Arizona Cardinals coach Steve Wilks is right; one loss doesn’t define a season.
Even if it is by 18 points.
Look, nobody’s saying a turnaround after a season-opening defeat to Washington is going to be easy, just that it’s possible given the history of players and coaches in this organization. So, before you go planning to pull weeds or stay late at church or read the user agreements on all those apps you’ve downloaded, consider giving your home team another look when they go face the Rams on Sunday in L.A.
Imagine if New England fans had tuned out after the Patriots lost at home to the Chiefs 42-27 last season in Week 1? They would have missed out on a Super Bowl run.
The Patriots lost early in the year to the Chiefs in 2014, a 41-14 road loss in Week 4. They won the Super Bowl after that season.
Defensive end Zach Moore (no relation to the guy who wrote this, unless he has a big game Sunday, and in that case, “Yo, Cousin Z!”) was on that team and knows how they did it.
“Throughout the season, you’re going to realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Moore said. “So, you’ve just got to regroup, collect yourself, go back to the drawing board, figure out all the adjustments, make the adjustments and move forward. You can’t get held up over one game. It’s a long season. You’ve got to prepare each week for the next game.”
Lemme guess, you’re thinking, ‘Hey, Greg Moore-on, these Cardinals aren’t those Patriots, so the comparison doesn’t hold up.”
Good point. (Though we could have done without the name-calling.)
Nobody’s saying Arizona is going to win the Super Bowl this year, just that Zach Moore is one of several guys with experience moving on from bad games during memorable seasons.
Really, McCoy knows
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy held the same position with Denver in 2011. That team started 1-4, and in Week 4 lost 49-23 to the Green Bay Packers. The Broncos also lost big to Detroit and Denver that year.
They ended up winning the AFC West and a playoff game.
McCoy knows about bouncing back.
“In the NFL, you have to have a short memory,” he said. “You go one week at a time. The goal never changes week in and week out. You’re trying to be 1-0 that week. You’ve always got to learn from your experiences, both good and bad. You get off to fast starts, at times — same thing. You gotta move on. You can’t worry about the last game. You’ve got to move on to the next one.”
Al about experience
On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Al Holcomb was an assistant with the 2011 New York Giants. That year, the Giants lost the first game of the season 28-14 at Washington. They also had an ugly loss to New Orleans during a mid-season skid where they lost five of six.
That season ended with a championship.
“We stayed the course,” Holcomb said. “We didn’t waiver. We kept preaching the same message, and eventually the ball started bouncing our way. We started making the plays that we knew we were capable of making.”
Fitzgerald moves on
And if you’re still not convinced this team has the know-how to move on from a bad loss, take it from Larry Fitzgerald.
His 2008 Arizona Cardinals lost 56-35 on the road to the Jets in Week 4. And 48-20 on the road to the Eagles in Week 13. And 47-7 on the road to the Patriots in Week 16. We know how that season ended. (Santonio Holmes was out of bounds.)
Fitzgerald could write a book on resilience.
“I think the biggest thing is just to not overreact,” he said. “You can’t let one of 16 games affect you and permeate into the next week’s preparation. You have to be able to put stuff behind you. There’s gonna be mistakes. There’s gonna be mistakes on Sunday. There’s gonna be things that you hate and you dislike and plays you want to take back, but you know you can’t do that. You’ve got to move on to the next one, and make sure you’re honed in and focused on that play. Because that’s the only thing you can control, at that point.”
To repeat, no one is saying a team with a brutal schedule and a first-year coach and a new offense and a new defense that was picked by Vegas to win about six games is going to the Super Bowl.
That’s too much to ask, let alone expect.
But it could happen.
What’s more likely to happen, however, is that the Cardinals get much more competitive than they were against Washington.
And it could start Sunday in L.A.
Reach Moore at email@example.com or 602-444-2236. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @WritingMoore.