The Cardinals have mistakes to fix after their first game.
With only one game over and 15 yet to play, the Cardinals were coping with their season-opening loss Monday.
The sky isn't falling, after all. There's no reason to overreact.
"I'm not an even-keeled kind of person," safety Adrian Wilson said, chuckling. "You're going to hear some pretty bad things in here for the next 48 hours. Hopefully, Wednesday will come fast."
Wednesday will be the tell-tale day, because that's usually the first big day of the new week. It's the first day of practice, the focus fully shifts – to Jacksonville, in this case – and the Cardinals can shove the disappointment of the 49ers' game into the closet.
At least, that's what coach Ken Whisenhunt hopes.
"I think they understand what happened to us (Sunday) was self-inflicted," Whisenhunt said. "I'm not taking anything away from San Francisco. They certainly won that game. (But) hopefully we are mature enough as a team we will understand that we can handle and deal with that correctly."
There are plenty of things to deal with following the 20-16 disappointment. Penalties – 12 in all – were a problem, especially with six of them coming as the pre-snap variety. The protection from the offensive line wasn't sharp, Whisenhunt said, as he called into question a number of fundamental flaws by multiple players.
Whisenhunt talked about drops from the receivers and even from cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, bemoaning the missed opportunities.
"Those are all things that, if we had won the game, you would have looked at and said, 'All right, we will get better at them,' " Whisenhunt said. "It just hurts when you lose the game."
The Cards' offensive issues aren't helped my missing key parts. Whisenhunt acknowledged he was surprised wideout Steve Breaston couldn't play with a swollen knee and even Breaston admitted it was a "shock to everybody" the way his knee swelled up Sunday before the game.
That led Whisenhunt to make a "tough" decision to make Anquan Boldin active with his sore hamstring. But given that the Cards already were forced to play receivers in spots they hadn't practiced much in given that Breaston had practiced all week, what Boldin was able to give was worth it.
"We would have had a tougher day had Anquan not played," Whisenhunt said. "I really respect the fact he did suit up and play."
Breaston is hopeful he will return this week, but then again, he was hopeful for the 49ers game. If he and Boldin can work back into practices and the games, it should change the dynamic for the Cards' up-and-down offense.
"With everybody there, it's much different and I think everybody knows that and it's why everyone is trying to get back on the field," Breaston said. "Once everyone is playing together, good things will happen."
The Cardinals just need to get to that point, and do so while getting a couple of wins – something they couldn't pull off in their first attempt.
"A lot of guys say 'I can't believe we lost that game,' " defensive end Darnell Dockett said. "Yeah you can. They made the plays they needed to make.
"It ain't the end of the season."
THE PLAY OF THE RUNNERS
After starting running back Tim Hightower ran for just 15 yards on eight carries – a stark contrast from his 12 catches for 121 yards in the passing game – Whisenhunt gave Hightower some leeway after it looked like Hightower reverted to bouncing outside too often instead of running north-south and gaining what he could.
Whisenhunt said Hightower was forced to bounce outside a few times because secondary blocking wasn't as good as it should have been, especially with wide receivers playing out of position.
"A lot of times, that is what made it look that way," Whisenhunt said.
Whisenhunt also liked the debut of running back Beanie Wells, although he lamented Wells' too-quick-to-the-corner move on Wells' first run play, which forced Warner to take a five-yard loss when he couldn't get the ball to Wells.
Defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema will likely miss the Jacksonville game with an ankle sprain, but the full extent of the injury is yet to be determined, Whisenhunt said. Safety Matt Ware is also being evaluated after suffering a second shoulder stinger in as many games.
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Sep 14, 2009 at 10:03 AM
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