multiple games. Brown said after the game he was afraid he had torn ligaments, but Green said the team thought it was just a bad sprain. The same went for Clancy.
The Cards will sign Carlyle Holiday from the practice squad to give themselves a fourth receiver. And while Green said he was undecided who the No. 2 receiver behind Anquan Boldin will be, it will likely be Bryant Johnson, with Troy Walters filling the third wideout role.
Green praised the play of rookie defensive tackle Gabe Watson, who will take Clancy’s spot. And fellow rookie Deuce Lutui may get the chance to start for Brown, although Green would not commit to that plan.
One thing Green does want to commit to is running the ball more often. Green, who took it upon himself to call a handful of plays Sunday, agreed with Edgerrin James’ postgame complaints that the Cards abandoned the run game.
Green wasn’t nearly as strong as James — “We just got away from the run, that’s the stupidest (expletive) thing,” James said Sunday — but he noted that the Cards have too many runs that produce too little. Of James’ 24 carries, 14 gained 2 yards or less. By comparison, only six carries netted at least 5 yards.
Green also acknowledged the back-to-back James attempts for no yards early in the fourth quarter — when the Cards needed just 1 yard for a first down — may have affected the play calling.
“We didn’t rise up and knock them off the ball,” Green said. “That affected the game, not just how many times you run the football.”
Green said the Cardinals weren’t throwing enough deep passes, which allowed Chiefs cornerback Ty Law to sit on the route in which Leinart threw his interception. But Green also said that pick, and the sack Leinart took in the fourth quarter instead of throwing the ball away, were Leinart’s only bad plays. . . .
Green said linebacker Karlos Dansby played his best game and was “coming on.” Dansby played significantly more time than starter Calvin Pace, but when asked if he was considering putting Dansby in the starting lineup, Green said “We’ll see.” . . .
Linebacker James Darling (calf) may not be able to return to practice yet after reinjuring himself in practice last week.