So much is riding on the 2017 NFL season. The Hall of Fame Game showed little as far as promise for the future of this team. The 20-18 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was merely an exhibition event and the starters for either team didn’t even play. In abundance, what Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals do have is unanswered questions. What they are lacking, is time.
And healthy players out on the field.
This upcoming season for Coach Bruce Arians and his tenure with the team may very well be his last. Also in question is the time remaining for the veterans of the team. Quarterback Carson Palmer has a one year contract with the Cardinals worth over $24 million and Larry Fitzgerald is under contract for one year and $11 million. This 2017 season is most likely do or die for the team and their mighty pursuit for greatness. Under Coach Arians, “die” is not an answer.
Coach Bruce Arians Answers Preseason Questions
Coach Arians was asked last week what he saw after watching the film from the Hall of Fame Game. The head coach responded, “Same thing the other night. Those guys- (Budda) Baker, I thought played very fast. Rudy Ford played really well. I was really surprised because he hasn’t played at safety that long but he closed a lot of ground fast. (Robert) Nkemdiche was very disruptive; Olsen Pierre was disruptive; Hasaan (Reddick) played solid, no mental errors at all. Offensively, I thought Blaine (Gabbert) obviously played really solid in those drives. I would‘ve liked to have seen him either throw the ball away-he cost us three points on the scramble-throw. Hang in there or throw it away and get the three points.”
To the fans, Gabbert has done a fine job so far after two full weeks of practice for the team, and a first half of a game. He looks poised and accurate, with the ability to connect with receivers in the end zone, as well as, sustain drives down the field. Coach Arians also mentioned what he likes about the back up quarterback at the press conference.
“His poise mostly. His accuracy. I thought his accuracy was outstanding because those balls down the middle were not primary receivers. It was a really good throw to Brit (Golden) with tight coverage; and to Troy (Niklas). Just his overall play and the only negative play was that third-down play.”
The head coach was asked if there was a chance Gabbert pushes Drew Stanton for the number 2 spot, and Coach Arians answered, “There’s a chance, but it’s a long way to go. Drew just knows the offense so well.”
The media day press conference can be viewed in it’s entirety, here at Arizona Sports 98.7FM.
Most Recent Enquiries
This early into the preseason period (which didn’t officially start until Wednesday) makes it difficult to evaluate players and the full extent of their talents. Players come and go, year in and year out, but the core of this team was built for longevity and for winning. Now, into the third week of practice and Coach Arians has already figured out for the most part who his “53” will be. Of course, injuries will hamper any coach’s progressive decisions when it comes to building the perfect 53 man roster.
Saturday the Cardinals take on the Oakland Raiders for their first “official” preseason game. The Cardinals’ starters are supposed to play about 15-16 snaps (one quarter) in this one, so it will be fun to watch. This is what Coach Arians had to say on Wednesday about the upcoming match up.
“I’d love to see what our offense did last week. Take the ball down and have a really good drive and score points. The last thing you want to see is three-and-out, three-and-out. And it’s a good challenge. That’s an excellent defense. We’ll see a different style defense than we see in practice, so it’ll be a good challenge for the offensive line.”
Bruce Arians had this to say about the Cardinals new slew of recent injuries. “Added to the injury report: Rudy Ford tweaked a hamstring; probably looks like he’ll miss the game. Chad Williams, shin splints; will definitely miss the game-possibly, he possibly could play. We’ll see how that pans out.”
The interview can be viewed in its entirety here at Arizona Cardinals.com.
One healthy, young player still on his feet and seemingly standing out among the rest of the team, would be rookie safety Budda Baker. Drafted by the Cardinals in the second round (36th overall), Baker is really turning heads in training camp. At 5’10”, the rookie may appear a little short in the height department, but he seems to make up for it out on the field with his hard work ethic and God-given talent. Baker has already made a name for himself with Coach Arians. The head coach likes to call him “Fish Bait”.
“He don’t like it,” said Coach Arians. “Quit biting on the play-action passes and he’ll get rid of it quick. I like the aggressiveness.”
Embed from Getty Images