GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals were back at practice on Monday and coach Bruce Arians didn’t like what he saw from most of his offense, particularly his wide receivers.
”I thought it was very lethargic offensively,” Arians said. ”I’m not very pleased with our wide receiver room. I must have been seeing things back in the spring when I said we had 12 guys that could play in the NFL, because we might have two. But we’ll look around and see who’s available.”
Lest anyone be left guessing the identity of the two receivers who escaped the criticism, Arians spelled it out later in his post-practice news conference.
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Jaron Brown was ”as good as you can get, he and Larry (Fitzgerald),” the coach said.
As for the rest of them ”It’s not effort,” Arians said, ”(it’s) assignments, catching the ball, the main things that receivers have to do they’re not doing.”
Others on offense didn’t escape criticism.
”The defense I thought came out ready to practice,” Arians said. ”I thought Carson (Palmer) came out ready to practice and the guys around him didn’t help him too much.”
The coach said tight ends dropped balls and offensive linemen missed cutoff blocks on the backside.
”It was everybody but Carson,” Palmer said. ”I thought the quarterbacks had a good day.”
The receiver play was better in Saturday night’s 20-10 preseason victory over Oakland, Arians said.
”It was not very good in practice last week,” he said, ”and to start this week, and they’ve been warned.”
Wide receiver J.J. Nelson said when ”one guy messes up it pretty much messes up the whole play.”
”A lot of the guys in that room, we’re capable of going out there and making plays and playing in this league,” Nelson said, ”so we pretty much feel like we let him down.”
Nelson knows what it’s like to be the target of Arians’ wrath.
”I’ve gotten cussed out plenty of times in my three years here,” he said. ”He’s pretty much saying it in a nice way right now, but still getting his message across. It’s up to us to respond and go out and make plays.”
Brown said he felt he could have done better, too.
”The stupid mental errors,” he said. ”It’s something that’s kind of been re-occurring. … It wasn’t our best day. We’ve got to come out tomorrow and have a better day.”
Veterans Palmer, Fitzgerald, defensive lineman Frostee Rucker and inside linebacker Karlos Dansby will get the day off on Tuesday, Arians said.
The starters went about 15 plays against Oakland.
Asked how much they would play next Saturday, when Arizona will host to Chicago, Arians said, ”We’ll shoot for the first quarter and see how it goes” but no more than 20 plays.
The Cardinals have daily workouts open to the public through Thursday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The game against the Bears will be Arizona’s last home matchup for more than a month.
The Cardinals’ final two preseason games and first two games of the regular season are on the road. Their home opener is on Monday night, Sept. 25, against the Dallas Cowboys.
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