Is Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt making too big of a deal out of his team’s 44-38 preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers last Friday night? The final score looks to be relatively close. Why so upset Coach? If you happened to check the box score, you would see the real story of the game which is the Packers opened up a 38-10 lead by halftime. The third pre-season game is where the starters get their most reps with most playing into the third quarter. Maybe infamous Super Bowl losers’ hangover is setting in for the Cardinals? In the past 10 years, only one team, the Seattle Seahawks in 2006, returned to the playoffs after losing the Super Bowl the previous year. Coach Whisenhunt knows all too well about the talk of becoming complacent after losing a Super Bowl and will do everything within his powers to make sure his team doesn’t fall into that trap. Ken Whisenhunt joined KTAR in Phoenix to fume over the Cardinals loss to the Packers this past Friday evening.
Whisenhunt was asked what he saw on film from the Packers game:
“Well, I just got done going through our team meeting with our guys and there was still fire coming out of my eyes. I’m still angry. They always say, one of the axioms with coaches is that it’s never as good as you think it is and it’s never as bad as you think it is. Well, I kind of dispute that. It was not very good in the first half, and certainly it was not very pleasurable to watch.”
On why he thought the Cardinals played such a porous game:
“I know I’ve said this, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, when you don’t game plan a team then you’re going to be faced with situations. Green Bay came in and they worked hard on our game plan. You can see that, game planning us, from watching the tape. It really comes down to playing fundamental football. I remember the first game I was here we talked about we were going to play base defense. We were just going to line up because we wanted to find out about what kind of players we had. We knew that at some points it would be ugly. There was a little bit of that, just because of the way they run their offense. I was very disappointed that we didn’t play more physical in the first half with our starters. I’ll speak to the offense side of the ball on turning the ball over. Putting the ball on the ground. Not finishing plays when we catch them. Those kinds of things. That’s what’s really gotten me angry. Like I said after the game, maybe that’s the wake up call that we needed.”
Whisenhunt was asked how worried he is that his players might have become complacent after their playoff run from a year ago:
“Well I haven’t been concerned about it because the guys have been working hard. There was no indication before this game that this was going to happen. I think that human nature, that when they got up on us a couple of scores, then the tendency is to revert back to ‘ok it’s a preseason game. It doesn’t mean anything.’ That was something that I hoped we were past. I thought that our team had gotten to the place where we knew how to work and every indication that I’ve seen in training camp, I’ve said this many times, in our practices and even in our first two preseason games, our team has been focused and they’ve played hard. I’m hoping that this is the one exception.”