All-Access with Bruce Arians: Fitzgerald a coach, Campbell should dominate
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.
“Out today, on a scheduled day, is Carson (Palmer). Going to take my time with Larry (Fitzgerald); he’s going to take today off, also. Shaq Riddick is out; (Elie) Bouka is out; (Alex) Okafor is getting real close, but he’s off today. And Olsen Pierre. That’s pretty much it. Everybody else is either trying it, seeing how far they go in practice, but they’re all practicing.
“Looking forward to a game-week preparation. Finally putting in game plans and installations this morning to see how guys respond mentally during this practice — you’d hope mental errors and penalties would be reduced in this practice. I thought Sunday and Monday were outstanding start to the week, finishing up the traditional camp aspect of it. A lot of times guys get bored and I thought it was good competition and two really fast practices to end up the true training camp part of it.”
Did you have a feeling the cornerback situation would be a bit unsettled this late in camp?
“No, because I thought Justin (Bethel) would have been back the first day. With him re-injuring it, it set it into a whole different set of motion.”
Do you see swagger, confidence in Brandon Williams?
“Oh, you see it in Brandon every day. That’s one thing I like about him. One play flies off is back and he goes to the next play.”
You know the offense very well, do you have a need to see them get in a rhythm this preseason?
“Not really, not really. I see it in practice enough. Whether or not we get into a rhythm in the plays that we play in this game, you would hope, just to be a little comforting. But everybody’s back from last year and I feel very, very confident in that.”
Carson Palmer is still a hard worker at this stage in his career
“It’s amazing. He’s a workaholic. Whether he’s studying, preparing, lifting weights, training, in the classroom. He’s a workaholic.”
Do you think this team has the capability to be top five in offense and defense this year?
“I don’t really put a lot of stock in stats. If you (win) 14, 15 games, you’re going to be there. That’s the only stat I care about.”
Does the NFC West look different to you this year?
“Seattle’s always Seattle. I think the Rams, with that defense and (Todd) Gurley healthy, they’re always a threat. And I think Chip is going to do a phenomenal job in San Francisco. I think they’re the sleeper in the division.”
Why is the competition committee something you want to be a part of?
“I haven’t definitely said yes.”
How did Robert Nkemdiche look on Monday?
“He looked fine. He’s a little sore, but he needs to push through it and go.”
How much have you been using the tablets on the sideline?
“We used them the first game — they’re not going to be there during the season. I watched one play that the referee called holding and it wasn’t holding and I showed it to him. Said this would be your worst nightmare if I had this on the sideline.”
Would you like to see the tablets be allowed more in the season?
“I hope not. It helps bad coaches. You spend six hours on a blitz on Tuesday, and he can watch it. He doesn’t get to watch it until Monday. Offense, you don’t run the same plays very often. But defensively, you spend a lot of hours and time on a blitz that a guy can sit there and watch it on tape and show his guys and fix it in the first quarter. That’s not what it’s all about.”
Has Jake Coker progressed the way you’d hope he has?
“He’s progressed nicely since minicamp. Whether it’s good enough, we’ll see.”
What do you expect out of Calais Campbell, what kind of player is he now that maybe he wasn’t before?
“I expect a dominating player every week, which he’s capable of being — especially with the guys around him, with Corey (Peters) back and Chandler (Jones) in the mix, and Frostee (Rucker) and everybody else over there. I expect a dominating player that shows up in the stat sheet every week big.”
When he’s not practicing it seems like Larry Fitzgerald is a coach on the field
“He understands his position now. He’s helping the young guys as much as he can, and if you see him, he’s always following somebody, he’s telling them and he’s also getting mental reps for himself.”
Could you see Fitzgerald being a coach one day?
“No. He makes way too much money to coach. Way too much.”
How do you feel about cornerback Mike Jenkins?
“Michael Jenkins is the guy that’s the sleeper in the mix. He’s a pro. He’s been struggling with that cast. Now that the cast is smaller, he’s really in the mix as a starting corner.”
What do you think of Jaron Brown and the path he’s been on to get to this point?
“Those are the guys you fall in love with. He made it on special teams. Then he made it as a receiver. And he continues to improve in both areas. His value goes up and up and up.”
Why do you think things have worked between you, Steve Keim and Michael Bidwill?
“Because every decision we make is a Cardinal decision, the best thing for our organization. There are no egos involved. It’s very hard to find an owner, a GM and a head coach who one or all three don’t get in the way.”
Is there one thing you like best about Jared Veldheer?
“He’s a very competitive guy. He’s got a lot of pride, he’s very smart, but he’s very competitive.”