Arians on the Cardinals: “One thing we’ve done so far is play the run pretty solidly and eliminate long balls.”

Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians spoke on a conference call with Bay Area reporters Wednesday morning. Here is a transcript.

Q: Do you feel like your team is getting better each week as we go along here?

ARIANS: We are starting to improve each week. Offensively it’s taken a little more time than we had hoped, but special teams and defense so far have been playing pretty solid.

Q: Why do you think the offense hasn’t come around as quickly as you had hoped?

ARIANS: It’s taken a little more time between our quarterback and our receivers, a couple injuries early in the year and then guys getting back into the mix kind of slowed our progress a little bit?

Q: Does the offense typically take longer to gel than the defense and special teams?

ARIANS: I think that would probably be normal but this is a little bit too long. We need to be play better offensively right now to have a chance to win.

Q: What stood out on the film from Sunday Night’s game against the Texans?

ARIANS: I thought their secondary played outstanding and did a great job. I’ve always respected Vic, known Vic a long time. They did a really good job of disguising some coverages and obviously getting interceptions and turnovers and just the way they played. And then offensively, they’re playing their style of football.

Q: How do you think your defensive front matches up with the 49ers when they’re playing their style of football?

ARIANS: Well hopefully very well. One thing we’ve done so far is be able to play the run pretty solidly and eliminate long balls. I think the matchups between Anquan and Vernon Davis with that running game create problems, and Jimmy does a great job of making sure they know where to find them.

Q: You noted that you believe Patrick Peterson is the best cornerback in the league right now. Do you expect him to lock down on Boldin the entire game?

ARIANS: Not the entire game but that will be his matchup of the week and that’s a great challenge because ‘Quan is such a physical guy and great catcher-of-the-football and a hell of a football player.

Q: Do you draw on your experience last season coaching the Colts, and what has it been like working with a veteran quarterback this year as opposed to a very mature rookie last year?

ARIANS: Yeah, last year obviously was a great learning experience for me, being a head coach under the circumstances and calling the plays and running the offense, I convinced myself it wasn’t going to be a problem. Having a whole offseason and training camp, it’s kind of been a lot easier. I’ve got a great staff to depend upon and lean on. That part of it was extremely easy.

The difference between the two quarterbacks, when you get a rookie he doesn’t have some preconceived notions about certain styles of plays – oh, this is like that. No, he’s learning it frond Ground One. It’s a little bit easier to get him up to speed sometimes than taking a veteran and saying, “No, this is not that play, we don’t read it that way, this is how we read it.”

It’s been a bit longer and harder for Carson I think than it would be a rookie because he’s been in so many systems and there are certain things he likes. We try to build around those things he likes that he can handle.

Q: Has that meant more learning for you as well, to adjust your rules?

ARIANS: Yes and no. In 21 years, those rules have been adjusted so many times. We try to do whatever is best for our players.

Q: What has Tyrann Mathieu brought to your team this season?

ARIANS: A ton of energy. A playmaker. He has been a relentless practice player. He gets mad if he doesn’t get every rep. And it’s showing up on Sundays. He gets his hands on balls. He’s sacking quarterbacks. He’s a playmaker. His size and speed may not measure sometimes to as good a football player as he is.

Q: Can you get back to Carson Palmer and analyze how he’s come along. Has he lived up to what you wanted him to be? Is there a lot more room for improvement?

ARIANS: I think we always have room for improvement, all of us. He started out extremely well in St. Louis. Robbie Housler was out for a few weeks. We’re trying to integrate him back into the offense. And then Larry’s hamstring problem set him back a little bit on the chemistry with the guys. Guys had to start moving around a little bit more and were out of their spots from the game in St. Louis where it looked like we were in sync and played pretty solidly offensively. We haven’t played that well since.

The turnovers are something that has to be eliminated. We can’t turn the football over and beat anybody.

Q: How much does the 49ers’ defense rely on generating those takeaways?

ARIANS: I think all the great ones do. They live on disruptive plays and taking the football away and they’re very, very good at it. When you can set your offense up on the plus side of the field, that’s a huge, huge swing. When you’re in the red zone and you take it away, you took three points off the board from the offense, or seven. That’s been our problem, we’ve turned it over in the red zone three times and lost points. Those have to be eliminated.

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  1. Who wins in the pit will decide it again. Can SF run inside on Az? Can SF bottle up the run and get some pressure? Especially inside pressure on Palmer?

  2. What about…what about…what about…
    [the clash of the vowels & the consonants]

    A-E-I-O-U and A-C-H-K-L-M-N-P-R-T-Y

    if QB Colin Kaepernick meets free safety Tyrann Mathieu
    in the open field…… KA-POW..!!!

    Advice to Kap: better stay in the pocket, fella.
    Unless you want Mr. Mathieu to add to your collection
    of tattoos…. a little something black & blue, huh?

    1. The 49ers were good with Smith but believed they could be great with Kaepernick. I wanted to know what the experts thought: Is Kaepernick or Smith the better fit for the 49ers? I selected a panel of ESPN analysts who have professional scouting experience to discuss the topic. Here is what they had to say:

      Gary Horton: “I find that argument absolutely ridiculous and frankly, embarrassing. Yes, we are not seeing the explosiveness from the 49ers and Kaepernick we saw last year but that’s because of the injuries and plus, they can turn it on when they need to. The comparison is not even close. There are no limitations to where Kaepernick can go in his career. Alex Smith is good, but this is it. I can’t see anyone making the argument in favor of Smith.”

      Louis Riddick: “Really, it is a matter of your personal taste when choosing a QB, as with any other position. Andy has always coveted Alex due to his intelligence, his conservative approach to playing the position in terms of valuing taking care of the football over taking chances, and his ability to make plays with his feet when needed. With Colin, I think you get the intelligence and ability to handle volume as far as the amount you can put on him mentally that gives you a lot of options week to week game-plan wise as well, with the difference being that he is willing to take more chances at pushing the ball vertically down the field, and not being so quick to simply take sacks or take off every time the read isn’t clean initially. There is no question the upside lies with Colin in terms of who has the higher ceiling, and with both given equal weapons/protection, Colin would be the more explosive player, and the player I would choose.

      Matt Williamson: I would way, way rather have Kaepernick. He is capable of extreme greatness. Smith is not. I am not worried about Kaepernick long-term. His weapons are really lacking.

      My thoughts: Any talk that the 49ers would be better with Smith than Kaepernick if off base and a bit silly. The fact that the Chiefs are 5-0 has nothing to do with the 49ers. There is little doubt Kaepernick is the right quarterback for the 49ers now and beyond.

      1. Nice read E.
        But it will likely take a couple of good games from CK and a couple of bad games from Alex to at least quell some of the arguments around here.

        I said back in early Summer that the Alex sentiments and residual effects may last for about two years.

        I know it doesn’t make sense to me either, but it is what it is.

      2. Jack

        E is for Everything. F is for eff yoo. C is for your grade point average.

        Now do you get why your parroting of other people’s ideas is so lame? Thanks for the cite.

      3. Apparently, regurgitating ESPN’s (or anybody else’s) info is only tolerated if you do it on your own blog. Give me a break.

      4. BigP,

        Please show me one post that I have made in which I copied and pasted someone elses work and used it as if it were my own as was done above.

      5. Jack

        I don’t write like Williamson and I never claimed to have written the above passage. I simply had most of my fingers otherwise occupied, lost interest in citing the reference, and figured an ultra-officious guy like yourself would help me out, which you did. So thanks, but don’t try to turn it around on me. You’re the loudest parrot on the web.

      6. Yeah, without wanting to sound like the nanny state police here E, copying and pasting Bill Williamson’s work in a manner that suggests it is your own is pretty low. I’m sure you can come up with enough of your own intelligent comments without needing to steal others’ and pass them off as you.

        To put it in professional terms – if Grant did it without either acknowledging or getting consent from Bill Williamson/ ESPN, he’d likely get in a lot of trouble with his editors for plagiarism.

        Even if you don’t paste the link, at least acknowledge where/ who it is from.

      7. E:

        Sorry, but you are in the wrong here. That was sloppy at best, dishonest at worst. And because I seem to remember it happening before, I tend to think it’s the latter.

        Given your [unsubstantiated] claim to have been an NFL scout, it would not have been a surprise for one or more commenters to read your message as reporting conversations you had with various “insiders”.

        It’s not that hard to cite a source. Given your [unsubstantiated] time as a financial consultant, you should know how important it is to provide such citations.


        GOT IT?

      9. CLAUDE

        you remember it happening before? really? by me?

        I guarantee you that this has never happened, as you of all people should know. Citation is paramount. Did you know that you can plagiarize yourself?

      10. Claude

        You know that this is a blog, right? And you’ve read the disclaimer for using this blog, correct? You understand that nobody on this blog is verifiable in any way (short of threatening violence), correct?

      11. Wait… wait… let me make sure I understand this. E, are you saying you did not write your entry at 11:13 today? Say it ain’t so, E… Say it aint’s so…

      12. Nay, Gadfly. I write with a far more colorful prose. But I happily cut and pasted this from the ESPN web site, happily I say, Gadfly, because there is not a qualified punter alive, Gadfly, who would take Smith over Kaepernick, not a single one.

        And the truthiness of this, Gadfly, drives them crazy.

      13. Yes E, I am sure it would have cost your “better enterprise” greatly for you to take the three seconds to write these four simple words “As per Bill Williamson”.


      14. E:

        You know that this is a blog, right?

        Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you can just pretend to be something you’re not.

        Oops, I guess that hit too close to home. Sorry.

    2. Does anyone ever understand what this guy is saying? Half the time he sounds like a concussed Alex Smith. Also Mathieu is a playmaker but does he actually scare anybody. Kaep has 7.5 inches, 50 lbs, and a faster 40 than that fly.

    1. Don’t worry, coffee ..
      I got a feeling the Kaep will redeem himself, soon !
      (despite what “Alex” (above) likes to crow about) ..

      Think CK will end up receiving a “B” grade from Grant
      this week …

  3. If the Niners could handle the Texans (ranked #1 in total defense, #1 passing), they can definitely handle the Cards (ranked #15, #19 passing). The one stat where the Cards shine is in rushing defense, ranked #3, but their front seven has never faced an elite O line like the Niners.

    BTW – I know folks are upset with Kaep’s play in the last game, but he was going up against the #1 passing defense! I’m sure that limiting the number of passes was all a part of the coaches game plan and it worked.

    1. Chewie, Tell us all about the games kap played against the Seahawks defense and the Colts defense. I’m sure that both those games was also the coaches game plan for kap. Limiting the numbers of passes? Lol !

  4. Im not worried about the cardinals. Another team ppl are getting up in arms about. Who cares that the cards are young up and comers, so are we, and our young ones are more hungry to prove they belong on the same team as our vets. No team is the league is set up like we are. And as for kap, in my opinion hes even more frustrated at this offense than we are. Look at him on the sideline, he looks furious. I think he hates this conservative crap. He wants to make plays and i believe he’s beingg told not to make them. Its like he told Vernon last year, “Man i just wanna play”. He will get his chance again…. And whe he does, like the greatest once said, he’s gonna make ppl “eat their words”

      1. Probation. Community service and a fifine. I think the suspension from the league would armistice a year combined with the DUI. I think Also has some rough water ahead of him. He’s gonna need someone watching out for his best interests. Someone to keep him stable. He’s gonna miss quite a bit of football when these cases are resolved. I think a season.

    1. Never mind and NFL suspension, he could be facing Jail time if convicted. Good thing he isn’t able to have a drink right now.

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