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After Practice: Nkemdiche News Hits, And Halftime Matters

The Cardinals were done with their first padded practice of training camp for about an hour when the news came via two sentences in a press release. Robert Nkemdiche had been cut.

After his off-field trouble this summer and the way Kliff Kingsbury sounded when he delivered the "not in shape" line about Nkemdiche the other day, this move didn't surprise. It had felt inevitable. Nkemdiche had too much talent not to have accomplished much in three NFL seasons, and wanting to do more just didn't seem to be in him.

So the Cards move on.

-- On a much lighter note, someone asked Kingsbury about the "snack break" his players got during practice, when a cart of fresh fruit is brought out during a couple minutes of downtime. Kingsbury took good-natured exception to the phrasing.

"It's halftime," he said. "It's not a snack break but I appreciate you all coining that."

The break is meant to help with player safety and hydrating -- the fruit is a new twist, but the Cardinals had a "halftime" during all their OTA and minicamp workouts. But it's also meant to simulate the same break in games.

"I want to give those guys a quick pause and (see) how do we pick up in the second half of practice," Kingsbury said. "So coming out of halftime and finishing strong."

In terms of the actual practice:

-- There were a bunch of players sitting out. Some we obviously already knew about, like linebacker Haason Reddick, defensive lineman Vincent Valentine and safety D.J. Swearinger. But also on the sideline not practicing were linebacker Chandler Jones, defensive lineman Corey Peters, tackle Marcus Gilbert, running back D.J. Foster and wide receiver Chad Williams. I'd guess some are injury-related or at least injury-precaution (Foster coming off an ACL on the first day of hitting, for instance), while others might've been vet days.

-- The first day of pads and full contact seemed to slow the Kyler Murray momentum just a bit, but there were still some passing-game highlights. Christian Kirk made a great catch on a Murray throw. So did rookie KeeSean Johnson, who made a great catch early in 11-on-11 while Patrick Peterson was draped all over him.

-- Johnson is clearly someone to watch. He seems to be leading the pack of the rookie receivers, and he just looks natural in so many ways on the field.

-- Rookie Byron Murphy made a nice interception of Brett Hundley as Hundley was rolling left.

-- The Cardinals are truly making this an open battle at center, rotating A.Q. Shipley and Mason Cole with the first unit.

-- Brooks Reed, in his first practice after coming off the PUP list, took Jones' spot with the first unit. Josh Shaw was the first-unit safety with Swearinger sitting, and Dennis Gardeck continued to play in place of Reddick.

WR Christian Kirk hauls in a long pass, beating safety Jonathan Owens.
WR Christian Kirk hauls in a long pass, beating safety Jonathan Owens.