Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt recently downplayed the team's struggles during the exhibition season. Quarterback Kurt Warner and strong safety Adrian Wilson sounded a little more concerned, though ultimately hopeful, during recent interviews with XTRA910 in Phoenix.
Wilson: We were definitely lethargic throughout the whole preseason. The excitement wasn't there, for whatever reason. I can't put my finger on it. But whatever it took to make that run in the playoffs that we had last year, we didn't have that. I think a lot of it comes from people still talking about what we did last year. Last year is last year and it's kind of a dead issue now. We shouldn't have to go back and try to relive what we did last year. It's a new year and a new team. We have to somehow find a way to rekindle whatever we had.
It's oversimplifying things to suggest the Cardinals were lethargic simply because fiery former offensive coordinator Todd Haley left to coach the Chiefs. Arizona has quite a few veteran players. Veterans sometimes bide their time through the preseason. The Cardinals also have an offensive-minded head coach averse to game-planning before the regular season. Their preseason schedule featured opponents with strong first-team units. These could be among the factors contributing to the Cardinals' poor play in the fake games. But the Haley angle is the one we'll hear about most if the Cardinals seem to lose their edge.
Warner: I'm not going to put that all on Todd, but he was very much a vocal, in-your-face, challenging type coach that would really push guys. Sometimes that would show itself in anger and frustration, guys yelling at each other on the sidelines, but the one thing I appreciated about Todd was, he pushed us to be great and he wasn't worried about being our best friend. He just wanted us to respect him for making us better players. I appreciate that part of it. I'm sure all of this is going to get worked out. But it has only been a few weeks in game-type situations as these new coaches have taken over and it is a bit of a feeling-out process. We have to work through that.
Wilson suggested a team meeting might help the Cardinals refocus for the season: "We'll have a Sopranos-style sitdown and find out the solution to the problem. It's not necessarily figuring out what the problem is, because I think everybody knows what the problem is. Right now, it's about us figuring out the solution for that. We have enough leaders in that locker room and enough guys who have been in certain situations where we can get that thing handled and we'll be prepared for the game on Sunday."
Sopranos-style sitdown? That means being open and honest about how the team approached the preseason and what needs to happen next, Wilson said.