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.
“Well, finally, no news as far as injuries. Everybody made it through yesterday fine. It was an up-and-down practice offensively; a very solid defensive practice. Pleased with where our defense is at right now. Some of our younger offensive players need to study the playbook a little harder.”
Have you ruled out any players for the game against the Raiders?
“No. A couple of guys—Chad Williams (shin splints) is up in the air, John Brown (quad) is up in the air. The guys who are out are out for sure.”
What about D.J. Humphries?
“He’s iffy. It will go to the wire and if it’s even close, I’ll hold him (out).”
Is Brown going to be doing more in practice today?
What’s the strength of this defense?
“Speed. Speed and we have some good length. But, right now, it’s speed and we also have some good power up front but if I said one thing, it would be speed.”
Is a lot of that speed in the secondary?
“Everywhere. Everybody—when you think of Corey Peters, he can run, he’s quick, even as a nose guard. Everybody up front, they all can run and have that initial burst.”
Has the defense improved its tackling?
“I thought we tackled really well other than a couple of times where we dropped our head and the guy jumped over us. I’ll be looking at this group as our starters how well we tackle. We got the mobilized dummies finally and we’re tackling those. That’s a great addition.”
Chandler Jones said he dropped about 10 pounds to become faster, have you seen that?
“Yeah, I think he is quicker, especially when he’s out in space. He didn’t lose any power that’s for sure.”
Did you have a problem getting the mobilized dummies in?
“A bunch were ordered at one time and overloaded their manufacturing, but yeah, glad they’re finally here. Three months late.”
Are they what you expected?
“More so. They can run 16 miles an hour or something.”
When you were coaching back at Temple could you have imagined having robot dummies?
“No, we had scout teamers for that.”
You didn’t make a roster move on the defensive line last season; what are you seeing from those guys who didn’t play much or not at all?
“You saw both of them get better every single day. Xavier (Williams) has now proven he can play all three positions. O.P. (Olsen Pierre) had that length and that pass rush. He has great get-off. He really flashed last year. We thought it was always against the 3s so we put him against the 1s and he was tough to block all year on the scout team. And then you saw Robert (Nkemdiche) get better in practice. So, all three of those young guys (are) getting better every day.”
Are you starting to play Nkemdiche more with the first team in camp?
“Yeah, he’s playing with the 1s a lot now in that rotation.”
How big is that rotation going to be do you think in the season?
“I would anticipate gameday would be six guys (dressing). Sometimes it’s been seven in the past, but with the corners and safeties special teams wise, normally that seventh guy never helped us on special teams, so I would go with six. They’re all young, other than Frostee (Rucker) and he’ll be fine.”
Are you happy with your long snapper, Aaron Brewer?
“Oh yeah, he’s been fine; he’s been fine.”
You guys worked out a punter yesterday?
“We brought one in to look at. We’ll continue to look at who’s available.”
How has Ironhead Gallon progressed?
“The knee injury set him back, but he’s really bright and tough. He’s a little bit one-legged out there right now but he is finding a niche for himself that he could have a future.”
Did you give him a nickname, too?
“He came in with a great one.”
How does his nickname rank?
“I actually coached Ironhead Hayward, so it’s a lot smaller ‘Ironhead.’”
Any of those young receivers starting to separate themselves from that group?
“Not really. That’s the group that needs to really pick it up. Chad needs to pick it up but with the shin splints he’s hurting. Hopefully two days (off) will calm him down and he’ll be able to play in the game.”
What does Elijhaa Penny do well?
“Run downhill. But he’s also elusive. He catches the ball well for a big man. So he does everything all-round. Big thing for him right now is trying to take over Stephan’s (Taylor) role on special teams.”
Carson Palmer said Patrick Peterson is having his best camp.
“I would agree with that. He’s in fantastic condition. When John Brown is out there and J.J. (Nelson), that’s a lot of speed to work against and he also got some big guys to work against. He’s more than holding his own.”
What keeps a player like that motivated?
“To be the greatest. He wants to be the greatest and he has a chance to be.”
Are you seeing David Johnson as a better route runner?
“Better understanding of how to set people up. He’s learning the patience of it, especially when he has a two or three-way go on somebody, not just go out there and run into them and to set them up. He’s run some really good routes this year.”
Haason Reddick was saying yesterday Johnson is tough to tackle because he changes speeds so well.
“David’s got a very sudden burst. That gait is so different for a big man to be that fast and that quick.”
When it comes to Palmer’s and Drew Stanton’s relationship, how important is that for a starting quarterback and the backup?
“That room has to be solid and everybody that speaks in the room has to speak the same language, understand the language, know their role. It only takes one guy to upset that room. The quarterback, in my whatever 20 some years or 30 years working with them, depends on that guy probably more than the coach, especially if he doesn’t understand something he’ll ask that guy. That’s what so nice about having Byron (Leftwich) who was that guy, now being the coach.”
How rare is it to have that tandem together for so long?
“It’s not rare at all. Matt Hasselback with Andrew Luck, or Drew was with Andrew my first year. Byron and Charlie Batch with Ben (Roethlisberger). It’s on and on.”
Does Jones seem more comfortable at outside linebacker?
“Oh yeah. Out in space. Standing up is huge, that part of it. His sightlines and his get-off, all those things are better.”
Do you like what you see out of Evan Boehm?
“He’s improving every day and needs to continue to improve. The one thing about him, he’s strong as an ox and he’s a fighter.”
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