Cards lose starting CB Green for season

11/27/2007 - NFL Eric Green Arizona Cardinals + more

Already playing without Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson, the Arizona Cardinals' secondary took another hit Tuesday, with the team forced to place starting cornerback Eric Green on injured reserve, ending his 2007 season.

A third-year veteran and solid cover defender, Green suffered a groin injury in last week's overtime loss to San Francisco while tackling 49ers tailback Frank Gore.

The Cardinals also released punter Mike Barr after a poor performance in Sunday's game. Barr was last in the NFL in both gross average (40.4 yards) and net average (31.7 yards). He had two poor punts on Sunday, including one in overtime that cost the Cardinals important field position.

Team officials auditioned free-agent punters Tom Rouen, Mitch Berger and Chris Gardocki and will sign one of the three for the upcoming game against Cleveland. The Browns feature one of the NFL's most dangerous return specialists in Joshua Cribbs and the Cards, who are still in the NFC wild-card chase, need a big game from their special teams.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt is familiar with Gardocki, who spent the last three seasons of his 15-year career in Pittsburgh, so that could give him an edge. The Cardinals will probably make a decision by Wednesday on a new punter.

The loss of Green could be a costly one, and it could further test an already undermanned Arizona secondary. Wilson has been sidelined by an Achilles injury, spent the past two days seeking additional medical opinions on the injury and probably won't play this week.

Green, 25, has started all 11 games in 2007 at right cornerback. The former Virginia Tech standout, a third-round choice in the 2005 draft, has 51 tackles and eight passes defensed. While he does not have an interception, Green, who had battled through an ankle injury the past two weeks, is an active cornerback and an aggressive two-way defender.

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast could move former first-round choice Antrel Rolle into the starting spot opposite Roderick Hood but might consider other options as well.

Rolle is playing well at nickel cornerback and two weeks ago had three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Because Rolle has been so productive at the nickel job, the Arizona staff might not want to have him change positions. One option is to have veteran backup Ralph Brown move into the lineup.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.