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Standing Behind Anderson

Posted Dec 1, 2010

Quarterback apologizes, but teammates already backing him

Quarterback Derek Anderson studies some photos during Monday night's game against the 49ers.


Derek Anderson didn’t smile – that had already caused enough problems – but he did use a little humor as he stood in front of the media.

“OK, let’s try this in a manner that doesn’t end up on YouTube,” the Cardinals’ quarterback said, beginning his normal Wednesday press conference after a decidedly not-normal press conference following Monday night’s loss to San Francisco.

Anderson apologized for his profanity-laced outburst of Monday, saying he was “moving forward” and that he “let my emotions get the best of me.”

The rest of the Cardinals were ready to move forward too. If anything, the firestorm around Anderson may have galvanized a group looking for a way to get out of a six-game losing streak.

“Sometimes you just need something to fight for,” defensive lineman Alan Branch said. “If everybody is fighting for that one thing, everybody is on the same page, and we can be a team.”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt reiterated that Anderson works and studies hard. And his teammates were ready to defend the outburst that gained so much national attention.

“I don’t fault Derek at all for what he did,” right tackle Jeremy Bridges said. “I think it showed the passion he has for winning, for this team, for this game. Sometimes you’ve got to get frustrated. We’re losing. What else can you say?”

Anderson said he put his phones away Tuesday and generally tried to stay very low-profile while ESPN continually ran the clip of him loudly defending his work ethic and the subject – on many levels – became a national topic. He actually considered buying a Christmas tree that day but “decided that wasn’t a good idea. I’ll wait until Friday for that.”

Instead, he spent the day with kicker Jay Feely playing golf and leaned on family and friends, trying to refocus on the season.

It isn’t as if Anderson hasn’t been through such things before. He said he didn’t know if this season was more difficult than some of the ones in Cleveland – “I’ve been through some rough times,” he said – but acknowledged the Cards’ current skid has been difficult.

That the Cards went and “laid an egg” against the 49ers just made it worse, he added.

Whisenhunt has kept Anderson as his starter, however, and it’s not like Anderson hasn’t been what was advertised. His 68.2 passing rating this season is near his career mark of 69.4 and his statistics had actually been a little better of late, prior to the game against San Francisco.

Still, the Cards have scored more than one offensive touchdown in only four of 11 games, and the brunt of outside frustrations have fallen squarely on Anderson’s shoulders.

As long as his teammates are backing him, however, Anderson said he will be OK.

“That’s why I play the game, for my teammates, for the guys in the locker room,” Anderson said. “There’s nothing that compares to anything like that.

“I don’t think a lot of (people) understand how competitive I am, how I don’t portray a fiery kind of guy like that all the time, but the guys in the locker room see me every day and know how much I want to win.”

Those guys in the locker room aren’t turning away from that, even with the losing streak, and even when the quarterback’s speech is shown over and over on national television.

“I’ll always have my team(’s) back,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett tweeted.

“We’re a team in every aspect of the word,” Bridges said. “We are not bickering. We have issues and we know what our issues are and things we have to get better at to turn this thing around, but as far as our cohesion and us being a family, that’s what we are. We are going to stick together. We are going to stand by each other. That’s the bottom line.”

INJURY UPDATE

Defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle) was the only Cardinal not to practice Wednesday. Seven Cards – all on defense – were limited: Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (shoulder), linebacker Clark Haggans (groin), linebacker Paris Lenon (knee), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (shoulder), cornerback Greg Toler (foot), safety Matt Ware (shoulder) and nose tackle Dan Williams (knee).
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