HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(on the team’s turnaround this season)
It would take a while (to list the reasons). The biggest thing is the belief in each other. I think the coaching staff, the assistant coaches have done a great job, and our players bought into the system. We have great veteran leadership; offensively, Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, and defensively there’s too many to name. We’ve had our injuries like some teams, but the next guy has stepped up.
(on valuable offseason acquisitions)
I think most of the guys we signed, we signed quite a few free agents, veteran players who would play for free, guys who just love to play football and not necessarily the most talented players at their position. They come to work every single day with great preparation and great practice habits. Yeremiah Bell, Matt Shaughnessy, Lorenzo Alexander, John Abraham, guys that have resumes that were willing to join and Carson Palmer and Eric Winston and some veteran guys…we’ve been unfortunate in that most of our rookies got hurt and are out for the season, but the veteran guys have stepped up.
(on the additions of Karlos Dansby and John Abraham this year)
It’s really hard to put in words. We signed John (Abraham) late thinking (he would be) a third-down pass rush specialist, and we go down to New Orleans and lose all three outside linebackers in the same game. He went to our starting outside linebacker position and has just played fantastic against the run and against the pass all season. Karlos (Dansby) was adding a great leader who had been here. The veterans here, there weren’t many left, and he walked in with a great deal of respect. He has just played fantastic. He’s in probably the best shape of his career and having a Pro Bowl year.
(on improvements with the run defense)
I think the emphasis from Todd Bowles when we came in was we’re going to stop the run, and we’re going to be a penetrating, disruptive front, not a two-gap style team. A lot of our guys embraced it, especially the D-line. We have excellent defensive linemen who are physical and who are penetrators and Todd (Bowles) has turned them loose. Our linebackers, bringing Karlos (Dansby) in and getting Daryl (Washington) back after the suspension were huge.
(on Carson Palmer’s improved play over the past month)
I think it was just a learning of the offense. All of the quarterbacks I’ve been with, starting with Peyton (Manning), Ben (Roethlisberger), and Andrew (Luck), the first eight games are tough. It’s usually after the eighth game where everybody has got it. It clicked here, not just with Carson (Parlmer), but trust within the receivers running the same routes over and over, getting the familiarity.
(on his impressions of
Well, evaluating him (Justin Hunter) coming out last year you saw a ton of talent, a bunch of possibilities. He has been a great player, and it looks like he is working hard and getting there. They’ve got a slew of game breakers at receiver,
(on the Titans’ defense)
They look as good or better. The front four they keep rotating guys, and Jurrell (Casey) looked like he’s just playing outstanding. (Derrick) Morgan, their front seven is playing solid. Their front four is very disruptive, and (Akeem) Ayers I think is one of the most versatile players in the league. He’s the disruptive player where you have to know where he is all the time. I think the best thing about them is their young secondary is playing dynamite.
(on making a final playoff push)
The biggest thing for us is winning on the road. We’ve played very, very close on the road and lost three that we had a chance to win. For us to get to the playoffs, two of our last three are on the road in tough places to play for us. It starts right there in Nashville. We’re in the playoffs as far as we’re concerned, but if we lose we’re out.