Rookie receiver Brown makes fast impression on coaches, teammates
Jul 29, 2014 at 8:27p ET
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the Cardinals drafted John Brown out of Pittsburg State in the third round of the NFL Draft in May, hardly anyone knew who he was. After Monday's training camp practice at University of Phoenix Stadium, fans were screaming for his autograph.
Brown continues to make a big impression early in camp, both on fans and the team, particularly after a strong showing in Monday's first padded practice.
"He was very impressive," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "He's one of those guys that if he can continue to build on practices and put on like that, he'll earn the right to be here."
Brown had the highlight of the day Monday when he beat cornerback Justin Bethel down the field to snag an 82-yard touchdown from quarterback Drew Stanton. The play provided another look into the speed and playmaking ability that has created a good deal of hype already.
Arians had wondered how Brown would look once padded practices began and said Tuesday that Brown didn't appear any slower or less capable than he had in shorts.
"He doesn't look like he's got 'em on," Arians said.
Brown has also made a strong impression on starting quarterback Carson Palmer, whom he worked with recently in southern California. Palmer has been impressed by Brown's speed and ability to pick up the offense quickly, but his biggest takeaway relates to Brown's demeanor.
Palmer said with players from smaller schools it's hard not to wonder if the grand stage of the NFL won't prove too big. It hasn't been an issue for Brown.
"Nothing's too big for him," Palmer said. "Whether we're out there at the facility and there's nobody around or there's 10,000 people in the stands at the first training camp practice and you're in pads and you're going against Patrick Peterson and all that, nothing's too big for him. He doesn't have big eyes in the huddle."
Brown doesn't seem to be letting the hype get to him, either. That much was apparent Monday as he addressed a horde of reporters surely much bigger than anything he ever faced at Pittsburg State.
"I don't feed into all that," Brown said. "I'm just about helping the team. So when it's time to show up, I'm just going to show up and see how it goes from there."
The Cardinals got their first look at first-round pick Deone Bucannon in contact practice Monday, and the safety appeared eager to prove himself.
"He was trying to show off a little bit, trying to show that he's a tough guy," Arians joked Tuesday. "We know that he's a tough guy."
Arians said Bucannon is learning when to be that tough, physical player without costing his team a penalty. Bucannon acknowledged the same, that he is learning to harness what was his calling card at Washington State.
"People see me as a physical player, and I see myself as a physical player too," Bucannon said. "I just want to come out here and stay within the rules but at the same time have my effect. As a player, I want to play to my strengths.
"I have to learn the medium -- not to be too aggressive, but at the same time be the aggressive player I am."
ABRAHAM STILL ABSENT
Veteran linebacker John Abraham remains absent from training camp, and news came Thursday the active NFL sacks leader faces a DUI charge from an arrest in late June. Asked if Abraham's absence was related to the incident, Arians offered no comment but did say he was aware of the arrest at the time it happened. Arians also said he had no update on when Abraham may report.
'NUMBERS DON'T LIE'
Kicking competitions aren't the sexiest position battles, but they sure seem important when a team needs a big field goal. The Cardinals' three-man competition has begun to play out, with two kickers competing each day while the third rests.
It's too early to name a leader among veteran Jay Feely, Danny Hrapmann or rookie Chandler Catanzaro, but Arians has so far banked one big takeaway.
"So far Cat's been perfect," Arians said. "That's the only impression I can gather from it, and the rest of the guys haven't been, so numbers don't lie."
Catanzaro wasn't perfect by the end of Tuesday, missing three consecutive field goals after being perfect the previous three days. Arians said he'll evaluate more once games begin.
-- The Cardinals were down three nose tackles Tuesday with Dan Williams (knee), Alameda Ta'amu (knee) and Christian Tupou (groin) all on the sidelines and had to rotate a number of players into the spot.
-- Arians said strong side linebacker is Matt Shaughnessy's job to lose: "Matt's solid where he's at. Somebody's going to have to take that from him."
-- Arians on Sam Acho, who made his return to contact practice after suffering a broken leg last September: "Sam looked fantastic. He had two hustle plays, punch-out fumbles, and he had an excellent pass rush day."