GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals continued their 2022 Training Camp at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Thursday. Today’s practice featured the return of one player who was injured last season, another who was missing from practice on Wednesday, and a major player leaving after getting hurt.
Let’s start with the good news. The Cardinals activated tight end Maxx Williams off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list before practice and he was padded up and taking part in practice with his teammates. Williams tore his ACL in Week 5 of last season but made the best of it by having fun with fans on social by giving out a team MVP award each week, which he called the ‘To the Maxx’ award, starting in Week 11.
Wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown was also back at practice on Thursday. He missed practice on Wednesday after being arrested by the Arizona Department of Public Safety for allegedly going 126 miles per hour on Loop 101 in north Phoenix and charged with criminal speeding. The speed limit in that area is 65 mph.
Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Brown was not with the team at the Wigwam Hotel in Litchfield Park but was coming to practice from his house when he was arrested, and that Brown will learn from this incident.
“He's never had any issues, and obviously he knows he's got to be better than that and he will be moving forward,” Kingsbury said. “(It was an) unfortunate incident, (he) can’t be doing that and we wanted to get him back and back involved.”
Brown, who was not in pads, stretched with his teammates before going through drills on his own. Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Brown is still following the timeline the team set to get him up to speed and ready for the season.
Kingsbury also said he addressed Brown’s arrest with Brown and the team and he feels it will not be an issue moving forward.
The Cardinals are also seeing some injuries pop up as training camp continues, and today, the list grew as tight end Zach Ertz left with what appeared to be a calf strain.
Cornerback Marco Wilson missed practice Thursday, which Kingsbury said was due to a groin injury.
Rookie tight end Trey McBride missed practice for the second straight day with a sore back.
“We just want to be smart with (McBride) and to make sure that first preseason game he can get ample reps and get used to the speed of the game and be under the lights of an actual NFL game,” Kingsbury said.
Wide receiver Antoine Wesley also missed practice and may be out for at least a couple of weeks after being injured in the groin and hip area during practice on Wednesday, according to Kingsbury.
“We’re still evaluating it,” Kingsbury said about Wesley’s injury. “(He) had the MRI and I think it’s going to take a week or so before we really know where it’s at.”
Despite the growing number of injuries, Kingsbury said he is not worried as there is still a long way to go before the regular season.
“It’s just that time of year,” Kingsbury said. “This is always that grind week, six straight days, you don’t have a game at the end of it, so we’ve just got to keep pushing. We’re trying to be smart with res and make sure guys aren’t worn out. But this is a week where you’ve got to get some conditioning in and make sure you’re ready when you start the preseason games next week.”
Offensive linemen Justin Pugh spoke for the first time during training camp. He talked about the Guardian Caps that players at certain positions have to wear. The caps have been somewhat of a controversial addition, as players like J.J. Watt have come out and said they don’t enjoy them, but Pugh has a different stance.
“I made a statement, I put it out on Twitter,” Pugh said. “I'm a huge fan of them. I mean, do we really care what we look like, I don't care what I look like out there. If I'm going to be 20% safer, Why would I? Why would we not make that change? That's just a no-brainer. So, everyone that's real upset I'm sure they're just pissed. Their Instagram timeline doesn't look as nice. I'm not out here to try to be a tough guy. I'm here trying to remember my kids’ names. And that's something that I'll always stand by. I don't have any kids yet anyways, but one day, one day.”
Center Rodney Hudson was not at practice as he got a rest day, but Pugh is okay with that.
“Just having Rodney in the room’s awesome,” Pugh said. “Having him see what he sees in the film, how he’s going to call it, obviously it’s paramount to have him healthy. I need him for 17 regular season games and the playoffs. So, if he’s gotta get right and get his knee going or whatever it is, get right and come out and play football when you’re ready to play.”
As for his quarterback, Pugh says he should take as long as he needs to come back from testing positive for Covid-19.
“(Kyler’s) gotta get healthy,” Pugh said. “I don’t want a guy out there putting himself in jeopardy. We’ve got to win regular season games. Fans, they pay to see us play on Sundays in the regular season. They don't care as much about the preseason. It's a lot to talk about. We'll go out there and play and win games when they when they mean something. That's what we’ve got to do.”
Pugh did take some time to look back on the Christmas gift Kyler Murray gave him last year and is already building his Christmas list for 2022.
“Kyler gave us the best gift I've ever gotten from a quarterback, a new set of clubs,” Pugh said. “You can't beat that. I don't know what he's going to top it with. Maybe he gets us tee times at Augusta (National). If we can put that out there just tee times at Augusta next year.”
Pugh added that he really enjoyed getting custom fitted for a set of golf clubs at True Spec Golf and, of course, enjoyed the tequila that Kyler also gave his linemen, but added that the break from golf during football is not good for his game.
Cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. spoke as well, saying despite some worries about depth at corner for the Cardinals, he trusts every player in his position room.
“I trust my room, that people that's with me now, you know, I'm a rock with them all the way to the end,” Murphy Jr. said.
Murphy also got asked about an interesting pair of bright yellow cleats made to look like Crocs that were designed for him by artist, and former college teammate, Sean Vergara.
“I posted (the cleats) on my Instagram that kind of blew up,” Murphy Jr. said. “I gotta get more colors though. That's one thing I'm gonna do. I'm gonna get some more colors because the other ones are kind of bright. So, I don't know if I could wear those on game day and not get fined.”
Murphy Jr. added that these cleats were designed for him because he wears Crocs almost every day.
“I sent him some crocs. And then he did it all himself,” Murphy Jr. said. “I sent him pictures of some regular shoes or something, like some Jordans, or some Nikes or anything like that. And he's just like kind of creates his own ideas. And when he sends me pictures like, ‘Oh, yeah, that's fine. I like those.’ And when he sent the crocs I was like, oh yeah, we did something with those ones.”
The Cardinals will continue Training Camp on Friday morning. Their first preseason game is on August 12th on the road against the reigning AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. You will be able to watch the game on 12 News.