Notes from the Nest: First day of camp was not kind to John Brown

Jul 29, 2016, 7:17 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2016, 2:11 pm
David Johnson turns the corner with the ball as Deone Bucannon pursues during training camp. (Photo...
David Johnson turns the corner with the ball as Deone Bucannon pursues during training camp. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)
(Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — And with that, the 2016 version of Arizona Cardinals training camp is officially underway.

The Cardinals took the field to practice for the first time this camp on Friday in front of a pretty sizable crowd.

There was very little in the way of contact as the players were not in pads, but there seemed to be no shortage of energy as the players were noticeably excited to get things going. Now, we’ll see how they feel in another week or so, but that’s a story for another day.

So, with that in mind, here are some takeaways from the first day of training camp.

The Good

– Carson Palmer looked sharp, and at one point connected with John Brown on a deep pass for a score. Rookie Brandon Williams was burned on the play.

– Chandler Catanzaro seemed to do well in his field goal attempts, though it is admittedly difficult to judge if a kick was good from our vantage point on the sideline.

– Patrick Peterson had a nice day, as he was all over the place in coverage and broke up a couple passes that were intended for Michael Floyd. One of them was in the end zone and to be honest, it looked like Carson Palmer put the ball where it needed to be. Did great defense beat good offense on the play?

– Drew Stanton connected with Jaron Brown on a nice deep ball during 7-on-7.

– Tony Jefferson seemed to come down with an interception on a ball that bounced around after it went off of TE Ifeanyi Momah’s hands.

The Bad

– While Brown made a nice touchdown catch early, he had some issues with drops as practice went on, including one on a well-placed pass in the end zone. It should have been caught, and it looked like head coach Bruce Arians made sure Brown knew it.

And don’t worry, he did.

“You know that’s how he is,” Brown said of his coach getting on him. “He’s just a guy, he expects you to make them, especially in the end zone.”

Brown, who said there will be days in camp that do not necessarily go well, said the important thing is to not let bad days build and instead bounce back strong in the next practice.

Notable

– Williams, a third-round pick out of Texas A&M, spent most of the day running with the first team as the cornerback opposite Peterson. That meant he got some snaps against all of Arizona’s top receivers, and while he had some rough moments, he also made some plays.

– Corey Peters, healthy and back after an Achilles injury sidelined him in 2015, was back and playing with the first team defense.

– Earl Watford appeared to be the team’s second team center, which may come as a shock to those who expect rookie Evan Boehm to eventually take the the starting job. That may eventually happen, but it appears the competition for the first team is deeper than originally thought. More on that below.

Injury report

Though no pads were on and hitting was very, very light, the team did not make it through practice unscathed, as tight end Jermaine Gresham and cornerback Mike Jenkins both left early with unknown ailments.

Rookie defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was walking around the field in a walking boot, due to a sprained ankle he suffered a few days ago. Defensive back Elie Bouka was also around but not practicing.

Quotable

– “He knows the playbook like the back of his hand now,” linebacker Kevin Minter said of Deone Bucannon’s progression as a $ LB. “He’s out there making calls and stuff like that, correcting me sometimes.

“I’m really telling him to be quiet a little bit (and) let me be Mike (linebacker).”

– “There’s competition at every position, but it’s A.Q.’s job to lose,” Arians said of the battle at center. “He’s the veteran. I was really pleased with what Earl did; anxious to see him play that position in pads and real-live bullets. Evan can prove me wrong; a lot of rookies have.”

– “I just see opportunity, opportunity to get better,” Brandon Williams said of facing the team’s top receivers on day one of practice. “All those guys bring different styles to the table; Larry (Fitzgerald) is a big guy, Mike (Floyd) is, too. And Smoke (John Brown) and J.J. (Nelson) are more faster guys, so I get to work on different parts of my game with them.”

Not quite, bud

The Cardinals have a new No. 58 in camp in linebacker Tristan Okpalaugu. An imposing presence at 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, he is significantly bigger than suspended linebacker Daryl Washington who used to don the same digits. Upon seeing Okpalaugu on the field, I remarked to AZCardinals reporter Kyle Odegard that there will probably be some fans who see the linebacker and think it is, in fact, Washington. No sooner than one minute later a fan yells out, “Washington!” in hopes of getting some acknowledgment or something. Swing and a miss.

You should read these stories

Craig Morgan wrote on Carson Palmer’s window maybe being open longer than people think.

Miss Bruce Arians’ press conference Friday? No worries, because you can read the highlights here.

Speaking of Palmer, he held his own press conference Friday afternoon.

Paige Dimakos and Bertrand Berry provided five training camp battles to watch for.

Some highlights because highlights are cool

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Notes from the Nest: First day of camp was not kind to John Brown