Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals have yet to beat a division foe but, speaking on behalf of his team Friday, the first-year head coach was clear — at 3-4, their focus is still on postseason play.
“Our goal is still in sight,” he told the media gathered Friday at Cardinals’ practice following the team’s 34-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.
“That’s to get to the playoffs.”
How do they get there? How do they move forward following back-to-back losses to NFC West opponents? Of course, there are always specific changes to be made and gameplans to be drawn up, but Arians’ approach remains steady.
“Like we do everyday, we’ll just take it day to day,” he explained.
“Look at the tape, correct the mistakes. Accept the coaching that goes on — not criticism, it’s coaching.”
The Cardinals now have the advantage of accepting 10 days of coaching prior to their next matchup versus the Atlanta Falcons at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arians and his staff will likely address the most troubling areas of the team’s performance thus far — offensive line play and the turnover margin.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked seven times against the Seahawks Thursday. And that, Arians says, is unacceptable, later hinting that quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would also struggle if they had the limited protection Palmer has had this season.
And, despite the fact that Palmer, himself, also contributed to the offensive woes versus the Seahawks Thursday, the two interceptions the quarterback threw weren’t his fault, according to his coach.
“I’ve got to give him credit for standing,” Arians said. “You know, when you get hit that many times, and you still stand in there — looking back, neither interception was his fault.
“Overall, he protected the football like he needed to.”
Palmer’s 13 interceptions through the Cardinals’ first seven games are second only to Eli Manning’s 15 through the New York Giants’ first six games, but Arians foresees less picks from his quarterback with improved protection.
As they retool for next Sunday’s matchup, Arians and the Cardinals know the path they need to take to achieve their ultimate goal.
Look at film, make adjustments, and coach, “So that we don’t make the same mistakes against Atlanta,” said Arians Friday.
Then, “Beat Atlanta, get back to .500, and I think we can string some (wins) together.”