TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — John Brown is bigger, stronger, maybe a little faster, and has learned a few things.
All of this after the Arizona Cardinals’ second-year wide receiver caught 48 passes for 696 yards with five touchdowns as a rookie in 2014.
“This year I know a lot more than I did last year,” Brown said. “That helps me out on the field. It’s also become easier. Everyone knows about me now, I just have to perform and produce to be better than I was last year.”
The Cardinals sought to limit Brown’s role as a rookie so he didn’t have to think as much and could play faster. The third-round pick responded with a productive season, though he didn’t catch a touchdown after Week 10.
Brown admitted fatigue affected him in the latter part of the season.
“I wasn’t taking care of my body how I was supposed to, and I was just used to the 11, 12 games as a college student. I wasn’t prepared for what was after that,” Brown said.
He’s committed himself to not allowing that to happen again. Brown intends to go to San Diego with quarterback Carson Palmer to continue working out before training camp opens.
“We’ve had a lot of hours together,” Palmer said. “It’s a work in progress. You’re never a complete tandem. It’s something you continue to work on . but I expect huge things from him this year, everybody on this team does. There’s something different about his sophomore season. It’s in his body, it’s in his work ethic, it’s in his diet.”
Brown, perhaps in some ways, was one of the reasons Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians decided Wednesday to cut short the team’s three-day mini-camp by one day. Brown looked confident in his route running, made some difficult catches with the No. 1 offense going against the team’s top defensive backs, and ended Tuesday’s practice with a celebratory gesture after catching a touchdown.
“He’s stronger, and he now knows what to expect,” Arians said. “He knows the offense inside and out and he can play extremely fast. He’s got a great rapport with Carson.”
With Thursday’s scheduled session called off, the Cardinals won’t reconvene as a team until training camp in six weeks.
“We’ve accomplished everything that we’ve set out to accomplish this spring to have us ready for (training) camp,” Arians said. “Keep everybody healthy and ready to go and throw the guys a bone because they have showed up, they’ve worked, we’ve had great attendance and great effort this entire spring.”
NOTES: Arians said he felt the team has “taken enough chances, as hard as we’ve practiced” to warrant not practicing on Thursday, though the NFL and players union allow for three days. “We wouldn’t normally do much anyway,” he said. … TE Troy Niklas, a second-round pick in 2014, did not practice on Wednesday. He’ll have an ankle procedure done on Thursday, Arians said. Niklas played in seven games as a rookie and caught three passes. … Members of Arizona State’s football coaching staff, including head coach Todd Graham, attended Wednesday’s practice. Arians said the two staffs have visited each other’s practices to observe schemes. The school and the Cardinals facility are a short drive apart.
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