Cardinals Conference Calls: HC Arians and QB Palmer, 9-4-13

Posted Sep 4, 2013

(On his transition into his first year with the Cardinals)
“Fantastic. (Chairman and Owner) Michael Bidwell and (General Manager) Steve Keim, (Vice President of Player Personnel) Jason Licht, they all made it an extremely easy transition for me giving us everything we needed as far as coaching staff, players. We mostly avoided the injury bug except for one guy and had a great preseason, so we’re ready to go.”

(On losing rookie G Jonathan Cooper to injury)
“Oh, it’s huge. It was a body blow to us because he’s not just a great player, he’s a great kid. You hate for a rookie, especially your first pick who you feel so highly about, to lose him for the season.”

(On if a negative attitude has carried over from last year)
“No. Every year is a new year in the NFL and a new team. We’ve got 26 new players on our roster and a new coaching staff. Last year, a lot of these guys were on a Super Bowl team not long ago. So, we talk more about winning than losing and going forward and never looking backwards.”

(On his excitement to be a head coach)
“It’s extremely exciting for me. It’s something I never thought would happen. Last year was an unbelievable fairy tale ride for all of us, and the biggest part of that fairy tale was seeing (Colts Head Coach) Chuck (Pagano) get well and come back for that last game. But, yeah, it proves something to me. Whether it happened or not, I was satisfied that I had my taste and it was good. I could do the job, and Mr. Bidwell gave me the honor of being a head coach.”

(On never thinking he’d be a head coach in the NFL)
“Yeah, I never thought it would happen. I still don’t… if it wasn’t for Chuck’s illness, I don’t think it still would have happened.”

(On why he feels that way)
“After you win a couple Super Bowls as a coordinator, you usually get an interview and it never happened. At Indianapolis, I was very happy and I was with Chuck, so I was very pleased with staying there. Then, the opportunity came to talk to a couple teams because of his illness last year and what happened, so that really opened the door.”

(On QB Carson Palmer and how he fits in with their plans)
“He fits in beautifully. He’s a gym rat. He can still make all the throws. He’s athletic enough to move around in the pocket. He’s not one of those scrambling guys, never has been. I’m more of a traditional quarterback guy, anyways. Playing against him for all those years in Cincinnati, I knew how tough he was. And you want a tough leader with grit to lead your football team. It took 24 hours and he had this football team in the palms of his hands. Defense got better because they now believe the offense can score points. I think it was an outstanding move for he and I.”

(On Palmer’s skillset)
“He’s fantastic. It’s hard to go get a No. 1 draft choice like that at quarterback in the trade that we got. Like I said, he can still make every throw. He’s as pretty a deep ball thrower as I’ve ever seen. He’s still got it, and he’s extremely accurate. A big thing is we’ve got to keep him upright.”

(On if the Arizona offensive line will be able to do what he wants them to)
“Yeah, I think so. I feel very confident right now even with the injury to (Jonathan) “Coop” (Cooper), that the guys that we’re going to put out there are legitimate and they’re going to do a good job. We have dept. Through the injuries they had here last year, it provided some young players opportunities to play and prove they could play and build some depth for us.”

(On not having LB Daryl Washington for the first four games of the season due to suspension)
“Well, again, taking a Pro Bowl player out of your lineup always hurts, and ‘D-Wash’s speed and big play ability, we’ll miss for four weeks. You just have to treat it like he’s injured and go on. We were fortunate enough to get Karlos Dansby to come back, a veteran player who is very savvy. Then, we’ve got a young kid in Kevin Minter and Jasper Brinkley in free agency. So, I like our linebacker corps.”

(On the two new starting safeties)
“They‘ve played extremely well so far in the preseason. I’ve always respected Yeremiah Bell, one of those guys – he brings it every day. Rashad Johnson played extremely well when he got his opportunities last year. And then, the young fellow Tyrann Mathieu has added something to it, as has Tony Jefferson who kind of came out of nowhere as an undrafted rookie and had a few interceptions and a bunch of tackles in the preseason. I feel like we’re experienced with Yeremiah and Rashad and young and on the rise with the other two kids.”

(On building a program in the NFC West)
“Yeah, it’s very similar for the last seven years of being in the AFC North – very physical, good defensive-minded football teams. The thing that’s different is that over there you had (QBs Joe) Flacco, (Ben) Roethlisberger, Palmer, and at that time Derek Anderson went to the Pro Bowl for Cleveland. Here, you have more athletic, young quarterbacks who are moving around and then you have Sam (Bradford) and Carson. I have always loved Sam. I thought Sam was going to be an outstanding player, and he looks like he’s getting there. I think when you have quarterbacks and you have defenses, you’ve got a pretty good division.”

(On what problems the Rams offense can create, specifically by using WR Tavon Austin)
“He’s a dynamic player. You could see it coming out. Every time he touches the ball, you hold your breath. Not only did you throw it to him at West Virginia, he ran it. So, you have to get ready for some things. Knowing (Offensive Coordinator) Brian (Schottenheimer) a little and his past, there’ll be some Wildcat with him. There’ll be some other things, but he is a dynamic player. The thing that I’ve seen, they’ve added great speed around Sam with (TE Jared) Cook, (WR Chris) Givens, (WR Stedman) Bailey, and Tavon. They’ve got great speed now on offense. Their backs can run and catch. So, they present a ton of problems.”

(On what problems the Rams defense presents, specifically the pass rush)
“There’s no doubt. Any time you play (Head Coach) Jeff (Fisher), you know you’re going to have two defensive ends that can rush the passer. This defense reminds me a lot of years ago when they had (DEs Jevon) Kearse and (Kevin) Carter. Two high-energy, high-motor, outstanding pass rushers, the speed they added with (LB Alec) Ogletree – they’ve got great speed on defense, and they’ll be a great challenge, especially playing inside.”

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer – Conference Call – September 4, 2013

(On the transition from Oakland to Arizona)
“It’s been a great transition. I’m definitely settled in and comfortable and excited about this opportunity. It’s been as seamless a transition as you can ask for especially coming in to… everybody’s on the same page where it’s a brand new system, a brand new offense, a brand new defense. It’s not like a bunch of guys have been here forever running the same scheme. It’s a situation where I was coming in to learn a new system, and I was learning it alongside everybody else on the team. It’s a very easy transition and just excited to get the season going.”

(On his excitement to get a fresh start this year)
“Yeah, I’m very excited about it. It’s a new division, new team, new city, new everything. So, I’m excited about it and honored to be the quarterback here. And like I said, just excited to get the season rolling.”

(On his style fitting well with Head Coach Bruce Arians)
“It’s been really good for both us, learning from each other. He’s been running this system for a very long time and had a lot of success at a bunch of different stops along his way. To be here and be the head coach, and also be the (offensive) coordinator, there’s a lot on his plate. Myself being a veteran, being around for a while, I think it kind of eases that transition for him of from the start of the season being the head coach and the offensive coordinator. At this point right now, we’re still learning each other, still getting more and more comfortable with each other. As the season goes on, I’ll get more comfortable with what he likes to call. Then all of a sudden when plays come in through the headset on the field, I’ll have a better rhythm and better feel the more opportunities we get of what plays are coming up.”

(On Arians’ philosophy of going downfield a lot fitting his personality)
“He’s not ashamed or worried about taking too many shots downfield. He likes to dial up the big play-actions, the long play-actions. He likes to just throw straight go routes or post routes. I think that’s definitely one of my strengths. It’s been a really, really good combination of himself and myself.”

(On working with WR Larry Fitzgerald)
“He’s phenomenal. Obviously, everybody knows that. He’s been doing it for a long time. He makes amazing catches, he makes the easy catches. He runs great routes, he’s 6’4”. He plays extremely physical, he runs really well with the ball after the catch. He’s got a bunch of young guys that want to be like him and want to have the type of career that he has had. There’s no better way to learn from one of the best than just doing what he does every day in practice, and that’s working hard, being where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there. It’s a great way to teach those young guys, not with words but by action. His actions speak louder than any words can because he’s always grinding, he’s running routes, he’s working at his craft, he’s staying after practice just to catch balls. These guys have just been following his lead and it’s a very young group that’s just champing at the bit to be household names and be big time receivers like he is.”

(On playing in the NFC West being a battle every week)
“Yeah, it is. I don’t think it might be the best, I think it is the best. It’s a very defensive-minded division. A very physical division, but there are a lot of really good offensive players, and there are some good offenses in this division. And we want to be one of those good offenses. I know St. Louis does. You’ve got a very dynamic team in San Francisco with their offense, and then, obviously, with some of the additions that Seattle’s made and some of the improvements they’ve made there, they’ve been a very good offense – really a well-rounded division. Like I said, I think it’s the best in football, and I think it’s good for us four teams. I think whoever comes out on top of this division is going to have an easier game to play in that first round of the playoffs just because you’re so used week in, week out having to win every one because you know somebody’s going to lose. You know nobody’s going to go undefeated in the division and every game is so important. I think we’re a lot better than the rest of the league thinks, and I think St. Louis is a lot better than the rest of the league thinks just because everybody is talking so much about Seattle and San Francisco that our two teams have a lot to prove of ourselves.”

(On playing a division opponent in the first week of the season)
“It’s great. I think it really sets the tone for the season. These division games are so important, and you have to win these division games, and you have to win the ones that you get at home. Obviously, you want to come out and get a win, but to come out and get a win in the division is just a huge jump start to your season.”

(On if the Rams defense presents any challenges for their offense this week)
“Absolutely, tons of challenges. I think, first and foremost, you’ve got two premier pass rushers. Double-digit sack guys, very high-motor guys, guys that aren’t just pass rushers, they play the run very well, and then two really good guys inside. So, their defensive front is as good as you’ll see. On the back end, you’ve got very young, talented players. (CB) Cortland (Finnegan) may not be young, but he’s extremely talented. I and our team have the utmost respect for him because he’s such a physical player. You can tell he loves the game, and he going to – 16 weeks – bring and give you everything he’s got, and we know he’s going to bring his A-game on Sunday. And just a bunch of young, talented guys around him. (CB) Janoris (Jenkins) is obviously a very talented player. (S T.J.) McDonald’s a young, talented player. It’s a very good defensive football team, and then you combine the fact that Jeff Fisher, I think, is one of the best in the league – really running the show on defense. It’s a huge challenge for us, and then on top of that we’ve got to place in their stadium in their crowd noise. We’ve got our hands full.”

(On the excitement of the first game of the season)
“It’s the best. Yeah, there’s nothing better than opening day.”