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Cardinals’ Calais Campbell responds to Bruce Arians’ criticism

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) against the Cleveland Browns in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Calais Campbell is unquestionably one of the leaders of the Arizona Cardinals defense.

The 6-foot-8 behemoth has 40 total tackles through eight games, good enough for fifth-most on the roster. He’s also added 1.5 quarterback sacks.

Despite his success, and that of the defense (the Cardinals are ranked fourth in the league in total defense), Campbell continues to be mentioned by head coach Bruce Arians as a player who doesn’t consistently dominate the way he should.

“Calais should have had a dominating game and he didn’t do it,” Arians told Bickley and Marotta Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He has a tendency to lose his technique in games and disappear when he should dominate. That was a game that they should have said ‘no mas, get him out of here’ and it doesn’t happen sometimes.

“It’s one of the ways he has to grow as a player.”

The game in question, last Sunday’s 34-20 win over the Cleveland Browns, saw Campbell play 84 percent of Arizona’s defensive snaps and contribute three total tackles and one hit on quarterback Josh McCown.

Thursday night, Campbell was asked about his head coach’s comments and he had a chance to respond during the Big Red Rage on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

“I have high standards for myself, and there are a lot of plays out there — especially in the first half of the season — that I feel I’ve missed out on,” Campbell said. “Each week, you just want to play your best game and, you know, (Arians) is right. I could play better. He wants to see me play better. It’s not that I’ve been playing bad, I haven’t been playing bad.”

But as the 2014 Pro Bowler mentioned, there is a difference between not playing poorly and dominating the way his head coach wants him to.

“There is definitely another level there, and I’m ready to hit it,” he said. “I’m ready to hit that stride and start going, man. Right now is when you really want to kick in your best football. The second half of the season is really when you want to play your best football. Some guys peak too soon, they’ll start playing too well, too early and they’ll fizzle out at the end of the season.

“I’m expecting to play my best football moving forward and hopefully deep into the playoffs.”

Campbell will have to wait a bit to do that, as the Cardinals are on their bye week. They’ll resume their schedule Sunday, Nov. 15 in a Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The game will be nationally televised by NBC.

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