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Carson Palmer, John Brown firing Cardinals' engine

The NFC should be on red alert now that Carson Palmer has declared himself "100 percent" recovered from November ACL surgery.

Since Palmer fully mastered Bruce Arians' offense in the middle of the 2013 season, he has been one of the league's most effective quarterbacks.

The Cardinals are a different team with Palmer in the lineup, winning 13 of 15 games over that span versus just five of 10 with Drew Stanton or Ryan Lindley under center.

One beat writer tracked Palmer as 25-of-35 during his first 11-on-11 drills against live blitzing on Tuesday.

"The training wheels are off," Arians said, via NFL Media's Alex Flanagan. "He's ready to roll."

Palmer's chemistry with second-year speedster John Brown was readily apparent in Tuesday's practice.

"I expect huge things from him this year," Palmer told Flanagan. "There is something different about him."

What's different is that Brown has added 10 pounds of much-needed muscle to aid against press coverage and help him survive the rigors of a long season.

If Palmer manages to stay upright behind an improved offensive line, the Cardinals will need the explosive Brown at peak form for a January playoff run.

Here's what else we learned from Tuesday's OTAs and minicamps:

  1. NFL Media's Steve Wyche was at Raiders minicamp Tuesday and reported that Derek Carr was a full participant, handling all of the individual and team drills with the first-team offense. Carr had been sidelined with a finger injury, leading to the longest break he's ever had from throwing.
  1. The early returns on Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota have been overwhelmingly positive. "He is deadly accurate," wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson raved. "I am just giddy about his future going forward. ... He's the real deal."
  1. The game's most celebrated coin-flip artist is back in Seattle. The Seahawksagreed to terms with Tarvaris Jackson, who will hold the clipboard for Russell Wilson again in 2015.
  1. After catching balls from a quartet of scattershot passers in Houston last season, Andre Johnson is already convinced that Andrew Luck is the NFL's best quarterback. If Johnson had signed in Green Bay, he'd be singing songs about Aaron Rodgers instead.
  1. Perhaps realizing he holds no leverage following the Jets' drafting of Leonard Williams, disgruntled defensive end Muhammad Wilkersonshowed up for mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. Wilkerson is seeking a long-term deal, but the sides have yet to find common ground.
  1. Walter Thurmond's transition from nickel cornerback to safety opposite Malcolm Jenkins is going smoothly. Coach Chip Kelly said Tuesday that Thurmond has been the Eagles' "most productive" defensive back in terms of pass breakups and ball skills.
  1. Falcons rookie Vic Beasleycompared himself to Broncos All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller after February's NFL Scouting Combine. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith drew the same comparison on Tuesday, noting Beasley's "elite quickness."
  1. Coach Dan Quinn cited former Redskins wide receiver Leonard Hankersonas a standout during Falcons OTAs.
  1. Tony Romo heaped praise on Terrance Williams, noting that the third-receiver has had a "great month" with Dez Bryant skipping offseason practices. "That's one of the most exciting things I have seen," Romo said, "is just Terrance's ability to take that next step and just grow and get better." Williams' development is reminiscent of Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins taking advantage of Andre Johnson's absence last offseason.
  1. Rams strong safaety T.J. McDonald will be sidelined with an undisclosed injury until training camp. The 2013 third-round draft pick emerged as one of the NFL's most effective safeties in the second half of last season.
  1. In response to right tackle Demar Dotson's absence from voluntary OTAs, the Buccaneers have withdrawn their offer of a multi-year contract extension. The ball is back in Dotson's court for next week's mandatory minicamp.
  1. The 49ers nearly lost yet another key starter to an unexpected retirement. Safety Eric Reid revealed Tuesday that he considered giving up his playing career after sustaining three concussions in two seasons.

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