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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Another big game coming

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Seattle. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks 39-32. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, now in his third year with the team, meets with the media the day after every game.

In this space, we will highlight some of what Arians had to say, and Monday he talked about his team following a 39-32 road win over the Seattle Seahawks. It was a big win for the Cardinals, who improved to 7-2 and have a three-game lead in the NFC West.

He started with an opening statement:

“On the very positive side, Mike Iupati is fine. He actually will be day-to-day. We’ll put him through the protocol for precautionary measures and he’s a little stiff, but it was a very scary moment and we’re very happy to see him in the locker room smiling. Michael Floyd will be day-to-day with a hamstring, Cory Redding will be day-to-day with a low ankle sprain and we’ll have more updates on Wednesday when we practice. Those are the three guys and with everybody else, there are normal bumps and bruises for a ball game. Like I said last night, I don’t think I’ve been more proud of a bunch guys to start a game so fast, then have it go downhill so fast, and then regain it, especially in a venue like that. I think it speaks volumes about the character of the group of guys we have, especially our leader, our quarterback, and our defense. The guys on defense, three game balls – Frostee (Rucker) was outstanding; Josh Mauro, he plays his best up there and he had a heck of a ball game; Kevin Minter, who had a really, really good game. He did a great job. We asked him to do a lot of checks, like a quarterback, and he was spot on in this game. Offensively, the two wide receivers, Larry (Fitzgerald) and Mike (Floyd); Larry for his catches, but more for his blocking. He did a great job of blocking Kam Chancellor, which is not an easy task. We only had two negative runs in the game and that’s something we preached all last week. It was to try and stay ahead of the chains. A lot of it was Larry’s blocking, and Mike obviously had a big night. And Carson (Palmer), more for resiliency and his leadership, but also he put up some pretty good numbers. It was a great game. It sets up this one. No need to talk about stretches and all that bull(expletive). It’s a big game here and we really can’t wait to see our fans show up Sunday night and really get after it.”

On whether Iupati is in the concussion protocol:

“Yeah, concussion.”

On whether there’s a chance of an emotional letdown next Sunday against Cincinnati:

“There’s no chance of a letdown. There might be a letdown today, but there won’t be any for Sunday. Our guys know that when you get an undefeated—well we’ll see if they’re undefeated, but probably undefeated – team come into your house, a first place team from the AFC, and we’ve got a lot at stake still.”

On whether the team is setting a goal of trying to get a first round bye in the playoffs:

“Right now, it’s just add them up at the end. Let’s stay in the moment to make sure that those kinds of things happen. But if you start talking about them too much, I think you start looking at the wrong goals, and right now, it’s to have the best Wednesday practice that you can have.”

On the draw play to Andre Ellington:

“They had been double blitzing us up the middle pretty much the whole fourth quarter. It was going to be a hit or miss play. It was either going to hit big, or they were going probably get us for a three yard loss, and we’d use their last timeout, punt it down, and play for the field goal. You know, play to stop them. But if we could crack it, then you knew you were going to get at least the first down. Andre makes Kam (Chancellor) miss and then Britt (Golden) gets a great block and he takes it to the house. You never call that play thinking you’re going to get a touchdown. You just want to get those five yards. As soon as I saw him slip under the end, we were in good shape. We were in real good shape. But, watching him go down the sideline and make Kam miss, that was big.”

On how long that play has been in the play book:

“Eighteen years. It hadn’t been working too good this year.”

On Ellington’s contributions last night:

“I just had a feeling that Andre would have a big game. He had one poor play where he missed the blitz that was a sack fumble for the touchdown and then he made up for it with the great block on Jaron’s (Brown) catch and obviously the run. He made a couple nice catches. I thought we had him one-on-one a couple other times, but we didn’t throw it to him. He’s a playmaker and his snaps were up to where they belong, up around 30. That was a nice mix. We don’t usually get 85 plays. So everybody had a nice handful, as far as the running backs.”

On whether it’s helped Ellington to not be the every-down running back this season:

“Yes and no. He’s healthier, but if you asked him, I’m sure he’d rather be the bell cow.”

On why Chris Johnson wasn’t able to make big runs last night:

“They’re really good tacklers. Guys came off blocks. We weren’t able to get off on the snap count, because there was no snap count. When you play in that kind of noise, especially the edge guys, it’s just that they’re reacting to the defense a lot of the times, so you’re not going to get the push. He did get out there for four, five or six a couple times. We were basically hammering it straight ahead. His forte is going sideways, but that’s their defense’s forte. When we went sideways, we lost yards. We didn’t do that anymore.”

On whether there were miscommunications with Bobby Massie during the game:

“He had miscommunication with Coop (Jonathan Cooper) about three times. Obviously, he struggled getting off on the snap count also. We had some miscommunication on who was sifting who on the right side a number of times.”

On whether he knew that Drew Stanton had those kinds of dance moves:

“No, and I really wouldn’t like to see them again. They weren’t really pretty.”

On his own dance moves:

“No. I’m better than that.”

On the team scoring a touchdown after Mike Iupati’s injury:

“Yeah, I think it was huge for Earl’s (Watford) confidence and everybody else’s. I thought that we came out and set a really nice tempo after the first series as far as offensive play. Carson was spot on, and Mike Floyd felt like he couldn’t be covered. That’s what you want when you’re out there against those guys.”

On what last night’s win can do for the team’s confidence:

“I think it reassures it. We don’t lack any confidence, for sure, but it reassures it when you go there and win. It just helps to build it. A win like that could lead to a really good week of practice, which leads to better weeks.”

On Earl Watford’s play:

“He was OK. He’s been practicing so much tackle that his sets were off a little bit. He needs to get his hands on them a little bit quicker. We’ll get him a bunch of reps at guard this week.”

On being a better road team:

“Well, we talked about it a long time ago when we lost that one at home. We had to stretch out a couple more road wins to get where we wanted to go. This was one that you don’t ever put on the calendar, but it’s a good one to even it back up, especially in the division.”

On what the last couple of series say about Carson Palmer:

“I think it speaks pretty much for itself. The guy is so resilient. He comes off the field – ‘What happened?’, ‘How are we fixing it?’, and ‘Let’s go.’ I never have to worry about him on the bench getting starry-eyed or googly-eyed like some quarterbacks do when they get hit. He just wants to know what happened. We talk about it, show him the pictures, and what’s up in the next series. Drew (Stanton) had a good impact in this one, down the stretch with a couple really good ideas that I know that he and Carson talked about. They came to me, and when you get input from your quarterbacks, they’re very confident about that play. Even if you have to draw it in the dirt, it’s a good time to draw one in the dirt.”

On Cincinnati being a lot like Arizona:

“Very similar. They’re very long and fast. They have a solid secondary. Andy (Dalton) is playing really, really well. They’ve got a huge and great wide receiver. Good stable of backs. They’re a quality, quality group. Marvin (Lewis) is a heck of a football coach. They’ve got a great staff.”

On whether there are pros and cons of facing a team that looks like Arizona:

“I don’t know if there is either. The Seahawks are so different offensively, but it’s a little bit easier to play a more traditional group. They’ll run the read-option too. Andy will take it and pull it and you have to account for him. They’ve got a few gimmicks that they run that you have to waste practice time on, because if you don’t, they’ll hurt you with them.”

On whether he’s ever seen someone win back-to-back challenges:

“I’m trying to think if I ever have. I should have won that one because he didn’t make it.”

On Arizona’s wide receiver depth with the play of Jaron Brown:

“You throw J.J. (Nelson) in there, he played well in Cleveland. We have a group of six guys that we’re all very confident in. If Mike (Floyd) can’t play, we’ll have somebody step in and be ready to go.”

On how big it is for Jaron Brown to make big plays in big spots:

“He always has. It’s such an anomaly for him, or whatever that word is, when he dropped that ball up there last year. That isn’t him. He doesn’t drop touchdowns. I know it was good for him to make those plays. He had a certain fire for retribution and I’m really happy for him. No one works harder on our team than him.”

On whether he’s ever seen someone steal an interception away from Richard Sherman like Jaron Brown did:

“I don’t know. He tipped it, but he had a nice break on it. It was no sure thing, but it was a great play by J.B.”

On whether he’s extra cautious to bring a player like Iupati back after the situation he went through last night:

“Oh yeah. It’s up to the player. Sometimes, it’s harder for the player to get over. He’s healthy, but it’s hard to get over it. When he’s ready, he’ll tell us.”

On whether he learned more about his team when it came back after losing the lead as compared to if it had led the whole way:

“I don’t think there’s any doubt. If it had been a coaster all the way, who knows if we could handle adversity down the road? Now that you’ve done it on the road, it proves to you that you can. I think there’s a lot of growth from that win more so than had it been 19-to-nothing the whole way.”

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