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Cardinals Hope To Regroup And Rise

After 1-2 start, Arians looking for younger players to follow the leaders


Linebacker Markus Golden and the Cardinals have to regroup after a loss in Buffalo.

It was the worst road game the Cardinals have had in the Bruce Arians era, including the NFC Championship loss last January.

"There's no doubt," Arians said Monday, the day after the Cards lost badly in Buffalo, noting the massive rushing yards allowed and the terrible third-down conversions.

"This one was a good fashioned butt kicking and we took it."

The Cardinals did not expect to be 1-2 at this point, almost through what looked like a favorable September schedule. Arians talked again about mistakes that are correctable, and this week, wasn't specific in any player criticisms.

Arians did talk about "younger players" and the need to improve their preparation.

"We've got great leadership on our team," Arians said. "I'm not sure we have a lot of followers. If you're a leader, you've got to have followers, you know?

"We've got a lot of young guys, I think, who like doing their own thing. They need to follow the leaders who work real hard, do all the things it takes, because they've been down the road. So, we're still finding out about ourselves."

Safety Tyrann Mathieu saw Arians' comments as a call for the entire roster to "rise to the occasion."

"At the end of the day, guys are trying too hard to make plays," Mathieu said. "They really should settle down and do their assignment."

Arians said the Cardinals "went through a stretch" last year that was similar. That is true, although the Cardinals' "stretch" of two losses in three games didn't come until after a 3-0 start. The Cards didn't play well in a home loss to the Rams, blew out the Lions and then infamously lost to Landry Jones and the Steelers at a point where many questioned how good the Cardinals were.

The 2015 version of the Cards then won nine straight. Given the 2016 schedule, repeating that feat would indeed be a feat.

Sunday's loss to the Bills felt different than the season-opening loss to the Patriots, a team that was short-handed but coached by one of the best in NFL history. Sunday was a collapse in all three phases.

The players got to re-live it Monday during video review of the game.

"It sucks," guard Mike Iupati said. "Film don't lie."

The bad starts, especially coming out of halftime – when adjustments should be made – are eating at Arians most of all. The first five minutes on both sides of the ball haven't translated from the discussion in the locker room. That's a problem that falls on Arians.

"Identifying it is one thing," he said. "Finding a solution is another, and I've got to find a solution."

But there is also some self awareness needed from the players too, Arians added.

"The first thing is to get the player to admit he has a problem," Arians said. "A lot of them say, 'I'll be back Wednesday and it's going to be OK.' It's not that way. We've got to identify the problems and then have a positive way of fixing it. That's what, hopefully, is going on right now."


Arians said wide receiver Michael Floyd will go into concussion protocol after suffering a headache Monday. Tight end Troy Niklas (wrist) and punter Drew Butler (ankle/Achilles) are expected to miss time. Guard Evan Mathis (toe) and linebacker Kareem Martin (knee) could get back this week, while defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (knee) will likely miss another game.

The top images from the Cardinals' Week 3 loss in Buffalo

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