For the last few weeks the focus from the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff has been on cleaning up mental mistakes and getting everyone on the same page. This team felt like they were close to turning the corner and the numbers certainly gave credence to the idea that this team wasn't as bad as the 1-3 record showed. Now, that's all changed.
For coach Ken Whisenhunt the equation has changed to blaming the players for not making plays.
"As a whole, our players have been in position to make plays and we haven't made plays and that's hurting us," Whisenhunt said. "You're going to have your times when you miss tackles or when you hit the wrong gaps, that happens in this game. We're not off-setting that with enough plays to compensate for that."
Whisenhunt specifically mentioned a missed opportunity by CB A.J. Jefferson to making an interception early in the game and called out Kolb missing TE Rob Housler for an easy touchdown before the half.
When asked specifically how much of the responsibility he takes for the team's performance he, of course, said that as the head coach it's on him. But he was also quick to point out that he took this team to the Super Bowl and gave no indication of changing anything about how he does his business.
"You know what, I'll tell you. I know that what I believe in, what we believe in, works and I know you stick to it. I remember four years ago, a lot of people banging on us saying we weren't a very good team and we went to the Super Bowl. I believe in sticking with what we know works. If we make plays, then so be it," Whisenhunt said.
So, to recap, the excuse is no longer on the lack of reps in the offseason or mental mistakes and Whisenhunt accepts responsibility for everything but isn't going to change anything. The blame rests on the players for not making big plays in timely situations.
It's not for us to say if that's right or wrong, but it is certainly interesting to note the change.
Monday morning spin
Whisenhunt also deftly downplayed Kolb's remarks after the game in which he seemed to call out his team for not working hard enough and even showing up late to meetings and practices.
"I guess maybe he's talking about meeting even more," Whisenhunt said, adding that players were already meeting after and before practice and there were no issues with people showing up late.
The Cardinals enter the bye week which brings a different schedule. The team will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with a focus on third down and red zone situations. They are then off Thursday through Sunday per the new CBA. Next week, preparation begins for the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on October 23.
For more on the Cardinals, visit AZ Revenge of the Birds blog.