Arizona's defense has done its part in improving and now the offense must make strides heading into…
Cardinals' offense must improve in 2012
But Whisenhunt knows better than most that it's no laughing matter, not if the team wants to return to contending for an NFC title.
Specifically, Whisenhunt would like his offense to play better early in games. Too often in 2011, it misfired early, leading to deficits that could not be overcome.
The offense produced some late-game heroics over the last half of the season, but Whisenhunt wants to see the group capitalize on opportunities early.
It's the coaching staff's belief that the problems were in personnel and players unfamiliarity with the system. Fans tend to spread the blame wider: to Whisenhunt and his staff.
Whisenhunt and his staff could turn on video of almost any game early last season and point out big plays that were just missed. He also realizes no one wants to hear about big plays that were almost made.
"I can sit here all day and tell you what I see on tape and people are going to say, 'Well, the numbers don't back that up,'" Whisenhunt said. "And that's right, they don't. We have guys open and we have a breakdown in protection. How can you say you're close when that happens? I feel like we're on the right track and our guys are working.
"And what's more important: Do they believe we're on the right track? And I see that. Where I really saw it, was in those overtime games and the end of games last year. They really believed we could do it."
Whisenhunt said he saw signs of that in offseason practices. There was improvement from the beginning of OTAs through the final practice of minicamp, he said.
Of course, all coaches say that. And Whisenhunt was the first to point out that practices in shorts and helmets don't mean much.
In reality, the Cardinals have some issues. They don't have an established starting quarterback. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton are competing.
Their top two running backs, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, are coming off knee injuries. The right side of the offensive line might include new players at guard (free agent Adam Snyder) and tackle (rookie Bobby Massie).
Whisenhunt, however, was encouraged that his offense seemed to keep pace with a defense that is expected to be the strength of the team.
"It was up and down the first couple weeks of OTAs, but I really started to see it (improvement) last week and into this week," he said after the final practice before training camp. "That's an indication you're making progress.
"I don't think there's any doubt we have a chance to be good defensively based on the way we finished (last season). But we got questions on offense, so to see our guys make plays against what could be a good defense, that's encouraging."
CardinalFootballTalk.com Recommended Stories
Rivalry Week on Scout
Build yourself a sky-high left-over turkey sandwich, cover it in a creamy sauce of hate, and get ready to scream!Read More
Scout College Football Top 30- Week Thirteen
The top 30 teams in college football after Week Thirteen...Read More
Outdoorsman's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014
Finding just the right present for that special someone can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a wide variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor gifts that you—or Santa—can deliver this Christmas.Read More
Week 13: Player Downgrades
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Rusty Reeves predicts a heaping handful of players who will decline in the coming weeks. They should be downgraded at least one tier. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler …Read More
The First Thanksgiving: 10 Myths and Facts
The story of the first Thanksgiving is filled with folklore and legend. But what’s the real story? Here are 10 commonly believed myths about the First Thanksgiving debunked.Read More