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Saturday, November 16, 2013
Cards know how Jags felt during skid

By Josh Weinfuss

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals know what it's like to lose.

They lost 30 games between 2010 and 2012, and each season included a losing streak -- seven, six and nine games in each year, respectively.

On Sunday, Arizona will face another team familiar with losing, especially this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars started the season 0-8 before getting a win over Tennessee last weekend. While the Cardinals have had similar streaks recently, the last time they started a season 0-8 was 1978 -- before all but five of the current Cardinals were born.

The Cardinals who are carryovers from last year’s squad -- which lost nine straight after starting 4-0 -- understand what the Jags are going through, to a point.

“They were 0-and-whatever,” safety Rashad Johnson said. “So (there was) the possibility that they could not win a game all year. I mean, we did start off 4-0 (last season) and we knew we could win. For those guys, I don’t know if they actually knew they could win until they actually got it done.”

For some Cardinals last year, the toll was physical, for others it was mental.

Linebacker Daryl Washington lost sleep thinking about ways to win. He questioned whether he should be practicing more or watching more film instead of getting some shuteye.

Nose tackle Dan Williams said each loss was more deflating than the last because Arizona would spend all week prepping and planning with a new game plan, hoping that’d be the key to ending the slide. But when that didn’t work, the team questioned wondering if anything would work.

“It seems like (there’s) nothing you can do,” Williams said. “Here’s another one, here’s another one.”

To Johnson, each loss was another gallon of gasoline on his own personal fire. He walked away from each of those nine games last season ready to work harder the next week, even if the effort didn’t result in a victory.

Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew heard all the jokes about being undefeated, but he adopted Johnson’s mindset: He just kept fighting.

Instead of making his team work overtime during the Jaguars’ bye week, coach Gus Bradley gave it the entire week off. Jacksonville rewarded its coach with a win.

But the stress of losing doesn’t just go away when teams leave their practice facilities. It stays with them until the burden of losing is gone.

“Anytime you’re losing it makes life outside of football harder,” Washington said. “It makes work a little harder. Everything is that much more detailed and it’s just brutal, man. But when you’re winning everybody’s excited. You want to practice. People are up. You want to work out. You’re not feeling as tired.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what we went through, especially winning the first four games. Just having to go through week-by-week preparing differently, trying to do something different, whatever it is, practicing harder or longer, whatever it is man. It’s really indescribable.”