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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Started this week off well

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talks with cornerback Brandon Williams during a training camp practice Aug. 21. (Photo by 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 today with the intent to be back Wednesday: Shaq Riddick, Mike Iupati, Earl Watford, Antoine McClain, Ed Stinson, Asa Jackson. Out for sure: Gabe Martin, Alex Okafor, Alan Ball, Elie Bouka, Larry Fitzgerald — that’s more me than him. That’s pretty much it. (Robert) Nkemdiche will back today individually and see how he does.

“I thought we started the week off extremely well yesterday; one of the best practices we’ve had the entire camp and see if we can put two together, take a day off and then get into a gameplan week, a normal week, non-camp week but more of a gameplan week. I like where we’re at.”

Is Fitzgerald just precautionary?

“He over-did it yesterday and got (the knee) sore again, so just take some time.”

Is defensive tackle a position where Nkemdiche can get up to speed pretty quickly?

 “No, it doesn’t take much time. He’s been in all the meetings, and he should know what gap to get in.”

What will you need to see physically from Justin Bethel to know he’s ready?

 “Just the bravado that goes with a corner; going out and jumping in somebody’s face covering them and getting beat and shaking it off. He struggled last year thinking he let the team down when somebody caught a pass on him. It bothered him. They’re going to catch passes on you because they’re going to throw a hell of a lot of them at you. Just come back and battle, which he did a pretty good job of. With him coming back this soon, as good as he looked yesterday, that’ll be a nice battle going all the rest of the way.”

What kind of an impact did the end of last season have on Bethel?

“It should’ve been a very positive one. He didn’t give up that Hail Mary (against Green Bay). That wasn’t his fault. He got blamed for it. He wasn’t even in that coverage as far as where he was supposed to be. He was in the right spot. He had a hell of a ballgame in a couple of ballgames. I don’t care who you put opposite of Patrick (Peterson), they’re going to catch balls over there because that’s where they’re all going.”

What did you see out of John Brown in his return to practice yesterday?

“He looked good. We’re going to put a yellow jersey on him today so he can go through the practice with no contact.”

What did you see from Tryann Mathieu yesterday?

“Moved around really well, just like he has been out there running around. Took a cheap shot on J.J. (Nelson), which was OK. J.J. needs it.”

How would you describe the responsibilities of your offensive tackles?

 “Block the best players on the other team. That’s pretty much it because those defensive ends get paid a bunch of money. They get paid a million dollars a sack, you get paid half a million for 59 good blocks.”

 Have you seen enough from John Wetzel that you think he could step in for Jared Veldheer if necessary?

“We would probably switch D.J. (Humphries) back to the left if we had to. But John, he’s done a pretty good job at left (tackle).”

What makes you think Andre Ellington can be a good punt returner?

“Well, he’s unbelievable in space. The more times he can touch it in space the better we’re going to be, and he’s a natural punt-catcher. Not many guys can go back there and just jump in there and catch balls like he has. Now he’s got to make some judgment things. We worked a lot of guys running in his face yesterday with (expletive) kicks. Running up there, do I catch it, do I fair catch it, do I let it hit the ground just so he could get a lot of decisions in that manner. It doesn’t take much for him. When you think about a punt return, it’s just the running zone play. You stretch it, then you hit a crease. He’s just got to make one guy miss and it’s a house call.”

 How much playing time do you think he’ll get with the regular offense?

“He’ll get his share because he’s too explosive to be sitting next to me all day.”

Because this is the third preseason game do you consider the best gauge of the team?

 “No. It’s the third preseason game and whether Carson (Palmer) plays the whole first half, we’ll wait and see. It depends on how we play. I’m not interested in seeing (the starters) play 30 plays. I know what they can do. I’d like to see them against a really good quality front. I wish J.J. (Watt) was playing because he is the best there is and I hope he is playing soon because he’s great for the game. I don’t need to see these guys play a bunch.”

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