Share this story...
Latest News

All-Access with Bruce Arians: Cards O-line struggles all technique

(AP Photo)
LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach

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:

“Injuries, there’s nothing really to report yet. We’ve got some guys in MRI tubes. Alex Boone, John Wetzel, on pec muscles, and it’s too early to tell if anybody will return. We’ll see more tomorrow and Thursday as far as availability of those guys. Disappointed in the game. That’s two games that we had a chance to win in the fourth quarter and didn’t get it done – one on the road, one at home. I thought our defensive effort was outstanding for the whole ballgame. It wasn’t effort. It was just executing on a couple plays. We’re in a rotated coverage, the quarterback breaks contain, the safety has got to be as deep as the deepest and lets the guy get behind him. And that chunk play, we’ve got a sack, we come underneath, he gets out and throws a touchdown. Same thing, we look like we have another sack, and he gets out and completes about a 20-yard ball, so all the plays outside the pocket obviously hurt us. It was no lack of effort. It was a great play by Dak (Prescott), and we’ve got to do a better job of plastering receivers. But, the rotating coverage was just bad football. Offensively, I don’t think our quarterback could have played any better. He was lights out from start to finish. Even getting hit that many times, he moved his feet great. He was around the pocket. He was the quarterback I knew we’d see all year, and we can win with Carson (Palmer) playing like that. Running the football, we left the run probably too soon. I thought Chris (Johnson) was a little rusty, especially against a penetrating 4-3 team. Andre (Ellington) looked very much more comfortable. I thought Andre looked very fast in the game. Larry (Fitzgerald) was Larry. It was Monday Night Football, so you knew what you were going to get from Larry. But, offensive line-wise, we’ve got to protect better. There’s no questions how to do it; you’ve just got to do your technique and block your guy. It’s not a scheme. It’s not anything else. It’s just one-on-one football, and we’re not doing a good enough job of protecting our quarterback. We had some plays to make with the receivers and fingertip catches, and we’ve got to make the catches. J.J. (Nelson) had a chance to make a great catch, and I challenged it because they told me he caught the ball and his feet were out. I, obviously, saw his feet in, and the lead official said his feet were in. I challenged way too fast because upstairs told me that the ball came out, and that wasn’t what either one of those guys told me, they called it incomplete. So, that’s on me not listening to the guys upstairs. We have a touchdown called back. That’s not Jared’s (Veldheer) fault. He doesn’t expect the quarterback to scramble, but I didn’t see much of a restriction there either. It’s a game that I thought we should have won. To lose by 11, I think a big part of it was we played so well in the first half to be tied 7-7, and we should have had at least a 10-point lead playing that well.”

On the nine-minute drive resulted in no points:

“Yeah, those hurt. Those kill you. To get even the three and kickoff again. The crowd, everybody was into it, and we lost some of the energy in the stadium. You lose some on the sideline when those things happen because you’ve got all that momentum building, and those things will come back to bite you.”

On how much hope it gives him when he sees QB Carson Palmer play at that level last night:

“Great hope, and that’s the way I’ve seen him practice the whole time. He’s practiced extremely well, and from the start to the finish, that’s what I would anticipate to see the rest of the season.”

On whether he’s less optimistic than Cardinals general manager Steve Keim regarding the possibility of G Mike Iupati and T D.J. Humphries returning to play this week:

“I just want to see them on the field. I’ll believe it when I see it, and all those guys that have missed, I want to see them out there and practice at a very high level before I think they can play in this game.”

On what T Jared Veldheer’s biggest problem is right now:

“Technique. Just technique. It was the same problems he had on the left side, of being bull-rushed and not getting his hands on people. He’s got to get his hands on people. If he gets his hand on people, he’s big and strong and won’t get bull-rushed.”

On how long he will allow Veldheer to struggle before he makes a change:

“I don’t know where you change to. What’s behind door number two? A rookie? He’s got to do his job.”

On if the problems with the offensive line were up and down the line or mostly on the right side:

“Mostly the right side again. Boone played really, really well. A.Q. (Shipley) gave up a sack, but he played pretty solid other than that sack. (Evan) Boehm is still learning. They give up a sack because he pushes Veldheer off his block and then doesn’t block the guy. So, it’s just learning on the run with him. But, it was mostly the right side. I think Wetzel held his own. He gave up some hits, but overall, he played pretty solid.”

On if Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence is that good or if the Cardinals made him look great:

“I think we made him look great. He won his one-on-ones because it wasn’t like they were blitzing or anything.”

On if any of Veldheer’s struggles have to do with considering retirement during training camp:

“No. None whatsoever.”

On the challenges of playing the 49ers with short rest while they have an extra four days:

“Yeah, we’re a short week, they’re a long week, so that’s always a problem. But, we’re playing at home, so our energy level shouldn’t be any problem. We’ll have a walkthrough tomorrow instead of a practice, to make sure we bounce back. We’ll put the pads on Thursday and get our work in Thursday. But, it’s always an advantage to have those extra days. Again, we’ve got to play better in the fourth quarter. I think our crowd was fantastic, and I know they will be again this week.”

On RB Chris Johnson being rusty and knocking the rust off as he plays more:

“I would hope so.”

On how the Cardinals’ tight ends blocked last night:

“Average in this game. At times, they were very good, and at times with technique, we stepped the wrong way and got beat once or twice. It was not their best effort, but it wasn’t their worst.”

On if RB Andre Ellington can be an effective between-the-tackles runner or if he is a 3rd-down back:

“Andre’s always been effective. When he was our guy, 80-yard runs were up the middle. We’re not a perimeter running team anyways.”

On if he expected Ellington to leave via free agency and if he was surprised that Ellington returned:

“No, because he enjoys it. He knows his role here, and he hasn’t been healthy in a couple years, and I kind of figured he’d come back.”

On what he saw from K Phil Dawson on his missed field goal attempt:

“You’d have to ask Phil. I’m not a kicking expert, and I’m as shocked as anybody that he has three misses this year when he’s only had three for like the last couple years.”

On who will start if both Wetzel and Humphries cannot play this week:

“Will Holden.”

On the biggest issues with the punt coverage team last night:

“Budda (Baker) got rookied. The first one was a 4.8-(second) hang, and he’s there. He’s got to stay on the high side and he dives underneath, and they’ve got the wall set up. That was a rookie mistake on his part. They did a good job of holding up, but we’ve got to kick it better. That was a good kick. The other kicks weren’t up to Andy’s (Lee) standard. But the field position was the offense, not the special teams. The offense has got to make first downs.”

On how the long drive that didn’t yield any points affected the team both short term and long term:

“I thought I answered that, but it deflates you. Long term, no. You get over it. You keep going, but right at the moment, instead of continuing to climb, momentum-wise, you stop. Then you’ve got to rebuild.”

On if there’s any consolation in seeing a lack of powerhouses in the NFC West:

“There are some powerhouses there, but the three records don’t show it yet. It’s a long season. It’s still September, and this division, I think, will go to the wire.”

On the Cardinals record compared to the other records in the NFC West:

“You’re a game out of first place right now, but you’ve got to start stacking wins in the division.”

On if the offensive line can use brute force and a will to win one-on-one battles:

“No. No. Because you’re going to get beat technically. If you let a guy hit you in the chest, I don’t care how big you are, you’re going backwards.”

On how close $LB Deone Bucannon was to playing last night:

“Very close, very close. Hopefully, we can have a role for him this week, and another day in pads will determine how he plays, if he plays.”

On LB Chandler Jones’ performance last night:

“Chandler played really, really solid against a great All-Pro player. He had a sack. He was close a couple times, and Markus (Golden) got really close a couple times. Haason (Reddick) got rookied also on a rush where he had a sack and he dipped underneath and let him out of the pocket. But, Chandler’s been playing really well.”

On if it was LB Markus Golden who allowed Prescott to get free on the read option plays:

“No, it was Haason. Haason’s got the quarterback, and he’s staring at the dive on the touchdown.”

Related Links