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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Business-like camp comes to an end

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2016 file photo, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians smiles as he paces the sidelines prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders in Glendale, Ariz. John Elway, Bruce Arians and Tom Coughlin have been added to the NFL’s powerful competition committee, a person familiar with the appointments tells The Associated Press, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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, guys staying back from the game: Shaq Riddick, Alan Ball, Elie Bouka, Taylor Boggs iffy and Jake Coker, who’s got a sore knee. He’s in a MRI tube. We’ll find out about that, but everybody else will travel, and we’ll see about playing time when we get there.”

How much do you expect the players — Justin Bethel, Tyrann Mathieu and Frostee Rucker — who recently came off physically unable to perform list to play?

“Ten, maximum 12 plays.”

How happy are you that you’ve managed to escape a major injury in training camp?

“Why are you trying to jinx us, man? We ain’t done yet. Come on, bro. We’re as healthy as we’ve been in three years, and it’s a scary thing because we’ve got a game coming up — two games coming up left.”

What about this camp compared to the others you’ve been a part of here?

 “I thought it was very business-like. I thought our guys came to work every day. We had maybe two lull practices, mostly young guys. This last week the assignment sheet was very, very short, but penalties were a little bit high yesterday, defensively but I think it was over anxiousness. I thought the speed of practices were very, very good.”

Any players really standout to you?

“Nobody that we haven’t talked about over the whole time. Mike Jenkins has come back and had a really good 10 days after his cast. That’s pretty much — Cole Toner had a really good couple of days when he was working with the ones.”

What about Andre Ellington, has he flown under the radar a little bit?

“It’s just good to see him healthy. He’s never really been under the radar. When he’s healthy, he’s special.”

What about the new guys, like Tyvon Branch, Chandler Jones and Evan Mathis?

“I think all those guys are exactly what we hoped for: solid pros, team-oriented people, want to do whatever it takes to win the championship. And all have solid roles.”

Did Deone Bucannon show you a little more this camp?

“Yeah, he’s starting to understand his position even better. He’s getting better in his coverage skills, especially out in space so he could play a little bit more man-to-man better than he did yesterday.”

What about position battles still left?

“Really, it’s just who ends up as the corner opposite of Patrick (Peterson). There really aren’t any others — there’s some battles going on for backup spots and rotation spots.”

How close would you say is that cornerback battle?

“It’s up in the air between three guys.”

How do you feel about the performance of A.Q. Shipley and D.J. Humphries?

“I’m very pleased with both of them. I thought D.J. had one poor practice yesterday, but he competed extremely hard against two really quality guys every day and he got better. ‘Q is exactly what I thought he was.”

Do you have a plan in mind for Robert Nkemdiche against Houston?

“Play him a bunch. He’s got a lot of room to make up.”

How many of your roster spots are open right now?

“Probably eight for about 20 guys. It still could be decided by games.”

How important were those contract extensions for Mathieu as well as Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer?

“I don’t ever look past next year so I don’t give a (expletive). I’m about this year, and we’ll worry about those extensions when they kick in. I’m just worried about this team.”

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