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Cardinals Postgame Quotes - 9/16/2012

Posted Sep 16, 2012

Arizona Cardinals coaches and players comment on their regular season game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 16, 2012.

CARDINALS CORNERBACK PATRICK PETERSON

Q: Well that was a fun one…

PP: I’ll tell you what, if it’s close I think we have a pretty good chance of pulling it out. We have great guys in this locker room that continue to fight each and every down. Coach [Ray] Horton had a great game plan put together – by him coming from Pittsburgh [he] pretty much knew the [Patriots’] ins and outs. We just went out there and fought each and every down to get that ‘W’ here today.

Q: What was the thought right before the field goal attempt?

PP: Go get it. I think we put a lot of pressure on a lot of teams with our field goal block team – with me coming off the edge and collapsing the middle, we create a lot of havoc for a lot of teams. We just want to continue putting pressure on field goal teams so things like that can happen, so we can push it left.

Q: How would you describe Ray Horton’s game plan?

PP: Physical, fast, ferocious, to get after the quarterback. I believe we played well on all phases – not only on defense or offense. Special teams came up with a huge block, which was a key block in the game. It was an all-around team victory and Coach Horton definitely had a pretty good game plan together. He wanted to get after these guys and he wanted to keep pressure in their face so we could confuse them a little bit and we did.

Q: What was it like on the field after Stephen Gostkowski missed that field goal?

PP: That was huge. Coach Horton, Coach [Ken] Whisenhunt had been talking about it all week – [coming] down here and getting a ‘W’ can propel our season to the next level. Some guys in the locker room describe it as a statement game. We will have to wait and see what the rest of the season has for us and in front of us. We just want to continue to plan, play sound football on all three phases and just go get it one victory at a time.

Q: What if that kick would have been good?

PP: Yeah, but he missed it.

Q: You got a chance to play Wildcat today, had an interception…

PP: That was huge. That was big.

Q: Did you feel like you were Mr. All-Around today?

PP: Not at all. I’m just playing within the scheme and they expect me to set the edge on the run and that’s what I do. They put it in the package for me this week and I wanted to perfect it to its best. We will see what the season has to bring and now I’m on the rushing list, so I feel pretty happy about that.

Q: How about that first interception to get you guys off to a good start?

PP: That was huge for us to go up 6-0. We definitely expect to score touchdowns but we’ll take it. Coach [Ken] Whisenhunt preached about it all week, ‘Take what these guys give us, they’ll give us our shots sooner or later.’ We just kept on grinding. It was all about grinding, playing a quarter at a time and playing for each other.

CARDINALS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

KW: Obviously, kind of an understatement: it was a huge win for us. Our guys really fought and we overcame mistakes. We can’t turn the ball over twice, like we did offensively. Those two fumbles hurt us. But, our guys believed and we made enough plays to win the game. That’s a very good football game, very well coached and they did some things that made it very difficult for us today. But, our guys played hard and they believe in what they are doing. And it’s great to come in here and get a win. This is a tough place to get a win and I know, I think they have won like a million straight home openers here. So, to come in here and get that win is really big.

Q: Patrick Peterson called it a possible ‘statement game’ to propel you into the season…

KW: Ah, I don’t want to talk about statements, it is two games. Ok? You know, I am proud of our guys, the way they work and the way they played.

Q: Can you talk about the emotions watching Ryan Williams give up the ball and the next few plays before the missed field goal?

KW: Well, you know, that is kind of typical of our games, isn’t it? That’s the way it seems like it has been. This team finds resiliency, they find a way to win and they never give up. So, that’s the first thing that came to my mind when we fumbled. I thought when Ryan got the first down that, ok, we are going to put them in a tough position right there at the end. And when we fumbled, ok, my next thought was: we’ve got to stop them and block the field goal. That’s what I thought, because our guys have done it before. You know what, I didn’t like it that it came out that way; I have got a lot less hair because of that, but you know, our guys worked hard enough and deserve to win today.

Q: Did you talk to Ryan Williams at all after that happened?

KW: It’s a tough time and it makes it a lot easier after we got the win. And look, a guy’s helmet hit right on the ball; it wasn’t like Ryan was swinging it out from his body. But in that situation, you’ve got to understand what’s on the line. He is a young player and will learn from that.

Q: Was he just trying to do too much with it?

KW: You know what, I am still traumatized by seeing the ball pop out. I couldn’t really tell you until I look at it on the tape.

Q: Not many teams come in here and keep them in the teens. What did you do to slow them a little and keep them to field goals?

KW: Well, we have been a good red zone team. We executed our plan. We had a good plan coming in and our players believed in it and we stayed patient, worked at it and had a good week of practice. It’s not easy, not easy coming in here against a good football team, against a good quarterback. And you know, like I said, no one really gave us a chance. Our guys believed they could do it and it’s great to see them operate that way.

Q: What did you do to slow them down? A couple of things maybe…

KW: Usually, when you line up the correct way and line up the correct defensive, and make plays, that helps. That’s pretty much what we did.

Q: Can you talk about Kevin Kolb and his poise? Is this the best that you have seen him?

KW: Kevin did a nice job. You can tell he is a veteran quarterback and the noise didn’t bother him. The situations didn’t bother him. He made some plays for us. The quarterback sneak down the goal line is something that we put in this week and he executed it flawlessly. He did a great job with it; he saw it and he got that done. He brings a lot to the table from that standpoint. We need to continue to work to get better because we missed some things, like the one screen pass to LaRon [Byrd]. There was nothing in front of him and if we execute that one, it’s a tremendous play. That’s happens. One thing he knows, he understands what we are trying to do and he did a nice job today of moving in the pocket, being smart with the ball. The one thing – the fumble – was unfortunate, but I am really pleased with how he handled himself today.

Q: On the play to Ryan, was he pitching it like he might get some room outside?

KW: You know, they went to a goal-line defense, so we were trying to beat them outside with speed. We put Larry [Fitzgerald] on the outside thinking that they would have to put an extra guy out there to cover him to give us an edge. We knew it was going to be tough, but I thought that would give them, with 30 seconds left, with a good punt, no time outs and that that would be tough against our defense. But I didn’t want to throw it. I had a one-on-one situation with Larry [Fitzgerald], but I was worried about stopping the clock and giving them too much time. We were playing the odds there. In fact, that’s why I called a time out – or excuse me, challenged the one play there – because I was trying to get the seconds to continue to run on the clock with a completed pass, even though we were going to punt it.

Q: Todd Heap seemed to play a pretty big role on offense before he got hurt. He was a big target.

KW: Well, I think Coach [Bill] Belichick tries to take away the one thing you do best and he tried to take Larry [Fitzgerald] away and when that happens, you’ve got to find other guys. He made a nice catch for us down in the red zone, made some plays for us. Todd Heap showed up and one of the things that I like the best that we did was the little dump-off to Beanie [Wells] that went for about 30 yards. Those are the kind of things that you have to do. You’ve got to take what they give you if you are going to beat a team like this and we did better with that today.

Q: When we brought up ‘statement games’ or looking ahead, you kind of shut that down right away. Was that a message to the guys too, that it is 2-0?

KW: They understand. We have been in enough close games over the last 10 or so. We are just going to keep working. We came into New England, a road trip, a 1:00 East Coast game and we started off the game with a 13-play drive, something like that, and moved the ball down the field. That shows a lot of progress. We have not been great starters on the road, so I’m not going to get caught up in this. It is two games. [We’ve got] a lot of games ahead of us. The thing that I am most excited about is going back home 2-0, so our fans get excited and that will make it hard for other teams.

Q: I know you can’t get into Stephen Gostkowski’s head, but your field goal blocking, the history, do you think that has an effect on people?

KW: Well, that’s what I thought at the end: we’ve got to get a block because we have had success with that. I hope it did, because that’s the message we preach to our team. They work hard on that unit and they’ve had success with it.

Q: The Patriots have talked about committing to running the ball more and Stevan Ridley is obviously a new back for them. Does that appear to be the case with the Patriots?

KW: Yeah, they do a nice job. Someone asked me about their team being a ‘smash mouth’ team and they have always been a ‘smash mouth’ team and they run the football. And they run it well, especially when they do the no huddle thing. And he is good young back, makes good cuts, so I was very glad that our defense played well today because I have a lot of respect with how they do things.

CARDINALS QUARTERBACK KEVIN KOLB

Q: Came down to the end…

KK: Yeah. That's how we like to do it it seems like. As long as they keep falling into the “W” column we're good.

Q: How did it feel out there knowing you're going to start all week and having that week to prepare?

KK: Yeah, it felt really good. We knew what kind of game this was going to be – we've been stressing it all week – stay patient don't get greedy. I feel like that's one of the reasons [the Patriots] had a big win last week and [to] take it to the fourth quarter and when we get there we will make plays when we need to make plays and that's how it ended up. Our defense played great like they usually do, we had faith in them and our special teams played great. It was an all-around team win.

Q: What about that drive early in the fourth quarter – the long one for the touchdown?

KK: Yeah, that was huge. We knew we had to do that at least one time. We were in a good position before that. I was short on the one to LaRod [Stephens-Howling] that was pretty bad, but special teams came back, made a big play and got it on the one [yard line] and then put it in. We knew coming in we had to make one more good drive and at least give it two scores – we knew with [Tom] Brady and the bunch that they were going to have a shot there at the end.

Q: What kind of options did Todd [Heap] provide tonight?

KK: Well, Todd is a security blanket. You know when you get your matchups inside and they want to play Cover-2 like they did and funnel everything inside then he's your go-to guy. I have a lot of confidence and trust in him.

Q: So many good things happen to the Patriots at home. What's it like on the sideline watching Stephen's [Gostkowski] kick and knowing if he makes it, that's another good thing for them? It must be nerve-wracking.

KK: Yeah, it was frustrating, it really was. Like we said, we've been through a lot of these situations, good and bad, just in my year and a half here, and we finally got a break our way. That's going to happen. The good thing is, is that it was any ugly game; it wasn't clean for us either. It wasn't like we played a perfect game. We have a lot to improve on and like I said, if you can get those ugly wins checked off in the win column that's big.

Q: Is there anything Patrick [Peterson] can't do?

KK: No. No, he's a special talent. Larry [Fitzgerald] is the one that says it all the time – he's a once-in-a-decade type of player and if Larry Fitzgerald says that about you, then you're obviously a pretty special player. I'm sure we will look to try to expand some of that stuff and he's just a world-class athlete.

Q: How quirky can the game of football be? The ball goes up in the air on a fumble; the field goal goes left, your last couple of weeks…

KK: It's crazy. It really is nuts. It seems to be just our vibe – as soon as you think you get in a rhythm or as soon as things are done, then something sparks it up. The last 10 to 11 games have been going our way and hopefully they continue to do that.

Patrick Peterson, Cornerback
(On the missed field goal)
“I expect myself to do whatever it takes for the team to win ballgames. That is what we did today. Not only myself, but a lot of guys. A lot of guys contributed to this victory today. A lot of guys contributed to this victory today. We put a lot of pressure on a lot of field goal teams. I think he was a little scared of us, honestly, that is why he pushed it left.”

(On the start of the game)
“That was great, that was a great start. Not only for me but for the team. Everybody clawed and scratched for every inch that they gave us. It was all about taking what they give us. That is what we did today and we came out with a victory.”

(On the wildcat and if he was ever a QB)
“I was, in high school. I was Mr. Everything in high school. I could play a little bit of offense. The guys got a little taste of it today. It is going to be pretty fun. Hopefully we can get a little more offense going but we will see. Everybody came to play today. I was definitely expecting to run 2 to 3 of them (plays) and that is what we did today. We had to keep those guys back on their heels.”

(On the holding call to nullify a Patriots touchdown)
“That was huge.”

Calais Campbell, Defensive End
(On his play today)
“I had a few plays I wish I could have back but it was a good team win. The plays I made were just going to the ball. My teammates made good plays turning them back inside and the sacks were both coverage sacks because the DBs did what they are supposed to do. I will take it any way I can get it, but hats off to my teammates because they played a great game. We had a good game plan today. You have to take your hat off to Coach Ray Horton. He watched a lot of film, scouting them and came up with a great game plan for us. A good defense holds teams to 3 instead of 7.”

(On the holding call to nullify a Patriots touchdown)
“That was huge. That was one of the times the refs got it right. That was huge.”

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Running Back
(On the wildcat)
“It was something we have been practicing since we got out of camp and it is good to see it coming alive a little bit. The two wildcat plays were pretty successful but that is not all our offense is about. We want to run our offense first and make sure we establish that then those things will open up better.”

(Asked what he would have thought if someone told him before the game that Larry Fitzgerald would have only 1 catch for 4 yards)
“I would have told them they were crazy, but that is how it works sometimes. Nothing to worry about, definitely nothing to worry about. We try to be a team every time we get on the field. If one thing is lacking a little bit somebody else is always going to step up.”

Andre Roberts, Wide Receiver
(On his touchdown and the play of Kevin Kolb)
“It was a quick screen over to the left. It was called in the huddle, run to pass. Kevin saw the pass and threw it over to me and we scored. Kevin played well. I think he did a good job for us.”

(Asked what he would have thought if someone told him before the game that Larry Fitzgerald would have only 1 catch for 4 yards)
“I would have never thought that. Some things went wrong in the game and some things went well. We were running the ball more than we usually do so sometimes it happens like that.”

(On the missed field goal)
“He is a kicker. It is his job to make the field goal and he missed the field goal. We have a really good field goal block team and I think that may have been in the back of his mind, you never know. ”

Kerry Rhodes, Free Safety
(On his coverage of Gronkowski during the two-point conversion attempt)
“I had man-to-man on that play and I was able to be physical with him down there, because he (Gronkowski) is a physical guy. I got my hands on him and when I got my hands on him I knew, I looked up and saw Brady looking at him so I took him the whole way.”

(On how poor the Patriots offense was playing and how well they normally play)
“I know how well they can play but I know how well we can play too. We are a defense that expects to come out and do what we did in the first half so it isn’t anything we didn’t expect to do.”

Ray Horton, Defensive Coordinator
(On having the game in the last quarter on the shoulders of the defense, is that what he wants)
“No, no, no, I want to win games sitting back enjoying them, but we just tend to win close games. That builds a lot of character and the guys responded to a game plan that they executed flawlessly, they really did.”

(On how the defense was able to generate so much pressure without blitzing)
“The guys up front, we challenged our guys up front to win the game for us. When you look at their team (Patriots) and their salary and their structure, their (Patriots) superstars are their outside guys and our guys are inside. So we said we needed another big week from our inside guys and they did. I almost didn’t blitz at all.”

Quentin Groves, Linebacker
(On getting the chance to play)
“It felt great and to come against a future Hall of Famer it felt even better. It’s kind of like a burden has been lifted off my shoulder. When so many people said I couldn’t do it, and so many didn’t want to give me a chance. I think Rod Graves, Coach Ken Whisenhunt, Coach Ray Horton, and Coach Frank Reich all believed in me and gave me a shot. I can only thank God, and for me believing in my abilities as well. ”

(On the blocked kick)
“It was just something we take pride in. We just go in and watch films, and we noticed he was a bit soft on the edge.”

Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver
(On play of the defense)
“It was exciting. They caused a lot of turmoil over there. They’ve done really well the last two weeks.”

(On whether there is anything that Patrick Peterson can’t do)
“I don’t think so. He has all the ability in the world, I have said it for a long time – the sky is the limit for him.”

(On if anyone remembered the last time they played here)
“It was something that we talked about. It was 2008, in the snow, I think 47-7. It was a terrible way to finish our east coast trip and our season, we had one game left. It was tough to deal with and the guys who are still on this team now, we didn’t forget that.”

(On the significance of the win)
“It was just another win. They were the next team on our schedule. We’ve got Philly next week. We’ll celebrate today and then get back to the drawing board. It’s the NFL, you can’t get too high or too low.”

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