Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury instructs his players before playing against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury to miss game after positive COVID test

Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Cardinals’ Sunday road game against the Cleveland Browns, the team announced Friday night.

The Cardinals stated that quarterbacks coach Cam Turner and defensive lineman Zach Allen also tested positive and won’t be at the contest.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers will share the head coaching duties for the Cardinals (5-0). Joseph spent two seasons as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, going 11-21 in 2017-18.

The team said other coaches would fill duties as needed.

The positive test for Kingsbury and the two others comes in the same week that three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Chandler Jones tested positive. He was placed on the COVID-19 list on Tuesday and is expected to miss Sunday’s game.

Kingsbury told reporters this week that the team is fully vaccinated.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles trade veteran TE Zach Ertz to Cardinals

The Philadelphia Eagles traded veteran tight end Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals on Friday in exchange for cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl LII champion, Ertz had been with the Eagles since 2013 and ranks second in franchise history with 579 receptions — 10 shy of record-holder Harold Carmichael.

Ertz, 30, caught four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown in a farewell performance Thursday night, a 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

“He will always be a member of the Eagles family, not only because of what he accomplished on the field, but also because of the wonderful person, dedicated leader, and exemplary role model that he was for nine seasons in Philadelphia,” Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said.

An emotional Ertz spoke Friday afternoon in Philadelphia.

“What a journey it’s been. What an amazing journey, what an amazing eight-plus years, nine years here,” Ertz said. “Obviously I’m extremely excited to be going to the Arizona Cardinals and play with a team that is rolling right now and be able to add my skill set to that team. Ecstatic about that situation.”

Still, he’s leaving a piece of himself behind.

“This is home. Philadelphia is home,” Ertz continued while choking up. “… I love this place. I’ve said it all along. It was a great opportunity to be here. I loved it here.”

Drafted in the second round out of Stanford in 2013, Ertz finishes his Eagles career with 6,267 yards and 38 touchdowns in 123 games (85 starts). He posted career highs in 2018 with 116 receptions for 1,163 yards and eight scores.

Ertz caught seven passes for 67 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia’s 41-33 victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Ertz reportedly was seeking a new contract from the Eagles but has not yet discussed his contract situation with the Cardinals, according to ESPN. He is owed about $5.5 million for the remainder of this season.

Although not eligible to play this Sunday when Arizona (5-0) visits the Cleveland Browns (3-2), Ertz is in line to take over for the injured Maxx Williams. Williams, 27, is out for the season with a knee injury suffered in last Sunday’s 17-10 victory against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Cardinals’ tight end depth chart also includes Darrell Daniels and Demetrius Harris.

Dallas Goedert, the Eagles’ other top tight end, missed Thursday night’s game on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Gowan, 23, is a rookie sixth-round pick out of UCF and had yet to play for the Cardinals this season.

–Field Level Media

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) looks towards the scoreboard during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in Glendale, Ariz. Sept. 19, 2021.

Cardinals Vs Vikings

Report: 3 Cardinals positive for COVID-19

Three members of the Arizona Cardinals have tested positive for COVID-19 this week, ESPN reported Thursday.

The undefeated Cardinals (5-0) put star pass rusher Chandler Jones on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, and multiple reports said he tested positive for the virus and was not just a close contact of an infected person.

The identities of the other players with potentially positive tests are unknown, but All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed practice Wednesday with an illness, per the team’s injury report.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury previously said the team was fully vaccinated.

Under NFL protocols, any fully vaccinated player who tests positive is eligible to come off the list after two negative tests 24 hours apart and with no symptoms.

ESPN said the team is conducting “increased testing for several players and personnel.” With one more positive test, the Cardinals would have to move to stricter protocols.

The Cardinals travel to Cleveland for a Sunday showdown with the Browns (3-2). Arizona is the only unbeaten team left in the NFL.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (left) and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray exchange jerseys after Arizona Cardinals won 38-24 at State Farm Stadium December 15, 2019.Browns Vs Cardinals

Kyler Murray leads unbeaten Arizona in reunion with Baker Mayfield, Browns

Former No. 1 overall draft picks and college teammates, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, square off for the second time in three years when the undefeated Arizona Cardinals visit Cleveland to take on the Browns on Sunday.

Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, is a leading MVP candidate. The Cardinals are off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1974.

Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman winner and top pick in 2018, has helped position the Browns (3-2) as a division contender in the AFC North.

They were once on the same roster and in the same quarterback room at Oklahoma. Mayfield and Murray won the biggest individual trophy in the sport in back-to-back seasons.

“It’s always fun when we get together, when we were together,” Murray said. “The standard was the standard. “(Mayfield) gets a lot of hate or whatever, but I watched it firsthand each and every day. How hard he works, the throws he makes. I saw it all.”

The Cardinals are having more fun than the Browns at the moment.

Arizona is the NFL’s fourth-highest scoring offense (31.4 points per game) while giving up just 19.0 points per game. The differential (plus-12.4) trails only the Buffalo Bills in the entire league.

Murray completed 70 percent or better of his passes in four straight games, has 13 total touchdowns (10 passing) overall and ranks fourth in the league with a 113.0 passer rating. With proven targets in DeAndre Hopkins (312 receiving yards, 4 TDs) and A.J. Green, and dynamite rookie Rondale Moore, Murray and the Cardinals have been one of the league’s most entertaining offenses.

“(Murray) has all the bases covered,” Mayfield said. “Tremendous player. They’re playing at a high level right now.”

Offensively, so are the Browns. Mayfield posted season highs of 305 yards, two touchdowns, and a 122.5 rating last week, but Cleveland dropped an offense-fueled 47-42 decision at the Los Angeles Chargers.

It was the second road loss of the year for Cleveland, which has lost four straight against Arizona — including 38-24 in 2019 when the rookie Murray topped Mayfield in the desert.

Cleveland RB Nick Chubb is second in the NFL with 523 rushing yards, RB Kareem Hunt is second in the league with five rushing touchdowns, and DE Myles Garrett — the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 — leads the NFL with 7.0 sacks.

Garrett was nearly the last starter left standing for Cleveland’s defense at L.A as the Browns weathered an onslaught of injuries.

The Browns listed 17 players on the injury report Wednesday, including nine who did not participate. Among those out were Chubb (calf), Hunt (wrist/knee), Garrett (knee/ankle), DEs Jadeveon Clowney (knee/elbow) and Takkarist McKinley (ankle/knee), and starting OLs Jack Conklin (knee) and J.C. Tretter (knee).

Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski was upbeat about his personnel despite that list. WR Jarvis Landry, who has missed three games, even took part on a limited basis on Wednesday.

“With Jarvis, we’ll see where it goes,” Stefanski said. “We’re not ruling anyone out.”

The Cardinals lost TE Maxx Williams with a season-ending knee injury on Sunday, placed LB Ezekiel Turner (shoulder) on IR on Tuesday, and put OLB Chandler Jones (and his team-high 5.0 sacks) on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Neither Turner nor starting center Rodney Hudson (ribs/shoulder) are expected to play this week.

The matchup figures to be one of the showcase games in the league. Murray said it’s just one of 17.

“There’s no stakes, it’s a regular season game,” he said. “Our mission is to go win, and so is theirs.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams (87) runs the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals place TE Maxx Williams (knee) on IR

Arizona Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

The move appears to be a formaility. Williams is expected to miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a gruesome knee injury during the Cardinals’ 17-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

“You never want to see that happen to a brother of yours and the way that kind of unfolded for him is very unfortunate,” Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said earlier in the week. “Having a really, really good season and then just making a play and football happens. You can’t change it, you can’t really do anything.”

Williams, 27, had 16 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown in five games this season. He has 102 receptions for 994 yards and six scores in 72 career games with the Baltimore Ravens (2015-18) and Cardinals.

The remaining tight ends on Arizona’s roster have yet to record a catch this season.

Defensive back/special teams player Ezekiel Turner also was placed on IR Wednesday with a shoulder injury. Turner, 25, has four tackles — all on special teams — in five games this season.

Also on Wednesday, the Cardinals signed rookie safety James Wiggins off the practice squad and designated defensive lineman Jordan Phillips and offensive lineman Joshua Miles to return from injured reserve.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrates after beating the San Francisco 49ers 17-10 at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Cards put Chandler Jones on reserve/COVID-19 list

The Arizona Cardinals placed star linebacker Chandler Jones on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to a positive test, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday.

If Jones is vaccinated, he would need to record two negative tests results at least 24 hours apart in order to return to the team. The Cardinals (5-0) visit the Cleveland Browns (3-2) on Sunday.

Jones, 31, leads the team with five sacks — all of which came in Arizona’s 38-13 season-opening victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 12. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has nine tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in five games (all starts) this season.

Jones has 441 tackles, 102 sacks, 29 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries in 129 career games (126 starts) with the New England Patriots (2012-15) and Cardinals (2016-21)

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams (87) grabs his knee after a catch and run against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium. He was taken off the field on a cart. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cardinals fear TE Maxx Williams (knee) out for season

The Arizona Cardinals fear that starting tight end Maxx Williams has suffered a serious knee injury and will be out for the rest of the season, NFL Network reported Monday.

Williams suffered the injury in the first half of Sunday’s win over visiting San Francisco. He caught a pass for a 14-yard gain with 2:41 left until halftime and was injured on the tackle. His knee appeared to buckle. It was Williams’ only catch of the game.

He was carted off the field and did not return.

On the season, Williams has 16 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown in five games, all starts. He’s in his third season in Arizona after four seasons in Baltimore. He has 102 career receptions for 994 yards and six TDs in 72 games (44 starts).

Darrell Daniels is next in line on the depth chart, but he missed Sunday’s game after testing positive for COVID-19. Demetrius Harris is third.

The Cardinals (5-0) play at Cleveland (3-2) in Week 6.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) tackles San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals stay perfect, stuff 49ers in Trey Lance’s first start

The Arizona Cardinals spoiled rookie Trey Lance’s NFL starting debut with a first-quarter interception and four fourth-down stops Sunday afternoon to pave the way to a 17-10 victory over the visiting San Francisco 49ers in a defensive struggle.

Lance got the better of rival Kyler Murray in terms of total yards, but the Arizona star threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 5:13 remaining to allow the Cardinals (5-0) to retain their status as the league’s only unbeaten team.

James Conner scored Arizona’s only other touchdown on a 1-yard run just 5:58 into the game, after the Cardinals took advantage of Lance’s biggest mistake, an overthrown ball on just his second attempt that went straight to safety Budda Baker.

Deebo Samuel scored on a 13-yard run in the third quarter for the 49ers (2-3). When replacement kicker Joey Slye nailed a 47-yard field goal with 4:17 to play, San Francisco — playing without regular starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, star tight end George Kittle and kicker Robbie Gould — still had a chance.

But Murray hit Hopkins for 11 yards for a key first down and the Cardinals were able to run out the clock, wrapping up their first home win over the NFC West foe since 2018.

Lance, the No. 3 overall pick of this year’s draft, went 15-for-29 for 192 yards and added a game-high 89 rushing yards on 16 carries.

Murray got the better of the passing numbers, going 22-for-31 for 239 yards, but was hemmed in most of the day by the San Francisco defense and limited to one yard on seven runs.

The defensive play of the day was turned in early in the second quarter by Arizona linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who denied Lance inches from the goal line on a fourth-down play that was so violent, the Cardinal had to be taken to the locker room to check for a concussion. He was able to later return to the game.

Samuel had three catches for a team-high 58 yards to complement his TD run, while Elijah Mitchell rushed nine times for 43 yards for the 49ers, who outgained the Cardinals 338-304.

Hopkins finished with six catches for a game-high 87 yards for the Cardinals. Their leading rusher was wideout Rondale Moore, who scampered 38 yards on three carries.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers uncertain at QB with unbeaten Cardinals next

The player drafted to be the next Kyler Murray is likely to get a shot at defeating the superstar in his first NFL start Sunday afternoon when Trey Lance and the San Francisco 49ers visit Murray’s unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.

The No. 3 overall pick in the April draft, taken after traditional-style quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, Lance is expected to get the call this week with regular starter Jimmy Garoppolo dealing with a sore calf.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has not announced a starter, but has indicated if Garoppolo can’t practice by Friday, he’d need to switch starters.

Enter Lance, who had taken just seven snaps in San Francisco’s first three games before being pressed into action for the second half of last week’s 28-21 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The North Dakota State product threw a 76-yard touchdown pass during a 9-for-18, 157-yard effort in a come-from-behind bid after Seattle had gone up 21-7 in the third period.

Considered more of a runner than a passer, Lance has rushed 11 times for 44 yards and one touchdown in three games played.

With Garoppolo unable to practice Wednesday, Shanahan began the process of transitioning Lance into his starting quarterback. Among the goals in practice: Avoid “backyard ball.”

“Anytime you can have a guy who can create an off-schedule play and bide more time, that’s great,” Shanahan said. “When you can run around when people are playing soft zones, those only can hold up so long. But that starts turning into a little bit of backyard ball. You don’t want to force that type of game.”

49ers star left tackle Trent Williams also is questionable this week with a shoulder injury.

Lance’s rushing numbers are dwarfed by Murray’s 109 yards and three TDs on 23 carries during Arizona’s unbeaten start. The third-year star also has passed for 1,273 yards and nine touchdowns, with a 76.1 percent completion rate that is best in the NFL.

The duel between scrambling quarterbacks highlights a matchup of the NFC West’s top and bottom teams, with Arizona (4-0) having steamrolled opponents on the strength of a league-high 140 points, while San Francisco (2-2) has lost two straight at home after opening 2-0 on the road.

The 49ers have beaten the Cardinals each of the last two times they’ve met at Arizona, including 20-12 in Week 16 last year in a game in which Murray was held without a touchdown pass despite 50 attempts.

Coincidentally, it was San Francisco’s only win in four games at State Farm Stadium last year; the 49ers were prohibited from playing at their own Levi’s Stadium in December or January because of COVID restrictions.

The Cardinals’ offensive success this season has been the result of balance.

Two backs (Chase Edmonds and James Conner) have rushed for 172 or more yards, while five receivers (A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore and Maxx Williams) have hauled in passes for 179 or more yards.

Former collegiate pass-game whiz Kliff Kingsbury finally has his NFL offense humming, and he knows why.

“It makes it more difficult to defend, definitely, when a team’s preparing for you and they don’t know which guy to try to stop,” he said. “And it’s a credit to Kyler, a credit to those receivers that are playing at a high level, Maxx included, Chase. So it’s really been fun to see how the distribution has worked out so far.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 6, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) in action against the Mississippi Rebels at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dual-threat quarterbacks lead Virginia, Louisville in ACC tilt

Heartbeats should be back to a normal rhythm by the time Virginia and host Louisville kick off their Atlantic Coast Conference contest on Saturday afternoon in Kentucky.

Both teams are coming off nail-biting finishes, which Virginia looks to build upon and Louisville hopes to learn from.

The Cavaliers (3-2, 1-2 ACC) collected their first road win of the season last Thursday night at Miami, hanging on for a 30-28 victory when the Hurricanes’ 33-yard field-goal attempt hit the left upright as time expired.

The Cardinals (3-2, 1-1) had their three-game winning streak halted Saturday at then-No. 24 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons, now ranked 19th, used a 29-yard field goal with 22 seconds left to escape, 37-34.

Louisville holds a 5-4 lead in the all-time series, including a 4-0 record at home. Virginia won the most recent clash, 31-17, in Charlottesville, Va., on Nov. 14, 2020.

The Cavaliers are trying to win back-to-back ACC road games for the first time since 2011. One key on Saturday will be containing Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham.

Cunningham has passed for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 309 yards and an ACC-leading 10 touchdowns this season. In last season’s loss at Virginia, he passed for 161 yards and rushed for 197 yards and two scores.

“On a scale of whatever dangerousness there are, I would put him at the top of the dangerous scale in terms of how fast, how athletic,” UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday. “He can pull it down and run on any given play. I’m just really impressed with him. I think he’s a really good athlete. I think his throwing accuracy and precision has improved. On any given play, he’s a threat.”

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield has similar respect for Cavaliers QB Brennan Armstrong, who leads the ACC with 1,973 passing yards and ranks second with 14 touchdown passes. Armstrong accounted for 263 yards of offense and three scores (two rushing) in last year’s win over the Cardinals.

“Their quarterback is playing at a high level,” Satterfield said Monday. “He can throw the football. Very accurate passer, throws a very catchable ball, and they have some guys to throw it to as well.”

Louisville is 2-0 at home this season and plays five of its remaining seven games at Cardinal Stadium.

–Field Level Media