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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Cardinals’ selfishness has crept in

Bruce Arians shakes Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn's hand after the Arizona Cardinals' 38-19 loss on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. (Associated Press)
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 38-19 loss against the Atlanta Falcons that dropped Arizona to 4-6-1.

He began with an opening statement:

“After reviewing the film, it’s probably just like yesterday when we talked. It’s always four or five plays that determine outcomes of games. We didn’t make those four or five plays again. The best start we’ve had offensively followed up by allowing them to score right behind you. That’s very disheartening, to be able to get off to the type of start we want to get off to and then let them answer. The second drive should have been a touchdown — one of those plays, we just don’t catch the snap from center and we don’t walk in on a running play for a touchdown. We end up with a 3rd and 15 instead of a touchdown, so we kick a field goal. When you’re on the road, those four points always matter, and it was just a matter of catching the snap and handing it off. Same thing defensively, we had the interception; D.J. (Swearinger) catches balls one-handed every day and tried to take off running with it. I thought defensively we had some guys get out of their lane again and try to do too much, tried to get on the stat sheet instead of just doing their job. Corey Peters was outstanding. He played 35 plays and had 35 pluses and four tackles, whatever his stat line was. That was the example I used to the rest of them; if you do your job, you’ll be on the stat sheet. The only stat that matters is winning and losing, and right now we’re not making the critical plays to win games and it’s got to be corrected soon. Injury-wise there is nothing to report.”

On if he’s surprised that players are still not doing their job:

“I’m very surprised. We’ve been talking about it for four weeks and the veterans obviously haven’t done anything about it, so maybe young guys will step up and make the opportunity they need.”

On what corrections can be made that have not already been tried:

“Biggest thing is to catch the ball. Me, personally, I don’t think there is anything, because we’ve been in position – after reviewing it, you always start with the coaching. Why we weren’t as physical as I thought we should’ve been is a question, because we did not hit last week, but we need to be more physical. The penalties, they are what they are. A.Q. Shipley got a huge holding penalty when he could’ve just blocked the guy. Just block him; you don’t throw him on the ground. That’s an 18-yard run and we are off and running again, and those are the kind of silly mistakes we have to stop.”

On why the great preparation and practice hasn’t carried over to the games:

“I would probably make a million if I could answer that because I could sell it to a bunch of coaches. I don’t know because preparation is usually the key to success, and we have had a month of great practices, preparation, guys pass tests. They do everything that they are asked to do. But it’s not translating on those four or five plays. It is throughout the game, and right now we’ve got ourselves behind the eight ball in the fourth quarter having to throw, and our offensive line cannot handle that.”

On if he senses that there is a lack of intensity or urgency:

“No. I would say that if we were having poor practices. I think if anything it’s the reverse of trying too hard, pressing, trying, especially defensively, trying to make a play. Offensively, it is just a matter of throwing it and catching it. But, then when you get behind you have to protect your quarterback better.”

On his thoughts on the offensive line:

“I thought for three quarters they were very, very good for their first start out. D.J. (Humphries) played extremely well. I think both the right side guys, (Ulrick) John – that’s probably the first time John has played a game since Georgia State — I thought they got tired. I thought Ulrick got tired and John Wetzel got tired and it showed up out there, so we have to do something about that.”

On if he is going to stick with the same offensive line:

“Yes.”

On if D.J. Humphries at left tackle is something he would consider long term:

“We’ll just see how that goes.”

On what the biggest problems on defense were:

“It was a combination. The two screen passes were just getting them turned back inside — fundamentals, get it turned back inside and guys getting there. We turned the one back inside and missed the tackle, and the other we do not get it turned back inside and let it outside. The last run for a touchdown, there shouldn’t have been anywhere to go. We pushed the whole side back, and the running back made a great cut outside and Junk (Markus Golden) just lost contain.”

On facing a situation like this as a head coach and what it is doing to him:

“Those six years at Temple, they got me accustomed to a hell of a lot of stuff. So, I’ve been addressing people about this for a really long time. It really doesn’t change. As a coordinator, you are still responsible for half of the team, and when you go through rough spots, it’s your half. This is my whole team, and if there is one thing that’s disheartening is that we are not as physical as I wish we were.”

On how disappointing is it that guys are trying to get on the stat sheet instead of doing their job:

“That’s the selfishness instead of selflessness that has crept in.”

On what allows selfishness to creep in:

“That’s an individual thing.”

On if the lack of physical play can translate into the team not being as tough as he wants them:

“Yes and no. It’s a matter of running balls on you in goal line defense. You just don’t allow people to run the ball. You let them throw it in, but you just don’t allow them to run it in, and they ran it in twice. That’s where we set the tempo in training camp.”

On if it is disturbing that they got to Matt Ryan at the beginning of the third quarter and that was it:

“Yeah, we were close. They were doing a very, very good job of doing a lot of play action, getting him out of the pocket and throwing it very quick. When they tried to throw it down the field, we normally either got to him or broke it up. They had a really nice designed play to get him out on the deep comeback that they got on Pat (Peterson). That was probably the only ball Pat gave up over 10 yards.”

On if Atlanta reminds him of the Cardinals last year:

“Yes and no. We never have (bootlegged) that much, but they have some really good weapons. Matty (Ryan) is playing extremely well.”

On David Johnson not factoring as much in the second half and if it has to do with changing the game plan:

“We started the second half with the same plays. They just didn’t work. The first bootleg we don’t block properly and we have to throw it away. We ran the same play and we got nothing, so as you fall behind, he is going to catch a lot of passes.”

On his mindset for the rest of the season:

“Really it is just this week. You just take them one at a time. I think once we win one, we’ll be fine. I think we’ll add them up at nine and I think you have a great shot still because we’re going to be playing some of those teams that are going to be in the same spot we’re in. We just have to win one. I don’t look at big pictures until the whole season is over. To think we would try to lose games to get a better draft choice is absolutely asinine. I don’t know who would ever do that.”

On the road games being difficult:

“Really good first half in three of them, and not coming out and finishing or playing well in the second half has been a common theme.”

On the message to the team being to focus on one game at a time:

“Just win this week and we’ll keep adding them up. You can’t look at big pictures right now. It is just too crazy of a season for everybody. You just have to win this week, and this is a hell of an opponent.”

On his thoughts on the Washington Redskins:

“Right now, they are probably playing as well offensively as anybody in the league. Kirk (Cousins) is playing at a high level. They’ve got (Robert) Kelley, the young back, looks awesome, those two tight ends and the three wideouts. They have an arsenal of weapons. I don’t know about (Jordan) Reed’s availability yet, but I’d imagine he will play. It’s too big of a game.”

On if downfield accuracy is the biggest development in Kirk Cousins:

“I think he’s always had that. I think it’s getting the ball out of his hand and not getting sacked. He sees the field extremely well. He’s a football junkie.”

On how Carson Palmer is feeling:

“Probably like he got hit by a truck. That’s two weeks in a row he got hit too many times.”

On Carson Palmer playing better when he’s not under pressure:

“I thought he played great. The last interception, he just had to throw the damn thing somewhere.”

On Patrick Peterson’s knee:

“It’s sore. There is nothing structurally damaged. So we’ll see how it goes.”

On David Johnson’s hand:

“He just dislocated a finger. It’s OK.”

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