Updated Oct 23, 2011 - 7:11 pm
Season spiraling out of control, Cardinals say they'll keep working
Larry Fitzgerald said the players will fight hard for each other, Kevin Kolb talked about how the team can improve, Vonnie Holiday knows there is a lot of talent on the roster and Ken Whisenhunt is confident his team will continue to work.
Such are the themes of a 1-5 football team.
The Cardinals, who have won just three times in their last 17 games, could easily look at this season and say all is lost.
At this rate the only thing the Cardinals have to look forward to is another top five pick in the NFL draft, a reality that would make some players essentially give up on the rest of the season.
But they can't look at it that way. They won't look at it that way.
"We haven't had great success for years, but we can't allow that to get into our minds," Fitzgerald said. "All we can do is keep working."
Besides just making plays, the theme after Arizona's 32-14 loss to Pittsburgh was "work."
Not that they can't find anything that does, but rather that it's what they have to do to turn this season around.
It will start with simply making plays.
"We can't make enough plays to change an outcome of a game," Whisenhunt said. "We are not going to give up, we are going to get it turned around and move forward."
In reality the team has no other choice, which Kolb said, because it's either get better or see the season, already spiraling out of control, hit rock bottom.
If it hasn't already.
What's frustrating for the Cardinals, especially after this latest loss, is that their struggles are not due to a lack of effort.
"You just wish the guys felt some sort of reward for how we worked," Kolb said, noting that effort isn't the team's problem. "The working part is not it; we just need to make plays."
As the losses pile up, though, the "here we go again" attitude could creep into the locker room, since a team out of the playoff hunt in early November may find little motivation for the rest of the season.
That is the danger the team faces now, and they must fight it.
"You just have to be mentally tough," Kolb said, "that's all you can do."
The Cardinals may do just that, though, as the prevalent thought is that at some point things have to turn around, because the players on this team are too good to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. And, when they do turn it around, watch out.
"We are moving in a direction that we believe that, in the future, we are going to be something special," Kolb said. "That future can be one week, that future can be one year.
"Whatever it is, we feel like we have a lot of key components here to do some special things."
Kolb isn't the only one who feels that way.
"There's so much talent on this team to be sitting here at 1-5, that's what's so frustrating and disappointing," Holliday, a 14-year NFL veteran said. "We have the guys in this locker room to make the plays and win these games, we're just not getting it done."
They're not, and that could weigh on a team.
"Our guys are disappointed," Whisenhunt said. "They feel like they are better than what they are showing, what they are putting on the field.
"I don't think it's going to be an issue about working or understanding what we are trying to do, our guys will continue to fight."
That's the plan, at least, and for now it's probably what's going to happen. There are 10 games left on the schedule, and the Cardinals will play in every one of them, for now believing they will come out on top. But a few more losses could change things, and that would be a real shame in this season.
"It's going to take the guys in this locker room," Holliday said. "These veteran leaders are going to have to step up, some of these young guys are going to step up and say ‘enough's enough.'"
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