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All-Access with Bruce Arians: The sky has not fallen yet

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, we’ll highlight some of the most notable quotes.

“Injury-wise, coming out of the ballgame, obviously, Paul Fanaika, he’s got an ankle. The severity of ankle (injury), we’ll wait and see. He could play this week, and he could miss some time. You never know with these things. He has a low ankle sprain. Jared Veldheer has an ankle sprain. Don’t know how severe that one is yet either; would hope that he would not miss any time. Andre Ellington has a hip pointer. He’ll probably miss (practice) Wednesday with that. He’s pretty sore today. Tyrann (Mathieu) is still at the doctor’s. We’ll wait and see. Best case scenario he’ll have a cast (on his thumb) and play, and I think the worst case scenario is he’ll probably have a pin (inserted) and (miss) three weeks. We’ll see how that goes.”

Is the severity of the Mathieu injury a surprise?

“I think they’re still looking at x-rays and everything on how they make sure they put it back together right.”

How do you keep things from cascading downward?

“Just go back to work. There’s two pictures: you’ve got a two-game losing streak and you’re 9-3. Why did you get to 9-3 and how did you get the two-game losing streak? The biggest thing is we’re now minus-three in turnovers for two games for the first time all year. And offensively, we’re about 20 percent on third down on those two games. Defensively, we’re giving up 41 percent. So, not getting off the field on third down defensively, not staying on the field offensively and then turning the ball over. Those were the keys to winning nine games and those are same keys that have cost us the last two ballgames.”

Do you have an update on Larry Fitzgerald?

“Larry looks like he should be able to practice Wednesday, and how much he practices, we’ll see Wednesday.”

What about Matt Shaughnessy?

“Matt is ready to go this week and will be back up and ready to go. Obviously, Matt is one of our best run edge defenders and he also does a good job of rushing the passer and has been a solid contributor. You always welcome back those kind of guys.”

How did Jonathan Cooper look on film?

“Coop, he did OK for his first outing. Played about 40 plays. He went ‘caveman’ a few times, lost all of his technique and just tried to fight. But, it’s understandable. He left some guys hanging in the middle of the pocket once or twice that he learned from. But I thought the game slowed down for him the more he played. He showed some twitch and some power, the things that we always knew he had. There were some good things to take out of it — it wasn’t his best performance, but there were some good things to take out of it.”

Are the last two games more of just a concern or a trend?

“I would say it’s a concern right now. But it’s something that’s very real. You can’t turn the ball over on first down and you can’t only have seven third downs. It’s going to limit you to 50 plays instead of your normal 66-70 because you’re not staying on the field. You’ll run the ball 11 times because you’re not out there. And then when you’re double-digit down in the fourth quarter you’re not going to run it much. All of those things lead to bad problems. Defensively, the same thing. Even when we pin (the opponent) down (at their end of the field) they’ll make a first down or two and then we’ll still have to go 80 yards. We got to get off the field on third down and get more three-and-outs.”

How would you assess Drew Stanton’s play?

“Drew was really, really hot-and-cold. Threw the ball extremely well outside, down the field; and then missed Jaron (Brown) about six inches too high on the interception. The other, he went through a progression and just dumped one over Michael’s (Floyd) head. Those are critical errors, and he has not made those earlier in the season. It’s something that is easily correctable.”

How do you think your players will respond to the two-game losing streak?

“That was the thing that was probably what amazed me most about this game was how well they bounced back in practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was an outstanding week of preparation. But you can’t play in the National Football League without passion and energy. We brought none of the above to that game. It’s the first time in a long time. I think that some guys fell into the trap that the Falcons weren’t any good, and that’s a bad trap to fall into.”

So, do you have to say anything to the team?

“No, the tape is so bad it speaks for itself.”

How do you like playing at home again?

“Hopefully the crowd helps us a bunch. We’ve played extremely well at home. This is a great opponent (Kansas City Chiefs). Jamaal Charles is probably playing as well as any running back has in a while. He’s always an unbelievable challenge. Alex (Smith) is very mobile, and obviously, their defensive front and pass rush is one of the best.”

Do you consider these last four games as the turning point of the season?

“Not the next four, just the next one. The next one is huge to maintain where we’re at. The sky has not fallen yet. We’re still number-one and we’re playing at home. We need to stay there this week, and just take it one at a time.”

Is it possible for a 9-3 team to be a desperate team?

“Oh yeah. When you look at the schedule and who we’re playing this week. There should be desperation in every game.”

Do you have a good read on this team of how it’s going to play?

“If you can give me that, baby, we’ll make a lot of money. In 37 years I ain’t never figured that one out.”