TEMPE, Ariz. – If the NFL chooses the Arizona Cardinals to appear on the hit documentary-style series “Hard Knocks,” it better get ready to battle Bruce Arians.
The Arizona coach said during his weekly segment on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he would fight "all the way, all the way" to keep his team from appearing on the show.
“I think it’s a total distraction and I think it’s an embarrassment to the players,” Arians said. “I think when players are released that some of the things that are said between coaches and players are too personal and nobody else’s business.”
NFL owners passed a rule Tuesday during their fall meeting that if no team volunteers to be on “Hard Knocks,” which airs on HBO, the league can choose a team to be followed during training camp, with three exceptions: teams with new coaches; teams that reached the playoffs in one of the previous two seasons; and teams that appeared on "Hard Knocks" within the preceding 10 years.
If the Cardinals don’t make the playoffs this season, they’ll be eligible to be chosen by the NFL. If that happens, grab some popcorn and watch the gloves drop.
Arians reiterated a lot of what he discussed during Monday’s news conference, but he also offered up a few good tidbits:
Arians expected the kind of game he got out of Daryl Washington, one-handed interception and all. “It was a Pro Bowl performance right off the bat,” Arians said.
Of the Cardinals’ new-found penchant for playing better in the second half instead of the first, Arians said, “It’s kind of become [our] trademark, and I like it.”
Darnell Dockett talked about it after the win, but Arians said he had never seen Patrick Peterson “so animated. Our offensive players were really pissed. It was like, 'OK, you woke up'" during halftime Sunday against the Panthers.
Arizona put a few “wrinkles” into the game plan on Thursday to help its run game, including using rookie Andre Ellington, some cross motion and speed sweeps, Arians said. “Most of it was a disguise.” It appeared to work because Arians saw Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly hesitate.
Arians admitted Carolina’s front seven was on his mind more than he wanted to say. “I was really concerned because they were coming off the open date and knew they’d be fresh,” he said. But the Cards’ running game neutralized the defensive line’s impact.
The defense and special teams are playing better than Arians expected at this point, he said. But the offense has “deteriorated since St. Louis.”
Arians said there are two primary ways the Cardinals can improve: “If we can just protect the football better offensively and get a little better [on] third down … we could be a pretty good football team.”
But the Cardinals can’t afford to lose anyone else this season: “We can’t take too many more injuries,” Arians said.