GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Wide receiver John Brown has been sidelined with a quadriceps injury and it's testing the patience of head coach Bruce Arians. Brown missed much of last season while dealing with tendon and muscle cramps brought on by sickle cell trait and a cyst that had formed on his spine. Arians thought Brown was over that, but apparently the sickle cell is slowing Brown's quad recovery.
"Some guys are slow healers, some guys are fast healers," Arians said, adding when asked how patient he will be with Brown, "I don't have any choice. Can't run, you can't play. Now, if you can't run long enough, we've got to replace you."
Arians has spent the week berating his receivers for their recent performance in camp and it hasn't helped that up to five receivers have been out nursing various injuries. Brown is more than aware of Arians' harsh comments, but said he isn't about to rush back before his leg allows him to.
"I'm not just about to run out there and hurt myself because I got to be out there," he said. "I understand the situation that's going on with the receivers and all that, but I'm just going to come back when I'm ready.
"It's kind of tough but I just got to deal with it. It's my body. If it keeps happening, it just keeps happening. ... "My body is different than others," he said. "They expect me to come back fast but I can't."
Safety Tyrann Mathieu revealed this week that he didn't like playing predominantly in the free safety role last season and would still prefer to play more as a nickel cornerback, which allows him to blitz, cover and also help out against the run.
"I didn't really like playing free safety," Mathieu said. "I didn't like being in the middle of the field. But I feel like I came to camp and I'm really playing free safety. So, I'm getting better each and every day."
Asked what he didn't like about the position, the Honey Badger said, "It's just boring. It's like everything is going on in front of you and you're just like, you know, you're the safety. I just like being in the mix of things."
Mathieu went on to say he never really engaged himself into learning free safety, adding, "I never really practiced it. I never really took pride in it." Now, it's a completely different story, he says.
"I've challenged myself to really play the position, to understand the position, so I feel like I'm getting better at doing it," he said. "... I'm getting back into the groove. The confidence is coming back. Just really just trying to make football plays, the kind of plays I like making."
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was given a veteran's day off by head coach Bruce Arians this week, but Fitzgerald was a full participant in practice that particular day, primarily because of Arians' harsh comments recently about being extremely unhappy with the team's younger receivers.
"Yeah, I think he wanted to lead his group," Arians said, adding when asked what that speaks of Fitzgerald's leadership, "You can't say anything more about Larry that hasn't been said. He takes care of his room as well as anybody."
Quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich will call of the Cardinals' offensive plays for a second straight week. Head coach Bruce Arians will take over in another week when Arizona plays at Atlanta. Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin will then call the plays during the team's final preseason game at the Broncos.
Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche keeps impressing every day in camp and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who doubles as the team's offensive line coach, keeps noticing the dominance.
"I think the light has finally come on," he said of the second-year pro. "Every week you see improvement, the power, the athleticism. I wish he was an offensive lineman."
Where would he play him if Nkemdiche was?
"I'd put him at guard and have a bunch of 'pull' plays," Goodwin said.
QUOTES TO NOTE: "I'm very well educated on it, for not going to PT school (physical therapy) or having my doctorate. I love helping guys. In my time, I've seen a lot of guys not do it the right way or not have the right care. And it ruined their careers. So, I'm always welcome and open to helping out." - QB Carson Palmer on the calls he receives from other athletes about coming back from severe knee injuries.
"Yeah in time. Around Thanksgiving probably. There are other things he can do because he's big and strong. He can play on special teams. But it's going to be very hard to get a hat on Sunday." - Head coach Bruce Arians when asked if rookie wide receiver Chad Williams, a third-round pick, will be able to contribute much on offense this season.
Notes: Wide receiver Jaron Brown has been one of the Cardinals' brightest stars thus far in camp, returning much quicker than expected from ACL surgery in November and already having ditched his knee brace. He's running at 100 percent, according to head coach Bruce Arians, who has since tabbed Brown as his No. 2 wide receiver next to veteran All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald. "I wasn't surprised at his recovery process at all," said Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, who has undergone two ACL surgeries since turning pro in 2013. "We worked out together. Everybody's body is different, but he seemed to be running full speed at about six months." Quarterback Carson Palmer said Brown is a "70-to-80 catch" player. ... Inside linebacker Josh Bynes, who has been turning heads in camp since being signed off the street as a free agent, suffered a pulled hamstring in practice on Tuesday. Bynes is expected to be sidelined for a week and will miss Saturday night's preseason game against the Bears. He had a huge game last week against the Raiders when he led the team with seven tackles, registered half a sack, a forced fumble and one pass defensed. "It sets him back," head coach Bruce Arians said. "He flashed and like most guys you get off the street, they think they're in shape but they're not in football shape."
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has been sidelined for most of training camp because of a disk problem in his back. It could be at least another week or more before he is able to participate in practice. "Yeah, we had no luck yet on the epidural (injection) so we may have to do another one," head coach Bruce Arians said. ... Quarterback Carson Palmer spent one day this week in practice wearing a glove on his left hand. Two days later, he was sporting a glove on his right hand. "Just kind of seeing how I like it," Palmer said. "It's kind of cheating. Those things are so sticky now." Palmer isn't sure if he'll wear gloves at all this season, even when the Cardinals play at the Eagles in October and at the Redskins in December. "In below-zero temperatures and 30-40 mile an hour winds it helps you spin it a little bit," Palmer said. "Personally, I think you lose a little bit of touch."