Bruce Arians: Arizona Cardinals coach calls story 'fake news'

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 26, 2017 at 10:43 PM
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians refuted a report Tuesday that he has decided to mutually part ways with the Cardinals after this season.

Arians labeled the suggestion in Pro Football Weekly as "fake news."

"If you want to ask me about this fake news story that has come up, I'm quoting the President now, nothing has changed," Arians said, laughing. "I don't know where all that s-t came from. Nothing has changed for the last month and a half, and everybody keeps asking the same question."

Arians said he eventually will sit down with his family and evaluate his situation and hopefully make a decision before February if he plans to return for a sixth season with the Cardinals. He is under contract for next season with a team option for 2019.

Arians was asked about the Pro Football Weekly report specifically and why others also have speculated as well that this will be his final season as head coach of the Cardinals.

"I have no idea, I don't even know who in the heck this guy is," Arians said. "I don't know where these supposed meetings took place. That's fun. It was good reading."

So, is he getting a little sore about all the false reports?

"I'm getting a little tired of it, yeah," he said. "There will come a time and a place when we decide what we're going to do. I guess Larry (Fitzgerald) has put up with this for like eight years. I guess I can put up with it for one."

Arians said the prospect of finding and developing Arizona's next quarterback of the future is intriguing to him. He called the one season he spent with the Colts in 2012 working with Andrew Luck one of the greatest experiences of his coaching career.

He also mentioned how nice it will be to have all of his injured players back next season to pair with a dominating defense that really has come on over the second half of this season. He hasn't, however, spent any time this year thinking about his future.

"I never think about it," Arians said. "That's why I get tired of them asking the question. I never think about it."

--Veteran safety Antoine Bethea suffered a torn pectoral muscle during Sunday's 23-0 victory over the Giants and has been placed in injured reserve. It wasn't immediately known if Bethea will undergo surgery or not, head coach Bruce Arians said on Tuesday.

Arians said Harlan Miller and Justin Bethel will likely be called upon to try and replace Bethea for Sunday's season finale at the Seahawks, although Arians said, "taking five interceptions out of there is tough."

--Head coach Bruce Arians on defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who returned a 21-yard fumble for a touchdown, with his mother, who flew in from Nigeria, watching from the stands: "We need to get her here more often. It was great for him to get that touchdown for her here at the game."

--Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald completed his first NFL pass during Sunday's win over the Giants, hitting Jaron Brown for a 21-yard completion on an end-around option. Fitzgerald had 1,221 career receptions before completing his first pass.

Dating to 1950, Fitzgerald join Rob Moore as the only players in franchise history with a pass completion, 100 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in a single game.

Fitzgerald's completion to Jaron Brown apparently helped Brown achieve a $500,000 incentive clause in his contract. It was his 30th reception of the season, a career high.

"I love Jaron and he had two catches today," Fitzgerald said. "And I made him an extra $500,000, so I'm happy for him and his family. Merry Christmas, Jaron!"

Does Fitzgerald know all of his teammates' contract incentives?

"Absolutely. Absolutely," he said. "You know that I'm an information gatherer."

NOTES: LB Edmond Robinson was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad. He played in 21 games for the Vikings the past two seasons. Robinson signed with the Cardinals on Dec. 22. ... S Antoine Bethea had two interceptions in the win over the Giants -- the first multi-interception game in his 12-year career. And he almost had a third pick of Eli Manning. "I was close, man. I had my fingers crossed," Bethea said. "I was wishing and hoping, but it feels good. It feels good." It was Bethea's fourth and fifth picks of the year -- a single-season career high. ... K Phil Dawson totaled five points in Sunday's game against the Giants. With his 21-yard field goal in the first quarter, he passed Sebastian Janikowski (1,799) and moved into 10th place on the NFL's all-time scoring list. Dawson has jumped five spots in the all-time scoring list this season after beginning the year ranked 15th with 1,698 points. ... WR John Brown played in his first game in a month and caught his first touchdown since mid-October in Arizona's 23-0 win over the Giants. "It felt good to just be out there, period," said Brown, who had been battling a toe injury for the past month.

REPORT CARDS VS. GIANTS

--PASSING OFFENSE: B - Drew Stanton got it done despite two interceptions, which turned out not to hurt the Cardinals at all. Larry Fitzgerald was a game changer in the first half and we finally saw a glimmer of hope out of John Brown, who returned after a four-week stay on the injured list with a touchdown grab. The pass protection was pretty good overall as Stanton was sacked only twice.

--RUSHING OFFENSE: B - The Cardinals finished with 74 yards overall with Kerwynn Williams leading all rushers with 51 yards on 16 attempts. He got dinged up again in the fourth quarter, according to head coach Bruce Arians, and Elijhaa Penny pitched in with 24 yards on eight carries. The team's average of 2.7 yards per rush wasn't good, but it looks a lot better after a 23-0 win.

--PASS DEFENSE: A - The Cardinals only got to Eli Manning once, but Deone Bucannon's strip-sack and Robert Nkemdiche's 21-yard fumble return for a touchdown helped put a signature wrap on Arizona's first shutout performance in 25 years. The defensive line was outstanding and the secondary got two interceptions from veteran safety Antoine Bethea.

--RUSH DEFENSE: A - The strength of the Cardinals' rising defense choked out yet another opponent on the ground, holding the Giants to just 43 yards on 20 carries as a team. Rookie Wayne Gallman led the team with 18 yards on 10 carries. Again, give much of the credit to the defensive line, who dominated the line of scrimmage.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: B - They probably get an A if they don't miss an extra-point attempt. That being said, all the units played well as a group and there weren't any real meltdowns. Special teams overall have gotten better for about a month or so now.

--COACHING: A - Give credit to coordinator James Bettcher's defense, who dialed things up perfectly to get the team's first shutout since 1992, also against the Giants. Head coach Bruce Arians, meanwhile, tied Ken Whisenhunt for the most wins in franchise history with 49. He called a good game and his players delivered for him.

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