Cardinals wide receiver John Brown hauls in a 35-yard pass against the Ravens on Monday night.
John "Smokey" Brown said Thursday he'd practice Friday and he did in a limited fashion. So now the Cardinals will see how he does after a plane flight to Cleveland before making the decision if he can play against the Browns Sunday.
Coach Bruce Arians said Brown didn't practice enough during the week to be able to tell how explosive he could be in the game, but Brown dealt with the same issue last week and caught a 35-yard bomb and a touchdown.
Brown still hasn't practiced fully since before the team went to Detroit Oct. 11, but he has yet to miss a game. The Cardinals do have a bye coming up after the game against the Browns, but that will not be a factor in any decisions about injured players, Arians said.
"Not a damn bit," Arians said. "There's no bye week until next week. This is this week."
Arians said cornerback Jerraud Powers will make the trip and will be listed as questionable. Powers did not practice all week. Arians said earlier in the week Powers would likely miss a couple of weeks with his hamstring injury.
Wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) will join Brown as a game-day decision. Linebacker Alex Okafor (calf) and tight end Darren Fells (shoulder) are officially out.
HUNGRY FOR CHUNK PLAYS
Through seven games, the Cardinals have 27 rushes of at least 10 yards and 31 pass completions of at least 20 yards. Last season, the Cardinals had just 31 rushes all season of at least 10 yards, and 58 passes of at least 20 yards.
"I think we feed off that," Brown said. "It makes us more hungry and we are in the huddle, 'Come on, let's do it again.' Those explosive plays make everyone feel great."
The running game has made the biggest difference, and veteran Chris Johnson – who has 15 of those long runs – has made the greatest impact.
"There are a handful of plays that Chris has just ripped off that are just as painful as a long pass," quarterback Carson Palmer said.
Johnson said you need big plays just to balance the stats – "It's hard in the NFL just to get three or four yards," he said – and said the best part about chunk plays is the ability to tire out the defense both physically and mentally.
"The defensive linemen are doing all they can do trying to get to Carson to sack him and then he throws for 30 yards and then they have to run back and get set up," Johnson said. "We run one for 15 after doing everything they can to stop us, and it's so different when they tackle us for a one-yard loss. They
still have their breath. That play down the field they have to run down, get their breath and still have to stop the next play, and on top of that, do all the thinking (on the play call)."
On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Calais Campbell said the big thing is to remember the other guys are in the NFL for a reason, and there will be time chunk plays will happen. It's how the defense responds that is the most important.
"A lot of guys can panic – 'Why'd we give up a chunk?' " Campbell said. "You start trying to overcompensate and you stop doing your job and they go down and score. If everyone does their job … OK, they got a chunk. They make a play, just line up and play football. Try not to panic."
MCCOWN LIKELY STARTER FOR THE BROWNS
For the Browns, quarterback Josh McCown is officially questionable, with the Browns calling him a game-day decision with his shoulder injury. If he cannot start, Johnny Manziel will, and Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters Friday he's ready to use both against the Cardinals if necessary.
Wide receiver Andre Hawkins (concussion), tight end Rob Housler (hamstring) and defensive back Jordan Poyer (shoulder) are out for Cleveland. Linebacker Craig Robertson (ankle) and defensive back Tashaun Gipson (ankle) join McCown as questionable.
REUNION WITH DANSBY IN CLEVELAND
When the 2013 season was over and linebacker Karlos Dansby – the first major success story of the "one-year veterans" signed by General Manager Steve Keim – was a free agent, his departure was not a surprise. Dansby got a $24 million contract for four years from the Browns, and while the Cards believed the average money made sense, they were looking for a two-year deal for Dansby, who turns 34 next week.
Dansby told Arizona Sports 98.7 he was looking forward "going against guys I went against in practice."
"Now we get to do it for real and it counts," Dansby said. "I had this one circled on the calendar."
Dansby leads the Browns with 53 tackles and has a pair of interceptions and has been good in his season-plus for Cleveland. The Cardinals could've used him in hindsight after the suspension of Daryl Washington, but now have found Kevin Minter and Deone Bucannon to man the inside positions.
"We miss him, he chose to go another route, but we face him this week and hope luck is on our side," offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said.
Images of key players from this week's opponent, the Cleveland Browns