ARIZONA CONFERENCE CALL WITH TAMPA BAY MEDIA
HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On the decision to keep the team in Sarasota for the week)
"That was the biggest thing – for us, two 10 a.m. kickoffs in a row, we felt like staying east would benefit our guys from staying off six and a half, seven hours on a plane going back to Phoenix, and then coming right back. So, we felt like that was the best thing for us – maybe get back into a little bit of a training camp mode."
(On the difference between coaching last year, as an interim head coach, and this year)
"It's very similar. It was very easy for me last year, because [Indianapolis Colts Head Coach] Chuck [Pagano] and I share a lot of exactly the same philosophies, and it was easy to work for him and then continue in his absence. The foundation that he laid, it's a very similar one that we have put in place here. I believe very strongly that a team is what it takes for winning and everything that you do individually never supersedes the team."
(On having to replace all three starting linebackers this week)
"That's a chore. I've had to replace two out of three running backs but never all three linebackers. We've got a young person on the practice squad, Donte Moch, we really like. We signed Vic So'oto. We'll move some guys around, and I'm sure [defensive coordinator] Todd [Bowles] will handle it defensively and give us the best chance to win."
(On the decision to bring quarterback Carson Palmer into Arizona)
"Well, going back and looking at him in Oakland, he can still make all the throws. It was not the best of seasons, but he came out every week and he looked prepared and ready to go and led his football team. [From] his years in Cincinnati - and mine in Pittsburgh - I knew how tough he was. We'd always go after him and he never backed off. I knew that he had grit. Not until I got him did I realize what a gym rat he is, and [he] loves football, loves preparing for the game. That's the type of quarterback you really like to have."
(On if the system makes the players or vice versa)
"The players always make the system. You don't ask players to do things they can't do, and you try to put them in positions to be successful, that's really what coaching's all about. It's not having a scheme and then pounding square pegs into round holes. We feel like Carson can do everything that we want in our offense, and we have to do a much better job of protecting him and run the football better."
(On being able to stretch the field with Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald)
"It's fun. You're trying to get the ball up the field, whether it be a short pass, long run, the ball doesn't really have to be in the air that long. I think the press is the ones that named me 'The Long-Ball Guy,' but I don't like standing back there, holding it, and throwing it deep. I like throwing it short and getting it out and running fast and making plays down the field. We will take our shots down the field, but they don't have to be 50-yard balls. I think, with [wide receiver] Mike Wallace in Pittsburgh, those things led to this reputation, so I'm cool with it. But, yeah, we want to take our shots, but we also want to be very smart with the ball."
(On wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and his matchup with cornerback Darrelle Revis)
"Well it should be a good one, you're talking about two guys with about $200 million between the two of them. They ought to put on a show. They can't cancel each other out, nobody wants to see that. I think they'll both win some, lose some. We have to be smart in where we attack. The one thing we have done with Larry is obviously move him around a lot more than he ever has in the past. His injury slowed him down the last 10 days. He was pretty much full speed in New Orleans so we're hoping that there's no regression to that hamstring."
(On losing all of their starting linebackers)
"Well you can find football players; you can find bodies to put out there that'll play hard. What we loss was two of our heartbeats, [linebackers] Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander were huge, high energy players, high role models on our football team. That's the part we're going to miss more so than the football. We've got young guys that I think are going to play really well. Can they match that character level, that high energy level, that those guys brought every game? Not only on defense but they were core special teams players."
(On if the Buccaneers look like an 0-3 team)
"Not at all, they look like a team that's lost two games in 10 seconds. They should be 2-1; I think they know that, we're preparing for that team. There's a ton of talent, I love watching their defense play, I like the way they play defense. Explosive high energy and they're very talented. It's going to be a great challenge for our offense against their defense. I think they have one of the best young running backs in the game [Doug Martin] and loved him coming out and think the world that he could be – he reminds a lot of Edgerin James when we had him as a rookie."
(On defensive back Patrick Peterson)
"He's 6'-2", 250 [pounds] and runs 4.25 [40 yard dash]. When you're given all that talent and you get a high-energy, high-motor guy, extremely intelligent, he should be a great player. He's done a great job defensively. We haven't sprung him on a punt return yet, we have to do a better job of blocking for him. Then, fitting him into the offense, he's too talented to sit him on the bench when we've got the football, so we continue putting in a package for him on offense."
(On motivating a team that has lose a couple of games)
"Stick together and stick together as a team. All three phases, carry each other, have each other's back. Last year we never lost two games in a row and that's veteran's leadership. You challenge your veterans that you never lose two in a row."