Cardinals Loss From Self-Inflicted Wounds Hurt, Progress Promised

The Arizona Cardinals are convinced they beat themselves in Seattle more than the Seahawks won the game. They point to any number of mistakes from offensive players not lining up in the right spot, to blown tackles and gap assignments to missed field goals. It was a game they felt they could have won and if you believe the talk, that they will win later in the season.

In the meantime, it was a bitter coach Ken Whisenhunt who talked about the game.

"It stings because we've had the opportunity the last two weeks to have the ball in our hand at the end of the game with a chance to win it or at least be in it and we weren't successful there. If you look at the teams in the NFL, the ones that are successful are the ones that are able to do that way more often than they aren't."

Kevin Kolb didn't make himself available to the media on Monday before the team went into afternoon meetings and film sessions so we will have to wait to hear from him directly. His interception late in the game with the team in position to at least try a field goal and send it to overtime was obviously a key moment.

Whisenhunt called Kolb's performance "uneven" and said that while he did some things well, there's still a lot to improve on, "I have no doubts that we will continue to improve offensively, especially at the quarterback position, as we progress."

Defensively, Whisenhunt was pleased with the performance. He cited the pressure they defense got on Tavaris Jackson without having to blitz and how fast they played flying to the ball. There were mistakes, especially in the run game, but overall the defense did it's part. 

Injury update

There were no new injuries to report out of Sunday's game. Whisenhunt expects running backs Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling to play Sunday against the Giants. LB Daryl Washington (calf) came through the game OK and made some strong plays.

Wells was close to being able to go but the decision to hold him out was to prevent additional injury that could have hampered him for the next three to four weeks.

Kicking game

Whisenhunt thought the wind pushed Jay Feely's first field goal to the left and he speculated that Feely didn't hit the second one well.

"I'll say this about Jay, he's mentally a very strong guy and I have great confidence in whatever kick he's kicking, the next kick is going to go through. I believe in Jay."

Other notes and quotes -- Offense

  • The Seahawks doubled Larry Fitzgerald in the second half. The Cardinals move him around and do a few things to get him open but the key is to hit the open guys on the other side of the field which in turn will open things for Larry.
  • "Obviously, if it gets to a point where we don't feel like we are getting the ball to Larry,  we're certainly going to try and do it," Whisenhunt said
  • Kolb is still learning the new scheme and being asked to do things he's never done before. "All of that contributes to some growing pains and we went through that, a little bit, yesterday (Sunday). That falls on all of us, players and coaches, to get the right mix. Not having too much, not trying to do too much and we'll do that. I do believe that when we are confident and execute he does a very good job," Whisenhunt said.
  • The scheme of runs were solid and had opportunities in the run game. Alfonso Smith ran hard in his first regular season action. He'll be even better next time. Smith gave his performance an "F" since the team lost. 
  • "Really, it was a great opportunity for me. Obviously, we didn't get the win and that's disappointing but I just want to go out there and just show everybody that I can play in this league," Smith said.
  • "We're the one's stopping ourselves. We've got to make corrections, we've got to get a lot of guys on the same page...For us to shoot ourselves in the foot, that's what hurts the most," Guard Daryn Colledge said.
  • Some issues on offense include not having the right guys on the field in the right alignment and then not understandings the check calls at the line of scrimmage.
  • The hurry up offense did some good things but there were also some bad things the Cardinals were lucky to make plays off. That's why they didn't go back to it. It's the first time it's been used this season and the full package isn't installed yet.
  • "We had mistakes on third down, especially in a couple of situation where we had chances for plays. We had two third and shorts that we didn't convert and that hurts you too. Less than a yard where your expectation is you are going to convert those. That's not acceptable," Whisenhunt said.
  • "In looking at our plan and what we did in the game, we had our opportunities and it was all because of mistakes that we made. Those are things that we have to clean up," Whisenhunt said.

Other notes and quotes -- Defense

  • "As far as being around the ball, getting pressure, and making some plays it was a noticeable improvement for our defense (Sunday)," Whisenhunt said.
  • Got more pressure from non-blitzing front. Happy with rotation and how Clark Haggans and Joey Porter played. Peterson and Jefferson both look better and are making progress.
  • Thought the defense played faster, flying to the ball, getting pressure on the quarterback. Both Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell both played well. 
  • "The defense played real good. We're definitely making progress and getting better each and every week. Now, we just have to finish out games strong so that we can win these ball games in the fourth quarter," Paterick Peterson said.
  • On Peterson's interception at the end of the half, Whisenhunt would like him to try and break a play. Much better chance trying to make something happen against the opposing offense. Adrian Wilson told Peterson to take a knee.
  • "The old guy told me to get down," Peterson said.
  • Peterson is the "most natural fielder of punts that I've ever seen," Whisenhunt said.

For more on this game, visit Revenge of the Birds Cardinals blog.

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