TAMPA -- Lots of people are having trouble understanding how the same Cardinals team that lost to the Patriots 47-7 in Week 16 could turn things around in the playoffs. According to the Cardinals players I've spoken with, everything changed when head coach Ken Whisenhunt laid down the law before they faced the Seahawks in Week 17.
Whisenhunt went back to his Pittsburgh roots and brutalized the players with two days of heavy pad work. Arizona special teams ace Sean Morey told me Whisenhunt had the players go at each other hard on a rainy, cold day. That's when the Cardinals stopped acting like a warm-weather team and became a real playoff contender.
Whisenhunt oversaw some brutal drills in Pittsburgh. His guys tried to beat up Dick LeBeau's defense and vice-versa. You can tell that's the kind of attitude the Cardinals have right now. Whisenhunt has brought a lot of what he learned in Pittsburgh to Arizona. But nothing is more important than that toughness.
Expect the Cardinals to have at least one really tough practice this week. Whisenhunt won't let them soften up now ... especially with his former team coming up on Sunday.
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