Continued chaos surrounds Cardinals
What was supposed to be a week of hopeful optimism for a sputtering 1-6 Arizona Cardinals team that gets ready to debut a brand new offensive coordinator and a new look for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen quickly turned into a lengthy chaotic distraction when one of the team's star players made it clear he wants out.
All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson is normally a happy-go-lucky sort who never has been involved in any type of controversy. But he created national headlines on Monday when he made it known through an ESPN report by Adam Schefter that he is unhappy in Arizona because he feels the situation is deteriorating and that he "desperately" wants out.
The bombshell couldn't have come at a worse time for rookie head coach Steve Wilks, who has been scrambling to keep the team together following its worst start since 2011, when it also began the year 1-6.
Peterson finally addressed the situation on Wednesday, first by releasing a statement that read, in part, "My energy is 100 percent focused on being part of the solution and helping us turn this around." Peterson then met with reporters to try and deflect attention away from the saga entirely.
"I released all my feelings in that statement," Peterson said. "Like I said, now I'm just moving forward and doing whatever I can to galvanize my teammates and circle the wagons so we can move forward. ... Honestly, I don't really want to dwell on the situation of what happened. I said what I said. The news came out Monday. It is what it is. It's business. We're moving forward from it. Our focus right now is on the 49ers.
"I'm sorry I had to take away from this game week, but it is what it is. I'm ready to move forward. My teammates are ready to move forward. Coach Wilks is ready to move forward. We're just completely worried about how to get a damn win because we need one."
The Cardinals have been plagued by major ineffectiveness on both sides of the ball. The offense ranks at or near the bottom of the league in every major category. The defense ranks last against the run, allowing 148.3 yards per game, which has been its biggest problem.
There was a sense that things might get better on the offensive side at least following the firing last Friday of coordinator Mike McCoy and the subsequent promotion of quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich, who is in his second full year as a coach at any level.
Wilks said the offense would take on somewhat of a similar look as it had under former head coach Bruce Arians, who personally handpicked Leftwich to be an assistant and let him call plays in a preseason game a year ago. It remains to be seen just how much the Cardinals' offense will change on Sunday against the 49ers, but according to Rosen, it will help everyone "think less and play faster."
He's excited to be working with Leftwich, whom he said is "sort of a B.A. descendent."
"He's sort of a ghostly legend in this building here," Rosen continued. "I think he's putting in some new stuff but also pulling on some past knowledge and I'm looking forward to what we are about to do with him."
As for the Peterson fallout, Wilks said he hopes the Cardinals can put it all behind them and focus on trying to get their second win of the season.
"We're all frustrated right now based off the situation we're in, 1-6," he said. "We're going to use all that energy this Sunday and try to do everything we can to win a football game."
SERIES HISTORY: 55th regular-season meeting. 49ers lead series, 29-25. The teams met just three weeks ago in Santa Clara, Calif., with the Cardinals forcing five turnovers, turning one of them into a defensive touchdown, to prevail 28-18. It marked Arizona's seventh straight win over San Francisco and its eighth in the last nine matchups. The eight straight wins represents the Cardinals' longest active win streak against any opponent.