Open Mike Session with Cardinals HC Bruce Arians

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals are preparing to head to Seattle, Wash., this weekend and take on the world champion Seattle Seahawks.

Arizona famously ended the Seahawks 14-game home winning streak last December, and will be looking to inflict the same kind of pain on Seattle this Sunday.

Head coach Bruce Arians spoke with the media on Wednesday and started off with his usual injury update, which include wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald:

“Not practicing today will be Larry Fitzgerald with his knee and Ed Stinson with his toe. We’ll see how they progress throughout the week as far as their availability. Everybody else will be limited and have some part of practice.”

On saying on Monday that Larry Fitzgerald should be able to play but if it’s more uncertain today:

“Yes, it is a little bit iffy because he’s a little bit sorer than I thought he would be. We knew he would be. Hopefully it’ll loosen up as the week goes on.”

On if Matt Shaughnessy returns to practice today:

“Yes. No, Matt can’t come back until next week. Two weeks before the Chiefs. Is that this week or next week? I don’t know. I don’t worry about the ones that can’t play.”

On signing Josh Mauro from the Steelers and what they see in him:

“He was very active in the preseason and we liked the way he played. Big, strong kid, and we wanted some more interior defensive line depth as we moved forward. We were a little bit heavy at outside linebacker. Desmond Bishop gives us some outside linebacker flexibility, also. We just wanted to shore up an area.”

On signing Matthew Mulligan:

“He’s got a good reputation as a run blocker and is something that we’re looking for, which was Troy’s (Niklas) job. We’ll see how Matt can pick it up and move forward.”

On being 9-1 yet still being a significant underdog and if that’s something he can use to tell his guys this week:

“I would’ve anticipated that. Going up there, everybody’s usually an underdog. It’s another one of those things that we don’t really need any extra motivation to go play them, especially at their place. They’re the World Champions. We’re just 9-1, we haven’t done s— until we do something. But this is a big game.”

On Patrick Peterson saying on Sunday he thinks the secondary is hitting his stride and if that’s because he’s gotten better and Tyrann Mathieu’s returning to form:

“That has a huge part of it, yeah. His (Patrick Peterson) play is where it needs to be. Ty is real close to being himself again. With the addition of Deone (Bucannon), and then Tony’s (Jefferson) playing extremely well, everybody’s got a nice hand in it right now back there, and we’re so multiply talented that we can play a bunch of positions, so we can do a lot of different things.”

On if Andre Ellington will practice today:

“Yes, he will be limited today.”

On what the specific things they work on in practice are to get the running game going:

“We only have three more days the rest of the season in pads, so this is a critical day on working on fundamentals. This game will come down to blocking and tackling. We have to block better offensively, and we have to tackle great on defense.”

On what the key elements are that are missing in the running game:

“It’s just those same small things. It’s a helmet on the right side of a player, getting to the second level too quick and not blocking the down lineman, or hanging on the down lineman too long and not getting to the linebacker. It’s technically mostly fundamental stuff. Then, with different fronts each week, there are some miscommunications on where we’re going in our zone blocking schemes, which have cost us some.”

On the running backs’ role in the key elements that are missing from the running game:

“Like I said, Andre (Ellington), it hurts him tremendously to miss Wednesday’s practices in pads because of getting his run reads. He knows all of his assignments, but when you don’t practice them until you get out there on Sunday in full speed, it’s hard.”

On if Darren Fells will take on a bigger role with Troy Niklas out:

“Yeah, Darren will take Troy’s job, and he’s more than capable. He’s shown flashes of being a very dominant blocker. This is a great opportunity for him, and we need him to step up.”

On what the feeling was for the team going into last year’s game in Seattle:

“It was a must win. We were in the playoff hunt and had to have it, so nothing’s really changed this year. Probably going to have the same weather and everything else, so there are no excuses. Go up there and play as hard and fast as we can, and play good fundamentally.”

On the Cardinals home crowd being disruptive and what the Seattle crowd can do:

“They’re the same way. They’re outstanding. Kansas City and Seattle I guess have broken the meter back and forth, but our crowd’s getting close to that meter, even with other colored jerseys. They’re dumb enough to root when we’re on defense. It is very disruptive. It is so loud sometimes you can just tune it out because you’re not using voice commands very often anyway.”

On the Seahawks running game picking up over the last couple of games and this being a good test for the run defense:

“Oh, there’s no doubt. Marshawn (Lynch) is rolling, and you have to tackle him, and it’s not just one guy. You have to get a lot of hats on him, and Russell (Wilson), you cannot let him out because he’s going to hurt you with his legs. It’s a dual threat back there, and their receivers are really good running after the catch. That’s why I say tackling is going to be the biggest part of the game for us.”

On if it’s hard to prepare for a mobile quarterback when they haven’t seen that a lot this year:

“Oh, yeah, it is, because there are so many different things. It’s like back in college getting ready for a wishbone team. It’s a read-option team, and you don’t see these plays very often, so you have different assignments and you really have to hone it up quickly. They got us real good last year because we had two days to prepare for a Thursday night game the first time. It was embarrassing. The next time we had a week to prepare it was a little bit better. This is a unique offense, and he presents unique challenges.”

On Deone Bucannon’s development:

“It’s just fantastic growth. Every week is growth, because he comes to work every day. He’s playing something he’s never played before, and playing it really well. The one thing is he likes to throw his face in the fan, so we put him up close enough to the fan where he can get in there every time.”

On veteran players having an impact on young guys but if it works the opposite way where young guys also have an impact on the veterans:

“Oh, they bring an energy level. When they play well, the vets really appreciate it. They know how hard it is for a young guy to play that well, and what we ask of our young guys.”

On if he anticipated Deone Bucannon learning his position so quickly:

“No. I thought he would struggle more. But it’s a testament to him and how much time he puts in, not just in this building but away from the building, to get ready.”

On if it’s a hard switch for a secondary player like Deone Bucannon to play a new position:

“Oh, it’s extremely hard. If you’ve never played down in there reading surface blocking, it’s really hard. It’s linebacker eyes, and it’s all sight lines. For his whole life, he’s keyed a tight end, or he’s keyed a guard, now he’s got to see a lot of different things and still see backfield action and still cover his guy. It’s extremely hard for him.”

On what it is about Todd Bowles, whether it is his football IQ or ability to identify plays that makes him the coordinator that he is:

“Just all those things. He was an extremely bright player. He was one of those guys on defense who would be calling out what you’re going to run, telling ‘Hey, it’s coming over here, it’s coming over here’. I tell him to shut up and let the other guys play. But he had that, he had an intensity to him that’s very quiet, but it’s very intense. And, he’s a great teacher. When we worked together in Cleveland, it was the first time we worked together coaching, and I knew then he was very, very special.”

On what it proved to the team or what it said about the team that they were able to beat the Seahawks last year in Seattle when Carson Palmer threw four interceptions:

“You don’t have to play perfectly. You don’t have to go there and play perfect. We obviously were not perfect. We turned two over inside the 20. But if you play hard for 60 minutes, you’ll have a chance.”

On Drew Stanton making a nice tackle after throwing an interception against the Lions and what’s going through his mind as a coach at that time:

“Get him down and don’t get hurt. Get him down first, and then please don’t get hurt. Always tackle with your left shoulder.”





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