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Blunt Talk From Bruce Arians

Posted Dec 12, 2016

Coach says he will make no changes on the coaching staff after the season

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians reacts to a play during Sunday's loss to the Dolphins.

In his comments postgame to his team Sunday, Bruce Arians noted that his team likely wasn’t going to make the playoffs.

“Are you going to sugarcoat it?” Arians said Monday.

That is not how the Cardinals coach operates. During the rest of his press conference Monday, Arians stuck with that philosophy, including an impassioned defense of special teams coordinator Amos Jones.

“It’s been a snap or a punt or a kick all year,” Arians said when asked about special team struggles. “The one thing, coaches don’t do any of those things. So there won’t be any coaching changes. All right, let me make that perfectly clear today. They don’t snap, hold or kick. Players do those jobs.”

When asked if that meant there would be no changes on his staff in the offseason either, Arians said “yeah. Unless guys get (other) jobs.”

It wasn’t the only direct comment Arians had.

-- The probability of being out of the postseason doesn’t change Arians’ approach with personnel: “We’re not going to put young guys in the game to see if they can play,” he said. “We’re playing to win, not evaluate for the future.”

-- About the players being ready the final three games: “If you see guys cashing it in, you need to get rid of them.”

-- On cornerback Justin Bethel, who has struggled after a foot injury cost him all his offseason work and a chunk of training camp, when he was asked if Bethel is a work-in-progress: “He’s a failure-in-progress.”

But he was strongest with his special teams talk, calling Jones “a hell of a coach.”

“I watch him prepare,” Arians said. “I watch him coach. It has nothing to do with faith. I know the guy can coach. His players aren’t playing very well. They’re my players, so if I’m going to fire him, I’ll fire myself.”

Arians said the coverage units have been crippled with the “five best cover guys” on injured reserve, later noting Jaron Brown, Alani Fua and Ifeanyi Momah.

The special teams problems in Miami were mostly about the kicking game – kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 41-yard field goal off the upright, an extra point way wide left after a high snap, and a second extra point was not only blocked after a high snap but returned by the Dolphins for two points.

Arians said in hindsight, holder Drew Butler probably should have just aborted the final kick and tried an emergency pass, figuring in that scenario it was less likely the Dolphins get their two-pointer.

“I don’t think (Catanzaro) has a confidence issue,” Arians said. “It’s a lack of performance at a critical time.”

Catanzaro is now 29-for-32 on extra points this season and 16-of-21 on field goals. He did kick a 56-yard field goal Sunday. It’s not just the kicking that’s been an issue – Arians insisted had player like Brown and Momah been healthy, the Cardinals would not have surrendered the 104-yard kickoff return in Minnesota.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is on the kick coverage team and returns punts, was asked if the coaches or players should shoulder more of the blame.

“They go hand-in-hand,” Peterson said. “Can’t blame anyone. Coaches present the game plan, players have to execute.”

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