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Arians disappointed, not discouraged by opener

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)

(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)By BOB BAUMAP Sports Writer

New Arizona coach Bruce Arians says he is disappointed but not discouraged by his team's near-miss season-opening loss at St. Louis.

''We had it in our grasp,'' Arians said on Monday.

The Cardinals led 24-13 in the fourth quarter but stalled on offense and faltered on defense as Sam Bradford led the Rams to the come-from-behind victory.

''It doesn't take a rocket scientist,'' Arians said, ''the most negative thing was the pressure on the quarterback and the sacks and the turnovers.''

Left tackle Levi Brown gave up three sacks to Robert Quinn and was called for a holding penalty. Carson Palmer fumbled the ball away on one of the sacks.

Arians blamed Brown's woes on ''poor technique.''

''Using your hands properly instead of getting your hands batted down and giving up the soft edge,'' Arians explained. ''I'm really questionable on the holding penalty. I thought Carson escaped and to me it wasn't holding, but it (the flag) was thrown. So, if you do poorly on four plays, they're really going to stand out at left tackle.''

He said keeping an extra tight end back to help out Brown just means increased coverage on the receivers downfield. He noted that on two of the sacks there was a running back there to make the block but he released too early.

Brown missed all of last season with a torn triceps.

Brown said the coaches watched video of the game on the plane ride home and ''they told what they think and obviously what they told me is correctable, hand placement and things like that on the pass rush, so we'll just get back to work.''

Quinn, Brown said, is ''a fast guy.''

''Him being on turf makes it even more of a challenge, but that's something I have to be prepared for,'' Brown said, ''and I just didn't get the results that I wanted to.''

Arians also said better technique is needed to improve Arizona's ineffective pass rush off the edge. While Palmer was sacked four times, Bradford was not sacked once.

''Each guy has a toolbox as we call it, and use what you have,'' Arians said. ''Don't all of a sudden go out and try to think you're a fast guy when you're a power guy, and do what you're coached to do. A couple of guys got out of control with speed instead of just using power and counter moves.''

The tree players up front - Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and Dan Williams - know they have to do a better job at getting to the quarterback, especially with Matthew Stafford coming to town Sunday for Arizona's home opener against the Detroit Lions.

''I put that on us,'' Dockett said. ''We've been talking about that since yesterday that we've got to do a better job at what we do.''

Outside linebacker John Abraham, whose 122 career sacks are the most among active players, was in the game for just 20 plays. Arians said it was because the defense was often in pass-protection packages but said Abraham needs to be in there about 10 more plays than he was.

There were many positives, though.

Arians said he thought Palmer was outstanding in his Cardinals debut. The 33-year-old quarterback completed 26 of 40 for 327 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Arians blamed himself for those stats not being even better.

''There were some shots we didn't take in the game, looking back,'' he said. ''We didn't throw a couple of balls that I would've liked to have called, mainly because of the pressure. Normally, I don't do that. There's as much for the coaches to accept as there is for the players. We'll all get better.''

Arians also said the receivers were excellent. He had special praise for Andre Roberts, who had eight catches, many on third down, for 97 yards, taking more than a few severe hits along the way.

''He was tough,'' Arians said. ''He was very physical in the running game, made every catch. It's a shame because that's the type of game you give a guy the game ball for.''

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AP NFL site: http://pro32.ap.org

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Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Tagged: Carson Palmer, Levi Brown, Robert Quinn, Rams, Cardinals

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