This from the paper:
Green knows status shaky as team slides to 1-6
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
Oct. 23, 2006 01:41 PM
TEMPE, Ariz. - Three years into his Dennis Green's tenure as coach of the Arizona Cardinals, the team is off to its worst start in nine seasons.
That's saying something for a franchise with one winning season since 1984.
Sunday's loss to the previously winless Oakland Raiders was the Cardinals' sixth straight since a season-opening victory over San Francisco.
With a 12-27 record at Arizona, a subdued Green said on Monday that his focus is simply on preparing the team for its next game - Sunday at Green Bay.
"I'm just focused on coaching, I really am," he said. "I came here with very high expectations."
Green acknowledged the Cardinals may have had a hangover from their fourth-quarter collapse in a 24-23 home loss to Chicago last Monday night.
"You can try to be upbeat. You can try to put it aside," Green said. "... There are games in your career that you don't get over. That's just the way it is. That's a game for me I set aside. I could never get over that game, but I'll set it aside."
Playing in front of noisy sellout home crowds in four of their first six games, Arizona beat San Francisco, then blew chances to win with late mistakes against St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago.
On the road, the team has looked much worse in losses to Seattle, Atlanta and Oakland.
"I think that we're trying," Green said. "Anybody that saw us play against Chicago or St. Louis or Kansas City will say our guys are trying real hard. I think we have not got the breaks, and you can't count on breaks. They either happen or they don't happen and we have not gotten very many breaks."
Owner Bill Bidwill and son Michael are attending NFL owners meetings this week, so their reaction to the team's awful start was unknown. There is a history, though, of firing coaches during the season. Vince Tobin was fired seven games into the 2000 season and replaced by then-defensive coordinator Dave McGinnis.
Green has one more year on his contract plus a club option for 2008. His situation is made more tenuous by the big crowds in the new stadium, fans that might not come back next year.
"Right now I'm looking at this year," he said. "You play hard, people leave. They're very sad but the see a good game, then you say Let's go get the next one.' That's what the fan probably says, even though they want to win and even though they are very disappointed. Some of them are probably real mad about it. We've played four games at home that were pretty exciting games."
Edgerrin James, the team's major free-agent acquisition in the offseason, seems flabbergasted by what he's experiencing, and he remembers that comments of friends when he chose to leave the highly successful Indianapolis Colts for the big money the Cardinals offered.
"They warned me about this," James said after gaining 34 yards in 14 carries against the Raiders.
James leads the NFL in rushing attempts but is averaging 2.7 yards per carry.
"I wasn't prepared for this, man, I really wasn't, when making my decision," he said "I dot know what were doing now."
It was an inauspicious debut for Mike Kruczek as new Cardinals offensive coordinator. A week ago, Green fired Keith Rowen and made the quarterbacks coach Kruczek the coordinator. Kruczek promised a more aggressive approach. But in a game where Matt Leinart finally looked like a struggling rookie quarterback, Arizona managed 258 yards and three field goals.
Leinart, who completed 13 of 32 passes for 203 yards and two interceptions, took some vicious hits and was sacked three times. At 0-3, he has lost more games as an NFL starter than he did in three seasons at USC.
Rowen reluctantly remains on the staff as an offensive assistant, even though he has filed a grievance with the NFL over the circumstances of his demotion.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby has a hip flexor from Sunday's game and probably won't play at Green Bay, Green said.
The Cardinals have a bye week after they face the Packers, then play Dallas at home on Nov. 12.
Safety Adrian Wilson has a groin injury and linebacker Orlando Huff a sore elbow, Green said, but whether it will affect their playing status has not bee determined. Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald, sidelined for two games with an ankle injury, is improving. He might play against Green Bay and almost certainly will be back for Dallas, the coach said.
Whether Green will still be around then remains to be seen.
Has it been a humbling experience for a coach who took the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs eight times in 10 years?
"I was raised in a humbling experience," Green said. "My background says that I never rode the easy horse. I've always rode the bucking horse."
And Mort just said on MNF that Green will be replaced by their Def co-ord.
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