Open Mike Session with Cardinals HC Bruce Arians

TEMPE, Ariz. — Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians met with the media on Monday to recap the team’s 24-13 win over the Oakland Raiders and take a look ahead to their next opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, who visit University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday.

As is customary, Arians started off with an injury report. Arians said the team was “pretty clean” coming out of the Raiders game. Safety Rashad Johnson will get an MRI on his patellar tendon. Arians believes it’s just a case of “severe tendonitis.”

Tight end Troy Niklas [ankle] remains doubtful, according to Arians. He’s hopeful to get some work out of Niklas later on in the week.

Arians is also hopeful to get defensive end Calais Campbell [knee] back on the practice field this week.

Arians shared his thoughts on the Raiders game.

“I think the game was one that we needed to prove to ourselves that preparation is what it takes to win. We learned a lesson from Washington, took it to Oakland and started the game extremely fast. I thought we finished it extremely well, especially with that seven-minute drive at the end. It was only a three-point drive, but there were some big third down conversions. It ate up the rest of the clock and gave us a two-score advantage, so that was a huge drive for us confidence-wise and everything else. We’re just going to keep trying to improve weekly and daily with the rest of the schedule.”

On the difficult schedule from here on out:

“It gets a little stronger. Each week is going to be a challenge. Obviously, we feel there’s no one on the schedule we can’t beat, and there’s nobody on the schedule that can’t beat us. It’s going to be a daily grind getting ready for each ball game. Philly’s a big challenge. We lost a close one over there last year to them. They have an excellent attack and a solid defense, so it’ll be a great challenge and we’ll expect a great crowd to help us along the way.”

On being No. 1 against the run but having to face RBs LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray the next two weeks and the challenge that presents:

“Yeah, but it’ll be big. We can’t talk about Dallas. We don’t play them until next week. But, this week, the Eagles are a big-time challenge. Nick (Foles) will keep the ball on the read-option and get four, five yards, eight yards, and drop down, so you’ve always got to be alert for him, also. Chip (Kelly) does a great job with the spread as far as their zone attack.”

On if this was the type of balance he was hoping for:

“Yes. Yes, this is more of what we’re looking for. To be able to continue it, we still left a ton of yards on the field. Offensively, it was still not what we’re looking for, but it’s better.”

On what RB Stepfan Taylor showed him yesterday:

“Nothing new, just the fact that he’s dependable and he’s very hard to bring down inside the 10-yard line. Those were two really good runs breaking tackles to get those touchdowns.

On if this is more of what he envisioned when he drafted Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor together:

“Yeah, you would hope. Stef (Stepfan Taylor) lots a little weight to try to get quicker. He lost a little power with that, but I think he’s got his back. His shiftiness is still good and he’s a good all-around back. Yeah, you’d like to have the carries about where they are.”

On if he likes where LB Sam Acho’s been the last two weeks:

“Yeah, Sam played again—he’s had a high motor. He missed a sack. Both he and Oak (Alex Okafor) both missed sacks in this ball game that they had chances. We can’t let quarterbacks get away from us when we have them, but they both played with extremely a high motor and high energy.”

On how LB Larry Foote is playing:

“Oh, gosh, Larry’s kind of the glue over there right now, he and Jerraud Powers. He calls the defense, he sets the defense, he’s the cheerleader; he’s everything I knew he would be. He’s been that way for a long time. But, he brings a lot of passion to the practice field, too, and the locker room. Yeah, he’s everything we needed.”

On how proud he is of K Chandler Catanzaro and if this is what he expected when bringing him in:

“You never expect somebody to come out and kick 15 in a row. This was a big one for him. He hadn’t gotten much action. That was a bad spot on the field and a very tricky wind, so I was really happy for him. It gives him, again, confidence that just seems to be natural for him. He kicked off extremely well into the wind, and knock on wood he keeps it up.”

On RB Andre Ellington playing through his foot injury:

“Yeah, I mean he’s playing through it fine. The problem is he’s not practicing through it, and that really hurts some timing in the passing game. He had two drops in the game. He actually lined up wrong on one route that he dropped he was supposed to be on the other side. So the practice time is hurting him. He’s gutting it up and is playing extremely well on Sundays, but the one week he practiced all week was, I thought, his best game. This one, he made a lot of plays, but again, there were more plays to be made.”

On saying after the game that the team was nothing special and if that’s something his players have already adopted and know or if that’s something he’s trying to engrain in them:

“I think they know right now that if we don’t play hard for 60 minutes it’s going to be very hard for us to win. We need to play smarter for 60 minutes. We’re playing hard. If we play smarter we’re going to give ourselves even a better chance to win.”

On what ways they haven’t been smart:

“Defensively, this was our best game as far as mental errors, but offensively we still continue to run a route short, line up wrong, do some things that are uncalled for. We need to sharpen ourselves up offensively. We had a sack because of miscommunication on who the ‘Mike’ linebacker was. Little things like that are hurting us offensively.”

On if some mistakes are just expected or if he gets irritated that some of these things are still happening:

“I get very irritated. There are no mistakes ever to be expected. No, it’s way too high on the offensive side.”

On how he explains being 31st in the league against the pass with the secondary they have:

“They can’t run. They’re going to throw.”

On if they can win when they’re 31st against the pass:

“We have so far. Yeah, I mean I think our offense is better that whatever we are, 28th or 29th. It’s just a matter of teams win, statistics don’t. Those things—if you’re good against one, you’re probably not going to be the greatest against the other. I’d like to be the least penalized team. We’re getting too many penalties.”

On if he’d ever push Andre Ellington to practice on Wednesdays:

“No. He can’t if he can’t hardly walk.”

On how the rush defense has stayed so effective with all the losses to injury they’ve had:

“I think, again, the linebackers. In this game, Ed Stinson had a great game—really stepped up two weeks in a row. We gave him a game ball for his performance in this one. He got a better pass rush going on the inside this week for him as a rookie. Kareem (Martin) played a little bit more. Kevin Minter finally got some snaps because people stayed in base and didn’t go nickel the whole game against us. So, a lot of those guys—Danny Williams snaps were about 30, and played a really good ball game. We’ll plug guys in and they’re technique-sound. Buck (Brentson Buckner) does a heck of a job, he and Tom Pratt, technique-wise with them. We’re going to stop the run.”

On if they’ll have to substitute efficiently against the Eagles and Chip Kelly’s offense:

“We didn’t really have any problems last year. They played a lot of two and three tight ends against us last year. The tempo, we have no problem practicing against a high tempo. That no-huddle stuff we’ve seen almost every week now, so it’s nothing really new; it’s just the running game part of it, being assignment perfect.”

On if he’s been surprised how the NFC West has played out so far:

“Well, I knew within our division we’re going to beat ourselves up. I was never surprised at anybody losing at St. Louis, because that’s a great crowd and the defense was obviously feeding off them. That was some big cojones, as Goody (Harold Goodwin) would say, with those fakes. That was a great win for them. Our division’s tough. We’ve all had a little struggle with Denver at Denver. That’s a handful in itself.”

On if he saw the message DT Darnell Dockett had for Oakland fans and what he thinks about that:

“It won’t happen again.”

 

 

 

 

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