Friday, January 23, 2009

Changing a team's culture by changing its core

Enjoyed this story from the Phoenix paper that describes how "changing the Cardinals' losing culture took more than just changing perceptions and attitudes on the team. It meant having to change the team itself, starting with the roster."

Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves (far right with Whisenhunt and owner Bill Bidwill) identified "specific players to provide solid depth, leadership, and create competition on what had been a complacent team for far too long."

"That's what winning coaches understand, that you need to get some guys who are winners, who are good leaders, who you can bring to a team like glue and make it stick together," said Cardinals cornerback Ralph Brown, who signed with the team last season as a free agent.

Says Coach Whisenhunt: "Whenever you come into a team you're going to make changes and you want to get players that you feel are going to help develop the chemistry, especially ones that have the experience and have been there before."

"I've seen guys come and go. I've seen guys get paid and I've seen guys not get paid," said middle linebacker Gerald Hayes. "But this coaching staff came in here and turned things around. The most important thing is they got guys in here that wanted to win."