While the receivers who joined him on the field were not nearly as recognizable, they showed that the position group is one of the deepest on the Cardinals’ roster – and possibly the deepest wide receiver group in a long time.
“It’s great when the day before they find out, ‘Oh wait, I’m starting? I’m in there with Larry (Fitzgerald) and those guys?’” Palmer said. “And to see the way they handled the situation – they weren’t scared, they weren’t nervous, there was no, ‘Man, this is the NFL?’ There was none of that going on.”
John Brown has a firm hold on the fourth wide receiver spot after impressing in practice, and he carried over that production to the game. He said there was no nervousness in his first NFL action, and that was evident from the outset as he made an impact early in the contest. All of Brown’s receiving yards came in the first half, and he had 10 passes thrown his way in the game.
“When I knew Michael wasn’t playing and Larry wasn’t getting that much playing time, I just knew that I had to step up,” John Brown said. “It was basically showing those guys in case anything happened, I could be the person to fill those shoes.”
Jaron Brown, Golden and Powell are all in the mix, and Arians said each of them played well against the Texans, although Brown has begun to take hold of the spot with his play both in practice and the game.
“It’s going to be knockdown, drag-out to see who gets to stay,” Arians said.
Special teams will play a big role. Arians has already praised Jaron Brown’s special teams prowess. Powell made a nice tackle on kickoff coverage, while Golden filled in at punt and kick return for Ginn, something he hadn’t done since 2011 and wasn’t told about until Friday night.
Golden said he thinks about the wide receiver competition every morning when he wakes up, and was more than happy to get as much opportunity as the coaching staff allowed him.
“I figured I would get in, (just) not from the first series to the last series,” Golden said. “I wasn’t expecting that. Like I said, it was a blessing. I was just glad to get those reps.”
When Ginn and Floyd return, the wide receivers behind Fitzgerald will get bumped back down the depth chart. That doesn’t include tight ends
Now the bigger challenge may be keeping them all happy, but Palmer doesn’t think that will be a problem.
“There’s not a guy clamoring for the ball or bad body language if the ball goes to somebody else,” Palmer said. “They do their jobs. If they get it and their number’s called, they get it and come back to the huddle. There’s no first-down dances or some of the stuff you see. It’s just a very mature group, because there’s really only one veteran (Fitzgerald) in that group. Mike is still young, too, though it doesn’t seem like it. It’s just a very mature group that gets it.”