Rookie Robert Nkemdiche was injured late last week in practice, tweaking the same ankle that kept him out of a good chunk of training camp. The hope is that he’ll be able to work again in practice this week, but even if he does, coach Bruce Arians didn’t sound like someone who would automatically just drop the team’s No. 1 pick back into the defensive line rotation.
“Those other guys are playing pretty damn good,” Arians said Monday.
Yes, the ankle was a problem when he hurt it Friday. But Arians noted that “it wasn’t the best week of practice for him” anyway.
“There’s too much competition in that (defensive line) room to have a bad day and dress out and play on Sunday,” Arians said.
The hope is still that Nkemdiche will find a rhythm and make an impact on the rotation. Who knows, it may be as soon as this weekend in Buffalo. But it’s becoming clear that Arians is going to keep the pedal pressed in pushing the big defensive lineman. And as the Cardinals and Arians proved last year with No. 1 draft pick D.J. Humphries, they are not shy of keeping even a top draft pick from active duty on game days if it makes better sense to use someone else. There’s little question Nkemdiche is going to have to earn his time, regardless of his ankle woes.
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