All-Access with Bruce Arians: Cardinals coach is back to eating meat
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 on the injury front. Probably the first practice we’ve had in awhile nobody got hurt. We had one scare but he’s back already.
“Thought yesterday was a solid practice. I thought defensively we gave up too many touchdowns in that red zone period. We’ve been playing really good red zone defense. That was kind of the first day. Everybody is ready to break camp but we still got another week.”
How did D.J. Humphries look to you?
“Looked really good. Fresh. Had a really good practice.”
Do you think he can play Saturday?
Are you seeing signs of the old Tyrann Mathieu?
“Yeah, there’s been a bunch of it. He’s got his hands on a lot of balls. Just missed a couple. Until it’s real bullets, we’ll have to see it then.”
He said he’s challenged himself to learn to like free safety.
“It’s boring back there for him, just covering the middle of the field. He likes the action. I like him in the action, too.”
By the end of preseason will your starters have played more than a year ago?
“I hope so. We’ll see. They did in the first game. The 15 plays over probably four or five or six last year. Some didn’t play. We’re trying to not overdo it, especially certain guys who don’t need it.”
How has Frostee Rucker looked to you in camp?
“He’s so much healthier. Tried to give him a day off and he wouldn’t take it so he finally took it yesterday. He’s in such good condition for the first time in a couple of years. He got that high ankle and the knee that just bugged him for the whole season.”
How much more valuable is his presence in the absence of Calais Campbell?
“He’s always been the leader of that room. To have him in there, it’s invaluable. You can’t put a price tag on what he brings to the whole defense, not just to that room.”
He likes to fly under the radar, doesn’t he?
“Yeah. He’s not looking for accolades and all those things. He just wants to make sure everybody is doing it right. Tells me when he thinks we need something, which I respect. And when he tells me, ‘hey, we need to work harder or we need to work less,’ I’ll listen”
Have any players expressed an interest in protesting the National Anthem to you?
“Of ours? None.”
What do you want to see from Haason Reddick in these next couple of weeks?
“Just continued growth. He’s improved a bunch. He was on the ME (mental error) sheet a little bit too much this week. We added a bunch more stuff. I would like to also get him rushing from the outside more in his natural position in these last three weeks.”
When you have Harold Goodwin or Byron Leftwich call plays do you ever sit down with them and critique what they did?
“They’ll come to me and, ‘hey, what’d you think?’ And whether it’s a cocktail or a cup of coffee, we’ll hash it out.”
What do you prefer?
“Definitely a cocktail. The doctor won’t let me drink coffee much anymore.”
Are you brutally honest with them?
“Oh yeah. Again, it’s coaching, it’s not criticism. ‘Didn’t like this call. Thought this was a great call. Why’d you make that call? Was it a gut (decision)? Did you have it planned?’ They both have studied the teams they’re calling plays against probably a whole lot more than I would have in the preseason so that they have a good feel for who they’re going against.”
How valuable has his preseason work been for many of those backup offensive linemen?
“It’s great because with the rules we’re only going to be in pads once a week for 11 weeks. This is the only good thing about the Hall of Fame Game is having five extra days in pads with all these young guys, especially linemen.”
After this weekend you won’t be back in this building for a game in awhile.
“This is the last time we’ll be in this stadium for, what, six weeks. We’ll miss it. It will be a good challenge.”
How is the field holding up?
“Fantastic. It doesn’t look pretty but it’s fantastic. It amazes me how we beat that thing up and they have it just — you can still stand and run and there’s grass.”
Did you have a certain plan for training camp with Karlos Dansby as far as days off?
“And he’s had a leg that’s been bothering him and we finally found out why. He doesn’t need that much work. He’s always in great shape but football shape is a different thing and we still have three weeks.”
Do you remember that game in 2002 when Leftwich was hobbling on one leg in college?
“Oh, yeah. Very well. When I was doing his evaluation you knew he had grit and leadership. Not many guys, offensive linemen, are going to pick him up and carry him to the next play, pick him up and carry him to the next play. And not many guys are going to stay out there and play. It spoke volumes of the type of person he is.”
Why are you playing the starters more in the preseason?
“Just get in better game shape when you have to play more plays in a row. It was nice to have that nice long drive last week to keep conditioned but then over a three-hour period to be able to do it at the end of a game is very hard to get in the preseason without risking too much injury.”
How are you adjusting to your new diet?
“I feel really good. It’s kind of crazy being a vegan for awhile. I’m not a vegan anymore. I finally had meat again.”
What did you have?
“I had a grass-fed burger. It was really good with nothing else and a bunch of vegetables. I feel really, really good on it. I was shocked I could even stick to it. I was kind of proud I did for 27 days.”
That was all you needed to do it for?
“Doctors are gradually bringing protein back into my diet.”
What did you like about the vegan diet?
Could you eat your famous Brussels sprouts?
“No, they weren’t on it— I did, I snuck out and got them but there’s a whole lot of butter and bacon in those babies. I cheated. I told them, ‘I’m eating Brussels sprouts.’ ‘Oh, you did good.’”
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