NFL GameDay - Cards’ problems start in locker room - East Valley Tribune: Sports

NFL GameDay - Cards’ problems start in locker room

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Posted: Sunday, November 5, 2006 7:12 am | Updated: 3:14 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

No one knows for sure the inner workings of any NFL locker room, and the Cardinals are no exception. But at 1-7, it’s clear that it won’t take too much more for the team to fracture, if it hasn’t started to happen already.

Defensive end Bertrand Berry took aim at his Cardinals teammates late last week on his weekly radio show on ESPN (860 AM) with some stinging comments about their dedication and work ethic, mentioning there were players in the locker room that don’t like each other.

“And I’ll be honest, I feel that way about certain people,” Berry said. “There are certain people that I don’t really care to be around.

“I don’t want to hang out with these people. I just don’t. Because I don’t like them. I don’t like their attitude. I don’t like their approach to the game and I don’t like their actions on the field.”

It was pointed out by co-host Ron Wolfley — a former NFL player — that most players have some teammates they don’t care for. But with a 1-7 record and a seven-game losing streak, “it magnifies all the raw feelings,” Berry said, “and brings them to the surface.”

The thing is, these feelings have been bubbling for a while. And not just with Berry.

After the most recent loss, safety Adrian Wilson was asked about the fight left in the team and he said “I think there is in a few players and I think a few players are just here.”

Receiver Anquan Boldin, who has been seething after every loss, mentioned that “guys have to make up their mind to come out and play. It ain’t hard.”

And even before the season began, quarterback Kurt Warner seemed to forecast difficulty, noting that “until I see 53 guys preparing Monday through Sunday, doing the little things, taking care of details, showing up to practice every single day, ready and willing to do whatever it takes” the Cards wouldn’t reach their goals.

Forget the meltdown against the Bears. Berry said — somewhat shockingly — that the Cards haven’t recovered from the St. Louis loss three games into the season. That’s awfully early for a season to go off the tracks.

But here the Cards are. It may be tough to recover when, as Berry noted, they were so concerned about their weekend plans that during their two days of practice last week “we were not really learning anything.”

Perhaps there will be a players-only meeting Monday, as Berry suggested. Something has to happen. Otherwise the chasms in the locker room are only going to get worse.

PREACHING PATIENCE

Some picked the Miami Dolphins to go to the Super Bowl. But that was before quarterback Daunte Culpepper proved he wasn’t ready and before Miami’s offense overall fizzled. Now with his team 1-6, some fans have turned on coach Nick Saban.

“Give the guy a year and a half and run him out of town?” defensive end Jason Taylor said. “You brought him in like he was Jesus last year with the palm leaves and the parade. I mean, give the man some time. I expect a winner so I’m disappointed, too. But when the stock goes down at Microsoft, I don’t call Bill Gates and say impeach him and start bitching and moaning about that either. You’ve got to be patient.”

THIS ’N’ THAT

The NFC West is earning its reputation as the NFC Worst. Teams have combined for 13 straight losses: Seven by the Cardinals and two each from the 49ers, Rams and Seahawks. The only win posted by the teams in the past three weeks came from Seattle — which beat St. Louis. . . .

Dallas coach Bill Parcells is playing it cautious when it comes to new quarterback Tony Romo, who led the Cowboys to a win in his first start: “You know, anyone can land a lucky punch. Or every once in a while, you’re standing up there at the plate and they hit your bat. You didn’t really hit the ball. They hit your bat.” . . .

According to coldhardfootballfacts.com, only five teams in NFL history have been worse than the Colts’ current run defense, which is allowing 5.37 yards a carry. The five teams’ combined record was 14-44. The Colts, of course, are 7-0.

F O U R T H I N G S T O W A T C H I N T O D A Y ‘ S G A M E S

Irresistible force

The Bengals, who visit the Ravens today, are the only team in the NFL to score on every red zone possession, 19-for-19 (with 12 touchdowns). Baltimore, however, has the best red zone defense in the league. Although New England (10) and Chicago (13) have allowed fewer trips into the red zone than the Ravens (14), Baltimore has surrendered points on only seven of those red zone visits. The Ravens have allowed only two touchdowns of those seven, a scary number for the normally potent Bengals.

Serious rivals

How much tension is there between the Colts and the Patriots, who play today in New England? Colts GM Bill Polian asked the league for protection for his players because of the Patriots’ unsafe field. Patriots coach Bill Belichick responded by asking the league for his employees protection from Polian — who roughed up a Jets official earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Belichick continued to mess with his injury report by putting 17 players on it. The Colts responded by listing 17 players. The next day, the Patriots upped their list to 22. The Colts responded with a list of 20.

The Saints are marching

New Orleans reaches the halfway point of the season today in Tampa Bay with four players on pace to gain 1,100 yards from scrimmage this year, which would be a first in NFL history. Receivers Marques Colston (577 yards) and Joe Horn (507) and running backs Deuce McAllister (552) and Reggie Bush (502) are the dangerous quartet. Looking ahead The Bears get a road test next week in New York vs. the Giants — just don’t ask Giants coach Tom Coughlin about it yet.

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