All-Access with Arians: Running game is fine, defense is better than last year
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his second 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:
“No change, injury-wise, same three guys are out today that were out yesterday. A little disappointed in yesterday’s practice; I didn’t think we had the intensity we needed to be a championship team. Anxious to see us bounce back today. I thought our scout teams took it to our offense and defense, and they took it. We’ll see what happens today, but hopefully we’ll have a better showing today.”
Is the bad practice a reflection of camp reaching its final days?
“Early last year we had problems on Wednesdays after a Tuesday off, and we’re trying to nip that in the bud this year. At the end of the season we came out and had some really good practices on Wednesday. Just pointed out the trends that we do not want them to set.”
Can you talk about new defensive tackles Isaac Sopoaga and Ryan McBean?
“We drafted Ryan in Pittsburgh when I was there. He’s gotten a lot bigger, stronger since then. Had a pretty good career in Denver when I played against him in the playoffs. Isaac, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy show up, take a physical, sign a contract, get dressed and take reps with the first team defense and tell them what they were doing. It was amazing. It was a really good start for him. He brings a lot of energy and a professionalism. He was calling out who was going in motion — we haven’t had any of that. It was obviously contagious because other guys started doing it. So it was a very nice start for him.”
On the difference in the offense this year to last:
“I think just overall team speed is starting to show up. Andre (Ellington) is not playing a lot, but (John) Carlson’s speed with (Rob) Housler out there together, the young receivers — our overall team speed. And I think our offensive line is playing a lot better.”
Did you know all you needed to know about Carson Palmer before deciding to trade for him?
“I knew he was tough as hell. We tried to knock him out; you could never knock him out. We know he had the freak injury in the playoff game. If he had not gotten hurt I don’t know if we would have won the game. And he always had that tremendous deep ball. So yeah, I kind of didn’t know what kind of gym rat he was but I knew he was tougher than hell and a really good thrower of the football. So now that we’ve got the gym rat, I really like it.”
Are you concerned about the lack of productivity in the running game or are the struggles a product of an offseason that focuses on other areas?
“I don’t have any concerns with the running game, the running game has been fine. It’s just there haven’t been many long runs, but they’ve been very efficient. When you go for fourth down four times and you make it, that’s a pretty good running game.”
Carson Palmer has talked about the idea that the offense will need to carry more of the load with the defense losing so many players:
“I don’t see any problems with our personnel on defense. I think we’re better than we were last year right now. At this stage last year, this defense right now is better than that one, even without Darnell. But the quality of the offensive play improved in the last eight games, so if we can pick up there, those were good team wins at the end of the season. It wasn’t one side of the ball carrying the other.”