All-Access with Bruce Arians: Team’s issues are correctable

Sep 26, 2016, 3:21 PM | Updated: 4:18 pm
Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide ...
Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
(AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians meets the media the day after every game, often times explaining injury situations as well as anything else he may have seen the day before.

Here in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight some of the most notable quotes from his session, which comes after the team’s disappointing 33-18 road loss to the Buffalo Bills.

He began with an opening statement:

“Injury news, we are putting Michael Floyd through the concussion protocol. He cleared it on the sidelines from the independent guy, but he had a headache this morning. We just want to be very safe with him. Troy Niklas has a wrist; it could be severe. Evan Mathis is getting better. Drew Butler is going to miss some time with a sprained Achilles and foot combination. Other than those guys, Frostee’s (Rucker) still going to be down for another week, but I think Kareem (Martin) will get back in some action this week and we’ll see how that goes. But, that’s the injury report. Starting out fast, I thought our defense did a great job of setting up field position, getting a three-and-out, getting a sack, and we drop a pass. It was as simple as that. You want to start fast? Catch the ball, because now you’re going to get points. So that, to me, was a big, critical play as far as starting fast, and I know everybody wants an answer to that question. But yeah, just catch the ball on the first play and it’s second-and-one at worst, if not first down. The third downs early were a problem. First time on the road and the crowd noise, there were some communication issues as far as just talking to the guy next to you. You have to learn from that, especially with Earl (Watford) and D.J. (Humphries) over there. Defensively, just a really poor job on the option play that we had practiced identically to that. We had a problem with it in practice and went back and did it again, and had it corrected. They ran the play later, play it perfect, and Ty (Mathieu) bats it down and we don’t get the fumble recovery, but it’s too late then, you know? It’s too late then. We missed some tackles. Overall, all three phases, we need to improve in all three phases and we will. The biggest thing for us right now is to have a very good film study today, identify the problems, get them corrected, and show up to work with a positive attitude on Wednesday so we can get on to a really big game this week.”

On whether any of Carson Palmer’s four interceptions were on him

“Well, he threw them all. Yeah, they’re all on him. He was expecting Michael Floyd to break in front of that guy on the flag route, which he should have. He gave Jaron (Brown) a 50-50 ball twice and stared the first one down. The second one – just didn’t get it high or deep enough. He was taking chances to try to get us back in the game. Up until those plays, he played pretty solid.”

On the offensive line’s performance and what he saw in the trenches

“At times, really good run-blocking. It was a guy here and a guy there. We struggled with Kyle Williams moving around; had him on the tight end a few times. He’s a handful. On the third-and-one, we had a mental error, turning a guy loose up the middle, which we were going to go fourth-and-one and we get a delay of game. But that was a big short yardage stop for them. Strictly a mental error. They had gone to a goal line front and we didn’t recognize it.”

On whether this was the worst road game Arizona’s played in his tenure as head coach

“Oh yeah. There’s no doubt. We’ve never given up that many yards rushing. We’ve never had that poor of a performance on third down. Even in Carolina last year, we were moving it. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. But this one was a good fashioned butt kicking and we took it.”

On whether he felt better or worse once he watched the game film

“I’m always positive. It’s easily correctable. A lot of it’s technique. A lot of it’s just playing your gap. We’ve got some guys trying to do too much. Trying to make plays because, ‘If they make one run, then I’ve got to make a play,’ and getting out of your gap and not seeing what you’re supposed to see. Pressing and trying too hard. I think that’s easily correctable.”

On whether he thinks there are more mental errors going on right now as opposed to any point last season

“There’s probably five more a game, both sides. It’s different players, different times. Like that third-and-one; that was a big one.”

On whether it’s surprising to have the quarterback and wide receiver having communication issues in year four of the offensive system, especially with the roster continuity

“Yes and no. Three of them were no-huddle communication – ‘potatoes’ sounds like ‘tomatoes.’ You’ve got to hear the right word to run the right route because he’s throwing anticipation throws. That was one with John Brown. The one with Michael Floyd, he’s expecting you to turn out flat, you’ve got to turn out flat. Other than that, he was short on some throws. Down the sidelines, we dropped two big balls. Again, to me, they’re easily correctable.”

On how much time Drew Butler will miss

“We have no idea. We’ll search it all out tomorrow. Look at our options. The big thing for me is, we may do what we did a couple years ago with Dave Zastudil and dress Drew to hold, because field goals will very important in this game and I don’t think we want a new holder.”

On what he meant when after Week 1 he said the target was on his front and not his back

“Just shoot me in the face.”

On whether he feels like there was something more he could have done Sunday

“Always. Always.”

On what specifically he could have done Sunday

“The biggest thing for me right now is figuring out why we are so poor coming out of halftime. Three weeks in a row, we have not played the first five minutes of the third quarter like we had talked about in the locker room. Identifying it is one thing. Finding a solution is another, and I’ve got to find a solution.”

On whether it’s more frustrating to come out of halftime slow than to start the game slow

“Oh yeah. The beginning of the game, you’re going to see new stuff. You see their game plan, your game plan. So if you hit it, Mike makes a catch, a lot of things change. But halftime, all the adjustments have been made. Now, it’s more gearing back up emotionally, passion-wise, and coming out and playing.”

On whether Buffalo’s defense showed any exotic blitzes Sunday

“There was one that Rex (Ryan) had used way back in New York. We handled it pretty well. Mis-ID’d it one time. But, they had one unique coverage that was different.”

On whether he plans to make any changes at long snapper or at least evaluate the position

“We’ll evaluate all that. We’ve got to see how his ribs are anyway.”

On how he addresses his team when there’s a high level of disappointment

“You have to identify the problem and you have to get it corrected. The first thing is to get the player to admit he has a problem. A lot of them say, ‘I’ll be back Wednesday and it’s going to be OK.’ It’s not that way. We’ve got to identify the problems and then have a positive way of fixing it. That’s what, hopefully, is going on right now.”

On whether having gone through something like this in the past helps the situation now

“Oh yeah, but each team’s so different. Like I said, we’ve got great leadership on our team. I’m not sure we have a lot of followers. If you’re a leader, you’ve got to have followers, you know? We’ve got a lot of young guys, I think, who like doing their own thing. They need to follow the leaders who work real hard, do all the things it takes, because they’ve been down the road. So, we’re still finding out about ourselves. We did the same thing last year. We went through a stretch.”

On whether it’s a reflection on team leaders if the followers aren’t following

“No. No. It’s a reflection on the young guys.”

On if he has a better sense of his team at this point in the season

“Yeah, first road game. We didn’t handle the noise very well. Like I said, I thought we came out defensively and played lights out that first series, then gave up the option play that we’d worked on. A little bit of hesitation is all it takes in the real game, and we had a little hesitation on the play.”

On whether he’s confident that the issue isn’t personnel shortcomings but rather easily correctable mistakes

“We’re good enough, but you’ve still got to play when those 60 minutes are scheduled, and we did not, and we’ve got to own up to that one.”

On whether he sees opposing defenses keeping an eye on Arizona’s offense making big yardage plays

“No, because with Mike Floyd, the first one is two yards behind him. He split the thing perfect, and just got to throw it a little bit further, and he jumps up and makes that catch a bunch of times. He’s got to make that play. We forced one to John Brown when we had three guys open underneath, trying to get something started. Again, we have a deep ball in everything we do, but we also have every level of coverage and it’s the quarterback’s decision of when to shoot it and when to come down with it.”

On whether his message to the team was that the talent is there and it’s just a matter of getting things turned around

“Oh, they know the talent’s there. I don’t have to give them that message. The message to the team was, ‘Find a positive way to fix what’s wrong.’

On whether that was the worst he’s ever seen Palmer play

“No, because like I said, it was all in the fourth quarter when you’re trying to come back. No, not at all.”

On whether he’d have liked Mathieu to fall on the fumble

“No. Pick it up and score. That’s what Tyrann does – a great play. It was really nice to see it because it looked like Tyrann again.”

On Mathieu playing closer to the line of scrimmage and that being what he’d like to see

“He’s getting close.”

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