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Cardinals Understand Frustration Level Both Inside Building And Out

Mess of NFC teams at bottom of playoff standings help keep hope alive

Linebackers Ben Niemann (56) and Zaven Collins (25) and defensive tackle Leki Fotu after a play during Sunday's game against the Seahawks.
Linebackers Ben Niemann (56) and Zaven Collins (25) and defensive tackle Leki Fotu after a play during Sunday's game against the Seahawks.

Besides taking daily trips to Cardinals headquarters and then State Farm Stadium for games on Sunday, it's rare Zaven Collins goes anywhere else.

That's why the linebacker doesn't hear from the frustrated fan base in public while the team continues to struggle -- although he understands their frustration.

But dwelling on previous losses won't help them now. Instead, Collins said the focus needs to be on turning things around with eight games remaining in 2022.

"They have the right to be frustrated," Collins said. "They want to see us win and succeed. We have to figure out a way to win. No matter what. That's what we have to do.

"We have to stay together and ride this out until the last game. Whether we win, go to the playoffs or the Super Bowl. Or whether it's the alternative."

If the season ended today, the playoffs would not include the Cardinals. The team is 3-6 and last in the NFC West, now three games behind the division-leading Seahawks after the season sweep.

But the season is not over. They have more opportunities, including matchups with division opponents in the next two weeks, more must-win games.

Conference teams like the Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled in ways people didn't project before the season. That helps the Cardinals, although it won't matter if the Cardinals don't start winning.

Kliff Kingsbury understands the fans' frustration. The head coach is frustrated himself, knowing how the team has performed this season under high expectations.

Prime example: the unnecessary penalties. The Cardinals had 12 penalties on Sunday for 77 yards. The team this season ranks third in penalties.

"All of us are frustrated with that," Kingsbury said. "When you watch our team play, you can never knock the effort. They gave it everything they got, but critical errors at critical times continue to show up. That's something at some point, we have to figure out before it's too late.

"I don't think we've shown what we can be, and our team understands that, but we've got to find a way to get it cleaned up."

It's impossible not to look in the rear view some, to see where the season has gone this far. But Collins said it can't dominate the thought process.

"What are we, 3-and-6?" Collins said. "Those games in the past, you can't change, you can only learn from them. You watch film, you learn from mistakes, but you've got to move on. We have to go to the next game and win. We have to win.

"That's the whole point. No matter what happens in the game. If I'm on the ground 80 times in the game, if I give up 10 touchdowns, yeah, you gave up 10 touchdowns, but if it's a win, you win. ... That's the point of it. We just have to figure out a way. I'm tired of saying that, but you have to keep going."

INJURY UPDATE

Kingsbury didn't have an update on offensive lineman Will Hernandez, who left Sunday's game with a pectoral injury. Kingsbury hopes it's not severe but did rule the guard out for this week. The replacement starter is to be determined.

"We'll see how practice goes," Kingsbury said. "There's a couple of guys that will be in the mix. Max Garcia, if he's healthy and obviously, Sean Harlow. We want to keep him at center and not risk injury there. But we'll see how the week goes."

Kingsbury added that Garcia is day-to-day, and James Conner is fully healthy after the running back returned to action on Sunday.

Kingsbury also said center Rodney Hudson is going to miss another week, and that Billy Price "probably" will remain the starter.

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