We prepare ourselves for a good Arizona Cardinals football team, a team that’s made a lot of changes in the offseason - of course, many [unrestricted free agents] and the trade for Kevin Kolb. They’ve lost two games by a total of four points. They won their opener at home and then they went on the road and lost a very, very close game. I tried to analyze the game very closely the other day. It was a divisional battle and back and forth, back and forth. They did a good job of moving the ball down into position. Of course, Larry Fitzgerald made a great play to provide them with their only touchdown, but they were eventually nosed-out. I studied the Washington game. The very interesting thing about that is you have a 22-21 score with an opportunity for the Cardinals to win the game and yet they had 21:30 time of possession. The Redskins held the ball for that long and really denied them the ball. Now I think the other day against Seattle they went 21 per cent on third down and that probably was the thing, when you looked at it, that prevented them from having more opportunities to be in position to score. A team that is very physical. Their front is very physical. Their defensive team is pretty much veteran laden except for the corners. They’ve gotten Peterson in the draft, in the first round, who is an outstanding returner, punt returner, with an 89-yarder to his credit already this year. Jefferson on the other side, the other corner has a kickoff return of 51 yards. So they have outstanding returners. They have a very good kicking game and Larry Fitzgerald, a guy that every team recognizes and tries to defend. They have a guy with a 17-yard average and 73-yard touchdown on a double move against the Redskins, who went up over the top of people and took the ball off of their heads the other day for a touchdown, as I mentioned. Beanie Wells will play against us and he has done an outstanding job as a runner. They have very good balance. They’re right there, even. They’re just a little bit more, I believe, run than pass, but very close to 50/50. They do a good job of that as well. A good, tough, physical football team that we’ll play this weekend and we must get ourselves ready with the kind of preparation we had last week, which was outstanding.
Q: Does last week’s win help this week?
A: Last week’s win is over. That game is over. It’s a new week, a new game, a new team. The same type of preparation, the same kind of focus, the same kind of appealing to the professionalism of the athlete knowing full well you can’t go into a game with great confidence unless you’re well prepared. You don’t know this team very well. It has been a couple of years since we played them. So there has to be extra time and effort put into it.
Re: Success thus far with short yardage defense
A: We really played well in the middle in this particular game. That’s what I thought. Both stands were physical and I thought we were pretty good in the middle of the field.
Q: Is there a big change in Arizona defensively?
A: New coordinator. They’ve had, I think, three coordinators in five years. They’ve had some changes there and you see it a little bit. This is a 3-4 team, probably in the style of the Steelers, Ray Horton, the style of the Steelers. There’s changes. Play a little bit under.
Q: Does going against Larry Fitzgerald present the same type of problems your corners faced last week in Philadelphia?
A: You’re talking about a different physical style. But the same kind of problem.
Q: Is Eli making a concentrated effort to cut down the interceptions?
A: Everybody is. Everybody is. Everybody is. Everybody is. The point was driven home so hard that there isn’t anyone in the room that can’t quote you all of the stats and so on and so forth. People are trying to do a great job of focusing on ball security. From Eli’s standpoint, don’t throw to people in trouble, try to stay away putting it into the tightest spot.
Q: Are you aware of their red zone offense?
A: There is no doubt that they have been very good at it but we have been pretty good when we have been in there, too. We are four out of five when we start in there as well. We will just keep chipping away. We are aware of their entire team and what they do and don’t do. We will keep chipping away in that area as well.
Q: You have emphasized not taking chances and turning the ball over, how do you explain the second touchdown to
A: Trusting the receiver. I was the first guy cheering.
Q: What does all these players stepping up mean for you?
A: Hopefully it provides us with more players with confidence that they can perform in big games and under that kind of scrutiny and perform well.
Q: How is
A: He won’t practice today but he has made more progress with both injuries so we are encouraged by that part.
Q: Will Osi practice?
A: He is going to practice.
Q: With limitations?
A: There will be but I don’t think that he thinks of there being any kind of limitations.
Q: How is Prince?
A: He is a ways away.
Q: How will Osi impact how you use your players?
A: We are going to use all the players we can.
Q: But during practice? Is he going to have a similar practice schedule as last year?
A: We will see how that is. I am hoping that we can have one good day and then not have any repercussions the next day. That will help us understand what we’ve got. I would like to have Osi get some practice time. I think he definitely needs to spend some practice time with his teammates to put himself back in those situations. Perhaps, if we are fortunate enough, we will not have any repercussions.
Q: When you have players with physical issues who are limited in their ability to practice, how do you balance their preparation and know they are ready to play the game?
A: You know that they are working hard and studying in their position meetings and tape. They have to visualize themselves and make the corrections as if they were the ones playing that position. They are veterans, so they have done it before, and if they are young ones then you really do have to keep you finger on them.
Q: Is the preparation more mental in those instances?
A: Yes, but you have to get them on the field at some point. Whether it is Thursday or Friday, you have to get them on the field at some point except if it is a really exceptional case. You really do have to be out there and practicing.
Re: changes to
A: He has changed in a lot of ways. He is a play caller and more in the helmet. He is directing traffic and getting us lined up. He has had a lot of responsibility that way and he has responded well.
Q: With Tuck, is the groin more of an issue now than the neck?
A: No, it is just multiple issues.
Q: Has Eli picked it up in recent weeks after what seemed like a slow start?
A: I don’t know if I would use the word ‘slow’ but I would say that there was some caution before based on the new figures and people around him and how they would react to what he thought they would do and what they did. That takes time. That’s why you have to have an offseason.
Re: finally appearing to get some guys back instead of losing them and the effect on the team
A: I think there is a feeling in the room of something accomplished in terms of guys lining up and playing with what we have. We get extra people in here and it is going to be a positive thing but it doesn’t change the amount of work and preparation. That is where the emphasis is and flexibility.
Q: Are you worried about Osi’s mindset after his comments of last week about playing for his teammates and coaches but not necessarily the organization?
A: I don’t sense anything. When we talk it is all about getting ready, getting on the field and getting going.
Q: How has the offensive line progressed?
A: Communication, continuity, and reaction time. I would say that it is the overall feeling that people do understand the schemes and what we are trying to do no matter how quickly they have to make adjustments. That is where the progress is.
Q: How do you plan to use Prince when he returns:
A: We have to put him on the field and figure out what he can do.
Q: Is that going to be a process?
A: I am sure it will be. He is not going to just walk out there. That didn’t work last time, remember?
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