SAN DIEGO — Obviously no one wanted to see Bruce Arians fall ill and have to leave prior to Tuesday night’s joint practice with the San Diego Chargers.
As defensive lineman Calais Campbell said later that night, it’s important to remember that people involved with the game of football are still real people, with all the good and bad that comes with that.
So, when one someone goes through what Arians went through Tuesday night, there was naturally some concern.
It turns out, Arians is about as fine as he could be. He was diagnosed with diverticulitis which, while difficult both to pronounce and spell, appears to be manageable. Arians said it “was nothing serious,” which means the team can officially focus on getting ready for the 2016 season.
So now, looking back with the knowledge that Arians is alright, is it possible the situation could ultimately benefit the team?
“As much as it stinks and as hard as it is, it’s just another obstacle to get over,” QB Carson Palmer said. “It’s good in that aspect that you’ve got to deal with adversity.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen — an injury happens to a player, an injury happens to a coach — you’ve got to block out and focus on the task at hand and each play by play. It’s good to have some opportunities where you lose a guy and somebody’s got to step up for them.”
Palmer added that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night with the coaching staff, noting this was the first time the team had to deal with something like that.
Whenever a player gets hurt, it’s all about the next man up. The same, apparently, applies for the coaches.
Arians did not miss a game and, in reality, he said practices are entirely scripted so he would mostly be there observing anyway. While they missed him, it is not as if his absence threw a giant wrench into their plans.
In fact, it may have even helped with the idea of needing to be comfortable and work through various situations, some of which will be less than ideal.
“Yeah, it’s part of it. I did it on purpose,” Arians joked Wednesday morning. “But I was mad I missed the practice because it was a good one, and obviously we got a lot of good work done. Watch the tape and move on to today.”
The Cardinals did move on, taking the practice field with the Chargers again, though this time at their training facility. Arians was on the field for the beginning of practice, but left shortly thereafter.
It was not a surprise; he said while he’s feeling better, he was still planning on taking things easy. With Arians there and then with him not, the Cardinals continued to put in work.
“We’ve been trying to be composed,” linebacker Chandler Jones said, noting he and the team want to send their best wishes to Arians, who they spoke to Wednesday morning. “We’re going to go out here and just try to do what we came to do, which is to get better.”
That’s what Arians would want and it’s what he would demand, tough circumstances or not. That, or at least some variation of that premise, is what he offered the team when he spoke to the players. Dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon said the coach’s message was that he was going to be fine, and that they needed to keep their intensity on the field.
While an unconventional challenge, Arians would not let his players use his ailment as an excuse.
“Just having to deal with that, because it kind of just fell on us, fell on our lap,” linebacker Kevin Minter said. “But it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t come out and continue to do what we do, because we don’t want Coach to come back and we took steps back.”
Minter said for however long Arians was on the sideline Wednesday, the team knew he was there. The fourth-year pro, who has played for Arians his entire NFL career, said the coach has a presence.
“It meant a lot,” he said of Arians being back on the field. “We need to step it up because we’ve got B.A. out here. You don’t want to be that guy when he comes back, the one that he yells at.”
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