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After Practice: Games Matter, But Practice Tells A Lot

With the first preseason game coming Thursday, Kliff Kingsbury wants to see his players under the lights. He wants to get Kyler Murray's feet wet with an NFL game. He wants to see some of the young receivers and backup linemen. But roster decisions aren't about just game efforts. In fact, it may mean less.

"Consistency at practice is huge," Kingsbury said. "You want to see guys when the lights are on execute some of our base installs at a high level and operate communicate and do certain things. But you get a good sample size with the number of reps we get at practice."

As for what went on on the field Tuesday:

-- With Marcus Gilbert (groin) sitting out practice, Korey Cunningham got the work as starting right tackle. The Cards are still searching for who their top reserve tackle will be. Cunningham figures to be a top candidate, but he hasn't locked up anything. With veteran A.Q. Shipley taking a veterans day -- and with Mason Cole working as first-team left guard because of Justin Pugh's shoulder injury -- rookie Lamont Gaillard was getting some first-team reps at center.

-- The ups and downs of a rookie wide receiver. Hakeem Butler made a fantastic one-handed catch early in practice on a pass from Brett Hundley, but later, one a beautiful throw dropped down the sideline over the corner and way from the safety, Butler hauled it in -- only to drop it when the safety made contact. Butler was not happy with himself. He knows those are catches he has to make.

-- Cornerback Deatrick Nichols made an interception off third-string QB Charles Kanoff, and safety Rudy Ford got a red-zone interception, his second pick in as many practices. Linebacker Jordan Hicks read Kyler Murray well on one seam throw and should've had a pick, but he dropped it.

-- It's been interesting to watch the ongoing battle between cornerback Robert Alford and wide receiver Damiere Byrd, one that started in the offseason. Byrd made a couple of nice deep ball moves and catches on Alford Tuesday.

-- There was a brief -- very brief -- skirmish between tackle Rees Odhiambo and defensive lineman Zach Allen. I might've mentioned this before but Allen, who is as nice of a person as you'll find off the field, has some nasty on the field.

-- WR Andy Isabella was finally back at practice, but WR Kevin White was out. So was cornerback Byron Murphy, who is dealing with a foot injury.

-- Governor Doug Ducey attended practice with team president Michael Bidwill.

CB Deatrick Nichols after an interception at Tuesday's practice.
CB Deatrick Nichols after an interception at Tuesday's practice.

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