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Arizona Cardinals training camp: All-Access with Bruce Arians

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians watches his team during the first day of the team's NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 22, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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.

“No news injury-wise,” he said. “Today’s scheduled days off are Drew (Stanton) and Jaron Brown. Excited obviously to put the pads on and start playing football. A little concerned about, obviously, the field, but hopefully it’ll dry out and we’ll have decent surface to practice on and don’t tear it up too bad.

“Again, really good day yesterday. Nobody really stood out, either side of the ball one way or another. But, really can’t tell you how anxious I am to watch us practice today.”

If players start slipping on a wet field, will you have to hold back?

“No, we play on that field anyway. You better learn how to play on it quick.”

Why are you so anxious to see the players in pads?

“Because it’s finally football. The game is won in the trenches and I want to find out what we have. Not just the veteran guys, I want see some of these young guys that don’t look good in shorts but they’re damn good football players and this is when you finally get to evaluate them.”

Do you miss those old days of camp?

“Oh god, yeah. Well, you had more players and you practiced, some coaches, three times a day but that was too much. Twice a day you got so much more teaching involved and you didn’t practice as long. When you look at a three-hour practice, you’re going to get most of your injuries in the last 45 minutes because they’re exhausted. If you practice twice a day, in the same amount of time, you’re going to have less injuries. It only makes sense, but it didn’t pass the CBA.”

What’s the pecking order at wide receiver, is that still to be determined?

“I know who No. 1 is. Two, three, four, five and six are working at it every day so it’s really good competition.”

What do you want to see out of Robert Nkemdiche?

“The same thing he’s been doing, just do it in pads. He has been disruptive.”

What did Nkemdiche learn after not playing much his rookie season?

“What pro football is all about. Number-one high school recruit in the country, you kicked everybody’s ass in high school and you did it in college. You showed up and did it. It doesn’t work here, especially when you got guys that got children and paying bills. This is a whole lot different level here.”

Regarding position battles this camp, does it seem like those are more towards the bottom of the roster and for depth purposes?

“Yeah, I think almost every year, if you’re competing for starting positions you probably have a hole somewhere. I don’t consider our right corner a hole, I just consider it good competition between two really good young players. You really hope you got 22 starters or 26 starters and then you’re just plugging depth, and knowing that there’s competition, the young guy can always take a job.”

Who ever wins that right corner spot, will you keep them on special teams?

“Oh yeah. Pat’s (Patrick Peterson) out there, so why the hell wouldn’t they be?”

We saw Markus Golden’s numbers really jump last year, what are your expectations for him this year?      

“You’d like to keep them there or get a little bit higher. He’s not going to surprise anybody this year. Whether you had people worried about Chandler (Jones) and Calais (Campbell) and singling him. He’s not going to get singled very often. As long as he keeps applying pressure because he has a relentless motor and that’s kind of what separates him.”

Do you think he’s at Jones’ level in terms of a top tier pass rusher?

“If you just go by statistics he passed him, in pressures. He’s a heck of a player.”

What kind of year is this for Tyrann Mathieu?

“It’s a big year for Ty. Stay healthy. Get back to being the player we all recognize. He got real close to getting his hands on a ball down in the end zone yesterday. I would’ve liked to see him make that interception.”

Mathieu told us yesterday that the only players they can’t hit are Nos. 11 and 31,  how much have you driven that home?

“We’re not tackling today, so they can hit those guys, too. Just don’t take anybody to the ground if you want to stay around.”

And if you see a fight today, what are you going to do?

“Throw ‘em off the field and if it’s the wrong guys I’ll cut ‘em. Rank has privilege. I don’t think any of our ranked guys are going to fight. They know that has no place in football. It’s not in the rule book. You’re going to get ejected so why practice things that aren’t in the rule book?”

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