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Camp Observations: Vets Take Day Off, Injury Updates

Several Arizona Cardinals veteran players stepped aside and gave added reps to players trying to make the roster.

The Arizona Cardinals practice on Wednesday allowed a handful of players a chance at extra reps.

On Wednesday, the Cardinals were without more than 20 players either due to injury or a day off. Wide receivers Marquise Brown and A.J. Green had the day off while the majority of the starting offensive line took a rest day as well: Left tackle D.J. Humphries, left guard Justin Pugh, right tackle Kelvin Beachum, and center Rodney Hudson.

Additional absences were defensive end J.J. Watt, safety Budda Baker and running back James Conner.

“It’s a long week getting to Sunday so we wanted to take care of some of those older guys and get the young guys more involved,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Fans should expect to see the team's starters sitting out most of the preseason and instead be utilized more during the team's joint practices with the Tennessee Titans next week.

“I think the joint practices will be good to feel that competitive nature and speed of the game against somebody else and we’ll feel good going into Week 1,” Kingsbury said.

On the injury front, defensive tackle Leki Fotu is dealing with a knee injury that will sideline him until next week. Wide receiver Antoine Wesley should return in one to two weeks, but Kingsbury said surgery on his injured hip hasn't been ruled out.

One piece of good news is that rookie tight end Trey McBride will see action this week. Kingsbury revealed that McBride, who has been hampered buy tightness in his back, will play this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

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UPDATE: One of the players missing from practice was linebacker Jessie Lemonier, who had been claimed on waivers by the Cardinals from the Lions on May 17.

It turns out the Cardinals waived Lemonier Wednesday. The three-year veteran actually made some plays in the 13 defensive snaps he played in last Friday's win over the Bengals, registering one sack, one tackle, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

Camp Observations:

  • Because many of the players further down on the depth don’t get as many reps during practice, Wednesday's practice offered them valuable reps. Kingsbury said nothing stood out too much, but he was impressed that those players did have the game plan down.
  • McBride will make his NFL debut this weekend. In practice, Kingsbury said he made some good catches Wednesday and needs to get back in rhythm because of back spasms.
  • HBO continued to tease the spin-off series Hard Knocks In Season in the most recent episode of Hard Knocks. A clip of Kingsbury watching film teased the Cardinals appearance in the spin-off series this year. Fans were quick to notice the bare-bones gray office Kingsbury was in, comparing it to a prison vibe. Kingsbury agreed.
  • After practice Marquise “Hollywood” Brown spoke to the media. Brown said the transition to a new team has been much easier because his best friend Kyler Murray is on the team. Despite practicing for the first time this week, Brown said the duo is regular season ready.
  • Confidence was also high for tackle Josh Jones, who said he feels he is the caliber of an NFL starter and just needs to show it. Kingsbury said he is happy with his current starting tackles, Kelvin Beachum and D.J. Humphries, but that Jones is improving.
  • Rookie Christian Matthew is in a tough battle to find a role as a cornerback on the Cardinals' defense. In his first training camp, Matthews said he is learning the playbook fast and sees this as a learning experience. He added that the biggest challenge is coming in day in and day out with the same intensity every day.