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John Brown makes a catch in front of Brandon Williams during training camp on July 31. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)
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Notes from the Nest: The pads finally come on

John Brown makes a catch in front of Brandon Williams during training camp on July 31. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Cardinals took the field in pads for the first time this camp on Sunday, and that fact provided an interesting backdrop for the team’s practice.

Of course, even with pads the orders are not to hit particularly hard, though at the same time it is football and there are bound to be collisions.

The final practice of the weekend ended a tad early and featured quite a few big plays, so lets get to it.

The Good

– Rookie cornerback Brandon Williams continues to impress. Sure, he was beat on some throws — great throws to wideouts who ran great routes — but he is also in position pretty much every time to make the play. And, sometimes, he does exactly that. In some one-on-one work he twice faced John Brown, giving up just one completion, and then faced Larry Fitzgerald who, not surprisingly, outmuscled him off the line and was able to make the grab. He also knocked away a pass that was intended for Floyd near the goal line.

– Chandler Jones looked every bit the stud pass rusher the Cardinals are hoping they have. He seemed to be giving left tackle Jared Veldheer some trouble, and though I didn’t see it, there was talk about how he just “blew up” guard Evan Mathis on one play.

– Carson Palmer connected with David Johnson, Michael Floyd and Fitzgerald for short touchdowns in red zone plays. The ball to Johnson was in the seam, whereas Floyd and Fitz scored by outleaping the defenders (Williams for Floyd, Tyvon Branch for Fitzgerald) on fade routes. Palmer also placed a nice deep ball down the sideline that John Brown caught over his shoulder in tight coverage.

– Drew Stanton hit J.J. Nelson for a red zone touchdown.

– Asa Jackson came up with an interception in 7-on-7.

– Patrick Peterson played tight coverage all afternoon, and in 7-on-7 picked Palmer on a throw to the sideline that was intended for Michael Floyd. He immediately threw the ball into the stands. That ball was ultimately retrieved, though not without being exchanged for another, presumably autographed, football.

– Matt Barkley found receiver Chris Hubert with a nice deep ball during 11-on-11.

The Bad

– Still yet to be impressed by Jake Coker, who is battling to make the roster as the third QB.

– There were a handful of snaps where, if allowed to hit the quarterback, the defense would have earned a sack relatively quickly on the play. Missed blocks?

– Late in practice John Brown was hit — and maybe landed on the ball — while failing to come down with a pass. He remained on the ground for a little while before being helped up. He was spotted leaving the field with a trainer.

– No one is quite sure where Evan Mathis went, we just know he did not finish practice on the field.

Notable

The merry-go-round at second team center took another spin, as rookie Evan Boehm got many reps in that spot Sunday.

The Palmer to David Johnson pass down the seam is something Arizona’s defense has yet to figure out how to stop. The QB and RB connected a few times on that play. To be fair, it was an effective play all last season, too.

Quotable

“I have no idea. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight. Let’s start with the basics.” – Receiver Larry Fitzgerald on if this might be his final training camp

“Yeah, I will. Absolutely. Not even thinking twice.” – Guard Evan Mathis on if he would retire following a Cardinals Super Bowl win this season

“I don’t like to let people into family business, as far as like what type of conversations I have with my teammates, but my quarterback made me feel very confident today. And it lifted my spirits and it made me want to keep working; it really made me feel good and it let me know that even if the spotlight is on me, it doesn’t matter because I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and I’m working hard and it’s going to play out because I’m going hard and competing every day.” – Tackle D.J. Humphries on knowing all eyes are on him this camp

“It’s going to be really hard, really hard, because the young kids are doing extremely well also. Everybody that’s over there right now could make a roster, and whether we keep seven, eight or nine is going to depend on other positions. But that’s high-quality competition in that room.” – Bruce Arians on prospect of having to make cuts at defensive line

Rookies are still rookies

This photo…yeah.

Stories that are worth your time

Craig Grialou wrote on how Larry Fitzgerald believes the Cardinals can do something special this season.

Craig Morgan talked to A.Q. Shipley, whose tenacity and smarts define him.

Bruce Arians had a lot to say prior to Sunday’s practice.

Because highlights are fun

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