Virus keeps Kingsbury from practice as Cardinals prep for Texans

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 10: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 17-10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Linebacker Chandler Jones was back at Arizona’s practice facility on Friday. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was not.

The undefeated Cardinals are still sifting through COVID-19 issues as they prepare to face the Houston Texans on Sunday. Arizona’s trying to push to 7-0 for the first time since 1974.

Kingsbury, quarterbacks coach Cam Turner, Jones and defensive linemen Zach Allen and Corey Peters all missed last week’s 37-14 win over the Cleveland Browns after testing positive on the virus. So far, only Turner and Jones have returned.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Kingsbury is "getting better by the day" and the team is still hoping he’d be cleared by Sunday. Joseph added that if Kingsbury’s not available, the Cardinals would go with a similar plan as last week’s game in Cleveland, where Joseph was in charge of the defense and assistant receivers coach Spencer Whipple called the offensive plays.

Kingsbury has been able to handle all the offensive meetings virtually from his home.

"The plan that we have on that side of the ball is Kliff’s plan, even with the virtual stuff," Joseph said. "It’s like he’s in the room with us. Nothing’s changed from a prep standpoint."

Jones was out for more than a week after being put on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Oct. 12. The 31-year-old edge rusher had five sacks in the season opener against the Tennesee Titans, which earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Kingsbury said last week that Jones was experiencing symptoms from the virus. It’s unclear if he’ll play against the Texans.

"We’re just gauging his physical nature, basically to see how much he can play or if he can play," Joseph said. "He’s here, he’s smiling, he’s in good spirits. We’ll see how it works out."

The Cardinals have a quick turnaround after Sunday’s game. They’ll host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.


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