Revisionist History: Whiz’s arrival

Posted by Darren Urban on June 23, 2011 – 4:23 pm

The latest in a series of offseason posts looking back:

Despite the results of 2010, the Cards are still in the midst of their best stretch of football since moving to Arizona – which, of course, coincided with the hire of Ken Whisenhunt as head coach.

It came together relatively quickly. Dennis Green was fired the day after the 2006 season ended, and even though the players did their due diligence in taking the blame, ownership clearly had their thoughts on how the Cards had evolved – letting Green go, but extending the contract of GM Rod Graves and basically saying the roster was good enough with which to win, whoever the new coach was going to be.

Whisenhunt was one of the first candidates in to talk to the Cards – among the other candidates were new Panthers coach Ron Rivera and current Colts coach Jim Caldwell – and when Whiz first showed up, Bill Cowher hadn’t yet resigned (that was to come a day or so later, with Whiz as a potential replacement) and the Falcons were still considering him. By the time Russ Grimm arrived for an interview himself, Cowher had stepped down and Grimm was also a Steeler possibility.

Eventually, the Steelers moved in a different direction and Whisenhunt was brought back for a second interview, along with Mike Sherman (who has since become a college head coach). Rumors were flying that the Cards wanted Sherman, but that never happened and in fact, the Cards insisted Whisenhunt had already become the top choice. Less than two weeks after Green was fired, Whisenhunt was named the new coach and, as then-tackle Reggie Wells said, the Cards could “move on to the next phase.”

When the process started, the Cards were likely third on Whiz’s list. He was considered, after all, for the Falcons’ job and he was from the area, and he was considered for the Steelers’ job, and he had been there for six seasons already. But he insisted that after considering everything, he liked what the Cards had to offer an incoming coach. He didn’t come in boasting about potential playoff wins (like his predecessor) but a quiet confidence, saying, “we’re not trying to change the world.” His key players, part of the process in talking to Whiz ahead of time, were on board.

Then, under Whisenhunt, the Cards did some unprecedented winning, the most important aspect of the hire. And the reason that proved the decision to be the right one.

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Posted in Blog | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Revisionist History: Whiz’s arrival”

  1. By Chris B on Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    I’d like to see that press conference, if it’s available.

  2. By AndyStandsUp on Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    Love the photo.
    Whiz actually had a little hair on top, Bidwill was still alive and Graves’ lips weren’t pursed next to Ken’s hiney.

  3. By Austin on Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    The man did exactly what he said he would do, he changed the culture of a franchise from one that was surprised to win to one that expected it. He has a lifelong spot in the organization as far as Im considered. Thank you Whiz.

  4. By zach on Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    Andy, bidwell is stil alive. just an fyi

  5. By BIG RED on Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Whiz, hope you stay with this organization for a long time. Best coach in the NFL.

  6. By Brandon on Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    Other than the QB fiasco last season, every move he has made has worked for the team. By far the greatest coach this team has ever seen.

  7. By brad oneill on Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

    i believe dennis green is great at building teams and evaluating talent but he was an absolutely horrible game manager. His clock management has to rank as the absolute bottom of modern day coaches.

    I think whiz is a great coach but I am of the opinion that he does not handle players appropriately as evidenced by the Boldin situation and the Lienart fiasco. Also I have been very critical of his handling of 3rd and short where his percentages back up my criticism. that said I believe Whiz has the chance to grow into one of the great coaches of all time. Whiz is driven and results oriented, he is not easily flustered and he has taken a perennial laughing stock and brought them to the superbowl. then he followed up the next year defeating a fantastic greenbay team in the playoffs and losing to the eventual super bowl champs.

    if the cards rebound and make a run into the playoffs whiz will have solidified himeself as the greatest cardinal coach ever. if they win a superbowl I can’t think of another coach that has taken a team from mediocrity to greatness. I am sure it has happened but turning the cardinals into a force in the league is quite an accomplishment.

  8. By joe67 on Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

    Third and short is hard for any coach to call, but especially hard to run, without an offensive line, and hard to pass w/o an offensive line, or a QB. (last year)

  9. By Ryan Brewer on Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

    Dick Vermeil took the rams to the super bowl, oh now what was that qb they had in st. louis name, that’s right kurt warner! Good coaching starts with talent evaluation, keep it up coach Whiz were with you and the team!

  10. By Eazy E on Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

    Great hire, those other coaches are good also, so it tells you the cards know what they are doing in that coaching search.

  11. By Kevin on Jun 26, 2011 | Reply

    This is really going to be the make or break year year for him (assuming that there is a season). Last year, the QB situation aired some decision making questions. This will be his chance to prove that his methodology really can work here.

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