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A "Focused" Practice For The Cardinals

Notes: Palmer figures out finger; John Brown responds to Sherman; Chris Johnson practicing soon


Cardinals coach Bruce Arians (left) and wide receiver John Brown at practice on Wednesday.

Allen Iverson might not love it, but there was plenty of talk about practice at the Cardinals' facility on Wednesday.

The team was shellacked by the Seahawks in Sunday's regular season finale, and coach Bruce Arians said he saw it coming because the preparation was poor during the week.

The Cardinals have a first-round bye this weekend

as the wild card games kick off the postseason, but they still put in 90 minutes of work inside their practice bubble and emerged feeling confident.

"A very good start to 2016," Arians said. "A good practice. I thought our guys were extremely focused and a lot of energy on the practice field. It was fun to watch."

Quarterback Carson Palmer said the players met on Monday and talked about the lackadaisical showing against the Seahawks, but are ready to put that in the rearview mirror. The stakes are high moving forward, and tip-top preparation is paramount as the team awaits its foe for the NFC Divisional round on Jan. 16.

"It's time to move on," Palmer said. "Whatever happened, happened, that last game. It's time to focus on this next season, and we came out today and had a great practice. It was short, it was quick, it was to the point."

The Cardinals practiced with the Packers in mind on Wednesday, and will prepare for the Vikings on Thursday and the Redskins on Friday. Arians said all three game plans are nearly finished, and that there will be only minor adjustments once the opponent is decided.

The players said it's an adjustment not knowing who the opponent will be until Sunday.

"It's kind of hard, but at the end of the day, it gives us time to focus and learn from the things we've been messing up on," wide receiver John Brown said.


The dislocated right index finger Palmer suffered in Philadelphia caused a small change in his throwing motion, which in turn put fatigue on a muscle which wasn't used to getting as much work.

"He had a very sore lat from changing his motion, which is very natural for pitchers when they come back and they throw, and they'll get a sore lat," Arians said. "For a quarterback, it's a weird feeling and it worried him some. But once we readjusted the tape job so that he could use his finger and come off the ball last, the soreness went away and he's really good right now."

Palmer said he has found the best way to deal with the injury and it isn't expected to bother him moving forward.

"We changed some things up with the way I treated it and the way I taped it, and it's feeling much better," Palmer said. "I haven't had that issue much since."


Brown said he didn't see Richard Sherman's taunt live on Sunday –Sherman mimed sitting on a bench in a message directed at the second-year wideout -- but admitted the Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback was the better player in the game.

Brown, who said in a radio interview earlier this year that he didn't think Sherman – or any other player in the NFL – could guard him one-on-one, finished with four catches for 45 yards on a team-high 11 targets. Sherman, who didn't guard one particular Cardinals player, gave up two catches for 24 yards on six targets, per Pro Football Focus.

"He played great football," Brown said. "He made plays. He had a better game than me. That's part of football. Every dog has their day. He's an All-Pro. The words I said, I stepped up to the challenge and took the loss like a man."

Brown said he thought Sherman would remember the interview, but didn't think he would pay much attention "because of who I am. I'm not a big name like him." Sherman certainly took it to heart, but Brown isn't sure it played much of a role in Sherman's performance. 

"At the end of the day, even if I wouldn't have said it, he was going to come with his best game because he's Richard Sherman," Brown said.


Running back Chris Johnson (leg) is eligible to return to practice on Tuesday and expects to be there. He can't be activated from the injured reserve/designated to return list until after the NFC Championship game.

"I feel like I'm ahead of schedule, but I wouldn't say that if we had a game tomorrow I'd be ready to play," Johnson said. "We've still got some time left. I feel like by the time practice gets here next week I'll be ready to go."

There's no injury report during the bye week, but Arians said linebacker Markus Golden (knee) and defensive tackle Josh Mauro (calf) could return to practice this week after missing the finale.


Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati was selected as the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. … Four players were signed to futures contracts: center Taylor Boggs, center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, linebacker Mike Reilly and safety Tyrequek Zimmerman.

Images of the Cardinals cheerleaders during the regular season finale against Seattle

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