Photo by Beau Bearden.
TEMPE (AP) – The Arizona Cardinals, after a week off to recover from their embarrassing performance in London, went back to work Tuesday but don’t expect David Johnson to return to rescue the team’s sputtering season.
At the end of his post-practice news conference, coach Bruce Arians was asked if he expected Johnson and rookie running back T.J. Logan – both out with broken wrists – to be back at some point this season.
“You’d have to ask the doctors,” Arians said. “Right now, I doubt it.”
Earlier there had been talk that Johnson – who broke his left wrist in the season opener – might return around Thanksgiving. The dynamic running back, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season, has been sorely missed.
The news on quarterback Carson Palmer isn’t good, either. Arians said that after the surgery to repair Palmer’s broken arm was completed, doctors estimated the timetable for his return as eight to 10 weeks, so he was placed on injured reserve. There are nine weeks left in the season.
Now the Cardinals (3-4), with backup Drew Stanton at quarterback, prepare to play at winless San Francisco on Sunday, but maybe not against the 49ers’ new quarterback.
San Francisco acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots just ahead of the trade deadline. Garoppolo, who will have had just three practices with San Francisco, is not expected to start against Arizona, leaving the job to rookie C.J. Beathard.
But Cardinals safety and ex-49er Antoine Bethea expects to see Garoppolo in the game at some point.
“They’re 0-8. I don’t think they have too much to lose,” he said. “I’m pretty sure they’ll work him in this week and we’ll probably see him.”
Arians said the Cardinals will prepare for the possibility of facing Garoppolo but mainly focus on the 49ers offense.
“That’s probably the second time this has happened this year, and you get ready for their offense,” he said, referring to facing Indianapolis shortly after the Colts acquired Jacoby Brissett, also from New England.
“You go back and look at Jimmy when he played against us, but whether they play him or Beathard, it doesn’t really matter,” Arians said. “Just have to get ready for their offense and stopping the run first of all, and then those explosive wide receivers.”
With Tom Brady suspended, Arizona faced Garoppolo when the Cardinals opened their season at home against the Patriots last year. He completed 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions, in a 23-21 New England victory.
“I was very impressed with him,” Arians said. “He obviously played extremely well. We gave him two, but he played and managed that game really, really well.”
The Cardinals have plenty of their own problems, regardless of who plays quarterback. Two Sundays ago, the last time they played, they were throttled by the Los Angeles Rams in London 33-0.
“We didn’t come out to play,” Bethea said. “Travel all the way over there, and to go out there and stink it up like that, that’s not what we wanted to be viewed as.”
Linebacker Karlos Dansby called the performance “embarrassing” and said what’s needed to rebound in San Francisco is to play with “passion,” something the Cardinals didn’t do in London.
The Cardinals have been outscored 66-7 the last six quarters, so obviously there are problems on both sides of the ball. But Bethea, in his 12th NFL season, smiled when someone asked how the team keeps hope alive.
“Oh man, it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “It’s football. We’ve got nine more games left. We’ll take them one game at a time, play the type of football we know we are capable of playing. ... When it’s all said and done, just look back and see where we’re at.”
Arizona defeated the 49ers 18-15 in overtime when the teams met in Glendale on Oct. 1.