Arizona Cardinals training camp: All-Access with Bruce Arians, July 25
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.
“OK, added to the injury list from yesterday: Alani Fua with a knee, Ironhead Gallon with a knee; all of those, we’ll see how long, still checking with MRIs and all that kind of stuff. Ed Stinson with a hamstring. (Arians later mentioned Elie Bouka and Jumal Rolle will be out two weeks with ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively.)
“Really solid day. I thought both sides got after it pretty good. Pleased with both lines of scrimmage. Some young guys showed up more in the run game blocking (and) struggled in the passing game. I was pleased. I thought it was the worst day of wide receiver-play we’ve had in five years. We must have dropped five touchdowns and eight other plays. Very, very poor. Other than that, it was a really solid day.”
Is the wide receiver issue a concern?
“If it’s a pattern of behavior it’ll be a hell of a concern. We’ll see. It has not been up to this point.”
What have you been able to see out of Kareem Martin?
“Kareem has gotten better every year he’s been here. He’s solid. He’s probably our best special teams player. He’s learned how to use length. He’s gotten stronger. He’s making some good pass rush stuff. He’s making the best of his opportunities right now.”
Has Ed Stinson lived up to the expectations you had when you drafted him?
“Yeah, when he’s healthy. He’s just never healthy, that’s been his main problem.”
Justin Bethel looked like he had a pretty good day yesterday.
“He’s had good days every day. The best thing with him, when he gives up a play right now, he just comes back and goes to the next one. It used to bother him and it doesn’t. He’s learning to get amnesia.”
What do you think of Haason Reddick’s ability to cover skilled players?
“He’s probably the best we’ve ever had, as a linebacker, being able to cover people. It’s just natural ability having been a safety when he was young.”
Do you think teams need or are using running backs more these days?
“It’s evolved. When I was in Kansas City coaching running backs we had Christian Okoye, Barry Word, Todd McNair, we had a stable of running backs; Kimble Anders on the practice squad. We always had five or six running backs because we ran the ball all the time. It’s become more of a passing league in the last eight years.”
Is back on backers (running backs vs. linebackers) the best drill for you to watch?
“It used to be, especially when I coached running backs. It was my favorite drill of camp. In the last few years, we have to teach these guys how to block before we put them in a drill. Too many stiff necks that missed time, and you don’t want to miss time in here. I think they’re more than ready. And we allow them to cut. Most teams don’t allow them to cut. When we’re playing live football, we play real football so you have to play a cut-block and you have to learn how to cut. Andre (Ellington) got hurt in Atlanta two years ago trying to cut a guy and tore his kidney up. You got to learn how to do it, too.”
Are you guys planning to bring in cornerback Brandon Flowers for a visit?
“Yes, he’s getting a physical now. We played against him. Just, hopefully he’s healthy. He did have a concussion last year, so he’ll get checked out very good in that department. Hopefully he’s ready to go.”
Does his visit mean anything about Bethel and the other cornerbacks?
“Just the best available guy. You’re going to see some guys coming in here real fast to build this roster, just in case. Either young guys haven’t performed well enough and there’s so many good veterans on the street that you want to have guys ready to go.”
There’s a story in the New York Times about CTE, do you think sports science has done enough to keep guys healthy or prolong careers?
“Yeah, I think it’s something that needs to be ongoing in all sports, not just football. I don’t think they should be specific. When you think of hockey and the collisions—all sports, everybody should be doing all the research they can in that area to make the game safe.”
Can you speak of your time with Tom Moore during the week talking about offense?
“No better person in the world. That is a foundation of information. I forget which young coach asked him, ‘Coach, you got 20 more camps in you?’ He said, ‘Hell yeah!’ I said, ‘I promise you, I ain’t got 20.’ I look forward to them because I know I’m getting honest answers. He won’t tell me what I want to hear. That’s open dialogue. He taught me so much. I owe him probably as much as anybody of moving my career forward from Indianapolis.”
He said he just had his physical and all of records came back as a 22-year-old.
“It’s amazing. If you drink Chardonnay and smoke cigarettes, you’re going to be healthy. That tells you all that is is genetics.”
The fact that you have so many veteran coaches and then you have guys who are new to coaching, is that done on purpose?
“Yes, it’s by design. I think it’s probably the most eclectic, diverse coaching staff in the league, for a reason. We have some great young coaches that need to hear about how the game was played—why are we doing it like this today? Well, because 20 years ago we did it this way and 10 years ago it changed. That’s why we do it now this way, and they become history guys but they also learn how to coach this damn game the way it’s supposed to be coached.”