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Arizona Cardinals training camp: All-Access with Bruce Arians, Aug. 9

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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.

“Added to the injury report: Rudy Ford tweaked a hamstring; probably looks like he’ll miss this game. Chad Williams, shin splints; will definitely miss the game—possibly, he possibly could play. We’ll see how that pans out. D.J. (Humphries, hamstring) will miss again today. Carson’s (Palmer) day off. Everyone is status quo from the injury report yesterday.”

What do you hope to see from the first-team offense against the Raiders on Saturday?

“I’d love to see what our offense did last week. Take the ball down and have a really good drive and score points. The last thing you want to see is 3-and-out, 3-and-out. And it’s a good challenge. That’s an excellent defense. We’ll see a different style defense than we see in practice, so it’ll be a good challenge for the offensive line.”

Will you gameplan for the Raiders?

“Very little for a first preseason game. I’m sure they’ll take a day and look at us and show film and maybe walk-through some stuff and we’ll do the same.”

If the offense does go 3-and-out, 3-and-out, might they play a little longer?  

“Yeah, you’ll stay in the game. The plan is to play the first quarter. It could be shorter than that but it won’t be any longer.”

A player like Budda Baker, how much do you expect him to play?

“Hopefully less than last week because he logged a lot of snaps last week. We had some guys get 50 snaps last week. That’ll wear you out quick, about Thanksgiving, if you’re a younger player. Especially guys that we think are going to have decent roles as we go, we need to monitor how much they play in the preseason but you still got to get them ready.”

Are you likely to hold Humphries out of this game?

“Just depends on whether or not he can go and do his job.”

Yesterday in one of the periods you had Byron Leftwich calling plays.

“Byron is calling this game.”

Brittan Golden didn’t practice yesterday.

“He should be back today.”

Having Leftwich call play is just a step in his development?

“Yes; totally.”

How close is Baker to getting a regular role on the defense?

“He’s still learning. He’s still ‘Fish Bait’ a few times but as he continues to get better and better, that role could increase quickly.”

How valuable is it that he can play multiple positions?

“That was the whole point in getting him. He is very multiple, position flexible. God bless him, we’ve thrown a lot at him because we have a lot of defense, and at two positions; it’s hard enough to get one. The techniques and the fundamentals of each and he’s doing a heck of a job.”

Can he learn a lot from Tyrann Mathieu?

“He asks a lot of questions of all the guys. I would say he probably leans on Antoine (Bethea) the most.”

How does he like the ‘Fish Bait’ nickname?

“He don’t like it. But quit biting on the play-action passes, he’ll get rid of it quick. I like the aggressiveness.”

What do you like about Troy Niklas?

“Just when he’s healthy he’s another tackle that can run and catch. ‘Hercules’ is his nickname and he wears it well, when he’s healthy. He just had those freaky injuries. But last year it was a big blow to our running game when he got hurt.”

How do you like the depth at the tight end position?

“It’s good. It’s hard to find three and four tight ends in this league any more, and the guys we have are—‘Mo’ (Ifeanyi Momah) is actually an ex-wide receiver who’s becoming an adequate blocker, Hakeem (Valles) was a wide receiver turned tight end, is getting better at blocking. When he played last year, he was aggressive. If you can just tie up your guy as a tight end that’s normally good, but when you got Troy and Jermaine (Gresham) you expect a little bit more.”

The pass-blocking drills you did yesterday with the running backs, you didn’t do that last year, did you?

“Well, we did against DBs (defensive backs) but not against linebackers; and we see so much of that—our center and back are tied together and we see so much, that double-A gap blitz, with guys coming off the edge, it’s more practice for assignments as much as techniques because it’s the hardest thing they have to do.”

Are you the one who comes up with all the nicknames for players?

“Yeah, it’s me.”

Normally guys come in with their own nicknames. I’m not sure I’ve seen a roster with so many players who don’t go by their first name.

“Yeah, it’s unusual. I always ask them, as soon as I meet them, ‘What do you go by, what’s Mom call you or what do the guys call you?’ and then you learn them fast. That’s part of being able to teach them also.”

Niklas said you used to call him something else.

“It was not pretty.”

What was that word again?

“I can’t say it in here, I’ll get fined. A lot of them have that name. Emmanuel Sanders called his Mom and said, ‘I don’t think he really knows my name because he keeps calling me this.’”

Where is Scooby Wright at this point in camp?

“Getting better. He’s in that group of guys that’s fighting for that spot and special teams will determine it. He’s gotten much better as a linebacker because he’s dropped the weight and is doing a better job in coverage. He’s quite getting his hands on guys and getting penalties.”

Does Drew Stanton need to prove anything to you here in the preseason?

“No. Just play at the consistent level that he does in practice. He had a great spring; probably the best spring he’s ever had. It’s carried over to camp. There’s been an interception or two—some were not his fault. Sometimes when you’re running with those 2s and 3s, guys aren’t where they’re supposed to be and you try to force a completion. I do like that sometimes, see if you can get it in that window and find out if you can or can’t. It’s no big deal if you throw a pick.”

What did you see from him in the spring?

“Oh god, his accuracy. It was probably his most accurate—especially his deep ball. He threw it extremely well. He knows this offense in and out. He had really good rapport with Jaron Brown, he always has. But the spring with J.J. (Nelson) and he got so many reps. It was good for him and it was good for Blaine (Gabbert) also to get that many reps because normally your 2 and 3 don’t ever get that many reps but with Carson sitting, these guys are developing fast.”

Is Brown all the way back?

“Yes. He doesn’t need a brace anymore. I mean it’s amazing because usually a guy has a gimp that year after knee surgery. I don’t see anything out of him. It’s amazing.”

How much did you get out of John Brown yesterday?

“About 10 routes; hopefully we’ll get 20 today.”

Do you think having a veteran on the depth chart behind Stanton has helped him?

“Oh, competition always works. There’s no doubt about that. But, he has a lot of pride. He works extremely hard. Nobody works—he and Carson probably work as hard in the weight room as anybody we have.”

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