Whisenhunt's patience on defense wearing thin

The Cardinals' new defensive scheme has struggled through the first two games of the season and coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't happy.

The Cardinals knew they would go through some growing pains with the hiring of a new defensive coordinator and no off-season.

But the pains have been excruciating so far.

The Cardinals have yielded 932 yards in two games. In the first game, they were torched by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and the passing game.

In the second, they were bludgeoned on the ground by the Redskins.

The Cardinals haven't given up many points, an average of 21.5, but they are spending far too much time on the field.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has preached patience but even he is sounding frustrated.

After the first game, he referred to the team's "comedy of errors" in the secondary. After the second, he was asked about his team giving up a fourth quarter lead.

"When did we play good defense the whole day, as opposed to late in the game?" Whisenhunt said. "That's an area we've got to improve. Look at how the whole day went, we didn't slow them down. That's not good enough. That's something we've got to improve on."

The best thing the Cardinals have going for them is the schedule. The Cardinals have what the retail business calls a soft opening: Carolina, Washington, Seattle, the Giants and Minnesota are the first five games before the bye.

The Cardinals' plan all along has been to use that time to find out what works, what doesn't and make adjustments that will last the rest of the season.

But the Cardinals also need to win during this stretch, because things get much rougher quickly. After the bye, they play the Steelers, Ravens, Rams and Eagles. From Oct. 30 through Nov. 27, four of their five games are on the road.

They need to find answers quickly. Offensively, there are signs of explosiveness. Already the team has three pass plays of more than 40 yards, equaling last year's total.

The defense, meanwhile, is dealing with many of the same issues from years past: miscommunication in the secondary and lack of playmakers up front.

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