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All-Access with Bruce Arians: The value of Cardinals OL Earl Watford

Bruce Arians chats with offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin on practice Tuesday, Aug. 9, 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.

“Ok, out for this game: Asa Jackson (leg), Michael Jenkins (hand), John Brown (concussion), Earl Watford (knee), Taylor Boggs (calf), Corey Peters (plantar fasciitis), Alani Fua (knee), Robert Nkemdiche (ankle) and Brittan Golden (hamstring). We got a couple of guys that are iffy: Cariel Brooks (quad), Jaxon Shipley (foot) and Olsen Pierre (unknown). Obviously, the guys who are on PUP are not coming off.

“Look forward to taking the pads off today. Had a great practice yesterday; bounced back extremely well. Take the pads off today, work on the Raiders for the young guys—they’ll get most of the work today so that they can put on the best performance they can in their first big evaluation.”

Will you be calling plays in the preseason?

“No, Harold (Goodwin) will have it all; the game plan the whole way. I’ll do game three.”

So if you’re not calling plays what will you be doing on the sidelines?

“Deciding if we got for it on fourth or go for two. Tough job. Somebody got to do it.”

Does that free you up to chew more people out?

“Yeah, they wish I was more involved in that part of it … especially the referees.”

Do you see David Johnson still being involved in special teams?

“Yeah, probably. A bunch of our starters are involved in special teams.”

With Jake Coker, can you fix his mechanics?

“You can quicken feet. It’s hard to change deliveries but you can tweak things and he’s gotten better of getting the ball out of his hand faster, and when he does get it out fast he’s pretty accurate.”

Do you see this as Matt Barkley’s first real shot to show you what he’s got?

“Well, no, every practice is a chance to show me what you got. This is the first test to show everybody else what he’s got. Every practice you’re being evaluated in preparation, everything.”

Has either one of those two quarterbacks stepped up to be the No. 3 guy?

“Not yet. They both have potential to.”

Is there a chance you would only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster?

“We have in the past plenty of times. It’s going to come down to who’s the best player, not the position. It’s just who’s the best player.”

Have you seen enough consistency in your second- and third-team offensive linemen?

“Not really. Antoine (McClain) has flashed a number of days and as he gets tired his technique goes down a little bit. John (Wetzel) is the same way. They’re both extremely heavy sweaters. They’ll lose eight pounds in a practice and as they fatigue their technique goes to (expletive), but their effort it still good. (Cole) Toner has looked good at times. Taylor Boggs was having a really good camp at guard and center before he got hurt, but nobody is at the level Earl is at.”

Watford has kind of evolved into a crucial offensive lineman.

“Very crucial. His value sometimes is higher than a starter. When you can play five positions as a backup, you’ll play a long time in this league. Sometimes you get in as a starter and you get exposed a little bit and everybody thinks you’re not as good as you really are and the value is not there. Having learned how to play center, started at right tackle, played guard, that’s a lot of value.”

Have you noticed things getting chippy as camp grows longer

“No, we don’t have any pushing and shoving. They’re just tired of listening to each other. Two days ago they weren’t going hard enough to get chippy. Yesterday was a lot better.”

The training camp schedule is going to change some here in the next week. Are you looking to see how the team responds?

“It’s great for us because the way our schedule goes during the season, you get into a routine and you fall into a routine. Once you start changing routines, I think that’s very good for a football team to see how they handle change of routine. Usually, if you play every Sunday at 1 o’clock, you ain’t very good. If you’re playing Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, change of schedules, you’re a pretty good football team. You have to learn to adapt, getting flexed, all those things that happen in the end of the season and we’ll go through some of that next week. I would’ve liked to have scheduled another team this week to work against, something we’ll look into in the future. Anxious to see how the two practices (Sunday and Monday) go outside next week to see if that’s a possibility to bring another team here and practice early in the morning.”

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