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  • 01 June 2019

    id=content_id>TEMPE ,
    Ariz. — When the season started for the Arizona Cardinals, Sam Bradford was the
    quarterback and Mike McCoy was offensive coordinator.Now both are gone.On
    Saturday, while the team was enjoying a long weekend off, the Cardinals released
    Bradford, who lost his starting job after three games to rookie Josh Rosen and
    had been inactive for the last five. Bradford’s departure came a little less
    than two weeks after McCoy was fired and replaced by quarterbacks coach Byron
    Leftwich.Coach Steve Wilks said Monday that in releasing Bradford “we did what
    we thought was best for the team. We needed that position to be able to add
    quality depth at different positions.”The Cardinals made several roster moves
    during their bye week. Last week, they signed tight end John Phillips and
    offensive lineman Colby Gossett. Gossett was signed off the Minnesota practice
    squad. On Monday, Arizona signed offensive lineman Zack Golditch from the
    Indianapolis practice squad. The team also re-signed wide receiver Kendall
    Wright, who had a 10-day stint with the team in October.Arizona was looking to
    add depth on the offensive line even though all five starters might be healthy
    enough to play Sunday at Kansas City. John Wetzel, a backup at both tackle and
    guard, was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a neck injury.Right guard
    Justin Pugh said he is hoping his broken hand will be healed enough for him to
    play Sunday, which would be four weeks from the day he injured it.The Cardinals
    (2-6) are coming off a come-from-behind win over San Francisco but face a much
    more daunting challenge against the Chiefs
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    , who opened as 15-point favorites with the
    advantage moving to 16 points on Monday.“Dynamic in every area,” Wilks said of
    the Chiefs, “particularly on the offensive side of the ball. (Patrick) Mahomes
    is playing outstanding, an MVP-caliber player right now, and all the weapons
    around him. Again, it’s just about trying to eliminate the big plays, and that’s
    what they’re known for thus far this year is just creating big plays over the
    top. We’ve got to try to eliminate that.”It’s the first of several difficult
    road challenges for Arizona in the second half of the season. The Cardinals also
    play at Atlanta, Green Bay and the Los Angeles Chargers.Arizona’s practice
    Monday was its first since last Tuesday. A workout had been scheduled for last
    Wednesday but Wilks cancelled it.“A lot of injuries, I wanted to be able to give
    the guys an opportunity to recover,” he said.Despite the long weekend, Arizona
    got an extra day of practice this week. Players have Tuesday off before
    returning to their regular Wednesday-Thursday-Friday practice schedule.It gives
    Leftwich a little extra time to work on the
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    , which slogged through three quarters before Rosen threw two
    TD passes in the fourth-quarter in the 18-15 win over San Francisco.“I think it
    was very beneficial,” Wilks said. “I’m out there, and I’m watching the flow of
    practice. I’m seeing it in action with Josh and the things that they’re doing.
    Not really to indulge a lot in the game plan, but you can see Byron trying to
    evolve and move this offense in another direction. I think the bye week was very
    beneficial to him, as well as to the offense.”Rookie wide receiver Christian
    Kirk said Leftwich brings “a lot of new energy.”“He’s such a smart mind and he’s
    just really good at putting his guys in the right position,” Kirk said. For the
    first time since Reid arrived in 2013, the Chiefs do not have defensive
    continuity going into the next season"So as Andy Reid stood before the media on
    Monday — the first day of the Chiefs offseason program for 2019 — it was
    necessary for him to do something he’s never had to do as Chiefs head coach:
    address the lack of continuity between the 2018 and 2019 defenses.Reporters
    steered him there by asking how the defensive unit would make up for lost
    time.“That is a good point,” Reid responded. “That is where the continuity of
    the defensive staff comes in.They’ve worked together. I think that becomes
    important in this situation. They have been working relentlessly to put it
    together, take the complex and make it simple to teach the guys. You have to be
    precise with how you teach it and present it. There is no time to waste. You
    can’t do that. I think that familiarity helps narrow that time margin down just
    a little bit.”Reid was asked if he’s ever had this much of a change in his
    defensive staff from one season to the next.(Hint: he hasn’t).“I’ve had changes
    before,” he said. “I don’t know how to compare. I am very confident in Steve.
    I’ve been around him for a long time. He knows how I roll and I know how he
    operates. That part has been easy. The guys we brought in are all workers. They
    have some affiliation to the defensive scheme and have been successful with it.
    I just think it has been a positive. What is new to the players today we have
    been doing for a few months. So we’re kind of in the grind, and [we’re]
    going.”The head coach acknowledged that in some
    ways ,
    the change in scheme would be drastic.But he also sought to make another point —
    one that we have been making in these pages, too: that the change is more about
    style than it is about scheme.“It is a different defense,” Reid said. “It is
    going to be relatively drastic that way. It is a great challenge for the players
    that are coming back to learn. It is a four-man front as opposed to a three-man
    front. We had great success with the three-man front for the first few years.
    This four-man front I have had success with around Philadelphia. The one thing
    that probably needs to be noted is that [even in a 3-4 scheme] over 75 percent
    of that time now you are in a four-man front.”Still, Reid said that he doesn’t
    intend to be more involved in the defense.“I try to let those guys do their
    thing there,” he said. “They give me their plan and if I have my two cents to
    put in, I put it in. Normally, that’s not the case. We just roll. That’s how I
    like to do it. That’s the way I plan on doing it.”