Too often coaches, though deep down they know it to be true, refuse to admit when their team is inferior.
In the midst of losing streaks and slumps, coaches deflect negative questions or hints at benching players, seemingly trying to numb the reality that their team is simply not playing well.
Yet as the Cardinals prepare for a long, east-coast trip to Baltimore, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt admits to the Washington Post any criticism facing his team right now, a team that sits at 1-5, is justified.
And unfortunately for Whisenhunt, there’s plenty of criticism to go around. In the offseason, the Cardinals made a big splash, trading for quarterback Kevin Kolb, hoping he would be the long-term answer in the desert. So far, however, Kolb has struggled to take the reins of the offense, a setback the young passer says has been tough.
Add into the equation the uncertainty of starting running back Chris “Beanie” Wells and wide receiver Early Doucet, and, with the exception of star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, there are a number of questions surrounding this young team. Both Wells and Doucet were held out of practice Wednesday, as Wells nurses an injured right knee and Doucet has a sore quadriceps. It is unclear whether either will be able to play Sunday against the Ravens.
Speaking of the Ravens, the Cardinals could not have been drawn a worse week to come into Baltimore. Fresh off of a humiliating upset loss to Jacksonville, the Ravens undoubtedly are eager to get back on the football field and prove that last Monday night was simply a fluke. That could mean taking out a lot of aggression on Kolb, who will face the toughest defense to date.
Yet if the Cardinals can somehow do what Jacksonville did earlier this week and upset the Ravens, it’ll go a long way toward curbing some of that criticism. But a blowout loss in Baltimore will simply add fuel to the fire and turn some of those suggestions for reshuffling into demands for change.