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Arians puts Cardinals rookies in their place

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Coach Bruce Arians raised some eyebrows during the Arizona Cardinals’ second week of OTAs after he was asked which of the team’s seven drafted rookies might become part of an important position battle.

“None of them, really” he said.

“They’re all in dogfights just to get on the roster. And the roster is so strong right now, it’s not like we drafted any of them to start. It’s come in, find a role, (contribute on) special teams, add depth in cases of injuries and if guys have a special skill set, it’s our job as coaches to get them on the field.”

Arians’ comments might just be nonsensical coach-speak, but they were curious nonetheless because after the draft he implied first-round pick D.J. Humphries would be given a chance to compete with Bobby Massie for the starting right tackle job. He also said third-round pick David Johnson would likely split duties with No.1 running back Andre Ellington.

But now Arians is saying Humphries is progressing “slowly” and “needs to mature a little bit” and Johnson “should be able to find a niche somewhere.”

In his two years as a head coach, both with Arizona, Arians has proved he isn’t afraid to give rookies loads of playing time. That might not be the case in 2015.

–After cornerback Patrick Peterson was diagnosed with diabetes last season, he did his best to keep the condition under wraps. But he couldn’t keep the news from his teammates, who were able to witness how his blood problem affected him on a daily basis.

“It was bad,” fellow cornerback Jerraud Powers said. “A couple times, we’d be out there in practice and we’d be looking at him like, ‘Yo, you OK?’ He really looked like he was about to pass out at any moment. We all knew what it was, and we knew he was trying to keep it under wraps or whatnot. I’m just glad (he) was able to get it under control.

“He’s been so healthy and happy and smiley all the time. Just to see him look worried was scary. You look at him now and he’s back to his old self; lost a ton of weight and looking like he did at LSU. He’s back to being the old Pat P.”

Intentionally or not, Arians took a shot at former Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie when he was asked if Powers was a natural replacement. Cromartie left Arizona after one season to re-sign with the Jets.

“There was never a doubt about that,” Arians said. “Hell, it was easy. He (Powers) played extremely well. He probably played better in pass coverage than Cro did. And he’s a much better tackler, so that was an easy decision.”

–Larry Foote started every game at inside linebacker for the Cardinals a year ago and now he’s spending OTAs as the team’s inside linebacker coach. He was offered the job on a permanent basis, but he and the Cardinals haven’t ruled out the possibility of him playing again and putting his coaching career on hold.

That decision probably won’t come until training camp sometime in July, but Foote, who finished second on the club with 84 tackles, said it won’t have anything to do with the possible return of inside linebacker Daryl Washington from a yearlong suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse program.

“Right now, I’m coaching,” Foote said on the official team web site. “Something happens over the summer, I’m quite sure you’ll hear about it. But right now I’m coaching. I’m not even thinking about playing.”

–Wide receiver John Brown added 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason.

“I expect to have a bigger year than last year,” the second-year pro said. “It’ll help me a lot because last year I got pushed around a lot. This is going to help me be more physical and now I’m going to give people trouble.”


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