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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Injury report gets longer

(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: Antoine Bethea, Josh Bynes, Karlos Dansby, Larry (Fitzgerald) was a vet day off, Gabe Martin, Troy Niklas, Robert Nkemdiche, Olsen Pierre, Frostee Rucker was not injury-related, Earl Watford, Chad Williams and Kerwynn Williams. That’s why we walked through the second half of practice.”

On if it would be easier to list those who did practice:

“It was about an equal amount.”

On if he thinks any of the injured players will return in the next couple of days:

“I’m hoping to get two or three back tomorrow and maybe four by Friday, but it’s going to be touch and go on some of those guys. And, the flu is kind of running through the team right now.”

On evaluating younger players because he has to play them:

“Yeah, they’re starters. They’re playing because they’re starters, not because we’re putting them in there. They’re the next man up, and I’d like to see more improvement out of a couple of them.”

On QB Drew Stanton returning to the starting role and getting more reps in practice:

“Drew’s one thing: he’s as steady as they get. He’s moving around really good now, and that’s that veteran presence in the huddle.”

On how badly Stanton injured his knee and if he could have played sooner:

“No, it’s bad. He’s still going to play in a lot of pain, but his mobility’s back.”

On if Stanton’s knowledge of the offense opens up more of the play sheet:

“No, not really. It’s just, hopefully, we get a little bit better execution. He can help – not that Blaine (Gabbert) couldn’t – he can help a lot of guys out, reminding them what they have. Blaine did a good of that also.”

On the difference in the offensive line the last four games, in which the Cardinals have rushed for more than 100 yards each:

“They’ve just been blocking their asses (off). The tight ends have been doing a heck of a job, and Ricky Seals-Jones did a good job in this game. But, to set that edge, and then the interior guys just fighting their asses off. That’s all it is, but it’s all about run blocking. It’s finishing, getting into a guy and staying on him.”

On how quarterback and offensive line injuries impact game planning:

“It happened today. We had a shift and a motion, and it took us three times to get it. Yeah, he just got here two weeks ago. That’s OTAs and training camp stuff. You get pissed off, and then you’re like, ‘I’m sorry. You just got here. That’s you were talking to.’ So, those things you have to just … They’re going to happen, and you just let them happen, and hopefully, they happen on the practice field and not in the game.”

On Stanton being able to correct issues if they happen in a game:

“(He’s able) to get it straightened out.”

On if it’s hard to be patient with the players who just joined the team:

“It’s hard for me to be patient at any time, especially Week 17 or whatever it is, but then you’ve got to realize this is the second week of OTAs for about five of these guys.”

On if WR John Brown is trending in the right direction:

“John looked good today. Knock on wood, hopefully, he’s back.”

On if it’s important for Brown personally to get back on the field and play:

“There’s no doubt. Just his mindset and to get out there and hopefully catch a touchdown or do something, I think it’d do wonders for him.

On which other younger players he’s hoping will break out, similar to TE Ricky Seals-Jones:

“Well, Elijhaa Penny has done well with his opportunities. D.J. Foster can continue to improve. Obviously, Will Holden, and Budda (Baker) continues to improve as a safety. Harlan’s (Miller) a safety now. So, all those young guys, each and every one of them. Haason (Reddick) is starting to get to the quarterback, and him having to play two positions this week now.”

On how much he has seen from DL Robert Nkemdiche that demonstrates his ability to play:

“I think Robert can be a heck of a player. He’s just got to learn that this is the NFL, not college. He does well in practice, and then he goes a little rogue in games and just thinks he’s going to ‘out-athlete’ everybody. And he has to use his technique, but the talent is there.”

On what the stability Giants QB Eli Manning has brought to the quarterback position has done for the franchise:

“Oh man. Two-hundred and whatever, 80-90 games, or whatever it was in a row. That’s the greatest feeling in the world for a coach, when you know your quarterback’s going to be there every week. No matter who else goes down, they can lead the ship.”

On Manning returning to the scene of one of his greatest games this Sunday:

“Yeah, I hope he doesn’t get to repeat it.”

On RB Elijhaa Penny’s motivation to work hard when given an opportunity after being a tryout player:

“Yeah, I think all those guys – Kerwynn, Elijhaa, Ricky. That elevator rides real fast back down. You climbed it, but that thing’s real fast back to the bottom.”

On the improved punt coverage, performance from P Andy Lee and accuracy from K Phil Dawson and if that is a good sign for the year ahead:

“Yeah. Andy’s (Lee) kicked the heck out of the ball, and that’s helped our coverage so much. His location and his hang time, and we’re covering better. Budda, early in the year, gave up a couple returns on getting ‘rookied,’ and now he’s going to the Pro Bowl. So, those are the things that happen in September that now are fixed. When you play rookies in September, they’re going to happen.”

On if QB Carson Palmer practiced today:

“Carson? No.”

On if Palmer is officially done for the season:

“I don’t know how that rule actually works. I think if he’s healthy enough, he can actually come back and play.”

On how he felt about the four Cardinals who were selected to the Pro Bowl:

“Happy for them and the two alternates. I think it was well-deserved. They’ve all had great seasons.”

On if he envisioned Baker having this type of impact on special teams when the Cardinals drafted him:

“Yeah, it was one of the reasons (we drafted him). We knew he was going to be a hell of a safety, but we knew he could help us right away. It’s a shame Rudy Ford got hurt because Rudy was right there with him. They had a hell of a competition on who was going to be down the field first and make the tackle, and then Rudy got his knee hurt.”

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