ARIZONA CARDINALS

John Brown could be the X-factor the Cardinals need in 2017

Jun 5, 2017, 10:43 AM | Updated: 4:52 pm
Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson (21), John Brown (12) and Tyrann Mathieu (32) watch teammates r...
Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson (21), John Brown (12) and Tyrann Mathieu (32) watch teammates run drills during an NFL football team workout, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at the Cardinals' practice facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)
(AP Photo/Angie Wang)

John Brown had a bad 2016.

Not only on the field, where he put up career lows in receptions (39), yards (517), and touchdowns (2), but also with his health off the field.

In October, Brown learned that he carries the sickle-cell trait, creating fatigue for the third year wide receiver, and on top of that Brown had a cyst removed from his back in May.

With the belief that his health is in order, the Cardinals hope that Brown can have a better 2017, and according to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, he’s an under-the-radar X-factor for this season.

Fans are no stranger to John “Smokey” Brown, but the Cardinals deep threat is coming off a mundane season sideswiped by a concussion and symptoms tied to the sickle-cell trait, which created moments of deep fatigue for the pass catcher. Coach Bruce Arians, though, recently noted: ” ‘Smoke’ looks like John Brown. A couple of those routes he ran, he did not run one route like that last year. Knock on wood it stays that way.” With Michael Floyd no longer in Arizona and Larry Fitzgerald creeping up in age, a bounceback season from Brown is critical if Carson Palmer and the offense plan to return to their heights of 2015.

Brown didn’t have the speed or deep threat ability that made him “Smoke” and earned him 1,003 yards, 15.4 yards per reception and a long of 68 yards as the Cardinals went to the NFC Championship in 2015.

As the Cardinals’ record declined to 7-8-1, Brown recorded a career low 13.3 yards per reception with a long of just 30 yards.

Head coach Bruce Arians’ offense thrives with taking shots down the field, and as last season showed, the Cardinals’ offense isn’t the same with Brown not at 100 percent.

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John Brown could be the X-factor the Cardinals need in 2017