Open Mike Session with Cardinals HC Bruce Arians

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Cardinals got their eighth comeback victory of the season on Sunday. They shut out the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half and prevailed 17-14.

Arizona’s getting prepared for Thursday Night Football, as they’ll be on display along with their division rivals, the St. Louis Rams, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.

Head coach Bruce Arians talked about working on a short week and how that affects the team and how big this week’s game is for the Cardinals. Before he jumped into that, he gave a short injury update:

“The only person not practicing will be Tyrann (Mathieu). He’s very questionable whether or not we’ll let him play this week, so I doubt he will play. But everybody else is kind of day-to-day. We got very good news on Antonio Cromartie. He has a possibility of making it for the game, so we’ll see how it goes this week.”

On what Antonio Cromartie’s injury turned out to be:

“Some kind of tear, but it’s not the Achilles. It’s a sprained ankle of sorts.”

On if there’s a chance Antonio Cromartie could play this week:

“Yes.”

On how he approaches this week compared to others in terms of preparation and how you treat the players’ bodies:

“Thursday puts a strain on you as far as you really can’t practice. You can have walkthroughs if it’s less than 24 hours from a game. Tuesdays are normal days off, and those are going to be your two practice days. You do basically everything as a walkthrough. The coaching staff did a good job of preparing for this game last week, so everything’s ready for this practice today – installation, game plan, everything’s in from the meetings this morning. You just do what you have to do.”

On if the game plan was set last week:

“Yes.”

On how much of a learning curve there was by getting a few Thursday games in the past and being able to figure out how to prepare:

“I don’t know how many this is for me now, but it’s been a bunch. One year I think we were able to jog on Tuesday. You’re asking a lot out of their bodies to do a lot of physical activity to get ready for this game.”

On if there’s a chance that Andre Ellington might need surgery on his foot:

“No, they don’t think that there will be any surgery for his foot. That should heal in time.”

On if he knows when Andre Ellington’s surgery is scheduled for:

“I believe tomorrow. He was on his way to Philadelphia today.”

On if Andre Ellington’s hernia is a sports hernia or a regular hernia:

“I use the term hernia because the muscles pulled away from the hip bone. Anything that’s protruding out is a hernia. That’s as much as I know.”

On Chris Clemons:

“Chris is a big, active safety Todd (Bowles) has had in the past. He is aware of our system and we’ll plug him in and see what we can get out of him in two walkthrough days, and see if he can play Thursday night.”

On what he thinks kept Kerwynn Williams from getting playing time the last couple of years:

“Probably just depth of depth charts. We looked at him a couple of times this year. He’s the closest thing we had to Andre (Ellington). If Andre would have went down, then we would’ve turned to him sooner.”

On his take on the wear and tear that Thursday Night games create on players’ bodies:

“They’ve got statistics that go both ways. I’m on the record about Thursday Night Football. It’s here to stay. Hopefully we don’t have Wednesday night football.”

On if Thursday night games are tougher on the road teams:

“It’s a whole lot tougher on the road team. You have to travel on Wednesday and flying at anytime you have swelling; it’s not a good match.”

On if Kerwynn Williams was with him in Indianapolis and if he remembers that:

“No, sure don’t, because I had him mixed up the other day.”

On Jonathan Cooper and the rest of the offensive line:

“He was OK. He got better. I think as a group that’s the best we’ve blocked. Both tackles had outstanding days. We gave up one sack down there in the red zone. Bobby (Massie) held his own on Justin Houston very well.”

On if Chris Clemons was signed because of something he saw yesterday or if it’s just for depth:

“Depth, just in case Tyrann’s (Mathieu) surgery doesn’t go as planned.”

On what December football really means:

“Well, for some teams, it doesn’t mean a damn thing except the season’s almost over. I’ve been on that side. This one means a lot because everything rides from here on in, so every game is really a playoff game, especially the way the NFC is sitting right now with so many teams at nine (wins). Every game’s a playoff game.”

On if intensity raises for players and coaches:

“Everybody’s focus has to pick up. You have to get into a playoff mode, which is a little more film, a little more meeting time, a little extra stuff that you don’t normally do.”

On if mistakes are more magnified in December than any other month:

“Oh, totally, because there’s more riding.”

On what he’s seeing from the Rams right now:

“Outstanding play. Two shutouts in a row, their defense is playing lights out, a lot of attacking, a lot more blitzing. Much steadier quarterback play out of Shaun (Hill), and their dynamic playmakers are making plays. Tavon (Austin), Kenny Britt, those young backs they have, (Jared) Cook – they’ve got plenty of weapons, and Shaun’s running the offense at a very high level. Yeah, they’re playing probably their best football of the year.”

On if the Rams look much different than they saw a month ago:

“Yeah, because of the quarterback play.”

On how much they have to be ready for Jeff Fisher’s trickery:

“You always do. They always have a lot of gimmicks in the kicking game, especially at home where they can communicate, and you have to be ready for it. On a short week, that’s tough.”

On what he thinks some of the main factors are that have gone into Drew Stanton’s statistics at home being so much better than his statistics on the road:

“Mainly because guys can hear and communicate. He gets hit less. That affects every quarterback.”

On how Jared Veldheer held up yesterday with his ankle injury:

“He was solid. He’s sore, but no big setback.”

On if Alex Okafor is starting to scratch the surface of how good he can be:

“Yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt. Now that he’s stayed on the field, knock on wood he doesn’t get injured again, but he’s progressing nicely.”

On how he handles a young kicker coming off a game where he struggled:

“Pat him on the back, tell him the kick them between the poles and don’t hit the pole. He ain’t going anywhere, just make your kicks.”

On if he was surprised with Kerwynn Williams’ performance:

“No, I really wasn’t. I don’t know, I just had a feeling that he was going to have that type of game just because of the way he’s practiced these last few weeks. Like I said yesterday, he’s the only guy on the field that made you go ‘wow’ for the last couple of weeks, and our defensive players saw it, too.”

On how he feels when he sees a player work as hard as Kerwynn Williams to stay in the league find success:

“Oh, that’s what the game’s all about, getting an opportunity. I’ve always said, ‘One guy’s injury is another guy’s opportunity,’ and he jumped on his chance.”

On if he anticipates Paul Fanaika being back this week:

“It’s a possibility.”

On what he would do with the offensive line starters if Paul Fanaika is ready to go:

“We’ll see.”

On if he feels good about the depth at corner if Antonio Cromartie can’t go this week:

“Yeah, I’m fine with Jerraud Powers and Justin Bethel. They’ll be fine. Obviously, we’d be struggling if we got another injury.”

On how Justin Bethel has progressed at corner:

“Oh, he’s moved up the depth chart in my mind. He’s a starter. He has potential to be a starter in the league. I’m very excited about his future.”

On what he can do to help Drew Stanton be better on the road:

“Call better plays. He hasn’t played poorly. He beat the Giants. He was playing really well in Denver before he got hurt. I don’t know which road games he played so bad in. He didn’t play in Dallas. I don’t think he’s playing poorly on the road. Obviously, you guys do.”

On if they will approach the rest of the season at the running back position by committee:

“Oh, it’s still committee. It’s committee. We’ll see who’s got the hot hand and we’ll run with it. Stepfan (Taylor) is the starter and we’ll see what the young guys do.”

On if Kerwynn Williams’ performance makes him want to give him more touches:

“Oh, yeah. He’ll get his chances to do it again.”

On if they’ll be in pads in practice this week of if they’ll go lighter:

“We can only be in pads one more time the rest of the year until the playoffs, which is a really dumb rule. But, no, we’ll just be in walkthroughs the rest of the week.”

On if he saw a difference in Drew Stanton yesterday with Larry Fitzgerald coming back:

“He missed him a few times. Larry struggled to get out of a couple cuts with that knee. I thought the balls were thrown perfectly. Their timing was obviously off. But, yeah, it was good to have Larry back out there.”

On if one of his greatest strengths is having his team be able to handle adversity:

“I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to have a strength. I think our guys have bought in that whatever happens, if you play hard for 60 minutes, somebody will step up and make a play to win the game.”

On the aspects of the defense that made them so effective in the second half:

“I think we whipped blockers better, and we caught up to the speed of the game again. We tackled a lot better, and we got after the quarterback a lot better.”

On if the team needed to remember how to win or remember that it could win:

“No, I don’t think so. I don’t think you forget that easily, but it’s tough to win in this league. It’s nice to see us come back in that style and not turn the ball over, be effective on third down. All the things that got us there got us back to another win.”

On if he thinks they’re going to need 12 wins to win the division:

“We’ll see. That’s why we play them. I really don’t know.”

On getting a longer break after the Thursday game:

“Yeah, it’s a bad week until Friday. Then it’s a nice week and you’re glad you played Thursday night.”

 

 

 

 

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