‘Pressure is privilege’ late into December for the Arizona Cardinals

Dec 22, 2021, 12:09 PM
Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals talks with teammates during the fourth quarter against the D...
Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals talks with teammates during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The pressure is mounting for the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals recently stretch of games — highlighted by back-to-back losses — has wiped away their stranglehold on the No. 1 seed in the NFC as well as their lead out in the NFC West.

Much like Bruce Wayne had to embrace the darkness before becoming Batman, the Cardinals must do the same with pressure over their final three games if they hope to be a legitimate force when the playoffs roll around.

“I think pressure is privilege,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Wednesday. “If we didn’t have 10 wins, there wouldn’t be any pressure, right? If you’re out of the playoffs right now there’s no pressure. You have to embrace the pressure. Pressure is privilege.

“We’re 10-4, we have a big game on Saturday night. That’s our focus. … It’s fun to have pressure or not. We could be out of it and have no pressure. You can’t have it both ways.”

It’s not like the Cardinals haven’t been in a similar spot before, with Arizona’s playoff hopes hinging on the final two games of last season and the team failing to scrap for a victory.

But back-to-back losses quickly erased any hope of breaking into the postseason for the first time since 2015.

The memory of how the final matchups unfolded last year hasn’t been lost on those who are still on the team in 2021. It’s another look-at-yourself-in-the-mirror situation for both Cardinals players and coaches.

“I can’t answer for everyone else, I can answer for myself, I think a lot about last year,” running back Chase Edmonds said Tuesday. “I think that when you look over mistakes in your life or look over results in your life that you may have had regrets about and you try to just bypass, that’s when it bites you in the [expletive] again. I’m not gonna be that type of player.

“Last year, we folded. I was the first one to say that. This year, I think the team needs to focus on that. We need to have more urgency just because it is a different situation but at the same time, we’ve been here before. … Hold yourself accountable and embrace the pressure.”

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