Arizona Cardinals' head coach Bruce Arians returned to the team Wednesday after an overnight stay in a San Diego-area hospital Tuesday evening.
Arians missed the team's joint-practice with the San Diego Chargers Tuesday afternoon and checked into a hospital after experiencing stomach pain.
Arians was diagnosed with diverticulitis by doctors, and said during his Wednesday media availability he was feeling "much better," after the health scare.
"Much better, a little bout of diverticulitis and I'll go to practice today and see how it goes," Arians said. "I'm too old not to listen to doctors anymore. I have a tendency to push it, but we'll go out today and see how long we'll stay and it's nothing serious."
The fourth-year Cardinals' coach even joked that he went to the hospital on purpose when asked about his hopes of shaking things up for his team this week. Arians said doctors advised him to change his diet and drink more fluids on a daily basis.
The Cardinals are in San Diego this week ahead of their Friday preseason matchup with the Chargers and scheduled joint-practices with Mike McCoy's squad to change up the monotony of training camp.
Arians has increasingly delegated responsibilities during his tenure with the Cardinals and that paid off for the team on Tuesday as the head coach knew his assistants would be more than capable of running the team's practice in his absence.
"I think those guys are more than ready to handle the practice," Arians said of his assistants. "It's all scheduled, I was just going to be an observer anyway. So I think it's helped a bunch."
The resiliency of the Cardinals' head coach rubbed off on his players, including cornerback Patrick Peterson and quarterback Carson Palmer who said they knew Arians wouldn't be away from the field for too long.
After receiving assurance late Tuesday that Arians would be okay, Peterson said Arizona's players were able to focus on handling their business on the practice field.
"He's (Arians) doing great, and like I said, same old BA (Arians), he's so strong and courageous," Peterson said. "It's just unbelievable and I believe his attitude and his mindset definitely trickles down to his players."
Sharing the field
Peterson said the opportunity to play against a different opponent in a practice setting was a welcome sight for Cardinals players who have grown tired of beating up on one another through training camp.
"Practice was swift, it started a little slow but we got it going eventually," Peterson said. "For the most part, I thought it was a successful joint-practice. We got good work on special teams, defense and offense, and I think it's always good to go up against a different opponent versus beating up on each other for four weeks straight."
Palmer echoed Peterson's sentiment saying the experience is especially valuable for quarterbacks, who become used to lining up against the same personnel and fronts each day.
Palmer said one of the most important parts of holding joint-practices is the chance to line up against a team with unfamiliar calls and different schemes, because he said he now knows Arizona's defensive calls and code words off the top of his head.
"You get so excited for these practices that you forget there's a game, because these are as important as the game is," Palmer said. "I'd like to get to Thursday and look at Tuesday and Wednesday and see what improvements we need to make because we're going to see very similar looks on Friday."
Tuesday was also the first time safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Justin Bethel and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker were able to take to the practice field with the Cardinals. Though Arians did not anticipate any member of the trio to take reps immediately, their activation from the physically unable to perform list Tuesday allows the players to earn mental reps and begin integrating themselves into drills.
In Mathieu's absence, the Cardinals have received an extended look at free agent signee Tyvon Branch, who can play safety and nickel corner. Peterson said the ability to pair Mathieu with Branch makes the Cardinals' secondary as potent and as athletic as he's seen during his time with the organization.
"This is by far, the most athletic we have been in my six years of being an Arizona Cardinal," Peterson said. "Tyvon (Branch) can play all over the place just like Ty (Mathieu) and I think that's going to be huge for us throughout this season because now we can plug both of those guys in two different positions. They both can pretty much do the same thing and they both have great range of motion and that's what we need our safeties to have."null