PHOENIX — The positive to take from the loss to St. Louis last week was that it did not have to be one, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday.
“What I told the team last week, I didn’t think they knew how good they were. That was my biggest fear for this team,” Arians said. “Now they know. They know how good they can be. They have to go out this Sunday and prove it.”
The Cardinals play their home opener against Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
The newness of the product from the front office down combined with a lethargic 2012 season probably had a lot to do with any Cardinals’ uncertainty, Arians continued.
“When you take last year into consideration and all the new faces, coaches, players, it’s hard to figure it out until you play a game for 60 minutes, not just 20 or 30,” Arians said.
“There were flashes in the preseason. When you play the Rams like you played them and you have an 11-point lead and you have a chance to win a ball game like that, sometimes you don’t know until the wrong thing happens. I think now we know we can be really good.”
A Carson Palmer fumble led to a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter, and the Cardinals had two first downs on the final three possessions, the last after falling behind with 40 seconds left.
As far as building a belief system, “I think he is speaking to some of the younger guys,” Palmer said. “As a veteran, you know when you are on a good team.
“There is also a side to it where you don’t want to be patting yourself on the back too much, especially coming out of a game with a division team where you don’t win. I think his main thing is, losing is unacceptable. We need to execute and win games, because we are good enough to do that. That was his message, and we received it.”
Arians would like to Cardinals play with the confidence his Indianapolis Colts had last season, when they tied an NFL record with seven comeback victories.
“It’s a ton,” Arians said when asked of the role confidence plays.
“Every time we got the ball with two minutes last year, there was never a doubt we would win the ball game. there shouldn’t be any doubt we can win the ball game now.”
So Suh me
Detroit defensive tackle Ndomukong Suh has his detractors around the NFL, but Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is not among them.
“The only thing I evaluate is tape, and when I watch tape I see an great football player, a high-energy, high-passion, disruptive ‘3’ technique. All the rest of the stuff I don’t have to deal with,” Arians said.
Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal block below the waist against Minnesota center John Sullivan in the Lions’ 34-24 victory over the Vikings last Sunday, the latest in a series of run-ins with the authorities.
He was fined $30,000 for a late hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub last season and was suspended for two games for unnecessary roughness for kicking a Green Bay player in 2011. He has also been fined for hits against quarterbacks Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler and Jake Delhomme.
Suh apologized to Sullivan and to his teammates after the Minnesota game, but New Orleans tight end Benjamin Watson did not seem convinced.
“I hesitate to call a player dirty simply because I don’t know their intent, but I do know what he did was illegal, and I do know he has done it multiple times so it comes a time when enough is enough,” Watson told the NFL Network.
Defensive tackles Suh and Nick Fairley will present problems on the inside, Arians said, similar to the one the Cards faced from the outside in St. Louis, when Robert Quinn had three sacks of the Rams’ four sacks and two forced fumbles.
“You can’t double-team both. Our tackles had the tough jobs last wee. Our guards have the tough job this week,” Arians said.
Tight end Rob Housler (high ankle sprain) was the only player who did not practice Wednesday, Arians said. Jim Dray caught two passes for 21 yards and Kory Sperry had one for 16 yards. Both started in the Cardinals’ two-tight end, one-running back lineup in St. Louis. … The Cardinals brought in three players for workouts: tight ends Brett Brackett and Ryan Otten and wide receiver Raymond Radway. With Housler iffy and Jeff King on injured reserve after knee surgery, the Cardinals are young and thin at tight end. … Offensive left tackle Levi Brown, beaten several times last week, was receptive to advice from coaches this week and was expected to do extra work Wednesday, Arians said. “Obviously you study the tape, but it is more field work, working techniques,” Arians said. … Palmer said he expected to do extra footwork drills Wednesday.