Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians spoke on a conference call with Bay Area reporters Wednesday morning. Here are selected quotes.
Q: When you look at the 49ers, do you see many differences from the 49ers’ team you faced in the past?
ARIANS: No, it’s still a very, very talented roster. They’re probably the only team that had so much talent, they could lose four or five guys and still not miss a beat. Trent has always done a great job of stocking that roster. I don’t see any weaknesses anywhere. And it’s good to see NaVorro (Bowman) back out there playing.
Q: How confident are you that your team is capable of another big offensive showing against the 49ers?
ARIANS: When you look at last week, Ben (Roethlisberger) did so many things that weren’t on the script. He scrambled out and threw one 50 yards down the field. He was typical Ben on fire. When he can make plays like that, he’s very unstoppable. I didn’t think it was breakdowns in the defense as much as it was Ben creating things. I think they’re very, very sound defensively in what they’re doing.
Q: What do you think of Kenneth Acker?
ARIANS: He looks like a very active guy, very good in zone coverage. Can also play man. They don’t play a lot of single-high safety stuff, so he’s got help back there. And he’s a good tackler.
Q: Can you talk about how well Carson Palmer is playing this season? He hasn’t gotten sacked.
ARIANS: A lot of that’s on him. We have given up some hits, and he has gotten rid of the ball. We haven’t protected him perfectly by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve done a pretty good job, and he has done a great job of getting rid of the football. He’s probably playing at a level right now that’s as good as anybody I’ve ever coached.
Q: How has Palmer improved since you have coached him?
ARIANS: He’s probably in the best shape of his life after coming off that rehab and doing all the work he did on his body. His arm is in great shape. Mentally, he went through and stayed with the process as far as getting prepared and (watching) all that film. He’s a film-watching fool. He always had questions in the offseason and wanted to continually get better in the offense. Now, I think he has a total grasp of it. He communicates with his wide receivers all the time. They’re always on the same page. There are very few lapses anymore of guys not being on the same page.
Q: You like to take a lot of shots downfield. How did you develop your offensive philosophy?
ARIANS: Having been a wishbone quarterback, I always loved play action and throwing it deep. Those feelings have permeated throughout my entire career. Even if we have a short pass, there’s a deep pass option. You just have to play smart and not scared.
Q: Have you noticed anything different with Colin Kaepernick in terms of adjusting your guys’ scouting report on him?
ARIANS: Yeah, I think he has progressed as a quarterback. It’s obvious when he’s in the pocket going across his progressions, his footwork. He has put a lot of work into it – that’s obvious to me as a quarterbacks coach. I applaud him for that. They do what he likes to do, but he has progressed as a pocket passer.