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Chasing Consistency

Cards try to shake Colts' loss with two weeks before next game


 Antrel Rolle and the Cardinals will try to right their wrongs before the next game against Houston.
He had the chance to look at the tape of Sunday night's game "a couple of times" and hours to reflect, so Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt remained even-keeled in his tone Monday when talking about his team's bad loss to the Colts.

His message seemed the same too – Whisenhunt wasn't about to trash his players, but they weren't going to escape criticism either.

Fundamentals are lacking, which seemed obvious in a 31-10 defeat. "Some of those things, at times, we have done very well," Whisenhunt said. "Other times, we look like we are a bush-league team.

"We have to get that consistency back."

The Cardinals go into their bye week that once had seemed early but now seemed properly timed, with players needing to heal and perhaps some psyches as well.

Whisenhunt dismissed an attempted correlation between the team's playoff run and the 1-2 records of both his team and the Steelers, quickly saying "I don't think it has anything to do with having played in the Super Bowl."

The losses have come against good teams, Whisenhunt insisted, and at this point, "I don't think that three games in, you hit the panic button," he added.

As for a bulk of the most burning questions following the loss:

-- Whisenhunt praised quarterback Kurt Warner's play and said that while Warner took some shots against the Colts and was banged up, "I don't anticipate that there are going to be any issues with Kurt." The bye may be more beneficial to Warner than any other player.

-- Practice habits doomed cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Reggie Wayne's one-handed touchdown catch, on which DRC went the wrong way in a zone and left Wayne along near the goal line. "We have worked on that exact route in practice," Whisenhunt said. DRC has to learn to pass off the receiver to the next guy in the zone, and when he didn't, Wayne sprung open. Rodgers-Cromartie continues to go through growing pains, sometimes to a significant level.

-- That missing training camp time caught up to Beanie Wells in the game. The bulk of what Wells missed was working in some sub-receiver packages, so when the Cards turned to those packages, Beanie was stuck to the bench. "It really wasn't anything about Beanie other than him not having a lot of reps in those types of packages," Whisenhunt said.

-- Warner was given the option to run or pass on the Colts' 1-yard line right before halftime. Warner, seeing nine men in the box, chose to throw. "They made a good play defensively," said Whisenhunt, who added that if a team is geared up against the run, "you have an opportunity to throw the ball to Larry (Fitzgerald), Anquan (Boldin) or Steve (Breaston), which are pretty good alternatives."

Whisenhunt talked more generally about the two overriding themes of the night: the defense surrendering more than 500 yards – "I'm not going to take anything away from (the Colts), but I'm not going to sit here and tell you it is OK," Whisenhunt said – and the struggles of the offensive line, especially in pass protection. "It was really more about once they got up and knew they were willing to give up the short plays and the short runs," Whisenhunt said, "then they really come after you and don't have any regard for anything other than sacking the quarterback."

It'll be a quiet week for the Cards. Players are off every day but Wednesday and Thursday, with the practices those days only a little more than an hour. Banged-up players will likely sit out altogether and Whisenhunt said the focus will be on technique and fundamentals.

Then the Cardinals will see if they can right what is wrong with 13 games in 13 weeks.

"Nobody wins the Super Bowl in the month of September," cornerback Bryant McFadden said.

But September is over now. The time to fix what's wrong grows shorter.

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