All-Access with Bruce Arians: Cards’ two preseason losses not ‘doomsday situation’
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.
“Alright, not practicing today Asa Jackson, Elie Bouka, Alan Ball, Alex Okafor who has decided he’s going to play with the bicep (tendon tear); it’s just going to be a matter of pain tolerance before we get him back out there. Gabe Martin, Shaq Riddick, Ed Stinson and Robert Nkemdiche—he’s real close but he’s not quite ready yet. All the rest of the guys are practicing. How much they practice, Tyrann (Mathieu), Justin (Bethel), Frostee (Rucker), we’ll see. (Mike) Iupati, (Earl) Watford, (Antoine) McClain and Brittan Golden are out.”
Has ‘Smoke’ (John Brown) been cleared yet?
“Yes, ‘Smoke’ is cleared. He’s out there. I didn’t say his name so he’s out there.”
How big is it to have Brown back on the practice field?
“Really good. Try to get him back in shape, so he doesn’t pull a muscle.”
Those three guys just off the physically unable to perform list, how much will they do in practice?
“They’ll be in individual periods, and we’ll see how that progresses whether they do anything else.”
How far is Bethel from trying to catch up to Brandon Williams?
“It’s just a matter of physical ability. He shouldn’t be far behind mentally. He should know the defense inside and out. It’s must a matter of going out there and doing it.”
Is Williams progressing the way you want him to?
“Yeah, I thought Brandon got really better last week going against different receivers, seeing different things. I thought he held his own all week.”
How do you like the outside linebacker depth aside from Okafor and of course Chandler Jones and Markus Golden?
“Kareem Martin has had a heck of a camp. He’s doing a great job on special teams. He’s getting a lot of pressures on the quarterback. Tristan (Okpalaugo) and Shaq are getting better.”
Where have you seen Martin grow the most as a player?
“Kareem has changed his body the last two years from a down lineman. He looks like a linebacker now. Long, lean. He’s using his length much better. His power rush is better, so he’s been able to use his speed more. If you don’t have a power rush, you’re not going to get home. He’s developed a pretty good power rush.”
What’s going to be your approach to the offense today?
“No different. The game is over. It’s just like we lost the game on Sunday, and it’s a Wednesday practice so that’s all history. We’ll continue to look at our installations and move one.”
How much of what you didn’t like on Friday night do you consider easily correctable?
How is the mood of the team? Is everyone still feeling pretty good?
“Nobody is shaken in their confidence in any way. It’s preseason. I think the tendency is ‘woe is me’, but when our starters have played 15 plays—no, 20 plays maybe, that’s not even a good half. We’ve had bad halves before and come back and won games. It’s not a doomsday situation by any stretch of the imagination.”
Are Drew Stanton’s issues purely mechanical?
“Yeah, I mean I’ve seen Drew throw the ball. It’s not every day, and it’s a pattern of sliding up (in the pocket), dropping your shoulder and the ball is going to high. You got to throw the ball to second base, not center field.”
How were special teams on Friday?
“They got better. Cariel Brooks did a good job. He’s showing up. The kickers did a better job of kicking the football other than that one field goal. Our return units are close. I think Andre (Ellington) is going to do a really good job for us in both roles.”