The first padded practice was exactly what you’d want — eventful, with a lot of hitting. Unfortunately, such things can come with a price. Starting center Lyle Sendlein left early in the workout during one-on-one drills with the defensive line after hurting his left calf. No word on the seriousness of the injury. Ted Larsen stepped in to play center on the first unit and as 11-on-11 began, you could tell the chemistry with Larsen and QB Carson Palmer were not there. There were a couple of misplayed snaps/fumbles in the first few plays. It got ironed out. We’ll see what will happen with Sendlein.
Otherwise, the hitting was intense. During the pass protection drills between the linebackers and tight ends/running backs, it’s tough to see Bruce Arians get any more fired up than he did with that. There were some incredible collisions, including when linebacker Kenny Demens just crushed running back Damien Thigpen (who, to be fair, is only 5-8 and 180).
But it was hard not to notice that rookie wide receiver John Brown, who everyone raved about but said needed to wear pads and prove it that way, still shined. His first long pass after putting on pads, he beat cornerback Justin Bethel — who isn’t exactly slow — by a couple of steps and hauled in an 82-yard touchdown in stride. More on Brown on the homepage in a bit.
In other notes:
— Sendlein wasn’t the only injury. Defensive tackle is becoming an issue. Alameda Ta’amu is already on PUP and Dan Williams sat out with a sore left knee, so Christian Tupou stepped in in the middle of the 3-4 defense — only to leave early with what looked like some kind of right thigh injury. He walked off the field at the end of practice, though, having taken off his ice wrap, so it may not be a big deal.
— The fears of having a big hitter at safety: On one play, wide receiver Jaron Brown couldn’t hold on to a pass in the end zone with cornerback Jerraud Powers behind him and rookie safety Deone Bucannon coming at his chest. But Bucannon was a step or two away, and popped him (not full on) after Brown dropped the pass. Arians yelled across the field, “That’s a flag” so Bucannon understood that just can’t happen in today’s game. It was bang-bang, but Arians is right — it probably draws a penalty.
— The Cardinals ran a “fire” field goal drill on a “mishandled” snap. Holder Dave Zastudil rolled left and lofted a pass toward undrafted rookie tackle Kelvin Palmer. Palmer, 6-4 and 302, made a great catch while shielding the ball with his body from coverage linebacker Alex Okafor. I wish I had a picture or video. It was impressive from the big man.
— Former Cardinals offensive lineman Leonard “Bigg” Davis made an appearance on the sideline, as did former safety Kwamie Lassiter.
Tags: Christian Tupou, Damien Thigpen, Dan Williams, Dave Zastudil, Deone Bucannon, John Brown, Kelvin Palmer, Kenny Demens, Leonard Davis, Lyle Sendlein, Ted Larsen, training camp
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The Cardinals added one more player to the roster Friday after being awarded defensive tackle Christian Tupou off waivers. Tupou was just waived by the 49ers, who had just signed him in January to a futures deal. Last year, he played for the Bears after coming out of USC as an undrafted rookie in 2013. In five games, the 6-foot-2, 300-pounder had three tackles.
That now brings the Cardinals’ roster to the maximum of 90 players, meaning that further signings in the offseason will require a corresponding release. It makes sense with the organized team activities beginning Tuesday to have the full compliment of 90 (although, once again, this work is all voluntary, so guys may not come from time to time.)
Tags: Christian Tupou, Roster, waivers
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