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Calais Campbell Hopes Breakout Lingers

Posted Oct 7, 2016

Notes: Mathis, Iupati ailing; Floyd continues to struggle; Palmer still in protocol

Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell (93) tries to return an interception Thursday night in San Francisco.

The plays came finally, if not easily, for Calais Campbell Thursday night.

That near-sack he missed against the Rams (which teammate Markus Golden later snared) became a foot-grab sack of Blaine Gabbert. The defensive tackle revisited his high school basketball days (16 rebounds a game) by jumping to grab the deflected pass for an interception. And he followed the devastating bull rush of nose tackle Corey Peters to notch a second sack and a safety.

“I knew I was due up,” Campbell said Friday. “I’ve been working very hard … and sometimes things just fall your way.”

The Cardinals have found a way to rush the passer with just four, using a combination of mostly Golden, Campbell, Chandler Jones and Alex Okafor. Golden is leading the NFL in sacks with six, and Jones – who had a nice game against the 49ers as well – has four.

Bruce Arians clearly would like to see more from Campbell, something the coach hasn’t been afraid to say the last couple of years. Arians was asked, Campbell had a good game Thursday but how would you assess his first five games as a whole? The coach didn’t miss a beat.

“He had a real nice game last night,” Arians said. “Hopefully, he’s going to have a real good one next Monday. His stats speak for themselves.”

Campbell had been sackless coming into the game. While he had mostly played well against the run, the Cardinals want him to cause more problems on passing downs.

“There were still a few plays out there that I left that I am really disappointed with myself,” Campbell said. “But at the end it was a great game to be in. A lot of guys making plays.”

OFFENSIVE LINE INJURIES COULD BE AN ISSUE

Both starting guards, Mike Iupati and Evan Mathis, left the game against the 49ers with ankle injuries. Arians said both were still being evaluated, but added that there was a chance there would have to be roster moves. Arians said Iupati “is looking a little more promising than Evan.”

The Cardinals were still able to run the ball well after both players went out, albeit against the worst run defense in the league. Earl Watford was filling in for Mathis, while tackle John Wetzel – who had worked at guard but not since training camp – filled in for Iupati.

“He played outstanding,” Arians said of Wetzel, who received at game ball for his effort. “It was next-man-up at its finest.”

FLOYD WOES COME FROM “PRESSING”

Michael Floyd continues to struggle – he did not have a catch Thursday – and Arians acknowledged that even though Jaron Brown has played well and John Brown has gotten healthy, Floyd’s drop in playing time is because of Floyd’s problems.

“If Mike was having the type of year I was hoping he would have, he’d be out there a bunch more,” Arians said.

Arians said Floyd simply is pressing too much, not making receptions on passes that are “natural, ordinary catches that he makes in his sleep.” Floyd was targeted three times against the 49ers. He dropped one pass on the sideline concerned about getting his feet down. A deep shot late was hampered because quarterback Drew Stanton slightly underthrew the pass.

The only way out of it, Arians said, was to keep throwing it Floyd’s way and let the receiver know the Cardinals still have confidence in him. The fact Floyd – who has only 12 receptions for 170 yards in five games -- will be a free agent after the season can’t be ignored.

“I’m sure that has a lot to do with it,” Arians said.

PALMER PROGRESSING

Arians said quarterback Carson Palmer was lifting weights Friday. While he was still in the final stages of the concussion protocol and Arians couldn’t say for sure Palmer would be back for the Jets game Oct. 17, the coach was optimistic.

The players don’t get on the field again until Wednesday, although most were working out Friday and will do the same early next week.

Linebacker Kevin Minter also entered the concussion protocol after suffering his injury in the fourth quarter. Arians anticipated Minter will be OK. Defensive tackle Josh Mauro (chest), who sat out the game, also should be back against the Jets.

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