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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Looking forward to this week, finishing strong

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians calls out from sidelines against the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals head coach

TEMPE — 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. This week he met with the media on Tuesday. It was the first time he’s spoken since the win in Seattle.

Here in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight some of the most notable quotes from his session.

He began with an opening statement

“Hope everybody had a good holiday. Injuries after the ballgame – Tony (Jefferson) has a grade two MCL; he’ll go on IR. Boggsy (Taylor Boggs) has a subluxed shoulder; he’ll also go on IR. We’ll make some roster moves and have all of that to you. Not sure yet which direction we’ll go at safety. Obviously very happy with Harlan (Miller) – probably screw him up if we coach him. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

“We had so many game balls to give out I can’t really name them all – Rodney for blocking the field goal, sack and the great production he had within his 15 plays; Alex Okafor for the great effort on the punt block, Harlan, the offensive line. I thought it was probably one of the best protections we have had in Seattle with that group. We’re looking forward to this week, finishing strong. We’ll have more guys up. Hopefully ones we bring in off the street I’ll know their name. We’ve been there before too. We were playing Kansas City when I was interim coach and a guy got a sack and I had to say ‘what the hell is his name?’ He just showed up on Tuesday. It was Jamaal Westerman, I don’t forget it now, but it was a big play in the game. So those things happen. Looking forward to finish it up and then reflecting back.”

On the decision to put Tyrann Mathieu on injured reserve

“He just wasn’t ready to play. He was hurting the team as much as taking a chance at hurting him. He just couldn’t play at his level.”

On how important it is for Mathieu going into the offseason not having to rehab

“It will be the first one in a while so you’d think it would be very important, that he could get a good solid offseason of just working on technique and working on fundamentals.”

On D.J. Swearinger playing in Tony Jefferson’s role in Seattle

“He did a heck of a job. The communication, all but one play, was fantastic. We had one check that ended up as a touchdown, but it was more of a missed tackle. He played real solid.”

On Swearinger matching up against Jimmy Graham quite a bit

“That was the matchup anyway, that position, whoever it was – whether it’s zone or man – we didn’t play a hell of a lot of man in that game, so you had to carry him through the zone.”

On how Evan Boehm played

“He played really well when he didn’t screw up. It’s just blitzes that he turned guys loose up the middle. That happens real fast when you’re at guard. When he was on his guy, he blocked really well.”

On if Boehm’s struggles were more mental than physical

“He had three of them. He had three mentals, and two of them were blitzes up the middle where he stayed on the end and didn’t come back inside for the blitzer, and Carson did a good job of throwing it away. The problem one was a big third down at the end of the game when we’re trying to get a first down.”

On if they will stick with Evan Boehm at guard this week

“Yes.”

On if there are common denominators when special teams plays well compared to when they don’t this year

“Injuries; kickers, snappers, holders and then injuries. When you take out your top five cover guys and they’re on injured reserve, you’re not going to cover as well. And, the glaring play was the kickoff return in Minnesota.”

On if he has coached in the LA Coliseum before

“Yes, when the Raiders were there and I was with the Chiefs. Very interesting crowd.”

On how Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams played

“They did fantastic. Brandon, he got a couple of penalties, but he was battling over there all day. I thought he got a chance for an interception, got OPI and they didn’t call it. Justin may have had his best game as a Cardinal, as far as a defensive back, and looked really good at nickel. He’s a good blitzer. He’s a good tackler, so it’s a good spot for him. It’s just that Ty (Tyrann Mathieu) and those other guys play that position most of the time.”

On the main reason Seattle was able to move the ball in the second half

“Early we were rushing the passer and they were running it and it opened up some gaps, which slows down the pass rush. We have to stop the run. Then they were throwing it quicker. We gave up four explosives. One was Pat (Peterson) was looking in the backfield and they got a big one on him, and the play where we had the miscommunication and missed tackle on Jimmy Graham. Those were the big ones, but we still got after the quarterback pretty good. They were throwing a lot more shorter routes too. In which case we have to get our hands up and bat some balls down.”

On if the Cardinals offense is throwing quicker due to the makeshift offensive line

“Yes and no. I think we’ve probably thrown it deeper the last month than we have all season, more successfully. Obviously the 80-yard pass we were back there holding them. We were holding them in the two-minute drive. But we’ve changed – we’ve always thrown the ball quick. It’s a misnomer that every pass we throw is down the field. Every pass we have somebody that’s going deep, but all the rest of the guys are going short.”

On what has helped in throwing deeper the last month

“Receivers are playing better, J.J. (Nelson) is healthy, Smoke (John Brown) is healthy; we had him open two weeks ago against New Orleans. The lack of practice, timing, because he doesn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and he didn’t have that gear Carson’s used to seeing him have and he misses him by 16 inches. Those things hurt the deep balls more than anything, and then just not coming down with 50/50 balls.”

On if the secondary will look the same even with guys that they pick up this week

“Yeah, we’ll see whether or not Trevon (Hartfield), Harlan (Miller), whoever is back there at safety, whether that’s the move. There’s a good chance Coop (Marcus Cooper) will be back, so that could really help out.”

On how D.J. Humphries is progressing

“He will not play in this game, whether he passes or not. I’m not going to take that chance with his future.”

On how tough it is for a corner to transition to safety without working at the position

“You better not know what you’re doing, because all he (Harlan Miller) heard was stay deep and he did. That’s what a safety does, and you have to make tackles. Luckily they didn’t break anything to him. But, if you’re listening in the meetings, you should know what everybody does.”

On how their offensive tackles played

“I thought Earl (Watford) played lights out. I was really worried about Cliff Avril, and Earl did a great job on him. All of the guys did a good job on Michael Bennett. He got some pressures. Cliff got a couple around the edge pressures, but we were able to keep the center of the pocket pretty solid. John (Wetzel) played really well.”

On what makes his team a difficult matchup for Seattle

“Confidence. When you win in a place, you have confidence. Then you win twice, you have a lot of confidence. I think when our guys go up there with Carson Palmer, we feel very confident that we can win the ball game.”

On how much Carson Palmer has helped with the changes on the offensive line

“He knows how to give a guy confidence and pick him up and not let him worry about failure. That’s what leaders do. He said it last week, ‘You guys are more worried about them than I am.’ He trusts those guys and he knows he’s going to have to get it out of his hand, but he stepped up twice and hit that ball to J.J. (Nelson), and guys gave him great protection.”

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