Skelton says Cardinals play best “when nobody expects anything out of us”

Arizona Sports News online

In a matter of weeks, the Cardinals went from 4-0 to 4-5, which players and coaches have said is completely unacceptable,

because they know they’re capable of much more than they’ve shown in the last month plus.

“Well, what is there to say other than it’s not good enough?” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We started off and made enough plays to win games, and then over the last five we haven’t done that. I think we just looked at things we did well and things we didn’t do well, and we’re trying to do the things that we did well better.”

Whisenhunt pointed to a number of things the Cardinals haven’t done well since the losing streak began – things he knows they need to rectify before they take the field against the Falcons on Sunday in Atlanta, Ga.

“We drop balls when we’re wide open. We can’t do that. We miss tackles in the open field. You can’t do that. We’ve got to do some things better on special teams. That’s really what our focus is,” Whisenhunt said.

The Falcons are a very opportunistic team, especially at the Georgia Dome, a place they’ve only lost at six times since 2008.

All the things Whisenhunt mentioned that the Cardinals are struggling at right now, Atlanta will exploit if they’re not careful.

Even though it seems like a lot is wrong with this team, quarterback John Skelton knows they’re capable of much more, although he sides with Whisenhunt, seeing the things his head coach sees that aren’t working.

“We’ve always had the confidence in ourselves,” Skelton said. “We know we have the players. We have the right guys to get the job done, but when push comes to shove, we haven’t been getting it done; dropped balls on third down, bad balls on third down, turnovers, all these factors add up to losses. We have the ability. We’ve seen it in practice. We’ve seen it in weeks past. We’ve just got to translate that to Sundays now.”

When you lose five games in a row, and your offense is perceived as being anemic, and your defense – while still the strongest part of the team – has taken a bit of a step back, you’re going to be labeled as underdogs, depending on the team you’re facing.

Skelton talked about the comfort level of being a team that most think have no shot of winning games, let alone this weekend against the Falcons.

“I won’t say that’s a comfortable feeling, but I think that’s who we are. We probably play best when we’re underdogs and no one really expects anything out of us,” Skelton said. “People call the 4-0 start a fluke, and rightfully so, because we’ve lost the last five. All we can do is worry about ourselves, go out there and play the game, no matter who our opponent is.”

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