All-Access with Bruce Arians: Outstanding effort by entire team vs. Washington

Dec 5, 2016, 3:13 PM | Updated: 3:44 pm
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians greets Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden prior to...
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians greets Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden prior to an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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 31-23 victory over the Washington Redskins, a win that improved Arizona’s record to 5-6-1.

Arians began with an opening statement:

“Really nothing to add after watching the tape. I thought it was an outstanding effort by the entire team. I think individual effort, Calais (Campbell) had a hell of a ball game, as did the majority of the defense, especially the defensive line. I thought it was one of their really good ball games. We misfit a couple of runs in the second half and let them out of there. The third quarter was one of the few times in the game we misfit a couple runs and we gave up the two chunk plays. Offensively, other than a couple missed third downs and a couple penalties, I thought it was pretty solid. Still struggled up front a little bit in passing situations, but handled the running game, especially the tight ends, extremely well.”

On injuries

“Came out pretty clean. There is really nobody who should have lost time. We may have a couple of guys miss Wednesday; even that’s iffy right now.”

On if he still feels the team needed one win to get on a roll

“We need one more. One more win, then I’ll consider it a roll. We need to win an away game this week.”

On calling back-to-back blitzes with less than a minute to go in the game

“That’s always been my philosophy also. To be able to have two or three, where it’s not the same one and the quarterback can see it. I thought our guys disguised both of them pretty well and hit the gaps extremely fast. The ball has to come out. You are going to force the quarterback to make a great play and the receiver to make a great play in a very short amount of time. With the screen rules, you are a little bit worried. You don’t see it in college much anymore because linemen can go downfield and block on those screens. It’s a little bit harder to get those screens, but that’s what you have to be alert for if they think it’s coming. But, I loved it.”

On Jermaine Gresham

“He found his targets. People are playing a certain way and he’s always been a viable target. He’s a great run after the catch guy, very physical. It was a big first down he picked up in the flat when they blitzed us and Carson (Palmer) got rid of it quick so we could make something happen. Gresh, that’s what he brings. He brings a physicality to the whole offense.”

On getting a good game from every big name player and if it has happened before this game

“Tampa I think was one of those types. Coop (Marcus Cooper) wasn’t a big name guy then, but he had a big game. Not very often, not often enough. As I like to say, the five-star players need to show up every week and be on that stat sheet. This one was excellent.”

On the 4th and 1 call

“It’s our bread and butter play. They had a safety blitz, weak, Larry (Fitzgerald) picked it up, terrific job by the left side. They hit a linebacker up the middle and D.J. picked him up. I’m sure they expected their other safety to be down low in a cover zero look but he didn’t quite get there in time.”

On John Brown having limited snaps

“He had 20 snaps, just didn’t get the opportunity. He was wide open deep twice and we didn’t get it to him. But 20 is about what we will try to keep him at until we know how to handle this thing.”

On how he approaches the playoff scenarios going forward

“I don’t even look at it. If we don’t win this week, we are not in it. We are actually in the playoffs right now; we have to win every game.”

On going to the east coast

“We’re not changing what we do because it has worked before. We will go Friday because of the length of the flight and hopefully we will show up and play better and learn from the last few times we didn’t.”

On how much playing on the east coast is physical vs. mental

“The majority of it is mental. We practice at that time every day for a reason, so it’s never a problem. It shouldn’t be a problem as far as your body waking up and playing at that time of the day. We’re in meetings at that time in the morning, so we do it for a reason. It hasn’t been a problem until this year. I think it’s the play of our team more than – the start of those games, the start in Buffalo, the non-call in Carolina; those things are hard to overcome on the road.”

On being around great receivers and the significance of Larry Fitzgerald’s accomplishments

“It is really hard to put in words, the names when he passes people. He would have to play a few more years to catch Tony (Gonzalez) and Jerry Rice. To put yourself in that category of passing Marvin (Harrison), who I was with, and Cris (Carter), it really is mind boggling. Like I said yesterday, what he has accomplished, especially in those four or five years where he didn’t have a quarterback. But the one thing, when you don’t have one you’re throwing it all the time, so you get to catch a lot of balls. Running backs are probably pissed back then. It’s rare, rare air that he is in.”

On how Fitzgerald compares with Marvin Harrison

“They have great hands. They are totally different style guys. Larry is a big physical guy who can jump over the top in his early years. Marvin was always extremely fast, quick and extremely durable. Durability is the big thing. Availability helps your stats as much as anything. The Reggie Wayne’s, the Hines Ward’s and the Marvin Harrison’s, the guys I was around never missed games.”

On what it says about Fitzgerald changing his role to be the inside guy

“Well that’s how you extend your career and get those numbers. We had that conversation three years ago. No one likes to hear that they’re not X anymore. He gets to play Z, but he’s going to make his money in the slot at this time in his career and he’s doing a fantastic job at it.”

On if he was that good of a blocker when he first moved to the slot

“No, that is something that you have to buy in to. He was always big enough and physical enough to do it. To be the point of attack guy, that’s a rare combination of guys that will actually do it and are willing to.”

On what sticks out about the conversation to move Fitzgerald to slot three years later

“Just happy for him. He had a 100-catch season; going to have another one, and he has helped our football team to get to where it is.”

On Fitzgerald joking that his catches are getting shorter and shorter

“I think Hines’ last three were minus four yards.”

On the latest on Tyrann Mathieu

“He hurt his shoulder again and we’ll just wait and see.”

On what he saw from Ulrick John that made him think he was ready to start

“The tape that we saw and evaluated him on, he is very athletic and he moved well in space, so you thought that the pass blocking would be fine. Didn’t know how powerful he was, and he’s a good athlete. It was a time where we needed a guy and he was the best guy available. I know Adam (Gase) was ticked that we grabbed him off their practice squad, but I think he has a real good future.”

On how D.J. Humphries is doing on the left side

“He’s doing really well. It’s his natural position, so I think it was easier for him to pick it back up, although it’s never easy.”

On if he plans on evaluating the punt game

“We evaluate everything every week. You can’t have guys kicking 28-yard kicks when you’ve sat out there hitting 50 every day. Drew (Butler) brings a lot of things, but you still have to kick the damn ball.”

On why he thinks Drew Butler has been struggling to find consistency

“You’d have to ask him. Kicking is a funny game and most of it is mental.”

On if they will look at punters tomorrow

“We’ll bring somebody in. It’s more than punting though. He is also the holder. The guy could be a hell of a punter, but if he doesn’t hold, he ain’t getting the job.”

On if he feels like yesterday’s win can provide a psychological boost to the team

“Yeah, I can tell more on Wednesday when we see them, but I would anticipate that they’ll be lighter on their feet when they hit the locker room Wednesday. There are a bunch of guys lifting, so that’s always a good sign that they’re in now.”

On his thoughts on how his team came out to start game

“Third down is always critical, and Carson (Palmer) was spot on on third down. David (Johnson) made a great catch. When you’re converting those eight and 10 and 12’s, they are very hard to get. When you get three of those in a drive, that’s when you get those long drives. We overcame a couple bad plays.”

On if he saw that Carson Palmer’s arm was as alive and strong as it has been all year

“I thought the deep ball obviously was one of the best ones he has thrown all year. Those third down out routes were on the money. I would probably agree with that.”

On if the Wednesdays off have helped Palmer

“That’s definitely helped, and not a full Thursday.”

On what he sees from the Miami Dolphins

“That defensive line; they’re big, powerful and fast. They have an exotic blitz package, as most teams do, but they have a very good one. He was brought up through Coach (Mike) Zimmer and seen all his stuff. They’re a very fast group defensively. Offensively, they’re running the ball as well as anyone in the league.”

On what he thinks of Jay Ajayi

“He’s playing lights out. Clyde (Christensen) is doing a heck of a job with him, and the quarterback is a threat to run every time, so you have to handle the zone read stuff, but he can still throw the football down the field.”

On if the Dolphins losing big yesterday could put them in an angry mood this game

“No, that doesn’t bother me this time of year. Every game is so individual from here on in. Our win isn’t going to help us next week. We have to show up and play. Their loss isn’t going to hurt. They’ve got to show up and play.”

On if he foresaw this kind of production out of David Johnson

“If he stayed healthy. The potential was there for Andre Ellington, but he couldn’t stay healthy. If David stays healthy he’s got a great shot.”

On what was the moment when he realized what they had in David Johnson

“The minute we drafted him. I loved him on film from the time we met him, how mature he was. It was probably the third day of spring where he took off around the corner, and he has that funny gait where nobody can catch him. He pulled his hamstring in training camp, and it set him back for another month.”

On Larry Fitzgerald saying he thinks David Johnson is the NFL MVP

“We need to win more games for that to happen. The MVP doesn’t come from a team that’s .500. He is playing like it.”

On Carson Palmer saying David Johnson is the best player in the league

“I don’t disagree. There is a hell of a lot of football left, and if at the end of the year he puts those stats up, he will be in very elite company.”

On if he looks for different ways to get David Johnson involved

“It depends on who is playing up front. What can we block against this team? Because he can run anything. We ran a couple crack tosses that we haven’t run much last week. We ran a couple of draws that should’ve been bigger than they were. But each week is different.”

On if he predicted Larry Fitzgerald would have these good seasons when he first moved into the slot

“A hundred catches for anybody is really hard; again, availability. When you get in there and block, you are going to get beat up, playing over the middle, but he’s so big and strong and he’s in great shape all the time. I was thinking 80-90 balls would be a great year for him, but last year obviously was 100-and-something, and this year it should be over 100 again.”

On Larry having 191 straight games with a reception

“That’s always scripted in the first 15 plays.”

On if Fitzgerald has surprised him over the last couple of years

“No, not at all. Talent-wise, I had heard all of the things. What probably surprised me more was how good of a person he is. I knew he was, but to be around him, he’s a hell of a guy.”

On the Cardinals record on the east coast over their history

“Some bad teams. It’s hard. It ain’t easy. It’s a lot easier coming from east to west.”

On how he grades Marcus Cooper’s performance yesterday

“Really solid. He got off coverage when he should’ve been pressed a couple of times. Played careful a couple of times, but other than that, just that one pass on the 26-yarder, he should’ve been up there on that guy.”

On if the touchdown to Jamison Crowder was blown coverage by Tony Jefferson

“He just got beat. He jumped an out route that wasn’t there.”

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All-Access with Bruce Arians: Outstanding effort by entire team vs. Washington