After losing to the hapless Carolina Panthers Sunday 19-12, Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said all the right things. His coaches and players are still working hard in practice and in games. The effort is still there. He likes the gameplan and schemes they’re calling on offense and defense. They’re leaving too many plays on the field. They can’t overcome their mistakes.
This is the same litany Whisenhunt recites after every game, win or lose. Here’s what he should have said:
What he said: "I'm encouraged with what I've seen from John and how he handles himself," Whisenhunt said, "so right now, I still feel like, especially with the up-in-the-air status of Derek, that (Skelton) gives us the best chance to win. As we sit here talking today, that's the direction we're going to go, yes."
What he should have said: “I like our QBs more than our offensive line does. They’ve given up 43 sacks this year so far, an average of over three per game. Yet we’ve only recorded 26 ourselves. Last year it was reversed, we recorded 43 sacks of opponents and were only sacked 26 times all year. It’s incredible really, but I don’t make this stuff up.”
What he said: “They were obviously trying to stop us and make us beat them throwing the ball.”
What he should have said: “With our powerful running game, which ranks 30th in the NFL at 86.9 yards per game, they obviously wanted to shut that down and make our 31st ranked passing game beat them.”
What he said: “I haven’t seen that. At all. We work hard in practices and give effort in games.”
What he should have said: “I know I just said I like our schemes and playcalling, and I know we try hard because that’s our coaches' job to keep them focused and disciplined, so I have to believe the problem lies in a lack of talent. The effort is there, they just aren’t good enough.”
What he said: "But I think the way he handled himself later in the game is a reason to have a lot of optimism about him as a quarterback," Whisenhunt said. "He can stand in the pocket and make the throws. Some of the throws he made down the field were very impressive. Some of the movement he had in the pocket was very good."
What he should have said: “John has a lot of intangibles, what I like to call Swagger. Anderson had the same thing. The best players start for my teams. Until I find someone with more Swagger. It doesn’t matter that his completion percentage is terrible, like DA’s, like Hall’s, because right now he has more swagger than either of them.”
What he said: "It's been a very painful year. For all of us—for our fans, for our players, for our coaches," he said. "We've worked very hard and to not get results is always very frustrating.”
What he should have said: “I apologize to those teams we accidentally beat this year.”