Arians “don’t sell no one no dreams”

Posted by Darren Urban on September 25, 2014 – 1:51 pm

Veteran Tommy Kelly, about whom I will be writing a story about next week, was talking about his relationship with the Cardinals’ coaching staff. The big defensive tackle didn’t feel like he had the best communication with Patriots coach Bill Belichick down the stretch of his time there. It’s been a lot different for Kelly with Bruce Arians and company.

“People get much more out out of a veteran player if you’re just up front with them,” said Kelly, who came into the league in 2004. “(Arians) don’t sell no one no dreams.”

Maybe more than anything, that’s been the biggest thing Bruce Arians has brought to the Cardinals. He’s talked many times about his “Coach ’em hard, hug ’em later” philosophy, which includes more than a couple of curse words most practices but an ability to have that tension wash away as soon as the final horn for practice sounds. More importantly, Arians is across the board doesn’t lay the manure on when he talks to his players. Arians is blunt when meeting the media and he’s the same with his roster. “Players respect the truth,” Arians said, and sometimes, that means being brutally honest. His assistants do the same.

Yes, it can sting, I am sure. But there isn’t anyone on the Cards that can can claim they are in the dark about their role. I remember at one point last year — in the summer of 2013 — when a coach let Larry Fitzgerald know that sometimes, his job was to attract the defense so the ball could go elsewhere. That (among other things) was probably hard for Fitz to hear, but he knew where he stood. When Arians let the world know — presumably after he had let Cooper know — that Jonathan Cooper wasn’t playing the way the Cardinals hoped he would, that’s the message received.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the player is always going to be happy about hearing what he’s hearing. But as long as Arians isn’t selling any dreams, the truth works more than it hurts.


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26 Responses to “Arians “don’t sell no one no dreams””

  1. By azfaninwa on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Remember when Tommy Kelly said Kevin Kolb was playing scared after a preseason game? He wore a raiders uniform back then and our O-line was a broken turnstile. Glad that both of those things have changed.

  2. By krehbieo14 on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    It’s amazing that Arian’s lead management style is not adopted by more organizations/corporations. Being brutally honest with employees about their performance while holding them accountable is critical to personal and professional growth. Additionally, creating a culture of connection based on trust, respect and loyalty increases productivity. Why don’t the “boss managers” get the fact that they are alienating people with arrogance and negativity? Thank you BA for bringing a healthy climate to the Cards!

  3. By Scott H on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Gotta say, I really do love BA and how he does things. I loved Vince Tobin for his approach and philosophy that there were too many historians around the Cardinals ( so aware of all that they had NOT done ) and not enough pioneers who were willing to aspire to something more. I initially loved Ken Whisenhunt for his even-keeled, confident, yet quite intense, approach. Loved that he wasn’t afraid to go with unconventional tactics ( bringing Warner in as a change-of-pace QB to spark the offense when Leinart was struggling ) or using a surprise gadget type play ( like the pooch kick ) to go after a team when the Cards had them on the ropes ( did it against the Eagles in the NFC title game). But…then Warner left and the magic went with him. The ensuing crash was ugly and it has tempered my opinion of Whiz to this day.

    And I loved Dave McGuiness for his enthusiasm for being the coach of THIS team ( despite the lack of success ).

    But BA…I think BA might be on his way to being my favorite coach of all time. He has made a believer out of me, pretty much the same way he has with his players. I may not like certain things initially, but I trust where it is coming from. And I will continue to trust it as long as the results are what they have been.

  4. By br in nc on Sep 27, 2014 | Reply

    And to think, I was actually bummed out that Andy Reid didn’t make it out of KC, to even interview with the Cardinals. I did cheer up when I heard that BA was coming in for an interview, admittedly I didn’t know a ton about him, but his time as the Colts interim head coach, and what he accomplished in such a short time while Pagano recovered impressed the hell out of me, I was hoping beyond hope that somehow we could lure him away from Indianapolis, at some point I was so worried that he just didn’t want to be a head coach, I mean he had been in the league forever, but never been a head coach, even though. He was so highly thought of,by all NFL executives, I finally did put 2 & 2 together, got 4, and realized he was the Steelers OC when they beat us for the Championship, and I just knew we had to lock him in a back room somewhere until he agreed to be our head coach!! I could see my beloved Cardinals coming back and gaining some respect, and picking up more and more wins in 3-5 years!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would have the season we had last year (I was a huge proponent of somehow keeping Ray Horton as DC) or the depth across the board (pass rush/sacks being an obvious weakness still, but with 2 key injuries and I would argue 3 key injuries…Abraham, Dockett, the obvious, and IMHO, Honey Badger is the third key injury that has hurt/weakened the pass rush) is very damn impressive by anyone’s standards!! Of course major kudos have to go out to SK and his team in the front office as well, BA & SK mesh so well together, you would think they have been working together 20 years now, NOT just over a year and a half!!!

  5. By Kauaicardsfan on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Love this Coach! NO BS from BA !!! Thats how it should be!!
    Straightest distance between 2 points, Right between the eyes!!!

    GO CARDS!!!

  6. By georgiebird on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    It’s a chicken and egg thing:
    Can BA implement this “honesty approach” because he has been successful?
    Or is BA successful because he is honest with the players.

    After Bill Parcells won his 2nd SB, he used motivational techniques that would be rejected by the players if he had no rings.

  7. By Darren Urban on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Arians

    Well, he did it from jump last year and hadn’t won anything. And he did the same in Indy the year before, and that’s been his M.O. since forever — ask Tim Couch, or Ben Roethlisberger.

    It’s who he is, regardless of win-loss record. He seems to have been successful through the years, though.

  8. By Ben on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Well said Scott H.

    I just love that it feels like I constantly know where the team is. Most sports they try to leave the fan in the dark. But with the style BA has with the media I feel like I am part of the team. I also feel like I know more about the players because BA gives you little insights to their ability and what they do well. BA is quickly becoming my favorite coach of all time. (Winning helps too 🙂

  9. By cards62 on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    One of the reason I am so excited about our team is our entire coaching staff. I hope we can keep these coaches together for a long time. My favorite Cardinal Coach was Don C. and do you remember we fired him after going 8-8.
    I hope Bruce and his group surpass Don C. and I think they can. They are definitely making adjustments during the games and winning games we would always lose in the past and getting more out of players than others.

    Another reason I am so excited about our team is that after numerous seasons of having no starting quarterbacks this year we have two starting quarterbacks.

    Way to go front office and coaching staff.

  10. By cardinal on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Great Coach …..Darren do u think team might head to Denver early next week , so to prepare for high altitude game ?

  11. By Darren Urban on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Cardinal —

    RE: Leave early


  12. By georgiebird on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    BA did come to AZ not from “jump” but as the NFL Coach of the Year.

  13. By Darren Urban on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Arians

    Not sure what point you are trying to make. I said he was being brutally honest from the start here. He’s been this way his whole coaching career. He didn’t just start coaching in Indy in 2012.

  14. By Eazy E on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Tommy Kelly has been a breath of fresh air on and off the field. He was right and I agreed then about Kolb being skittish years ago and he’s right about Arians; He makes no bones about where you’re at and I respect that as a fan.

  15. By ryan on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply


    I am unable to see any text on “birds of a feather”- its just blank. I didnt have any trouble last year.

  16. By Darren Urban on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Ryan —

    RE: Chat

    Not sure what the issue would be. I am seeing everything fine on my end on multiple platforms.

  17. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Lotta deserved love for BA on this thread. As BA said, one week he’s a genius, next week an idiot. What may gain BA longevity here is his theme of “teaching”, with all the extra coaches that Bid has come out of pocket for, especially with likes of Tom Moore and Tom Pratt and Larry Zierlein. BA has surrounded himself with like-minded smart coaches.

    Btw, we may have caught NYG just right. Eli was on fire against us and we still beat him. He was unbeatable last night. Possible NFC Championship rematch?

  18. By joe67 on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Cards 62. There was a lot more to the story of Coryell being fired than the fact they went 8-8.

  19. By Dynosoar on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply


    I just read your followup and appreciated the comments. Thanks. I didn’t see that Skuta could’ve pulled up, but if he could’ve then he should’ve and that yellow bit of cloth was appropriately thrown. The Niners certainly weren’t playing with the same respect Fitzgerald showed Serman last season. Too bad, they’re taking on the Raiders old nasty mentality, or so it seems. The Raiders don’t have that culture anymore, it went across the Bay.

    I still don’t think it should’ve been called, but we watched it a little different, mine being on a streaming computer screen which may be the difference. Hey, enjoyed the back and forth. Look forward to some more this season and beyond and to even seeing some things the same.

  20. By Dynosoar on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Patrick Hoog AKA,

    It may be because he was throwing against a Redskins team. Then again, maybe we are that good. It will make that Redskins game a little more interesting to watch, do we blow them out as well. How well will Eli do in the coming weeks. Your comment opens another layer to my watching this year.

  21. By T.Stone on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, Off topic but a question for you that I might have already asked. If I have I am sorry. You know I have said before what an invaluable service you provide to us Cards fans in how interactive you are, but have you considered a separate message board that we as fans could post topics and comment on while we are waiting for your next post or chat?

  22. By Darren Urban on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    T. Stone —

    RE: Message board

    Already have one:

    Also, shoot me an e-mail at

  23. By Richard S on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    joe 67 – It would be interesting to see what you mean when you say there was more to Coryell’s firing than the fact that they went 8-8. As I recall in the press it was about wanting to keep Metcalf who was elusive but held the ball with one hand when he ran and fumbled a lot, but I liked Metcalf. I hope it wasn’t anything like what got Harry Caray fired as a Cardinal announcer, at least what I heard caused that.

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