Bruce Arians

Coaches yell at players. In that way, Bruce Arians is just like everybody else.

Here's where the Arizona Cardinals coach differs: after he's done yelling, he makes up with the player. As featured by Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal, Arians makes it a point to smooth things over after berating his players.

"I'll mess up on the practice field and he'll scream and curse at me," defensive back Tyrann Mathieu tells the WSJ. "Then he'll find me before meetings start -- he'll give me a hug, tell me it's all good and ask how my family is."

That's nothing like most NFL coaches, but Arians considers it a key to his success. He describes his up-and-down strategy as, "coach them hard, hug them later."

"As long as they know that you care about them," he said, "you can call them anything."

It's a bit unorthodox in a profession that prides itself on toughness and grit. Hurt feelings would seem to have no place in the NFL, but Arians actively works to make sure his players feel respected and valued.

And, at the same time, those players acknowledge that they don't need something screaming in their faces. These aren't snot-nosed kids -- they're adults, and veterans, with a sharp sense of what they need to do.

Still, they need to be coached. But Arians tries to inject a little humanity into those moments.

And players understand that they shouldn't take Arians' comments personally. It's all about applying pressure and improving performance -- his style has nothing to do with who they are as people.

When that pressure isn't needed, he dials it back and engages them as people. So far, it's working: the Cardinals are 4-2 and leading the NFL in scoring.

Maybe other coaches should start feeling the love and dish out the occasional hug.

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