He still feels his Cardinals are better than a 3-7 team, even as he acknowledged the Cards are who their record says they are. But with that thought as his building block, Whisenhunt emphasized Monday that the franchise – while going through a particularly rough patch – hadn’t regressed to the time when he first arrived in 2007.
“We’ve gone to a Super Bowl,” Whisenhunt said. “We’ve played six playoff games and won four of them. I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m proud of the fact that we’ve done that. To think that we’re going to do that every year, even though we aspire to do that, that’s tough.
“If you look around the league, you see (rough times) happen to other teams. It’s important right now how we fight through this. I really believe that we’re going to come out of it. We’re going to still have our opportunities to win divisions and go to playoff games and that’s what our focus is. Do I feel like we have eroded what we have built? I don’t feel that way. I don’t think you can look at our team over the last two years and what we have done in the playoffs and be ashamed about anything with that or feel like we’ve lost anything from that. If we have to go through some tough times to get back to that point, that's what we have to do.”
With an extra day of practice time coming this week thanks to a “Monday Night Football” date with the 49ers in a week, the players were given Monday off. There wasn’t much extra to say in the wake of a fifth straight loss in Kansas City.
That left the head coach to speak. While an assistant for six seasons in Pittsburgh, Whisenhunt went through a five-game losing streak once, in 2003. In a bit of irony, the Steelers snapped that with a win at home against the Cardinals.
Whisenhunt gets a chance to break this streak against the rival Niners, in a game that will carry with it plenty of intensity given its national TV status. The Cards will also be at home in front of what should still be a sellout crowd.
Asked about the losing’s affect on the fans, Whisenhunt acknowledged it could potentially erode the fan base, although he added that winning some games would get them back.
“I feel as disappointed as anything that we have let some of our fans down,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s the thing that keeps me up at night because we have worked so hard to create such great support for our team. Certainly we feel that. But we still have a chance to, if we play good football, (have it) take care of itself.”
Playing good football has been difficult of late. Whisenhunt again brought up mental mistakes, saying that all six plays the Chiefs had that gained 25 yards or more were attributed to mental errors. While there have been some physical shortcomings – missed tackles for instance – being in the wrong place at the wrong time has killed the Cards.
The coach said the team gets to a point where “we’re so worried about making a mistake that maybe we make a mistake.”
Whisenhunt reiterated something he mentioned Sunday – the confidence of the entire team takes a hit during a losing slide.
“I think it’s a natural human emotion when you’ve lost five in a row and you’ve lost some of the games the way we have, it’s definitely something that plays into it,” Whisenhunt said. “This game is about momentum, it’s about confidence, and we don’t have a lot to base positive things on here lately.”
Whisenhunt said linebacker