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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Adrian Peterson will ‘be ready to go’

(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:

“Not practicing was Olsen Pierre with his ankle. Everybody else was limited in some fashion. Obviously, we made a couple roster moves with (Justin) Drescher snapping now, and he’s been in the league before, so we feel very, very comfortable. And the trade for Adrian (Peterson). We’ll plug him in. He knows football, so it’s just a matter of learning numbers and words. We’ll get him taught that and get going.”

On if RB Adrian Peterson was able to do anything at today’s practice:

“He practiced everything.”

On if Peterson will be in the lineup on Sunday:

“Yes. He’ll be ready to go.”

On if the hardest thing for Peterson to learn is pass protection:

“Right, yeah. That’s the hardest thing. Pass protection and pass routes. We’re not very complicated as far as running backs. So, he won’t be playing third down. We’ll get him taught as much as he can handle.”

On having Peterson on the team:

“I’ve been very pleased with the tape of him I saw this year. Just his opportunities dwindled down there. I haven’t been satisfied with our running game. No knock on Chris Johnson. I love Chris Johnson. It just didn’t work out. When he was available, we thought it was the best thing for our football team.”

On what he saw on Peterson’s tape:

“A violent runner who still has it. He’s not 22 anymore, but he still pours it up in there and is very exciting.”

On if he expects Peterson to have success behind an offensive line that has had issues this season:

“Well, I would hope our offensive line issues are a little better than they were for the last few games for the runners, with D.J. (Humphries) and Alex (Boone) hopefully playing. I would think there would be more opportunities.”

On if the Cardinals needed Peterson’s violence and power at the running back position:

“Yeah, you always need it. Now, whether or not it comes in a package at his size, or a smaller package, or David Johnson package, who also brings pass receiving, you want a guy that’s going to pour it up in there and get positive yards.”

On how much he plans to use Peterson in the passing game:

“Yeah, he’ll have his role.”

On if the team will hand the ball off to Peterson from a shotgun formation because it seems that he prefers that:

“Actually, he doesn’t like the shotgun. He likes to be back there at tailback. But, we’ll tailor the shotgun stuff for him. What we do normally, he’s done all his life.”

On if the team will stick with the running game even if it’s not working, given Peterson’s history and ability to break off long runs:

“Yeah, probably. I think that’s a fair assessment. We need to do that anyway. But, we’ll also have our passing game ready to roll.”

On how the trade with the Saints came about:

“Steve (Keim) and I had a conversation and said, ‘Let’s see if this is a possibility.’ And it was.”

On if he sees a situation with two-back sets:

“Probably not right now. Eventually with, maybe, he and Andre (Ellington) or he and Kerwynn (Williams). We could possibly do something, but not right now.”

On if Peterson’s addition can impact the rest of the roster as well as the running game:

“I would hope so. You bring on a guy who’s got his resume. You would think it would be an energy boost in the locker room. But you’d have to ask them.”

On the team’s chemistry and whether they’re angry or frustrated:

“Our team is coming to work like they always have. We had an embarrassing loss, and we’ve had a couple close wins, but that game last week is just one of them. It doesn’t count anymore if you win by one or lose by 20. You’ve got to play the next one and come to work with that attitude that this is a huge game at home.”

On if the team is still having fun like it did earlier in the season:

“Yeah, I didn’t see any difference out there today. Guys were focused, but cutting up.”

On the Buccaneers’ problems with pass defense and the Cardinals passing the ball well:

“I think that’s a good combination for us if we can protect, because they got after New England pretty good. We can throw it, and we can throw it on anybody if we have time.”

On how much WR DeSean Jackson gives the Buccaneers’ pass offense multiple pass options:

“Not only him, but O.J. Howard and (Cameron) Brate, their tight end. They’ve got weapons now. It’s not just him, but he is a huge weapon.”

On if the CB Justin Bethel-WR DeSean Jackson matchup is crucial:

“Yeah. DeSean Jackson is a handful, no matter who’s out there.”

On what it’s like having to release RB Chris Johnson twice:

“It’s tough, because I really love the guy. I hated the way it happened, before I got a chance to talk to him.”

On if there was anybody else the team considered cutting other than Johnson:

“No.”

On if Peterson will help improve the offensive line’s play:

“He don’t block. He just runs. But, he can make people miss. That helps them.”

On if he’s concerned that QB Carson Palmer’s offseason rest is being undone with all of his pass attempts:

“No, that’s why we’re resting him. His arm’s fine. He made all the throws he needed to make the other day when he could actually get his feet set. We were open deep, but we couldn’t get our feet set to throw. But no, the rest, that plan’s worked fine.”

On where the tight end group is at and whether he expects more production from them:

“Yeah, we’ve got to block the edge better. You have big 4-3 teams, that’s the toughest thing they have, blocking big defensive ends in the running game. It’s been about a hit and miss right now. It needs to be better.”

On why it didn’t work out for Texans G Dorian Johnson when he was in Arizona:

“It just didn’t. He struggled in pass protection, and we saw progress, but not the speed that we would have liked to add him on the active roster.”

On if DL Xavier Williams is playing well right now:

“Yeah. His stats speak for themselves. He’s making disruptive plays and earning more playing time. You really hate that ‘O.P.’ (Olsen Pierre) got hurt, because he was also making plays. Getting 25 to 30 (snaps) now makes those other guys better, because they’re only playing 25 to 30. Hopefully, Robert (Nkemdiche) can come in and play at their level right now.”

On why the defensive line was missing sacks last week:

“Because they didn’t get him (Carson Wentz) on the ground. When we had edge pressure, we didn’t have middle pressure, and a couple times, again, we had him and he just threw us off. It’s kind of like trying to sack Ben (Roethlisberger). He’s a big, strong guy.”

On how LB Kareem Martin performed last week:

“He was solid in his, whatever, 30 snaps it was. He was fine.”

On T Jared Veldheer’s knee:

“It’s sore. He and Corey (Peters), we’ll see tomorrow in pads how they handle it.”

On if there will be changes to the left side of the team’s offensive line this week:

“Why are you trying to jinx me, Bob? They’re going to practice tomorrow. They’ll practice somewhere. You didn’t ask me about ‘Brew’ (Aaron Brewer) last week, did you? (Reporter: “No, it was somebody else.”) It wasn’t? Damn. Yeah, they’re going to practice tomorrow. I’m hopeful as hell that they’re going to get through practice tomorrow.”

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