Open Mike Session with Cardinals HC Bruce Arians

BY: ED COLE

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks made a major statement on Sunday night. Unfortunately, the Arizona Cardinals had to be the recipients of their wrath. Seattle embarrassed Arizona 35-6, spoiling the Cardinals chance to win the NFC West and gain the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The players were off on Monday, but head coach Bruce Arians had his usual Monday press conference. Arians kicked things off with a very brief injury update and thoughts on the game before fielding questions:

“Injury-wise, there’s really nothing to report from the game. Couple bumps and bruises, but no one with any significant loss of time. We’ll see what Jonathan Cooper can do with his new cast. Whether he’s able to play with it or not, we’ll check out Wednesday.”

“Other than that, same things, when you go back and you watch the film, you see the same things you saw in person. The game comes down to blocking and tackling. We did not do a very good job of either one. I thought that obviously, they were a team that had been in big games and were more used to it than we were. We obviously did not perform the way we wanted to on that stage. I thought our fans were fantastic. I thought the stadium was electric. The minute you walked in, you knew it was a different game than it had been all year. We didn’t rise up to that. It’s a shame because they don’t come around very often.”

“Defensively, we gave up I think 357 yards on eight plays. Whether they’re missed tackles or missed assignments, they still can’t be given up. Offensively, it was a failure to convert third down. We had some guys open, we just didn’t make the plays through protection or throws and catches to maintain possession of the ball, keep our defense off the field and get points. We obviously missed a great opportunity early on Mike (Floyd) behind (Richard) Sherman for the touchdown. We don’t get it quite out in front of him, he has to try to make a heck of a catch and he doesn’t make the catch. Those are points off the board right off the bat.”

“When you’re playing a team like Seattle, you can’t miss those opportunities; they won’t come around but once or twice in a game. That’s something we learn from. It’s going to help us as we move forward. Like I said yesterday, it’s not the end of the road for us. We’re moving forward. We’re in the tournament. Where we’re going or how we’re going is all yet to be determined. It’s nice, I think the league does a great job in scheduling, when you come down to the last week of the season and there’s so much at stake still. Throughout the entire league, divisions are still up in the air, wild cards are still in the air.”

“It’s going to be a fun week. Obviously, San Francisco presents a heck of a challenge. They’ve obviously had some injuries also, but they do have their quarterback and he played extremely well last week. He’s another big challenge and they are a big challenge in stopping the run, which we did not do a very good job of the other night. We will look at them, make a game plan and try to do something that nobody’s ever done, and that’s get their 12th win in the regular season as a Cardinal.”

On if he knows what he’ll do at quarterback:

“I have not made a final decision. Right now, I’m leaning to start Logan (Thomas), but nothing’s been finalized. I think we need to find out what he can do for the future and the playoffs, if it were to come to that. That’s my job – to make sure that we cover every base. In no way would it be a reflection in the way that Ryan (Lindley) played, only the chance for Logan to show that he can do something. It would be a quick hook if it isn’t going in a way that I want it to go, because I do trust Ryan. I think he proved that the stadium wasn’t too big for him. He just missed some throws.”

On how he weighs this game not being too big for Logan Thomas at this stage:

“This isn’t for the NFC West title. It could be and that’s why I’d have a quick hook. I think he had a really good week of practice in the package we had for him. I need to find out some things about him before we get any further into this season.”

On what Logan Thomas offers that Ryan Lindley doesn’t:

“Well he obviously has mobility, not that we design runs for him, but he does have mobility. He’s got a very strong arm. The few times he’s had an opportunity; Denver wasn’t quite fair because he got no snaps. I want to see him with a full week of practice getting the reps and then see how he does.”

On if what he sees in practice could change his mind:

“Yeah. That’s the first hook.”

On his level of optimism that Drew Stanton will be ready for the playoffs:

“I have very, very high optimism because he wants to be ready. I think had he not had that minor setback last week, he would have probably tried to play in that one. There’s no way I’ll play him this week unless we have to.”

On when he plans to make the final decision on Stanton’s status:

“Probably Wednesday.”

On if holding Stanton out this week is to make sure he is ready for the playoffs:

“Yes.”

On if Stanton had any swelling after his workout last week:

“Yeah. After Thursday’s workout, there was a little bit of swelling, but it went right away. We don’t want to have another setback. He’ll work into practice some this week and get some action in practice.”

On combating any emotional impact of losing a big game:

“You just go back to work. That’s the one thing – our guys respect the process. We’re going back to work, learn from the mistakes we made, build on them and move on from there.”

On what didn’t work for the defense that led to giving up 596 yards:

“Tackle, just tackle. When you blitz, don’t stop and let the guy get out. We had five times where we had unblocked blitzers come on and either jump up in the air and do exactly what they were told not to do, and not coached to do, instead of running through the upfield shoulder. Russell’s (Wilson) going to make you pay. If you give him a chance, he’s going to make you pay and he did.”

On how the protection for Ryan Lindley was overall:

“Overall, it was not bad. We had a couple mental assignments where we missed a blitzer and passed off a stunt we shouldn’t have. Overall, it was pretty solid, especially the tackles.”

On if Lindley got a little jittery and if nerves got to him:

“No, I don’t think so. I thought he was very calm. He was handling his protections extremely well. It was just a matter of finding the open guy and being accurate.”

On if Kerwynn Williams not playing much was simply a result of the situation:

“Once we got in a situation where it was three scores, he’s not going to play. He’s a good pass-blocker, but he’s not our best one.”

On what he saw out of Glenn Carson yesterday:

“He made a good tackle and he missed a tackle. I like the way he plays football. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s made an impression on us all year and we’ll continue to work him in there.”

On opponents having success running the ball recently:

“It’s just a matter of tackling, missed tackles. When you play as talented a team as Seattle, you miss a tackle, it’s going a long way.”

On why he thinks there is a trend of teams having more success against them in the run game lately:

“I don’t know if there’s anything you can put your finger on. Atlanta broke one long run. Seattle broke two or three long runs. When you throw the quarterback scrambling in there, that’s a huge part of the rushing offense. Then, we don’t get Marshawn (Lynch) down on the ground when we’re trying to take the ball. You’re not going to take the ball away from him. That was just poor decisions on how to tackle him.”

On if the plan was to give Logan Thomas more reps:

“It was just part of his package was out of the game plan once we went down two scores.”

On how close Larry Fitzgerald is to being back to the level he was before the knee injury:

“Probably 70%. He’s nowhere near what he was playing at before.”

On if there is anyone else besides Drew Stanton that he is considering holding out to make sure they’re healthy for the playoffs:

“No, we’re playing to win the game. If Drew were truly healthy, we would start him, but I don’t see that happening by Sunday.”

On if Jonathan Cooper will start if he is healthy:

“We’ll have to see that in practice, because he did not do very well in practice last week and then we had to take him out. If he can, again we won’t be in pads, so it’s very hard to find out, but we’ll see.”

On if the injury especially bothers him being that it is his left hand:

“Well the way the cast is built, it’s non-functional.”

On Pro Bowl possibilities from the team:

“I would hope. There are some guys that have played outstanding all year. Some guys have reputations and other guys earned it. Sometimes, a guy like Jared Veldheer I think has played at that level all year, but he’s in a new conference and probably won’t get the respect factor he deserves. (Reporter: “How about Calais Campbell?”) I think again, that’s something that he deserves.”

On how to work on tackling without pads:

“You really can’t. That’s the problem with the rules. Once the playoffs start, I believe we’re allowed one more padded practice. We’ll see how that goes.”