All-Access with Bruce Arians: Gabbert has ‘chance’ at beating Stanton
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.
“Injury-wise, T.J. (Logan) had a dislocated wrist. Doing surgery looks like 12 weeks, so around Week 8 he’s possible for return. Jarvis — it was not his leg after all, it was his back. We finally found it. He had a disc so he could be (out) seven days — Jarvis Jones. Everybody else is just day-to-day. Nicks and bruises.
“Good practice to start the week. Outside it just feels like a football practice. Not in air conditioning. I don’t think we play outside until October. But, it’s a good thing. It was good conditioning. I thought it was a good practice. It went back-and-forth, offense and defense back-and-forth pretty good.”
How big a blow is that to lose Logan?
“It was a blow to him. He was just about to make a nice role for himself. He, obviously, looked electric on the kick returns and the punt returns so somebody else is just going to have to step up and do it.”
Will he go on injured reserve?
Does he stay on the list that allows you to bring him back?
How is your running back room with that injury?
“It’s four guys fighting for three spots. Nobody’s really got a hand other than David (Johnson).”
What’s the kickoff return and punt return order right now?
“Kerwynn (Williams) will get the first shot, then Chad (Williams). Rudy (Ford). Probably those three right now.”
In both roles?
So Chris Johnson, just to clarify, he’s one of those players that has to make the team?
“Sure. Nothing is guaranteed.”
Is Karlos Dansby still in Canton?
“No, he’s back now.”
What’s his status?
“He’s got a leg (injury).”
After watching the film from the Hall of Fame Game, what did you see?
“Same thing the other night. Those guys — (Budda) Baker, I thought played really fast. Rudy Ford played really well. I was really surprised because he hasn’t played at safety that long but he closed a lot of ground fast. (Robert) Nkemdiche was very disruptive; Olsen Pierre was disruptive; Haason (Reddick) played solid, no mental errors at all. Offensively, I thought Blaine (Gabbert) obviously played really solid in those drives. I would’ve liked to have seen him either throw the ball away — he cost us three points on the scramble-fumble. Hang in there or throw it away and get the three points. Kerwynn looked good; obviously T.J. was; Elijhaa (Penny) was fine; (Ifeanyi) Momah had a good game. He blocked better. I know he can catch passes but he blocked better.”
How is the competition at running back?
“Real tough, it’s real tough. Everybody is explosive. They all pass-block well. It’s a good battle. It’s going to be who stays healthy.”
How long do you expect the starters to play this week against the Raiders?
“Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 plays.”
When you’re evaluating Gabbert, how much do you account for the fact that he was going against second and third-string players?
“They were probably second-stringers. With the guys he was playing with, they were our seconds against their seconds. When you play good, you play good. I don’t care who it’s against. I don’t think it matters who was out there. He was throwing to the right guys and those were big-time throws.”
You’ve talked about Josh Mauro’s toughness in the past; are there any examples that come to mind?
“Every time he steps on the field. I mean, he just does his job relentlessly. His elbow was in a big brace and he’d still get down and play both sides (of the line of scrimmage). He didn’t have to play one side with that elbow. If you have 11 of them out there, you would never worry.”
Is there a chance Gabbert pushes Drew Stanton for that No. 2 spot?
“There’s a chance, but it’s a long way to go. Drew just knows the offense so well.”
What did you like about Gabbert the other night?
“His poise mostly. His accuracy. I thought his accuracy was outstanding because those balls over the middle were not primary receivers. It was a really good throw to Brit (Golden) with tight coverage; and to Troy (Niklas). Just his overall poise and the only negative play was that third-down play.”
When you signed Mauro off the practice squad in Pittsburgh, did you think he could develop into the player he has become?
“Yeah, we liked him coming out (of college). He had a really good reputation over there. We just got real lucky and got him.”
Had Logan done enough in one game for you to say, ‘He’s my kick returner’?
“Yeah. When he went up and caught that punt full-speed fearlessly, that was pretty impressive. It’s a shame.”
Would John Brown be back in the mix for the return game when he’s healthy?
“Yeah, he will be. I forgot about John. I keep forgetting him because he ain’t practicing.”
You didn’t mention J.J. Nelson for either of those roles, might he be someone you look at?
“Probably not; unless we need him.”
Do you expect Brown back for this game this week?
“It would be very iffy.”
What do you think of Baker’s progression so far in camp?
“Missing all of OTAs, he’s a really bright guy, he’s intense. He’ll bust something and he’s going full-speed when he does it. I like his coverage ability. It’s a shame he missed all of OTAs because he’d be way, way ahead of where he is right now. He’d be pressing some guys in that first group.”
What would it mean to have him for Week 1?
“You just have to let it go. You can’t push it. We’ve got veterans back there that we trust and are good players so you can’t push him into the lineup if he ain’t ready because one mental error will cost you a game in the real season.”
What did you see out of Reddick?
“Haason was solid. As he understands gap-control, he’ll hit it harder. But, he’s powerful. He’s just going to get better and better.”
How do you see that cornerback position opposite Patrick Peterson?
“Still Justin (Bethel). Justin is ahead now. I thought Brandon (Williams) fought his tail off. He gave up one but he got an interception. The rest of the guys—Tramon (Williams) looks really good in practice so far. It’s going to pan itself out pretty good.”
Your comment earlier in the week about Chad Williams’ conditioning, is he not in shape; can he get in better shape?
“He can get in better shape. He’s a gunner so he’s covering about 20 punts before we start practice and then he gets gassed real quick; then it affects him mentally.”
What does your room look like at inside linebacker?
“We’re just looking at guys right now. Karlos gets back. When we get Deone (Bucannon) back, we should be really solid.”
Has there been any timetable for him?
“Everything is right on schedule (for Week 1).”
Not before then?
“He should get at least a week of practice, we hope. Hopefully 10 days would be better.”
Who stood out in practice today?
“Ty (Mathieu) had a hell of a practice, again. Interception for a touchdown but he got his hands on some balls, again. Budda had a good practice. Nkemdiche, again, had a really good practice from what I saw because he was in our backfield all the time. Carson (Palmer) was solid other than that interception.”
Do you need to caution Mathieu about overdoing it because of his injury history?
“No. If you’re thinking about getting hurt, you’ll get hurt.”
Do you think Nkemdiche realizes last season was a waste and he needs to step up?
“I think he knew it but, again, he was hurt all year. He couldn’t really show anything. Around the office, on time, the maturity level was natural. He’s right where he should be.”
Has he exceeded what you might have seen last season?
“No, he hasn’t gotten there yet. He ain’t done that yet.”
Is Penny eligible for the practice squad?
You said Gabbert is a long way from catching Stanton, is that because of your comfort level with Stanton?
“Yeah, and his knowledge of the offense. He’s not going to go out there and beat us. Blaine, he’ll get there because he’s pretty smart, but it’ll take some time.”
Are you leaning towards keeping three quarterbacks?
“It all depends who they’re up against.”