The Arizona Cardinals for the fifth straight year have lost a starter to injury for the season in the preseason or training camp. On Wednesday, the casualty was defensive lineman Corey Peters, who was carted off the field with a lower leg injury. The MRI showed the worst. He tore his left Achilles and will be out for the season.
Peters was signed by Arizona to a three-year free agent contract this offseason and was set to be the starting nose tackle. He suffered a torn right Achilles at the end of the 2013 season.
Head coach Bruce Arians told the media on Thursday rookie fourth round pick Rodney Gunter will be the starter in plae of Peters.
As mentioned to lead this story, the Cardinals have had the worst luck with injuries before the season. Every year beginning in 2011 they have lost a starter.
In 2011, it was cornerback Greg Toler who tore his ACL in the preseason. Second round pick Ryan Williams, who was not a starter, but was expected to make a solid contribution that year, tore his patella tendon in a preseason game.
In 2012, starting left tackle Levi Brown suffered a torn triceps in a preseason, which sent the offensive line into a sprial of terrible play, as his play, albeit mediocre at best most of the time, anchored the line.
In 2013, first round pick and starting left guard Jonathan Cooper broke his leg in a preseason game.
Last year, during practice, defensive lineman Darnell Dockett tore his ACL.
Now it is Peters and his other Achilles.
Peters was a great fit for Arizona's defense. Now the very raw Gunter, who has impressed players and coaches with his progress, will now have a chance to be an impact player right away.
The injury to Peters also opens the door to keeping Alameda Ta'amu, whose spot on the roster was in doubt. The team wouldn't necessarily want to rely on two rookies -- one a fourth rounder (Gunter) and an undrafted rookie (Xavier Williams) to be the only nose tackles on the roster.
Of course, Cory Redding could also play the nose, as can Ed Stinson, so it wouldn't be impossible to go without Ta'amu. Nonetheless, the depth of the defensive line is being tested.
It's a good thing it was deep to begin with. Now the team can keep someone they otherwise might have had to cut.