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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Rest is for the bye week

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians speaks to the media during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, now in his third year with the team, meets with the media the day after every game.

In this space, we will highlight some of what Arians had to say, and Monday he talked about his team after it demolished the Green Bay Packers 38-8 Sunday afternoon, giving them their 13th win, clinching a bye in the first-round of the playoffs and keeping their hopes of attaining the No. 1 overall seed alive.

He started with an opening statement:

“Nothing really to report. The nice thing, injury-wise, everything was day-to-day. Nobody’s going to miss any time. As far as injuries, we probably will not get Josh Mauro back this week. We’re hoping and have got our fingers crossed, maybe by the end of the week, but I doubt it. But, nobody in that ball game. We will approach this game as if it was Game 1 of the season and treat it like every game. We don’t want to set a pattern of different behavior.”

On his experience on the 1999 Indianapolis Colts when the team lost linebacker Cornelius Bennett prior to the playoffs and how that affected his decision not to rest starters:

“Probably wouldn’t have had Cornelius anyway. He was playing on one leg that whole year. He was more inspirational. But, no, I don’t think you get anything out of resting guys. Especially playing a team that’s in our division and we haven’t beaten them at home in a couple of years. We don’t want to start a precedent now.”

On whether he’d consider resting the starters if Arizona faced a different opponent than Seattle:

“Probably not.”

On whether he’ll consider resting guys in the second half of this week’s upcoming game:


On whether the chance at the No. 1 seed in the NFC affected his decision to play the starters in this week’s upcoming game:


On who makes the decision to rest or play starters:

“Just me.”

On whether it was an easy decision to play the starters:

“Yeah. We’re playing so well right now. I don’t want to change any way that we prepare. We’ve got a week to rest. We know that we’re going to get a week to rest anyways, so we’ll have plenty of rest.”

On whether the starters want to play or rest at this point in the season:

“I don’t know of any of them that wanted to sit out. As a matter of fact, all of them came to me and said, ‘Look, we want to win this.’ I said, ‘Of course we do.’”

On whether players came and told him that:

“Oh yeah. In the locker room last night, and it was a bunch of them working out today. So, they all feel the same way.”

On the degree to which Arizona is still ascending:
“Oh gosh. That was, by no means, a perfect game. We gave up a touchdown pass on another blitz peel scenario with a new player that was in the wrong gap. We had two turnovers that we should have never had. There are a lot of things to correct and continue to get better.”

On when the last time was that he received a penalty on himself:

“My first year in Indy, down in Houston. So, this ain’t the first time.”

On whether he cares to share what earned the penalty:

“Nah. Guys got to have thicker skin.”

On how close Rashad Johnson was to playing yesterday:

“Very. Very close. In the locker room, I thought he was going to go. Then when he went out, he struggled to get out of his breaks and just felt like he would hurt the team if he was out there.”

On whether it’s a benefit to see how D.J. Swearinger and Justin Bethel performed as substitutes for injured players:

“Oh, there’s no doubt, and there was never a doubt that Justin would play well because he already has when Jerraud (Powers) was hurt. D.J. stepped in there and did a good job. To see he and Tony (Jefferson) communicate, because they’re not usually the communicators, they’re always the listeners and they had to do all the communication and they did a good job.”

On whether he thought Bethel would get picked on by Green Bay like he did:

“Sure. Pat’s (Peterson) on the other side.”

On whether he prepared Bethel more during the week knowing that Green Bay would throw more in his direction:

“No. No. Very few guys can make that throw that Aaron (Rodgers) was making – the back shoulder throw. I told him, ‘Those aren’t going to beat you. You just keep hanging in there,’ and he got the big pick on the back shoulder throw.”

On how important yesterday’s game will be for Bethel’s development and whether you can replicate that live work during the week:

“Yeah, you can’t get it in practice. You’re afraid guys will get hurt if they’re going that hard. You know you’re going to get put to the test and you’ve got to pass the test because you ain’t coming out.”

On Seattle being a different team than what Arizona faced in Week 10 because Russell Wilson is playing in the pocket more:

“I don’t see any difference. They run the exact same offense. He’s going to scramble. We’ve got to get to him like St. Louis did yesterday and our defensive line’s got to win that matchup.”

On whether there are skills David Johnson has shown that have surprised him:

“No, because on tape, you saw all the pass receiving skills. When you turn on the Iowa film and he had like 180 yards receiving against Iowa, and you always saw the running skills. With all the young guys, it’s a maturity level. Will they be ready to play as a rookie? He’s very mature. He handles his business the right way.”

On whether he liked their outside linebacker rotation:

“Yeah, it’s very productive right now – until one of them won’t come off the field and we have 12, because they’re fighting on who wants to stay in. So, we’ve got to clean that up.”

On whether he noticed David Johnson’s jump cut in college:

“Oh yeah. You could see it all. They ran the zone reads, but he also blocked for the quarterback and was a heck of a receiver.”

On what yesterday’s game meant for Calais Campbell:

“This was a really solid game for him. He’s put up a few back-to-back now, so it’s the right time of the year to start cooking.”

On whether he liked what he saw out of Andre Ellington yesterday:

“Yes. I thought the quickness was there. He made some cuts in practice. It was like, ‘Did that hurt?’ ‘No.’ So, the confidence was there.”

On whether the experience of being selected to the Pro Bowl helped Campbell’s confidence and mindset coming in to yesterday’s game:

“You’d have to ask him. I don’t see a different guy. He was always a confident guy. I think it was a goal that he wanted desperately and he finally got the recognition.”

On whether playing Seattle like it’s Week 1 reflects his personality as a coach:

“Probably. Yeah. I’m never going to line up to lose. If we rested three starters, I would expect to win; no matter who they were, so why rest them?”

On whether it reflects an approach that Arizona will do things his way:

“Yeah, probably. You could probably quote me on that one.”

On if he’s ever seen the philosophy of not resting starters hurt teams going into the playoffs or whether it’s just his nature:

“It’s my nature. I’ve seen guys win with it, and I’ve seen guys lose badly with it.”

On how the offense has grown since 2013:

“Carson (Palmer) is staying healthy, and Drew’s (Stanton) staying healthy. The rest of it is guys growing, putting better pieces in the puzzle around him –a better offensive line, a corps of running backs. The receiver group has gotten better. Our tight ends have really improved. So, it’s just Steve (Keim) putting better pieces around Carson.”

On what he’s seen two weeks off do to players prior to the playoffs over the course of his career:

“We were 15-1 in Pittsburgh (in 2004) and we lost the AFC Championship game. It was just a bye week. It’s a great time to have a bye week. You do your normal practices and you get ready for it. Same for the Super Bowl, but to rest an extra week, some guys get very stale quickly.”

On whether he was impressed or not surprised by his players coming up to tell him how they wanted to approach this week’s game against Seattle:

“Not surprised. Not surprised that our guys would want to play against Seattle and win.”

On whether he thinks Arizona’s offense is ahead of schedule with how well it’s played this season:

“This is about where I thought we’d be in Year 3. We were getting real close last year, until the quarterbacks got hurt, and the running backs.”

On his thoughts on Black Monday and what it’s like for his coaching brethren:

“Oh, hell yeah. That was me way too many times, you know? I’ll make some phone calls and make sure that if anyone needs help, I’m here to help them.”

On who he would vote for as Coach of the Year:

“Oh, I’d have to give to Ron (Rivera), if I had a vote.”

On Andy Reid’s chances to be Coach of the Year:

“Andy would be real close, yeah. Being 1-5 and then doing what they’re doing, it’s amazing.”

On the possibility of him winning the Coach of the Year:

“I wouldn’t vote for myself.”

On whether he anticipates any turnover on his staff:

“You never know. Hopefully, somebody will get a head coaching job.”

On whether Michael Floyd’s production over this last month is what he’s waited to see from him:

“Yeah. He was having an unbelievable camp when he broke that hand. Thank God it wasn’t as severe as it looked that day. To see him just continually grow back, and he’s always had Carson’s trust, but right now it’s a really nice chemistry.”

On Floyd playing with anger and whether that’s similar to Anquan Boldin’s style of play:

“Yeah, I’d like to see him block like Anquan. As far as attacking the ball and catching, yeah. Other than that first one, he had a little short arms on that first one.”

On how much it helped to rest David Johnson in the second half yesterday:

“It should help him a bunch. He’s had a lot of touches here in the last three weeks, and Andre needed the work.”

On how a player like Johnson remained on the draft board until the third round:

“Probably Northern Iowa. People don’t respect smaller school guys sometimes. They get looked at height, weight and speed guys, but when you watched him against Iowa State and Iowa and all the teams that they did play, he wasn’t a fish out of water.”

On whether Johnson is making a case to be the Rookie of the Year:

“I would think, with his touchdown numbers and all that he has done, that he should be in the top three.”

On whether Arizona can learn anything from Atlanta after it defeated Carolina yesterday, should Arizona have to play Carolina in the playoffs:

“Probably not. We’re totally different defenses and offenses. I would just like to play them.”

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