All-Access with Bruce Arians: Cardinals get set for Colts
TEMPE, Ariz. – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media several times leading up to gameday.
Here, in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following practice.
“Ok, out for the game and not traveling: Mike Iupati, D.J. Humphries and John Brown. Rest of the guys will be game-time decisions and we’ll see what happens when we get there. It will be a great opportunity for some young guys offensively to step up and see what they got. Really looking forward to it. I think two or three of them are going to be right up for the challenge and have a hell of a game.”
Who are you looking forward to seeing?
“Elijhaa Penny and Chad Williams and Ifeanyi Momah.”
Is Alex Boone the obvious person to play left guard, then?
“Yes, Alex will start at left guard.”
How quickly has he caught on to the offense?
“It’s football for him. A.Q. (Shipley) is keeping him abreast. He knows football, so it’s just a matter of learning our calls. It hasn’t changed much for him and he’s a very bright guy.”
Is Jim Dray’s addition more for security or do you think he’ll play?
“Jimmy will be playing. Certain packages he’ll have to play and we’ll see how much we use him.”
I know he’s from Stanford, but did he pick things back up pretty quickly?
“Yeah, he’s another guy that’s so smart and having been in it, he has some good recall so the packages we have in, he kind of knows them solidly.”
Are Troy Niklas and Jermaine Gresham equally questionable?
“Troy is ready to go, hopefully and nothing happens between now and then.”
Is Gresham a game-time decision?
“Yeah, Jermaine will be a game-time.”
What was your reaction to that play when he got body slammed?
“Waiting to see what happens, whether it’s a suspension because our player is missing time and it was a personal foul; whether it’s a fine or it’s a sock violation.”
Are you hoping for a little bit more out of Markus Golden this weekend?
“Yeah, I’d like to see him get to the quarterback. He got real close a couple of times last week. The one thing about ‘Junk’, you know he’s going full-speed.”
The Colts reportedly picked a quarterback—
“I don’t think whoever reported that is correct. We’ll see whoever steps out in that huddle the first time because (head coach) Chuck (Pagano) hasn’t said (expletive) yet.”
You don’t trust the media?
That year you filled in for Pagano, what did you learn about yourself?
“I could be a head coach and call plays and that was the biggest thing. We handled more injuries, I think we had 15 guys on IR and learning names—guys were getting sacks, I didn’t even know their names. Jamaal Westerman is always the one that has stuck out in Kansas City because it was such a big game. ‘What’s 97’s name?’ ‘Jamaal.’ ‘Good job, brother!’ It was more than a challenge, going through what we went through defensively on IR and seven rookies playing on offense.”
How much did you learn more than just the Xs and Os?
“You found that you could handle it. It wasn’t really as bad as you thought it would be, but the expectation level wasn’t there either until we started stacking them up and then, ‘Wow! We can get to the playoffs.’ But, we had a young quarterback that could win two-minute every week, and as long as we got it close, he’d win the game for us.”
How do you feel about rebuilding the whole left side of the offensive line?
“I don’t feel great about it, but those guys have played a lot of football. Wetzel, I’ve seen Wetzel play better football than he played last week so with a week’s work he should play better this week and he’s got a great challenge over there in Jabaal Sheard.”
What’s your level of concern about Brown’s health?
“I don’t have one because he just can’t stay healthy right now. It’s just a matter of now next guy to step up and go because I don’t know when he’s going to be healthy.”
Will Brittan Golden see more playing time?
“Britt will get in some, Chad Williams is going to get some so anxious to see him get out there.”
Have you seen improvement from him?
“Oh yeah. He battles Patrick (Peterson) night and day out there so it’s gotten him a lot better.”
How much can you expect out of Robert Nkemdiche?
“He’ll play his normal role.”
Are you looking forward to seeing what you guys can do defensively?
“We haven’t had any injuries over there other than Robert so we should play better defensively for four quarters. We played really good for three and if we can just sustain that for four, we’ll have the defense I think we should have.”
Will Deone Bucannon be limited if he can go?
“He would be limited. He’ll be a game-time decision and I’m going to be careful with that one.”
What kind of challenges does Jacoby Brissett?
“Very strong arm. Big guy that’s athletic in the pocket. Not necessarily a runner, but he can hurt you with his feet just like (Matthew) Stafford did last week. We got hurt last week on broken plays and we have to be able to contain him in the pocket.”
What did you see from the Colts front seven, especially against the Rams?
“Oh, they’re solid. They shut the Rams down pretty solidly. Al Woods I’ve know for a long time, tough. They got a great big, strong front. Two good outside edge guys and inside backers who are very active so it’s a really solid run front.”
You mentioned Penny, is he going to be part of the offense as well?
“Yeah, he’s got an offensive role this week.”
Your relationship with Pagano, does that kind of intensify the rivalry a little bit?
“Oh, it’s just like two brothers going in the backyard. One of us has got to kick the other one’s ass and go back and have—well, we don’t drink milk anymore, but we’ll have milk and cookies.”
What about paint?
“No paint. Chuck’s too smart to drink paint.”