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Notes from the Nest: Cardinals respond to coach’s challenge

Larry Fitzgerald holds onto the ball after being hit by Kevin Minter during training camp Aug. 9. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The funny thing about watching football practice is that aside from interceptions, fumbles and drops, it is not always easy to tell how exactly a team did.

So, while it may have looked like the Cardinals did pretty well Monday (cough…at least I thought so…cough), head coach Bruce Arians was far from impressed. In fact, he said it was their first really bad effort of the season, an afternoon filled with penalties and mental errors.

It was with that backdrop — and the return of QB Carson Palmer and OG Evan Mathis — that the Cardinals got back on the field Tuesday for what again seemed to be a pretty solid session, especially for the defense.

The Good

– Receiver Jaron Brown had another productive afternoon, including a touchdown catch from Drew Stanton in 11-on-11. He was also on the receiving end of a nice throw from Carson Palmer, who threaded the needle while scrambling to his left.

– Speaking of Palmer, you can always note the difference between him and the team’s other QBs. While he was not perfect, he had plenty of zip on balls that were thrown into tight windows while showing nice touch on other throws. He moved around in and around the pocket, too.

– Linebacker Gabe Martin picked off Matt Barkley in 7-on-7.

– Safety Tyvon Branch has been beaten up pretty good by Larry Fitzgerald — especially in the red zone — but Tuesday he batted away a ball that was intended for No. 11.

– Speaking of Fitzgerald, his hands are still very much great. At one point he went a bit high to catch a pass and was hit by linebacker Kevin Minter. Fitz fell to the ground, of course, but had no issues holding onto the ball.

– Tony Jefferson intercepted Palmer on a ball that was essentially thrown right to him without a receiver even so much as near the play. So, either Palmer made a really terrible throw/read or a receiver was in the wrong spot.

– Calais Campbell had a nice day, putting pressure on the QB and blowing up some run plays.

The Bad

– The offensive line did not seem to open up many big holes in the running game.

Notable

Ed Stinson and Xavier Williams saw some time with the first-team defense.

Andre Ellington and David Johnson each spent some time returning kickoffs.

J.J. Nelson returned to the practice field after dealing with a groin injury.

Quotable

“It is surprising because I thought we had matured more than that, especially with some veteran Pro Bowlers who had five mental errors.” – Arians on if a bad practice day is disappointing but not surprising

“I didn’t wrestle with it a bit. They had approached me about changing some stuff, contractually, and giving us flexibility this year and years to come, and I didn’t hesitate. I’ve been playing my whole career to be in a situation like this and play for an owner like this and a GM like this. And then you throw in having the chance to play for Bruce and be one of Bruce’s quarterbacks and a chance to play in a locker room like this, and a chance to improve a fantastic roster. Didn’t hesitate at all.” – Palmer on if he wrestled with the idea of extending his contract

“They just came to me and it’s an easy decision. At the end of the day it’s not a whole lot different, it’s just something that helps us grow and be the best contender we can be to win a Super Bowl.” – Jared Veldheer on restructuring his contract

Injury Report

Receivers Jaxon Shipley and Brittan Golden left Tuesday’s practice with apparent injuries. Lineman Earl Watford missed practice with what Arians said was a knee injury.

The coach did say that John Brown is close to being cleared, but ruled him out for Friday’s preseason game against Oakland.

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Evan Mathis was named to The Ringer’s All-Bargain Bin Team.

Receiver Chris Hubert has been a ‘pleasant surprise’ early in camp.

Carson Palmer held court with the media following Tuesday’s walk-through.

Bruce Arians was not too complimentary of his QBs after Palmer and Stanton.

Carson Palmer, second-tier QB?

Looks like I’ve been replaced as the resident food sampler. That stings a bit.

And some moving pictures

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