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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Dealing with wrong calls and injuries in, after Carolina

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians argues a call that went to the Carolina Panthers with side judge Alan Eck during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. The Panthers won 30-20. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians meets the media the day after every game, often times explaining injury situations as well as anything else he may have seen the day before.

Here in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight some of the most notable quotes from his session, which comes after the team’s disappointing 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

He began with an opening statement:

“Injury front-wise, Jared Veldheer tore a tricep. He will go on IR. Ifeanyi Momah broke his wrist, and we’ll probably do some form of injury settlement with him. Tyrann (Mathieu) subluxed his shoulder. We’ll know more about the length of his rehab in the next few days. It does not require surgery, so it will be anywhere from three to six weeks. You don’t know. Ty’s a tough guy so we’ll wait and see. Obviously Steve (Keim) and I will get together this week and make some roster moves on what we need to do. As far as injuries go, we should be able to get Darren Fells back, Alex Okafor back, hopefully, next week. We will not practice tomorrow or Wednesday. We’ll just do a lot of film work. But, physically, we need to rest up. Larry’s (Fitzgerald) got an ankle and should be on the field next week. Some others — Tharold Simon — and some other minor injuries that are going to take some time. We wouldn’t have many guys to practice with anyway. We’ll take some young guys out and just work them individually with their coaches.”

On a potential technical glitch that did not allow them to review whether or not Carson Palmer fumbled or threw a forward pass

“Yeah, we’ll get this one out of the way. Alright, there was a network feed problem to the coaches booth. They did not have the proper feed for instant replay. So, they shut it down—this is my explanation—they shut it down to fix it and that’s when the play occurred, so there was no instant replay feed. It was confirmed a forward pass, an obvious forward pass, but no one had an instant replay feed to look at it. So, the replay official upstairs went with his naked eye. He went with the call on the field because there was no video to watch at that point in time.”

On whether that outage included New York

“Including in New York.”

On how that explanation feels to him and the team

“What do you think? About the same for you, probably.”

On whether they confirmed that it was a forward pass today

“At halftime, when they got their feed. And then a couple guys asked about the (Greg Olsen) catch. The visiting team is required to give sideline end zone replays. The coaches upstairs got a very fast replay. The ball was snapped, then they got a slow motion replay to confirm that it was not a catch, but it was too late to challenge at that point. So there was no chance to challenge that play for the coaching staff. The guys upstairs did their job.”

On whether there was enough suspicion to enable him to call a timeout in order to review Olsen’s catch

“There was not enough suspicion. It looked like a catch.”

On what the team will do at left tackle moving forward

“John Wetzel will start there. He played extremely well with the 18 to 20 plays he played. He’s played very well every time we’ve asked him to play. I feel very comfortable with him. Obviously, (he’s) not Jared, but he’ll be solid.”

On whether he’s given thought to moving D.J. Humphries to the left side of the line


On what is contributing to teams across the NFL being upset with the officiating of games

“You trying to get me fined? Yeah, I think it’s something that has to be addressed. Now that I’ve been on a couple competition committee meeting calls so far, it’s always the topic that they’re very concerned with. We’re all very concerned with it.”

On whether there’s any chance that Mathieu will be ready for the game against the 49ers

“No. I would doubt it.”

On whether he expects to get Okafor back

“We hope to get Okafor back, yes.”

On Fitzgerald’s ankle

“He sucked it up and went. It’s pretty swollen today. It’s not a high ankle sprain. It’s a low one, so I would think by the middle of next week to the end of next week, he’ll be ready to roll.”

On what he can do during this bye week to shake up the team’s psyche

“Just go back and look at the tape. Look at the fundamentals. Review it. I don’t think physically we need to go out on the field and do anything, so it’s more mental right now.”

On whether the team should be able to get hot if it gets a consistent effort from all three phases

“Oh, there’s no doubt. There’s nobody on our schedule we can’t beat, and there’s nobody on our schedule that can’t beat us. That’s the way it always is. But right now, it’s putting the pieces together that we have. Get game plans for each guy to be able to execute that plan and hopefully prepare well enough and play on Sunday. I’ve been pleased with the preparation. The preparation hasn’t been a problem. It’s the execution of the plan. Our guards really struggled in this game, and they shouldn’t have struggled that bad. Most of it was technique and I’ve watched the coaches teach them the techniques every single day. Nobody works more on techniques than our offensive line coaches. You get to see that when you’re out there for special teams. That’s all they do, and to go into a game and not use the technique, or use poor technique and get beat, it’s not acceptable.”

On whether the causes of players not executing on game day are mental in nature

“Whether it’s mental or not, it’s a mental error if you step with the wrong damn foot when you’ve been taught to step with the other one, or step up instead of step sideways. Yeah, those are mental errors.”

On whether those mental errors stopped in the second half of the game

“Well, once we got the touchdown, there was a very positive locker room, after my tirade. But, the guys were ready to make something happen. It was very similar to last year’s game. We came out, gave up a third down play and they got a field goal, but the penalties—again, I’m not getting fined—but the penalties. I’ve never been in a football—I’ve been in it for forty-some years and had more 2nd-&-30s and 3rd-and-30s in my life. Carson got a penalty that there’s no way should have been a penalty. So, it is what it is.”

On whether he’s not too upset with his offense for getting all those penalties

“Yeah, because most of the holding penalties, you can make a case either way, but most of it was putting yourself in poor position.”

On whether he’s ever faced a 2nd-&-44 before

“Never. I’ve never had two third downs where we completed balls for 18 yards or more, and didn’t make a first down. Didn’t even get half of it.”

On his reaction to Palmer’s frustration considering he is usually composed

“He is, and he was playing great, so obviously it was a point in time when enough is enough.”

On whether it was comforting to see Palmer play well and whether this was his best overall game

“Oh, by far it was. The only play I can say he had a negative play on was the two-point play. He skipped a read and thought he had the coverage that we’ve seen on tape and just missed Larry.”

On how a quarterback can clear his head and still execute after getting hit as many times that Palmer did

“It’s very, very difficult, to take the hits he took and not get flinchy. I mean, he never flinched. He wasn’t in the pocket jumping around. I’ve seen guys, their feet never stop after they get hit two or three times. He stood in there right to the end on that interception, and I hate to call it an interception because he checked, checked, and he’s dumping it down to David (Johnson) and the guy loops around, bats it down, and catches it. That’s just bad luck. It had nothing to do with him. He did everything perfect and just got bad luck.”

On whether Cam Newton has a case that he’s not getting protected a whole lot

“No, but I thought Calais (Campbell) hit him low. Whether he was blocked into him or not, that’s up to the officials to decide.”

On whether that type of penalty is consistently called around the league


On that type of penalty not being called consistently even though it’s a point of emphasis

“Yes, it is.”

On how he feels about where the team is in the divisional standings

“Well, that’s the only good thing right now. We’re not happy with the first half of the season, but for the second half of the season, to be a game or a game-and-a-half or whatever the numerical is, but knowing that we’re going to play them again. If we can take care of our business, that game shouldn’t matter. And, we’re in the hunt for our division which automatically gets us in the playoffs, so we’ve got a ton of stuff to practice and prepare and play for.”

On whether losing games is causing a loss of team chemistry this season

“No, I think our guys are accountable to each other. You lost some guys that were here for a long time together. People looked at the secondary as being the real chemistry—I think that group, they still go out together all the time and do everything together just like they’ve always done. But I don’t think—that’s an overused word. I think accountability, this team doesn’t have as much accountability on Sunday as last year’s did, because it’s easy when you turn on that tape and see a guy using poor technique or making a mental error that didn’t occur last year. Now whether it’s a young guy or a veteran guy; the young guys that played last year, they made mistakes also but other guys covered up for it.”

On whether the plan is still to bring Chris Johnson back off IR or whether that decision is up in the air

“All that’s up in the air right now, especially with Ty’s injury. Because only one of those guys can come back.”

On the pass that Fitzgerald dropped

“That’s probably only the second time I’ve ever seen him drop a ball like that.”

On how to improve the players’ accountability to one another

“I can’t. You’re either accountable or you’re not. That’s the locker room. That’s them taking care of each other. It starts in each room and it grows from there. Now, it can change instantly, but a coach can’t do a damn thing about it except point it out.”

On how beneficial the bye week is for the team

“Oh, it’s huge. We need to heal. We’ve got some very physical games coming up. We just went through two very physical games and we’ll rally the guys that can play and play San Francisco at home.”

On what else occurred with pass protection other than the guards struggling

“It was mostly them. D.J. (Humphries) was on and off. We missed (Luke) Kuechly delay blitzing around the edge twice. That was just young, uncalled for mistakes.”

On David Johnson’s play

“I thought David played extremely well, other than two blitz pickups that he didn’t get. But, he’s dynamic when he gets his hands on the ball, whether it’s a run or a pass. He made some phenomenal plays. It’s a shame he lost so much yardage that had to be called back. I thought Andre’s (Ellington) play was phenomenal – the catch he made down the middle that got called back.”

On how much the team’s experience with injured players from a couple years ago helps this year as the number of injuries mounts up

“It helps the guys that have been here. The guys that have been through this, they know. Wetzel’s already proven—he doesn’t have to walk in the locker room and prove anything to anybody right now. They’re (like), ‘Hey, Wetz is in there. We’re good.’ And whoever else shows up. Hopefully, like I said, we’ll get Darren back hopefully. Hakeem (Valles) played well against San Francisco when he played all those plays up there, so they know the next man up means something here.”

On whether Chandler Jones was OK yesterday

“Yeah, I think he had 56 snaps or something. He was out in one package, but he was fine. Yeah.”

On what the team’s letter grade after the first eight games would be

“C. Half of the league is right here together. Or more than half of the league is sitting right here together within a half game or a game of each other. That’s the parity of the league.”

On whether he’d like to see the overtime rules changed

“No. I thought the change that we made was a good one, that both teams got the ball. But to extend play? There’s no way those guys the other night—their defense or our offense could have played anymore. Not be safe. But, I don’t like the college rule. I don’t think it does anything for us.”

On what the rest will do for Michael Floyd

“It should help him a bunch. He should be back full-speed, and hopefully John Brown can show up like John Brown. That was not him out there playing. He played, but that wasn’t John Brown.”

On whether John Brown’s play yesterday had to do with what he’s dealing with health-wise

“I think it’s what he was dealing with, and he doesn’t know how to deal with it yet. He was playing extremely fast when all this happened and the way he’s always played. Now that was just an image of—that wasn’t him out there.”

On whether the pain in Brown’s legs is still an issue for him

“Oh, that’s one of the biggest problems with it, is that he feels like he’s tight and hurt.”

On whether medication can help alleviate Brown’s pain

“There’s no medication. It’s just fluid and oxygen.”

On J.J. Nelson’s development

“J.J., he’s our starter and he’s getting better and better. He can play better, but he had a heck of a two weeks. He’s just going to get better. We’ve just got to keep him healthy.”

On how Nelson’s size impacts what he can do

“He can’t take as many shots over the middle, but he’s tough. He can catch the ball. He’s stretching the field. He’s becoming a mismatch.”

On whether Nelson’s development has surprised the team

“No, he had such a great spring. I’m actually disappointed because we broke his thumb and that set him way back. He was playing with his cast on and he dropped some balls and he lost some confidence. But, after the spring, I thought this is where he would have been in September.”

On his thoughts on Floyd’s play in the first half of the season

“Mike’s just been inconsistent. He’s made plays, he’s dropped some balls. He gutted it up and played for us the other day and he was open. Carson was targeting him a couple times when he got sacked. It was just bad luck that he didn’t get targets. I expect for Mike to have a big second half of the season. I really do.”

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