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Jaxon Shipley Making His Case

Notes: Undrafted rookies stand out; David Johnson limited; Sowell gets first-team reps

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Undrafted rookie wideout Jaxon Shipley returns a kick in the preseason opener against the Chiefs


As an undrafted free agent, Jaxon Shipley knows the odds are against him in making the Cardinals roster, and that it's imperative he prove his worth over the next couple weeks.

He did a nice job of that in the preseason opener on Saturday night, catching a 21-yard pass and returning four kickoffs for an average of 34.5 yards, including a 56-yarder, in the 34-19 loss to the Chi

efs.

"Jaxon showed up big-time," coach Bruce Arians said. "I always like when a guy shows up when the lights come on."

Wide receiver is one of the deeper positions on the team, so if Shipley has any hope of making the final 53-man roster, he must show his versatility by excelling on offense and special teams.

"I know it's stacked and we've got some great receivers here, and I don't know where I fit in amongst that group," Shipley said. "But hopefully if I can get some things going on special teams these next couple games, I can find a spot. I'm just doing what I can. I can't promise anything at all, but I'm going to take what I can get."

Another undrafted free agent who made his mark on Saturday was defensive tackle Xavier Williams. While preseason numbers must be taken in context, Williams was given the top rating (plus-4.2) on the team by analytics site Pro Football Focus, including high marks for his run defense.

Arians said Williams was asked to move to defensive end for a spell and did so without issue.

"He played extremely well," Arians said.

NO SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR SARAH THOMAS

Duri

ng portions of Saturday's preseason opener, Sarah Thomas, the first full-time female official in the NFL, worked within earshot of Arians near the Cardinals sideline. When calls were made that he didn't like, Arians let Thomas know in his typically-colorful fashion.

"Did I hold back?" he said. "Ask her. No."

"She had a striped shirt on," Arians added. "There's no male/female. It's just striped shirts."

Arians was unhappy with one call of a completion -- which he challenged and got overturned -- but thought Thomas had a nice showing overall.

"She was solid," Arians said. "She got chewed out pretty good a few times, but I thought she was solid in her calls. Obviously she didn't see that ball come loose like I saw it because it was in front of here. She didn't have that angle. But I thought she did a quality job."

DAVID JOHNSON ON WAY BACK FROM INJURY

Running back David Johnson (hamstring) returned to practice in a limited capacity on Monday for the first time since the opening weekend of training camp. Arians hopes Johnson is ready to make his NFL debut Saturday against the Chargers. Safety Chris Clemons (groin), wide receiver Travis Harvey (unknown) and running back Marion Grice (hamstring) also did limited work.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (hamstring) missed practice, as did linebacker Zack Wagenmann (foot), cornerback Darren Woodard (groin), linebacker Shaq Riddick (hamstring), linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hip), defensive end Josh Mauro (back), cornerback Jonte Green (hamstring), wide receiver Michael Floyd (hand), and tackle Rob Crisp (knee).

Backup safety Brandon Person tore his ACL against the Chiefs.

INCREASED WORK FOR THE STARTERS IN GAME TWO

Quarterback Carson Palmer and the rest of the starters are expected to play the first quarter against San Diego, Arians said. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton will play some of the second quarter, followed by Logan Thomas and Phillip Sims.

SOWELL GETS REPS WITH FIRST TEAM

Veteran Bradley Sowell worked with the first team at right tackle during Monday's practice instead of Bobby Massie. He started 12 games at left tackle for the Cardinals in 2013 and was a backup last year. He could be an option there if the need arises during the season. D.J. Humphries continued to work with the second unit.

Top images from Saturday's preseason opener


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