Linebacker Joey Porter gives a pre-game speech Sunday in Seattle.
The offense stumbled more than once. Balls were turned over, and time and again, the Cardinals' defense was forced to stand up and keep its team in the game Sunday.
It did, and yet the offense still couldn't generate enough points to rally.
Such a situation can divide a locker room. Darnell Dockett emphasized Monday, the day after the 22-10 loss to the Seahawks, it most certainly will not.
"We all have a job to do and we do it together," Dockett said. "But we're not in it to point fingers or try and divide offense versus defense. Maybe we need to do a better job defensively in practice getting our offense better prepared, maybe the offense needs to get us better prepared.
"Every time we lose a game, everybody wants to kind of divide the offense and defense and it shouldn't be like that. They struggle, so what? There have been games where we struggled. We gave up 40 points in San Diego and Atlanta and no one pointed the finger at us. We've got to stick together."
Recovering from Sunday's missed opportunity wasn't easy for the Cardinals. It starts with rookie quarterback Max Hall, who suffered a concussion Sunday and will undergo the first tests Tuesday to determine his status for this week's game against the Buccaneers.
If Hall is cleared, he will start, a point Whisenhunt already made immediately after the game in Seattle despite Hall's woeful 4-for-16 passing line.
"I think we can't make too much of what happened yesterday," Whisenhunt said of Hall's performance. "He's a rookie quarterback. We can't lose sight of that.
"Indications are he'll improve and we'll get better and that's all we want to do."
Whisenhunt said Hall "wasn't very good" in his reads of the Seattle defense Sunday but he has made progress in practice. The coach said, rather than use an extensive game plan, the Cardinals will go back to plays Hall is familiar and comfortable with – like how he was successful in the preseason, with no gameplanning – to see if that helps with the efficiency.
Whisenhunt also reiterated he feels "good" about Derek Anderson's ability to handle the backup role and "if we need Derek to go in there and play then he'll do that."
Anderson came in early in the third quarter Sunday to direct the Cardinals on their lone touchdown drive, a score that brought the Cards to within 16-7 and forced a belief in a possible comeback. Anderson completed all three of his passes on that drive and his first on the ensuing drive. After that, however, Anderson was only 4-for-13.
"We didn't do much after that drive and that's something we have to work on," said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was targeted 10 times but had just three receptions.
One thing Dockett wasn't having was the idea that, because Hall was a rookie, the defense was trying to hold up the team while he learns. "We don't go out and say we've got to keep the game close because of our quarterback," Dockett said. "Our quarterback gets paid too, our offensive line gets paid too."
But Dockett also said the defense, while playing better, is still in need of improvements. No pronouncements of greatness are coming.
The defense is the reason the Cards even had a chance Sunday. Whisenhunt and multiple offensive players, including Fitzgerald and Hall, pointed that out to the media, and it was one of the things Whisenhunt hammered home to the team after the game.
That's a reason the locker room won't splinter. The issues aren't an elephant in the room. They are talked about, at least behind closed doors. Nothing is going to fester.
Everyone understands, however, the offense needs to carry some of the weight sooner rather than later.
"If there is a new way to shoot ourselves in the foot," Whisenhunt said, "we obviously have found that this year."
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