The Arizona Cardinals had their first day of three in mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday. While the team had OTAs and practices for three weeks, what changed was the amount of time the team can have the players and the fact it is mandatory. Here are some notes from practice.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson, who had offseason ankle surgery, practiced for the first time in the offseason. He participated in individual drills at his position, but not in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.
A few on the sideline
A few players started the open part of practice on the side, appearing to nurse some injuries. Tight end Troy Niklas, undrafted rookie cornerback Eli Bouka, undrafted rookie tight end Hakeem Valles, receiver Jaxon Shipley, sixth round cornerback Harlan Miller and safety Tyrann Mathieu were on the side. Some later practiced, but Harlan Miller sat out, having tweaked a hamstring.
The Cardinals had J.J. Nelson, John Brown and undrafted rookie Chris Hubert receiving punts, for what it's worth.
Bruce Arians was pleased with how practice went. There was no issue with tempo or intensity. In fact, Arians "had to say 'whoa'" to a few players, which he would rather see than having to light a fire under players. They finished 30 minutes early. Because of the heat, they limited the two-field work.
Talk of defensive backs
Arians said Brandon Williams has a really good chance of playing. The young players are closing the gap between them and Justin Bethel, who still is not ready to do on-field work. Williams takes the coaching well and has made plays. Arians downplayed the complexity of what Williams would have to do, saying "dude coverage" is easy -- "you've got that dude." That apparently is similar to "cat coverage" Arians mentioned on draft night -- "you've got that cat." I guess he has to disguise his calls.
Arians praised Tyvon Branch for his versatility, being able to cover receivers, tight ends and running backs. He said D.J. Swearinger is a "very talented" player who needs to work on his consistency.
Arians said undrafted rookie Eli Bouka is going to get a first look at outside cornerback, although he potentially could play safety. He is one of a few players Arians wants to see in pads.
John Brown and finishing the season
Arians noted Brown's next step in development is is finishing the season. He felt Brown should have had a 1400-yard season, but pressed late in the year and left about 200 yards on the field in Philadelphia with drops.
Andre Ellington's role
Arians said Ellington will certainly have a role in the offense, but couldn't commit to how many touches he will get because of the other guys ahead of him.
If it were today, Arians said the center rotation would be A.Q. Shipley, then Earl Watford and then rookie Evan Boehm. Boehm just has to get the offense. Arians said his "future is bright." Shipley has to stay on the field to stay in the lead.