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With John Brown Down, Chad Williams Gets Chance

Posted Sep 15, 2017

Notes: Iupati, Humphries also won't play Sunday; Gresham body-slam fine; Dray returns

Cardinals rookie wide receiver Chad Williams, the team's third-round pick, will be active for the first time Sunday with John Brown injured.

Chad Williams is “anxious” to get on the field and play Sunday in Indianapolis.

“Things are slowing down, I’m playing faster,” the rookie wide receiver said. “We’re jelling together.”

Coach Bruce Arians said he was looking forward to seeing Williams play – “He battles Patrick (Peterson) night and day out there (at practice),” Arians added – a nod to Williams’ improvement since Arians took him to task a couple of times in training camp.

But there is a reason Williams will be active, and it mostly has to do with the absence of wide receiver John Brown and not Williams’ improvement. Brown didn’t practice all week and won’t travel to Indy because of his bad quad, a step back from his slow recovery and play in the opener despite not being 100 percent.

When Brown returns would be a guess. Arians was asked what his level of concern was with Brown, and the coach simply said he didn’t have one “because he just can’t stay healthy right now.”

“It’s a matter now of the next guy stepping up to go, because I don’t know when he’s going to be healthy,” Arians said.

[READ: FRIDAY BEFORE THE COLTS]

In addition to Brown and losing running back David Johnson (wrist) to injured reserve, starting left guard Mike Iupati (triceps) also will not play, meaning veteran Alex Boone will get the start. He’ll be next to left tackle John Wetzel, who is filling in for the injured D.J. Humphries (knee).

“I don’t feel great about it,” Arians said of losing the left side of his line, “but those (fill-in) guys have played a lot of football.”

So Arians, in a better mood Friday than he had been in Wednesday, said he was looking forward to seeing Williams, running back Elijhaa Penny (who will have a role in the offense) and tight end Ifeanyi Momah, who should get some targets with fellow tight ends Jermaine Gresham (ribs) and Troy Niklas (hip) questionable.

GRESHAM BODY-SLAM ONLY DRAWS FINE

Gresham got hurt when Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis body-slammed him to the ground late in last week’s game – a play that pushed teammate Larry Fitzgerald to say something to Davis as soon as it happened, and one that didn’t leave Cardinals’ coaches happy.

“I was pissed off,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “I didn’t think it was very smart by that guy. I don’t know if that guy got a notice from the league or not. It was uncalled for, but Jermaine is a tough competitor. I didn’t like it. At the end of the day, they have to respect each other, because they are all trying to feed their families.”

It turned out Davis was fined $9,115, which is the number for a first-time offender for such a penalty.

“Waiting to see what happens,” Arians said before news of the fine got out. “Whether it’s a suspension because our player is missing time -- it was a personal foul – or whether it’s a fine or is it a (lesser fine for a) sock violation?”

NKEMDICHE READY BUT BUCANNON PROBABLY ISN’T

Arians said defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (calf), who is officially listed as questionable, will be in the lineup ready to take up his regular role Sunday. That should help the defensive line.

Arians said he’s going to be “careful” with money linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle), who is officially listed as doubtful for the game.

DRAY RETURNS AS TIGHT END

With the Cardinals unsure of the health of Gresham and Niklas, the team signed veteran tight end Jim Dray Friday. Dray was a one-time 2010 draft pick of the Cards who played the first four years of his career in Arizona. He played the 2014 and 2015 seasons in Cleveland before spending time with the Bills and 49ers last season.

“My wife was extremely happy,” said Dray, who has a home in Scottsdale. “This is home for us, so she loves the hometown team. Happy that it worked out. This is kind of what we were hoping for at some point at the end of the career, was come back home and play a couple games. We’re just happy it worked out.”

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