Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt had an unusual experience Monday morning. He stood up in front of the local media and talked about a win. That's not something that's happened since September 12 after the Cardinals (barely) won their season-opener against the Carolina Panthers.
As we've seen through nine weeks of the NFL season, the line between winning and losing is very thin. The Cardinals lost their first three games by a combined eight points and blew a 21 point lead over Baltimore on the road. The losses still count and the record is still only 2-6, but the confidence in the locker room after beating St. Louis on Sunday is huge.
"That's what it takes sometimes in this league. You've got to win a game like that to believe that you can do it," Whisenhunt said.
Of course, the Cardinals just barely escaped with the win over the Rams (not a very good team, in case you didn't know). They needed huge third and fourth down stops in short yardage and a fantastic blocked field goal by Calais Campbell (career 4th) to even have a chance for Patrick Peterson to explode for a walk-off punt return touchdown.
Whisenhunt said those two plays were examples of the players believing in each other and it's something to build off heading into a three-game stretch of road games that starts in Philadelphia against a very good Eagles team.
The Cardinals think they are ready for the challenge of Michael Vick and all that Philly speed on both sides of the ball.
"They'll be excited about this opportunity," Whiz said. "We felt like we made this trip a week ago to play a very good team in Baltimore and we handled that pretty well. We didn't finish it right. I think that will help us."
"We've played some pretty good football teams. Facing another good football team is not something we haven't seen before or are not used to."
The Cardinals will pick the brains of former Eagle players Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley for any advantage they can give but in the end they are going to need to play disciplined defense and get much more than 20 yards on 10 carries from Beanie Wells.
Whisenhunt said Wells poor showing was in part due to mistakes by the offensive line and blown opportunities in the game but also wouldn't discount the fact that Wells mystery knee injury is playing a role. Don't look for Wells to take a week off at this point. He wants to play and Whisenhunt said as long as he can do certain things (run, cut, etc.) he will play.
The Cardinals are going to need Wells, along with a healthy Kevin Kolb if they hope to compete on the road in Philly.
"We just have to see how it progresses," Whisenhunt said about Kolb's ailing toe. He's continuing to work hard on his rehab and is reportedly making progresses. The key remains his ability to push off and throw from his right foot. We'll have to monitor closely if Kolb practices this week to get any indication if he can go.
If Kolb can't go it will be John Skelton again. Whisenhunt said he was pleased with Skelton's poise and some of the plays he made but at the same time he missed several opportunities to take advantage of the risks the Rams were taking and how many players they put in the box to stop the run.