The Arizona Cardinals had a miserable 2010 season, one that the organization and its fans surely would love to forget completely. From Derek Anderson’s on-field and post-game meltdown on Monday Night Football to the myriad other factors that played a part in Arizona finishing 5-11 in the league’s worst division, there just wasn’t much that went right last year for Ken Whisenhunt and the ‘Birds.
There’s renewed optimism in the desert though heading into 2011, primarily because of the addition of Kevin Kolb. The former Eagles quarterback obviously has huge question marks considering his inexperience, but there’s enough talent elsewhere on both sides of the ball for fans to reasonably believe that the Cardinals can be competitive again this year in the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to discuss the buzz and excitement amongst his players this year compared to last, what Kevin Kolb’s strengths are based on his limited up-close observations, how much of his offense is in place at this point in the preseason schedule, the potential to add another receiver like, say, Randy Moss, whether the Cards would ever consider keeping four QBs on the 53-man roster this year, what he’s seen thus far from first-round pick Patrick Peterson, and the balance he hopes to have on offense.
How would you describe the excitement surrounding this year’s team compared to last year?:
“I don’t get into that too much. I think every team is different. I think a lot of times the perceptions are colored by a 5-11 season. I think when you look back over last year, there’s not a lot of positive memories. Our guys worked hard in camp last year. … I will say this, I do agree from the standpoint our players have been working hard in camp and it does seem there is a chemistry evolving.”
What are Kevin Kolb’s strengths at QB and how much of your offense is in place at this point?:
“We’re still trying to push and put as much of it in as we can. We don’t have a lot of our individual packages in. … We’re trying to install as much as we can every day and then we’ll pull back for the games. His strengths: his abilities to handle this information and process it. … That provides leadership in itself, being able to process the plays and understand what we’re trying to get done. He’s got a quick delivery, he’s accurate with his throws, he showed some mobility in the game the other day. … I just really like the total package.”
Would you consider adding Randy Moss?:
“I think we’d have to cross that bridge if we ever seriously considered that. You hear a lot of different things about what he was like. … To be quite honest with you, I haven’t looked at any tape of what he did in Tennessee. That would be the most important determining factor … do you still think he can contribute?”
Is it a luxury if you keep four quarterbacks this year?:
“I would think so, yeah. Unless the fourth quarterback was on the practice squad, that would be the only way. But then again, the guy’s never going to get any reps. You only have so many reps during an in-season practice. Your first-team quarterback has got to get most of your team reps. And then all of your scout-team stuff, you want your second-team quarterback to get most of those so he’s at least throwing the ball. … That fourth one would be a tough situation.”
What have you seen from first-round pick Patrick Peterson at cornerback?:
“He’s working to earn the starting job. I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of time. I would say he’s going to have the opportunity to show us he’s ready to do it. … The guy’s going to get to that point at some point, then he’ll play. But you know what? It’s raised the level of play at that position.”
When it comes to balance on offense, would you like to be 50-50?:
“It depends. … There’s something to be said for the mentality of being able to run the football. If you get the kind of team that we can hopefully grow into, you’ll have the lead in games. And the way you’ll be able to win those games is to be able to run the ball late in games. Would I like to be 50-50? Sure. I think anybody would like to be 50-50. In today’s NFL, is it skewed a little bit more toward the passing game? Yeah, it is.”