Earlier this spring, Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians couldn’t have been happier with the talent he had at the wideout position.
Now? It appears to be just the opposite.
Jaron Brown and Larry Fitzgerald only two Arians has been pleased with in camp.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) August 14, 2017
But wait, what about John Brown?
Arians wasn’t too pleased with the expected WR2 for this year either:
BA said WR John Brown not practicing full time is a concern. (He's been participating in certain drills during practice) #CardsCamp— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) August 15, 2017
So what does this mean?
Let’s start with the positives.
First of all, Larry Fitzgerald (even approaching age 34) is Larry Fitzgerald. And Jaron Brown doesn’t look like a guy coming off of an ACL.
He might have been in for a big season last year had he not been injured.
And that, right there, is the issue. “Might have been.”
As Bruce Arians has been steadfast on ever since he became the head coach of the Cardinals, “potential ain’t —-” and that’s the reason why, despite his talent, John Brown has taken a long fall into the doghouse.
As Mike Jurecki tweeted out above, Brown has indeed still been practicing some, so perhaps Arians is using this tactic to motivate Brown.
And the rest of his players in that receiving room. Guys such as J.J. Nelson has been dropping passes. Chris Hubert doesn’t seem on the same page with his QB. Chad Williams has looked strong at times but is hurt and also a rookie. Brittan Golden always seems to be on the bubble.
Indeed, as they proved last year, the Cardinals without John Brown healthy are a very different team.
Now, it’s important to note that Arians didn’t say directly “they aren’t good” but phrased it as “I said we might have 12 [NFL] guys but I might be wrong on that.”
....I might be wrong on that.
Translation: Prove me wrong.
And this is part of what Arians is seeking to do as a coach—motivate his players to action. I would expect an excellent day of practice tomorrow.
But that alone doesn’t mean that Arians will stay content with the current situation, either.
In light of his concern about the wide receivers, Arians said the Cardinals will be looking to see what FAs might be out there.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) August 14, 2017
In short, Arians and Keim have found an issue with the depth at wide receiver and don’t intend to sit on their hands about it. If Brown/Nelson or the others can’t step up, they’ll find someone who can.
Should Cardinals fans be concerned?
And perhaps not.
There’s no way of knowing how things will go in the NFL when it comes to injuries. Just last year, Arians called Justin Bethel a “failure in progress” and even was frustrated by David Johnson’s injury as a rookie that had him miss time in camp. Both have been praised by Arians this offseason so far.
But until “Uncle Bruce” can see some production out of the likes of John Brown and others, Cards fans will be watching the visiting workouts very carefully.
You can follow @blakemurphy7 on Twitter.