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Cardinals’ Bruce Arians expresses excitement about the upcoming season

LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach

The 2017 regular season will kick off days from now, and Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians expressed excitement about his team’s prospects.

“Yeah, feel really really good,” Arians told Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “We got through a really long preseason that was very physical and we came out healthy.

“I think we are a smarter team. I like our team speed. We tackled more than we ever have and we played longer than we ever have. I think we improved in our tackling, only time will tell.”

After a disappointing 2016 campaign in which the Cardinals finished 7-8-1 and missed the playoffs, the coaching staff appeared to set a more forceful tone when it came to doing the job.

During training camp, a number of players at times said they were bored. After grinding through five preseason games, Arians said his players started the work week with a different mindset.

“Monday was a totally different attitude,” Arians said. “It’s always tough going through the cuts but then comes the excitement of a new team. We had a really good start Monday.”

Make no mistake about it, Arians made it clear he is excited and has high hopes for the 2017 season, bu the national media has not necessarily expressed the same optimism. As an example, both ESPN and Sports Illustrated picked the Seahawks to win the division.

Can a coach use perceived lack of respect to motivate players?

After failing to live up to expectations last season, Arians said better results this season will take care of any supposed respect issues.

“We haven’t done anything to deserve any (respect),” Arians said. “Every year is different. Now if (it is) Thanksgiving and we are up there in the division lead and were not getting any respect…oh you can really use it (the lack of respect tactic) then. But we have to earn it first.”

Beginning this Sunday in Detroit against the Lions, the Cardinals will try to erase last season from their and the fans’ memory with better performance on the field.

In order to make a great first impression, Arians said everything starts with containing the highest-paid player in NFL history.

“Everything starts with Matthew Stafford,” Arians said. “I love watching him warm up. He’s got one of the greatest arms to ever play. Thank god we don’t have to deal with Megatron (retired wide receiver Calvin Johnson) anymore.

“They’re a really sound…well-coached football team. They have been a passing team. I think they will try to run the ball more. Defensively, Haloti Ngata and Ziggy Ansah are a handful on the defensive line and really good on the back end.”

Kickoff between the Cardinals and Lions is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. The game can be heard on 98.7 F.M., Arizona’s Sports Station beginning with pregame coverage at 5:30 a.m.

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