TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals got back on the practice field Wednesday in preparation for a road game against the St. Louis Rams.
It was their first practice since Chris Johnson was lost to a broken tibia, and while that was certainly a story line, plenty of other interesting tidbits came out of the day. Wednesday both Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer spoke — the only time the QB will all week — along with a host of other players.
Check back on ArizonaSports.com throughout the week for in-depth stories on the Cardinals’ situation at running back, David Johnson’s ascension to the lead role, Patrick Peterson’s play and just how much Arizona dislikes the Rams.
In the meantime, here is what we learned Wednesday:
The injury report will be the best judge, but Wednesday Arians said running back Andre Ellington, cornerback Jerraud Powers and defensive lineman Cory Redding and Frostee Rucker did not practice. He said Redding (ankle) is getting better, but added the other three players “will probably miss” Sunday’s game.
Changing of the Guard
Jonathan Cooper, the Cardinals’ first-round pick in 2013, started the first nine games of the season at right guard. While he wasn’t necessarily great, he seemed to be holding up OK and if nothing else, was staying healthy. That all changed with a knee injury suffered in Week 10 in Seattle, and now he has lost his hold on the starting job.
“No. Ted’s (Larsen) playing better,” head coach Bruce Arians said when asked if a healthy Cooper would return to the starting lineup.
It has to be a frustrating turn of events for Cooper, who has seen his star fall considerably since the Cardinals chose him seventh overall out of North Carolina in 2013. But when asked if he was disappointed in Cooper’s development this season, Arians said no.
“I think when you look at the offensive linemen that are coming out of college today, it’s going to take them a while to get at this level,” he said. “He’s tough. He’s athletic. He’s just continuing to grow. Right now, we don’t have time for the growth because Teddy’s got more experience and is playing better. But I think he’s going to be a heck of a player. Just like D.J. (Humphries). D.J.’s gotten so much better, but it’s just not time.”
Grappling With Gurley
The last time the Cardinals saw Rams rookie Todd Gurley, the former Georgia star ran for 146 yards on 19 carries in what was his second career NFL game. Do the Cardinals feel more ready for him this time around?
“Yeah, just stay in your gap,” Arians said. “It’s not like he ran over a bunch of guys and did something super human. He was untouched on about two or three of those runs, so just get in your gap and make a tackle.”
The Spike of Shame
Remember Carson Palmer’s attempt at spiking the football following his game-winning touchdown run against San Francisco? If you don’t, watch this. If you do, watch it anyway because the video is really funny.
“I’ve heard a lot about it,” Palmer said. “I need to redeem myself, for sure.”
If redemption is the goal, the veteran passer apparently is not seeking the help of rookie running back David Johnson, who said Palmer has not asked him for any advice. Johnson, however, leads all rookies this season with eight touchdowns, so he knows a thing or two about celebrations.
The style (or lack of) was a result of losing a quarterback competition that involves tossing footballs into buckets.
“It depends,” Palmer said of the bet and consequences. “If it’s a home game, and you lose that Friday bucket competition, it’s a pregame dress out on the field for warm-ups. If it’s an away game, it’s an outfit you have to wear from here to the state we’re going to play in.”
Asked if he’s ever lost, Palmer said, “You’re jinxing me, don’t do that” while knocking on the podium.
And Palmer’s thoughts on the outfit Barkley wore?
“That was Drew. He was our ‘Cardinal Cowboy.’ Those were Gatorade chaps and that was a really good look for him. But more often, it’s a collaborative effort, all of us pulling something off.”
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