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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Palmer ‘as tough as there is’ to take hits

(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:

“Obviously, it’s great to have a win and then you wake up, and you see what happens in Las Vegas and your heart and prayers go out to those families who lost lives. Hats off to all the first responders, again, for the great job they did up there. Another tragedy, and it kind of puts football back in place. But again, our hearts and prayers go out to those people and those families.

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It was obviously a good win. Every win’s a good win. Learned a lot more about our guys – fourth quarter, overtime, defense. Red zone defense was exactly what we needed, holding them when we had to hold them. Young guys stepping up on offense, Will Holden practiced tackle all week and started at guard and looked like it. First experience out there in a position he hadn’t practiced, and he did a decent job. I thought Jared (Veldheer) bounced back and had a solid game.

Carson (Palmer) is as tough as there is to take the hits and just keep on playing and not complain and come up with a game-winning play. None of it was perfect but it was good enough to win. I think that team will win some ball games as it keeps playing, and I don’t look forward to going to their place any time soon. But, I thought our special teams were better. Our punt coverage is getting better; it can even be better. I thought Andy (Lee) kicked the ball really well. We’ve just got to make that first tackle when we were down there and not lose contain.

Injury-wise, Markus Golden will be put on IR. He’s got an ACL, and we’ll probably wait for a few weeks to do the operation, let the swelling go down. No roster moves will happen in the next couple days. I really don’t have anything on that front. No one else in the game will miss any time, then the possibility of getting Alex Boone back this week. We’ll see how it goes. It was nice to see John Brown out there. Hopefully, we’ll keep both he and J.J. (Nelson) and sooner or later, get them both healthy to play at the same time.

Jaron Brown played 103 plays in that game, I think it was, or something close to that. He had his first 100-yard game. He got a game ball. Carson and Larry got game balls on offense. Challenged the young defensive linemen, and they went out and they were super productive. (Rodney) Gunter, (Xavier) Williams and Olsen Pierre all got game balls because they had unbelievable statistics for the amount of plays they played as far as productivity. And Tyvon Branch for a great ball game.”

On what the Cardinals will do to fill LB Markus Golden’s roster spot in the short term:

“We’ll talk about that a lot today. There’s a possibility of signing one of the practice squad guys, who have both looked very good, a possibility of maybe Haason (Reddick) maybe going out there with Deone (Bucannon) back in special packages because he can’t learn it all in one day. Just continue the rotation. Kareem (Martin) has been playing extremely well, and he can play in base, so we don’t have to teach all those guys, but we’ve got some different options to handle it.”

On DL Josh Mauro possibly taking over Golden’s role on defense:

“Josh has probably grown out of that position. Kareem would probably do a better job in dropping and spacing in the coverage’s. We’ve had that package in the past with Josh at SAM (linebacker).”

On what it’s like to lose that edge at that position with Golden’s injury:

“It breaks everybody’s heart in there because they know how hard he plays. It takes a lot of spirit out of the defense because he brings it every play.”

On how to combat losing passion and spirit due to an injury:

You’ve just got to keep going. It’s another guy’s opportunity. I think those guys – Kareem, Haason, whoever it is off the practice squad – have to be able to go up and bring that energy because they know what they’re replacing.”

On what has clicked for LB Kareem Martin in 2017 so far:

“Stronger, being a standing-up player now for a couple more years than he was. When he first got here, he always had his hand in the dirt. That’s hard to do. But, he’s getting more physical.”

On if he has seen teams not be able to overcome injuries:

“Oh, yeah. It can go the other way in a heartbeat. It’s my job to make sure that that doesn’t happen, and all the coaches, to make sure that we continue to know that when we put that helmet on, what’s expected of us.”

On how that is done:

“You start doing it in March when they all come back, in April. The most valuable player on every team is the backup. It’s not the starter; it’s the backup.”

On why the team is winning overtime games and how it helps the Cardinals to win close contest:

“Lucky, real lucky. Haason made a great play getting that guy down, and that’s a good back to tackle down there, to hold them to the field goal. But yeah, you’ve got to have some luck.”

On if he’s concerned about all the hits QB Carson Palmer is taking:

“Yeah. I mean, you never want to see your quarterback get hit that many times.”

On if he feels good about getting T D.J. Humphries back this week:

“Probably not. He reinjured it, and there’s another slight, little tear when we were in pads last week.”

On when the team expects Humphries to return:

“Hopefully in two weeks.”

On if the team practiced with G/T Will Holden at tackle because they thought G Mike Iupati would play:

“Yeah, Mike went all the way to the end of that practice. Then, Alex (Boone) maybe had a chance, but then we stuck Will in there on Friday, and he got a practice in, no pads, and that’s really a short-yardage, goal line, red zone – it’s not out in the field, two days’ worth of work and studying the guy he was going against.”

On when can people get a good idea of what they have as a team:

“Usually around Thanksgiving. With injuries, you’re either getting guys back or you’ve lost too many, or you know what you’ve got down the road and where everybody stands. Around Thanksgiving.”

On if the team will have to work with whatever WR John Brown has for the rest of the season, or if they expect him to get back to how he was playing:

“I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

On how much of an impact S Tyvon Branch has had on the defense:

“Tyvon, being healthy, has been fantastic. He’s probably the most consistent player we have on defense right now. That was a great hit. We should have gotten that ball. We’re missing too many turnovers. Karlos (Dansby) had an easy interception. We hit that ball, we get it, the game changes. Both those plays would have been big, but Tyvon Branch has really been solid.”

On S Tyrann Mathieu’s performance yesterday:

“I thought he was having a heck of a game, and it’s a tough call at the end, when he’s going for an interception, but he hooks him on the DPI (defensive pass interference). He can still tackle better.”

On $LB Deone Bucannon’s play in his first game back:

“He knocked a lot of rust off. He looked fast. He wasn’t as instinctive because he just hasn’t had enough reps yet. But, he’ll catch up very fast.”

On if the team is sending video of the play in which WR John Brown appeared to have catch a touchdown to the league for review:

“There’s no sense sending it. They made the decision. You’re barking up a tree. The thing that I b****** about in all of the competition committee and league meetings is why we don’t use the stadium feed in instant replay in New York because it’s so easy. Sometimes, those sight lines are much better when it’s a game that’s not a Monday night game or a Sunday night game. Obviously, the 80,000 people that were in that stadium, counting players, coaches, and everybody else, saw two feet in-bounds. But that shot wasn’t sent to New York.”

On the RB Andre Ellington’s touchdown catch that was overturned upon review:

“You’d have to ask New York.”

On if the officials explained that he didn’t have control of the ball all the way:

“They thought the ball moved in his right hand after his right foot had touched the ground. He never lost control of it. The ball might have moved this much. That’s not losing control.”

On if calls like those test the team’s mental toughness:

“Oh, there’s no doubt. Everybody, I think, in that stadium thought that the game was over when they showed it on the scoreboard, and then to have to come back. That’s why I think our guys were so resilient. They come back and make a play to win the game and don’t kick a field goal to tie it.”

On the pushback when he’s brought up the idea of using the stadium feed for replay review:

“You’d have to ask them.”

On attempting a field goal if WR Larry Fitzgerald didn’t make the touchdown catch:

“You have to. On fourth down, you’ve got to take the tie. You can’t take the loss. There’s just no way you’re going to take a loss.”

On how the team’s approach changed knowing that it had to score:

“Well yeah, we had some things we thought of running-wise and in play action. It all went out the window. We did a great job of defending every blade of grass, but took way too much time off the clock. We had them stopped, then miss a tackle and obviously the two penalties. Or we get the ball and a field goal wins the game. That’s a whole different ball game with probably four or five minutes. But, when you get it at 2:30, and you’re straight into two-minute offense, and sometimes, that’s been the best way we’ve played this year.”

On if he remains in favor of 10-minute overtime:

“Yes. I think it was one of the other overtime games this year, and those guys had to play Thursday night. That’s hard on you. That’s really hard.”

On if he’s considered going to a hurry-up or no-huddle offense:

“It’s something we have to talk about.”

On whether the game-winning touchdown to Fitzgerald was a better catch or better throw:

“I’ve got to give the throw. Larry’s made that catch his whole life. He gets two hands on it. If it had been a one-handed catch, maybe. But, that was a great throw.”

On Fitzgerald getting up slow after the catch:

“Yeah, I think he got the wind knocked out of him. He said, ‘I couldn’t breathe,’ so everybody kind of got off of him. He wouldn’t celebrate anyways.”

On Palmer being second in the NFL in passing yards even though he’s getting hit as much as he is:

“He’s tough. He’s as tough as nails. We know what we’ve got. He tried to throw a ball away. He probably should have taken the sack down in the first drive instead of trying to throw it out of the back of the end zone. He didn’t get enough on it, and obviously, it gets intercepted. But, I said he’s resilient. He’s tough and he’s a great leader.”

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