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Quest For Perfection

Posted Oct 16, 2012

Mistakes will happen, but Cardinals' work to stamp them out won't stop

Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson (49) pressures Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick Sunday.

Themes in a season come and go.

Some are daily, some are weekly, some are monthly. There are those that are for training camp, those that are for home games and those that are for road games.

But one theme has been a constant around the Cardinals’ locker room, regardless of the day of the week or location of the game. Everyone is striving for perfection.

In some ways, perfection is easy to quantify: Twenty-seven consecutive outs in baseball, going undefeated, making every shot or completing every pass.

Perfection, however, isn’t as easy to attain.

The Cardinals have come to understand that this season, as missed opportunities have become a common refrain heard throughout the last few weeks. As more missed opportunities let a win slip away Sunday against the Bills, the Cardinals were clear they won’t accept them.

It’s something the coaches have preached, and now the players are preaching it too.

“It’s very hard to be perfect, but you know football is a game of inches and we’re an inch away from getting sacks, inch away from getting interceptions and turnovers,” linebacker O’Brien Schofield said. “These types of things do happen but our job as players and coaches is to eliminate that. “

The Cardinals aren’t dwelling on missed opportunities.

They took Monday to review the film and figure out ways to correct them, whether it was miscommunication on a route, an overthrown pass or a missed block.

After they walked out of Monday’s film session, the Cardinals turned the chapter.

“It’s a hard one to get past,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “I think that’s the thing we have to do, we have to move past.

“With all our flaws, with all of the things we’ve got going on, our guys are fighting and they’re working hard to make plays. We’re making some plays but what we’ve got to do is quit shooting ourselves in the foot at times.”

Missed opportunities happen, safety Rashad Johnson said, but a team can’t prepare for them.

“We can’t go into a game like there’s going to be missed opportunities,” Johnson said. “That’s not something you go into expecting to happen. You go in with a mindset that we’re going to do the right thing.

“Sometimes there are guys that are going to make a play on the other side of the ball. They get paid just like we do.”

It’s one thing, Johnson said, for a player to be prepared and simply get beat on a play. It’s an entirely different set of circumstances if a player enters a game not ready.

That starts in practice, offensive tackle Bobby Massie added.

“I think we all have the physical attributes to make sure that we can get the job done,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t feel as bad if mentally I’m in the right position and I get beat because that that happens. There are great players on both sides of the ball.

“But If I make a mental mistake and allow them to get a step or edge on me, that’s not being perfect. That’s not being a professional.”

This theme won’t be going away any time soon.

The Cardinals aren’t straying from their goal of being perfect. It’s a long season, Schofield said, and there’s still 10 games left to improve.

They understand missed opportunities happen, but they won’t allow themselves to accept them.

“We know they happen and they’re a part of the game,” running back LaRod Stephens-Howling said. “We can never accept it. Everybody has to be accountable for what they’re doing or not doing.

“Not too many people are perfect but you try your best, you prepare your best that you can be perfect.”


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