Cardinals search for answers in 4-game skid
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)
Coach Ken Whisenhunt calls losing ''unacceptable'' for an Arizona Cardinals franchise he thought he had turned around, and he vows that the team's long list of problems will be corrected.
He won't, however, make any changes in his staff or alter his preparation style because, he said, it has been proven that it works.
The coach made the comments on Monday, one day after Arizona's fourth straight loss, an embarrassing 36-18 home battering at the hands of NFC West nemesis Seattle.
All-Pro safety Adrian Wilson went through a long, difficult Sunday afternoon. On Monday he used an expletive, three times, to describe how he played. In his 10th season with Arizona, Wilson went through years of Cardinals futility only to see the franchise win the last two NFC West titles and even make it to the Super Bowl.
He described the situation now as discouraging, very hard, frustrating, sad, ''all the negative reactions you can have.''
The losing streak is the worst since the team dropped eight straight in 2006, Dennis Green's final season as coach.
Whisenhunt said mistakes were made everywhere.
The most glaring deficiencies were in the secondary. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck threw for 273 yards in the first half, including a 63-yarder to Deon Butler for the touchdown that put the Seahawks ahead for good.
Wide receiver Mike Williams said the game plan was to avoid cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's side and take aim at second-year pro Greg Toler on the other side. Whisenhunt eventually benched Toler in favor of Michael Adams. Toler said it was tough to take.
''But my mother always tells me stay true to myself,'' he said. ''God's never going to put you in a situation that you can't handle, so you've just got to stay true to what you know and keep working.''
Wilson, a Pro Bowl selection the past two seasons, expects better of himself.
''I have to make those plays whenever they come my way,'' he said. ''That's what I've always said that I would do. For whatever reason, it's not happening this year.''
The Cardinals' 49th consecutive sellout home crowd frequently showered the team with boos.
''They certainly have that right,'' Whisenhunt said. ''They're there to support us. They expect us to play well and we haven't played well enough. I appreciate our fans being there, I certainly do. It was a full stadium and had we been able to do what we were supposed to yesterday, it wouldn't have been an issue.''
Arizona has not had a losing record in any of Whisenhunt's three full seasons. His achievements led to a big new contract in the offseason. But without Kurt Warner's talents to bail the team out of difficulties, the coach finds himself confronted with a squad that has had issues at quarterback and many other places on both sides of the ball.
''We've set the standard here of making plays in critical situations and now what's happening is we're not making enough plays in all facets of our game,'' Whisenhunt said. ''I think that's carrying over because we're seeing other teams make plays on us but we're not answering those plays. That's what hurts.''
His mantra is for the team to keep working.
''As tough as it is,'' Whisenhunt said, ''all you can do is focus on what you know works and continue to put guys in positions where they can make those plays. Eventually, hopefully really soon, we'll turn that corner.''
He said he had no problem with the team's effort or the way it has prepared in practice, but it's not carried over to games.
''I think the only thing I can do is know that at some point you're going to have to go through some tough times,'' Whisenhunt said. ''I've seen coach (Bill) Cowher do it. I've seen coach (Jeff) Fisher in Tennessee do it. What you have to do is you have to stick with what you believe in.''
Wilson, though, acknowledged that emotionally the losing streak has taken a toll.
''It's hard to kind of stay positive, but you have to,'' he said. ''You have to put your head down, you've got to work. It's very discouraging to be in this situation again.''