Dealing Cards: Injuries starting to mount, receivers battle
GLENDALE, Ariz. — As training camp presses on with the Cardinals getting used to wearing pads again, players are starting to get a better feel of their team. It’s a good thing, of course, because they are now a week away from their first preseason action of 2017.
Thursday’s practice was a pretty good one, if you don’t include some of the potential injuries (more on that later) in your evaluation. Otherwise, there were plenty of plays made by both sides of the ball, so the fans who were in attendance likely enjoyed their afternoon.
– Rookie receiver Chad Williams made a couple of nice catches, one of which was a deep ball (when the team was going the short way on the field. Another came in traffic.
– Quarterback Trevor Knight, also a rookie, scrambled for a touchdown from about 10 yards out.
– Patrick Peterson had a couple of interceptions (one in one-on-one work, another in 7-on-7), while Tyrann Mathieu also snagged a pick in one-on-one.
– I may not have seen everything, but it looked like Phil Dawson had himself a good day kicking field goals. He connected from as far as roughly 47 yards out.
– Robert Nkemdiche wasn’t perfect, but he has shown some of the ability that made him a first-round pick. He got the better of fourth-round pick Dorian Johnson a couple times when matched up in pass rushing drills.
– Rookie running back T.J. Logan continues to impress, showing the advertised speed as well as quickness and cut-back ability.
– GM Steve Keim took some time to sign autographs for fans during practice.
– John Brown had a good day, securing a touchdown catch on a Drew Stanton pass early in 11-on-11 with coverage all over him and then getting open (but being missed) deep on the very next play.
– Jaron Brown was targeted on a fairly deep pass that he did not come down with, and while some may have held their breaths as he landed awkwardly, he got up and appeared to be fine.
– Brittan Golden dropped what should have been a touchdown on a Blaine Gabbert pass.
– John Wetzel was the first-team right tackle with Jared Veldheer not on the field.
– Elijhaa Penny, who has lined up at fullback some, scored a touchdown on a draw play in 11-on-11 work.
Receiver John Brown left the field with a member of the training staff, though it is not apparent what the issue may be. He was spotted trying to walk and run off something prior to exiting.
Fellow wideout Aaron Dobson also left the field with a trainer.
Missing practice entirely were Deone Bucannon (PUP list), Elie Bouka (ankle), Ironhead Gallon (knee), Alani Fua (knee), Ed Stinson (hamstring) and Jarvis Jones (quad). Earlier in the day, Arians said Jones may be back as soon as Friday and that Gallon’s MRI looked good, while the rest of the group is probably 2-4 weeks away from returning.
Carson Palmer and Chris Johnson were given the day off.
That deep WR room
Much was made of the Cardinals’ bevy of receivers during OTAs and minicamp, and though the group as a whole posted a rough practice earlier in the week, the belief remains that it’s an exceptionally deep group.
“We have too much,” QB Carson Palmer said of the position. “There’s going to be somebody that, maybe five spots, maybe six spots go to receivers depending on special teams. There’s seven or eight guys that you just like and you want to watch continue to grow and develop. You just can’t keep eight receivers.”
Larry Fitzgerald is a lock, and it’s safe to put John Brown and J.J. Nelson in that group, too. The team remains high on Jaron Brown, though, while third-round pick Chad Williams and veteran Aaron Dobson have also received praise. There are also Golden, Jeremy Ross, Marquis Bundy, Carlton Agudosi, Krishawn Hogan, Larry Clark and Chris Hubert.
“From top to bottom, one to 13, 12, however many we have can play in this league,” Golden said. “So you’ve just got to come to work every day ready to play.”
One of the players that group is working against, cornerback Patrick Peterson, has been impressed.
“Very deep,” he said. “those guys have pretty much playmakers in every group — first, second and the third group of guys.
“It’s going to be tough to make it, but for the most part if you have receivers that can run down on special teams and make plays on special teams, it just makes our team that much more valuable.”
Peterson added it’s going to be interesting to see who sticks around.
Highlights because they are fun
- David Johnson, Josh Rosen highlight ESPN’s NFL 2021 predictions
- USA Today: Cardinals not expected to contend for playoffs in 2018-19
- Arizona Cardinals rank No. 41 in Forbes’ 2018 most valuable franchises
- Keim’s absence comes as Cardinals talk complicated Johnson extension
- Cardinals suspend GM Steve Keim for five weeks after he pleads guilty to DUI