Cardinals Bring Winning Culture to Arizona

Much is often made of a team 'learning how to win' and even though I typically think that is used too often as an excuse for mediocrity, the Cardinals have been stockpiling guys from one of the most successful franchises of the past 15 years or so. It's gotten to the point where some are starting to nickname the Arizona Cardinals, the 'Steelers of the West.'

In the past two seasons Coach Whisenhunt has brought a handful of former players with him to the desert including Chukki Okobi, Keydrick Vincent, Sean Morey, Brian St. Pierre, Jerame Tuman and most recently, Clark Haggans. Three of those guys are owners of a Super Bowl ring and even though nearly every one of them isn't much more than a role player, Whisenhunt thinks that bringing in proven professionals will help mentor younger players. Not to mention they can provide some much needed playoff experience, should the Cardinals finally kick that door down. Clark Haggans is ready to bring that culture to Arizona:

"I have been fortunate to be in the playoffs a lot and I know that’s what Whiz wants here," Haggans said. "I know everyone wants that here. Mr. Bidwill wants that. The state of Arizona wants that. We’re just trying to plug in."

Tuman on the other hand is ready to help his new teammates learn the 'little things' that go into to being a perennial playoff contender:

"The thing you bring from a program that has been successful is a lot of the little things," said Tuman, a tight end in his 10th season. "The biggest thing I took away from Pittsburgh was the group of guys we had and the way we got along. When you have a group of guys who want to be here and want to work, you can get a lot of things accomplished. All the years we were good, that’s what we had."

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What does the addition of players who've been part of a winning tradition mean in the long run? Probably not a whole lot but these guys are familiar with the system and if nothing else can lead the younger players down the right path. Tuman Haggans and Morey may never start a game for the Arizona Cardinals but should the Cardinals happen to find themselves playing a game in the middle of January, they'll be there to help keep everyone focused on the prize.

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What better way to spice up an otherwise mundane organized team practice? How about a punt catching competition between the offensive and defensive linemen or a field goal kicking competition between various members of the team. Granted in September no one will care which 300 pound lineman caught the punts or which receiver or running back had the best kick, but for now Coach Whisenhunt is using every opportunity to breed not only competition but also camaraderie. Given how long the season and off season are, it's encouraging to see the team having so much fun at a relatively meaningless practice.

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