As I write this blog, my Whisenhunt Poll shows 87% of KOOL listeners want the Cardinals Coach to stay the course. Only 13% think he’s part of the problem. After FIVE losses in a row, we know there definitely IS a problem. Team President Michael Bidwell wants you to know…he’s well aware!
(Courtesy of Kent Somers – Arizona Republic)
It’s hard being a Cardinal out there these days.
As receiver Larry Fitzgerald noted last week, fans want to know when the team would stop losing, when the offense would stop floundering, if the playoffs were still possible.
Michael Bidwill, team president, hears it, too. Five consecutive losses – the team’s longest losing streak in four years – have dropped the Cardinals to 3-7 and to the bottom of the NFC West.
// Fans are frustrated, and Bidwill knows it.
“Absolutely,” he said Tuesday. “I’m a fan and this is really frustrating to all of us. I know the guys are working hard and we’re trying to get this thing rectified. The good news is we’re only two games out of first, but we have to focus on getting out there on Monday (vs. the 49ers), against an NFC West opponent, and take care of business.”
Like many people, Bidwill was taken aback by the team’s struggles this season. A dip after consecutive winning seasons and NFC titles? Sure. A spiral into the basement of the NFL’s worst division? Never.
“I’m a fan and this is really frustrating,” he said. “We are going to get through these challenging times and we’ll do it together. This team continues to have fight in it.”
On Tuesday, Bidwill wasn’t about to say anything bold enough to be tweeted 10 seconds later.
He declined to discuss player-personnel issues, such as the decisions that led to starting Derek Anderson at quarterback. He also refused to discuss broader issues, especially if his potential answer could be construed as criticism of those working under him: General Manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Bidwill wasn’t about to answer questions about the off-season pursuit of a quarterback or the potential firing of assistant coaches.
He brushed off even the broadest question: Is this team underachieving, or did those in power misjudge talent?
“I’ll probably defer those kinds of questions to Ken and Rod Graves,” Bidwill said. “I feel like we’ve got a lot of talent on the team. We’re not just getting it done.”
This team has shown few signs of being able to get it done. The Cardinals have their longest losing streak since 2006.
Three of those losses were against teams that are now .500 or worse, so it’s not as if the Cardinals have been burdened by a difficult schedule.
As torturous as the present is, the Cardinals do have hope for the rest of this season and beyond. Whisenhunt has proven he can lead a team through difficult times. The NFC West is horrible, so the Cardinals remain in contention.
And more fans than ever seem to care. It wasn’t long ago that only 20,000 or so bothered to attend games at Sun Devil Stadium.
Bidwill did say he thinks the team has the organizational structure in place to fix what’s gone wrong. Of course, that’s what you would expect him to say, given that last year he extended the contracts of Whisenhunt and Graves through 2013.
“This is the structure that got us success in years past,” Bidwill said. “I think when you step back from it and look at teams in the NFL, they will go through cycles, including good teams.
“When it’s happening to you, it’s very frustrating. We’re trying to work our way through it and hope that we can get it rectified. I think the important thing is we stay focused . . . and not over-react. We’ve had some close games and made some mistakes. What we’ve got to do is work on fixing those and not getting ahead of ourselves.”
Patient is a word rarely used to describe Bidwill, however. Though Bidwill refuses to make public his opinions about the quarterback situation, the defensive deficiencies and the performance of the coaching staff, Whisenhunt and Graves probably have heard from him already.
Bidwill is, as he says, a fan, too.