Cardinals players (12.15.19)

Cardinals Wide Receiver Christian Kirk

 

On the offensive game plan:

“I talked about it a lot last week, staying on schedule and not taking negative plays. We did that this week. Not getting ourselves in third-and-long, not taking negative plays on first down. Obviously with the run game going, you can see how potent this offense can be. I said it earlier in training camp, this offense kind of feeds off of those explosive plays and those running plays. It just opens everything up and everything just kind of clicked for us finally.”

 

On attacking the edges in the run game:

“Any time we can get the ball into our playmaker’s hands in space, that’s what we’re looking for in that aspect of our game plan. That definitely helped open up those inside runs, just the fact that we were stretching them sideline to sideline and then we were able to run our power schemes. It just helped a lot.”

 

On QB Kyler Murray’s emotions going against QB Baker Mayfield:

“I don’t even think it phased him to be honest. Every time he broke it down this week, the word he would use was win. That’s how you know that the only thing that was on his mind was winning. To be honest, that’s been on his mind every week, but we knew we had to get this  last one at home. Leave the fans with a sweet taste in their mouths leading into the next time we’re in the stadium next year.”

 

On his favorite of the reverses and option plays:

“It would hard for me not to say the one that I got on the reverse. I thought that was a pretty good play. It worked out well for us. We go into each week with at least four or five specials. It depends which ones get called off the sheet, but coach (Kliff Kingsbury) does a great job scheming those things up.”

 

On TE Dan Arnold’s touchdown:

“The first day he came in, he caught about two of those on practice squad and we were all kind of like… he quickly worked his way into the game plan.”

 

Cardinals Wide Receiver Damiere Byrd

 

On what it means to have a big role in this game and make some big catches:

“I just wanted to show everybody that I could play. It’s a long season, being inactive anything can happen. I was able to stay the course, and whenever I got my opportunity, I was going to take advantage of it.”

 

On how this kind of game affects the rest of his season:

“We’ve been together for so long and the season is so long so being out there, not being out there one day isn’t really going to affect anything. That just puts more emphasis on throughout the week and at practice.”

 

On what was working for the offense as a whole today:

“I think we were able to get the ground game going quickly, we were able to hit the edge and we were able to make those big plays. Whatever they gave us we took.”

 

On if he is thinking about next year and what kind of role he will have:

“Not really. We just want to end the season on a good note. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season. We’ve showed that we can play well, and we’ve also showed when we’re not playing that things can go bad. We just have to focus on doing the right thing, one play at a time, one game at a time and whatever happens, happens after that.”

 

On if he went into this week thinking he would have a bigger role than usual:

“Not really. I come into every week knowing that if plays come to me, I can make them. I thought that for sure that we were going to be able make plays and stay on top of things and not get behind the sticks.”

 

On if not being behind the sticks is the biggest thing with this offense:

“I think for us, for any offense when you get behind the chains, second and long, first and 20, things like that are very hard to make it up in this league no matter what type of offense you have. If you can stay out of the third and long and make them third and two, third and three, you’re in such a better spot.”

 

On if he was surprised he stayed on his feet when he got hit on the long reception:

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Usually someone like me doesn’t stay up for that one but I did.”

 

Cardinals Tight End Dan Arnold

 

On if he felt Kyler Murray might be looking for him on his touchdown reception:

“Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you get in the red, you’re going to be looking for jump balls and stuff like that. It’s one of those things where you motion out to empty and the defense probably knows you’re going to throw it up. Kyler is going to put the ball where somebody can make a play.”

 

On if he was aware of his feet to stay in play:

“I knew the sideline was pretty close. They didn’t give me a signal, so I was like ‘okay I don’t know about this’ so I didn’t want to celebrate too early. Then they gave me a touchdown signal, so it was good. It was close. I didn’t realize it was that close.”

 

On what is was like to come in and learn the playbook the last couple of weeks:

“It’s been interesting. It’s been a process, that’s for sure. There are some good coaches here. Especially Steve (Heiden) trying to get me caught up to speed. I think it’s been going pretty well so far. I’ve learned a lot. It’s a very different offense. At the end of the day you have to be willing to learn. I think it’s been an adjustment, but I’m starting to get more comfortable.”

 

On if he talked to Kenyan Drake on what is was like picking up the playbook quickly:

“Yeah, his was kind of a more stressful situation given the fact that he was playing that week. There has been a lot of guys in this locker room that can be someone to lean on to ask questions for sure. Since it’s such a young team everybody has been there so that’s one thing that’s nice about here. Everybody is willing to pitch in and give each other help. Everybody wants to see success for each other. That’s one of the promising things with this team.”

 

Cardinals Offensive Lineman Justin Pugh

 

On what was different today:

“It was the first game we’ve played all year where it was just start to finish. We had a lot of good drives, Kenyan played a monster game, Kyler made all of the plays we needed him to make, so it was a full game for us, which was good.”

 

On whether he had ever blocked for a guy who ran for four touchdowns in a game before:

“I can’t say that I have. I think coach said something like in 26 years we haven’t had a guy go for four touchdowns, and he got his first win of the season. So, Kenyan finally got a win. That was huge for him, so I’m happy for him.”

 

On the offensive line’s impact on Drake’s performance:

“We did some good things. It’s everyone working in unison. The offensive line always gets the praise when you run the ball well but, you know, it’s both ends of the spectrum. We did a good job today but Kenyan ran so hard, it makes our job a lot easier. It was a fun one; today was a very enjoyable game.”

 

On Kenyan Drake’s impact since joining the team:

“When he came in on that Thursday night game after being here for like an hour, and did what he did on that Thursday night game, I knew he was a true pro. He’s learning more and more of this offense and he’s going to continue to get better and better and I’m excited for what he can bring to the table for us. It’s great for us. It keeps us multiple. We have a lot of backs back that can make things happen and today he was just on fire. He was running hard, you put the film on, and he is running guys over, he’s not going down on first contact and it gets us juiced up to block for a guy who does that. Everyone feeds off of it and it’s just a runaway train at that point.”

 

Cardinals Running Back Kenyan Drake

 

On how good the win feels:

“I just feel like it’s the next game. That was my mindset this whole time. I wasn’t really thinking about it until it got to the point where people were talking about it. I feel like people are going to find something to talk about. I just focus on being where my feet are and taking advantage of the opportunities I was given and just playing ball. This game just happened to be a game where I was able to get under the win column for myself personally. It’s more about the team. The team was jacked up for this game and wanted to go out there and assert ourselves, and that’s what I feel like they did.”

 

On his four-touchdown performance:

“It feels really good. We talked all week long about playing a real dominant style of football. There were a couple of gift-wrapped ones where we were on the one-yard line, and all I had to do was fall forward. The O-line did a good job of just pushing the pile forward, and I was able to fall in with a couple other plays where I didn’t get touched going into the end zone. Sometimes it kind of just falls into your favor. I’m blessed to have this opportunity to play the game that I love.”

 

On why they were excited for this game:

“It’s the next game and next opportunity. We knew this was going to be the last time we play at home this year and play in front of these fans. We wanted to go out here and give them something to cheer about going into the offseason. We took it upon ourselves to play the ball we know we can play. Since I’ve been here, we’ve been in all of our games except for one. We just felt like we owed it to ourselves, the city and our fans to go out here and put a lasting effect on them, and that’s what I feel like we did.”

 

On the last time he scored four touchdowns:

“Probably high school. If I remember right, I have scored four touchdowns before. It’s really about this team and this win. I couldn’t have been in that situation without this O-line and Coach (Kingsbury) scheming up this game plan and trusting me to go out there and play the amount of snaps and carries that I had. I love this game. Every time I touch the ball, I go out there and I play with a fire just knowing that it could be my last play. I feel like that’s how this game plays as well.”

 

On if he felt like this was a group effort:

“When one eats, we all eat. That’s what I was telling them on the sidelines. These guys, they work their butt off to do their job. The least I could do is reward them for the job that they do because the person that falls into the end zone after a one-yard carry gets all the glory, but you have to let them know that it’s their time to shine too.”

On if his 137 rushing yards or four touchdowns were more gratifying:

“The ‘W.’ That’s the most important thing. That’s definitely something that week-in and week-out through OTAs, offseason programs and training camp. We go out and get one goal, and that’s get a win. My performance doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than there’s a next game, and we have two more left. We’re ready to put our best foot forward to go out there and play the ball we’re capable of doing.”

 

On being able to meet expectations the team has for him:

“It’s been really amazing to say the least. I went from being in a situation where I was in a specific role, and I wasn’t getting the carries I felt like I could to help the team win games. I was able to come out here and fulfill a need for them at the time. I came in three days (before a game) and was able to go out and play ball. I didn’t know the game plan all too well, the whole package or the scheme or anything. Kyler (Murray) would tell me that this was the play. I’d line up on one side and run to the other side, and I just played ball. That’s what it was. Now being in my fifth or sixth game, I have the ability the read the defense because I’m not just focused on what my job is. Now I can look past that and look at the DBs and see if it’s a six  or seven-man box depending on if it’s two-high or one-high, seeing the rotation of the safeties letting me know that there might be pressure on one side and things like that. Kind of getting back into the schematics of the game itself.”

 

On if he wants return to play for Arizona next season:

“I’m taking it one game at a time. The things I focus on, you know the old cliche ‘being where my feet are.’ We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

 

On if he thinks it is crazy that he has not won since the ‘Miami Miracle:’

“It’s not really something I was really focusing on. It was a wild stat, but now that stat’s history.”

 

On what it means for WR Larry Fitzgerald to win in what could be his final home game:

“I wanted him to get in the end zone that last play. They went zone, so they didn’t free up like we thought it could’ve. I’ve known the guy for five or six weeks now, and he’s definitely one of my favorite people. I’ve never met a person that knows so many people. He just has a catalogue of ideas. He’s way bigger than the football player. His nickname ‘Larry Legend’ fits well because he’s just legendary in everything that he does. It’s a pleasure, and I really appreciate the opportunity to come here and see him in the flesh and get to know him a little bit better. Getting to know guys in that sense, like when I played with Frank Gore last year, getting knowledge from him and other guys that have been in this league a long time. That’s why we play this game. Being in this league and seeing the guys that played this game for a long time and played at a high level, you see why they are who are because of the things they do day-in and day-out from a physical standpoint. Just being able to be the men that they are is impressive, and I appreciate being amongst them.”

On what he would say to Fitzgerald to talk him out of retirement:

“I feel like he has a lot more tread on his tires, the way he works diligently week-in and week-out. I feel like there’re a lot of things he’s accomplished, but he doesn’t have that top championship yet, so that’s one thing to play for.”

 

On how much the team is still adding to the playbook for him now or if he has it all down now:

“The things that I try to focus on now are all the why of a lot of stuff. When I came in they were just giving me the game plan, giving me the plays that I needed to know. Now as the weeks kind of progress, I kind of see ‘Alright, why is this play going this way?’ or ‘Why is this blocking scheme this way?’ Things of that sort instead of just being like, ‘Alright, they tell me what it is and I just run it.’ So that’s when you can kind of take the game to a whole new level when you get the why for things and understand that instead of reacting I can just play fast and just be like, ‘Alright, cool, this is the play.’ Now I see what the defense is doing and it kind of mirrors up with the things that coach (Kingsbury) has been talking about in terms of going out there and playing fast and making sure you put your all into every play.”

 

On if being able to focus more on the why came in this week or if that started earlier:

“Every week I was trying to add a little bit into trying to focus on the game plan itself because I can’t really try to focus on something they installed in training camp when it’s not really relevant. But when you start to get to those things, obviously you can’t do everything at the facility, you have to do things away from the game as well. So, I would just kind of look at the playbook. They have iPads where I can go through and look at different games from previous weeks before I got there and just seeing, ‘Alright, that play looks familiar, this play looks familiar.’ Just kind of getting the ins and outs of why the plays are ran in certain situations and understanding if it’s third-and-one and he (Kingsbury) had an idea to call this play, and when he does, then I’m like, ‘Alright, now I’m kind of on the same page from a cerebral standpoint.’”

 

On if he felt like they were going to try to get Fitzgerald a touchdown instead of getting him a fifth:

“I wanted him to get that. You heard the crowd. You have to get the crowd what they want.”

 

Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald

 

On what the win meant for morale:

“You have no idea. It was like going to a funeral every day. To be able to see the guys compete and fight hard against a good Browns team that still has playoff aspirations, it shows you a lot of character and resolve with the men that you have in this locker room. It was fun to be able to go out and win. We executed in all three phases today and that was a great team win.”

 

On if he heard the fans chanting his name down by the goal line:

“Yeah, I did. I was hoping we were going to give it to Kenyan one more time, for him to get in there five times. That’s tough to be able to do and it shows you his dominance, the way he was able to perform in the passing game and the run game and really did a good job in blitz pickup too for us. All around, he had a wonderful game and it was a great team win.”

 

On what has impressed him about Drake’s time as a Cardinal:

“Just how fast he’s able to pick up the system. He’s been working his tail off, every single day he comes to work. I never like to follow him into meetings, though, because he made me late to a meeting one time, so I can’t do that, but I’ll follow him anywhere else. He’s done a great job for us, honestly, he’s been a wonderful teammate and we were very fortunate to pick him up mid-season.”

 

On what balance does for the offense:

“We’re very difficult to handle when we’re running the ball like that. When you have 100 yards rushing and you can keep teams off-balance and Kyler can do what he does best in terms of running those RPO’s and taking shots down the field and beating teams with his feet. He’s really a tough cookie to solve and I think you saw the very best of him today, being able to operate the system, I think that’s the future for the Arizona Cardinals.”

 

On the fast start:

“When we stay on schedule, no false starts, no holdings, not getting behind the sticks, we have a lot of great concepts. I think that was on display from the very beginning. We keep teams off-balance with the run and the pass and the RPO game and guys, when they get the ball in their hands, they can make explosive plays. You saw that with Damiere’s slant. Guys just have the ability to turn it on and it’s fun to see. Hopefully we can finish this season with that same mojo.”

 

On playing with a bit more emotion for potentially his last home game:

“I told you guys, it’s a job. I love what I do, but when it’s over, it’s over and I’m not going to lose any sleep. I’ve got a lot of great things ahead of me…everybody’s replaceable. There’ll be another number 11 here in a couple months after I leave. He might not be as handsome as I am though.”

 

On what beating a team in the playoff hunt says about the team:

“We have high character men in this locker room. I’ve known that from the very beginning. It hasn’t equated to the victories and the success that I would like and that we all would like. But the men work hard, they stay together, they fight and that’s really the sign of a good culture being created here. With the youth of these guys here, the way they fight, that bodes well for the future.”

 

Cardinals Cornerback Patrick Peterson

 

On how his body is feeling:

“I felt great, moved around all week. My legs are finally coming back to me. Coach Buddy (Morris) told me, ‘A superior athlete that misses one week is almost like missing two weeks.’ So now this is technically like my 10th week getting back in the swing of things, so my body is just starting to come back around and I’m feeling great.”

 

On his interception and who he pointed to:

“I felt pretty good. My boy Jay Feely (CBS announcer) told me I was going to get one today and that was for him.”

 

On how the win feels as a team:

“We’ve been there all year. We’ve been in close games all year and to finally have a win like this at home with the last game of the season here, it can give us momentum going into the 2020 season. Hopefully we left the fans with a good taste in their mouths and hopefully we can come back and continue building on these last two weeks and that can roll over into next season.”

 

On if covering wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. gave him extra motivation:

“No doubt about it. It’s my first time ever going up against Odell. It was a pleasure. One fellow (LSU) Tiger against another. It was a fun matchup; it was a fun game. I knew I was going to have a couple opportunities with Baker (Mayfield) being the gunslinger that he is, and I just wanted to make the best of the opportunities when they came toward me.”

 

On if this was his last home game:

“No. This won’t be my last home game here. I’ll be back.”

 

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