Down and Distance with Bruce Arians: “I’m excited as hell to be here with the things we are doing”


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TEMPE, Ariz. – Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians had his usual Wednesday afternoon chat with the media, and he covered a number of topics, from the health of running back Andre Ellington, left guard Mike Iupati and wide receiver Michael Floyd, to the head coaching interview he had with the Chicago Bears back in 2013.

Opening statement:

“Andre Ellington and Mike Iupati will both be limited. Everyone else is full go. I am anxious to see how we will travel. Handling travel is different for every football team every year, who can handle the distractions and who can’t. It’s one of the reasons you don’t like to spend a lot of time with rookies this time of year, but sometimes you have to. This one, having a two-day trip to Chicago, we will get there get rested and have our walk through at Northwestern and get ready for long grass and a windy day hopefully.”

On if Mike Iupati could do more in practice over the course of the week:

“We will wait to see how it responds.”

On being surprised that Andre Ellington is able to practice this quickly:

“Yeah, he has a brace and we will see what he can do and what he can’t do.”

On Michael Floyd’s role expanding this week:

“Yeah Mike’s role will expand a little bit. He’s practiced more this week and everything came out clean last week, so we will expand his role.”

On using tight ends in the offense:

“When you have a tight end you can count on to catch the football, especially in the red zone, it’s huge. It gives the defense another guy to worry about. You have to pick who you are going to single cover and if you are going to double cover one of them. It’s always nice to have a tight end that’s a mismatch. You hope you have a mismatch at every position, but not every team can afford to have that.”

On his take on Jay Cutler and the new approach under John Fox:

“I think they ran the ball extremely well last week and controlled the clock. It put him in a very comfortable situation where he didn’t have to throw the ball 40-50 times a game. When I met with Jay a couple of years ago, I met a guy that was very passionate about the game, wanted to win and was willing to do whatever it took to win. I always felt he might be the most misunderstood quarterback in the league.”

On having Chris Johnson to replace Andre Ellington if he’s out this week:

“That’s why we went and got him. We wanted a veteran so the whole thing didn’t fall on David’s (Johnson) lap if something happened early, and something happened early. We have two Johnsons that we feel very comfortable with. Chris unfortunately had the hamstring that set him back a little bit in camp, but he is ready to go this week.”

On the impact it has on a quarterback like Cutler to go through a revolving door with offensive coordinators:

“It’s hard. It’s a lot easier when you stay in the same system your whole career, but when you go through three or four in four or five years, it’s extremely hard on you. He’s a very bright guy. It’s a matter of learning the language, all the little scenarios of hots and blitzes and those things, especially if you are changing personnel, which he has had to do too.”

On if players would be as opinionated as they are about Cutler if he was their coach:

“I don’t think it would happen.”

On Carson Palmer being new and improved coming back from previous injuries:

“I think this is the healthiest he has been in two to three years. With the nerve damage in the shoulder he had to change his mechanics a little bit, and then the knee. He is probably five years younger and he is in such great shape now that I don’t want to jinx him. He spent all that time watching film and learning tape and watching more and more of our offense, watching Drew (Stanton) play. You can learn a lot about the offense watching another guy play, and he did.”

On Carson Palmer running around on Sunday:

“You’ve got to play the position. The one before the half I would’ve liked to see him throw the ball and kill the clock, but the others were outstanding getting out of the pocket. He extended the play for the touchdown on the first drive and didn’t put himself in harm’s way, other than that one terrible slide.”

On his takeaways from his head coaching interview with the Chicago Bears in 2013:

“It’s been so long ago … I thought they are a first class organization. They went through a thorough interview process and decided to go in a different direction.”

On if he thought about where his career would be if he was offered the Chicago Bears coaching position:

“I don’t look in the past. I am just as excited as hell to be here with the things we are doing and with the guys who are doing them.”

On if he would enjoy coaching Cutler:

“I don’t think I would’ve had any problem with Jay.”

On the Bears defense under Vic Fangio:

“Vic’s not going to change what he does, and he has been very successful for a long time and one of the better defensive coordinators; a guy I think should be a head coach in this league. They are not changing what they’ve done in the past. He knows us and we kind of know him. Their players don’t quite know us as well as he does, so he has a lot of teaching to do. We won’t surprise him probably with much stuff and they won’t surprise us with much stuff, and in that regard for coach versus coach and players versus players it’s a different story.”

On the defense needing to slow down Matt Forte in the passing game:

“Anytime you show something on film you are going to get it for at least a month because it’s a copycat league. Until you put the fire out, that’s all you’re going to see. We have to do a better job of securing that area this week and putting out the fire.”

On Martellus Bennett being one of the more underrated tight ends:

“Yeah he’s big, fast and can do it all. He’s also blocking extremely well.”

On if good can come out of using depth so early in the season:

“It just continues to build confidence in that we have depth, in next man up, and whoever we call on is ready to roll.”

On Carson Palmer’s football intellect:

“He’s as good as anyone I’ve ever had right now. Ben (Roethlisberger) was in the system for a while and then he lit it up, obviously Peyton (Manning), Tim Couch took us to the playoffs. We didn’t ask as much. We are a little more complicated now than we were back then. Of the guys I’ve had, he is playing at a level mentally as well as anyone I’ve ever had.”

On Palmer’s work ethic:

“He’s a gym rat. He will be bugging me all day today about why we are doing this one, this one, this one. It’s because it’s game plan day and he will go home and study for two hours after he puts the kids to bed and watch all the tape in virtual reality. He’s going to grind it out until he’s ready for Sunday.”

On if Palmer can think too much:

“There are times he can overdo it. Much better than underdoing it”

On if the pass rush is where he wants it to be:

“I was very pleased with our four-man rush and our blitz package. They got us a couple of times on screens on our blitz package, but we had good pressure.”