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All-Access with Bruce Arians: It takes two Texans QBs to replicate Watson

(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:

“Everybody practiced except Corey Peters – a good start to the week. We’ll put the pads on tomorrow and hopefully have an even better practice. Good intensity, so other than that, just a really good start to the week.”

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On QB Drew Stanton’s status:

“He’s one of the guys that practiced. Only one guy didn’t. He practiced.”

On where he puts Stanton’s level of toughness:

“At the top of the chart. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen him gut it up like that. But yeah, he’s off the charts. That’s why his teammates love him.”

On how much his knee affected him in last Thursday’s game:

“Oh, it affected him on two or three throws. The one to John Brown, especially, it gave out on him. That is the one that we’d all like to have back. There was maybe one or two others, but that was affected.”

On whether QB Blaine Gabbert received more reps with the starters:

“Yeah, and he got a bunch last week, but he’ll get more this week. We’ll try to get Matt (Barkley) something along the lines.”

On how he evaluates a quarterback in practice who was injured in a prior game and what the quarterback has to do to be able to play in the next game:

“Protect himself, number one, being able to get out of harm’s way, or you’re really going to get hurt. He was able to do that in that ball game, and he moved around great. He was gutting it up, but he could stay out of harm’s way. I have had guys with legs that were in damn near casts, playing the pistol the whole game, all the way back to Todd Jordan at Mississippi State, Ben (Roethlisberger). They could throw it, and you made sure they threw it away, that they didn’t get hit.”

On dropped passes and route running by the receiving corps:

“Route running is fine. It’s just a matter of finishing and catching it. We dropped way too many balls on Drew in that ball game. It had kind of gone away, and it showed back up in a big, big game.”

On the defensive front providing pressure and helping generate turnovers for the backend:

“That ball’s coming out, as long as your eyes are in right place. We dropped two. Budda (Baker) had one right in his hands. We should have had another one. The quarterback gets hit enough, it’s coming out of there, and then whoever is spying, whoever is doubling, if their eyes are in the right place, they’ll get interceptions.”

On how ready S Budda Baker is for more playing time:

“More than ready. He stepped in. Like I said, rookies around Thanksgiving and the middle and first of November, they shouldn’t be rookies anymore.”

On how Gabbert’s extra reps helped him develop:

“A bunch. It’s nothing like getting first team reps. Drew knows so much, he could let Blaine have a bunch. That part has really helped his progression, especially in blitz drills.”

On Gabbert’s comfort level overall with the offense:

“I think he’s real comfortable. I’m very comfortable. If he’s our guy, then I’m extremely comfortable.”

On the differences in Houston’s offense without QB Deshaun Watson:

“Oh gosh, Braxton Miller’s playing quarterback to do all the things that Deshaun … It takes two quarterbacks for them to do what Deshaun does.”

On if S Antoine Bethea or Baker will be the second safety in the base defense:

“It’ll probably be Budda right now.”

On if Baker’s hesitation while lining up last week was a result of him not knowing or lack of trust in himself:

“Just communication. When our crowd’s cranked up, you’re listening for somebody to tell you sometimes, and you’ve got to trust yourself.”

On his curiosity to see Gabbert manage the offense and digest the plays:

“As far as him, he can spin it as good as anybody I’ve ever had. Just keeping him in his comfort zone. Don’t overload him with things he has to think about for this week, because they’re such a good pressure team. Let him know his protections are sound. Keep him in his comfort zone, because he can spin the ball. As long as we’re getting open, we’ve got to catch it.”

On if it’s a problem that he’s been in so many different offensive schemes and systems:

“I’ve never seen a guy have that many head coaches and that many coordinators, and not bother him. But he’s got all the confidence in the world. That’s the one thing I like about him, and I think sometimes it helps him, because he’s had to learn so much football, he can learn quickly and forget and start all over.”

On the benefits of Gabbert’s mobility:

“Yeah, you hope to hell he’s not running around because we can’t block them. You hope he’s running around because you designed it to run around.”

On if the defensive success on the first series against Seattle will make him defer if Arizona wins the coin toss:

“Yeah, once you start winning those battles, it’s easy.”

On whether he’s seen anything out of RB T.J. Logan on punt returns yet:

“No. His wrist is still pretty stiff.”

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