The Cardinals' defense, surrendering a touchdown run here Monday night, must tighten up for the team to break its losing streak.
A Monday night game means a short week. A short week after a sixth straight loss is even more difficult.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged that Tuesday, when it said it was tough to get focused on the next game when your team had suffered through what the Cards did on "Monday Night Football," an empty 27-6 loss to the rival 49ers.
The Cards, at 3-8, aren't realistically looking at the playoffs. But Whisenhunt said that even with the circumstances he didn't plan on making huge changes.
"To change that drastically doesn't make a lot of sense to me," Whisenhunt said. "Yeah, I'm disappointed and I understand our fans disappointment that we have played poorly the last few weeks, but I think when you make wholesale changes then you run the risk of losing your identity of who you are."
Whisenhunt said personnel and schemes could still be switched out, but the biggest question – who will play quarterback – remained answered with Derek Anderson. The coach said Anderson will still be starting.
Anderson still gives the Cards the best chance to win. Inexperience of the other two quarterbacks on the roster – rookies Max Hall and John Skelton – plays a factor too, Whisenhunt added.
Whisenhunt said it wasn't that Hall "is not in the equation" but based on what the Cardinals will be facing defensively, Anderson is the better choice. At least Hall sounds like he will be considered going forward; Skelton is likely to spend the entire season on the bench.
"(John) is a young guy, hasn't gotten a lot of reps, and you run the risk of damaging a young player when you put him in there to play," Whisenhunt said. "If we had two guys hurt, we'd put him in there and we'd expect him to play. I have very high hopes for John (Skelton) and his future. His time is going to come to play. I can't say that won't happen at some point this year, but right now I don't think it's the direction you want to go."
Whisenhunt said he hadn't seen the video of Anderson's sideline smile captured on TV or the postgame press conference in which Anderson loudly pronounced how hard he has been working. But the coach said he had talked to both Anderson and guard Deuce Lutui (the other player on camera sharing the moment with Anderson) and said both have been focused on winning.
"I'm not going to read too much into a couple of seconds on video," Whisenhunt said.
Multiple players continued to say Monday after the game they weren't sure why they were not clicking on game days. Whisenhunt said that was a natural reaction, although as wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, "we need to find out why immediately because we can't continue to play this kind of football."
"I don't think it has to do with the passion for playing the game," Fitzgerald added. "Guys are passionate about playing the game, passionate for playing for coach Whisenhunt, passionate for playing for our fans. We just didn't perform."
Big change is not in the offing – not yet – although Whisenhunt did try to explain his thought process of staying the course, saying it was more about remaining in a proven routine rather than refusal to do anything different.
Asked about his comment after Monday's game about "praying" the Cards' turnaround would show up this coming weekend about the Rams, Whisenhunt admitted he probably wouldn't have used such words if he had to do it over again.
But then he went with theme.
"What I said last night is that I pray that we'll show up Sunday and make some plays," he said. "I'm going to start praying every night and hopefully by Sunday, maybe I'll get enough credit that we'll make some plays."
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