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Dealing Cards: John Brown is feeling good after week of practice

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) escapes the tackle of Los Angeles Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (33) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. — A week ago it was revealed that Cardinals receiver John Brown’s hamstring issues were related to having a sickle cell trait, which caused him to feel pain without anything showing up on an MRI.

Brown missed the Cardinals’ game with the Seattle Seahawks that weekend, but was back on the practice field this week, albeit in a limited capacity.

On Friday, he said he was feeling good.

“We came up with a plan and we know what we have to do,” he said of what he must do going forward. “I just got to take care of my body better.”

The Cardinals are hopeful Brown will be good to go for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, with head coach Bruce Arians saying he looked good on the field and now, “knock on wood (that) travel and stuff doesn’t affect him.”

Brown said until being diagnosed he knew nothing about the trait, and that he is unaware of anyone else in his family who also has it. He added he did not have much in the way of a reaction when he was told, but that it is a relief to finally have an answer as to why he was dealing with pain.

In terms of treatment, Arians said this type of situation has been handled with other players, though different courses of treatment are required for each individual.

“The symptoms and what happens with it,” he said. “So, talked to a lot of people who have treated it, a bunch of young guys in college, and protocol worked pretty good for them.”

Having gone through his treatment for a few days now, Brown, who has caught 24 passes for 301 yards this season, said he already notices a difference. That it allows him to be back on the field with his teammates, to him, is the most important thing.

“Oh yes, most definitely feels good,” he said. “Happy to be out there with my brothers.”

Injury update

The final official injury report is here, and it is an extensive one for the Cardinals. Tight end Darren Fells (ankle), linebacker Alex Okafor (toe) and defensive lineman Ed Stinson (toe) have been ruled out for Sunday, while reciever Michael Floyd (hamstring) is “questionable” after getting a limited practice in Friday. Also questionable are left tackle Jared Veldheer (finger), the aforementioned John Brown (hamstring) and safety Tony Jefferson, who has the flu.

In a rush

The Cardinals no doubt would have wanted to upgrade their pass rush anyway, but their weakness in that area was highlighted in last season’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Carolina Panthers, in which they sacked Panthers QB Cam Newton just once.

That’s part of the reason why it was proclaimed to be offseason priority No. 1, and likely led to the acquisition of linebacker Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots.

After finishing tied for 20th in the NFL last season with 36 sacks, through seven weeks this season Arizona is tied for fourth, already with 20.


“Light years,” Arians said. “Markus (Golden), Corey (Peters), obviously Chandler, Calais (Campbell) is playing really well right now, and we have a good rotation.”

They want to run; they will run

When David Johnson ran for 157 yards against the San Francisco 49ers, it was impressive but came with the caveat that the 49ers had the worst run defense in football.

The next week, when Johnson ran for 111 yards against the Jets, who had one of the best run defenses in the league, people began to notice.

Then last week, when Johnson tallied 113 yards against the Seahawks’ top-ranked run defense, it became official: the Cardinals can run on anybody.

“We’ve run it well,” Johnson said. “Those guys (offensive linemen) are continuing to block for me, I’m going to continue to do what I can to find the holes, find the right gaps to run through and just getting the yards needed.”

Up next for Johnson and the Cardinals is the Panthers’ No. 5-ranked run defense, but as the previous two weeks have shown, the Cardinals likely don’t fear anyone. It’s a mindset, Johnson said.

“That’s definitely what it is,” he said. “We’re going to continue to run the ball; we’re going to come up with the plays — the same plays that we always run — and those guys are always good at blocking.

“The tight ends, the receivers and linemen are always good at blocking for me down the field and giving me holes to run through.”

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