Hanging around the boxing world in New Jersey and New York over the years, Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells picked up the term “game quitters.” The meaning is simple — someone who creates the appearance of trying to win but in reality, it’s just for show.
“They try to create an impression rather than using the best strategy or the most judicious approach, or the best judgment in the heat of the battle,” Parcells said. “That happens in football from time to time.”
That Parcells talked about it heading into his team’s game today against the Cardinals is pure coincidence. But it may be apropos.
The Cards begin the second half of the season with a seven-game losing streak. The last time the Cardinals lost eight straight games was 15 years ago, when they dropped the final eight decisions of the 1991 season.
Their efforts to finally get a victory included a players-only meeting last week to clear the air of festering locker room problems. Players are saying the right things now. But does that mean they will really do all the little things — practice harder, study film more often, pay attention to details — that will result in a win?
In the end, that will be the only way to snap out of the death spiral the 2006 season has quickly become.
“If you love the game of football, it don’t matter what your record is,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. “You are going to play each and every game. When you step on the field, that’s like testing your manhood.
“You can go 0-15, but if you love the game of football, you step on the field, you will play hard. If you don’t, it will be obvious and show up on film.”
The bye week seemed to have settled down issues around the team. Coach Dennis Green wasn’t fired and looks safe at least through the end of the season. The team is almost healthy, with receiver Larry Fitzgerald and defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy returning to the lineup.
And the Cards get the Cowboys at University of Phoenix Stadium, a place that has seen Arizona’s best performances this year despite a 1-3 record.
The last time the Cards played at home was the now infamous Monday night meltdown against the Bears. The Cardinals would love to exorcise some of those demons by upsetting the Cowboys.
Dallas (4-4) has its own issues, blowing what looked like a win in Washington last week and needing victories to stay in the NFC playoff hunt.
“The season starts now,” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. “You can say what you want, do what you want, but it is time to go forward from here and forget the past.”
The Cardinals are searching for the same thing.
“There are always going to be some teams that get better (down the stretch) and some teams slip a little bit,” Green said. “We’re hoping in the second half of the season, we’ll play well.”