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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Cardinals ‘looking forward’ to playing Detroit

(AP Photo)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media several times leading up to gameday.

Here, in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following practice.

Opening statement:

“A very good start to practice. Only two people missed practice. (Deone) Bucannon is, obviously, still getting better. (Robert) Nkemdiche did not practice today. We hope to have him tomorrow. A very good practice. Everything has been said. Looking forward to getting there and playing the game.”

On whether he’s confident with the passing game heading into this game against the Lions:

“Oh yeah. Yeah. With or without John Brown’s health, I’m extremely confident. Especially with where Carson (Palmer) is. More because I feel good about our protection and the rest of the guys.”

On how much WR John Brown adds to the Cardinals’ offense:

“He just adds another element, because we’ve got two fast guys. When you have three of them, it’s kind of special.”

On where G Alex Boone fits in and whether he’ll be competing for a starting spot:

“He’s just learning. Right now, he learned the snap count today, and he got a few reps. We’ll see. Right now, there’ll have to be an injury or somebody has to really fail badly.”

On what Boone brings to the team:

“A guy that has played the positions, all across the (line), in very good organizations at a high level. A pro. It’s one thing to depend on a rookie you really like, and it’s nicer to have a veteran, so you don’t have to throw that rookie out there.”

On whether he has made adjustments as a play-caller to better protect Palmer:

“Yeah, I think we did some of that as the year went on last year, and he has to protect himself just as much as the guys protecting him. It’s not just the offensive line; it’s the running backs, it’s all eleven of them seeing their hots and sights. We missed too many of those last year where we took hits, or missed a sight adjustment.”

On the chances that Bucannon and Nkemdiche will play on Sunday:

“Bucannon has no chance. Nkemdiche has got a real good shot.”

On what adjustments the team made last year to protect Palmer better:

“Just changing different route combinations. We still took our shots down the field. It was just how we took them with different protections, less play-action with his back turned and more with him facing the targets.”

On what makes him think that the protection will be better:

“I just watched these guys practice for 35 days. They all look better.”

On whether protection improved with position changes on the offensive line:

“Yeah, if we hadn’t, we probably would have moved them back. But, I’ve liked where it’s at so far.”

On when he realized what the team had in LB Markus Golden and RB David Johnson after the Lions drafted RB Ameer Abdullah:

“Well with Markus, I think, is pretty quick and David, probably after the kickoff return, after that Chicago game, when he had all of his touchdowns. So yeah, it’s funny how things like that work out.”

On whether he anticipates the Lions to run the ball more:

“Not really. I don’t think you leave who you are. I think they’re going to run it. They’re going to run it, but I think they’re a team that’s going to throw the ball to set up the run.”

On whether he ever envisioned “No risk it, no biscuit” shirts being made when he first made that statement:

“No, not at all. There are a lot of things I’ve said that I didn’t think they’d put on a shirt.”

On the lesson the 2015 NFL Draft when the team didn’t draft Abdullah, yet it worked out the way it did:

“Have a really good board set up, and trust it. (General Manager) Steve (Keim) and (Vice President of Player Personnel) Terry (McDonough) have done a great job of always having two or three guys right there, that we’re going to get one of these guys. And if we don’t like this one, have them ranked, and turn that card in and make sure everybody’s happy. Because I don’t think we’ve ever picked a guy that I haven’t been happy about.”

On whether it’s hard to have your eye on a particular player and then not have the opportunity to draft him:

“Yeah, because you kind of figure, ‘This is our guy,’ because he’s right there.’ It’s happened to me, at least eight or nine times. Sitting there thinking, ‘Oh, we’ve got this guy,’ and boom, he’s gone either the pick right before or two picks before. He’s gone.”

On whether he knows who his top 46 players are this early in the season:

“Yeah, it depends on who is available. It’s nice to have five healthy scratches. So yeah, I already pretty much have an idea of who is going to be inactive already.”

On whether Bucannon’s recovery is slower than he had hoped:

“No. It was right on schedule, and then he sprained it the first day working out on the bags.”

On whether he knows how long it will set him back:

“No. It’s one of those things. It could be tomorrow. It could be three weeks.”

On what day it was that Bucannon reinjured himself:

“The first day he worked out.”

On whether it’s a good move for the league to hire 21 full-time officials:

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. If we can have all the referees in each crew, the referee was full-time, then I think you’d have very consistent – from New York, from the referee to his crew – and get more consistent refereeing.”

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