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CARDS: We're Playing a Team a Lot Like Us

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Transcripts of conference calls by Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt and Jay Feely with Jets reporters on Wednesday afternoon:

HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

On their tough stretch…

I think after starting the way we did, expectations were raised, so it always makes it difficult when you’ve had a stretch like we’ve had. Our players have continued to work hard, but it’s not easy. This is a difficult business and when you don’t win games, it is tough. Our players have worked hard. We had a bye week a couple of weeks ago. That was good. We reassessed where we were. We came out of it and played well against Atlanta but didn’t get a win. There have been reasons why we’re in the situation we are. We’ve made mistakes, we’ve had turnovers and injuries, but none of that really matters. You just have to continue to work and try to get out of it.

On QB Kevin Kolb’s status…

We haven’t practiced today. We’re going to have to find out what he can do in practice until we know more.

On the Jets' second quarter against the Patriots…

It’s tough. It’s unusual that you see something happen like that and there’s not a lot you can do about it. They continue to play hard and they have good players. That’s one of the unfortunate things that happen. It happened to us when we played the Jets a few years ago up there, I think it was 2008. We had some big plays early and it went the other way. It’s a difficult situation.

On if he has talked to Coach Ryan about taking over teams and quickly leading them on playoff runs…

I’ve talked to Rex during the course of time, but not about that. They’ve done a good job. They were in the playoffs and the [AFC] championship game for a couple of years. I think it’s a little bit more difficult when you’re NFC and AFC. We haven’t played the Jets since 2008 and I know that Rex wasn’t the coach at that time, but I know Rex from years back even when he was at Baltimore and I know he’s a good football coach. No, we haven’t commiserated about how the situations have gone through the years.

On Kerry Rhodes…

Kerry is doing a good job for us. He’s been a good starter, has made a number of good plays for us. He’s had a couple of injuries, but nothing like over the last two years which have kept him out. He’s played well for us.

On Rhodes’ work ethic…

Kerry has worked very well for us. He’s worked hard and he’s done a good job.

On if it makes it difficult to deal with hard times when you've tasted success…

Sure, it does. That’s the way it should be. Our aspirations are to be a good football team and to get back to the playoffs. When you’re going through a stretch like we're going through, it’s frustrating. You've been there and you've done it. It’s difficult in this league from that standpoint anyways. I think the one thing you get out of it is that you know the message. How you practice, how you prepare, all those things work for you. You at least know if you stick to that plan, you have a chance.

On if it is tempting to change things…

I think you always look to try and get better. You never want to try and stay the same. As far as the fundamentals of how you do things, what you require as far as the tempo at practice, how you do different things, you try and make that consistent. We’re always looking at ways to tweak things to make things better. I think as a coach you’re trying to learn. I talked to other coaches about how they do things and we try and adopt things that we think will help our team be in a better position to win.

On if he has adopted any ideas from other teams…

We have a unique challenge, especially early in the season with the heat and how we practice and some of the things we do as far as doing walkthroughs and going out to practice early and changing practice times and the way we do meeting times. Those are things you try and adapt based on what you think will help your team. One of the things we do coming east is we come on Friday. When you go west to east, it’s tough with the time change. Those are the things that I’m talking about as far as when you’re looking to do what’s best for your team.

On motivating players…

That hasn’t been an issue. Our guys have worked hard. They’ve still been focused in practice and that’s good.

On his message to the team this week…

We’re playing a team that is a lot like us. They’ve had moments where they’ve looked very good and other moments where they haven’t. They’ve had their mistakes. Traveling east, a 1:00 p.m. game, has always been one of the things for a West Coast team that can be tough, so we have it focused on making sure that we prepare the right way. Regardless of what’s going on with the other team, you have to make sure that you’re preparing your team and you’re trying to get ready.

The guys want to get a win. That’s what this business is all about. Our message is how we prepare and getting ready for this New York Jets team.

CARDINALS K JAY FEELY

On Arizona’s losing streak…

It’s been difficult. Anytime you have consecutive losses, much less seven consecutive, it’s a drain on everybody and difficult emotionally, physically. When you get on a slide like that, you just have to find a way to make plays and kind of stem the tide a little bit.

On if he still follows the Jets…

I would say I'm disappointed for them. Obviously, I still have fond memories of playing for the Jets and playing for Rex in particular. A lot of the players on the team I’m still friends with and talk to them. You always want to see the guys that you know, you like, do well. Unfortunately, just like our season, it hasn’t gone as well as you’d want it, the way that you want it.

On Coach Whisenhunt saying there were similarities between the Cardinals and Jets…

The struggles have been similar. The expectations and the characteristics of the teams are different. That comes from being in New York versus Arizona somewhat. Our expectations were obviously have a successful season, win, make the playoffs. When we started off 4-0, we felt good about ourselves and we felt like we were playing the kind of football that we wanted to play: strong defense, let the offense mature and come along and play great special teams. Losing Kevin [Kolb] hurt a lot for us. He was coming into his own, started to play well and got hurt in that fifth game. I think that was a big blow for our team.

For the Jets, I think when you miss the opportunity to make a couple of plays in games — and this holds true for everybody but it’s held true for them this season — and you lose those games, then the pressure begins to build. When you don’t respond to that the right way and you don’t win games, obviously that can build upon itself, especially in New York.

On if he has been surprised by some of the miscues on New York’s special teams…

It surprises me a lot because I know Mike [special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff] takes a lot of pride in his units. He puts in a lot of effort and focus. Coach [Kevin] Spencer even said it in our meeting today, and I agree with him, that he’s one of the best special teams coaches to ever coach in this game. I think what makes him a great special teams coach is his willingness to try things.

You’ve seen that with the fake punts that they’ve done with Tim Tebow this year. A lot of coaches aren’t willing to do that because the emphasis is on the coach if it fails. He’s always been a guy that does that. think back to when we played New England, when I was there in 2008, he drew up a return on the sidelines after the first return didn’t work, a return we had never practiced, and we took it to the house for a touchdown. There are not a lot of coaches that are willing to do that and put themselves on the line, but he does that.

Obviously, I’m sure that he’s disgusted with the mistakes that they’ve made and we expect a great effort this week because I know one thing about Mike Westhoff: He’s going to have his guys ready to play.
Preseason Live: New York Jets

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