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Turning Things Around

Posted Nov 12, 2012

Cardinals prep for final seven-game stretch knowing change can come

Running back Beanie Wells, eligible to play again Nov. 25 against the Rams, takes part in practice Monday.

Ken Whisenhunt spent last week, in part, looking at the things he thought his team was good at over the first nine games of the season and the things he thought they weren’t as good at doing.

Sometimes, the video confirmed the thoughts of the Cardinals’ head coach. Sometimes, it disputed them. In every case, Whisenhunt and his staff are hoping to “tweak” the team as it starts the final seven-game stretch of the season.

Whisenhunt had made it clear last week there could be changes not only in the game plan but also the lineup after the time of reflection.

“When you are what we are after the way we started,” Whisenhunt said, referring to the current five-game losing streak after a 4-0 start, “I certainly hope (players) understand that, because that’s what this business is all about.”

The players do understand, and barring a turnaround, change is probably the only sure thing as the weeks go by.

“That’s always a possibility,” tight end Jeff King said. “Fear is a motivating factor. Ultimately you are judged on your performance.”

Other than to say generally “we got a few guys back practicing” Whisenhunt wasn’t providing specific injury updates. The Cardinals don’t have to announce an injury report until Wednesday, and Whisenhunt wasn’t about to start early.

There have been no specific announcements of any changes either, although players continue to stay prepared.

“When you are going through a funk like we are, you have to find answers to make it right,” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “If that is changing players, if that is changing staff – that happens sometimes – that’s the league. It’s all about change. They will find someone to do the job.”

Whisenhunt was pleased with the energy his team had at practice Monday although cautioned the rest of the week will be more telling. The Cardinals will leave Friday for their trip to Atlanta, after the Falcons lost for the first time this season Sunday to the Saints.

Players aren’t usually looking at the big picture like the coaches are. Their review is more about introspection, and getting better. And a bye isn’t always perfect – King remembered, as a member of the Carolina Panthers, feeling a week off hurt his team before the Cardinals kicked them around in the 2008 playoffs – but it should help in this situation.

“Physically you won’t be that much better but mentally you can be better, especially when you are going through a streak like we are going through now,” Rhodes said. “Wipe the slate clean.”


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