All-Access with Bruce Arians: ‘Our veterans were extremely sharp’
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media each day during training camp.
Here, in this space, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through.
“Very good start to the practice season. Good tempo in that practice. I thought our veterans were extremely sharp; by far their best start to a training camp assignment-wise and technique-wise. I think they did a lot of work over the summer. Young guys always do, but they have some catching up to do, mentally. I always hold my breath because the first day we don’t have pads on and we got all the fans out there, and it’s a little bit rough but guys tempered themselves pretty good. One more day in shorts and we’ll get back pads and see what we’ve got as a football team.
“Really, really pleased. I thought Carson (Palmer) was outstanding. All the quarterbacks were really, really good. Need to get our hands on a couple of more guys defensively. We talked about that last night because we’re capable of. We missed a couple, but they were really, really good throws, so it’s a catch-22. I don’t want to throw interceptions either but I want to see us get interceptions.”
How did you come out of the first practice in terms of injuries?
“We had two guys that are getting checked on. Eli Bouka (ankle) and Jumal Rolle (hamstring). We’ll see — they’re in MRIs now — if they can go. Obviously it will be a big blow to their chances if they can’t.”
What have you seen from Scooby Wright at inside linebacker?
“He had a hell of a spring. If he’d just quit tackling them wide receivers and tight ends going over the middle. He’s very aggressive. He has a knack to play the linebacker position. He’s trimmed down. It’s going to be a big camp for him.”
Are Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams the only two in the mix to be the starting cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson?
“Everybody had decent springs. Some of those young kids, (Sojourn) Shelton had a pretty good spring. Just put the pads and start making plays.”
Who are some of those players that you’re looking to see with the pads on?
“Every one of those offensive and defensive linemen, for sure. A couple of young tight ends, outside (line)backers and see how that goes. Even the running backs in blitz pick-up. See where they’re at and their technique is usually bad but the courage factor is the thing you want to see.”
Have you noticed Chandler Jones being more of a vocal leader on the field?
“Yeah, Chandler is talking a little bit more because he feels part of it now. Obviously, the contract, but you come in the first time on a new team you pretty much keep your mouth shut and do your job. As the season went on he got more vocal but he’s more now, yeah.”
How many ways can you utilize the speed of T.J. Logan?
“He popped out of there yesterday twice. Just continue doing that and you’ll find a role. We never knew what David’s (Johnson) role was going to be that first year but he took a kickoff back a 100 (yards). You find places for them.”
What are you seeing from punters Richie Leone and Matt Wile?
“It’s early. They both picked kicked really well this spring. They’re both holding solid, so the kickoff part will play into it, too. That’s going to be a nice battle all the way through.”
Where is Blaine Gabbert in terms of picking up the offense?
“Way ahead of where I thought he’d be. To be able to come in — having been a part of so many systems it’s obvious he’s a very bright guy. But changing protections, seeing ‘hots’ and ‘sights’, he’s way, way ahead of where I thought he’d be and very, very pleased with that.”
If Gabbert continues to impress, is there a chance he can compete to be the No. 2 quarterback?
“Yeah, anybody can. It’s going to be a tough one to get but yeah, that’s why he’s out there.”
How do you see where Budda Baker is at this point given the fact that he missed most of the offseason because school was still in session?
“He looks like a damn rookie.”
With the veteran leadership you added on defense, what did you notice on the field yesterday even though it was one practice?
“Much better communication, between everybody. Really good communication. We do a lot of shifting and motioning that we do for our defense just to get them ready and I was really was pleased with the communication.”
How did Jaron Brown look after tearing his ACL last season?
“With our metric system, he was on a 300-workload yesterday. He hit 300, pulled him out. He was great. He feels great today. We’ll gradually move it up, take the brace off. He’s one of the most solid guys we have as a receiver and a special teams player.”