Every Cardinals player has a brick in his locker – name painted on one side, “T.A.C.” on the other.

“Trust. Accountability. Commitment,” rookie running back Chase Edmonds said. “It’s really the foundation of this team.” 

It was on display Saturday at the annual “Red & White Practice,” a dress rehearsal for game day, where thousands of fans turned out to see how the team looks so far under head coach Steve Wilks, who’s been working to instill this defining acronym into his team since he took charge.

Pick your metaphor. Bricks symbolize hard work. Toughness. Strength. It all fits.

“We’re trying to create a foundation to win,” Wilks said, “and the most important brick in that foundation is training camp. That’s when you really come together. That’s when you really solidify, to me, that winning season.”


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In order to be successful, “each and every player is going to have trust in each other in that we’re going to do our job,” said Edmonds, the first-year-player from Fordham. “We’re gonna do the right things on the field and off the field and really just have each others’ backs.”

Defensive tackle Corey Peters built on that message.

“What we’re trying to do here is build a team that’s championship-caliber, and we’re trying to compete for a championship,” he said. “So trust, accountability, commitment is what it’s going to take for us. And that’s what we’re rallying around and buying into.”

Players have to trust one another. They have to trust their coaches. But, “first and foremost, it’s trust in yourself,” Peters said. “Knowing that I’m prepared for the task at hand. I’m going to put myself in the best position to be successful.”

From there, he said, “it’s trust in the guys next to me, that they’re going to be where they’re supposed to be. It’s trust in the guys behind me, the linebackers, to get the front set and communicate effectively. It’s trust in the DBs that they’re going to shut the routes down to give the pass rush enough time. It’s trust in the offense to move the ball down the field … It’s all across the board.”

He called football “the ultimate team sport,” and he underlined it. “There has to be trust there.”


The accountability also starts with the individual, and the message has even filtered down to undrafted, rookie free agents.

“It means I have to make myself accountable for everything that we do,” running back Sherman Badie said, mentioning specifically “knowing the plays, coming out with high energy.”

Peters said it also means players can call each other out without waiting on coaches to correct mistakes.

“With a good squad – and I think that’s what we’re starting to develop here – everybody’s accountable to one another,” he said. “If the pass rush is not doing well, (Patrick Peterson) can say, ‘That pass rush needs to get better,’ without anybody feeling disrespected. At the same time, if the coverage isn’t good, we’d have the right to say so.”

But before it even comes to that, accountability starts with self, Peters said.

“We have a good group of guys who understand what’s going on,” he said. “If somebody makes a mistake, that player is going to be the first one to raise his hand and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to do a better job there. That’s unacceptable. I’ve got to work on that.’”


Commitment represents the third building block, and none of them work without the others.

“It goes hand in hand, man,” Edmonds said. “It’s like laying bricks to build a house, really. You can’t be accountable to someone if you’re not committed to them.”

All in all, it’s creating an environment where players are driven from within, even as Vegas oddsmakers are picking them to finish in the cellar.

“We don’t worry about the outside at all,” said Badie, the rookie from Tulane.

Chandler Jones put it best.

“I don’t pay attention to it at all,” he said. “That doesn’t motivate me. What motivates me is these guys in this locker room, the names that are on these lockers. We’re playing for each other, playing for the coaches. We’ve got a new coaching staff, and I go out there each and every day of practice like I’m going to get fired. … We don’t care what other people think. It’s the guys that are in this locker room that matter.”

It’s clear they’re building. Brick by brick.