The buzz around John Brown is beginning to take hold in Arizona.

During recent offseason practices, the fourth-year wideout has displayed a “speed and explosiveness” the Cardinals haven’t seen from Brown since 2015, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic.

“‘Smoke’ looks like John Brown,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday, referring to Brown’s nickname. “A couple of those routes he ran, he did not run one route like that last year. Knock on wood, it stays that way.”

Last season saw Brown struggle through a concussion in training camp and symptoms tied to his sickle-cell trait, which created moments of deep fatigue for the receiver.

This offseason, doctors also detected and treated a cyst on Brown’s spine, which has made a vast difference for the pass-catcher, who said: “Twenty-four hours after they drained the cyst I was feeling normal. After a week or two, going back home and I was running around … I just realized I was feeling real good.”

Quarterback Carson Palmer has noticed a difference in Brown all offseason.

“He just has a different energy about him,” Palmer said. “He’s heavier, he’s stronger. He looks more explosive than he did last year. He’s got that smile. He’s having fun, enjoying it. It’s not a grind.”

Brown’s transformation looms large for a Cardinals team that needs help at the position. Two seasons removed from a 1,000-yard campaign, the wideout is needed to help boost a cast led today by an aging Larry Fitzgerald.

After the team parted ways with Michael Floyd, Brown and J.J. Nelson will be asked to pick up the slack, something Brown wasn’t able to do last season.

This time around, the arrow is pointing up.


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