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All-Access with Bruce Arians: QB Matt Barkley is like a ‘yo-yo’

Bruce Arians chats with quarterback Carson Palmer on Monday, Aug. 8, 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.

“Back practicing after veteran days off are Carson (Palmer) and Evan Mathis. J.J. Nelson will return today. Out: Earl Watford with a knee bruise, don’t now how long that’s going to be; Cariel Brooks with a quad and that’s the only new news. Other guys are getting close to getting back, and hopefully we’ll have some guys that have been not practicing they’ll get some work in next week. Possibly Tyrann (Mathieu), possibly Justin (Bethel); it’ll be close on Robert (Nkemdiche) and throw Frostee (Rucker) in there, too. John (Brown) is getting close. I’m going to rule him out of this game. He’s probably going to be cleared within a day or two, but I’m not going to play him in this game.

“Probably was our worst practice yesterday. Mental errors, penalties were all up. Really did not answer the challenge of coming off a day off very well. Disappointed in the leadership of the team because that’s their job. We addressed it, and we’ll see how we come back today.”

Do you usually have one or two of those kind of days in training camp?

“Each year less and less. We had not had one of those from OTAs all the way to now, but it’s that time where they get a little bored. You talk to them about it, but it still hits you right in the face when you put the sheet up there and there’s 18 penalties and 45 mental errors. It is surprising because I thought we’d matured more than that, especially with some veteran pro bowlers who had five mental errors.”

How good can Jaron Brown be as a receiver?

“Jaron always makes plays. He’s very physical for a wideout. Great special teams player. Put in the right he could be a solid ‘3’ or ‘2’. We never hesitate throwing him the ball in a clutch situation.”

How do you plan to use your quarterbacks once Palmer exits the game against the Raiders?

“Drew (Stanton) will play a little bit, depending on what offensive line is out there with him and then Matt (Barkley) will get the majority of the game and Jake (Coker) will get the fourth quarter.”

Have you seen progression with Barkley?

“Up and down. He’s like a yo-yo.”

Do you feel like the competition for the third quarterback is close right now?

“Uh, they both have to step it up to be one.”

What about the competition at punter and how Garrett Swanson is doing?

“He’s doing a good job. Drew (Butler) had a heck of a day yesterday. He was bombing it. (Swanson) is kicking the ball well. He gets it out quick.”

How has the addition of Chandler Jones affected the offense?

“It makes (Jared) Veldheer better, it makes D.J. (Humphries) better because they’re going against a pro bowl player every single snap. It’s great competition because he brings it every day. He’s one guy that I don’t have to worry about practicing hard. He practices hard every day.”

How would you gauge the pass protection thus far?

“Solid, not great. We’re missing a guy here or there but we got a pretty good pass rush, but I’m not displeased with it whatsoever. Younger guys, yes; it’s more technique.”

Troy Niklas is long-snapping after practice, how do you think he’s doing?

“You can only dress one snapper, so you have to have another guy. Josh Mauro, Evan Boehm, we’ve got three or four guys that have snapped before in high school and college, so you have to have one of them ready just in case.”

How has Niklas looked at tight end?

“He’s made a really nice move. He’s looking like the player we drafted and wanted. He had all those injuries and had bad luck—and knock on wood I didn’t jinx him. He’s where I want him to be right now. He’s blocking extremely well, catching the ball well; understands what he’s trying to do much better.”

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