This has been two distinctly different seasons in one for the Cardinals, and coach Ken Whisenhunt would have preferred some consistency.
Going 1-6 and then 6-1 is not ideal, but Whisenhunt is just glad it wasn't reversed. His team learned some valuable lessons in recovering from the horrible start.
"Your younger players are now developing and learning how to do it when it's been as tough as it could possibly be," Whisenhunt said. "And that means it makes you stronger as a team going forward. If you learn how to win and you don't know any different, then when you lose it can really be catastrophic."
After seven games, there was considerable heat on Whisenhunt. There was no danger he would be fired, since he signed a contract extension in 2010, but the Cardinals had lost 15 of their last 18 games, dating back to 2010.
Fans were upset and many wanted to see some passionate outbursts from Whisenhunt. Instead, he reacted calmly saying the coaching staff and players believed in their system. Continued hard work would eventually produce results, he said.
"You got to be consistent," Whisenhunt said. "If you have a consistent message, the guys will believe in you and believe in what you're doing.
"That's what they're looking for. I yell and scream at times when I get mad, but if you do it all the time, it doesn't mean as much."
The current four-game winning streak is the Cardinals' longest since 1999, and they haven't won five consecutive games since 1977, Don Coryell's last season as coach.
By pulling out of the losing skein, Whisenhunt enhanced his personal credibility, and that of his system.
"It builds equity," Whisenhunt said. "When you go through the pain of losing those games with all these young guys, and they understand now what they have to do in order to get out of it, that makes you stronger as a team.
"You have this group of young players who understand, 'This is what we have to do. This is the standard that we have to set in practice and in meetings and what we have to do in games.'"
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