TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona coach Bruce Arians began deciding safety Rashad Johnson's fate for last Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay during practice Thursday.
Johnson, who lost the tip of his left middle finger during a play in New Orleans on Sept. 22, was wearing a cast that resembled a boxing glove. He banged the finger and exhibited signs of pain, to which Arians quickly nixed the idea of his starting free safety suiting up.
“Once he felt any pain, I said, ‘No way. Yeah, you’re just coaching this week,’” Arians said Tuesday night on SIRIUSXM NFL Radio. “He is a great leader for us. I was really hoping we could get special teams out of him because he’s a dynamic special teams player.”
Arians said there was a slight infection to Johnson’s finger after the first hit and the risk for amputation was too great to let Johnson continue playing.
“No telling what germs you’re trapping in there when you ball it up and put the cast on,” Arians said. “The stitches are still there. He could evidently lose more of the digit if he bangs it too much. Any infection they could have to take more off. We’re going to be careful with it.”
Johnson will try a new cast for this week and it’s likely he’ll return for the Carolina game, but there’s no promise because of the possibility of infection.
More news and notes from Arians’ interview:
Linebacker Matt Shaughnessy received a game ball after playing SAM linebacker for the first time in his career. He had four tackles, a quarterback hit and recovered a fumble.
Arians was extremely impressed with linebacker John Abraham's play. “(He) probably played the best game I’ve seen him play as an every-down player in maybe three or four years.” Abraham played a season-high 47 snaps.
Linebacker Dontay Moch lined up at gunner Sunday.
Arians likes what he sees from the offensive line, which allowed just one sack against the Bucs. But he wants to see it cut down on false-start penalties. Arizona has five, three by right tackle Eric Winston.