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Cardinals QB Palmer unwraps arm early and looks sharp

5/30/2017 8:02:00 PM
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The plan was for Carson Palmer to wait.

The Arizona Cardinals' veteran quarterback was supposed to be saving his arm for a mandatory mini-camp June 6-8. That's what he allegedly agreed to with coach Bruce Arians.

It had been determined that the 37-year-old overused his arm too much last offseason, which is why Arians routinely gave Palmer Wednesday off during the season.

Something obviously changed, however, because there was Palmer out on the field during offseason workouts on Tuesday and he was expected to participate in practices and drills again on Wednesday, according to Arians, who say Palmer also was throwing late last week without the prying eyes of reporters around the team's practice facility.

It marked the first time Palmer has thrown during any of the club's OTAs and there's a chance he could do it again on either Thursday or Friday if he feels well.

"He looked really sharp," Arians said. "We'll see how he feels two days in a row. Whether he goes Thursday or Friday, we'll see. But he looked really sharp today."

Palmer has been getting antsy, Arians said, and convinced his coach to let him take part in team activities with the rest of his teammates. Arians ultimately agreed and when he did, he said Palmer, was "like a little kid in a candy store."

--WR Larry Fitzgerald, during an impromptu mass media interview session with reporters on Tuesday, his first of the offseason, touched on a variety of subjects. Some of his most memorable comments were reserved for his former quarterback, Kurt Warner, who will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

Without Warner, Fitzgerald suggested he might not have blossomed into the future Hall of Famer he has become himself. He said he needed Warner's guidance and savviness to become a real professional, but that it wasn't easy in the beginning.

"I remember the rifts we used to have early on," Fitzgerald said. "I would be like, 'Kurt, I'm open, man! Just throw it up!' And he was like, 'No Fitz, you're not open.' I'd say, 'Just trust me' and he'd say, 'No. That's not how it works. I need to see you be open.'

"So he forced me to get out of my comfort zone and get better and he did a great job of doing that to everybody. Whether it was me or Anquan (Boldin) or Leonard Pope or Steve Breaston or whoever it was, he always knew how to get the most out of guys without being abrasive or disrespectful or any of that. He just had a really good understanding of how to get the best out of people."

Fitzgerald said two of Warner's most likeable traits on the football field was the quarterback always being "unflappable" in the huddle and getting the team to follow his lead during its Super Bowl run at the end of the 2008 regular season.

Most of the players on that roster didn't have any playoff experience, but Warner constantly prepped them for it and taught them what to expect.

"We all leaned on him during that stretch," Fitzgerald said, adding of his five years with Warner from 2005-09, "I was very blessed not only to have him, but to have him at the time I had him. To have him in my second year, it was a Godsend because I needed him not only from a professional standpoint, but from a personal standpoint.

"He really taught me how to be a professional, how to conduct myself as a man, dealing with different people and relationships. He is a special person and I was very thankful to be able to have him in my life at 21-years-old."

--Coach Bruce Arians said he likes the running backs he has on the roster at the moment, but wouldn't rule out the Cardinals bringing in an experienced player to bolster team depth.

To that point, the Cardinals did show interest in free-agent LeGarrette Blount until Blount signed with the Eagles.

"We'll see," Arians said. "I don't see a glaring need for one right now, but there's always a possibility."

Presently, the top of the depth chart looks like this: David Johnson, Andre Ellington, Kerwynn Williams, Elijhha Penny and rookie T.J. Logan. Ellington is also getting looks strictly as a wide receiver.

"They're all kind of proven, other than Elijhaa," Arians said. "We know what we have in Kerwynn. We know what we have in Andre and his flexibility is very good for him. Elijhaa is kind of the dark horse and T.J., he's learning but we know he can return kicks. I like what I saw out of Elijhaa all of last year (on the practice squad)."

--When the Cardinals drafted guard Dorian Johnson out of Pittsburgh with their fourth-round pick, it was naturally assumed -- and later confirmed by coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim -- that he would challenge second-year pro Evan Boehm for the starting job at right guard. Boehm, after all, was drafted to be the team's center of the future.

Not so fast, says Arians.

"Evan is right where he left off," the coach said. "He's a lot stronger. He had a great offseason in the weight room. He's battling (defensive tackle Robert) Nkemdiche pretty good every day. Dorian is learning."

So in other words, the starting job isn't wide open?

"No, it's Evan's job to lose," Arians said.

--Offensive lineman Cole Toner was drafted as a tackle out of Harvard, but he spent a good portion of his rookie season working at guard and now the Cardinals have him lined up as a backup center behind veteran A.Q. Shipley.

"It's the NFL and guys go down," Toner said, adding, "I knew versatility would be good for me to stay on board and get a spot to play at some point."

--Bruce Arians said first-round pick Haason Reddick is following veteran inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, now on his third stint with the team all over the place. And that's a good thing, too.

"If you follow him, you'll know what a pro really looks like," Arians said of Dansby, 35.

--With Arizona temperature soaring into the 100s, coach Bruce Arians was asked how some of his players unfamiliar with the Arizona summer heat are handling the morning practices outside under the sun. He said it hasn't been a problem thus far because the team is smart about staying hydrated and the players that need it are routinely getting IVs after workouts.

"We're getting done so early that it's not really hot," he added.

--CB Brandon Williams on competing with Justin Bethel or any of seven other cornerbacks on the roster vying for a chance to become the No.2 starter opposite All-Pro Patrick Peterson: "It's year two, man. I'm more confident in what I need to do and I'm not going into a situation blind. I know what ti expect out of OTAs. I know what to expect out of training camp. I know what to expect out of myself. That's basically it."

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