The Cardinals bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for them, considering they went into the break with five straight losses and the Atlanta Falcons looming this Sunday in Georgia.
Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the break was good for him.
“Short,” Whisenhunt said. “Short and sweet.”
The team hadn’t practiced since last Wednesday. The time off seemed to do them wonders according to Whisenhunt.
“Yeah, they looked a lot like that first week after we break camp when they come in,” Whisenhunt said. “They had a lot of energy and moved around well. We’ll see how the week goes, but from that standpoint it was good.”
When teams in the league struggle like the Cardinals have over the last month plus, it’s inevitable that changes will be made in order to shake things up, which Whisenhunt hinted to before the break and now after the break.
“When you are where we are after the way we started and the way we’ve been the last five games, I certainly hope they understand that, because that’s what this business is all about,” Whisenhunt said.
To go along with said changes, the team got back to a mind state of preparation – preparation for a Falcons team who hasn’t lost a game at the Georgia Dome this season. The Falcons won’t be too hospitable considering they are no longer undefeated either, as they fell to the Saints in New Orleans, La., on Sunday.
“This week, we got a chance to start thinking about our next opponent [Atlanta], and working on some of the things where we did this okay during the first nine weeks, and now we’ve got to do it better,” Whisenhunt said.
Without question, linebacker Daryl Washington is the team’s MVP, not just on defense, but an overall MVP.
Washington sides with Whisenhunt in the fact that he knows the team needs to get back to the basics, reset and focus on what helped them stay undefeated through the first four weeks of the season.
“We just have to stay sound in what we’re doing, in our technique, and just making the plays we know we can make,” Washington said. “That’s all you can do as a defense, go out there and play as hard as you can, use your technique and play disciplined football.”
Washington is looking forward to the trip to Atlanta, Ga., because he knows the team needs to get back to their winning ways, and the only way to do that is to beat the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
“Hopefully it can be two consecutive losses,” Washington said. “Hopefully we can go up there and get a win, it’s going to be crazy, a hostile environment, so we’re looking to get a win.”
Whisenhunt is a native of Augusta, Ga. He played his college ball at Georgia Tech. He made his NFL debut with the Falcons in 1985, playing with them for four seasons.
Georgia is in his blood, but none of that matters to him this weekend.
“No, I’m not really interested in that,” Whisenhunt said. “I’m really interested in trying to start better and play better, that’s where the focus is.”