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Palmer joins Cardinals in first minicamp practice

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Normally, a practice at mandatory minicamp doesn’t look any different from one during organized team activities.

But the Arizona Cardinals’ first workout in minicamp on Tuesday was much different. That’s because quarterback Carson Palmer participated in a full practice for the first time since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament seven months ago.

Palmer’s rehabilitation was without incident, and in three weeks of organized team activities, he took part in all phases of practice other than 11-on-11.

He did that on Tuesday.

“It’s as fast as he can go now,” head coach Bruce Arians told reporters. “The training wheels are off. He’s ready to roll.”

Arians thought Palmer was close to flawless, throwing only one bad pass for the entire practice.

“I thought his movement in the pocket, there was no hesitation or anything,” Arians said. “I had some hesitation a couple times when some of those guys fell down in front of him. But other than that, it was really good.”

Palmer, however, was a tougher critic. He thought his footwork was off at times due to rust.

“You’re never satisfied after practices,” Palmer said. “There’s always things. There’s five or six plays in my head right now and there will probably be four or five more in my head after I watch film after this practice.”

–Cornerback Patrick Peterson made his first Pro Bowl in 2011 as a punt returner. He returned four for touchdowns that year. But he never came close to that level over the next two years and was relieved of punt-return duties for the entire 2014 season.

Coaches didn’t want to risk Peterson getting injured, and they wanted him to concentrate on playing cornerback.

But on Tuesday, Arians held out the possibility that Peterson could be in the mix at punt returner this year. He looked particularly good during one return on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are looking for both punt and kickoff returners. Earlier this year, they released Ted Ginn, Jr., who held both jobs last season. The favorite to win both spots is rookie receiver J.J. Nelson, who runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.3 seconds.

–The No. 3 quarterback job is open because Logan Thomas, a fourth-round pick a year ago, hasn’t made the progress coaches had hoped. Chandler Harnish was signed late this spring, and Phillip Sims was signed after a tryout during rookie minicamp.

Sims, who played at Alabama and Virginia before finishing at Winston-Salem, impressed Arians with how quickly he learned the offense.

As for Thomas, his biggest problem remains a lack of accuracy.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Arians said. “He makes some of those wild throws still. You scratch your head sometimes.”


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