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All-Access with Bruce Arians: ‘Have to laugh and go on’ after injuries

(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:

“Injury-wise, Jared Veldheer cracked his ankle, and he’ll go on IR. Earl Watford has a high ankle sprain and don’t know how much loss of time that’ll (be). We’ll have to reshuffle some guys on the offensive line. Other than that, we should be getting Corey Peters back. Josh Mauro should be healthier this week. So, both of those guys should be able to play some. Gabe Martin pulled a hamstring pretty bad. He’ll be lost for a little while.

The tape was solid – a great defensive performance. Special teams were outstanding, and Jaron Brown made a great tackle there at the end. They really were aware of the fake, calling it out and did a good job on that play. Offensively, it’s just a matter of, we didn’t beat ourselves, but we left too many plays out there. We had some balls that were incomplete, which are better than intercepted. An interception, or any kind of turnover in that game, would have cost us. Winning the turnover battle was huge, and being able to run the ball on a very good run defense. I thought the tight ends, again, and the receivers and the offensive line, all blocked really well. Kerwynn (Williams) saw the holes well, as did Elijhaa (Penny) when he got in there.”

On if he anticipates G/T Will Holden and G/C Evan Boehm filling in on the offensive line:

“That’s the plan right now. We’ll probably have to make a roster move or two, but we’ll probably start there and see what else is available.”

On the injuries to the offensive line this season:

“Goody (Harold Goodwin) has done a hell of a job. It’s not easy to go through that many players and still be able to run the ball as effectively as we have the last couple weeks.”

On the status of DL Josh Mauro:

“Josh should be ready to go. He dressed and was only (there for) dire need if we needed to play him, and so, he should be much better.”

On where he has seen the biggest improvements from DL Olsen Pierre:

“Just watching him grow, watch his body change over two years. He’s got great length and quickness and should be a disruptive player for a long time.”

On how he deals with all these injuries on a personal level:

“You just have to laugh and go on, what’s next, and get a game plan that these guys can succeed at and go win a game.”

On if Veldheer’s injury was a surprise this morning:

“Totally. I was worried about his arm. His arm, after the game, he said, ‘My arm feels great. I think I’m good, but I might have sprained my ankle,’ and it was fractured.”

On if Veldheer played the entire game with a fractured ankle:

“I think it happened in the fourth quarter.”

On if Holden will play left tackle or move to the right side:

“No, he’ll play left. He’s more comfortable left.”

On challenging the spot of the ball on the 4th-and-1 and if the decision came from upstairs:

“Everybody on the sideline saw it, but upstairs, they saw it; and the big thing was knowing that the whistle blew. It was a clear shot of the referee coming in with his hand up, meaning the whistle had been blown, the play was over and the ball was still at the 35-(yard line). So, you never know. I was arguing with them about, ‘New York’s not going to hear the whistle, but he should see that you blew the whistle,’ and he told them. Very fortunate that we won a spot challenge, but that one, to me, was very obvious.”

On if LB Chandler Jones has a shot to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sacks record:

“Yeah, I think so. The way he’s playing, multiple sack games are just kind of a normal thing for him. If he just gets them to the ground, I think he’s got a shot.”

On if the Cardinals were concerned with the perception that Jones’ play faded late in seasons during his time in New England:

“Not at all. He has not shown any evidence of that last year, and with the weight loss, he practices really hard.”

On the additions of LB Josh Bynes, G Alex Boone, P Andy Lee and CB Tramon Williams and how they have impacted the roster:

“They were great signings. All those guys are starting and playing, and Andy’s just doing a great job of punting. Steve (Keim) has always done a great job of finding whoever’s available to make our roster better.”

On if the boom-or-bust proposition of the jet sweep to WR Chad Williams is due to the defensive end being unblocked and that the runner has to get around him:

“Yeah, it’s called ’25 blunt sucker.’ Either you’re a sucker, or they’re a sucker. We luckily got him to look in the backfield.”

On why the defense played so well in the second half:

“When you’re stopping the run and putting them in long third-down yardage. I think we had three or four three-and-outs, and that was huge. The offense did a good job of eating clock, and the special teams, again. It was a good team victory, but the defense was outstanding.”

On what Williams showed on the jet sweep:

“Everything he’s shown in practice. He still struggles with press, man-to-man as a wideout, but he’s a talented young guy. You try to find a way to get the ball into his hands.”

On the team’s work ethic and if he looks for signs outside of games and practice to identify work ethic:

“Yeah, you just turn on the thing that sees how long they look at their iPad. That’s an easy one. Guys are studying the heck out of film, and that’s on their own time. Those are all really positive signs. Like I said, the character and the leadership of the room is outstanding.”

On what CB Tramon Williams has been able to do:

“He’s a great pro. Bought his time and waited, and he’s having some huge interceptions for us and a great hit on the second down play at the end of the game. He’s a pro. He’s at work every day.”

On if he ever feels like “Big Brother” when he checks on how long players have been watching film:

“No, they know it. They know it.”

On if a player could appear to be reviewing film by leaving his tablet on while doing something else.

“No, because it doesn’t work quite that way.”

On playing Washington this Sunday:

“They’re tough at home. They’re always tough at home. It’s a tough stadium to play in, over the years, having been there. They’re professionals, too. They’re going to be ready to win, so we’ve got to go play our best game. Something we’ve struggled to do is go play early on Sunday mornings on the East Coast.”

On rain and snow being forecasted in Washington:

“Hopefully it’s not Buffalo. That was amazing trying to watch that.”

On if he has ever coached a game with as much snow as the Buffalo-Indianapolis game yesterday:

“I’ve never coached one with 12 inches on the ground. I’ve coached a lot of snow games, but not like that.”

On the reasons for the team’s struggles with playing early on the east coast:

“It’s not just us. It’s a lot of people from the West Coast that go over there and play early games. A couple years, it wasn’t a problem, but the last year and a half, it has been. It’s another thing to look at in the offseason. We’ll go this Friday, and we’ve done it both ways. We won going on Saturday. We’ve lost going on Friday, but it’s worked in the past. The biggest thing is turnovers. You get there, and you turn the ball over on the road, you’re going to lose.”

On if he has two versions of his play list depending on the weather:

“No, just the one.”

On QB Blaine Gabbert’s accuracy and if it can improve:

“Most of the time, if you get hit that many times, you’re not going to be real accurate because you’re going to hurry to get the ball out of your hand. And you’re going to see some things, which is just natural with the position. You start seeing things that aren’t there. Once your eyes get off where they belong, it’s hard to refocus and be accurate. When you start getting hit, your eyes naturally come down, look around a little bit, and come back up. You have to train yourself to keep your eyes where they belong, so you maintain your accuracy.”

On his thoughts on Redskins QB Kirk Cousins:

“I think he’s as solid a player there is. He’s had some games where he’s been just outstanding, and he’s had some struggles at times. Sometimes, that goes with the team.”

On how Cousins has handled all the hoopla surrounding his contract:

“Not being there every day, I really don’t know how he handles it. But, I know on Sunday, he plays pretty solid.”

On the statuses of WR John Brown and RB Adrian Peterson:

“No. John’s going to, again, try it this week. It didn’t work too good last week. He got real sore after Wednesday’s practice. Adrian, he and the doctors are still talking.”

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