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After Practice: Christian Kirk, Punt Returns, And Practice Outside

One of the reasons Kliff Kingsbury wanted to get in an outside practice was to allow return men and receivers to get some work dealing with the sun in their eyes as the ball comes down.

"When the ball is stuck in the sun, there is no catching it," return man Christian Kirk said. "You have to be at the right angle. It definitely challenges you."

The Cardinals are still looking for a punt returner -- and kick returner, for that matter. Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said that's what the preseason games are for. Kirk would be the natural guy at punt returner, but given that he is expected to be one of the Cardinals' top wide receivers, they may not want to risk him -- just like they have slowly weened Patrick Peterson off punt returns.

"I have not been told 'Do not put Christian back there,' " Rodgers said. "He's pretty dang good. We'll let him keep competing."

Kirk understands the Cards could pull him back. He said he could see himself being used like Peterson in the past, as a secret punt return weapon broken out in crucial situations.

"I love punt return," Kirk said. "If they told me I was the full-time punt returner, great. If they tell me I have to take a secondary role, then I will focus on what I have to do catching the ball from Kyler (Murray)."

As for practice Friday:

-- There isn't much to report. For one, only a short amount (20 minutes) was open for a short (a little more than an hour) practice. Nothing happened in the open time besides stretching and individual drills. The heat was the story.

"I was delusional once we got to team period," center A.Q. Shipley cracked, joking that he lost 20 pounds. Still, Shipley said it was a lot different than last year's outdoor practice.

"(This time) we weren't in pads, weren't out there for two hours," Shipley said.

Even Kirk, the Scottsdale native, felt it. "I had a couple guys come up to me, 'This isn't even hot for you,' " Kirk said. "I'm like, 'well ...' At the end of the day, it's hot."

-- Wide receiver Andy Isabella, who left at the end of Thursday's practice with a small limp, has a "minor knee issue," Kingsbury said.

"I expect him back sooner rather than later," Kingsbury added, although he said the Cardinals won't push him just to be ready for the preseason opener.

RB David Johnson
RB David Johnson