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After Practice: Robert Alford Uses His Chip

Robert Alford clearly is looking to be something other than the No.1-cornerback-while-Patrick-Peterson-is-suspended. The veteran had quite the day Tuesday at practice -- as did wide receiver KeeSean Johnson, although he was mostly running with the second unit. Alford is a proven chirper, getting into it with wide receiver Damiere Byrd for the first scrap of camp. He made an acrobatic pick to open practice during one-on-one drills on a deep ball, and then intercepted Kyler Murray on the final play for all starters to close out an end-of-game situation.

"That's my game," Alford said. "I came from a small school (Southeastern Louisiana) and to make it out of that environment, you have to play with a chip on your shoulder. That's something I've always had and that's something that won't go away until I hang these cleats up."

The Byrd battle was telegraphed in many ways. The two have battled all offseason, Byrd was the receiver on that initial Alford interception, and then on the previous rep between the two in one-on-ones, Alford manhandled Byrd off the line. It was harsh, and Larry Fitzgerald even said something to Byrd after. When Alford did the same thing the very next play, Byrd responded and the two had a heated if brief battle.

Alford wasn't done though. At the end of practice, the Cardinals had a late-game, down-by-six-points-and-need-to-go-about-70-yard situation with a minute to go. Murray tried to slip a pass down the sideline to Byrd. It was slightly underthrown, and Alford leaped for the pick.

-- The second-unit offense came up at the end, though, thanks to Johnson. Facing a fourth-and-9 at their own 35 in that same situation, with about 30 seconds left, Johnson somehow got loose deep and Brett Hundley hit him in stride for 65-yard TD. Johnson also had an impressive sideline catch and subsequent short TD reception on a drive earlier in practice.

-- Johnson had a nice day, but you know who really had a nice day? Larry Fitzgerald, who came back from his off day Sunday to show off that obvious chemistry he already has with Murray.

-- The signing of Andre Branch is in part because he has a little history with Vance Joseph, who was defensive coordinator in Miami in 2016, Branch's first year with the Dolphins.

-- The next two practices are open, but start at 10:50 a.m., if you're planning on stopping by.

CB Robert Alford breaks up a pass to WR Damiere Byrd at Tuesday's practice.
CB Robert Alford breaks up a pass to WR Damiere Byrd at Tuesday's practice.

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