Flipping the script

Posted by Darren Urban on December 20, 2011 – 4:31 pm

Ken Whisenhunt got a game ball from team president Michael Bidwill after the Cleveland game for setting the franchise record for coaching wins, an exclamation point on the Cards’ monumental climb from 1-6 back to .500 (because certainly, at 1-6, it didn’t seem likely Whiz would get the seven wins needed this season to set the mark).

Whisenhunt was chatting with reporters when it was suggested the result had the season gone the other way — say, the Cards started 6-1 and then went on a 1-6 skid.

“They’d be taking the game ball back,” Whisenhunt said with a chuckle.

That might be extreme, but it goes to show that all win-loss records aren’t created equal. There is more than .500 that comes out of what the Cards have accomplished so far, and certainly it is better had .500 been reached the other way around.

“To be honest, if there is a logical way to do it, this is the way you want to do it,” Whisenhunt said. “Your younger players are learning how to do it when it’s been as tough as it possibly can be. That makes you stronger as a team. If you win and don’t know any different, then when you lose it can be catastrophic.

“(Now) the young players understand the standard. Now when new players come in, free agents and rookies, you have a group of guys who won’t accept anything less.”

It goes beyond that. To start really well and have a season run off the rails suggests complacency at best and internal problems at the worst. To start poorly and finish strong suggests the learning Whiz referred to, while to start fast and slide suggests fluke (ask the Buffalo Bills these days). Certainly it’s a different vibe heading into the offseason. The season isn’t over yet — I think at this point, the Cards have to finish at least 8-8 to feel good — but it feels like a whole new team.

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14 Responses to “Flipping the script”

  1. By Nick Pepe on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    It is pretty damn good feeling. And it’s a true sign of solid leadership from top to bottom. No one quit and no one will.

    The defense’s progress is astounding. This without Toler, Wilson starting the season banged up, and Rhodes missing significant time. I mean with all the deep balls he gave up last year, do we really miss DRC? I remember blogging in the pre-season when DRC came of the edge to block a FG for the Eagles that I would miss that threat of speed comin of the edge. Well, Campbell took care of that.

    To be able to sit here now at 7-7 after the horrid start. Incredible. I will never forget standing outside the Hotel when they were boarding the bus for the Linc to face the Eagles and Coach walks out, me: beautiful day for a win coach; Coach turned and smiled, said “yes, yes it is”. I turned to the wife and said that they are going to win, bank on it.

    Everyday since, “beautiful day for win” has been my theme. At work (winning for the dogs). In court (making bad people pay for animal abuse). And every Sunday for my Cardinals.

    Warning: Do not try this Theme in trying to win an argument with your wife unless you want to spend Sunday night on your brother in laws couch!

    Proud, as always, to be a Cardinal fan.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  2. By MIKE G on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren—I think each game is a microcosm of how this season is going. The Cards usually start slow in the first 2 qtrs then play well in the second half of ballgames. They make the play at the end and wind up developing confidence. Hey Darren–what do you attribute to the team as to why they are starting games slow then playing well in the final qtr????
    I think they have been trailing at halftime during every game during this win streak!!

  3. By sunday on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    I’m happy for wiz because he is a good coach it has shown even though some fans were callin for him to get fired.He is the best I recent cards history let’s be patient,I’m just not a big fan of his rookie rules. Because he don’t show emotions when we loose,it appears like he ain’t tryin hard enough and that is human nature.Go Cards

  4. By DontTakeLoses on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    Kent Sommers on the radio with Bickley ” the Cardinals have to play well just to be mediocre”… when asked about the 6-1 turnaround. Then added. “…in the end, you are what your record is”. Kent did not cover himself in glory in my mind with these comments. I am proud of what these men have done, and it is ALWAYS more important in life how you finish as opposed to how you started. And how you got there even more importantly… in my view.

  5. By MikeFlorio on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    Every Bird sings a different song….Got love the Cards!!

  6. By AndyStandsUp on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    As I’ve stated before, you can spin stats any which you want to “prove” the desired effect.
    A point in turn, is during the 1-6 “slump” the offense averaged 319 yards per game. During the 6-1 “renaissance” it hiked it up to 321 yards per game.
    And the defense went from “allowing” 408 yards per game to “limiting” opponents to 325 yards per game.
    According to this twist, is it fair to assume the turnaround is primarily due to the defense?

  7. By Nick Pepe on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    @Andy for what it is worth, my take on this: The defense got accustomed to their roles and built trust amongst themselves and this is paying off, but also they have been sticking to the run (even when not successful) thus becoming less predictable and openning up other opportunities with play action passes and dare I say, some successful screen passes.

    Either way, isn’t this “comeback” wonderful! Who would have thunk it !!

    Hope you have a great holiday !


  8. By JHdeFlag on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    I think it’s just great to be able to look forward Sunday (or Saturday in this case). I try not to be fair-weather, but I’ve had periods in my life when I had to stop watching the Cards, simply because it was going to ruin my weekend. I mean forget TDs and winning, just get a first down. A stop. Something promising, please!

    Today the feeling is very different. In the game against the Browns, despite the fact that we were behind, I never had that doomed feeling. It never felt like we were going to give it away or needed some special teams/penalty miracle to win. It felt under control.

    I’m not worried about the playoffs. That all depends on the Lions. I don’t care about the Lions. I’m just happy that we have two more games of good football to watch and that we have an entire off-season of hope and promise. The playoffs would be icing on the cake.

    BTW. It isn’t a question that can be asked now, but who has the best record in the last half of the season? These are good times, right?

  9. By joe67 on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    @ andystandsup: I think those stats prove the obvious. This turn-around has been aboiut the D, with the offense doing enough to seal the win.
    This D is playing so much better than last year or earlier this year, but I am concerned about the lack of forcing turnovers. A pik-6 or fumble recover would sure be a nice shot in the arm. I am hoping that is something that will just come with time. I know the D is still learning.
    We really need these two wins to keep the MO going, but even a loss @ Cincy followed by a win against the Seahawks would be huge. But LETS GET BOTH!

  10. By SteveG on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    While the 49’s year has been a straight up triumph for Harbough, I wonder if the Whiz actually did a better coaching job?

    Keeping the team together through a 6 game losing streak must be one of the tougher tasks for any head coach. We have seen teams pack it in before and we could have easily folded without Whiz’s steadying influence.

    Lord knows the “fans” were bailing overboard quick enough, I recall seeing a “fire Horton” post after the first game of the season (a win!) and the “we know it works” mantra did not satisfy a great many of us.

    My impression overall is that M. Bidwill has decided that a system beats the “new guy” that we were subjected to for all those years. This is it people, Pittsburgh West.

    No coaches being dumped after a bad year, but retooling and go at it again with the system being drafted for, taught and used year in year out.

    I prefer this and have high hopes for the future years.

    Thanks M. Bidwill, you got the right guy and are sticking to him and “it”!

  11. By Peter in Canada on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Steve G – Excellent post.

  12. By Kevin S on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    This post is so true — imagine how down on this team we’d all be if we started 6-1 and were now 7-7.

    The NFL is tough because with only 16 games it’s hard to dig out of an early hole. A couple bad calls, unlucky bounces or tips leading to turnovers, ill-timed penalties, and/or missed FG’s, and a team can be 1-5 and out of it instead of 3-3 or 4-2. But things can turn around quickly in this league. Buffalo was 5-2 after 7 games and Tampa Bay was 4-2 after 6 games. Anyone who thought that not only would the Cards catch them, but be well ahead of them at this point, would’ve been called crazy. And SD is the most Jekyll-and-Hyde of all — cruising along at 4-1, then losing 6 in a row and seeming to be out of it completely, and now back in the hunt and looking like world-beaters after winning their last 3 by 20+ points in each game.

  13. By DontTakeLoses on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Steve G:

    “M. Bidwill has decided that a system beats the “new guy” that we were subjected to for all those years. This is it people, Pittsburgh West. No coaches being dumped after a bad year, but retooling and go at it again with the system being drafted for, taught and used year in year out. I prefer this and have high hopes for the future years.Thanks M. Bidwill, you got the right guy and are sticking to him and “it”!

    Me too.

    Might look for that KC coach to return next year… just wondering…

  14. By Scott H on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Great point…psychologically, just think about about the difference between ending the season on a tear versus ending it on a nose-dive….makes all the difference in the world. Definitely better to go 1-6 FIRST, then 6-1 LATER!!! Makes a 7-7 record seem like the greatest thing in the world! Imagine that…

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