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All-Access with Bruce Arians: First Cards depth chart written in ‘invisible ink’

Bruce Arians instructs players at Cardinals practice on Aug. 5, 2016. (Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fourth 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.

“Good news is that we came out of the scrimmage very healthy. Nobody to add to the injury report. Hope to get (Alani) Fua and J.J. (Nelson), we’re going to test them today and hopefully get them back out this week. (Robert) Nkemdiche is getting closer. The other guys are still right at two weeks, which has been for the last four weeks away, but Tyrann (Mathieu), Frostee (Rucker), Justin (Bethel) are all still looking at possibly after San Diego.”

Overall, were you pleased with Saturday’s red-white practice?

“Very pleased. I liked the defense on the goal line. I liked the offense in short-yardage. I thought, overall, a very competitive day. Patrick (Peterson) forgot we were tackling on the second play and gave up a touchdown, but still it was a nice play by Jaron Brown. Great throw. I thought Jaron had a great week of practice. Took, like he always does, full advantage of every opportunity when the other guys get hurt and proves that he’s a legit player. Still looking for some more consistency out of some of the backup offensive linemen. There are really good spurts and then really bad spurts. They need to get a little more consistent so we can build that depth in the offensive line.”

Is Brandon Williams a better player than you thought when you drafted him?

“He’s a better football player. We knew what kind of an athlete we were getting, but he’s a better football player. You never know how mature a guy is going to be when you draft him, and he’s very, very mature and he’s very focused on what he wants to do. He’s starting right now and playing very, very well.”

What have you been able to see from some of those young inside linebackers?

“Those guys are flying around good. Lamar (Louis) especially, it’s harder for him because he’s never played inside. He’s always been outside, but he’s getting better with his eyes and his sightlines. Gabe (Martin) had a good day. It’s a good battle going on for that spot.”

What have you seen from D.J. Swearinger in camp?

“D.J. has been pretty consistent. He was inconsistent during the spring, but he’s been very consistent. He’s very aggressive and he sometimes needs to stay back in that post where he belongs, especially when that guard pulls. He’s used to playing down in the box. He’s been pretty solid.”

Does the first depth chart that was released today mean anything?

“No, it’s invisible ink. It ain’t even pencil.”

What did you think of the Hall of Fame game getting canceled?

“It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been in that game twice and didn’t want anybody playing on that field, either. It was about as hard as that concrete right there.”

Does it feel good for you guys that the first preseason game is this week?

“Yeah, it’ll be game week Wednesday. We won’t even look at the Raiders until—we’re still practicing against ourselves and then we’ll look a little bit at the Raiders just so they can watch them on film and get adjusted to what they do. We got too much ground to make up to be worried about beating the Raiders. We want to win the game, we want to play good so we’ll look at them the last two days.”

Players do seem excited to hit somebody else.

“Oh, there’s no doubt. Right now, they’re calling each other’s plays out because they practice against each other so much it’s hard to fool each other.”

Have you thought about how much the starters will play?

“Ten-to-12 plays, depends on that first series or two. This game really isn’t about the starters. It’s more about the guys that are from 30-53 (fighting for roster spots). There’s a good chance we’ll play (Williams and D.J. Humphries) a little bit more just because they’re young. It’s not going to hurt them in December to have an extra 25 plays on them.”

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