[Cardinals] Cards feeling defeated
4-9 record takes its toll on Green
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 14, 2004 12:00 AM
The demeanor of Cardinals coach Dennis Green on Monday was that of a man ready to cut loose with a refrain from an old country song: "You ripped my heart out and stomped that sucker flat."
The man who predicted a winning season and possible playoff berth upon his arrival had nothing good to say about his four-win team, or the way the season has transpired during his first season with the Cardinals.
San Francisco, with only two wins, is considered the worst team in pro football. But both of its wins have come against the Cardinals, including Sunday's 31-28 win in overtime, so where does that leave the Cardinals? advertisement
Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader, said after Sunday's loss that the team is making elementary mistakes and insinuated that some of the problem is coaching.
"You know," Green said, "everybody has their own opinion. I will reserve mine."
To his credit, Green didn't dodge the issue when asked if he was worried about losing the attention of his team.
"Absolutely," he said. "You worry about losing everybody. I don't think (owner) Mr. Bill Bidwill is very happy right now. I don't think he counted on hiring a new coach and having the new coach be 4-9. It's everybody. I don't think the fans counted on being 4-9. I know I didn't count on being 4-9 . . .
"There is a chance to lose everybody when you get into a situation where you are not winning . . . "
Green took on a huge task when he came to Arizona in January to rebuild the franchise. Yet, Sunday's loss guaranteed the Cardinals their 15th losing season in the past 17 years. The question now is, how much progress has been made?
"I would hope to say a lot of things are better, but you know . . . sometimes we are in a bottom line business. In fact, most of the time we are.
"We only had 35,000 people there (Sunday). That's not a very big crowd, not a lot of people for the fifth-largest city in America. That's not a lot of people who want to come and watch you play in your stadium."
In Sunday's game there were five major errors on special teams, the offense didn't report for duty until the second half and Arizona's gambling defense was once again porous against the run. Nondescript Maurice Hicks, an undrafted free agent, not only became the eighth rusher to top 100 yards against Arizona, but his 139 yards came within 5 yards of matching his season total entering the game.
Green said the Cardinals are not physical enough at the point of attack against the run. They've tried to offset that with blitzes, but sometimes the formation takes away the blitz and the lack of physicality and failure to gain penetration in their base defense leaves them vulnerable to the run.
Asked what the mood of his team was in the wake of Sunday's loss, Green said, "I haven't seen them today. I know what my mood is. It's obvious. There's five teams out of 16 in the NFC that have winning records, so there have been opportunities for us to be a winning team, and we are not."
Anthony Clement will replace L.J. Shelton at right tackle Sunday when the Cardinals host the St. Louis Rams. The team is expected to learn today whether Shelton's knee injury involves a ligament tear or a sprain.
The same situation applies to linebacker Ray Thompson, who suffered a shoulder injury.
Re: [Cardinals] Cards feeling defeated
Denny Green just had a meltdown this year when he started messing around with his QB situation. It sent his team into a tailspin that hopefully they won't break out of next Sunday. It worries me though that the Rams seem to be the best medicine for every down-and-out team they play. That is of course with the exception of the whiners who wish they were just down-and-out instead of DEAD-and-pathetic.
Re: [Cardinals] Cards feeling defeated
Arizona scares me a bit with the new coach and everything. As a Big Blue fan, Navarre is a good quarterback and should do well in the NFL with some time and experience. Messing with the QB situation was incredibly idiotic. They, like the Giants, should have stayed with the original QB's. That's not Monday morning quarterbacking either as everyone said that when they made the switch.